Sunday, April 8, 2018

Why the Resurrection Is Important

Infant coffins under construction in Uganda

Death is a disaster.  God did not create His beautiful, glorious, awesome creation to be defaced by death.  God did not create you and me and all the people of this planet as His images in this place to be marred and destroyed by death.  All of us have been touched by death’s destruction.  All of us will be touched and ruined and destroyed by death.

Death is the result of human disobedience.  Our first parents were created to enjoy God, to enjoy each other, to enjoy the creation.  But both the woman and her husband decided that what they wanted was more important than keeping God’s commandment, than trusting God to provide for them and care for them.  God had given them everything, everything but the fruit from the tree in the middle of the Garden of Paradise, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God had said, Don’t eat the fruit of this tree, because when you do, you will die.  They chose to eat.  And when they did, their relationship with God died, their connection with the source of their life died, their relationship with each other was broken and ultimately died, their relationship with creation was broken and died.  And eventually their own bodies and souls passed away from walking on this place and they, too, died. 

The curse of our disobedience is death.  And it’s not just this physical death of a human person.  It is the combined brokenness in which we live.  Of infants who die in the womb or are murdered by doctors in clinics advertizing 'safe' abortions, and never see the light of day.  Of children who grow weak and sick and are taken from the arms of their parents by malaria or dysentery or some other preventable childhood disease.  Of the illnesses that strike one here and then one there, and make us weak and feeble.  Of the accidents that come from nowhere and suddenly break and bruise us or take us from this life without warning, like the team of young men in Saskatchewan.  Or those cancers that kill with long, slow pain.  Or the heart attack that stops everything in its tracks.  And it isn't just us people.  And all around us the whole creation has been dragged by our sin into this terrible circus of death.

Roadside coffins for sale in Uganda

The world around us has no useful categories to help us cope with our disaster.  We are counseled to view death as a good thing, a natural thing, something we should welcome.  And then there are the multitudes who choose to ignore that there is any problem at all, and pretend that death simply isn't going to happen, to them at least..  Others choose to make light of death.  And so they call it ‘passing away’, which makes it seem that we are dealing with a mere transition, a going from one state of living in this world to a state of living in some after world.  Even many Christians talk about death as if it is no big deal, as if the person who has died has 'gone to be with the Lord' and how much better that is.  But it seems like we people, even we Christians, are simply trying to put a brave face on something we either don’t know about, something we don’t understand, or something that actually we are terrified of.

We are right to be terrified of death.  Death destroys; it destroys us.  Death takes something beautiful, someone created in God’s very image, and destroys that person, rendering them to muck and dust.  Death doesn't just destroy our bodies, death destroys our relationships and takes us away from the people and things that are most important to us.  I was a pastor for many years and I visited many people who were dying.  And here was this person, who not so long ago was strong and vigorous and busy with many things and full of words and ideas, with lots of friends and family, and now they were lying on a hospital bed, they couldn’t even feed themselves, with barely the strength to open their eyes or say anything except nod their head.  Death destroys.  My mother was afflicted with a long debilitating illness and I watch over several years how this beautiful, active woman, my own mother, became a shell of the person she was.  Her body failed her.  She physically shrank 8 inches.  She became weak and prone to falling.  She lost so much weight she was skin over bones.  And finally, she got into bed for the last time and never got up again.  Death destroys.  Death destroys something that was beautiful.  Death takes away something that is precious to us.  And now my mother is gone.  I don’t see her any more.  She is not around to enjoy her granddaughters.  I can't stop by and enjoy my favorite food.  Where she was is now nothing.  This is what death does.  It kills every single person, and robs the rest of us of those people who are the most important things in our life.

