Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Don't Like Poetry

Here's a poem for today:
I don’t like poetry.
Oh, sure, there’s that Billy Collins thing.
It’s pretty good.
And Ted Kooser
He makes me laugh.
And Wendell Berry always makes me
Want to move to the valley and raise alpacas
But still, I don’t like poetry.
And I don’t like Republicans.
Jim, from college, doesn’t count.
Neither does my next-door-neighbor, the mayor,
who I voted for
And my boss from Chicago
Best boss I’ve ever had
She doesn’t count either
I don’t care that Democrats are no different
I still don’t like Republicans.
And I really don’t like Christians.
Sure, mom and dad are elders in the church I grew up in
And some of the folks I went to seminary with …
Yes, I try to follow Jesus, but
I don’t like Christians.
I googled “Christian Republican Poetry.”
Thank God.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What's Next

I had lunch today with a retired CIA analyst who is deeply troubled by the saber rattling coming out of the White House concerning Iran. In what I guess is typical analyst-speak, he offered about a 51-percent chance of military action against Iran soon. I suppose the detention of Iranians in Iraq doesn't count as military action, so the conclusion of any bet remains to be determined.
We talked about the role of the church in ending the occupation of Iraq, and I suggested that perhaps the most difficult challenge facing people of faith is to act without regard for the results. I don't mean that actions against the occupation ought not aim to be effective, rather that prophetic action measures itself as witness not as accomplishment. It is not that I don't care about the outcome, but I know that the outcome is not in my hands.
The question then becomes, "what is faithful action against this ongoing, unjust war and occupation?" How do we witness to peace amidst war?
While results may not be foremost in mind, it is nevertheless faithful to remind ourselves that September is going to be a crucial month in the American political process regarding Iraq and Iran. It would not be unfaithful to desire, to pray for, to work for results next month.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are We There Yet?

There was a story in the Post this morning about unexplained smoke that has shut down Metro service a couple of times recently. It seems that no one is quite sure what's causing it. What struck me in the story this morning was the ready assumption that this could be terror related. Obviously, in this city, the threat of terrorist actions is real and constant, but the fear fomented by an administration that sees a terrorist behind every bush, as it were, leaves everyone looking first for terrorists whenever anything remotely out of the ordinary happens.
Dick Cheney's one-percent doctrine -- roughly stated, that if there is a one-percent chance of terrorist activity the United States should respond as if the suspected action was certain -- spills over to infrastructure maintenance. Indeed, it spills over in advance, such that we spend billions on homeland security but, my bet at this point, not nearly enough to prevent some run-of-the-mill electrical glitch that has now shut down the main arteries of the capital city's public transit system.
Are we safe yet?
Fear also explains this additional report in today's news: Americans own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms.
Are we safe yet?
The same fear explains a study, now more than 15 years old, that reported that the radius children are allowed to roam outside of their homes had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been 20 years earlier. At that rate, by now most kids must never step outside unaccompanied by an adult.
Are we safe yet?
Somewhere in all of this there is a meditation on fear waiting to be born, but I've got to run now, because I'm currently sitting too close to the Metro station for comfort.