A Reflective Poem on Psalms 137-138

Dear God,
Today, there are refugees missing home,
Having to forsake their land, their homes, their memories,
To find freedom.

Psalm 137 speaks of the Babylonian Exiles being led away,
As their babies are are dashed against rocks.

Psalm 138 speaks of rejoicing and praising God amidst the pain.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, in your mercy.

When refugees come to our land,
We say “tell us a song of your land.
Tell of your culture,
So that we can mock you,
Appropriate you,
And then mock you again.

When refugees fear they will forget their home,
Or their children will forget their heritage,
They curse themselves.

Saying, “let me tongue cleave to my mouth,
So I may never talk again
If I forget where I came from.”

Let me forget everything,
If I forget where I come from.

But yet,
I will praise God amidst this pain.

All kings and leaders and rulers,
Shall praise your goodness,
O Lord,
In good time.

In good time,
All will be right and true,
And you will be seen as ruler of this world.

“In the day when I cried out,
You answered me,
And made me bold with
Strength in my soul,” (138:3).

Though I am lowly, you see me,
You rescue me,
You fight for me, a little refugee girl,
With brown eyes, dark hair,
And a missing mom,
Whom I haven’t seen for months now.

When will I see my parents again?
When will I remember my heritage?

I will worship toward the House of God,
Knowing that you are there,
And everywhere,
Me and my parents are.

Amen.

Living in two worlds…

Dear God,
I am caught between two worlds.
Liberal Christianity in one hand, and conservative, Nebraskan Christianity,
In the other.

I find it liberating to study progressive biblical studies, where we
Are critical of the Bible’s origins,
But I also miss its applications to our lives.
Where we are guided by the Word,
Where God teaches us so much.

I feel taught by two worlds and one God.
I see God in action today, reflected in the Bible.

I see a Moses here, and a Pharaoh there,
I see a leader among a hateful place.
I see John the Baptist there, and Jesus here,
Proclaiming their Kingdom Come.
I see Paul in every business man, preaching his truth.

Lord, but I also see reality when it is there,
That there wasn’t actually an Exodus, or that the five books of Moses,
Were stories sewn together during and after the Babylonian Exile,
TO unite a refuge of people, the newly founded Jews, as they were
To be called from then on.

Lord, help me see this light in all things.
Help me see both.
Help me see Moses in my life,
And critical biblical scholarship in the Bible.

Help me see Jesus in everyone,
Even if Jesus didn’t say the exact words in the Gospels,
Same as Paul or Peter,
Or the fact that Paul and Peter didn’t write what everyone says
They did.

Help me pretend, for just a bit,
TO have faith,
But let me pretend
And acknowledge my pretending that the Bible
Is historically true,
So that my head can learn with my heart.

Lord, don’t force me to forsake my brain to accept Jesus.
Likewise, don’t force me to forsake Jesus for my brain.

Let my head learn with my heart.

Amen.


A Poem on Today

Today, I left my DoC church.
I’ve left the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

I met up with the pastor of First Presbyterian, and
Everything sounded right.
Reformed theology sounded right.
Even if the PCUSA shys away from predetermininism.

God, I see this is where you are putting me.
I enjoyed First Christian for a while,
But as the pastor put it,
That was for a time, a season,
And now it has run its course.

God, I’ve made such strides this year:
First, accepting the Trinity again,
Then Reformed theology,

And now a denomination with confessions, creeds, and a
History and a set theology that I can tap into when I preach,
So that I’m not always preaching the same thing every
Sunday: Love thy Neighbor.
I want to preach LOVE THY NEIGHBOR with a bit of a creed,
With confessions, Christian history, and denominational history
To back it up.

God, I’ve excited, really nervous,
And pumped for this next journey that you’ve got for me.
Fall 2019, here I come as a Presbyterian, for life!

NO MORE SWITCHING CHURCHES AGAIN!

I’m beyond sad, crumbling sad, to leave First Christian,
And my heart cannot take leaving Bev or Janet,
But it has to be done.
Lord, my heart aches.
Lord, watch over them and cherish them as beloved children of God.
I hope they see your light of progressive theology,
Where God loves all his children, not just the sinless ones.
Because we are sinners saved by grace – no longer guilty.
And some sins they think are still sins, were never sins to begin with
(I’m talking about homosexuality, here!).