Unlike so many Christians today, nobody in the New Testament makes light of death.  Not Jesus.  Not the Apostles,  Not Paul.  ‘Death is the last enemy to be destroyed’, says the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:26).  And this is why what Jesus has done today is so very important.  Jesus didn’t come simply to save our souls.  Jesus didn’t come just to make a way for us to ‘go to heaven when we die’.  This would not be a salvation worth anything.  And preachers who preach this sort of thing are peddling a false and ignorant hope.  That is because we human beings are not just our souls – but God made us both soul and body – that is what it means to be human.  That is what it means to be made in the image of God.  And when Jesus came to save us, he didn’t come as just a spirit.  No, he came as a fully human being, with a real human soul and a real human body.  That’s because the salvation we need is not just the forgiveness of our sins, but the deliverance of our soul and body from the power for death.  If Jesus just died to save us from our sins, then every single one of us would still not be 'saved', because every single one of us has a very serious death problem that forgiveness does not touch.  The salvation that the New Testament announces is not a salvation that sends everyone to heaven.  God is doing something bigger, something greater, something jawdropping, something that includes not just us, but the whole of creation That’s why Jesus went to the cross, not just so that our sins might be forgiven, but that by experiencing death and then breaking death’s power by rising again from the dead, Jesus might save us from the power of death as well, so that on the last day we too might share in the power of his resurrection, so that we, too, might be raised bodily from the grave, so that we, too, might live in the new creation, the new Jerusalem, the new heaven and the new earth, that we might live the lives we were created to live as men and women created in the image of God and now saved from sin and death by Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.

Christ has risen from the dead!  This is unbelievably good news for me and for you this morning.  Everything in our old life was leading to death.  But Jesus is calling us to follow Him, to live a new life that leads to life.  That’s what it means to be a Christian, not just to come to Church, not just to say this or that prayer, not just to 'accept Jesus as my personal savior 'and have my sins forgiven, but to become a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus, to live my life as if Jesus really has risen, and is Lord, and is calling me and you to be his man, his woman, in this place, in this Church.  Most Churches are actually houses of the dead because they are full of people who live their lives as if the gospel isn’t true, as if Jesus death and resurrection is irrelevant to the way they actually live their lives.  But Christ is not irrelevant to our lives – He is the center that holds all things together.  Jesus really did live and do the things we read about in the Bible.  Christ really did die on the cross for you and for me.  And Christ really did rise again from the dead on that first Pascha morning.  And if that’s the case, what should you do?  What should I do?  This is what St. Gregory Nazianzus says:

‘Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him.  But let us offer to Him who suffered and rose again for us – you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world.  Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting…’
St. Gregory the Theologian – Homily on Pascha

People who do what St. Gregory exhorts us to do, people who offer ourselves to Christ, to love him with all our hearts, to serve him, to serve and love our neighbor, to give freely to meet every need, we demonstrate the transforming love of Christ, we demonstrate that we understand the resurrection of Christ, we demonstrate that we are Christians.  True Christians.

And that is because resurrection means transformation.  Jesus has the power to change our lives.  To fill us with his love.  To fill us with his hope.  With his healing.  With his power.  So why are there so few people who claim to be Christians actually living as if they have been forgiven, living as if they have been given a new life, living as if God and His Word can be trusted, living as if Jesus really is their Lord?  It can only be because they don’t know Jesus.  It can only be because they don’t really trust Jesus.  It can only be because they love the things of this world more than they love God.  How else can we explain why so many Christians, so many churches are just a joke, they are playing a game, they simply are not serious, pretending to belong to Christ while living their life the way they want to.

What about you?  Christ is risen!  Are you trapped in your fear of dying, in your fear of bad things happening to you? You have maybe lost someone dear to you. Christ is risen!  Are you overwhelmed because of all the terrible things that are going on all around us?  The sickness, the suffering, the dying, the evil the corruption?  Maybe terrible things have happened to you and you have lost hope for your life.  Christ is risen!  And though it seems otherwise in this world we call home, there will be an end, and death and suffering and evil and corruption will not have the last word.  Because Christ is risen!  And what about your life?  Are you living a life worth living, or are you the slave of your passions, the slave of the world’s way of doing things?  Christ is risen!  This world will pass away, and all that is true to Christ will remain forever.  Maybe you need to repent this morning and come back home to Christ.  Maybe we need to rethink whose Church this is and open ourselves to what mission Christ has for us in this place.  Christ is risen!  And because of this our lives will never be the same.  Our Church, if we believe, will never be the same.  And our world will never be the same if we live as if this good news, this Gospel that has come to us is really true.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

A sermon preached this Pascha morning at St. Paul's Orthodox Church, Jepkoiai, Vihiga, Kenya.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Following Mary

Read Luke 1:24-38

Homily Preached at St. Panteleimon Orthodox Church, near Luanda, Kenya, a kilometer or so down a footpath from the B-1 Kisumu to Busia road.

