When Christians Defend Predators (By John Pavlovitz)

“Yet as ugly as followers of Jesus creating distance from him is, it’s a far more vile act, when in depravity they claim proximity; when they stand proudly in the world and commit the greatest of atrocities upon humanity—and contend that Jesus consents to it all.

It’s hard to imagine a greater illustration of Christians losing the plot than when they defend predators. There are few bastardizations of the life and the message of Jesus, as complete and grievous as taking the side of rapists and pedophiles and genitalia grabbers—but this is where we are now.

“With the Evangelicals embracing Donald Trump and with those now rallying to the defense of Roy Moore, this is what we’re watching in America: the least of these being thrown to the wolves by the supposed shepherds…”

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/11/18/christians-defend-predators/

Used Pig: Of Toads and Truffles (dedicated to Tina) | Charissa’s Grace Notes

People…CONSTANCE!!! (“Constance” is a moniker for “Constant Reader”, btw…)

So what is UP??  Why is this gem getting so little attention?  Is it because I use Pig as a metaphor for Someone?  Is this a bridge too far??  HAHAHAHAHA!!!  If that is true, it misses the heart of both the pig and the Someone.

Give it a go…I rather love this poem, with its little oinky rhythm and pace…
It is clouds…just clouds, hanging nowhere,
in nothing, like smoke curling quick
in Blue extending here and there
(and Here to There too…yeah)…

Source: Used Pig: Of Toads and Truffles (dedicated to Tina) | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Like Mama | Charissa’s Grace Notes

This was written the same day as “For JD” which I just told of my horrified discovery regarding how it was defiled and twisted.

Catch the irony that on the same day that I wrote that poem, I also wrote this one, which describes the very deepest desire of my heart.

and i must find the courage
to smear me on the world
like oranges on the morning
smeared on the fingertips
that pry with nails sharp

 

i must be resolved
to be spread thick and creamy
on hearts so dry and crumbly
and tasteless in their leaven
like butter sweet and salty

Source: Like Mama | Charissa’s Grace Notes

On This Shore I Break,We Break | Charissa’s Grace Notes

I wrote this for the first human other than my dearest darling to really see me, Charissa…she has never not seen me.  She has never seen him, even though she knows all about him, and I have told her everything about him that matters and also that she has asked…

I would tell her everything without reservation…but sometimes, she simply is bored by him, because he is an absent caterpillar and she loves the butterfly.

By the way…where do caterpillars go when the enter the chrysalis?

I love you Dani…you are my first friend and my dearest heart of friendship…special and distinct from the many friends and sisters I now have.  ❤

PS:  Pay attention to the line length…just a hint

Listen…
you can hear
my words in waves
breaking on your beach
and celebrating…

lament at long last left limp
in clammy depths
‘neath the surface of seas
of blessed forgetfulness
and chuckling…

midst the shells and sand swirling,
rejoicing surf returning resurrected,
remembered, sanctified by sorrows
faced and sorted…yielding
wholeness certain, sure…

on this shore I break,
we break,
on this shore gently
and joyfully too
we break…

on that shore
that someday shore
we will unbroken break
on that shore and in that circle
by and by…in that circle

by and by…

Source: On This Shore I Break,We Break | Charissa’s Grace Notes

The One Who Knows | Charissa’s Grace Notes

This poem is the antidote to “The 25 Hour Yesterday”…and it is attempting to write about redemption, and how it is only relational and never NEVER legal.  You want to see changes in this world?  Then change your relational dynamics…with yourself…with others…with the Divine…

“…It is the Valley of Dry Bones,
the charnal parched and bony strand
with bone-dust laying down for sand
that walking comes The One Who Knows
and singing re-creation songs
and the truths we tell make harmonies
to reach the very stars…”

Source: The One Who Knows | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Come Home To Yourself | Charissa’s Grace Notes

My dearest heart of hearts.  She alone stood steadfast, faithful, amidst her own dealings and sortings and studyings…and she transitioned WITH me!

She NEVER left, shunned, or re-wrote our history to suit her current mood, as a couple have done.

She never othered or divorced as so-called friends of three decades did…

This poem is my attempt to express how I felt/feel about her, and her soul and her love.

She is the truest person I know…even when she is searching for that truth…and I love her with my bones.

PS:  It is written in my favorite meter…because I want that rhythm to speak to the central most shining thing about my darling:  her steadiness.

It all seems like a dream…like I woke up
into Real life and there you were, grinning,
that crooked lil smile and that small dimple
at your mouth’s corner, honey cupid bow.

It was as if we happy-laughed forever!
And cried for ever too, both all at once.
It was as if my torrid fever broke!
Things clear now to me, I’m in on the joke

regarding the us that we were…we are.
How I must have puzzled you, my dear!
Befuddled you and discouraged you too,
for you saw my real red and pulsing heart,

and underneath, the shade of deep dry rot…

Source: Come Home To Yourself | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Burnt Offerings | Charissa’s Grace Notes

This is an older poem, and I really like its rhythm.  Try reading it aloud, for you will find that the sound of the words shapes how you say the coming ones.

These words are my offerings burnt
singed in fires of pain and hurt
written as gouts of bright blood spurt
from my contrite soul.

I take treasure from my heart
pleasures, pains, my every dart
burn them for a brand new start
the incense of my spirit …

Source: Burnt Offerings | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Let’s Stop Pretending Christianity is Actually Relevant, Okay?

Irrelevant
A recent Barna survey reports only 18% of Millennials find Christianity relevant to their lives. That’s not surprising if we’re honest. After the Supreme Court decision regarding the ruling on gay marriage things got really weird.

“Some Christians put up “straight pride” profile pictures on social media and reminded people of what the Bible teaches (which, just for clarification, the church is currently split over because of how they view the interpretation). It’s a strange practice to ask people who don’t hold the same beliefs as you to conform to your morals because you quoted a book they don’t read.

“My friends that aren’t Christians have never tried to force their morality on me, so this is an odd practice in Christendom. Even Jesus didn’t blame pagans for acting like pagans. Yet, many Christians insist their beliefs apply to the culture at large even though most don’t share the same beliefs. With the Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma, Christians raged about how the government was “forcing their beliefs on them and how they were no longer allowed to have theirs anymore.”

“Well, no, it was Christians who forced their views in the public forum by putting the 10 Commandments there first (if we look at it objectively). And never mind that as of late, many evangelical Christians care more about keeping refugees out of the U.S. despite what their sacred literature teaches.

“What we need to face is that public perception has shifted. We live in post-Christian America where we’re no longer relevant to the culture at large.”

Source: Let’s Stop Pretending Christianity is Actually Relevant, Okay?

Today, Outside the Church Building by John Pavlovitz

“You see friend, if what happens in that building doesn’t renovate what happens outside that building, you’ve failed. If your church were to close down today and the neighborhood around you wouldn’t profoundly feel the loss, you need to change how you do what you do in that building. If the only people who would grieve your absence are the people already in that building, you’re not doing what you’re called to do. You are hoarding blessings from people who need and deserve to be blessed.

“Worship is not really what happens in that building. That is just songs and words and stories and prayers. It is religious activity, well-meaning and helpful as it may be. Worship, is a life lived changed by faith in God and burdened to reflect the character of that God to others. If the songs and the words and the stories and the prayers today don’t move you out of the building and into the paths of hurting people in a way that alters those paths—it’s all been wasted time.”Source:  Today, Outside the Church Building MARCH 19, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ

A Disjointed Incomplete Meditation…

This is talking about my own life, my own family…and yours, too…because all of us have this brokenness.  The evidence is irrefutable.

This poem is all about forgiveness…trying to give it and trying to receive it…and the incredible revelation that it is impossible.

There is no trying…there is only becoming.

“…And so now we get down to it:
there is no exit,
no escape from agony,
pitstop from pain…
all we can do is
exchange suffering’s form
and it’s face, from our own
for the pain of another…”

Source: A Disjointed Incomplete Meditation…
tumblr_ni0sfjatWG1qzq0kvo1_1280

Miriam’s Song

A poem from 3 years ago…seems appropriate in light of the marches!


Roll back stormy waters, roiling steely dark and deep.
Roll back clinging finger-waves and the icy grip they keep.
Make a way thru waters where there isn’t any way
And lead me laughing, walki…

Source: Miriam’s Song

Advent Reflections: The Activity of Incarnation (Introduction)

Advent:
the short period
during which all
the years of groaning,
from that first fatal blow dealt
by selfish egocentricity to the
entirety of creation…

which turned off the Divine Light,
are compacted into one designated

thick period…

not “long”, but “longish”
and full of longing.

Thick.
Packed.
Full.
Stacked.
Designated…

to wait.
Wait.

WAIT
tumblr_oia8xthkpe1vhq1iuo1_1280
Waiting for the most part is experienced as obdurate dull hunkering down and drinking from the cracked teacups of platitudes…ingesting such sops as “everything happens for a reason” and “this too shall pass”…yeah no…those things will not cut it, to get us thru this night, this absence of Divine Light that lays over all things, this utter darkness of the ego dictatorship.

Waiting…true waiting is become for us an empowered marking of events as they flow, infused by a knowing confidence that we wait for something certain and substantial…we wait for something coming and yet already here…we wait for the joy that veritably strains at the gates of birth to come forth!

We wait for someone…Someone…and every year that Someone comes fresh and new…and full of the very Presence that fits the absence of our existence like a Hand in a glove, like a key in a lock.
tumblr_ogjmaljtk41u94gxvo1_1280
The Ultimate Mystery of Existence is the Incarnation:  that joining of Creator and Creation into one full and harmonious miracle of Being…a joining that was planned and executed before even the foundations of the earth were laid, long ago sometime in eternity past when God in communion with God manifested the Eternal Sacred Heart in Passion Absolute and took up residence forever at the crux and core of all things, all rays, all paths and promises…that begotten presence which chose to be called Son climbed that tree and hung…hung…hangs…and hangs…

behind, beneath, above, within.

