Tough Question 4: Why does the Bible teach about being holy…can’t God just love us how we are?

This is an amazingly poignant question, which is being asked by countless seekers of truth today.  The trouble is, most people who ask this question have the false notion that God doesn’t love us unless we do what He says.  This opinion is promoted by those who either don’t know the Bible, or don’t understand how to interpret it.  We don’t have to be holy in order to earn God’s love, we already have it…we couldn’t be holy if our lives depended on it! (this was part of the point of the whole Old Testament).  Rather, God loves us; and we pursue holiness because we want to love Him back.

In some scriptures, God is portrayed as a Heavenly Father; whose love for us is higher & deeper than anything we can imagine.  In other places, we see Him as a Righteous Judge; dividing the good from the bad – the holy from the unholy – revealing His opinion about how we should be living.  In truth, God is both; and seeks to relate to mankind, and each one of us, as both.  He is the source and embodiment of both mercy and justice in their pure form.  However, we humans are not very good at understanding or living-out that kind of balance in relationships & society.  We tend to gravitate to the extremes.

Many of us are either highly ordered & exacting in our expectations of ourselves & others, to the point of coming-across self-righteous & judgmental……or we’re super accepting & permissive of all viewpoints, to the point of being spineless jellyfish who have a hard time taking a stand for anything.  God isn’t in the extremes, He deals with each of us with exactly the perfect blend of nurture and chastening.  Also, His dealings with mankind, as well as individuals, has changed dramatically over the course of time.

All the way back in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden (if you believe in that stuff….I do), God hung-out with man & woman.  Their relationship was, as of yet, unmarred by the terror of separation, which resulted from the sin of our ancestors.  This created a chasm between the holy & perfect God, and the corrupted & imperfect Adam & Eve….and set in motion God’s monumental plan.  THE PLAN.  To re-engineer a way for us to live with Him again in the same type of relationship we were created for.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH “HOLINESS” VIDEO – It’ll knock your socks off


Answers About My Wrist

For those of you who have been concerned & prayerful about my wrist injury, I finally have some answers:

After MRI & CAT imaging, my doctor & I discussed the painful event that happened last September, problems that had been developing long before that, and the conditions I have now as I move forward.  First, here’s a recap of what happened:
Last September, while working on a very physical private job for a friend, I hurt my wrist while using a small pry bar to remove some ¾” subfloor.  It was super stubborn, and I was too frustrated & impatient to go out to the trailer to get Bertha (yes, I have names for some of my tools…in this case it’s the really big yellow pry bar), so I just pushed as hard as I could. Something in my wrist gave way with searing pain, and I yelled so loud my buddy thought I fell off the balcony.  The pain subsided to a tolerable level after about 5 minutes, so I just kept working.  Things like that happen all the time when you’re a contractor…little tweaks & pulls here & there…and they most often heal themselves after a few days.  Well, this one never went away.  I was very busy with Catalyst projects all the way into early December, and the nagging hitch in my right wrist was more of a nuisance that and inhibitor.  But by then I was genuinely worried about it, because it wasn’t healing.  That’s when I got it checked-out initially by a doctor, and started wearing the soft-cast in mid-December for a month.  That didn’t do the trick so they put me in a hard-cast from mid-January to mid-February.  After recovering from that, the pain came back and I have been in limbo ever since (3 ½ months).  Honestly, I feel like it’s getting a little better every day, and I’m fine doing most daily tasks now with little or no pain….I’m even swimming at 100% now, and lifting up to 12.5 pounds with my right hand!  But without knowing what’s going on in there, I’ve been reluctant to push it for fear of reinjuring something and reversing the recovery process.  Well, now I have answers:
1) THE INJURIES – Surprisingly, MRI and CT did not reveal ligament damage, as was suspected.  There are two injuries in there that could have been caused by my incident last September.  Either one of them could have happened at that time, or both simultaneously.  
  • HEALED MICRO-FRACTURE: There is a small nib of bone sticking out from the tip of my scaphoid bone, which is surrounded by a little sac of fluid (edema).  The scaphoid is one of those little bones in the wrist, surrounded by other little bones.  It’s the one closest to the base of the thumb.  The doctor says that this little bony nib probably broke off the main scaphoid bone but stayed in place, and was eventually fused back into the rest of the bone.  This was probably helped tremendously by the casting….especially the hard cast.  I asked if this could be surgically removed, and he said it’s not necessary because it’s not “in the way” of natural movement…and also that the procedure would be invasive enough that it could create more problems than it would cure.  
  • RUPTURED CARTILAGE: There is a hole in the cartilage between my scaphoid bone and one of the other little bones.  The cartilage in this joint – called the TSS or “Triscaphe” joint – was very thin to begin with, but it was broken through, resulting in a bone-on-bone situation in the middle.  There is no procedure for fixing or replacing this cartilage. The only procedure to fix this joint is to fuse the two bones….which he did not recommend for a 48 year old. I may have to get this done later.
2) ARTHRITIS – Apparently, I already have moderate arthritis in both wrists (they were both x-rayed).  This certainly contributed to the thin-ness of the cartilage in my TSS joint, but is present in both wrists.  There is no treatment to fix it, and it will only get worse with time.  What I CAN do is find ways to minimize its effects, and avoid activities that cause it to flare-up or accelerate.  He said I would probably benefit from occasional cortisone shots into the TSS joint…which sounds real fun.
3) MOVING FORWARD – This can be summed-up by the Ortho-Doc’s question to me “So, do you have the ability to move into a management role with your construction work so you aren’t doing so much of the physical jobs yourself?”  Wow, I could hardly believe my ears!  I’m the guy who carries the heavy stuff and sets the tone for hard labor, and you’re telling me to start slowing down to let the “young guys” do it….and I’m not even 50 yet!  Oh well.  With two injuries and arthritis that will not go away, here are my marching orders:
  • Get cortisone shot, and continue rebuilding strength and mobility slowly.
  • Avoid tasks that require super-heavy lifting, rapid torsion, or jarring of the wrist.  Things like framing, using jack-hammers & hammer-drills, lifting & carrying heavy stuff, etc.  I can do most things, as long as I go a bit slower and surround myself with people who can do the heavy stuff.
  • Become ambidextrous with my left hand
  • Find ways to strengthen the wrist and keep it limber 
Following is some of my introspection…. Psycho-babble and spiritual reflection for those who are interested:
I haven’t done any work, or lifted anything heavy, for 3 ½ months….waiting for a prognosis of what happened and how to move forward.  If you know me well, you know how difficult this has been for me….I’m totally hyper, and anything that puts me down is like torture.  It’s been incredibly disruptive to my life as a contractor, and I’ve struggled emotionally through the implications of having a permanent disability in my dominant hand.  Personally, I’ve lost income (and opportunity for income) from side-jobs and haven’t been able to be very helpful around the house.  Professionally, It’s put a wrench in the gears of Catalyst Partnerships….slowing down what has become quite a big construction machine with my able body in the middle of everything.  I must say, however, that in the long-run this has been good for Catalyst, and for me.  For Catalyst, because I have been absolutely forced to delegate more effectively and think outside the box of depending on myself.  Whether I have a strong wrist or not, this is the way things need to move in the future.  I am surrounded by wonderful & capable people, and my greatest strength is not actually my strength….but my ability to inspire the strength of others.  It’s also been good for me internally.  
Like most other people, I get a lot of satisfaction & self-esteem from what I accomplish; and while this has some good components, it can be a snare as well.  All my life, I’ve struggled at times to believe that I’m good enough, and have been overly dependent upon my accomplishments to define my worth & identity.  This is the birthplace for how driven I am in all areas of life.  The season of struggle I have been in with my wrist has forced me deeper into my relationship with my Creator, who reminds me daily that my goodness and blessedness does not come from what I produce or who I am….but it comes from Him, period.  Every one of us has limitations.  Some limitations are minor – like an injured wrist or bad eyesight or a small bank account.  Other limitations are major – like the loss of a limb or death of a spouse or downs syndrome.  None of these limitations determine our worth or our identity, and each of us is love by God equally.  God created each one of us, and loves us tremendously for who we are regardless of how we use what He’s given us.  Certainly, He is greatly pleased when we use His gifts wisely and follow His path, and His rewards follow His pleasure & promises.  But our worth & identity are constants because of who HE IS…not who we are.  This has been good for me, and I want to live in the emotional & spiritual health of this lesson regardless of what happens with my wrist.

