Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I March

Holding hands together
I March
With pain
With love
With righteous anger
With hope
With fear
I March
Together as one 
With the homeless
The sick
The old
The poor
The woman 
The men
The boys
The girls
The black
The white
The red
The brown
The gay
The straight 
The scared
The hurting
The confused
The World
The mutilated
The tortured
The discriminated
I March
For the unborn child
For the scared mother
For the abused boy
For the raped girl
For the bully
For the woman paid less than men
I March
For those that can't afford a doctor 
For those that can't afford a roof
For those that can't afford a meal
For those alone
For those who are victims
For those who are discriminated 
For those who want to love
For those who want to marry
For the future of the environment
For the whole world 
I March
Alongside General William Booth 
Alongside St. Francis of Assis
Alongside Mother Theresa
Alongside Nelson Mandela
Alongside Ghandi
Alongside Martin Luther King
Alongside the Pankhursts
I March
With the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears
With the Jews in Aushwitz
With the woman in Athganistan
With Lincoln at Gettysburg
With the Sioux at Standing Rock
With the Doctors at Planned Parenthood
I March
For Peace
For Hope
For Love
For Equality
I March
For those that think they don't have to because they will.
For those I missed
For everyone
For every Country
I March
Because a baby was born in a stable
Because he died alone
Because he was rejected
Because he commanded to love everyone 
Because he commanded peace
I March
With him to the Cross.
I March!!

-Richard



Monday, November 14, 2016



Red Letter Day

It seems such a long time ago
He got off the plane
With those imposing towers
Of Manhattan in the distance.
An excitement,
A good,
A new land
The old ways left behind
 A chance to grow,
To serve and succeed.

Across the wide open prairies
From the Atlantic to Pacific
From the Gulf to the mountains
Everything seemed so free,
So fresh, so good.
God's works
And promises
So boundless
So true
Succeed almost guaranteed.

A utopia almost to good?
Some rumblings in the background
As he was not marginalized
He was fine
In a little tunnel of his own
A beautiful wife
A good job
A safe Church.
He's made it!

But, something did not seem right
Millions starving
Sleeping on the street
Beaten for the race,
Abused for their sex
Or for their orientation or view.
He could only bow in shame
As he passed by.

Restless night after restless night
As the words
Of Christ swirled in his head
"Love your enemy
Blessed are the peacemakers,
The meek, the sick
Turn the other cheek
Take care of the poor."
Contrary to what was preached.

Where does this fit?
Everything seemed wrong now
All around he saw
Hate, not, love
Envy, not, joy
Retaliation, not, peace.
Violence, hate death.
Around every corner
Lies and fear.

A few years later
It is now to late
The red letter writing
That stood out on the pages
Of the Holy book are gone
Leaving just the legalities
That were supposed to have passed
Leaving pain everywhere
And bodies in the gutter.

He looks at the book
In his shaking hand
Knowing it was illegal
For these pages to be seen
There should have been ripped up,
Burnt and forgotten
As the  country moved
To a dictatorship,
A new "Mein Kampf" as scripture.

The fresh land he'd arrived at
Gone, destroyed
Rubble of broken lives everywhere.
He should have worn that safety pin
Should have spoken out
Should have live those red words
And gone and lived
Been selfless
Whatever the cost.

Now it's to late
They are coming
They know about the Book
So it's time for it to be hidden.
Finally with courage to stand,
To hold on to it and and shout
"Jesus is love and peace
All people are equal".
If only sooner!!

The door breaks
A shout
A shot rings out
What success?
What hope?
As memories flood
"If only" he cries
"Forgive me!!"
Then, it's over.

 -Richard

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The election here in the US is getting closer and frankly I am sad and disgusted by this whole process. 

For the first time since I have been able to vote I am going to have to cast my vote against someone rather than for someone.   For those who know me well know that I vote on issues after researching them.  Although my instinct is to be a Liberal Democrat (in the English sense, not, American!!) I have never just voted for a "straight party", but, have always looked at what is being said.   For example in England I voted for all three main parties at one time or the other and since being in the States have voted both Democrat, Republican and on one occasion green.   In fact one thing I would change in the electoral system is to remove the choice for "straight party" off a ballot as it makes people lazy and not thinking.