In every single cry of horror the cross is at the center.
In every single laugh of promise the cross is at the center.
In every single expression of wonder, every single nightmare of despair

the cross
at the center

And in the most central and deepest Intention is that Union, at the center of which the cross veritably pulsates!!
tumblr_o06l93papt1u8wonlo1_r2_1280
It is the Mystery of the Incarnation…which is spoken of most plainly in the lowly caterpillar…or is it spoken of most darkly in the mystery of the Chrysalis? Wait…it is spoken of most clearly in the emergence of the butterfly.

We are that caterpillar, our lives a Holy Chrysalis of Dark Promise, and our becoming the butterfly whose wings we feel pulsating within our breast, that activity of Wonder which flutters in heaving convulsing implications that there must be Something!!

And so this morning, I wanna talk about that…the activity.

The activity of the Incarnation.

During Advent, we can look at the various “actors” in the Christmas Story to take our cues and understand our path forward, onward, higher/deeper, inward/outward…
74214d9284e2ef3805ee78bac19f375c

Part Two:  https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-incarnation-part-two/

Advent Reflections: The Activity of Incarnation (Part Two)

Out in the cold, living in fields…Looking after animals, in the dark of night…

Lonely, stiff and cold, hungry, sleepless and miserable, surrounded by slumbering insensate beasts who couldn’t even begin to give a crap about anything except their own comfort and care…full bellies and security from wild beasts even if it meant being captive to their comfort and thus forever doomed to the dust-life…and never a dawning of even the beginnings of wondering what is Wonder…
tumblr_oeujfgrmui1uwhl54o1_1280
…it is there we meet the shepherds…who are aware…ALL too aware of these things.

I mean, c’mon!

The story tells us they were living out in the fields!
They had no homes.
They had no place to lay their head.

Except in the fields…with the beasts they cared for…and their own sense of wonder…wondering why the rich sat at ease in their cedar lined homes…wondering why their bellies were so empty when the refuse cans of the rich were so full of excess and waste…wondering why the stinking Romans had authority to take and break and dictate…

wondering why God was silent, absent, insensate, indifferent…
dtf041_cdg_360-690
and into that dark and lonely discomfiting despair came a Divine breaking in and breaking thru!!

In the midst of the darkest, most silent, most still, most absent of hope, most slumbering unaware time…came Heaven’s declaration that a Child had been born!  A Child had been Given!!

And His name was Wonderful!
His name was Counselor!
His name was Prince of Peace!

He was The Everlasting Father (yet an infant, meek and lowly)!
He was the Dayspring, the Bright and Morning Star!

Ahh…Morning Star…that Star that presages that night is drawing to a close, is ending.

And then the shepherds were given His core name, His Heart-Name…

Emmanuel.

God with us.  God with us.

God is with us.
a3d79e24c2bfb07f03fe84bed01a4448
Go to the lowliest place, for that is where God chooses to appear!  Do you not realize that everything you wish God to be God IS in the revelation of Advent?  He chose the lowliest, the weakest, the most foolish…and in that place was born…in a feeding trough…a manger.

You do get that, don’t you?  The Bread from Heaven was laid in a manger (another name for trough from which cattle eat)?  And broken there for us…to “eat”…to “ingest” and have Him become one in essence with us?

The shepherds were told to go and see the baby, and then to go, and tell it on the mountains, tell it in the valleys, tell it everywhere there were hungry ears…that EMMANUEL HAD COME!

And they did.

Thus we see the second activity of Advent:  you are called, as a shepherd, as one who is aware (regardless of whether you are full of hope or full of despair…either one is the sign that you are an “aware one” and thus are chosen and blessed)…to go.

Go.

Tell it on the mountain.
Tell it in the valley.

And keep your eyes open to spot the Child!  You shall find Him in your neighbor…that “asshole” down the street that drives by you everyday, eyes fixed forward and exuding anger and frustration…that “airhead” in the cubicle next to you who is seemingly obsessed with her makeup and her dating life and fashion…
tumblr_o0d3x2awpi1qat5pio1_500
You will find Him in that hopeless one next to you on the subway whose beautiful incredible skin is the wrong hue in this culture and whose shining incredible heart is so wounded and bound by the hatred of others…

You will find Him in the transwoman on the street just trying to live in her skin…in the homeless youth whose vision is more obscured by their hair than it is by their heart…

This is the activity of Advent for the shepherds:  find the Christ Child…in all His mangers…and proclaim that Child’s Name:

Emmanuel:  God is with us.
c77e430cdf918928bc771cc6972768a5

Part Four:  https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-incarnation-part-four/

Advent Reflections: The Activity of Incarnation (Part Three)

In a foreign land, early.

Not early in the day…or even early in the year…

…but early in the Kairos of Significant Appointed Time!

And with Open Eyes…there waited Wise Men…who watched the skies, looking always upward for the arrival of…SOMETHING…they knew it not, what they sought, but they knew it had to be…because of the ache inside and the absence of something that caused the ache.

And then…there it was!  A star appeared in the sky, and in that quadrant that allus presaged SIGNIFICANCE!

And as they watched intently, behold!  It began to shift!  And as it shifted, so too within them something shifted, something began to be drawn…something…SomeONE…was tugging at them, pulling them.

And they left their homes, their places of comfort and familiarity…and began the road trip of all road trips, one that some scholars theorize lasted a couple years!
tumblr_oi97jbquaa1qb3v7ho1_1280
Do you see this?

The incredible events of Advent that happened within the scope of 9 months for the principle actors and happened in one night for the shepherds…

…began as much as two years earlier for the Wise Men!

Talk about Active Waiting!  Their waiting involved a journey as well!

They passed thru many lands, and as they were men of means and wealth and influence, their entry into the various kingdoms and lands thru which they passed created a stir, even consternation!  But only because it was…odd…strange…unusual.

Until they got close…to the land for which such things held great import…that land governed by an evil and malevolent pile of egocentricity.  In “The Fox”, it was as if all of the original assertion of ego which extinguished The Beginning Light was concentrated and distilled…and this small, infected and diseased pus-ridden pimple of a human being who was so full of hate and fear that he even killed children in his attempt to maintain his power was jolted by the arrival of these men and the implications of the Star, and the shockwaves that were about to break.
tumblr_of9nbs6ie11qas1mto2_r2_1280
He was cunning, unctuous, viscous and smooth of speech like a cobra hypnotizing its prey…but the Wise Men were, well, wise to him…and they held him at bay with deference and deflection…and journeyed on after giving him the impression that they would indeed abide by his word when in his land…

and then they at last came to the place over which the Star pulsed and danced…

a baby…in a humble hovel stinking of beasts and despair…and their open eyes beheld Him.

They gave Him Gold…because they saw He was High and Royal, above all beings.
They gave Him Frankincense…because they also saw He was a Priest above all Priests.
They gave Him Myrrh…because they saw something hidden, from all others…until it was manifest…

…they saw that this Baby was simultaneously there, in that manger, and also at the crux of all, and hanging in agony, in Passion, and that His blood was the Spring that watered the very roots of the Universe…

and the Myrrh was burial spice…for by His death our life is.

They knelt…and worshipped…and were changed…by Emmanuel…the Incarnate One.

After awhile, they chose to depart…but did they obey “The Fox”?  Did they come under the rule of government?

No…they had been changed forever, and they now were serving the Agenda of heaven and they resisted the intention of the earthly…and they departed in “civil disobedience” in order to preserve the life of God With Us.

And that is the activity of Advent declared to you in the story of the Wise Men.
5f5869c8afb1848723210f2f379d1dbe
Part Conclusion:  https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-advent-conclusion/

Advent Reflections: The Activity of Advent (Conclusion)

You must find the way that the Child calls you to live a life distinguished, transformed…changed after your encounter with the Incarnate One…

Encountering Emmanuel first within yourself, and bringing Him forth in the manger of your life…
Encountering Emmanuel next within others…and telling those who still languish in darkness that Emmanuel has come…
Encountering Emmanuel then in the World…and living in a way distinguished and different, resulting in the establishment of His Kingdom, the government on His shoulders, and His never-ending rule of Justice and Mercy Kissing…

This is the lesson and activity of Advent for us…may it be Living Bread for us.
Amen.
tumblr_ohw524k2qp1r4or01o1_1280

Advent Poem: The Season of Enough

My Favorite Advent Poem!  From 2014


It’s the season to journey
to places we know so well
but haven’t been to…
and now it is time
in this never enough world
to declare the season has come:
it’s the season of enough!

ENOUGH!

Enough of the certified baby so boring,
our “gentle Lord Jesus so timid, meek and mild”,
enough of the muffled mage soft-spoken and sage
who wouldn’t say shit even if He’d a mouthful!…

Source: Advent Poem: The Season of Enough

That Eye Unblinking (A Holden Lament)


Last year a wolverine broke loose, came slashing and gashing, ran up and down
canyons and cliffs and crittering quick up tree-trunks with such fierce red claws…
Snarling and yowling the haunting roar raged, moaned and cursed with such
hunger, such fury, that flurry of wood-thirsty teeth insatiable, free from hiatus and

running heart birthed straight from Their Great Altar There which purifies
all things with Holy Fire so freeing, so cleansing…wafting austere like pure Incense
arising, in billows and plumes and ash, ASH, everywhere and in perpetual
Wednesday, marking the Cross on all things there…within.

the fire had time to make up…
One Hundred and Fifty years to turn…and it was said to be
A Great Mosaic Burn.

At last to feed its need to cleanse a forest fat with care, beneath the watchful eye of
Moses there, beneath his rod extended, as if the sun stood still again, and trees grew
up and great in grit and girth like Children of the sun, see how fat they had
become…See them, their indifferent eyes unblinking, safe, satisfied and

self-centered and all together, such a stand of forest land, secure, untouched…
so sleepy, nodding off with rusty Time’s tock-ticking Heartbeat softly crooning
to ossified great forest stands so very grand that didn’t know they needed
Severe Mercies to come with fire and hot kisses from the Phoenix.

