Hysterical Chimerical Dream

Sailing slowly through this hysterical, chimerical dream
Where everything is turned upside-down and inside-out,
With one long, loud shout against the banality of reality,
Forcing sun to rise at night and moon by light of the day
In the same way as ocean tides are reversed,
And chimeras ride so high in the bluest sky,
And pygmies stand tall while giants fall in valley halls,
And eagles swim and horses skim the vault of heaven
Without any fault of natural inability or immutability,
Where crocodiles are tamed into docility
With perfect facility to play through day,
And hares are none stranger for posing great danger,
While buffalo roam across Artic dome which is home
To butterflies, felines, all fine wines and porcupines,
While green grass grows atop mountains
Of honey fountains no money could buy,
And all of this is why we sigh, burn against a return
To the flipside where we were born and must abide;
So ring the bell and fare-thee-well to haunting spell;
Who can tell what joy was there
In the fair land so very far away?

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Beyond Abhilāaṣhā

Waking-life is the ruthless taskmaster, leading to disaster,
But what is at the heart of this center-part of our reality?
It is the heart itself, filled with wanton desire
That reaches higher and burns in blazing fire
Of the soul with gaping hole which naught can satisfy
In ten thousand years of fears, nor can riches rectify
With truth the Self that lives within to defy many lies
Of destitution and all spiritual pollution of this world
Of Soul circumvolution and execution of tranquility;
So now reject desire, lust, and anger and the dangers
Of this life, and learn the nomenclature of wisdom;
Indeed, wisdom from above, and secure divine love,
And so shall you be free upon bended knee to see
Far beyond the bondage of mere earthly knowledge
With no stoppage nor even shortage of pure wisdom,

So shall you overthrow the taskmaster and avert disaster

Note: Abhilāaṣhā means “lust” and/or “desire.” This poem was inspired by my friend and fellow writer, Kunal Thakore, particularly hisAnd from Scribbles is Born Art.

Unmasked

When you unmask yourself to bask in the sun
And drink the flask of light with none to fight,
Then you’ll be free to be for the world to see
Against black backdrop what you are so far,
And you will be a shining star, none to mar,
With no lack of radiance or wrack of shame
Because you’ve melted into the better soul ~
It’s your very own to own as your very own ~
Here where have been sown seeds of eternity
In confraternity with the fervency of vitality,
You will persist even in the midst of turmoil
On the soil of earth while looking heavenward
To realms unknown along a path not shown,
Taken by the better part of a now-pure heart,
Never to be masked again or subject to vanity
And the insanity of empty pride in stride
With ways of fools in days of wandering,
Forever squandering precious life of glory
That was meant for the story of redemption
By the preemption of the court of the Lord

The Evangelical Rump of Trump

Can we expect an unprincipled man to lead with wholesome values? Can we expect an immoral leader to lead with virtue? Can we expect an arrogant and domineering man to lead in the humility of a servant? No, and yet the vast majority of evangelical Christians are doing just this, having sold their souls, and sullied their reputation, in following Donald Trump with a loyalty that would impress Napoleon Bonaparte.

Once upon a time, evangelicals were known for their adherence to Holy Scripture and Biblical standards of living. They were committed to “demonstrat[ing] that Jesus is real and that his salvation radically changes … lives through … faith, actions, service, relationships and community…”[i] And an integral part of this involved living a virtuous life, as well as promoting such virtues in the larger society.[ii]

Now, however, the larger part of the evangelical Christian culture in America has taken a fortress mentality, surrounding itself and the current President with unquestioning and practically unbelievable walls of defense, not only overlooking Trump’s obvious blemishes, but also somehow excusing his blatantly anti-Christian attitudes, perspectives and actions:

Trump’s unapologetic materialism—his equation of financial and social success with human achievement and worth—is a negation of Christian teaching. His tribalism and hatred for “the other” stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for “losers” smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ.[iii]

And how any self-respecting American, much less an evangelical Christian, can do anything less than cringe at the innumerable kitschy tweets, caustic remarks, unbridled imprudence, and callous quips is beyond imagination. But “the moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption,” according to self-professing, evangelical Michael Gerson.[iv]