Tough Questions 3: Why don’t today’s Churches & Christians more closely resemble the historical Jesus & Church of the New Testament?

Tough Question #3: “Why don’t today’s Churches & Christians more closely resemble the historical Jesus & Church of the New Testament?”

This is a question that lots of people are asking in post-christian America…in my opinion, this is the “elephant in the room.”
To answer this question, I’m going to copy here a powerful, somewhat controversial blog by John Pavlovitz, entitled: “What Many Christians Can’t See About The Culture War”.  Please take your time to read & chew on this….I’d love to see your comments:
“Words are really funny things.
If we misuse them long enough, our familiarity can begin to fool us and we gradually go a bit blind. Over time, we can come to think (with great confidence) that we’re using them correctly; that we’re speaking pure, unbiased truth whenever we brandish them, simply because they sound right to our now-adjusted ears.
Christians aren’t exempt from this phenomenon.
If you spend time with us religious folk, you’ll inevitably stumble upon one of our all-time favorite buzzwords: Culture. It’s everywhere we are. On any given day you can find endless social media chatter among Evangelical Christians debating “culture”, and the “culture wars”, and lots and lots of talk of us, “fighting the culture”. There’s recently been a great deal of similar discussion surrounding the promotional push for a new book by popular pastor David Platt, whose forthcoming Counter Culture, seeks to once again position Christianity (as represented by The Church) as the sole solution to our numerous societal ills. I’ve really enjoyed Platt’s past books, and have found inspiration and wisdom in them.
The premise of Platt’s latest is a fine one, and it echoes the ministry and message of so many of those sharing his overall theological perspective; that Jesus was always counter-cultural, and so the Christian Church is called to be that as well. I couldn’t agree more. The Church is often supposed to counter the culture. However, a great number of believers have made a critical error, one that sits like a heavy anvil upon their otherwise inspired endeavors: They’ve mistaken their Christian Culture, for Jesus’ Counter Culture.
So many American evangelicals have existed for so long in a materialistic, affluent, largely white, male-dominated religious bubble, that they mistakenly believe they are by default, living out the radical, upside-down mission of Jesus, in the face of the dangerous, unbelieving outside world. In reality though, they’ve simply created a third player in the culture game; something not fully mainstream and Godless, yet something not as much like Christ as they believe, either—but the conflicted, ironic love child of Christianity and Culture. They’ve labored under the false assumption, that just because we call something Christian, it must necessarily resemble Jesus in some meaningful way. Church leaders have taken for granted that the Evangelical Church today, is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he preached so often about the Kingdom of God, when in reality it probably looks as much like the Kingdom of Wealthy, White, American Dudes.
Honestly, I’m not at all sure Jesus would be any more comfortable in the opulent, massive, manicured megachurches that so many of these leaders and their people spend their weekends in, than in the filthy streets, with the prostitutes and the addicts, (those places we so often find him in the scriptures, by the way). I don’t think the bloated leadership conferences and high ticket festivals where so many Christian leaders travel, and the connected circles they tend to run in, really let the earthy heart of the Gospel come through much anymore. I’d never assume that these believers claiming spiritual high ground in the culture war are sinister by any means, mind you. I just think they have been conditioned to be morally farsighted; always perceiving and promoting some clear, threatening evil in the distance, and unable or unwilling to see their own personal mess and dirty hands.
It’s not really their fault, either.
Most modern Evangelical leaders haven’t intended to misappropriate the original message of the Gospels. They’ve simply been playing the hand they’ve been dealt. They’ve inherited a cumbersome religious system, that unfortunately jumped the shark 1700 years ago, and they’ve been trying to retool it ever since.