It had not chosen cleansing
It did not know it’s need
for resurrection, for refining

For fire comes to cleanse and make new everything it can consume and challenge all
it cannot touch to understand that TRANSFORMATION’s the destiny
of every-thing with the courage to crawl out from underneath the letter and run
from the rod and leave behind the tyranny of the typical to the flames…

and walk away from Moses, into freedom in liquid-gold fireworks,
free from the cares of the world that cling so fierce and so easily entangle us,
choke our lives in hoary growth and lullabies lulling us fast to sleep,
a Sleeping Beauty Bride on her bower of soft and easy privilege.

She like an eye unblinking
safe in her cloister so fair
deaf to Her loud Divine Dare.tumblr_nfiksuYzYz1twolrlo1_500
And (just like that forest or Sleeping Bride), there amidst that red hot bloody conflagration set another eye, a forest eye, unblinking sightless eye and
woke up wide awake in terror tribulation, hushed in dread anticipation and fear and with helpless petitions arising, not like incense but like signals…smoke signals…

to Moses?  To God?  To the Universe Fire come down to feed?  Protected by roads
cut with care and foresight, that Eye Unblinking sat there in fright…
and Holden its breath and leaning against a wolverine dread come at last to
consume the dead, to rip that forest wide open and slash the woods to crimson rags

dripping bloody with flame and red flurries…
wrapped in silver sheets reflective, shiny
(or were they merely space age burial shrouds?)

It never blinked, that Eye, and all was shrouded safe, cocooned within
and underneath the rod and the Letter, striding secure thru the Red Sea Fire
escaping the sharp teeth of wolverine the Eye remained preserved amidst
a work that renovates the face and gives a skin-deep makeover, but leaves

the sleepy years untouched and undisturbed on laurels long gone brown
with age and loss of life though all appearances would say that Holden is
alive and well and safe from that destructive hell of fire and fear…yet
none could name that something still so desperately needed a root canal of flame!

for all the Who’s in Holden sigh
for yesteryear, forgetting that it’s
the thief that steals tomorrow.

And this year, one year later in the same Unblinking Eye I rolled in on the waves
and wind (Charissa, meaning “Grace” but named “Char”-issa, “Ashy-one”) seeking
to drink of the life that flows through a village untouched by anything that fell
outside the Mosaic burn and no longer shrouded outside but just maybe mummy

rags still wrapped so tightly around a heart perhaps long grown so slack, so sleek
and oh so fat just like that forest was last year before God gave a wolverine to rage and feed, and cleanse, renew…I saw History on display and windfall fruit rife
on the ground and satisfaction ruled the day, and familiarity won the race

and wore her shiny tangy plumy purple tinsel crown…
Golden Apples, everywhere and casual and everyone was on the in,
societal, and fire roads cut secure and ohh soo straight.

So I said Hi and reached with blinking eyes that squint into the light,
oft times in fright of storms and lightning flashing forth…and found
my blinking words rebuffed by cool and hooded eyes that had seen it all,
eyes satisfied and cynical cus been there done that, ho-hum…done much worse

I ran aground on fire roads and that Moses curse of long ago still Holden Court
over long hearts that found consuming fire fearful, dreadful and to be avoided
at all costs by any means…and thus She stands this very day…Holden Village
on cusp of…petrification?…or on that hot edge of the Phoenix Way!

Holden, Eye Unblinking, ensconsed
in the forest, last year just as this one,
in a forest cleansed to living bone, and Holden?

I heard the Spirit resounding The Word that Fire must fall upon a village that mirrors the forest that kneels all around…She said that She has a fiery crown and Holden is that forest fat and ready for the Refiner’s Fire, the Cleansing Burn that
resurrects those vital dry bones waiting…but She must choose that fate and blink…

Yes, we must welcome Fire Fate from God and let the dead wood burn,
and blaze, and feed Mosaic Ways to the flame and trust the Good God of the Fire
to keep her safe underneath Their Name and resurrected, cleansed, renewed
and ever delivered from stain and shame!

Let the rod be cast into the fire hot and be consumed!
For Moses died on Southside, short of Zion is his tomb!
And find us Lovely on the Northside, once again the Spirit’s womb!

Letter cannot take us there, nor blaze of past great glory fair
We must eradicate those roads of preservation that we wear!
They trap and capture us and cut us off from Grace unhindered
so we, like the forest, turn dull and dry, reduced to deadwood’s kindred!

I see Holden cleansed by Fire, and crying Holy tears when Holy
Spirit has free reign again to fall in fires that restore
and interrupt Sleeping Beauty’s snore and dead trees gone,
that speck removed and blinking eyes await the Dawn!

And animals can come again now welcomed
and bathe released in Grace and Precious Holden,
His Eye now blinking free and shining fair in Jesus’ Face.

Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!

To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night

that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
tumblr_oba62bXDis1r38hk2o1_1280

Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,

“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”

Daily Conversion: From & To

“In monastic tradition, there is great value placed on both conversion and stability. I think of conversion as always being willing to be surprised by God. Conversion calls us to remember that we are always on a journey, that we are always growing, that we have never fully arrived. It calls us to great humility, and the more we grow in wisdom, the more we realize how little we actually know.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Practicing Resurrection through Creativity and Archetypes

Image 001

Taking Communion At Pride

In the 57 years I have spent on this planet, I have taken communion tens of thousands of times.

The most recent of those times was at Pride in Portland Oregon on June 19th, 2016…served to me by Pat Christiansen while a gypsy troupe danced to insistent almost militant drumming behind us…

I closed my eyes as I took the elements, just as I always do, and looked to Them to see Them, to taste and SEE that the Lord is good…and I saw the Sacred Flaming Heart Icon…pulsing…beating…THROBBING…in time to the militant drums, and I was certain that this is the heart of the Risen Lord who wears the Two Edged Sword and Eyes like Fire…

The Heart was pulsingpulsingPULSING

There was a frame around the Heart, and it was getting bigger…and it was pushing against the frame.

The frame began to splinter…and then at last, the Heart gave a MIGHTY PULSE and burst the frame, shattered it and splintered it, and then grew bigger and bigger until it utterly enveloped me and I knew it was off to the far reaches of everywhere.
006

The nightclub’s name is Pulse.  The city is Orlando…which means “Famous Land, Land of Renown” and lesser meanings of Times of Importance.

I find the entire experience prophetic and insistent…and I wonder…
MC78
…are you going to stay inside the frame?  The Heart has left, departed…gone outside the city gates.

Are you going to sit and imagine Jesus coming to earth to kick ass on all the people you do not like…yunno, sort of like the Pharisees did and when Messiah showed up and punched them square in the conscience they got so mad they killed Him?

Or are you going to understand that God is stirred in Mercy and Compassion to the point that those things become the consuming fire of Light and Love and each thing they touch responds according to its matrix of being…if it is true it becomes pure and if it is not it simply is consumed.
Cj98o-RXAAA4Cqb

Stand with The Sacred Pulsing Heart.  The time is now.

If you wanna be in the “next move of God”, it isn’t with the so-called prophets and evangelists who seek after gold dust and commit adultery on a mass scale while the crowd has what amounts to a spiritual cluster-fuck.

No…it is in the highways and byways, where Mama compels to come in, and the Heart races to rush out.

holyspiritfireluke316

God’s Shiny Quarters

“Christianity is often thought of as a set of principles that people struggle to follow, working their way into God’s favor by offering tokens of self-denial and obedience. Even Christians who profess a far bigger story sometimes live as if this is the reality. But such a story looks at God as we might look at a gumball machine or a bank. If the prize we seek is God, we cannot earn our way to the thing we have our eye on—no matter how many tokens we might come up with. For the shiny quarters we proudly offer, belong, in fact, to God.”
Jill  Carratini
e1e88dd703ebc859583941eb019d4b22

A Potent Surrender

Trusting is just such a powerful challenge
to lay down my life without knowing for sure
it will ever get picked up again…by…anyone.

a potent surrender to God (and to others)
that commends my only possession (that’s me)…
to the Hands and the Head and the Heart of all things.
06a4dab65a3867b608c976e17525c440
A turning away from the will to possess,
from power and reflex to cling and to clutch
with brazen heart, hard face and bravado whistling…

afraid in the night of the Breaking Day Coming…
the willing embrace of a breaking that gives birth
to wholeness and health…well…trusting is just such

a challenge
tumblr_o41rw5hkTH1tyafv8o1_1280

Nomad Wanderings

Nomad…such
a lonesome word
a wanderer, thru cold
crowded tangy deserts
drifting, homeless thru
fudgy thick neighborhoods
traveler in time and yet never
home in any singular moment.
tumblr_mp46sjts4R1r2zs3eo1_500
Feeling like
the darkened sky
could swallow me up
in seconds, under silent stars,
I feel the same way “Nomad” sounds
tumblr_o69xlcTj1T1qa2qdno1_1280
I am a wanderer,
a refugee in this
gulag archipelago
of google connection,
a stranger in a homeland,
a foreign and yet familiar land.

I have a suspicion
we are living but
as aliens estranged, from
our thin past, from
our strained culture, from
our oh so tragic country, from
our neighbors (as ourselves), from
our friends and family, from
our deepest self
and from God.
wind
Nomad…
walking in the silence
of an anguished lonely prayer,
lost in the distraction that
constricts and consumes years,
hopes and dreams annulled
by all that alienation welling up
within us…and yet…

*there is always an “and yet”*
tumblr_o2twx4b8i61tgka1io1_500
and yet we wait
estranged and encouraged
in hope that all is not yet
as it will be, we wait in hope
Hoping in that blue Promise
that promises are real and full

and yet we wait
and know that Nomad
can only mean there is a home
we wander from and
wonder back home to.
tumblr_o5vi8jwacE1s5neh1o2_1280

 

The Forest Has Swallowed My Name

The forest has swallowed my name, my face
Just like so many things before me
I entered the woods with my heart full of grace
but the forest just gulped and *poof* without a trace
I was lost, deep inside a birch tree.