Then again, evangelical associations, groups and leaders have benefitted from Trump in very tangible ways. For example, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to Iowa’s Family Leader (in 2013), $10,000 to Samaritan’s Purse (2013), and a whopping $100,000 to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (2013). On top of this, Trump drew the largest convocation audience in the history of Liberty University in 2012, and was referred to by Jerry Falwell Jr. as “one of the great visionaries of our time.”[v] And yet as Gerson points out:

Trump’s court evangelicals have become active participants in the moral deregulation of our political life. Never mind whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, and whatever is of good repute. Some evangelicals are busy erasing bright lines and destroying moral landmarks. In the process, they are associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.[vi]

And this is a high-stakes game that the evangelical Christian community is already losing, as witnessed by the continuing, mass exodus of professing Christians from traditional, evangelical churches.[vii] There is an undeniable hemorrhaging that can only be stopped by evangelicals actually being  what they profess to be, and genuinely living the way they say they believe Christians ought to live … and this decidedly does not include playing the rump of Trump.


 

[i] William Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Global Dictionary of Theology, 298

[ii] David J. Atkinson, David F. Field, Arthur Holmes, Oliver O’Donovan, New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology, 881

[iii] Michael Gerson, “The Last Temptation: How Evangelicals, Once Culturally Confident, Became an Anxious Minority Seeking Political Protection From the Least Traditionally Religious President in Living Memory,” The Atlantic, April 2018 Issue as published at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/the-last-temptation/554066/

[iv] Ibid

[v] Betsy Woodruff, “Why Evangelicals Worship Trump,” The Daily Beast, August 2015 as published at https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-evangelicals-worship-trump

[vi] Michael Gerson, “The Trump Evangelicals Have Lost Their Gag Reflex,” The Washington Post, January 22, 2018, as published at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-evangelicals-have-lost-their-gag-reflex/2018/01/22/761d1174-ffa8-11e7-bb03-722769454f82_story.html?utm_term=.2c9d531bb063

[vii] Terry Heaton, “Evangelical Christianity’s Big Turn-Off,” Huffington Post, September 12, 2017, as published at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-christianitys-big-turn-off_us_59b2b0f3e4b0bef3378cdf91

Priests and the Cry of Innocence

With all their might they pushed crimes out of sight
And chose to fight the light back into the darkness,
Leaving the carcass of truth in the starkest of graves,
But who will save them from the waves of justice,
Which finally come from cries of innocence violated
And annihilated for the satisfaction of perversity
That so harmfully cast itself upon those weakest
And meekest within the very Household of God?
Surely damnation will come to such beastly priests,
And angels will rock the foundation of all creation

Speak Not of Death

Indeed it is difficult to understand death, the last parting breath,

But the shibboleth used by certain people is that one has ‘passed,’

As if the beloved departed has merely walked into another room,

Where there is no gloom or looming damnation or any filiation

With haunting dæmons, taunting, and wanting to score

Against heaven’s door and, what’s more, to fill the floor

Of dark Hades, which always beckons to reckon with humanity,

So sinful, fitful, willful, and uncheerful without any tranquility;

Indeed it is difficult to understand death, the last parting breath,

So some talk around it and so are bound to unsound conclusions,

Which are filled with confusion and so much pleasant illusion,

Yet this seems to be the cost of peace to quiesce every sad heart

Torn apart and for tears to finally cease, allaying all mortal fears

Criticizing What You Do Not Understand

You make some grand, offhand remarks about what you don’t understand
About people with troubles that bubble to the surface in surplus sickness
With altogether wordless complexity, laden with a great variety of anxiety
That separates them from society in insobriety,
While you continue with complete impropriety,
Never imagining that you might very well find yourself in the same bind
With the same kind of ailment for having maligned these innocent victims
Among humankind, but you sealed you own fate when you took the bait
Of pride and arrogance in an easy stride with thoughts that brought you
To the conclusion that you’re above confusion — oh, but now you will fall,
You are so small a man, who will only fan the flames of his own insanity
While others look on in the same contempt you showed while you attempt
To regain your footing in sense and sensibility with all you innate ability,
Looking for tranquility as your maniacal laughter haunts and taunts you,
All because you vaunted yourself above what you did not understand —
Ah, yes! Surely an unearthly reprimand for all your decadent arrogance!