Monday, March 30, 2015

The Broken Body

by Jim Rapp


“This is His body,”
the celebrant said,
“broken for all of you;
take, eat and be fed.”


“You are his body,”
the minister read,
“you are His flesh and bones;
placed here in His stead.”


We are His Body?
We, the tawdriest –
lost, broken and sinful –
the Body of Christ?


“A body broken,”
the Spirit replies,
“is nonetheless lovely
in the Father’s eyes.”


“His broken body,”
the celebrant said,
“is broken so you
can love in His stead.”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Putin’s Love Child

by Jim Rapp

Mr. Putin was gone,
perhaps to Venezuela,
or perhaps to run
the Appalachian Trailia.

But in Putin’s Russia,
and it does belong to him,
cavorting with Alina Kabaeva
is not a political sin.

Unlike our Mark Sanford,
Putin was thought to be licitly
in Suisse, tying the birth cord
of a child got illicitly.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Is Obama A Christian?

by Jim Rapp

For we are to God the pleasing aroma
of Christ among those who are being
saved and those who are perishing.
(2 Cor. 2:15 NIV)

I have no way of knowing
who is a Christian and who is not.
God has reserved unto Himself
that insight.

I know Whom I have believe
and am persuaded that He
can keep all that I’ve committed
to Him until that day.

But I do have a metric by which
I judge what is and what isn’t Christian,
Not who but what;
I lay each deed alongside the pattern
taught and demonstrated by the One
whose name Christianity bears.

By that metric I judge
malice, hatred, slander,
jealousy, conceit,
misattribution, falsification,
misappropriation, dissension,
uncompromising obstructionism,
extreme partisanship, deviousness,
untruthfulness, selfish ambition,
self-centeredness, callousness,
to be unchristian behaviors,
and those who engage in them,
in my opinion, bring discredit
to the cause of Christ.

By the same metric I judge
love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control to be Christian
behaviors and those who engage
in them, in my opinion, bring credit
to the cause of Christ.

By that metric I am forced to judge
most of what I see and hear
from the opponents of the President
to be unchristian in character.
By the same metric I must judge
the President’s response
to his opponent’s behaviors,
and his own behaviors in general,
to be Christian in character.

Is Obama a Christian?
Are his opponents Christian?
God only knows, but He has provided
us with a metric to judge the fruit
of men’s lives – His own life and words –
and by that metric Republican behaviors
over the last six years smell like rotting fruit.

To the one we are an aroma that brings death;
to the other an aroma that brings life.
And who is equal to such a task?
(2 Cor. 2:16 NIV)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Madness

We awake to March today. That means that our average temperatures, no matter how low they be today, will be inching upward in the coming days. 

Where I grew up, in dreary central Illinois the coming of March could mean the total disappearance of snow and the horizon-to-horizon appearance of mud. It brought biting winds, but at last some green blades beginning to appear in places. 

Because my mother, raised farther south in Illinois, remembered March as the windy month of kite flying, we were encouraged to “go fly a kite.” In response we tried to find a dry enough field nearby to loft our homemade newspaper and sticks kites. Sometimes they flew well; more often they crashed and broke, and all we got for our effort, besides exercise, was a lot of mud on our boots and overalls. I suspect what our mother got was an hour or two with the kids out of the house. For that she had to pay by laundering our muddy clothes and mopping the mud from the linoleum floors when we clambered back into the warmth of the house. She usually managed to corral us before we got very far into the house. 

But alas, there will be no kids flying kites this next week in western Wisconsin, I fear. Instead they'll be wildly thumbing their video gadgets, chasing nefarious characters down the corridors of virtual mazes, blasting them to smithereens, splattering the walls with their blood and littering the floors with body parts.  

Don't you imagine the size of the average man's hands a thousand years from now will be twice what it is now? 

For all the discomfort and mess of those Illinois kite-outs, and despite their remarkable lack of success, I still think they were better for us than sitting around playing video games. But what do I know about the kind of precision remote drone operators we are training by accident with those little machines. And who knows, one day (or perhaps already today) a doctor in rural Montana, trained as a child on video games, may be able to remotely operate a surgical machine, saving a life, in a tiny Tibetan village. 

I sometimes worry about all that virtual blood splattered on virtual walls inside those video games and wonder if there is any connection between their ubiquity and all the violence in our society today. But then I remember the “cowboys and Indians” games I used to play as a child, the “side arms” I strapped around my waste, and the virtual bullets I fired into my brother’s heart. He is still alive, and I own no guns at all, am very close to being a pacifist. 

But still . . . I worry about those video games and wish the kids could get outside more, flying kites.