I’m just trying to remind myself that this is for my good, so I’m trying to keep it together.
I’m waiting to hear back from Jack, to whom I sent that text saying I won’t be coming back to First Christian.

Lord, forgive me for leaving them, and help me on this journey with First
Presbyterian in the future!

Alleluia and Amen.

PS. I would love your prayers on this future.

Growing as a Christian: A Poem

God,
You call people into relationship with you.

On May 22nd, 2016, I was called into relationship with you in the waters of baptism, where
Water was poured on my head three times,
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I’ve been on a whirlwind of a faith journey,
Where I’ve been a girl seeking to convert to Judaism,
Then investigated the LDS Church,
Then quickly baptized Lutheran,
Then baptized Fundamentalist Baptist.

Then explored the United Methodist church multiple times,
Then committed myself to the Disciples of Christ church
Even before I set foot in a DoC church.

I’ve been a potential Jew, a potential Latter-day Saint,
Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Catholic-Unitarian,
Disciple of Christ, and now Presbyterian, possibly!

Lord, I’m done moving from church to church. I’m done.
I just want to stick somewhere.

With my local DoC church’s affiliation unsure with Disciples of Christ,
I’m looking at other options, to attend to in addition with my local First Christian
(Which MIGHT become non-denominational).

Everything is so unknown right now, only known by you.
You have ordained this path for me,
But I have not always enjoyed the journey.

I wish the train would stop here, at First Christian/First Presbyterian,
Where I can set deep roots, raise a family,
And whatnot.
Yet, both Jacob and I know that we want to move
To Hasting, Nebraska, someday,
So we will be uprooted once again.

You’ve got some crazy plan for us, Lord.

Amen.

A Mixture of It All: Poem

It’s truly a mixture of it all,
Where faith is for me.

I am Reformed,
I am Arminian,
I believe in the Perseverance of Saints,
Yet I believe we can fall from grace as Christians,
And temporarily lose our salvation.

This is why I am Disciples of Christ. We confess no creeds,
Yet confess Christ as Lord and Savior.

We follow no confessions,
Yet we confess the Bible,
And that we are each responsible for reading it,
Interpreting it,
And living God’s Word out into the World.

I’ve checked out Lutheranism,
But as I’ve been baptized Lutheran,
Attended a Lutheran church,
I feel the Lutheran faith is too…

White, hierarchical,
Pious, stuck-up, again, white, aristocratic.

I don’t want to stick with the white stuck up old folks.

I want to stay with the struggling mom in the pews,
As her children won’t listen,
Who doesn’t put on a fake face for everyone.

I want to stick with the church that is dying, like mine.

Last Sunday, my church started the discussion about leaving our denomination,
And closing our doors.

I am in shock, and am not sure what to do next.

I am truly Disciples of Christ, but I have yet to experience Disciples of Christ.
Truly, I have just experienced a Bible-based church.
I long to experience a true Disciple of Christ church.

I’ve thought about attending the local Presbyterian USA church,
Where they preach Reformed teachings on predestination,
But they also preach Eternal Security, which is wholly unbiblical, to me.

To you, it might be your answer to faith.
For me, I’m a mixture of all three faiths: Reformed, Lutheran, and Methodist.
I am truly a Disciple of Christ, who does not fit into one easy box.

I am a Disciple of Christ, and wherever I go, I hope to stay DoC.

Poem: If Calvinism if at least partly true…

Dear God,
If Calvinism is at least partly true,
Then we live in a paradox-like world of free will and predetermination.

If Calvinism if at least partly true,
Then we have free will, that you judge us on how we use it.
But you laid out the world’s events before the world began.
Truly, I am moving toward Reformed theology.
I believe we are free to make mistakes,
That we are to be judged by Christ at the White Throne,
But that are days are planned ahead of time.
I’m not sure why, but this is a comforting thing.

When I was strictly Arminian,
God, I felt so lost.
God, it seemed you were reckless,
That we were reckless,
That you are NOT in control.