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation.  In the middle of Great Lent, we take a day to consider the awesome, unimaginable, history-changing conversation between an Archangel of God and a teenaged girl.  Because we are Orthodox, we are not a stranger to the Virgin Mary.  But sometimes all of the flowery language, all the icons categorized by just how she is holding her son, the hymns piled on hymns in pious devotion – ‘more honorable the cherubim, more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word, true Mother of God we magnify you! – sometimes all this praise has the unintended consequence of making Mary very distant from us, that she is so special that she can’t relate to us and we can’t relate to her.  And there are things that make Mary unique among all humanity that ever lived and unique among everyone who will ever come after her.  First, God chose her to be the one in whose womb the savior of the world, the God-Man would be conceived and carried to term.  Mary carried this child in her womb, and when the time came, she gave birth to a son.  Her betrothed Joseph had in a dream heard the angel of the Lord say ‘and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21).  

Many women have given birth to children throughout the history of the world.  But Mary alone was chosen to be the woman through whom Eve’s curse would be undone, through whom the incarnate Son of God would be born.  Secondly, because of this, Mary became the means God used to fulfill his promise to Israel to deliver his people from their sins.  Even more, because of this Mary became the means God used to fulfill his promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed.  It was the son conceived by the miracle of God in her womb, the son she carried to term, the son she loved and raised, the son who undertook to call Israel back to God, the son who was betrayed, arrested and unjustly crucified as a criminal, who by his very act carried the sins of the world and made full atonement for us all, the son who rose again from the dead: it was this son of Mary who by his faithfulness became the savior of the World.  Mary is not our Savior, Mary is not God; in just about every icon you will see she rightly points us to her Son as the one who is worthy of worship and praise.  Nevertheless, by sending Gabriel to have that little talk with her, God put Mary in the middle of the equation of salvation, and there is no way to take her out.  It’s simply the way it happened.

But having said all that, there is something that we Orthodox have a tendency to miss about Mary.  And for our purposes as Christians today, a case could be made that we are missing the most important thing.  And the most important thing that Mary does for us is that she says Yes to God.  ‘Let it be to me according to your word,’ she says to Gabriel.  The Angel had come saying this is what the Lord is going to do.  And Mary couldn’t fathom how this could be.  And when the Angel explained what God would do and what it would mean, Mary said, I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me as you have said.  This is all God ever asks of any of us, that we listen to Him and respond to Him and then say yes. Now much has been made by many Church fathers and many of our best theologians since then about how Mary’s Yes to God undoes Eve’s No to keeping God’s commandment in the Garden of Eden.  This is true, and it is fascinating theologically.  But we mustn’t allow it to distract us from what I consider to be the real point of our passage.

When Mary says Yes to God, she becomes the first Disciple.  She shows us what it means to follow Jesus in our world right here and right now.  She surrenders who she is and what she has to the Lord for Him to do with as He pleases.  When Mary says Yes to God, she becomes the first member of Christ’s Church. She is the paradigm of the New Covenant life.   She shows us what it means to be God’s person in this world of ours.

You see, so many of us are missing this most important point from the Gospel reading today and about Mary.  So many of us think that if we join the church we must be Christians.  So many of us think that if we just take the trouble to showing up at services, we are doing the Church and God a favor. But how many of us are saying Yes to Jesus this morning?  How many of us are making ourselves available to the Lord as His servant in our relationships, in our obligations, in this church this morning?  To many people come to Church because of what they think they will get.  But how many of us are here this morning because God is sending us to give, to give to our neighbor in love, to give to our fellow Christian in love, to give sacrificially everything we have and everything we are to the Lord, just like Mary?  If everybody is here this morning hoping to get something from the bishop or from the missionary, no wonder we are poor.  No wonder our Church is poor.  But if everybody came here like Mary, saying Yes to God, everything I have is yours, all that I am is yours, we would be the richest parish in Kenya.

