It is nine a.m. and I am thinking about what they told me:

From the Zeppelins it looks like


a tremendous dragon raked his claws across this countryside.

It is the month of November, and I am reflecting:

It is different here,


There are those siren songs:

screaming duets told by the artillary shells

and their intended targets

Two hours to go. But:


It is different here.

A boquet of every sort of foulness

the tang of the poison gasses

the pools where blood and vomit form the broth of a shit stew:

complimented by the animal naked stupidities:

11/11, eleven o’clock. How clever:


How shall I catalogue them all?

There are men far away deaf dumb and blind

There is us here following the orders

There is me here following the orders

They thought long and hard about it, an easy way to remember the time to avoid the confusion.


I wait for the whistle and throw on the gas mask

I take my stance and tuck my rifle into that forever bruised space above my hip

I try to kill them before they can kill me.

I trample my dead friends where they form a bridge over the barbed wire

I celebrate the camaraderie of the warrior now.

Then: Armistace.


We will pull our bayonets out of our opponents’ guts

but We won’t wipe off the blades on our filthy pants legs

We won’t ignore the chunks of unspeakably-colored flesh that fall by our battered boots

We’ll turn around together

We will walk back to our homes

Broken, all of us broken

the land broken and our hearts broken

But not in vain!

This was, after all

the war

to end all wars.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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