22 Mar 2017

According to the Preacher

According to the preacher We spend our lives chasing the wind The circle of life is not The strong devouring the weak It’s each of us devouring himself Never getting full But getting ever emptier We spend our lives becoming Enormous windbags Work, it does a body good Building it up so there’s More to rot away after Our balloon has popped The wind knocked out of us Without empty chests We could have no

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
17 Mar 2017

Unless I Die

Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it will bear much fruit.   —Jesus   A darkening sky greets the great eye blinking open its shutter to morn— o’erhead, coarse comes a rook’s cry, from here dreams appear bleak and forlorn   Here, in my cramped, close cell I hear the neighbour dog howl in lament— the dirt and the dark I fear, they

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09 Mar 2017

Scandalous Sacredness: Until the End of Time

This article is Part II of the Scandalous Sacredness: A Note from the Chaplain Chronicles series.  To view Part I, click here. “Doubt is Christian participation in the weakness of God, the weakness of the cross” — E. Frank Tupper My mentor told me, time and time again, that one day I would have a patient that got to me. My supervisor and several senior nurses told me it’s inevitable for anyone in a caring

Larry Brown 0
08 Mar 2017

Fit for a Cassock

Today we’ll see if I measure up, Or maybe it’s more fitting to say I’ll be fitted, But I have a feeling it’ll feel like fig leaves covering up the things that ought to be laid on the altar and burned instead of covered in black lamb’s wool. There’s nobody more fitting to do the fitting for a new skin than the one who made my first birthday suit, and was part of the pattern

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
08 Feb 2017

Chronicles of the King

It starts with the king Calling for a return to The God who chose the people And not the God chosen By the people for the people It is a call the people Rarely listen to and often Reject over and over Since they hear it so Infrequently, the king Usually being anti- Christ and usually Being so again. But the priests must Listen and begin to Cleanse themselves No longer pleasing the People or

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
25 Jan 2017

St Xenia’s Day

For the past few years, I’ve marked St Xenia’s Day by writing about a topic that has become dear to my heart: miscarriage. Although my family has been through the pain of miscarriage several times, the first stillbirth I was close to in physical proximity was named Xenia, the daughter of close friends. Of our named lost infants, the first, Kaylee Dawn, was born before we knew anything about saints and their celebrations; and the

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
20 Jan 2017

The Orchard and the Enchantress

Long ago, in a far off land, there lived a noble king. The king and his wife had an extensive orchard full of every fruit one could imagine: pears, plums, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, and the like. This fruit was picked by the king’s servants and made into jellies, jams, and preserves. In accordance to the proportion of this orchard, nearly everyone in the kingdom would enjoy the jellies, jams, or preserves at feasts and

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11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
14 Dec 2016

Dark and Still

There was a universe wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” Planets moons and stars inside it spun All processing around a rising sun Within this whirling assembly Was a whole world made for you and me And dark and still, and still and dark Waiting for “Let it be” and “Hark!” There was a world wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” The nations had sent their wisest

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
09 Dec 2016

Adventus

Time dawned and chaos was made order, man came alive within a garden’s border, within the garden’s border man died when he disobeyed God and bowed to pride. Darkness and chaos twined the world ’round, but with the curse a promise was found, up would grow a tender young shoot; A King would rise from Jesse’s root. A King would rise like light in the dark, One unbranded by sin’s cruel mark, to free his

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30 Nov 2016

A Holy Hallelujah – A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
16 Nov 2016

Crucifixion Night 2016

I had to get up out of the muck and mud slinging – you can’t sling mud without getting your own hands dirty – so I climbed up the only thing high enough to be looking down on the world, a cross. I had some help up; some friends who knew I needed crucifying nailed me. From up here I can see a lot of other crosses, people put there against their wills, the people

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 10
15 Nov 2016

Encountering Aslan in the Wild

The first time I met a lion in the flesh was on a playground in suburban Nashville. I must have been only five or six years old when the enormous golden cougar peered out from its perch on the edge of the little park, its lithe, muscular body stretching out behind its curious face. Next to it was another feline comrade, an exotic, ebony-black wildcat, lying gracefully alongside the more familiar mountain lion. As would

Guest Author 1
14 Nov 2016

Anointing of the Sick – A Reflection

Anointing of the Sick Song of Songs 5:2-8   What voice called when I lay silent on my bed?   Was it the voice of my Beloved, soft as the thief who enters when the light has fled; come to break my lesser loves from where they lay in jars and by a sacred power change the spilling oil– the slow oil of suffering into the shining oil of gladness poured on my hands, dripping

Daniel Hyland 2
11 Nov 2016

Swallowing Light

i am alive. i am awake. i am aware of what [life] tastes like.1 It tastes like meteors. Like sunshine spilling warmth over me as I lie on a mound of wood chips. Like black currant tea and dark chocolate. Like thought-full and heart-felt conversations. Like fear from a film—and fear of the unknown. Like crisp autumn air, scented by leaves crunched. Like solitude under the moon. Like sorrow piercing my heart. And it tastes

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02 Nov 2016

A Psalm for Tearless Eyes

Why art thou not cast down, o my soul, Why art thine eyes not flowing as rivers after the winter thaw, washing away thine every stain and uncleanness? Thou liest with unplucked eyes and uncircumcised arms and unquenched passions for the unquenchable fire. If a thou burnest a candle from both ends thou art in timeless darkness. Why, o my soul, dost thou not sleep in peace, since thou eatest the bread of idleness? Instead,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
05 Oct 2016

Will Beg For Work

Ray Gator was the owner of a successful family hot dog stand named O’Peter’s Pedigreed Dogs. Ray decided it was time to expand his borders, so he went to the best corner in town to open a new stand. When he got there, he found the corner was already occupied— by a homeless man, holding a sign that said “Will Work For Food”. Ray saw this as a boon: he acquired a corner and a

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
21 Sep 2016

Walking on Waves

I am always walking on waves – the formless void of earth Whose walls are made of the wind And whose roof is the cloud Like Peter I sink in the storm Thinking it is the storm outside And not the Charybdis within Although I am looking only inside I reach up before I look up Hands have more faith than eyes What comes into an eye twists And colors everything wrong You see with

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
08 Sep 2016

“Do not be afraid” ~ {While Experiencing the Abandonment of God}

I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment.  I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of

Elizabeth Roosje 3