Thursday, September 21, 2006

This will never work!

conventional wisdom tells us
we should always
stand our ground
until the other person gives in;
God's wisdom from on high
recommends a willingness to yield
so that the other might be served.

the consensus
among TV's talking heads
is that strength
is the only choice to make
in confronting the world;
God's strange insight
is that weakness
is the way to welcome others.

popular belief holds
that we should sit
in our easy chairs,
cynically commenting on
the rottenness of everyone around us;
God's radical response
beckons us to stand
by living waters,
offering everyone a drink.

the prevailing sentiment is simple:
if you want to win the race,
use any means possible
to come in first;
God's unorthodox belief
calls us to come in last,
carrying all who have fallen
across the finish line with us.

sounds awfully child-like to me.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 17, 2006

we were pretty sure
we knew you
until you asked us who you were . . .

we thought we had you
all figured out
until you started mentioning
those things none of us
want to think about . . .

we thought we knew
where you were going
until you crossed
to the wrong side of the street . . .

we thought we knew everything.

give us wisdom
so we might find
the willngness
to follow you;

give us wisdom
so we might cradle
your uncomfortable words
in our hearts;

give us wisdom
so we might know you
and in knowing,
tell others of your glory.

give us wisdom . . .

Wisdom's Brother.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 10, 2006


if we turn up our radios
or CD players loud enough,
O God,
we are able to deafen the cries
of the needy and oppressed:

be opened, ears!

if we switch channels quickly,
O God,
we do not have to see those disturbing images
of the children in the barrios of Brazil
or the families in Darfur:

be opened, eyes!

if we are persistent enough in our Pharisaism,
and diligent enough with our docrtrines,
O God,
we can keep 'them' from coming to the Table,
keeping it all (even the crumbs) for ourselves:

be opened, arms!

if we are cool towards the passions
of pesky outsiders,
if we are indifferent to the injustices
of our world,
O God,
we can remain apathetic
in the face of grace being poured out
for our parched spirits:

be opened, hearts!

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

you would . . .

if we would be your people,
Blessed God,
we must look in the windows of the world:
to see as you see,
to love as you love,
to act as you act.

through us,
you would
stand by the poor,
rescuing them
at the beginning of their distress,
not when they are
at the end of their hope.

through us,
you would
side with the oppressed,
and challenge us
to release them
from their tyranny and torture.

through us,
you would
speak for the voiceless,
and call the powerful
to meek and lowly lives.

through us,
you would . . .

Beloved Holy One:
help us to be doers,
not just hearers
of your heart.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman