From the category archives:

Stuff

Japanese Maple, by Clive James

by Richard on September 18, 2014

Normally I leave poetry to Kim, but I was very moved by this poem from Clive James (who is terminally ill) when I read it in yesterday’s Guardian
Japanese Maple
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but [...]

{ 1 comment }

Esther “Etty” Hillesum (15 January 1914 – 30 November 1943) was a Jewish woman whose letters and diaries, kept between 1941 and 1943, describe life in Amsterdam during the German occupation [Wikipedia]. She perished in Auschwitz.
One moment it is Hitler, the next it is Ivan the Terrible; one moment it is the Inquisition and the [...]

{ 0 comments }

End of the day at Greenbelt #gb14

by Richard on August 22, 2014

I’m sitting in an improvised dining shelter, preparing to get into my tent at Greenbelt. Listened to a talk by Brian McLaren (”Bible 3.0″), which was ok, followed by a pint in the site pub “The Jesus Arms”. Now enjoying the darkness and relative peace with a cup of coffee breed cowboy style [...]

{ 0 comments }

Saying goodbye

by Richard on August 21, 2014

It’s the time of year when Methodist ministers up and down Britain are swapping manses. All (almost) appointments begin on September 1st, so the weeks of August are filled with endings and beginnings. My colleague Paul Weary, who is going through this process himself, reflects on the importance of a good farewell.
As I move on [...]

{ 0 comments }

How to do it - some Antipodean wisdom

by Richard on August 19, 2014

With thanks to Jason Goroncy for posting and to Michael Leunig for creating this

{ 5 comments }

Ignore No More: more fuel for parental anxiety

by Richard on August 19, 2014

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when I read yesterday about Ignore No More
Getting the silent treatment from your kids? A new app lets you lock their phone until they respond.
The “Ignore No More” app was created by Sharon Standifird, a Houston mom who describes herself as a school teacher turned entrepreneur.
“Few things [...]

{ 0 comments }

Transfiguration Day - c. 30 and 1945

by Kim on August 6, 2014

“He was completely changed right before their eyes, his face brilliantly lit, like the sun, his clothes flashing with light.”
– Matthew 17:2 (my translation)
“The hour was early; the morning still, warm, and beautiful. Shimmering leaves, reflecting sunlight from a cloudless sky … Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me — and then another. So [...]

{ 4 comments }

Sam is a pimp, but he’s my Uncle

by Kim on August 2, 2014

This is not the first time that I have been embarrassed – no, ashamed – to be an American because of the US’s malign foreign policy, silently sinister or thunderously overt. Travelling around Europe in the summer of 1969 – Vietnam; living in Oxford during the onset of the Reagan presidency – Nicaragua and Chile; [...]

{ 4 comments }

Lamech was a wimp

by Kim on July 30, 2014

At least 1,200 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed since Israel launched its offensive on 8 July.
Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians.
Some 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians.
– BBC, 30 July
That’s a ratio of 22 Palestinian dead for 1 Israeli dead.
Let’s ridiculously err on the side of Israeli [...]

{ 5 comments }

The elephant in the detention centre

by Kim on May 20, 2014

I’ve just had another letter published in the British daily the i (May 20th). Maybe I ought to suggest to the editor that he gives me a regular column. Anyway, here’s my latest.
Sir:
In having a grumble at Mark Steels’ superb Swiftian send-up of Ukip, Mark Taha insists that “We are an overcrowded country” (letter, [...]

{ 1 comment }

Today (May 15th) is International Conscientious Objectors Day. Howard Zinn (1922-2010), the American historian, author, and activist, wrote: “They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.” Here is one of our poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her poem “Conscientious Objector”.
I shall die, but that is all that [...]

{ 1 comment }

Matthew 5:38-48 (NRA)

by Kim on May 6, 2014

You have heard it said I said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy,” but I say to you I was misquoted, and the guy who misquoted me ought to have his eyes and teeth extracted. No, I say to you: Do not resist an evildoer, invite him home, give him a [...]

{ 0 comments }

The bright side of answered prayer

by Kim on May 6, 2014

A letter of mine published today (6 May) in the UK newspaper the i.
Sir:
Ron Gellért-Binnie is right: if God answered our prayers and healed the sick, there would undoubtedly be job losses (letter, 5 May).
Even more job losses if God answered our prayers and ended all war. But hey, look on [...]

{ 0 comments }

From the far star points of his pinned extremities,
cold inched in — black ice and squid ink–
till the hung flesh was empty. Lonely in that void
even for pain, he missed his splintered feet,
the human stare buried in his face.
He ached for two hands made of meat
he could reach to the end of.
In the corpse’s [...]

{ 0 comments }

“Easter” by Micheal O’Siadhail

by Kim on April 20, 2014

Dizzy with joy, the Easter morning
sun trembles in the heavens;
the tacky buds unclenched, release
the appropriate festschrift of leaves.
Unsuspected, in their microworld
tiny cells teem, crossplay,
rich networks of twisted rings
interlace, relate to the concord
of history rebegun. A starling mimics
Bravura, wood-pigeons whoop it up,
the orchestra purrs, tunes into
a master craftsman. Life da capo,
as riding our whirling [...]

{ 0 comments }

Maybe He looked indeed
much as Rembrandt envisioned Him
in those small heads that seem in fact
portraits of more than a model.
A dark, still young, very intelligent face,
a soul-mirror gaze of deep understanding, unjudging.
That face, in extremis, would have clenched its teeth
in a grimace not shown in even the great crucifixions.
The burden of humanness (I begin to [...]

{ 0 comments }

To be crucified is first to lie down
on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out
on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes
fix you into place.
Once the cross pops up and the pole stob
sinks vertically in an earth hole, perhaps
at an awkward list, what [...]

{ 0 comments }

Cameron and Easter

by Kim on April 15, 2014

Here’s a letter I emailed to the British newspaper the i, printed yesterday (14 April):
I’m delighted and encouraged to hear that David Cameron has stressed the importance of explaining to young people the significance of Easter. Presumably that will include emphasising that, fundamentally, the resurrection was God’s vindication of Jesus of Nazareth, the northern [...]

{ 1 comment }

The Coming
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For [...]

{ 0 comments }

LORD, with what bountie and rare clemencie
Hast thou redeem’d us from the grave!
If thou hadst let us runne,
Gladly had man ador’d the sunne,
And thought his god most brave,
Where now we shall be better gods than he.
Thou hast but two rare cabinets full of treasure,
The Trinitie and Incarnation:
Thou hast unlockt them both,
And made them jewels to [...]

{ 0 comments }