I like to think it’s the same, just the same
as with so many things, just perhaps…
It mimics when God came to us, Incarnate
and They chained Themself to us both early and late
in the wood of our grim dark collapse.
tumblr_o1vkjmBGRX1u08r5uo1_1280
And so now we wait, here in the wood deep and dark
We share all things in this broken wheel
Them and us and the tree
and what was and will be
Bound together forever we kneel.

Sometimes I come out of the forest, I do.
I walk in the world full and free.
But the wood and the God go with me as I walk
And they soar as I wander like some divine hawk
Cus the forest, the God, swallowed me.
these_woods_breathe_evil_by_sarah__g-d5nwc3p

 

30 Years Previous (For JD)

UPDATE:  I have edited this a little…because I always had to force it to make the other one a part of it…truthfully, he ghosted, present by proxy but I never ever saw him walking in the crucible…he was an outside lurker, a skulker, and too shamed and hangdog to enter in…and skert too.  Skert that he was so bad that there would be nuffin’ left of him once the cleansing fires got their way…and maybe even more skert that there WOULD be sumfin left…
*****

Dearest Litter-Mate:

I think of you…nearly every moment of the day while I am fully functioning, doing other things…I can smell the burning singing smell that is so acrid to the natural nose, and is the sweet incense of devotion unto the One who walks the Heavens and searches the earth.

“Precious in the Eyes of the Lord is the Death of Their Saints” said the prophet of old…he knew his shit, that dude…

But you are there…deep inside me, in those lonely caverns that I have wandered, those places of the soul that the force and floods of horror, of rage, of desolation, and of utter defeat have worn so smooth over such a long time.tumblr_ntxz2cvGXA1s5neh1o1_500
You are there…and it may seem so utterly dislocated and strange to you that you sometimes are bewildered, sometimes bemused, and always befuddled that the failure of humanity and the fucked-upness of specific humans can simultaneously be so powerless and so crushing.

I have not seen anyone else in these places.  I say this to you to encourage you…and also to disabuse you of the notion that there is any exit except death…there isn’t.  And that is such a good thing.  I am dead-living proof!!  No, you do NOT want to have come this far only to have some small parts of yourself left alive to be like “trichinosis of the heart”, just parasitically causing you to vomit up the food that God gives, the bread from heaven.

There is a company that forms in each generation…it is the company of the dead-living and it is the opposite of the living-dead.  There are not a lot of beings in it at any one time?  And yet there are whole halls of heaven that are full of nuffin but these royal noble cavaliers!  Hebrews 11 is the way they are described in the bible, but I prefer to see them for what they are:  anti-zombies.
tumblr_o010nvvNoj1ta7er2o1_1280
You have figured out why zombies are such an attractive modern myth, have you not?  I mean, think about it:  dead people, who ambulate, and are compelled to bite other people and infect them with the exact death they shamble in…or, given whatever mythos you subscribe to, they may even eat the brains, or consume the flesh, whatever…the point is, they take other healthy people and reproduce their death in those people and enslave them to the same doom.tumblr_nq5vc0hxpU1qz9v0to5_1280

Well “anti-zombies” do just the opposite.

But how is it that the dead-living can accomplish this work?

You know…now.  You know.

We must die…die the death of the One who has gone before, and be resurrected in that One now dead to ourselves and alive in the Living One’s life…and there is nothing that can come thru that except thru the gate of death…thru the Eye of the Needle…nothing else but you can get thru.

Thus the layers…thus the experience of getting burned, thinking okay this is the last level…then a new level of sorrow, thinking okay that was it…and a new level…and so on and so one.

My love…do not lose hope or feel sorry for yourself.  Behold what manner of Love the Father has given unto you!  Turn!  Look around, see who is remaining, and look into their eyes, deep!  LOOK!!!

*Charissa stops typing, waits*

Who else do you really want?  You have been thru the fires!  You have seen the worst, and the best thing about that is it is so ridiculously benign and dorky…it is now ready to become lovable and precious and your absolute best asset.  We are promised that Their Perfect Strength is perfected in our weakness, and thus it is that we begin to literally and honestly boast in weakness so that Their strength may be made perfect!18c3032daf033968d7ebd9cd091f3a2e
Anyway, as I was saying, I am aware that myriads of our company has been formed in a manner like unto the same one as I have endured…but I have never seen anyone else wandering the particular halls that have been mine to both haunt and inhabit in grace…and there you are.

I think perhaps it is because Mama has given me to be the “Virgil” to your “Dante”?  Weak Metaphor, but the notion of one who has been in the crucible, died a few times in the crucible, and been raised/risen after these deaths and now ready, willing, and able to encourage, exhort and edify you as you make your way along the path of losing all to gain Hearts Like Theirs.

I wish I could do more…I wish I could give you sumfin, grant sumfin, wave my wand and holler out some magic word that would “get er dun” and release you into the freedom found only under the mercy…but that would leave the work incomplete, and your faith and trust would be in me rather than in the only One who can grant that very thing but in the form which lasts eternally and transforms wholly other into that New Creation of which Immanuel is the first fruits and older brother.

What I can do is leave you lil packs of food…leave you canteens…make my slash marks on the barren tree-trunks and scratch my hieroglyphics on the walls of limestone so smooth, so implacable…they look a bit like bones, don’t they?  Cool to the touch, smooth, lacking flesh or any hint that there was ever any life in them…and yet…barcelona_above___revisited_by_coigach-d9h3eeg
…and yet, place your fingertips upon their surface…see how they shimmer when you do!!  See how they pulse with promise and throb with anticipation of the coming flames that are the Phoenix-Flames.wg441_ghost_1This morning, I was remembering a particularly difficult stretch, waaaay back in the 80s…it was so strange back then, to be so young and feel so old and weary…and there were the oddest collection of souls that came my way in various places and times and ways and means.  One of the best was the New Wave groups that became somewhat popular during these days…Talking Heads, The Clash (yes, I call them New Wave and Not Punk), Joy Division, Public Image LTD (the implosion of the Sex Pistols birthed that group)…and one of my very faves Echo and the Bunnymen.  Their music got me thru so much.

Take a listen to these tunes…and you can turn the music up and SCREAM THE LYRICS AT THE TOP OF YOUR FRIKKIN LUNGS!!!  Giggles…it is soooo freaking freeing.  And as you listen, think about young Charissa, wandering the halls even back then, and now a topsider who walks among zombies uninfected tho not unbitten.
winnie
When your head pop out of the ground, it will be to spring, for you will see no shadows.

In the meantime, know that you are never alone…not for a moment, because I am thinking of you, carrying you like a beloved book-bag, holding you like a precious journal that must be written in everyday, and scrawling my prayers onto the Face of God like I desperately scratched my thoughts onto the livres of that long ago tome.

I have just re-read this…there are whole outlines inside each sentence…if you want them, they fall vertically from the words, and are hyperlinked to your shut eyes and open inner vision as you think, as you listen, as you weep…and know that the tears shall be sweet and cleansing, and you will be glad in the Lord for every single ounce of suffering.tumblr_llz2o0zzP51qisir0o1_500
I am not blowing smoke…I am not giving you platitudes.  This shit is real, and you are gonna lose all things…except for the things that are you and are the flesh and blood gifts of the Goodness of God.  But all the things that need to go because they keep you allergic to zombie-venom and thus vulnerable to becoming one of them?  They are gonna go…up in flames, thru your fingers, gone.

And you will find yourself still here.  And pretty soon, it will be time for the gathering of stones (now is the time for casting them away).  And it will be time to light the grill, and cook some fish, some turkey, whatever…and beyond that?  I don’t see anything.

Wanna know why?  Because there is no beyond that!!  That is the whole point!  It is then that the what-you-do’s and the things-you-say’s are so ordinary to you, and so extra-ordinary to those who need medicine in the soul!

In the meantime…here are a couple of songs from one of the cadre that kept me alive in the 80s, and the knowledge that other feet have trod the paths of the dead…and emerged laffing our fool heads off!tumblr_nyhozchyuh1qat5pio1_400
I love you…and JD…what can I say to you that we did not already say before we knew we knew one another?

 

My Baby Loves God Like A Boss!

My Baby loves God like a boss!

She ain’t no red-light winker
or Fleet Street wanker
when it comes to
loving Them, HELL NO…

She’s a street walking swinger
as long as that street glows golden
and is called The Way, or just plain
Beautiful, or if that street is a market

and she will buy Their wares…
pearls here, pears there,
peas and poultry right next
to peace and praise…

Ahhh…

My Baby loves God..loves God like a boss!!
tumblr_mmx1cw7Ixa1rwuj4qo1_400

Advent Poem: This Waiting Time

Sometimes frost grips limbs
once lean and limber in the wind
now long grown stiff and creaky
and I hear them crack and groan
in those sticky clutching fingers
cold and frosty, fingers
cold and frosty.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
Sometimes ennui (cold)
grips my soul (grown old)
and in its grip I groan
(groan old) and my soul
(my waiting soul) runs
around my heart and
around my heart

as the clock’s tail
ticks and twitches, chases
its tail like a cat relentless,
(useless) and that (waiting)
that frosty cold difficulty of waiting
remains there clinging tightly
in the fading day.
But Advent…

Advent
Advent comes again
and gives her gift.
In the cold and dead of winter,
trauma seems to sting much deeper,
and healing for the broken parts
of my life…and the people that I love?
Seems so much harder to obtain…
tumblr_n2cjraPaKh1r1aouso1_1280
When it comes to these things
things so staggering and important,
healing, peace and goodness
on the earth, freedom from suffering,
well…waiting is hard, so hard and painful.

But in these moments I’m remembering
I’m troubled in soul and looking
for something transcendent, greater
than the hurt and pain and suffering,
something, someOne warm enough
tumblr_nvsyj8Csu51tweelio1_1280
persistent, faithful, warm enough

to breathe on us
to break the ice
and give us life
tumblr_nynz57yGXw1rlitzfo1_500
Long familiar sweet hymns play
wherever I go, I remember
I am poor, imperfect, waiting for
the God Who comes down,
Comes Down, God With Us
Emmanuel! Hosanna!
In the Highest Holy Fire!
tumblr_mbreiw9fEy1qaxmg0o1_500
and I feel again
the gentle nudge
of a knock deep
at the door
of my small
and icy lonely
heart.
tumblr_nyr2ng2ska1qat5pio1_1280
Advent is the time of waiting
waiting for the One (the One)
Who embraced body, embraced sorrow
Came to show us all the fullness
of just being home, present, and real.