Our Church doesn’t need more money.  It doesn’t need more help from foreign money or rich politicians. We just need more women and men like Mary.  Women and men who are willing to listen to God, who are willing to understand what God is doing, who are willing to see the big picture and then base their whole life on it.  Men and women who are willing to become Disciples of our Lord just like Mary.  Men and women who are willing to become members of Jesus’ life-changing, world-changing community of disciples that the New Testament calls the Church.  Men and women who are willing to live like the Christians we claim to be.  Men and women who are willing to live like Mary.  Mary was willing to say Yes to God, and her Yes changed the world.  Are you willing to follow in her footsteps and say Yes to God this morning?

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Mirror of Waiting

My work regularly requires me to create something from nothing.  Whether it is a lecture for a class, an article, a chapter in a book, a sermon, if I don’t do anything, nothing will happen.  The same thing for bigger events like missionary home assignment, schedules for visiting parishes and supporters, or even back here in Kenya, an entire job description, where the contours are agreed upon but the details are entirely blank.  This kind of life requires a lot of initiative, a lot of pushing, a lot of trial and ever-accompanying error.

I have not always been very good at this way of life, but I have gotten better at it over the years.  So much so that I can coast along quite efficiently about the tasks at hand, or, to use another metaphor from a circus act, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping a bunch of plates spinning on top of sticks.  Sure I have the obligatory prayer rule and service attendance.  But they are all contained within that bubble of things that I control, that I make happen.

Although I, and possibly others as well, prefer to maintain the illusion of living in contexts that we can control, I think we all know that life constantly conspires to throw us out of our bubbles.  While there are many different scenarios that can send us reeling, I am experiencing one this week that, while one of the more simple factors that arise to disturb one’s equilibrium, I am also finding it a powerful tool in that process of theosis, of becoming more and more like God in our character, our choices, our love.  The opportunity comes about when one is faced with circumstances over which one has no control.  And at it’s most basic level, it is caused by the act of having to wait.  Waiting itself is neither good nor bad. Rather benefit comes when waiting becomes a mirror that reflects our heart.

I have become reacquainted with waiting this week.  I have spent hours waiting through a two day process of clearing my air freight through Kenya customs. I have spent another two days of waiting in the Kenya government’s immigration processes.  I have also been reacquainted with the traffic on Nairobi roads.  And as I write this I am in my third day of waiting for my car’s broken transmission issues to be remedied so I can move to Kisumu.  In each of these situations I have been faced with circumstances over which I have no control, circumstances that have prevented me from doing what I would rather be doing.  And in the process of this forced waiting, I am allowing myself to see that I have some issues of the heart that I was previously paying no attention to.

I have realised that I am impatient - wanting thing done according to my schedule and according to my plan.  I have realised that I am easily angered and cross when things don’t go my way.  I have realised that I have a tart tongue (the older way of putting it)/am snarky when dealing with people whose attitude I don’t like (an altercation with a security guard at the customs place comes to mind).  I have realised that I am a pro at allowing perceived grievances against another to justify my own wrong ways of dealing with it.  I realise that I have been rushing through my own prayers (as I coast along) and by doing so holding God at arm’s length hoping that God will not notice my selfishness and my self-centeredness.  It should not surprise  anyone that God in his mercy is not so easily distracted by my ridiculous evasions.  Which is probably why I am having such a bumper crop of opportunities to wait.

When my agenda was being thwarted by the events engulfing each of the enumerated items on my to-do list earlier this week, I was feeling frustrated.  Already exhausted by travel and reentry, my attempts to push through, to accomplish all the ‘necessary’ things on my agenda exhausted me, and I have felt spiritually empty.  But in God’s mercy I have realised that all this is actually a grace moment that I can embrace or shove aside.  Waiting has given me a chance to be reacquainted with myself and what’s really going on in my heart. Being sidelined from the rush of my self-imposed deadlines gives me a chance to see a reflection of my essential soul.  And being reacquainted I realised anew how still dominated by my selfishness I am, and as a result how sick I am, how in need of a Saviour I am.

The world rushes by around me.  I should be in Kisumu now, unpacking my things, kitting out a kitchen, huddling with the Bishop about what the next weeks hold.  But instead I am lying on my bed in my empty room in Nairobi, looking in the mirror, for a change.  Grateful for the God-given delay, for a change.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Repentance. Seriously.

