Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: poetry

A Treat

The present was neatly wrapped

Ribbon red flowing down the side

Elegantly given and kept

A gift of love, grace, and of pride

The act that was so clearly apt.

Photo by DiEtte Henderson on Unsplash

Treat

falling

falling

you said to eat from

any tree in the garden

just not that one

the one in the middle

the one with the best fruit

but i ate it anyway

and now i’m falling

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evil lurked

source: New York Daily News

source: New York Daily News

evil lurked
quietly in the garden.
unseen. unheard. unknown.
as God breathed the breath of life into adamah,
evil slithered in the shadows.

the adamah
became humanity.
muscles, skin, and bones walking around
breathing; sighing; crying;
placed in the beauty of the garden.

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Open

Hate hardens hearts.
Fear narrows minds.
Bigotry slams doors.

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5 Books to Read This Advent

5 Advent BooksThe Advent season has started. It is the new year of the church calendar, where we anticipate not just the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas, but the unknown day and time when Christ will return. Diane M. Houdek, one of the authors featured here, writes, “Advent challenges us to step away form the hectic activity of the world, even if only for a short time each day.”

Advent beckons us to slow down during what is likely the busiest time of the year. Advent calls us to seek a deeper relationship with the One born in the mundane of life. Each of the five books listed below are useful tools to a reader or a small group this Advent to slow down and assure that everything – all of us – are rooted deeply in the Christ Child.

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Light

the light pours into the dark room.

it illuminates only a small space.

but it is enough to cast away the darkness.

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I Have a Voice

God gave me a voice and said, “It is good.”
     But, I talk, and you carry on as if I’m not here.
     I speak and it is as if I’m not in the room.
As if I have nothing to say.

I have a voice.

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Follow Friday: Susan Irene Fox

I first discovered Susan Irene Fox and her self-titled blog after she started liking some of mine posts. Out of curiosity I started reading her blog. Susan has a way of sharing profound, spiritual thoughts that are welcoming and not threatening. After a twenty-year career as an elementary school teacher, that ended due to a permanent disability, Susan started blogging to get her name out there.

She had started a Bible curriculum projected for grades K-6 called Branches. The blog was to give her an online fingerprint for potential publishers. Ever since then, both the curriculum and the blog have evolved. “The curriculum,” Susan says, “is now a biblical devotional series for families.”  Branches, which is based on John 5:14-15, is currently in the editing stage. Meanwhile, the blog has greatly expanded as “a way to edify, encourage, enrich – and sometimes gently exhort – the Body of Christ,” Susan says. The blog has become, for Susan, a way to abide in the Spirit, while building the Kingdom of God.

As I have lifted the focus off me and onto God, the experience has become rich with new insight. Followers have increased organically as the Spirit has led them. And when just one person tells me the words I write have reached his or her heart, that comment keeps me motivated for weeks, because I have been an obedient vessel.

At times, Susan will post a poem, which is an incredible way to express a gospel truth. “Poetry,” Susan says, “is a rekindled love.” She wrote poetry during high school and college. She would teach grammar through poetry writing. Often, as she writes in her personal prayer journal, she will write poems. She never, however, had the courage to make any of the poems public. With great delight, the poems were welcomed and well received. Susan got a number of reassurance and support for them, including from other poets. She now posts a poem every Sunday – “my small way of praising Him.”

Susan, like other bloggers, will occasionally do a series. Currently she is doing a series on the Beatitudes. Susan says there are two reasons that went into her decision to do a series. “The first,” she says, “is because writing a series keeps me motivated, interested, and educated.” It gives her the opportunity to “dive more deeply into a small amount of Scripture,” and then share what she gleaned from that dive with others. “The second reason,” she says, “is that, as I’m editing Branches, I’m relooking at this living text called the Bible.” Susan says that each time she ponders on the Bible, “it seems to speak differently” to her. These new ponderings lead her into areas she may not have been ready to see previously in her life. “It’s an adventure,” she says, “and I love to follow each new path.”

The topics in the series are the same topics that are included in Branches. The first series was on the Fruit of the Spirits. The series after the Beatitudes will be The Twenty Third Psalm. Each series gives an opportunity to chew and digest small pieces of Scripture at a time.

I was curious to know who Susan reads. Every so often she will quote a Christian thinker and ponderer. When Susan first came to faith, she “soaked up Lee Strobel’s books.” She names her pillars as N. T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster and Henry and Richard Blackaby. She also reads Max Lucado, Tullian Tchividjian, Jonathan Merrit, Francis Chan, Phyllis Tickle, David Platt, John Ortberg, Beth Moore, and Tim Keller. But that is just to name a few.

Blogging has its rewards. I wanted to know what the most rewarding part of Susan was from blogging.

The most rewarding part of blogging is the discovery of new things about Scripture from the most amazing blog writers. I have so much to learn as a new believer, yet just this week I was greatly comforted and inspired that I am not unlike all those other “new believers” in the first century – Mary and Martha, Priscilla and Lydia, Titus and Timothy – and I am humbled and enriched to be in such gracious company.

You can read Susan’s blog at susanirenefox.com and you can follow her on Twitter @susanirenefox.

The other night CBS Evening News included a recitation of Maya Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird” as a part of their tribute to the acclaimed poet. Angelou’s words have been there when words could not be found. She provided a voice for the hurting, the abused, the neglected, and the oppressed. She sought for freedom in all the ways it is expressed and manifested. Here these words by one of the greatest, if not the greatest, poet and ponderer of our time.

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