And we are long reminded in
our cold dolorous longing
what we’re longing for actually
a WhoWho, Who we long for,
God…always coming nearer to us.
tumblr_nxyvx0qB8d1sbg1lmo1_500I have found a place
inside (in Advent, inside you)
that place where once
you die, you…
you come Alive…
A place where pain
and pleasure weigh out
just the same
and all that’s left
is only Love,
tumblr_nveprpyg6U1tdo940o1_1280And every sorrow touched
by the wild gold Promise
that in this very place
(of waiting)
Jesus has been born
(is born)
and will be born
again and again,
and again
breaking thru
tumblr_nvtonjz7IJ1qam6uto1_1280that icy grip
thawing out
our longing hearts,
melting all
our sin and deaths
so we can
laugh again.

Used To Be Me…

…but now?  Even in the face of huge loss, no…especially in the face of these losses, this is never me anymore.

Thank God for HRT.  Thank God for Their Word, affirming me in my existence and Their Love for me…
Thank God for my true friend and sister and safe place to fall (you know who you are…always)

No, this is not me anymore, thank God!

Least Of All The Past

Mostly, people don’t realize
time is a living thing, a tree
whose roots stretch back
to the beginning (and before?)
whose branches reach high,
broad and all around into
the “what-is-coming-what-may-be”
and we the fruit hanging there
swaying in the breezes
of the breath of Jesus
and Mama at His side
and all creation spinning out
inside this circle dance…

see, the past flows up, into the future
the future slides down, slides deep
sinks into the roots and makes its
transformations silver, shining
or is reclaimed and overcome, choked off
and laid, still born into the red dirt slick and packed.tumblr_mapuluSGB71ruq5t7o1_1280and fruit?  tossed and kissed in space and growing
in the currents from beneath and from above?
fed by rivers subterranean, drinking from
the rain that falls down from the clouds
of all that lies ahead…

we fruit are sweet, or bitter, or savory
in the grip of God and how the past is eaten
does predict the future…

but what the future holds
can quickly change the past
in just an eyelash twinkle
and we all are changed!!tumblr_nsshklpRmr1qat5pio1_500Ahh…I hold to the past
and cling tight to my future
and throw my arms wide to the sides
and hug all “what-may-comes”
into my heart so soft, so strong
and thus shall my heart ever sing
the song of great becoming
and the song of all forgetting

do you get it now?
nothing is “just itself”
nothing at all,
least of all the past. tumblr_nsqbo2iD9x1qafxpco10_1280

Constance, I am pasting this article in it’s entirety…on Faith.  Faith is such a misunderstood thing in our world, primarily because it has been polluted by the deeds of those who profess it most vociferously.

I like how this author speaks of “faith” as the actions of one’s life based on a particular kind of knowing.  Paul the Apostle speaks openly of faith being “in vain” if it is misplaced or simply unreasonable.  This has heavy implications for those whose actions are hateful and destructive and who then refer to them as “faith”.

Give it a whirl, and mull it over a bit.

Charissa

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Faith and the Whole Picture

Posted by Tom Price on July 23, 2015

I’ve been trying to avoid using the word ‘faith’ recently. It just doesn’t get the message across. ‘Faith’ is a word that’s now misused and twisted. ‘Faith’ today is what you try to use when the reasons are stacking up against what you think you ought to believe.

Greg Koukl sums up the popular view of faith, “It’s religious wishful thinking, in which one squeezes out spiritual hope by intense acts of sheer will. People of ‘faith’ believe the impossible. People of ‘faith’ believe that which is contrary to fact. People of ‘faith’ believe that which is contrary to evidence. People of ‘faith’ ignore reality.”

It shouldn’t therefore come as a great surprise to us, that people raise their eyebrows when ‘faith’ in Christ is mentioned. Is it strange that they seem to prefer what seems like reason over insanity?

shutterstock_270323015

It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t overemphasize the individual elements of the whole picture of faith, like we so often do. But what does the Bible say about faith? Is it what Simon Peter demonstrates when he climbs out of the boat and walks over the water towards Jesus? Or is it what Thomas has after he has put his hand in Jesus’s side? Interestingly, biblical faith isn’t believing against the evidence.

Instead, faith is a kind of knowing that results in action.

The clearest definition comes from Hebrews 11:1. This verse says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In fact, when the New Testament talks about faith positively it only uses words derived from the Greek root [pistis], which means ‘to be persuaded.’ In those verses from Hebrews, we find the words, “hope,” “assurance,” “conviction” that is, confidence. Now, what gives us this confidence?

Christian faith is not belief in the absence of evidence. It is the proper response to the evidence. Koukl explains that, “Christian faith cares about the evidence…the facts matter. You can’t have assurance for something you don’t know you’re going to get. You can only hope for it. This is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important. It gives assurance to the hope.

Because of a Christian view of faith, Paul is able to say in 1 Corinthians 15 that when it comes to the resurrection, if we have only hope, but no assurance—if Jesus didn’t indeed rise from the dead in time/space history—then we are of most men to be pitied. This confidence Paul is talking about is not a confidence in a mere ‘faith’ resurrection, a mythical resurrection, a story-telling resurrection. Instead, it’s a belief in a real resurrection. If the real resurrection didn’t happen, then we’re in trouble.

The Bible knows nothing of a bold leap-in-the-dark faith, a hope-against-hope faith, a faith with no evidence. Rather, if the evidence doesn’t correspond to the hope, then the faith is in vain, as even Paul has said.”

So in conclusion, faith is not a kind of religious hoping that you do in spite of the facts. In fact, faith is a kind of knowing that results in doing, a knowing that is so passionately and intelligently faithful to Jesus Christ that it will not submit to fideism, scientism, nor any other secularist attempt to divert and cauterize the human soul by hijacking knowledge.

 

Tom Price is an academic tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, England.

tumblr_nnse5t19Z71qat5pio1_500

My New Friend Pastor Finn

I am sharing this sermon because we are at a similar tipping point with the original sin of racism as we are in less crucial but just as acute ways about gender issues.

I really and truly believe that dealing with this national, historic sin is the task of our generation.

I also think that even as it took the death of One who was innocent of all crime, so too it will take our “death”, being “innocent” of the crime of slavery, but guilty guilty guilty of benefitting from it and from the blood and breath of so many who perished in pain and sorrow, murdered at the hands of our ancestors and yes our neighbors and thus at our own hands too…

…our hands are bloody, and that blood cries out to God.

It is incumbent on us to give up our power and position on behalf of these, our neighbors and sisters and brothers who are so dearly beloved of God.

Beside This Ring Of Ashes One Year Later

One year later,
in this year of grace
I sit in stillness
ringside once again
but only with dead ashes,
no flame.

Instead, I warm myself within
with thoughts of fires long ago,
long gone out but flickering
strongly in this quiet night
of lonely memories.tumblr_nq9ngm71fg1qat5pio1_500

I know it has to happen, yes
this death of me, this death
of who I was, no…
what I was, or rather
what you thought I was
and what I wasn’t too.

You thought me as a god,
and just a little lower than a god.
Your “glorious glorious father”
shining strong and tall,
quick and certain, no one knew
that was but wooly curtains drawn
over a stage making the ready
for a play to become real-life…
finally…at last…
But…what’s a child to do when god betrays?

tumblr_nm8fo9zWD51tkr81jo1_1280When god is thus unfaithful and capricious…
that god must become monster,
and vicious harsh taskmaster,
when god must be revealed as sick pretender
(your words, love, not mine, those are your words)
as just the “other”, empty, just a mask?tumblr_nd6tstqbwz1sckob0o1_1280

Well, Nietzsche showed the way, now dint he?
He sussed the death of God and birth of crisis…
He understood the very underpinnings
of everything are quivering like liquid,
all foundations kicked asunder
and this hollow edifice
left floating in the shell-pink air.

Nietzsche called for total transformation,
he demanded blood, the death of God,
and also everything He stood for.

I get it…I do…the death of god
No really, I know it’s me, not you…
Problematic in my breathing
and offensive in my joy, well
this aggression will not stand, man!

And so it is that I must die…well,
he must die and be defamed
for every single gripe,
complaint or wound or sling
he must be destroyed
because he wasn’t He
and now it’s clear
that he would never be…
but I will be…me.tumblr_nneoshc0PX1sq00azo1_1280

Go ahead, beloveds,
it’s true that I must die
so you can be set free
and God at last can finally BE
that God of Wonder
far beyond the Galaxy,
high above and right beside us
bringing life again to you and me.