The person who I could never vote for is Donald Trump.  I am actually amazed anyone can.  Even before the recent tapes where released I could not with a clear mind or clear ethics vote for him.  He has demonstrated over many years to be to volatile and erratic to ever be considered for any political office never mind President.   I have spend much time listening to what he says and read his website.  His policy statements are just that, no meat, and what the other side has done is wrong.  I need substance.  For example on healthcare he said and I'm paraphrasing "I'll figure something out".   This on one arguably the most important issue facing America!!   Some of his statements on immigration, and this is the issue that I am far most conservative on myself are shocking in ignorance and as far as foreign policy, boy, that is scary.   On business he talks about this experience.   How many times did he go bankrupt losing millions and millions on dollars?  He sends his factories over seas whilst preaching against.   Ask the worked in New Jersey for example what they think about his personal greed?  If he gets upset at Saturday Night Live what is he going to do if a world leader dares disagree or laughs?  However, the main reason I could never with a clear conscience vote for him is the hate that spews from his mouth and that of his followers.   Again, I am not saying the other side is perfect, absolutely not, however, there is a different tone of vehemence coming from the Trump supporters.   Many years ago I read "Mein Kampf" and I have also studied countries where dictators rule and how they come into power.   What I am seeing from the Trump movement is like history being repeated.   It is like being at Nuremberg rally.  I felt this before the tapes.

Then we get onto his tapes.   As a man I am embarrassed and  ashamed.  I can't imagine how a woman must feel.   This is again the behaviour of megalomaniac that I have described above.  What is really upsetting me even beyond this is the attitude of many Evangelical Christian Leaders.  Over the last few years I have became more and estranged from this wing of the Church.   It is like they follow the Bible minus the words of Jesus because they do not match what politically they want.  I can't imagine what someone like Bonhoeffer would say.  One argument I have heard is that it was eleven years ago and he has changed.   OK.   First of all eleven years ago he was nearly sixty and on his third marriage so certainly should know better.   The argument I hold dear to my heart is that you should not judge, especially as he has asked for forgiveness.   Absolutely!!  The problem is his only defense has been to go after Bill Clinton.   See the problem here?  One, Bill is not running (and good job as I could not vote for him either) so this again shows sexist behaviours and two, if he should be forgiven for an event eleven years ago Clinton should be for those over twenty years ago.  You can't ask and expect forgiveness on one hand and judge on the other hand. Just again proves the point on what Trump really thinks and also the agenda of some of these Evangelical leaders.   Even as I write this I am feeling anger and tears at this complete failure of so many in the Church.  Make America great again?!  It already is, yes, with problems.   It is treasonous to say this, just creating more hate and fear.  Imagine getting elected on fear and hate.   When did this happen?   Germany in the 1930's.  

Trump should not and cannot be President, not just for the sake of America, but, for the sake of the World!!

Ok, for those (if anyone) still reading this we come to Hillary Clinton.   If I was told even six months ago that I'd be voting for her I'd have said you were crazy.   She is also a severely flawed candidate.   So I decided to look into the issues and things that have been said against her.  Reviewing her website as I did with Trump I found a much more comprehensive list of policies and actually actionable plans.  I was pleasantly surprised by this and the fact that I could get behind most of them.  So, I moved onto some of things thrown against her regularly:
  1. Bill Clinton.   He is not running for President and I have stated my argument above on this.   
  2. She defended a rapist as a lawyer.   She didn't have any choice as a public defender.  This is one of the cornerstones of the justice system, so if the argument is this rapist should not have a defense we are again moving into the dictator state previously described.  The facts of this case show that the girls mother did not want a long trial so guilty plea-bargain was arranged.
  3. Thirty years of not going anything?  I looked into her career a little.  She has worked for children's causes and health issues for a long time and has been a public servant.   During this time what has Trump done?   Made and lost a lot of money just taking care of himself.
  4. Her charity.   I don't know all the details in this, but, from the information I looked at it appears more money went to good than did Trump's. 
  5. She will defend Rowe vs Wade.   A difficult one on the outset.   I am not in favour of abortion.   However, pro-life is way more than this.   It goes to Healthcare and assistance.   Here are some facts.   The abortion rate in the US is one of the highest in Western Europe (only Sweden is higher).  Ironically the countries with some of the lowest rates The Netherlands and Germany for example of the most liberal abortion laws.  So, what is the difference?  They also have the most comprehensive healthcare and post-pregnancy laws meaning a lot of parents in the States who can't afford to have a baby can there.  Also, they have easier adoption laws.  So, the real way to reduce abortions is not to legislate against that, but, to implement a universal healthcare.  A fact missed by so many conservative's and evangelicals alike.   She is also more pro-life than Trump when is comes to things such as the death penalty and military spending.  This is why I never categorize abortion as pro-life, as there is such a hypocrisy in this statement or pro-choice, because in greedy America right now there may not be a choice.
  6. The e-mail scandal and Benghazi.   This I do not believe can be defended.  She lied.  Period.  However, looking into this issue holistically let's go back to the previous Republican Presidency.  How many e-mails did they lose or destroy?  15,000 like Clinton?  A few more? How about approximately two million!!!  Perhaps the GOP needs to look at themselves first.   For Benghazi, a horrible loss of life and mistakes where undoubtedly made.  Again, looking into as a holistic event.  During the eight years if the last Republican Presidency eighty embassy staff were killed (slightly higher than the four of Benghazi).  Also, lost in this is that the funding for embassy security was cut by the Congress.  The Democrats of course?  No, the Republican Congress.  I think the finger pointing here should be turned around (In this whole post this is the only time I mentioned the fact that the majority of President Obama's tenure there has been a Republican Congress blocking the way... ).   One more comment on lies:  The Bush Administration and the Iraq war.  How many lives where lost because of these lies? 

