Not By a Hair

That’s right, it’s about one in the morning and I’m sitting here researching sexually transmitted diseases.  It’s been my evening’s occupation, with generous allowance of breaks to catch a bit of Sweet Sixteen action (Duke went down, which should make all the Ritterbush family glad…sorry, Jon Graent).   But now the games have finished, the buzzers sounded and players retired for the night. 

What must that be like?  Such fantastic energy expended in forty-five minutes of hard running and leaping and flying and rolling!  To play hard, sweat much, slide and tumble and throw and scream upon a court with thousands of eyes upon it all, and then after, to shuffle into the shadows of the locker room…where silence moves in like a fog expanding down the vacant avenues of a quiet town, clawing like a cat round windowsills and streetcorners.  You are spent.  You are alone.

I wonder what Adam Morrison is thinking right now.  The national leading scorer for the season, he and his Gonzaga Bulldogs had an advantage of seventeen points against the Bruins of UCLA until the final minute, when UCLA delivered a few quick and surprising (even to themselves, I think) strokes to win the game.  Is Morrison now sitting somewhere restless in the dark?  Is he trapped in memories of shots and passes and free throws missed?  Does he know why he lost?  Can he remember, in such moments, what winning feels like?

His team lost because they did not run the race in such a way as to win the prize.  I watched in the final minutes as they played to win but did not play to conquer–I suppose we all know the difference.  They scrambled around, attempting to kill time on the clock and making half-hearted attempts at scoring as their shot-clocks wound down.  Slowly UCLA crept closer.

This will seem a strange shift, but it makes perfect sense at one-thirty in the morning (smile): this scenario reminds me of one scene from a novel called Watership Down.  An excellent story about a collection of rabbits (okay, don’t laugh–it’s good), with several sweet little spiritual metaphors in its pages, but at one point some good rabbits are fleeing from bad ones.  As they run, one fast bad bunny runs up and keeps pace with them, taunting them and saying nasty things.  Some of the younger good bunnies are tempted to turn and fight him, but one wise older rabbit remarks that this is exactly what the wicked bunny wants–for this would give his evil companions time to catch up. 

All this to say: run hard, Christian, run hard.  Run in such a way as to win the prize, pour it all out here on this field of earth.  Do not allow the Enemy to distract you or turn your focus from the race; fix your eyes on the Author and run the Story He has written to its glorious finale!  Explode, charge, ignite, leap, fly, race, grasp and gain–O, be strong!  Run like one with the Law on his heels.  Run like a captive who’s been broken out of prison, run with the memory of the cold iron bars and run with the rapture of the blue sky above you.

Win the prize.
The prize is won and waiting.

You All Know the Ending

This is a song I wrote sitting in ye olde dorm room at Bryan
College.  The guitar portion came first, and I sang my mind to
it.  I’m to play it for a friend’s school project sometime soon, but
strangely I find it matches my heart at the moment…do old feelings
really revisit us?

you all know the ending

you all know where this began

so why are you just


in the middle

wondering where I Am?

you don’t know you’re running

you just know you’re running fast

but when will you stop


all the little

Daydreams of your past?

for only I know the plans that I have for you

your vision comes clear when seen through the Rood

but you fall away

as you turn



your own ways

when will you look and see I Am good?

you know all the answers

but your words are all too small

so when will you stop


and just listen

hear My whispered call

all of the expectations you’ve made for things

trade for assurance I gave in My blood

there’s freedom for feet to dance

when the day



and lonely

when will you live knowing I Am good?

you all know the ending

you all know where this began

so why are you just


in the middle

wondering where I Am?

13 Ways of Looking at a Springtime Dogwood

Walking around downtown the other evening and at my apartment the past
few days, I noticed a peculiar aroma following me everywhere I
went.  It smelled almost like the pungent scent of stale (ahem)
urine–I know, not a pleasant thought, but I couldn’t shake it so I
began to wonder if some critter had wee-weed on my jacket when I wasn’t
looking.  I sniffed everywhere on my person before realising that
the slightly distasteful fragrance was in fact the smell of dogwood
blossoms!  Dogwoods have sprung out everywhere with their ghostly
white flowers, and while they are very pretty they do not smell so nice
at a distance.

Well, in honour on the new season and its herald dogwoods, I thought
I’d share with you this poem from the days of my old college creative
writing class.  Enjoy (smile)…

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a (Springtime) Dogwood

in appreciation of the dogwood blossoms, with much humble honour to e.
e. cummings, William Carlos Williams, William Faulkner, Wordsworth,
Spenser, and such others as might find glimpses of themselves within
these lines…


A cloud descended

the hardened stalk.


Blossoms white stretch forth

And yet no fruit produce.










Denied the sunlight of the higher boughs,

Yet do your petals shine with
glory faint…

The blue between your leaves,
like flecks of paint,

Does seem to force your limber
arms to bow.


At night the ghostly dogwood rises to become

the misty halo of meaning

within my darkest heart


A gentle rustle

provokes the man

to lift his face

watch the swaying sound

with his blind eyes


The young boy perched his hat anew,
kicked his feet at the whole world, spat and wiped his mouth on a
ragged sleeve, and leaned again against the trunk of the old dogwood.


Each blossom feels another yet none is the source of another’s



Spindly thing–

You crowd beneath my shoulder

You say my great green threats are empty–

Well, before you step on giants’ toes

You better learn respect.


Like a barber staring down

Upon an old white crown

An aged mop


A green blanket


The cat cried aloud
as unwilling people passed by,

unnoticing, uncaring, unfeeling

and the claws dug deeper

growing with growing fear

into the limb five feet above

root of Jesse’s dogwood tree.


I want to climb that one he says

You cant climb that one I says

Why not he says

Its too small I says

Lets walk farther I says

Which way he says

Any way I says

We cant he says

We dont have time he says

I nods

I and he touch the dogwood


The hungriest blossom feels the warmest Star.


The Power of Perspective…?

These pictures of of an English sidewalk artist who gives a
three-dimensional appearance to his artwork.  When viewed from a
specific angle, you can see how they appear to grow out of the sidewalk
(smile).  It reminds me of an old painting by Hans Holbeim the
Younger which had a long white smear along its base–when the canvas
was bent and turned to the side, the white blur actually showed itself
to be a painting of a human skull (“Holbein” means “hollow bone,” so it
may have been his way of signing the artwork).  Anyway, thought
you all might enjoy…

I prefer Pepsi to Coke, but I won’t hold that against the Limey (smile).

Anyone else wondering if he’s getting paid for these little commercials of his?  Coke…Rembrandt art supplies…

This reminds me of an illustration Frank gave in a sermon once, about how we are all like toy ships…do you all remember it?

So in this one it seems as if the little man is standing atop a giant
globe, but below we see how the sidewalk painting is actually nearly
forty feet in length…

From this point of view, it seems much more a grotesque blob.  The
power of perspective, huh?  I suppose the same is true
spiritually–when we lose the vision of the Cross, everything becomes
grotesque.  This can happen even with spiritual things
themselves!  Our view of grace, for example…if it becomes
somehow distorted so that we suspect we earned any part of it, it
becomes a monster and a wicked philosophy.   We could then
begin to exclude certain folks from it, as if they were less worthy
than ourselves.  May God grant that we have the mind and attitude
of Christ, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our