Between the time Jesus walked the earth, and when Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 300s, the Church was in the sweet spot of its calling. It was a grass-roots, communal, underground, subversive presence; one whose growth happened as the Pagan world around it was infected and affected, by a community of believers living in a way that perpetuated Jesus’ life and ministry. People pooled their belongings, outcasts were welcomed in, diversity was embraced, the vulnerable found protection, the needy found provision. Repentance happened as individuals personally turned toward God, and responded to God; not to a person or a program.
For a couple hundred years or so, they were The Church; passionate, faithful, and yes; decidedly counter-cultural. Then all too quickly, they weren’t the latter—and the Faith in many ways has never quite recovered, despite the sometimes deceptive historical box scores and megachurch membership rolls, and here’s why:
When Rome commandeered Christianity, it affixed to the faith something it was never meant to be marked by: Government Power. That power, and the privilege, and ease, and comfort, and influence that came with it, at once became synonymous with the Christian faith. A movement that began as the very antidote to status, position, might, and social inequality; suddenly became the establishment, it became the norm, it became the very culture that Jesus pushed so hard against.
I contend that in many ways, it still is.
Modern Evangelical Christianity, especially in America, is up against a true identity crisis. It wants desperately to personally and publicly claim ownership of the mission and message of Jesus, but its own lofty perch and long-held position of entitlement, make truly identifying with the underdog spirit of the Christ of the Gospels so very difficult; almost as difficult “as a camel going through the eye of a needle”. So while many Christians want to shape a narrative that makes the Church the crystal clear voice of Jesus in the world, the reality is a bit cloudier right now.
The political sway, the financial storehouses, the abuses of power, the gender disparities, the gentrification, and the bullying dominance of the marginalized, which so often characterize the Church today; these all embody a huge part of the culture that Jesus was running counter to.
So we’re absolutely right in the Church, to preach a troublemaking Christ, but we’re wrong to assume that he wouldn’t be making the most trouble for us. Just ask the Pharisees.
And that’s the problem I believe Platt, the Evangelical community, and all of us who profess Christ have to seriously wrestle with. Christianity wasn’t ever supposed to be the power structure and it wasn’t supposed to police the world’s behavior either. Jesus’ mission statement, echoing the prophet Isaiah, wasn’t a systemized, top-down, moral street sweep. It was a yeast-like, ground floor outbreak of justice for the poor and oppressed. It was a bold revolution rooted in compassion and equality—not in politics and platform.
When we read and refer to Jesus predicting the future of the Church, or the Apostle Paul eloquently defending it, it’s safe to assume that both were describing a very different animal than what we’re dealing with today. I’m not certain either of them would even recognize it as the Church.
The upstart religion, birthed from the mouth of a homeless, peasant street preacher; the building-less, budget-less, book-less social movement first embraced by the tax collectors and the sinners, is hard pressed to still be that, while being run from 10,000 seat amphitheaters with multimillion dollar budgets, by cloistered celebrities with blockbuster book deals. It’s a philosophical disconnect and we can’t ignore that.
American Christians can’t have our manna and eat it too. We can’t endlessly invoke the name of Jesus, and yet so consistently produce a religious system that seems to have veered so far from where it began, or rather—from whom it began.
Until the Christian culture itself is remade into the image of Christ, it will continue to be as damaging and dangerous and cultural, as any popular hot button issue it claims to combat. As David Platt and so many passionate, smart, faithful Evangelical leaders engage in ministry and in public faith conversations, I hope they’ll be very careful with their words and agendas. As they craft lists of the dangerous symptoms of “the culture”, all of which they’re daily fighting, in Jesus’ name, I pray they will remember to regularly look inward. If they do, they might discover that they have some very tough, much closer stuff to contend with.
Christian, what you’ve heard is the gospel truth: Jesus was and is indeed quite counter-culture.
Sometimes though, the very culture that He is asking you to counter most boldly, in order to bring healing to people and people to Christ, is your own.

