One Moment

Experience tells of lessons learned and lived—
choices made, words spoken, actions done—
all done once and unable to be undone once.
Choices hem off certain options in the moment—
though new opportunities come again activating
choice’s functioning sword of swift severance.
Words leave no trace over lips as they leave
but they hit like sticks and stones where ever
they land; leaving welts and bruises, even scars.
Actions flow from bodies as if summoned by a
divine wizard; like embodied incantations they
altar space—for better or worse—in a single blow.
And it’s all once: one choice, one word, one action;
that’s all it takes to forever change anything in a
specific way that can and will never be undone.
So maybe we should slow down when we are
faced with seemingly innocuous choices,
tempted to say that seemingly little thing,
provoked into that seemingly small gesture;
take that second, take that pause, slow down
and breathe—think twice, see well, listen more.
These choices, words, and actions do not fall
idly to the ground and flip-flap about like fish
pulled from waters and left to wither in the sun.
They are always given to others to carry away;
we pass on our choices, words, and actions as
if we are mail-carriers delivering both wanted
and unwanted packages to suspecting and un-
suspecting individuals traversing our journeys.

words like blood

words flow through me like the very blood that flows and moves through my veins and arteries in opposing directions through various delicate tubes weaving and wending throughout my body so everything I write comes from me not merely my mind or my heart but both and my body too and that flow and fluidity is a stream of my own being leaving me and entering the world but that old and over used analogy that this written thing is a begotten baby whose cord must now be cut so that the baby may live in the world falls flat because it is a lie nothing written has ever felt like it is not still connected to me in some form whether bad or good and should I point out that such an analogy is they way men view birth and child rearing because I am mom and there is no way that simply cutting the cord of the human I just birthed means that it is now detached from and not a part of me on its own and of its own through nourishing and encouraging and training and walking along side I grow more attached to the very child that I once held in my body and then strapped to my breast by cloth tied about my body and who now walks beside me and towers above me larger than I and so I cannot help but think that as maternally defensive as I am over my babies turned young adults due to profound and deep attachment that the same thing would occur with the other product that my body produces through herself because this thing that I have written bears in likeness to me and carries with it my genetic material even if merely collections of letters and shapes forming places to pause in various forms it is an animated thing not a cold product like a can or a shovel or a thing to be kicked about purchased sold used as a means to an end it is a line from me to the one who reads it an intimate momentary bond that holds for however many minutes it takes to walk together from the beginning to the end and I think the sooner we come to terms with the interconnectedness of art from the artist to the one who is engaged and encountered by the art the sooner we will be made aware that we are not stoic producers in a world demanding product and material but co-creators divinely inspired swirled up and spun about in the divine delight of begetting and creating living breathing things in the world that tie us to us in a beautiful silvery spiritual and mystical thread spun by the divine light of heaven dropped by spinning spools releasing their brilliant and delicate and thin string and material into eager hands of listening and watching creatures ready to participate in this thing called humanity and willing to step thread in hand curious enough to pick up the stray end of another and allow heart beats and blood flows and intimate connectivity to bond risking exposure and rejection and still feeling deep awareness of self and union because these words have flown through me like the very blood that flows and moves through my veins and arteries…


inspired by Dorothee Sölle’s discussion of “Co-Creator” in To work and to Love: A Theology of Creation

Redeeming Radical Rhetoric

Sancta Colloquia episode 110 ft. Garrett Gore

In this episode of Sancta Colloquia, I was able to (finally) talk with (in voice to voice) another one of my favorite Twitter Tweeps: Garrett Gore (@GarrettLacan4).  The conversation presented exactly as I hoped it would: Garrett produced intriguing material and authors and taught me a bunch of things. He’s a few years older than my students and part of that really remarkable generation rising. As I say in the introduction, I take the wisdom offered to me by those who could be my kids as seriously as I take the wisdom offered to me by those who could be my parents. This is something our world–or at least our particular western, American context—would do well to be a lot better at. And if you take the time to listen to Garrett you’ll learn an important lesson in language and leftist theory and revolution. Garrett did an excellent job explaining the necessity of “redeeming radical rhetoric”. This makes sense and it’s ironic. Don’t we adults accuse the youths of not taking language as seriously as we do? Yet here is one of those youths explaining the system of language as well as articulating the deep need for redeeming language and rhetoric and words. Garrett says, “Humans are subjects who are tortured by language.” And I think he’s right; this is the back bone to the entire conversation. Whether how we use words, how words impact us, what we think about words we think we understand, there’s an awful amount of torture. We need to reclaim language, Garrett explains in various ways, so we can cause a hard break with the many abusive systems in play (Religious, Social, and Political etc.) that are employing language to sustain the abuse and oppression. The status quo is sustained through the use of language that causes numbness and blindness and deafness; Garrett issues a call to wake up and see the power of language used rightly and powerfully and critically. It was such an honor and privilege to have Garrett on the show; I’m grateful for his wisdom and ability to communicate these very important concepts. I hope you enjoy listen to his words as much as I did.

Intrigued? You should be. Listen here via Screaming Pods (

A huge THANK YOU to my friend and producer Sean Duregger (Twitter: @seanCduregger) and Screaming Pods (Twitter: @ScreamingPods) for hosting Sancta Colloquia (Twitter: @SanctaColloquia).

Garrett says: Hey all. I’m Garrett and I come from Texas on the DFW area. I am a former Evangelical and now I am a Post-Theist Quaker. Currently, I am doing undergrad studies, majoring in Philosophy, and hope to go to Grad school to study Political-Theology and other thinkers I’m interested in such as Zizek, Lacan, Fredric Jameson, among others. An issue that is a particular interest of mine that also forms a good deal of my background in philosophy, theology, and theory studies is Anti-Capitalist critique as I am unapologetically Communist, and shamelessly endorse Jameson’s Universal Army model to move beyond Capitalism and toward a Communist society.