I arrived safely in Nairobi on Friday afternoon.  That night, Fr. John asked me to preach Sunday at the cathedral.  And on the parable of the sheep and the goats no less.  Ready or not, I'm back in Kenya.

Sermon text:  Matthew 25:31-46

Fra Angelico's Last Judgement Triptich

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

This is, of course, Meatfare Sunday, the Sunday we Orthodox say goodbye to meat until Pascha.  It is also Judgement Sunday, another in the series of preparatory Sundays before Lent where we deal with issues of our sin and we find the way back to God through repentance.  And in particular we read every year at this point in our journey into Lent Jesus’ awesome and terrible parable of the Great Judgment, or the Sheep and the Goats.  This parable has always struck me, as I am sure it has you, with it’s immediacy, it’s urgency, and the power of Jesus’ words to cut through every excuse.  If we have a soft heart this morning, we cannot help but hear the Lord calling out to us in mercy, reaching out his hand to us in love.

We learn a couple of things about the great and final judgment from Jesus in this parable, and though we hear this parable every year, it’s good to be reminded of them.  First, the last judgement will be a universal judgment.   It will involve every person.  It doesn’t matter how old they are or how young they are.  It doesn’t matter how poor or how wealthy.  It doesn’t matter how powerful or how powerless, how wise or foolish, how smart or stupid.  Everybody must give an account of what they have done or not done with who they are and what they have.  All of the nations will be gathered before his throne, all of the living and all of the dead.  No one will be able to bribe their way out of having to stand before Christ, no one will be able to blame anybody else.  The last and terrible judgment will be a universal judgement.

But it will be a fair and a just judgement.  No one will be able to say to God, ‘You have not treated me rightly or fairly.’  No one will be able to hide or pretend, because God sees and God knows.  And like the people in the parable who question how God is judging them, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’  The Lord simply says, ‘Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  

It will be a judgement not based on what you believe but on what you do.  The people sent from the presence of God into hell seem to have believed the very same things that the people who were welcomed into eternal life.  They address the Son of Man as Lord.  They sound properly religious.  But the Lord doesn’t judge anyone on whether they are religious enough, on whether they make pious prayers or go to church.  Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus says, ‘Many of you will come to me on that Day and say, “Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and do many wonders in Your name?” And I will declare to them, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness for I never knew you.”’ (Matthew 7:22-23)  The Lord is not impressed with our loud claims to be a Christian, or to be Orthodox, or to be ‘born again’ and ‘saved’.  The Lord is concerned with what we have done with our life, with our time, with our talents and gifts, with our possessions, with our money.  Have we used what He has given us for His Kingdom and for the sake of others, or have we spent it on ourselves? The Lord Jesus says elsewhere, ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

If this is the case, then there are a lot of self-deceived people around us and maybe even right here among us this morning.  We think that because we are Orthodox that we will go to heaven.  But that simply is not true, according to Jesus, at least.  We think that because we can make pious sounding prayers, or we shout and dance at church, or we are involved in this or that group, that we must be among the saved.  But that too is simply not true, according to Jesus.  Instead, Jesus says that we will know the tree by the fruit it produces.  What comes out of our lives tells us more clearly than anything else what our final destination will be.  But like I said, there are a lot of deceived people around us.  Some 84% of the people in our beautiful country of Kenya claim to be Christians, claim to be ‘saved’.  But at the same time, this country is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet.  The powerful abuse the weak in the rush to grab more power and more of the perks that come with power, the rich bend the rules to favour themselves, the greedy scramble for more and more of everything. Politics is all about personal gain.  Even so-called Christians resort to bribes, steal their neighbour’s land, take their neighbours to court.  If 84% of Kenyans were in the process of being saved, then Kenya would be a paradise.  The fact that we aren’t, that we are so far away of being the paradise that God has called us to be, should be an indication that the so-called Christianity of too many here is nothing but a sham.  And the last judgement won’t tell us anything new about any of us, it will just reveal everyone for who we all are.