Tough Questions 2: Is God Bi-Polar?

“Is God Bi-Polar?”  
Why does the loving, forgiving God of the New Testament seem so judgmental & vengeful in the Old Testament?  As someone who has a family history of mental illness, who has personally experienced its consequences, let me begin by saying that I’m not throwing out the word “bi-polar” like a cheap, bar room joke.  I understand and appreciate the difficulties of living with alterations in how reality is perceived, based on either chemical imbalances in the brain, or bad psychological or sociological programming in youth.  These things aside, I’m seriously asking the question….lots of people are….and for good reason.  
This year, my wife & I are reading through the entire Bible.  We read a couple chapters in the OT and one in the NT every day.  Right now we’re reading Deuteronomy in the OT and just finished Romans in the NT.  Here is one sample of the apparent disparity I see in God’s Words, which add credence to the bi-polar question:
  • [Deuteronomy 7:16] “You must destroy all the nations the LORD your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy…”
  • [Romans 12:14-17 excerpts] “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them…. Live in harmony with each other…Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
This is one of hundreds of examples I could share.  These statements really do seem like they portray two different people….with different personalities and priorities.  Yet we know that one of the foundational truths proclaimed throughout the Bible is that there is only one God.  So what happened? Did God change?  Did He calm down & grow up over time like we do?  Or does it reveal that the Bible is a hoax to make fools of the simple-minded?  When confronted with paradoxes like this, people tend to fall into different categories: Indignance, blind-faith, or introspection. 
  • Indignance:  Definition-“A feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base.”  Lots of people feel like this about God these days.  “God’s a jerk, and if that’s how He is, then I don’t want any part of Him!”  This is an honest reaction that many people are feeling.  It results in a door that is quickly and decisively shut & locked, as they write-off God from their worlds.
  • Blind-faith:  This is the person who deflects questions, who might say “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”  This response can either come across as an attack from a fiercely self-righteous believer; or as a protective shield from someone who abhors confrontation.  In any case, blind-faith is rooted in ignorance and fear of discovery, and this also shuts the door to conversation and truth.
  • Introspective: This is where I land.  My mind is too fertile to unquestioningly believe things that aren’t true, and I’ve learned many times over that being quick to judge doesn’t serve me well either.  This issue, like many others, needs & deserves percolation.  It doesn’t mean we’re non-committal, it just means we’re still working through it…but we often don’t give the time.
So, if you’re still with me.  Understanding this is about the CONTEXT of God’s redemptive history.
Just like any good story or business plan, God started with the end in mind…..but He didn’t start AT the end….He started at the beginning. God is not bound within time, as you and I are; yet He interacts with us in time.  After the fall of mankind into sin (aka Adam & Eve ate the fruit, etc. etc.), God put into effect a plan to redeem mankind back into relationship with Himself….recreating the relationship we enjoyed with our creator in Eden.  There have been many chapters in this ongoing story, and we are currently toward the end.  When God was leading the people of Israel through the desert, preparing them to take possession of the “promised land,” it was part of this plan.  The “promise” was made to Abraham, that his descendants would live in that specific land, and that through his descendants all nations in the whole world would be blessed.  Here’s bit more of the narrative that gives some context (emphasis mine):

[Deuteronomy 7:1] “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. [2] When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy* them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. [3] You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, [4] for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. [5] This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. [6] For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.[7] “The LORD did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! [8] Rather, it was simply that the LORD loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the LORD rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. [9] Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. 

When we read the Bible through the eyes of those who wrote it and to whom it was written, considering the stage of God’s Plan and the circumstances of the world at the time, we can get a much more accurate picture of a God who’s character does not change even though the manner in which he parents His children changes according to their development.  I admit, there are parts of the story I don’t understand or like, but I’m not God…there’s only one of those….and whether or not it’s how I would have done it, the way He did it does make sense….and it was part of the story that paved the way for Jesus Christ, the descendant of Abraham, to offer God’s salvation to all the nations in the world.