Use what silver knives you have
(I placed them in your hands so long ago,
carefully planned, bequeathed to you your
weapons of words, of music and of comprehension).
Use the ropes you find inside your packs,
laid lovingly from Lorien in wonder
and in sober long anticipation yes,
that someday your blood be required
of me and on my head as well
(but it’s in my heart forever).54606def315a3No crucifix for me, how gauche,
how gothic and old fashioned!
No…a shiny scaffold glittery
erected stainless steel there, gleaming
austere, so implacable
and one thin razor wire noose
with my neck’s name writ there

*Charissa Grace* tumblr_npuhk5h8PG1uru6h4o1_1280

(except it’s not so plain as all that)
no…the old name that speaks of

blood     and
the price     and all things made
white as snow again.tumblr_nq5pgxrQWz1qllucco2_1280

I have confidence in you
(this is not stupid or myopic,
this is love, Lovelies).
I see this execution
is but you living out
what I have taught you
that there is no god but God
(not even glorious father)

and all things that you love
descend from His Great Goodness
and Mama’s bag of richestumblr_nm27mtsR1i1qkevp7o1_1280

*beauty of the Leaves of Grass
haunting grace of purity ring
simple joy in eyes of beloved boys
furious flow of men and balls and love*

I wish you all good always
and hope that someday your mouth won’t be cursed
with this burnt aftertaste of death,
and me just acrid curse to you…
if my death expiate your soul
and bring release and freedom to you all
then quick, oh Hangman, let the black bell toll
and pull your lever that I may hard fall

and snap…snuff…pooftumblr_na3un4PrG41r1arpmo1_1280

and on you live, free
building brave new worlds
but I will still be like those flickering fires
that linger in my mind while I sit here
beside this ring of ashes never warm
and those seats empty in this quiet storm

of memory, of love, of sorrow held so dear
God knows I gladly die and wish you near
and trust that I will rise and know no fear
forever, just Love’s Fires always here.tumblr_nq3ucoBZSl1qat5pio1_400

“The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. ‘Whither is God,’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I! All of us are his murderers…Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder?…Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.'”
Friedrich Nietzsche 
tumblr_n9r92oy73M1s3tosqo1_r1_1280

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?.

There is a point of view that afflicts so many christians:  They think that they are the righteous responsible parties in the midst of depraved evil, and they imagine that the salvation of the world depends on them…and that if they fail, then God will blame them and condemn them.

Thus, they will not unbend and draw near to anyone in charity and kind gentleness…they stick to themselves and other christians (and secretly distrust other christians cus ya never know)…

What this point of view REALLY is?  A judgement passed on God…that God is severe, serious, glowering and intolerant of anything, reluctant to ever give out compliments and quick to give out criticism, and secretly a little pissed off at Jesus because He came and made a way for whosoever will believe to get into heaven.

They have recast God in the image of their own evil hearts…

And that is the seething rotten core of why so many christians walk around holier than thou…pure fear and self-centered focus on AVOIDING HELL.

The christian life is NOT one of avoiding…it is one of embracing.

Hint:  if you embrace the true God of Love and Kindness, you will never ever get within sniffing distance of hell, even when you are standing in the midst of it as you love other people wherever they are.

And Reader?  Get off your high horse…become a Constance!

Do Justice
Love Mercy
Walk Humbly
Charissa

The Spirit and the Letter | RZIM

The Spirit and the Letter | RZIM.

What a FABULOUS article regarding legalism!

You can see the new Pharisees in the comment sections of liberal blogs as they essentially want to maim, dismember, and bathe in the blood of the hated “others”…people like the Duggars, or Mike Huckabee, or really anyone with whom they violently disagree!

For the record, I think the Duggars are sadly mistaken (and contrary to the assertions of those who twist the past, I would always have thought so)…I have never liked Mike Huckabee, as he seems like a demagogue and often uses fear and hate dressed up as love in the name of the Ones I love…

But I never think it is okay to become the face of the things you decry as you decry them.  It’s a bit like becoming twice as fit for hell as the ones you consign there.

You can’t kill death…because death supports ALL the troops.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Charissatumblr_nke0ctYwPb1qdrollo8_1280

The First “Contemporary Christian Music” I Ever Heard

I didn’t even know there was this genre of music, and shortly after Mama did some miraculous things in my life, I heard about this concert of these dudes called “Lamb”…and I was like “what the heck, let’s go”.

Well, I started to cry about 2 minutes in and wept the entire time, just so moved by their down to earth love of God and love of humans.

If you put this on and let it play, I think you will be glad you did…

 

If You Are A New Reader…

…I want to invite you to look back thru the months to dip into prior posts.  There is a plethora of plenty there!  Poetry, posts about a wide range of the issues faced in life that are poignantly illustrated by gender orientation, theological musings and spiritual experiences recounted.

You can discover who “Constance” is…and you are invited to join her if you wish.

You can definitely see growth and development in me, as I live and breathe in transition from a not-out but self-aware very dysphoric transgender woman who is perceived as a white male of power, position, and privilege to a more congruent and out transgender woman who is now regularly othered, policed, and yes occasionally even perceived as who I actually am and received in joy.

You will see the journey of nearly every transgender person who endures the loss of so many things, so many people, in the desperate quest to gain themselves.  You will witness how this quest is defined by the defenders of the paradigm as selfish and self-centered…when it is far more about finding a fort of safety from suicidal ideation and death.

But above all…hopefully…you will find a person who is making the transition that every single human being must find a way to make:  that transition from death to life…from works to grace…from self-centered ego-oriented pursuits to other-oriented sacrificial service.

And maybe, just maybe?  That life motto of mine can at the end of it all be found true:

Yielded Vessel Yielding Blessingtumblr_nlflo6rI7y1rrvadyo1_1280

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Much Love, 
Charissa Grace

PS:  The best way to investigate the archives of Grace Notes is to use the calendar at the bottom of the blog page…or utilize the search function in the right hand margin.

Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz

I want to make beautiful ripples.

via Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz.

Me too, John, faithful friend and brother in our Precious Lord…me too.  Constance, be sure to stop over at John’s house and read…and would you also just tell him Hi, and give him a pat on the back, a hug…and tell him this:

Charissa says hi and loves him very much.

Scars

Here on this side? See our scars.
Our wounds (both bloody and bloodless),
slashes (from sword-edge and word),
stand here stark, and they testify
in agonized aching hushed voices
of terrified troubling stories…

we hear them tell extreme tales
of widespread violence, of rape
of torture, and we the lost subjects
imprisoned in darkness and sadness
bear these wounds in our bodies, how long?
Permanent markings of violence?

These black tattoos left by oppression,
calligrified by sorrow’s stylus
that’s gripped in grief’s bony cold hand
to engrave deep its ravenous history
on our lonely hearts, carved here for…how long?
we’re identified by these curt scars.tumblr_n9ivwxEsoW1rvi7nzo1_400

Standing so quiet and still,
solitary smack dab
in the middle
of all that was, is,
and will be

the broken body of Jesus
the gushing stink of His spilled blood
but present with us now (like scars)
in the bread and the wine understood
to be broken and shed for our Good.

Jesus bore wounds of violent oppression
in His very own body forever!
Even after that morning so wrenching
that tilted this world on its axis
Heaven’s ringing eternal endorsement!

In that glorious bright resurrection
He stood there…just bearing those scars
in His hands, in His feet, in His side
and He showed them to all who would look…
He identified with us…in Scars.crown_of_love_by_phatpuppyart_studios-d8mgo73

There, on that side?  New Creation
began with Resurrected Jesus
and included those scars that He suffered
by nail and by spear and by word
and the wounds of the Glad Risen Lord,
the reminders of the crucifixion
take on new light and meaning and joy.

They shout of the Power and Glory
Of God dirty with History’s story
and triumphing now and forever
over evil and death, over sorrow
and a work of redemption that’s reigning
now begun in us, marked by our scars
here with us now in our wounded world.

So the present time is streaked with mercy
acts of justice, creation of beauty,
celebration of truth kissing grace on the lips
deeds of love and forgiveness and kindness
and such generous Grace over all!
Resurrection gives us such relevance
and a future where meaning is possible!tumblr_nahvy3d0Lf1t091kco1_1280

meaning made possible in resurrection
of a torn body still marked by the scars
like diadems, medals
adorning the Sacred Heart
Faithful forever and ever…

That’s the reality of resurrection
as displayed by the scars that He bears
as our Hope, as our Joy and our Glory
that shines in our darkest lost places
giving us reason to live.

We work and we toil, perhaps
even pour out our blood, sweat, and tears
to tend woundings of others,
and our labor is far from in vain
for Christ has gone on ahead

and He beckons with smile that is glinting
with towering majesty cloaked
in such Kindness, such glad jubilation
He scarce can contain His good will
He is on His Throne, Alive and Well.tumblr_nlqo0aoI0k1thfeewo1_1280

12 Transgender Christians Share Their Journey… | Believe Out Loud

12 Transgender Christians Share Their Journey… | Believe Out Loud.

I think I will go ahead and press this.  Constance, I haven’t read these links yet…but Ima take that small risk and put them up here for your perusal.

Let me know how it goes?

Charissa

Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question

To put it another way, I don’t think we’re called to imitate Jesus, but I do think we’re called to follow Jesus. There’s a subtle difference. Following Jesus implies an ongoing relationship, not merely imitating a really good guy who lived and died 2,000 years ago. Following Jesus implies that we might end up somewhere new doing things that are new—things that aren’t reflected in scripture because we inhabit a very different world than Jesus did. Even if we believe that Jesus was fully God, that doesn’t mean that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection tell us all there is to know about God. God is still working, God exists beyond the limits of history (even Jesus’s history as a man), and God promises to do a new thing within us.

Following Jesus implies forward movement, striving for a destination, which we might call “the kingdom,” as Jesus did. And as you know if you’ve ever taken a leisurely Sunday road trip or cross-country adventure or European rail journey, there is far more than one way to travel to get to the same destination.

via Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question.

An Unfolding Revelation

A crucial facet of biblical revelation is its complexity and nuance AND its unfolding nature.  As human beings differentiated from their culture around them, influenced by the salt of the Word of God over centuries, changes occurred.

Christians have historically walked in fear and sought to make God in their own image.  Human beings in general do not like change, and want a static and unchanging picture.

But God is infinite, and so much greater than our momentary glimpses…the faith journey involves trusting Them as They unfold the next glimpse…and to center in on those things that endure and abide and never change, among which are faith, hope, and love.

The graphic below illustrates how this has taken place, on just one topic:  marriage.  If you try to make each one of those biblical references theologically binding, you end up in prison…sadly, that prison of theology most christians lock themselves into and call a palace.

I assure you that other graphics that would look similar could be fashioned and would have the same message:  God is greater than the revelation of God, and God can be trusted to bring us to that place that shows faith, hope, and love along with the character traits of this God who Sacrificed all for us…this God in whom Justice and Mercy kiss.