These are just a few of the issues I discovered when trying to decide if I could actually vote for Hillary.  The answer surprised my and is a resounding yes. 

I am sure many would disagree with me, but, I ask take the blinders of party affiliation or previous history with Clinton off and really look at these candidates and what it could mean not just the future of the world and just not America.  Clinton is not a great choice, Trump, is a potential catastrophe.

Note:  whilst researching this I found out the GOP as had an "Anybody But Hillary" plan for over 10 years now.  Or, put, another way whilst Trump was denigrating woman the GOP was already planning to destroy Clinton.  Makes one think!!

-Richard
-Richard

Saturday, June 25, 2016



Sunday Morning in 21st Century ‘Merica

I wake from a dream
The staccato of automatic weapons
Red blood flowing
Mixing with free verse
Words
Spinning around
Mixing with blood
Screams
Fear
Hate.
Opposites intertwined
Yet repulsing
At the same time
Is it a Dystopian fantasy
Or, reality?

I turn on the kettle
And TV as
The media starts to prognosticate
Politicians start their platforms
And the preachers go to their pulpits…

“I want to make America great again
Back to Christian roots
Make more money
Sell more guns
Kick out those that don’t fit
Fear everyone who is different
Hate the enemies
Back to the Bible”
I sit up as the programming stops…

Automatic weapon heard
Many hurt and killed
Chaos and panic.

“See we need more guns
And more fear and panic
They were a different lifestyle
And have been judgee
Not to make a tragedy political but….
We need more guns
To be safe…”

My mind wanders
As tears come to my eyes.
How can this be happening again?
It must stop it
Is so senseless.
I see rivers of blood flowing
Children screaming
Mothers crying
Loved one lying dead
Bodies all around.
Getting darker and darker.
Another Sunday,
Blood Sunday.


As I pick up a pen
And write I see
Arms stretched with nails
In the hands and
More Crimson blood
Flows from a sword
In a side.
I write the words that
Through the blur
Come to my mind
In an imperfect flood
Of words and verse.
“Put your sword down
Turn the other cheek
Love your enemies
Give your riches to the poor
Blessed are poor, weak, sick
And peacemakers
Of the greatest of these are love
The fruits are peace, patience, kindness..
Do not worry
Do not fear.
I don’t care if you are white
Or black
Or gay
Or straight
Are male
Or female
Or both.
Muslim
Hindu
Buddhist
Even Atheist.
From from Africa
Europe or America.
I love everyone
All created equal
Not one greater than the other
All as one”
I stop, pause
And start to feel better.
Hope can untangle.

The TV is still on and I hear
“I’ll make America great
Wipe out enemies off the earth
We need more guns
Not less
More money for the rich
From those that don’t.
It’s not our fault they are
Sick and poor.
Be fearful.
I’ll make America great
And Christian again”.