Recommended and Mentioned reading:

Fredric Jameson:
The Political Unconscious
Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capital
An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army

God is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology by Tad DeLay
How to Read Lacan by Zizek

Zizek and Politics: A Critical Introduction by Matthew Sharpe and Geoff Boucher
The Monstrosity of Christ
The Relevance of the Communist Manifesto
The Idea of Communism
The Sublime Object of Ideology

Thomas Altizer:
The New Apocalypse
The Gospel of Christian Atheism
Satan and Apocalypse

The Communist Horizon by Jodi Dean
Ethics of the Real by Alenka Zupancic
Towards a New Socialism by Paul Cockshott



Words, Words, Wonderful Words

Words are powerful. I doubt anyone would argue with that. Anyone enjoying an average day on The Twitters understands the power of an ill-used or well-used word. With only 140 characters, Tweeters work hard to come up with that perfectly and tightly packaged thought; one ill placed word…and their good day swiftly swirls down the drain. Word vultures flock in to consume not only the tweet, but also the Tweeter herself; for this very reason, I’ve stopped having “original thoughts” on twitter because #ImAfeared and #ICantJamMyThoughtsInto140Characters.

But words are powerful. Words and word-phrases like: yes, I love you,  you’re beautiful, that post was inspiring, you did that really well!, I’m so happy to see you, etc. build people up and create life. And then there are words and word-phrases that do the opposite: no, try again, that wasn’t good enough,  just go away,  I hate you, etc; these words tear down and destroy those who are the intended hearing recipients. No one will argue with this; we’ve all–at one point or another–been on the receiving end of life-giving and death-dealing words and word phrases. I’ve been torn down by words and I’ve been built up by them; so have you.

So, words are powerful. But what I find so surprising as a member of this word-speaking group of people called humanity, is how often we still forget just how powerful words are. I recently had an encounter with a (let’s call him) colleague where I chose a word that was funny and wink-wink to me, but offensive to him. It took some time and some dialogue (the exchange of words) to figure out what had occurred. A simple word caused the disturbance. Yet we forget just how powerful words are…we just forget because we are surrounded by so  many and we so often use them carelessly.

But, words are powerful. As a theologian, I’ve been front-seat at a near knock-down drag-out argument over a word. I’ve actually been in those arguments; I’ve also rolled my eyes when a peer says, “Well, I’ve an issue with the words…” and I’m all #FacePalm. Those of us who have invested their lives in the pursuit of understanding the nuances of theology, know full well how powerful words are. From studies in Church History to Pastoral Care, students of theology know without a doubt how powerful words are; and, to some degree, it’s inexcusable when we forget this truth.  We don’t have the luxury of miss using words because often our congregants, our family and friends, and even the random strangers that follow us on twitter have been abused by words.

So, if words are important and we (theologians, pastors, leaders of the church) know just how important those words are, then why do we still try to use words that have caused a lot of damage to our people in the past? I can only chalk it up to the fact that those of us in authority over the sheep stop listening to the sheep, stop listening to their bleats of pain, hurt, anger, and fear. Why do we keep trying to stress “obedience” when so many people coming out of fundamentalism and legalism have been beaten up by that word? Why do we stress “submission” to a group of women coming out of churches where they were held down by that word? Why do we look at those men who have nearly died under the wait of  “headship” and “leadership” and still speak those words?  If our people have PTSD from the abuse of certain words (the above being a small sampling) why do we still use them? It’s not enough to say: well Paul used them so we should. It’s also not enough to try to find a new way to define such words (like: leading is serving) because, at best, our definitions (while true on many levels) are too ambiguous for the mind to understand and comprehend and at worst aren’t heard anyway because we lost our listener as soon as we used the dreaded word to begin with. And, let’s be honest, it’s really hard to pretty-up the club that was used to clobber your hearer to the point of death.

Since words are powerful and also since words have wounded our listeners, we need to use new words to discuss those old themes. How do we do this? A Friend once told me that he had a colleague who had an issue with the word-phrase “Law and Gospel.” I asked him, “Well, how did you work around that?” (at the time only understanding those two terms to define the biblical hermeneutic I ascribed to). He said, “Simple. I switched in ‘Command and Promise’ and ‘Death and Life.'”  With so many words at our fingertips and there for our use, why don’t we employ this word-switch tactic more often? Rather than talk of “obedience”, what if I said, “Just love God and love your neighbor because you have been radically loved”? Is not loving God and loving your neighbor the fulfillment of everything that qualifies for obedience?  Rather than talk of “submission” and “headship/leadership” I said, “Just love your husbands and wives”? Is that not that the goal of Paul’s exhortation in the first place? You might, to both statements, ask, “Well, how do I do that?” Or, “What does loving God/Neighbor/Husband/Wife look like?” It doesn’t matter how I answer those questions, because what’s happened is that the dialogue has been restored; I’ve not lost you. By eliminating the painful words and speaking with new words that you’ll listen to, I can enter into a dialogue with you. I can then say, “Well, submission is actually mutual…sit down, let’s talk more about this.” By carefully choosing words and by carefully listening to you, I can wade through your pain with you while keeping the channels of communication open.

To all those I’ve wounded with poorly chosen words: forgive me, please. To all those who are still listening to me, I promise you: I’m listening to you and to your words because they are so important and tell me how to choose my words. May the Lord help me never to forget just how powerful words are.