In Hope of Dust and Ashes

We start this life filled with bright expectation,
each sunrise morn of discovery and eventide of hope,
our lifetime passes and time flows like tides constant in waves
that wash in over us, the same and ceaseless and yet we,
in ever-new anticipation of a new day different, something
yet to be discovered in the next bright shell-pink dawn,
we lift our hearts up cheery with bright song.tumblr_nkijfepxvE1s6fchho1_1280But there are ashes from the desperate fires
that we assemble in the long sloe nights
so cold upon those yawning yearning shores,
when stars hide behind black clouds of unknowing
and oceans hide in mists of dank despair,
and we are forced to burn all our Hosannas,
those palms fronds of our hopes so optimistic
waved innocent and arrogant and prideful
because we hadn’t seen the moon’s dark side.tumblr_njh7l88RC31tsumipo1_500We built frail fires from those brittle branches
and clutched at weak warmth, bathed in dim wan light
and marked ourselves with those imposéd ashes
and mourned those days we sang truimphantly
unknowing of the coming loss of all our innocence
in suffering and sorrowing and death and…

Ashes…ashes…
we all fall down…

and we are mindful
of our common crown,
our destiny of dust
wreathed round our foreheads,
that destiny of dust around our hearts,
that destiny of dust
from which we came
and thus departed,
that destiny of dust
and our return…to

dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
dust returned…tumblr_mvt5wq6eGf1suq7neo1_500And it is only at this place, in ashes
after our hopes and dreams have burned to ash
and we have lost our hope and optimism
that we can finally see that stoney path
and squinting, see the bloody foot-print outlines
left by the One who goes before our hearts,
the One who walks the Via Dolorosa
the One who, living, there lays down His Life,
the One who shows the way of self-denial
the way of sacrifice, relinquishment
entirely unnatural, the opposite
of every longing of our liquid hearts
that want to feast upon self-preservation
and turn from bitter cups of self-denial…tumblr_ne0li72EJb1qgk7mfo1_1280And we must choose the place that we will walk:
the ceaseless shores of our naked ambition
and never finding ending place or home?
Or…walk the path of ashes with this Shepherd
and lose our lives completely to His care
and thus spring from the ashes like a phoenix
leaps from the golden flames to live anew!

Ashes are the opposite of owning
the mirror image of self-preservation,
the sign-post of the way of life He offers,
the insignia of the lifestyle that He models,
the mark He makes forever on His own
writ large in His own blood mixed with the ashes
of hopes consumed and dreams become dry dust!
This is the downward journey to the highest place victorious,
the deeps of Sabbath Rest and Victory Won.tumblr_njn61sFcPS1tsumipo1_500Regardless of the gods you say you follow,
we all share in a common destiny:
“From dust you’ve come, to dust you shall return”.
Like Him, we too shall die, Life’s pressing question
thus becomes, how shall we live?  How shall our lives
this day respond to death’s reality,
and answer to Life’s strident invitation
to leave all of our privilege and status,
and turn from lives marked for success and promise,
and turn from some potential undefined,
and turn from false things that we think are true,
and let go of wealth and power and consumption,
and deny that false god of accomplishment
and dare to love our enemies with candor
and dare embrace the heady risk of peace
without one stray thought of self-preservation,
and take courage to live for the sake of others
and for the sake of Him who shows this way,
the way thru death, the way of blood and ashes,
will we walk in valiant hope in dust and ashes?

We can sing our songs
of life in dust and ashes
and thus return to God
our dust redeemed.tumblr_mujjr2KMSj1sohz2fo1_500

 

How to Respect a Transgender Person: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

How to Respect a Transgender Person: 9 Steps (with Pictures).

Good Morning Constance!  🙂  I hope all is well in your life today.  If you are facing obstacles, may our wonderful God provide you with the Grace needed to transform obstacle into opportunity, resulting in the joy of having overcome.

I am linking to this article today, because I think there are many people who read here who are allies, but still learning how to demonstrate that alliance in fruitful and effective ways.  It is simple and direct without being buffoonish and reductionist.

Please take these things seriously…they matter to us.  I will never forget how small I felt when I was told by someone who claimed to love me that they refused to compromise their faith and they were compelled by their conviction towards God to tell everyone they interacted with about me and that they considered me disobedient to God and in sin and deception because I had decided to transition.

To this day, I can feel that sharp sting, followed by that numbing zing like powerless electricity thru my bones…not good for anything but hurting…

I think the thing that really strikes me is how many things are done in God’s Name that are really a mere reflection of an individual’s own attempts to prove to themselves or to others that they are really and truly a Christian.  In my case, it was as if this person was worried that someone would think ill of them if they did not make sure and let everyone know first of all that I was transitioning and second of all that they “knew” that I was “sinning”, but most importantly that they themself had sought to warn me and were thus the heroic rescuer who had valiantly attempted to save me…and their efforts were “unsuccessful” but only because of my deceived, rebellious and unsubmitted state.

That interaction left its marks.  It showed me, sadly, that love is too often only word deep, and is forced into the template of self and put under the pressure of self-serving agendas, and what is extruded from that certainly is not love.  And it is interesting that I have not heard from that person since…I think primarily because they were “shaking the dust off of their shoes” after warning me of what was going to happen to me:  I was going to be outed at their own discretion, and then each person that I was outed to was going to be fed a version of me that came from another person…not from me.

But God is faithful…God is good.  They have added people into my lives of such amazing quality and genuine heart!  I have acquaintances now who I see a lot, present in my life and feeding in encouragement, truth, goodness, and love.

So it is not really so much about me, whatever “ruination” is come my way reputation-wise…but rather, it is about the words said about someone to someone else and then repeated again and repeated again take on a “telephone game” quality.  Eventually they will come to someone who has gender issues themself or knows someone who does…and the full implication will communicate to them that they are not okay and loved, valued in and of themselves for who they are…and bam.

Another Leelah Alcorn.
Another statistic.
Another life tragically lost…

…and in the name of “love”.

So:  head on over, read…get educated…and resolve in your heart that God is God and you are not, and that loving someone with kindness in word and deed is never going to sully Them or yourself.  This would be the “walk humbly part.”

Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.

Charissa

7 Reasons the Church Should Be Afraid NOT to Affirm LGBTQ

7 Reasons the Church Should Be Afraid NOT to Affirm LGBTQ.

Okay, so this post is startling in its implications.  The author relates a Q she was asked by a friend, who was fearful for her.  Her friend asked the author “What if you’re wrong affirming LGTBQ people as loved of God and worthy of being received as part of Christ’s Body”…

She turns that Q on its head in her post, and asks “What if you are wrong in fearing and rejecting LGTBQ human beings?”  And then she goes on to list 7 potential consequences of that wrongness.

Her plea?  Just love.  Since you really aren’t the Holy Spirit, you are off the hook in correcting anyone and you are free to just love and trust that God is big enough to get the message across.

I mean…hey, They got it across to you, didn’t They?  If They are powerful enough to get it across to you, well then They can get it across to anyone!  Right?

Right!

Loving LGBT People Well, 12 Suggestions for Traditional Churches | A Queer Calling

Loving LGBT People Well, 12 Suggestions for Traditional Churches | A Queer Calling.

Good Morning Constance!  🙂  Once again I want to thank you for being here, on Charissa’s Grace Notes with me, and journeying in your own ways from works and death to Grace and Life…your presence here, your comments, your shared humanity brings me hope and adds ammunition for those lonely times in the night when all are sleeping, all is still, and I watch…awake on the walls.   ❤ Thank you ❤

So the link above is from an interesting blog that is worth perusing.  It lists several suggestions for Christian people to love and serve in ways consistent with the gospel, and likely far more congruent with the heart of Jesus Himself, the Great Friend of Sinners.

We have all heard the old saw “love the sinner and hate the sin”…heck, prolly a whole lot of people who read here have even said that.  I have before…much to my great regret…I have indeed.  When I did, I didn’t really realize what that said and implied about the person I was speaking to…and even worse what it said and implied about my own heart and self evaluation.

Alas…what I and others were usually saying is we think the loving thing to do is make sure the person knows they are a sinner.  And quite simply, this is just not the way that Jesus did things…oh wait!  There were times that He outright called people out on their sins!  I forgot about those!

Yeah…it was to the Pharisees!  Ya know those folks of that day who were the ones who loved to point out how everyone else was a sinner!  He ripped them a new one over and over and over again because who they were in their own eyes was more important than who their neighbor is in God’s eyes…and that is fatal.

Of course I am not advocating “loving sin” by opposing the use of that phrase!  Don’t be ridiculous!  What I am saying is you ought to major in people, and minor in sin management.  After all, your skills at sin management must suck, or Jesus would not have felt the need to descend from His state in Heaven, take on human flesh, and then suffer and die for you (ya know, a sinner).  Right?  If you were capable of managing sin, well then He would have just encouraged and taught you until you got it right!

Jesus never said “love the sinner but hate the sin”, and no one believes that meant that Jesus was compromising, prevaricating, or condoning anything evil.  No…Jesus understands one crucial thing:

Saying Yes to Love is far more effective and powerful than saying No to sin.

The true YES renders the no moot.

And that brings me to why I link to this article, because if we are going to discard futile harmful platitudes, then how to we pick up effective and edifying alternatives?

They list a dozen, and they are “process oriented” and not items that you can check off on your daily righteousness list.

They demand that you see the people in your life as your moral equals.
They demand that you give the people in your life the same standing as worthy of God’s love as you have.
They demand that you understand that your perspective is extremely limited and insufficient by definition, as you are a very finite, very imperfect, and very limited being.

As you go, take with you my lil motto that I have pulled from Micah 6.  It is a superb guide for keeping it simple and loving.  And it has an order of listing for a reason.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Love, Charissa

tumblr_ngs5owtcyu1s2z59jo1_1280

A Meeting, A Foreshadowing, A Banquet of Friends

Dear Constance…

Jane and I had the absolute wonderful honor to get together with John and Jennifer Pavlovitz and some people they knew via their blog and Facebook.  They were out here from the East Coast for the Gay Christian Network Conference.  John had posted on Facebook that they were holding an informal 2 hour meeting in Portland, and as we are only an hour or so away, we just knew we had to go.