In disbelief I turn the TV off
As somewhere another
Staccato of an automatic
Is heard
Followed by screams
And hate
And fear.

I walk away to start
Another Sunday in
Twenty-first Century
‘Merica.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday morn
Christ has conquered all
Walking out the tomb 
A miracle to change the world
Light conquered death
Love conquered fear.

Two thousand years later
From the pulpits we hear 
Not, this Christ who rose
But, pseudo politicians pastors
Or pseudo pastor politicians 
Preaching love and grace?
Alas, that is not expounded 
But, fear of those who are foreign
Hate of those who are different
Sounding like Sadducees of old
Solving problems with violence and death
Terrorism with words
Bastardization of all that Holy.

Did Easter really happen?
Have we left Christ on the cross?

March 27th 2016


Sunday, January 31, 2016

I have just finished reading The Fixer by Bernard Malamud.    Briefly this book is the story of a Jew in the Russia of the Tsars in 1911.    He was accused of a crime he did not commit being the victim because of his religion persecuted by "Christians" in the name of the "Christian State".  I got me thinking about how is different from where we are in the US in 2016 almost exactly 100 years later?   The answer is NO.   We persecute, judge, hate against those we are different from.   The exact opposite to the response Christ would have us do.   We never learn and the image that keep coming back to my mind is that of putting Christ back on the Cross rather than accepting the gift or grace and love He has given us.

Friday, December 25, 2015

As today we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God coming to the earth it got me thinking.....

When we first moved to America 17 years ago we felt we were called to do it.  We can both very clearly remember the celebration at Spring Harvest where it happened.   I think it's taken 17 years to really see why.   Yes, in these years we've done a lot of things and been involved in a lot of things and been involved in a lot of relationships that I pray have made a difference.   We've been in the right place to support friends and family in difficult times and to save a lot of animals lives.   However,...

America.   

I see a mission field so big.    Bigger than the most "backward", atheistic society.  Why?   I am struggling to  put it in to words.   What I see is a Country that has been blessed in so many ways.  I also see a Country so misguided in it's self importance and idolatry about it's self and the sad thing I see a Country where this misguidance is from the Church, from those that should be setting a better example.   What do I mean by this.   I mean (and there are a few examples), but,  the one I really, really cannot come to terms with it all, is the Gospel of fear and hate we see.   It could be disagreeing politically, coming from the wrong part of the world, having a different lifestyle, looking different, fearing the unknown.   How far from the Gospel is this?   "Love your enemies" "Do not fear" "Trust".   Where are these?   The foundations of Holiness are just not to be seen.  It must be a joyless life living in this constant fear of the unknown.  Yeah, of course there are times everyone is fearful, but, living this way, been taught this way by the church, and by politicians who claim to be Christians is just wrong.   It's all about me.  About how much I have, about how I am better, about how everyone else is stupid or wrong.  Newsflash!!   Jesus doesn't care about countries or borders.   He cares about everyone.  Period.   He cares that the poor, hungry, downtrodden are lifted up and loved.   I do think that religion and politics can be separate.   I do however find it absolutely criminal that when politicians who preach and publicly shout out their faith to do not practice it.    I have news for them.   The world is bigger than America.   The world that Christ loves is bigger than America.   The world the Christ came to save is bigger than America.   He sees no boundaries.   He sees no borders.   He sees no ethnicity.   He does see the hurt.  He does see those sitting back not helping those in need.   He does see the hateful fear.   He said that we are "all one in Him".  Every time we refuse a refuge we are refusing Him, or bomb a city we killing Him.  Putting Him back on the cross rather than letting Him off it to save us and save EVERYONE.  It is up to Him alone to judge.  Whilst on earth we are called to love.   Love EVERYONE!!

As a side note.   I would never have thought in a million miles that I'd end up going to an Episcopalian Church.    Yet I do and love it and feel at home there.   Why?   They get it.  Do I agree with everything doctrinaly?    No.   (I have discovered this is impossible).   What I have found there is a leadership and Church who want to love Jesus and show the world that love in an nonjudgmental fashion.   I was about to lose hope that I would find this in Texas.

So, on this day, as I wrap up my disjointed thoughts, the day we celebrate the birth of the Saviour let's think about what the coming really means, not, what we have made it become.

Matthew 6:25-34.

-Richard