The Bible spoke of you ordaining our days,
And that even the bad stuff was ordained from you.
Like in Acts, the Disciples realized that YOU ordained their persecution.
It was to be so. It was for their goodness and your glory.

Now, with my mixture of faith,
I feel comforted, just like David and Paul did,
That nothing escapes you, nothing surprises you.
I see your wondrous hand in all things in my life –
From the guy at Burger King giving that discount for my meal,
When I’m barely making it to payday,
To my battery on my TC-70 (Walmart Device) lasting my whole shift.
To trying out the Meats department for the first time,
And seeming to get the hang of it.
I see you all there, all creating each step by step.
God, you are there.
You are here, as I type these words.
You are here, creating the best life for me,
As I live it out, mistakes and all.
You chose me (possibly b/c I chose you).
But no matter what theology that is,
You CHOSE ME. You chose me, a sorrowful sinner,
A girl who practiced sex outside of marriage,
Who takes your name in vain nearly every day,
You forgave this girl, because you loved her and knew her.

God, love all my family members.
If you predestined me, I imagine, by the very fact
That the baptized husband, mom, Dad, and siblings,
That you chose them. Even if we choose you first,
YOU CHOOSE US, every day.

Obviously, I imagine that we can commit temporary apostasy
In this life, but since we are chosen, that we will endure to the end
And come back to faith.

Lord, you are too wonderful for us.

IN Jesus’ name, Amen.

Proper 12: A Poetic Prayer of Hope amidst God’s Judgment

Dear God,
You passed Judgement on your people,
Time and Time again.

But again and again,
You passed Salvation.

From once being called “Not God’s People,”
To “His Children,”

Us Christians passed through the waters of Salvation
To enter as Citizens of Heaven.
We clothe ourselves in Christ,
Carrying God with us.

All we have to do is knock, ask, seek.
God answers. Abundently,

Because we are His Children,
We are never forsaken.

Christ beat down all others,
Just to gain us.
He beat us body on the cross,
So we can circumcise ourselves via the Holy Spirit.

We are His, and that.is.everything.

It’s All in All – God’s Decree/Plan, My Life: A Poetic Prayer

Dear God
God, I’m in awe of you,
And your sovereignty and all your goodness.
You work all things for good, for those you called according to your purpose.

I’ve been struggling with Arminian vs. Reformed theology,
And I’ve realized, after talking with my Pastor,
And reading my Bible,
That’s its a lot more complicated than we once thought.

God has plans, hopes, decrees for our lives,
But we can still commit apostasy.

The jury is still out for whether some are predestined, according
To His purpose, for Hell.

I try to remain focused on this:
Present/Future: Free will choices that I can make.
Past: God’s decree/plan.

I cannot mess up God’s plan for my life, because its all been his plan all along.

Lord, this religion is complicated, but a relationship with you is simple.
It just means calling to you like David did, saying “God, embrace me.”

God, embrace me.
Envelope me in your loving arms,
Carry me to my destination, to my home in Heaven.

Help me live out this dream of yours.
Help me share this Gospel with others,
So they can be embraced by you,

The All-in-All God.

A Poem: Moving Past Biblical Theology: Theodicy

God,
I know one thing, and that the Bible is full of theodicy.

It means: Finding answers of a good God in the midst of evil.
Calvinists, Isaiah, Paul, Solomon, nearly everyone,
Says you are the author of both good and evil.
Even Isaiah 45:7 states
“I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.”

Clearly, the Israelites believed God was the answer to all that happened to them,
And that he openly blessed the righteous.
But then we get to Paul,
Where he states in Romans 9:15-18,
Where God hardens some hearts,
And has mercy on others for salvation.

I truly know Paul is talking about
The Jews’ unbelief, and the Gentile’s belief.

But God, I wonder: is this true? Is predestination true?
Because Methodism cannot answer the “hardens the hearts of some.”

Unless…

This is theodicy. This is a hindsight explanation,
That has been used for centuries – milleniums, in fact.

To this I wonder…

I feel myself, once again,
Moving away from strict, literal biblical theology,
Into understanding the Bible in its times, places, and contexts.

Alleluia and Amen for historical understanding of the Bible!