The event was set up by a lovely woman named Diane, and we met Bridgit, Jessica, Terri, Steve, Gordon, and Ken.  We had never met any of these people before, and yet somehow we all felt as if we knew each other for years.

It was a foreshadowing of eternity.

It might also be a foreshadowing of another sort, a blogger convocation that I have my lil pea brain churning away over, but that is months if not years away yet.

I cannot tell you how edifying it was to us.  We are in a season where people are falling out of our lives faster than the speed of terminal velocity…being transgender is worse than being a leper, I guess.  Constance, not to worry…it isn’t contagious…though the hatred that swirls around it sure seems to be.  In its own way, the season of abandonment is a good one, because I have always had this deep question that has haunted me:  am I loved because of what I do, the gifts I have and the things I contribute?  Or am I loved just because I am me and I am alive, regardless of what I do or say or write or think?

I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people who are friends now, few as they may be, are here because they really love us, and not just what we do.

Well, the other part about this meeting that was amazing is that it foreshadows the time coming, when Mama begins to add people back into our lives, and I know She will because They are good.  And these people will be people who see us.

Last night was such a time…we saw…and we were seen…and love waxed thick and comfortingly delicious!  Words fail me, because it wasn’t some grandiose profound thing!  It was just a bunch of ordinary dorky human beings who love an extraordinary and Lovely God, and in that meeting with us all and Them, we were beautified and overshadowed with grace, glory and gladness.

I wrote a poem for my new friend Terri…you can see it a couple of posts back right here.  All the imagery and conversation has direct integration into the evening together.

Constance, do yourself a huge favor and head over to John’s blog and prowl around.  He is all heart with a mind awake and a ready laugh so freely infusing the tears of the world.

I guess the best thing I could say about him is that he is safe and I trust him.

To John, Jennifer, Diane, Terri, Ken, Gordon, Steve, Jessica, and Bridgit:  if you find your way here, Hiiiiiii!  BIIIIGGG  Charissa smiles and huggz!!  I love you all and we just met!  If I see you before, it won’t be soon enough, and if I don’t see you again here in this vale, well then I will see you on That Glad and Glorious Day Eternal Bright and Fair!

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa

PS:  we ate at a place called Killer Burger.  Jane and I split a hamburger with peanut butter, bacon, pickles!  YUMMMMMM

wpid-wp-1421006052826.jpeg

Mama Comments on Charissa’s Comments on Leelah

Dear Constance…

Nights are not good.

Almost every night of my life since I was around 4 I wake up in the night, and I am petrified.  Skert stiff, and I mean that literally.  I don’t know why.  And inner voices that say horrible things that crush…flat, inflectionless, as if I am so worthless that those voices will not even waste their powers on one as meritless as I.  No need to tell you what they say.tumblr_ng9ytraHch1rznwtzo1_500

In 1966 I was exposed to a horror movie that really hooked into my dysphoria and an extremely traumatic event that had taken place a few months earlier, and since then, I have bad dreams, too.tumblr_lyzkcoRLuB1qc0cxpo1_500

That’s a lot of years.
That’s a lot of fears.
That’s a lot of tears.

As I grew, I discovered that talking with God helped…some.  And after I had grown some more, I learned to recognize Their voice back to me…each one distinct and each one full of Love.

Well, if you have been reading here lately you know that I have been in a rough patch.  A bit challenging in fact.  And those voices?  The ones that say crushing and horrible things?  They have utilized the raw materials in my life of trial, betrayal, abandonment, loss, and sorrow, and added that weight and depth and breadth to their curses…and I could not escape their toxin.  I had to just listen…and endure.tumblr_lzo2uhPk6v1r1kan8o1_1280

Until last night…after waking, freezing, cramping, clenching, crying…and ripping apart again…

I heard my Mama’s voice quiet and sure, certain underneath the Mordor doom-drums and orc snarls…and we talked.  A long time.

At the end, She exhorted me to write some of what She told me…here on Grace Notes…as a faith step and an exercise…an attempt to call myself into fullness and being, because I have languished for so many years encased in roles, expectations and binary bondages.  I have even torn myself in two in my desperate attempt to perform and thus be worthy of love and acceptance…and so all those voices whispering all those years are like a gravitational pull to be overcome.tumblr_nhh7fcE3RD1twprg3o1_400

So here is a bit of what Mama told me…translated from spirit/soul/heart talk to written words:

I am Charissa Grace, and I am not the person everyone thought me to be (including myself).  tumblr_nhf6qrQfda1rpe84qo1_1280

I am made sensitive and tender…so I feel the pains and sorrows and hurts and worries of everything and everyone around me…in the same way that a tuning fork hit with vibrations will itself vibrate in frequency, or a crystal goblet will sound when it is circled with a finger.

It is not a function of something wrong in me when I feel all of that…it is a function of how my Mama created me, and so I am to stop calling myself names and blaming myself for things that are not my fault…they are simply the things that I feel because of how I am made by Her.

I am made to drink cups and drain dregs…many of them bitter and some sweet.

I am made to transform things…to catalyze their becoming into who and what they are destined to be, but I myself am not made a part of that…rather I remain apart…alone, and in my Mama’s Hands.mamas hands

I am precious to Her, and She watches over me in such Joyous Jealousy, having purposed to allow me to experience pain in order for Her good riches to be birthed into this world.

I am Mama’s womb of Life…having no womb of my own and born so barren and lonely.  She intentionally formed me intricate, delicate and robust, so easily woken but desperately determined to hang on…hang on…hang on.

I am Her Instrument and She delights in my unique and utterly singular voice, and so She tunes me…constantly…to be sure I am in tune to Her song, Her heart…She tightens me, She loosens me.tumblr_nh5lyiVPc31qgk7mfo1_500

Above all…I am not evil.  I am not “wrong” or “null” or “nothing” or a “monster” or a “freak”.  What I endure is a function of Her goodness and intention and not a function of my flawed-ness and failures, and there are many of those by the way…flaws and failures.  But to Her they are akin to the chiseled away wood or stone…they are like the clay She pushes away as She makes me into Her Own.tumblr_mg1b54JLRN1qbwkv3o1_500

I am the daughter of Holy Spirit, Great Lady Grace…my Big Mama…and I am good.  She has said it and my Precious Merciful Jesus has made it true in His own Love dripped completely over me and washing totally thru me cleansing me and making me Their Righteousness.

I will live, and still pine and long…grieve and mourn…but I will also see the Dawn morning by morning and I will keen under Her loving caresses to my hair and cheeks as She wipes away travail and gives…

…gives me Beauty for ashes…and the Oil of Joy for mourning…and She clothes me in Songs of Praise glorious and radiant and She disappears the spirits of heaviness…as She plants me in Her Own Orchards of Righteousness and calls me Her Very Own…and I will indeed day by day glorify Her Name and call Her good and only good as She brings me to the Father of Lights from Whom every good and perfect gift comes.day_50_by_secrets_of_the_pen-d4qb4z8

I am a prophetic declaration to a world that is spiritually cross-borned, just as I am physically thus.  Yes, each and everyone of us is “transgender”…walking around with this knowing inside us that we were not destined for death and dissolution and destruction, knowing that we are victims of time, knowing that who we are in our hearts is somehow choked down and held down and thrown down by something that ought not be…

…and so as I live and love, as I trust and talk, as I weep and write, I am becoming a living word of love to whoever will listen, and let their own hearts awaken the dawn.Image 001

These things I say in faith…believe me, they are not said in boast, or even really anything that I think about myself.  But I do know that I have heard from my Mama…and these sorts of things, the things I have written here?  They aren’t even remotely like anything the voices have ever cursed at me, and like nothing I tell myself…wait, correction:  told myself…so I know that they must be Her.

Mama said She was so thrilled when I picked out the name double-grace…She promises She will make good on it.

I am Charissa Grace, and I am in my Mama’s Hands.  May my song ever be sweet and my tune ever triumphal, even in tears.tumblr_mv2tt5HQEw1rybem6o1_400

 

True Beauty

Constance, I know one of my biggest struggles in life is feeling like I should not be.  Just…not be.  And this has a whole list of corollaries that flow down from it, and one of the most serious is that I think I am tremendously ugly.  Physically, I was told that I looked okay for a biological male, sometimes even being told I was good looking.  But I never ever thought so…because that is not how I look to myself inside of me.

Inside of me?  I am small, light boned, neat and petite.  Not on the outside.

And now…as I transition, my looks are changing, getting better…but there is something else happening.  There is something inside me that comes out when I am most completely unaware of myself and when it does it feels wonderful.  And I am told that it is radiant and beautiful.

I still struggle with being.  A lot.  Especially during times of isolation and abandonment, because my quick relentless mind immediately fills that absence of people with reasons…”they are not here because you are ****, or ****”…fill in the blank, yeah?  Stupid, or ugly, or unlovely, or a pain in the ass, or a bother…it doesn’t really matter because they are all accusations and they are toxic as arsenic.

This morning I saw this quote, written in French, and it expresses a thought that represents hope to me.  If true beauty comes from within, and is based on a beautiful soul, then I have a shot at beauty, yes?  Because Mama and Jesus and Father are the Architects of my soul and it is the desire of my heart to look like Them.

Now to learn to live in the long absences as one full who deserves to be…instead of as a homeless person who is a blight.

“Chacune de nous a besoin de se faire dire qu’elle est formidable ! La beauté d’une femme n’est pas dans ses vêtements, ni le joli minois qu’elle affiche ou la façon dont elle se coiffe. La beauté d’une femme doit être vue dans ses yeux parce qu’ils sont les portes de son coeur, là où l’amour réside. La beauté d’une femme n’est pas dans un grain de beauté bien placé sur le haut d’une lèvre. La vraie beauté d’une femme est réfléchie par son âme. L’amour qu’elle donne, la passion qu’elle démontre, les années qui passent l’embellissent.”tumblr_n00r52eSqi1r7fsa9o1_500