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I talk you talk we'll talk

Month

August 2021

believe when things are bad

(x = space)

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believe when things are bad

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it’s a naïve message,

I suppose

I thought about it during

Bible study,

which was

about assurance

x

an assurance

that things will go bad

even as

a season entered,

x

but God is there

and we should be as well

(we should

show up)

x

believing is a practice

a practice of

a presence,

Brother Lawrence

might say

in church,

the pastor showed

a picture of

Where’s Waldo?

and I thought

we were

supposed to wonder

where God is

in that;

x

but I understand that

God is there,

all over

x

and the question is,

Where are we?

x

good agnostication

sharp skepticism

I hope

that we have more

x

along with

our petitions in the

practice

of the season

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c l couch

x

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Psalm 121, a psalm of assurance

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Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

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Rainy Water

Photo by sanjiv nayak on Unsplash x

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Doctrine by Tempest

(x = space)

x

x

Doctrine by Tempest

x

And should I turn

To the Spirit,

How shall she say

Or guide?

To love in all things,

Though that

Can be a mystery

Like faith

And should I ask for grace

Or is that bestowed

In quantities

Already

Measured out by God,

Dispensed by angels?

I don’t know,

I think grace might be wild,

Ready to fall itself

Into the crisis

Spreading all the elements

And changing time

For

Working things,

Which means perhaps

That prayer

Is unchained, too,

And to do so

Into the storm

In terror

And unformed bequest

Well, it counts

x

C L Couch

x

x

Hurricane Map

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Yemen

x

Escape from Afghanistan

(x = space)

x

x

Escape from Afghanistan

x

I don’t know how it is

To crowd myself

Inside an airplane

I don’t like heights

I don’t like the

Closed-in feeling

x

I don’t know how it is

To climb upon the side

And hope that

The massive vehicle

Will stop

To let me and mine in

x

But this is life

This is escape

This is relief

And so they pack

And so they climb

Something starts moving;

It is the hope

Of leaving

Where we are

To anywhere but here,

Which we think

In the moment

In the crisis

Must be better

x

I might surrender

All my fears

To try for something

That might

Take me through

The filtered sky

Of what has been

My home

Or simply

My assignment

x

C L Couch

x

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My escape from Afghanistan on a US military plane: ‘It was total chaos’

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2021/aug/19/my-escape-from-afghanistan-on-a-us-military-plane-it-was-total-chaos-video

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NO EXIT

Photo by Nathan McDine on Unsplash

x

Deal-Making with the Lord

(x = space)

x

x

Deal-Making with the Lord

(sigh, didn’t work for Moses)

x

Lord,

The stomach feels

So tight

I’d like relief

Though

Really

At the source

x

All my troubles

I can’t escape

Them

Though I could

Escape a few

x

And is

Escape the answer?

Probably not

(worse the

luck)

I imagine there is

Something

By the way of

Resolution

x

But some things,

I think,

Can simply

Be made better

Call it grace or

Miracle

Or one side

Of a pledge

x

Please, Lord,

Ease

The pain

Give me days

Without

The consequences

I’ll work

On the rest,

I promise

x

C L Couch

x

x

x

Photo by Ella de Kross on Unsplash

New York, NY, USA

x

Encounter

(x = space)

x

x

Encounter

x

Is there a spiritual answer

To everything?

Well, yes

But we are flesh and blood as well;

And muscles, organs, veins,

And capillaries

Sometimes need appeased

x

The body keeps the feelings;

The flesh owns

All the senses,

And that’s good

It’s natural,

If limited

The soul is in here somewhere

Incited by a spark of life

That no one seems to understand

x

We seem to house everything

The world, the flesh, and the devil

As I’ve heard

The answers are in here,

I suppose,

Which means that the answers are

In you—maybe

We could share

That would be smart, I think,

And comforting

x

C L Couch

x

x

These young guys were chatting at a cafe, where they caught my eyes. They were a group of friends having coffee and dinner together and talking about movies, videogames, tech and stuff like that. I guess you could say that these are the stories of our younger years.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Atrin Café, Ahvaz, Iran

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Loving Cup

(x = space)

x

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Loving Cup

x

There is a couple

One has cancer

They bake cookies for

First-responders

Many, many cookies

For over a year

Notes of love accompany

But the real notes

Are in the discs of dough

With chocolate or

Peanut-butter chips

Or maybe raisins

Add staffs and they

Would be

Notes of love to make a song

Bless them

Bless you

x

C L Couch

x

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This story was featured on the noon news today (17 August 2021), ABC-27, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA).

