Thursday, November 18, 2010

And another one . . .

Just a quick post to say that another of my short stories will be popping up in the wild this January. It's in an Australian publication (ooooh, how exotic) called This Mutant Life. And yes, it is a super-hero story.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Hey everyone. Follow this link and check out the list of contributors to the upcoming edition of Jabberwocky.

Notice any names you recognize? Aside from Oscar Wilde of course.

And while I'm at it, I know this is a little old and most of you have already checked it out, but here's a link to a short story I had published earlier this year with Residential Aliens.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

I see him descending the mountain with a crowd. Does he know I’m here, on the edges and removed? Outside. Always outside. Does he have words for one such as me or are his words for them alone? I must know, for only he can help.

“Unclean!” I shout. “Unclean!”

With the babble of voices surrounding him, no one hears. I cry louder.

“Unclean! Unclean!”

Those closest to me hear my words and scatter. Those beside them turn and see me: torn clothes, hair uncovered, hands covering my mouth while I shout. They understand even if they can’t hear. A path opens.

Not like the parting made for princes or priests. No. More like the Sea’s parting—violent and eager to return to its resting place.

But the Teacher stands silently, eyes fixed on me. I can’t hold back. I run to the man and fall at his feet. I dare not touch those sacred feet or even brush his sandals. Words bubble within me, but for a time I can say nothing, just kneel with my forehead in the dust at his feet.

The crowd grows impatient, its unease palpable, so at last I speak.

“If you’re willing, you can make me well.”

It’s all I can think to say. I look at my scabbed hands and flaky skin. My body breaking into pieces, the stuff that binds it dissolving before my eyes. It is too much to ask, even of him. This is my lot, my fate, the will of Him who made me. I’m prepared for a rebuke, but it doesn’t come.

Instead, a hand settles on my shoulder. I gasp.

“I am willing,” he says.

There is no flash of light, no thunderclap. But skin that was dead is now alive. My hands stretch out—whole and unmarred—to cradle those blessed feet. His hand rests on my shoulder still, holding me together as I weep in the dust and dirt.

I’ve been healed.

I am whole.

I belong.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Matthew 5-7

I stand on a hillside with many others. I don't know how long we've been here, nor do I care. The Teacher is speaking. Already my heart and mind are full. I doubt I can take in any more. Each word he speaks seems pointed at me; each word challenging my long-held beliefs.

The eyes of some around me are turned inward now, examining a heart touched by words on love, holiness, trust--there are countless possibilities. What words will cause my eyes to do the same? At what point will I hear no more, unable to focus on anything but the last words I heard him speak, the words that expose my sin?

While I don't know what those words will be, I know they will come and my life will never be the same. They will be a crossroads, those words. One path will follow the Teacher and the other . . . well I'm fairly certain I'm already on that path. And the more I hear, the less I like where that path leads.

And there they are.

"In the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Matthew 19:13-15

"Go ahead son," my mother says to me. "He's just over there."

I take tentative steps toward the crowd of milling children and adults. The noise is deafening. Loud voices rise above the clamor rebuking and driving people away. My feet stop moving and seem to take root in the ground below them. The yelling men sound angry and angry men are scary for one as young and small as me. I can go no closer to those men, but neither can I go back.

The crowd parts and I see him. He raises a hand and with just that simple gesture silences the crowd and the scary men. He looks at me then, his eyes bright and warm and rich. Holding my gaze he says, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

As he finishes he reaches out a hand toward me and I find my feet unfettered and free, the ground streaking past beneath my running feet. I launch myself at him and he catches me in strong arms, swinging me around and laughing. His laughter is warm and fresh, still young like newly grown grass. It is not at all like the laughter I normally hear from adults. Like my feet, it is unfettered and free.

We finish our spin and I rest my head on his shoulder. His head tilts toward mine and his beard tickles my chin. I turn a little and rub my face against his garments.

With his left hand still holding me tight, he rests his right hand upon my head and speaks simple words over me. Words of blessing sink into my heart where they begin to take root--speaking the truth of my heart and calling me to surrender to perfect love.

He squats down until my feet rest once more on the dry and dusty earth. I pull back enough to see his face, eyes squinting with the breadth of his smile. Strong hands hold the sides of my face and he plants a bushy-bearded kiss on my forehead.

Eyes and face still smiling he lets go and points back through the crowd to where my mother waits. I give him one last hug and softly whisper, "Thank you," before I make room for the next child waiting to receive his love and blessing.

As I rejoin my mother I smile because I feel his blessing taking hold. More so, I still feel his bushy kiss upon my brow, and hope somehow I always will.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

John 15:12

Last week I was reading John 15, one of my favorite chapters anywhere in the Bible, and read a verse I've read countless times before, but the Spirit used it to confront an area of sin. In this verse Jesus says, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you."

The Spirit prompted me to ask myself a very simple question: "Do I want the world to hate me?" To which I could only answer with a resounding "No!" I don't want the world to hate me, especially where writing is concerned. I want the world to read my stories and love them. I want them to be commercially successful so that I can write full-time. And I realized that I was allowing this drive to be loved by the world to color what I was willing to include in my stories.

A long while ago I decided that I didn't want to be reticent about including content in my stories that might push the edges of what many Christians would feel comfortable reading, but I didn't follow that up with a decision not to be reticent about including content that might do the same for non-Christians. How imbalanced is that? The Lord helped me to see that this was going on in my heart and to begin letting it go. Hopefully the stories I write from here on out will tell the tales that are in my head and heart, regardless of how they will be received by the religious or general markets . . . even if they find no market at all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I gave up tea for Lent

Renee and I spent some time last night praying about what the Lord would have us do for this Lenten season, largely at the recommendation of Dr. Peters, priest and professor extraordinaire. It sounds silly to me to say it, but I've never asked this of the Lord at Lent before. I've just picked something and gone with it. It occurred to me as we prayed that every Lenten sacrifice I've ever made involved giving up something that wasn't good for me anyway. Lent has always served as an excuse to make a positive life change and that's about it. But yesterday as I prayed and thought about the purpose of the season, it seemed like the Lord might be calling me to something different this year.

"Why don't I give up tea?" The thought seemed silly. It's not bad for me. In fact it's good for me, so what's the point? If the point of Lent is to make a sacrifice to remind us of Christ's sacrifice, why does my mind always go to things that are bad for me? The apostle Paul writes that everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Why must I give up only those things that are lawful but not beneficial? Why not something that is both lawful and beneficial?

Is it more of a sacrifice to freely give up something that is good for me and that I enjoy in order to suffer in some small way with Christ? I don't know. But I think the real question is: does Christ matter enough to me to make a change in my life, temporary though it certainly is, that there's no other reason for me to make? He is. And, believe it or not, one day without tea has provided plenty of opportunities to pause and reflect on Christ's suffering.

If I could encourage you to do one thing this Lent, it would be to pause and ask the Lord what He might have you do this season, even if it's out of the ordinary or perhaps even strange. If I could encourage you to do two things the second would be to do what the Lord is calling you to do.

May the peace of Christ be with you.