Sometimes I just don't want to listen. Sometimes the back ground noise of life mutes what God wants to say. Sometimes, though my ears are open and I hear God in the most interesting ways and places.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


When butter melts into the toast
When a robin juts its chest out
When a five year old dimple speaks
When a classic guitar introduces “Blackbird”
When I hear Barbara’s voice on the end of the line

This is when the dust in the pan is forgotten
This is when the tides of life hush those of death

When the sound of machines are put into the closet
When outside the stars wink through the oaks veins
When silence is remembered and it shuts my mouth
When frost filled air settles on my burning eyes
When being still invites knowing

This is when the length of days is measured
Not in coffee spoons but momentary trances
and deep breaths of God

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tone Deaf

The concept of faith has whispered in tone deaf ears.  My tone deaf ears.  Faith's tone is a distinct one.  I recently read that Kierkegaard coined the term "leap of faith" which gives the tone of setting reason aside.  Understanding per se takes a break and we jump over it to God and His mysterious ways.

I have a friend who is a mechanical engineer and he often will deconstruct a beautiful object or room or, or anything.  He would wonder how a certain thing was formed, compiled, or constructed.  In those moments of wondering the concept of resting(faith) in the beauty of a creation is set aside.  It's an engineers mind and if you know one you know what I am talking about.

Humbly I would say that God is the master engineer.  His designs are far superior to our Image bearing manipulations of this material world.  Besides, the idea that God can perfectly deconstruct an infinite amount of things is probably unnecessary given his all-knowing nature.

I have been slowly memorizing Psalm 19, which is one of my favorites.  We look up and are in awe, or we are detached and/or dead.  "The heavens declare the glory of God..." My eyes leap and defy for a moment the gravity glue on the souls of my feet.  For a moment every now and then I set aside my arrogance and refrain from deconstruction and stand below the wonder of it all.

Faith's biblical description is found in several places.  It is the evidence of things hoped for yet not seen.  It's underlined in the stories of people in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.  The scriptures state that it comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  This brings me full circle to my hearing impediments, often chosen.  I stick reason in my ears and "La, la, la, la,..."  "If there was a way to drown out faith..."  "I am not sure I can leap that far..."  The self talk would morph into murmuring and complaining and the object of my affection would fade away.

I will once again pull my fingers out and point up to the heavens and breathe deep and my heart might even leap.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Little Seed

I try to keep track of all the orbits of my household.  I got up from the leather chair after thinking about everything and nothing.  I shot up a few prayers.  I listened to the noise.   I read some of Paul’s words on tearing down strongholds which I was reminded of yesterday.   
Then I sat back down and closed my eyes.
I opened my heart to listen.
There were wars and rumors of wars.
There were earthquakes and tsunamis.
There were little lives fighting for life.
There was one who is absent from his little body.
There were loss of jobs and dignity.
There were relational rifts, understanding set aside.
and yet…
So many blessings flow through the deep
currents, churning in and through the despair.
Hope is deferred but not dead.
Pain and sorrow are nurtured just enough to
to bring new life and vision.
Just like the earth snuggling closer to the sun
and warming up our side of things we too can
snuggle up to our God and find warmer hope
and anticipation to new things.
We can be like the crocus breaking through
the crust of dormant days.
A tiny seed of faith can see us through.

Friday, March 11, 2011

In and Sometimes Of

I remember praying
words only our spirits

Those mysteries behind
a veil where angels gather
and gold is laid.

Some would say you were
in the world
not of it.

Yet those who loved you,
who came near you
knew this was a small
truth of your life.

The essence of your life
was as pure as the
cradle of the womb.

Those who cared for
you became embryonic fluid
and they baptized you
in the fully immersed
waters of love.

The contractions would
come and go,
come and go,
come and go,

In painful grace
your mother and
delivered you into
the arms of Jesus
as your father
released you
to his Father.

Seven perfect years
our Lord lent you to us
to teach us about
the highest love.

Sure, Caleb, you were sometimes
in the world not of it.
No formed word uttered
but the word of your
very life taught us so.
It taught us so.
For Michael and Corine Johnson
In honor of Caleb Johnson
By Gerald Barrett
March 7th 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slowly Slowly Praying

Prayer has become a mystery over the years to me.  So I thought this morning should I just slow down?  Should I say less audibly and let heart issues sit silently?

I've used books on praying the hours.

I've read Richard Foster's wonderful book on prayer.

The scriptures are sprinkled all the way through with wonderful prayers of priests, prophets, kings, and women who knew their own hearts well.

I've tried praying the orthodox Jesus prayer over and over.
Of course Jesus himself went to the lonely places to pray and one time got a little perturbed at his disciples that they couldn't watch and pray for even an hour...they fell asleep.  I've fallen asleep as well at times.  I don't think Jesus meant for me to look at my watch while I pray.

So why is it I find prayer such a struggle?

Why do I practice the absense of God so often?

Is it really possible to pray without ceasing?

It's a two way commune some say...

So sometimes I just listen.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Recently I observed real human bodies, peeled, sliced every which way.  It was a Chinese exhibit at a nearby museum.  Chinese people had offered their bodies upon their death to be observed in nakedness beyond all nakedness.  It was fascinating and strange at the same time. 

Yet one of the exhibits kinda stuck with me a little more than some others.  They had an inner ear with an arrow pointing to the smallest bone in the human body.  The stirrup or more formally the stapes.  I probably was dozing or staring at Becky(my Jr. high crush) when this interesting factoid was dispensed from a droning science teacher. 

I got to thinking...What's up with God putting a tiny tuning fork looking bone in the inner ear?  The sounds from without get a leg up to make it to our brains.  They "cowboy up" to transmit waves of sound to the human processor.  Is there marrow flowing within this cute little piece of pysiological saddlery?  Why bone at all?  Why not a more flexible tissue?  Just wondering.

I wonder if it might be some transcendent shadowing in God's design.  It is important to hear, and something solid is a physical metaphor for how God wants us to hear all that he has created...but more importantly, hear Him solidly. 

I do want to hear God.  Sometimes I hear distortions...maybe it's wax build up.  All the busyness of the life God has set before me becomes white noise if my spiritual tuning fork is disabled.   I know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God(which, by the way, can divide even the bones from marrow).  If I get my foot in the stirrup from the get go the sound waves might not crash down so hard and silence the still small voice in my life.  I can hear God in and through the family around me if I que-tip the things that build up in my life.  Through confession and honest interaction with God and others.  
To live in the moments with grace and love the little stirrup does it's transmitting in a healthy way.