A Daily Reminder: A Poem

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to add a daily reminder to y’all.

God loves you no matter what.
No matter what sins lay in your heart,
No matter what you’ve done.
You are a Child of God,
Having said Yes to Him,
He will take care of You.

He will call you back to Himself,
Just as he did so many years ago
When you first became a Christian.

God loves you no matter what has happened in your life.
God is not the author of evil and disaster,
But I don’t know why God allows some things to happen…
To teach us lessons? To help us become more like Him?

I will never know.
But Christ loves us no matter what.
No matter our responses to events in our lives,
He cherishes us greatly.
Because we.are.His.

Now love him as much as He loves you.

Alleluia and Amen.

Post-tribulation/Pre-millennium-ism: A Testimonial Poem

God, if we were to endure,
What would that look like?

The day is far in the future,
I am sitting at home,
As the storms get worse, the earthquakes become more frequent,
Global Warming is getting even worse than before.

While I am no doomsday proclaimer,
I do see the signs,
Although they don’t mean much until Christ arrives.

THEN, when the day comes,
I see you coming in glory,
No one hushes, saying “He is here,” or “He is there.”
You come in all your glory, and all see you.

You defeat Satan, the destroyer of lives, the enticer of sins,
And you gather all your Saints in your arms,
Uplifting living believers into the Heavens,
Resurrecting the first Resurrection of all saints, as they make their journey
From the grave to You, having lived as Spirits in Heaven before,
Now living in glorified bodies, in beatified form just like You.

Now, we rule in Heaven with you, as you
Gather more Saints on Earth.
I am a firm believer that you gather as many believers as you can,
During the last 1,000 years.

Then, at the end of those thousand years,
You release Satan,
To test those new believers one more time.
And then you defeat him, once for all time.

Then we face the Judgement Seat,
Where we face all our sins,
Our terrible, and sometimes good, decisions.
You tell the good, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

To those who didn’t believe, who didn’t take the name of Christ upon them,
They endure torment, because non-believers were haters of all goodness,
All love, all appreciation, for the least of these.

This is why Jesus mentions judgement in Matthew 25,
Because believers, saved by grace, should truly love the least of these,
To show their love for Christ in their love for all.
And while we are saved by GRACE,
Jesus’ loving example of loving all should be what we should emulate.
Jesus exhorted us, really.

Then Heaven comes to Earth,
And we truly live as Saints forever.

Alleluia and Amen.

Proper 8: You are free, & don’t look back (a Poem)

Galatians 5:1, 13-25 & Luke 9:51-62

Dear Theodore, Franklin, and Emma,

Although its going to be many years before you are born,

Or at least adopted,

Please know that I already love you,

And can’t wait to be your mother.

Your father, Jacob, and I really want to be your parents.

When you are nine years old, you will be baptized.

Waters will rush over you,

And your sins will be forgiven.

You will be free from the bondage of sin,

Insomuch that you’ll have

God’s Spirit to teach right from wrong.

Your sins,

Past, Present, Future,

Will be forgiven,

But as Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke,

“Don’t look back – otherwise you can’t follow me.”

In this life,

You will face challenges beyond comprehension,

You will face challenges so great, you’ll want to

Forsake God because he is seemingly “not there.”

Children,

Please remember that God is always there,

Crying on your behalf,

Fixing a situation

Free will destroyed.

We are not the most powerful beings in the Universe,

But our free will can be just damaging enough

To change lives and futures.

But don’t fret.

Jesus asks to sacrifice everything to follow Him.

When I converted to Christianity,

I lost many friends.

People thought I was a Jesus-freak.

And in some way, I am.

When you follow Him,

I hope you don’t lose friends over Him.

I hope you sacrifice all your money,

All your love,

All you dreams,

To follow the Savior,

Because HE.IS.EVERYTHING.

Don’t be spiritually dead,

Be alive with the flame of the Holy Spirit,

Walking in His Ways,

Following His Counsel.

Seek His heart, always, dears.

Seek His love.

Seek Him.

Put off the old, sinful ways,

And seek Him.

Don’t look back,

And proclaim the Kingdom of God.

Do this by loving others as yourself.

Love, Leigh.