Jesus is doing many things in this parable , but one thing in particular that I want to focus on in conclusion is this.  Jesus wants to wake us up.  All of us are on one of two paths right now, a path leading towards Jesus, towards becoming like Jesus, towards eternal life; or a path leading away from Jesus, away from becoming like Jesus, a path heading towards everlasting punishment.  And every year our Orthodox Church brings us back to Jesus, back to this point, this parable, to wake us up.  We have another chance to consider which path we are one, another chance to consider what fruit our life is producing, whether we are sheep or whether we are goats.

The real reason Jesus comes to us with this parable, the real reason our Orthodox Church highlights and underlines what Jesus is telling us, is not to condemn us but rather to give us one more chance to repent.  There will be a final judgment, the way we live our lives will be held to account, how we treat the people around us will be examined.  But I don’t have to continue to live the same way, I don’t have to continue to mistreat people, I don’t have to keep on making choices that hurt me and hurt others.  I can turn away from living that way, and I can turn towards Jesus and ask forgiveness.  I can decide to get off the path I’ve been on, and instead get on the Lord’s path.  I can be aware of the hungry and the thirsty and the poor, and the sick, the unclothed, and the broken, and choose to be part of God’s solution for them rather than continuing to be part of the problem.  Our prayers of repentance tend to multiply during Lent, and if that’s all they are - prayers - then they are completely useless.  But if our prayers are joined together with action, with doing something about what we are praying about, then our prayers will result in genuine repentance.

What path are you on?  To which destination are you headed?  What do the choices you are making today tell you about  your life and your relationship with God and your repentance?  What is the Spirit of God showing you to do right now?

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Preached on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at Sts. Cosmas and Damian Cathedral in downtown Nairobi, Kenya.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Murder, He Wrote

A throw-back title to one of my favourite shows from years ago.  However...
Warning. Bad poetry ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

Truth is dead, evidently.
It’s passing unremarked.
No longer useful for the loud narratives 
Sucking up all the air in the room.
Control. And power.
Bending sight and sound
And memory into easy slavery. 
My own anger burns, 
Fanned by gusts of pain 
Ignited by memories I cannot suppress.
But, surprise, I become the problem, 
Funny how that works.
Unwilling to sing from the provided score,
Upsetting the carefully crafted veneer of pleasantness.
The abuser controls the pulpit, the wounded blamed to scorn.
We are all about appearances here.  
Nobody cares if there’s more than what’s on offer.
Nobody wants to know.
The truth might complicate matters, make things difficult,
Make us reevaluate, and open doors nailed shut 
For reasons we would rather not know.
Truth is dead,
But not some nursing home pneumonia 
Wracking a worn out body.
It’s murder,
And evidence leads every which a way,
Too many suspects to arrest.
But only one side is allowed in this court.
No one asks why. 
Move along. Nothing happened here.
A victim victimised.  An abuser abuses.
Coyly covered by a conspiracy of co-opted religious folk 
Complicit in an ongoing crime
Who see what they want to see,
Straining out a gnat, while the camel is swallowed with ease.
It happens all the time.
But is no less destructive, no less painful,
No less real. 
Caustic judgment a-plenty is
Levelled against the one who disturbs our peace, 
Who interrupts our Wheel of Fortune, 
Our Jeopardy of good feelings.
Don’t confuse us with the truth, we know what we believe!
The blows to my face are not physical, 
The kicks to the groin not with booted feet.  
But words lay me open, and abandonment leaves me to die.
I wish I could just get over it it 
And get on with my life as if it didn’t happen, 
As if it isn’t happening.  
But it did, and it is.
My life was wrecked, my family destroyed,
(And not for darkly whispered reasons)
And that’s ok? 
Forgiveness fixes nothing. The wound still weeps.
While she is enabled by family, by friends, 
By colleagues and churches full of good people,
Who fawn and refuse to believe nothing but the best, 
None of whom thought to question the version they were fed,
Or to consider that it was in fact just a story
Posing as reality.
But a half truth masquerading as the whole truth 
Is but an untruth.
And if the actual truth itself ran free, 
A darker story would crawl out of the swamp,
And force us all to get the help we need.
But today, nobody needs help, thank you.
Nobody wants help.

And we are all content to step over 
The corpse that’s in our midst.