Thirteen Ways More

after Stevens


The three naked men hung up there.

And though some wailed and wept and rended their garments,

mostly the people below trudged on with their lives.


I am of three minds.

Like a God.

That is three and one and three and one and also, by the way, three.


This is the betrayal in the garden of Eden.

As viewed from behind the curtains.


A child was born.

A young man died.

This is a thing that happened exactly once.



I can not moan

that some other-force

does not know my finite desparations

and my petty miseries.


It is not in the overcoming,

But in the rising up.

Death once did have a sting.

But he took it.

If he had not died.

If that Friday had in fact been good.

Then Easter would have been only eggs and chocolate.


The words were the easy part.

Why couldn’t it have only been the easy part?

Your yoke is light and easy.

Except that it is not.

The words were the easy part.


There was a man on an episode of The Twilight Zone.

He lived through nuclear eschaton, stood before his long- loved library.

And then tripped and smashed his glasses forever.

Let me read and pray and think over all the things that the cross means.

And then, let me kneel in silence beneath.


You were not a tall or handsome man.

And yet you glowed like the stars and stretched into the heavens.

You, Jacob’s Ladder.


At the sight of that cross.

Empty and yet filled.

Joy is a cross beam,

Sorrow stands a vertical.


He stumbled out of space-time.

And became greater by lesser.

I held the nail that pierced him.

These are the things I took

the sweaty rags that covered his body

rolling dice beneath the cross.


The kingdom of heaven among us.

Already here, always been here.  Not yet.


It was none of these things and all of these things.

It was his love for us.

And our love for him.

The cross sat beautifully

on a hill shaped like a skull.


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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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