Shedding Religion… Finding God

IMG_0170 (2).JPGThe older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
(Knowing those
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
demanding results
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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Privilege

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Give me comfort not truth
It suits me better and eases my mind
In my fine house
Behind the gate
Just down the lane
I close the door
I don’t feel your pain
Give me comfort not truth
Salve my guilt
Hide my shame
In my fine car I’m not to blame
I drive on…
Can’t be soiled or stained
Give me comfort not truth
Save my soul
Free my mind
As I drop a five in your plate
for the bottom line
I close my eyes
My heart is blind
Give me comfort not truth
Oh… what tangled webs we weave
Don’t tell me you love me
Just please don’t leave
Give me comfort not truth
As I consume Earth’s wealth
Never blinking
Fill me up…
My car, My truck, My boat, My SUV…
…Isn’t life grand!
Give me comfort not truth
Tell me what I want to hear.
God loves me more than he loves you
Maybe next year he’ll help you too
Give me comfort not truth
Vote for me // I’m God’s man
Tell ‘em to get a job
No more helping hand.
We’ll send our young solders to fight in Iran
Give me comfort not truth
My views are always best
ABC & NBC FOX & CNN
I’ll close my mind and just pretend.
Give me comfort not truth
We are the “chosen ones”
We are blessed
We deserve it,
This “Christian Nation”
No aid for them
In their situation
Give me comfort not truth
Could I be wrong?
No, it would be too hard to change
This good life will always stay the same!

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Today at d’verse HA challenged us to look at privilege and how it affects us as individuals and as a society. I wrote this poem a couple of years ago when thinking about this very thing. I came to the conclusion that few want to hear or face the truth. They would much rather be comfortable.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

My Faith

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Faith is the floodplain of Grace
Where I plant my roots to grow
Giving me the strength I need
To find meaning and purpose in life
Faith is the floodplain of Grace
Where conscience and moral values
Are cultivated throughout my lifetime;
Bringing meaning and purpose to life
Faith brings meaning and purpose to life
Sharing in a community of likeminded
Believers who support and encourage
One another to become all we can be
Faith is my connection to God
Community is the cement holding us,
The lively stones // the believers in Christ,
Together in love and fellowship
Faith is the floodplain of Grace where I am rooted
The source of who I am

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Finding God

 

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Somewhere amid the rules and regulations
The desire for correctness
The literal interpretation….
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Buried in the guilt and shame
Of imperfection // fallenness
We lie…
Controlled by our fears
Manipulated by our insecurities
Underneath it all we hope to find God
In creeds and sacraments of blood and wine
In stories of suffering // blessing // and chosenness `
We struggle to make right our wrongs
Knowing that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Our prayers ascend on wings of faith
Hoping to find an opiate for our pain
A clearing and focused mind
That can see and feel that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
We open our heart to redeeming grace
Finally realizing // it’s not what we do
Not what we say verbosely to others
It is in forgiving others // and ourselves
That we find love and acceptance
And underneath it all we find God

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Stain glass window from the WUM Church in Weddington, NC

Faith

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Faith

My faith in God is not something to be proved. Rather it is something to be believed and lived. Faith is a belief about truth, with a little experience that helps reinforce it. I have found faith to be rather elusive at times in my life.

When all is well faith comes easy, but when “life happened”, as it does to all of us, it threw me for a loop! I was spiraling downward fast with no answers in sight.  My prayers went unanswered. Things seemed out of control. There was no way I could fix things. The only thing I had left was faith that God was in control, and things would work out for my good. Even then I had my doubts. I was frustrated and angry.

Through it all, I found prayer was what I needed to change me, not others. In time, and with help from some good counselors, life finally got back on track. I learned a lot about myself and about God. It definitely changed my understanding of faith. A lot of what I thought was faith was mostly culture and religion, but my belief in God and his eternal providence and grace is still strong.

Burning through blackness

Spring sun rises // Dark is light

Grace for the graceless

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Mish asked us to write a Haibun about some aspect of faith. It has to be written from our experience.  A Haibun has a concise prose segment followed by a  seasonal haiku. Come join us at d’verse.

https://dversepoets.com/

 

The Stuff in the Middle

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The Stuff in the Middle

Religion is much like corn.

A cobb…

With kernels of truth lining the outside

But…

Wrapped with a lot of protective fodder

To make sure the kernels are safe…

Making it very hard to get to the truth

And very difficult to eat and digest.

 

Some corn left too long in the fodder

Becomes hardened and inedible

By the average person… so it is ground

And processed into religious bread

Fed to the faithful

 

But…

Pealing back the fodder

With each generation…

One can find sweet kernels of truth

Popping full of inspiration

 

Sadly we find that

Many times nothing is pealed back

The whole stalk // ear and all are chopped up

By those who would oppose and destroy it

Left to ferment and sour

Then fed to hungry Media Animals

To ruminate on and turn into

Sweet sensational nectar

The public loves so much

 

Feast on the sweet stuff in the middle

Peal away the husks

Taste on the Good News

Truth to feed your soul

Save some seeds to plant

For the next generation

Keep the faith

 

 

Labels

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Labels

How interesting the labels we choose

Avoiding race color religion to be politically correct

Profiling is the ultimate sin of the day

Yet down deep within our mind thinks another way

Labeling  seems part of our DNA

Perhaps residuals from Eden’s cursed plight

Competitive urges and the atrocity of being right

Labels of diversity the demise of our society

Division and turmoil bring down the mighty

Mass shootings beheadings and suicide vests

All sanctioned to support our truth’s litmus test

But… When it comes to money the tables are turned

We see labels each day with every channel turned

Pharmacies reap whirlwinds with their witches brew

Labels and ads designed to target me and you

With new names starting with X and J

Made up names than no one can say

Every personality has accompanying disorders

TV commercials spew out drugs to order

Some just might kill you but who knows for sure

Ask your doctor you know his motives are pure

New labels for normal people we’ve always been this way

Money making charlatans create new labels that pay

Got rid of cigarette ads and alcohol too

Replaced them with drugs legit just for you

Don’t worry if they kill you or cause violent reaction

There’ll be a new one tomorrow with a different concoction