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Lovely Wall

Photo by mohammed alherz on Unsplash

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Monday after Sunday Prayer

(x = space)

x

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Monday after Sunday Prayer

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Lord,

What’s going on?

Where are you?

Where are we?

Are we lost,

Or it is that

So much seems lost

On us?

x

Do we simply

Not get it?

We engine on

And sometimes there are wheels

Where do they take us?

Why should we make the trip?

x

Too many questions

We want some

Certainty,

Please

We want to know

We’re on the path to

Something good,

What we’re aiming toward

And heading toward

Is good

x

Good for prosperity

Good for wisdom

Good for relief

On our arrival

x

How will get there?

Do angles light the way?

And yet

Some part of us must be

Agnostic

Must question

Doubt

x

We have to assay

Whether it’s treasure

Or rust

Or rusty treasure

x

To take

Simply admire

And walk on

x

Into future

(into Tuesday)

To the next site

A challenge

The next prayer

x

C L Couch

x

x

Beware of these Streets

Photo by Andrew Gook on Unsplash

x

Missing Church

(x = space)

x

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Missing Church

x

It used to meet

In buildings

Who’d have

Thought

That would be

Novel, given

Centuries

Of scary-high

Structures with

Ornaments that

Trod through

Ages’ worth

Of styles,

Of schools

x

But then,

Before

The buildings

There was nothing

Formal but

The people

Who met in homes

And basements,

That is,

Tombs

x

Cathedrals now

Are cyber

While the

Pandemic surges,

Though we wish

To have our

Lofts again and pews

And pulpits

Or, for

Some, a room

Big enough

For all of us

x

I don’t know

If there’s teaching

Here about

Where we

Meet—that it

Doesn’t matter,

Maybe

x

Two or three

The standard,

Maybe

Really

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Xavier Coiffic on Unsplash

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Vatican

x

Lathes and Crucibles

(x = space)

x

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Lathes and Crucibles

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What shall we say to God

Between sabbath times

Or other times of prayer

Or times when none of us

Are praying?

x

Shall we say

We’re rather tired, rather

Busy, rather occupied with

Real things—money and

Mortgages and relationships

(and these are real)?

x

When God asks us, in

Turn, what have you for me?

Knowing he does not mean

Money or mortgages

Or relationships (not their

numbers, certainly),

What shall we say?

x

But we were busy

But we meant to,

Well, you know

You know, you know the

World—so why bother us?

x

Can we not put a peg

In salvation?  Can we not

Reserve a space for the

Apocalypse?  A room when

We hear you have

So many rooms?

x

This might tear grace apart

Hope might cry

Salvation might be small,

Smaller in number

Than was planned

The mansion empty

With all our watches

At the door,

Just outside

x

Why do we believe in God?

I asked my mother

Because people are afraid

Of going to hell,

She said

And there’s wisdom there,

Pragmatic

Though she had better faith,

I know

x

Faith is not for empty wings

But for a heart and mind

And soul

To fly

The rituals won’t answer

When the angels (solid beings

rife with wings)

As on behalf of God

To bar the way with

Flaming swords

And molten tears, weeping

For God’s way

x

The narrow way

That wasn’t meant to be

But for our refusal

Widened the other

Set fenceposts of denial,

Left out arrows

Of deception,

Tour guides with toothy

Grins

x

Metanoia

Turning as in

Repentance

Paint the other way

(a pun in English)

We have time

For the sake of miracles

And grace,

There might be seconds

For the future

What you are going to do,

Do it now

x

C L Couch

x

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(goodness, this is grim—but so is the news today)

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By H005 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8384955

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