Tough Questions 1: God has killed more people than Satan, so why should I believe in God?

“God has killed more people than Satan, so why should I believe in God?”
This is one of many questions I’ve been asked in the past several months by friends – mostly of the younger generation – who are honestly trying to understand who God is in the midst of a world that has become more & more skeptical of traditional answers.  This is a good, honest question.  I think we all ask questions like this, we just don’t always verbalize them.  Often, when we do, the religious police get freaked-out and try to make us feel guilty for asking…and tell us to get back in line and shut our mouths so we don’t offend God and create confusion.  But if God is really there, and is truly good, then His existence and goodness can only be enhanced by my questioning…as long as my questioning is sincere, and not just a self-protective smoke-screen.  A smoke-screen is something magicians do in order to divert an audience’s attention from a well-concealed secret.  Sometimes, when we want to protect a dearly-cherished belief or behavior, we will simply try to discredit God so it doesn’t come to light. Anyway, when people ask tough questions, as I have and still do, I don’t dissuade them from the asking….but I do challenge them to seek the answers, instead of just sitting on the uncertainty and allowing it to turn into skepticism & bitterness.  That doesn’t solve anything.
When people ask questions like the one above, they’re probably not really meaning that they’re consciously choosing Satan instead of God, but the question is bringing to light something they are sincerely struggling with about God.  “Is God just…is He fair?  Why does the Bible seem to contradict itself when it says in Exodus & Deuteronomy that murder is wrong, but then God commands His people (the Israelites) to wipe-out entire people groups and take their land?  Now THAT is a good question!  It makes me uncomfortable, too. I can only make peace with it by understanding the STAGES OF GOD’S PLAN.  We have to remember that the Bible, although it is conveniently made nowadays into one big book, did not just fall out of the sky from heaven one day.  It is a collection of historical records, poetry, stories, laws, prophecies, etc. that were written over a period of time of roughly 1,600 years, but date back to the very beginnings of time.  Not only that, but God’s interaction with mankind drastically changed over the course of those eras.  So we can’t  just look back into the early parts of the story and understand them without first being aware of their CONTEXT.  Reading the Bible through the wrong lens gives a blurry image, and misunderstanding leads to false conclusions & beliefs.  It’s kind of like understanding the automotive body style known as the “woody.”
The woody was a station-wagon where parts of the middle/back portions were literally made of hardwood.  This partly harkened back to days of horse-drawn carriages, but also was kind of an artsy, fashionable thing…until World War 2, when as much metal as possible was needed for the war effort.  Today, in the green-age of conservation, seeing an old woody relic on the road can be confusing and even bring a feeling of indignance.  The idea of making thousands of vehicles with wood sides seems absolutely stupid and wasteful….but if we take a moment to understand the times in which they were made – 80 or so years ago when metal was scarce and wood was everywhere, it makes perfect sense.  Reading & understand the Bible is like that.
“Context, context, context!” my Bible professor used to say.  You cannot understand the Bible, or the God of the Bible, without it.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing blogs about tough questions, and what the Bible says, or doesn’t say, about the answers.  I hope you’ll join the conversation.


How I’m Praying

At long last, I have a doctor appointment tomorrow to go over results from an MRI scan of my wrist and thumb joint on my right hand. It has been five weeks since I got out of my cast, and it is still wrecked. One of my friends asked me today what I would like her to pray for… That they find nothing wrong or that they find something wrong that can be repaired. I’m actually not sure which I would rather, and I have learned over the years that it’s best not to try to boss God around or control His hand in a direction that I think is best.  I suppose what I would really request for prayer is for 
1. clear answers about the condition of my wrist
2. clarity about what is wise to do about it, and
3. for God’s peace so that my soul will rest in His presence whatever circumstances I find myself in.
Isaiah 26:3 (NLTSE)
“You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

May God bless you with discomfort

This is amazing…a juxtaposition of emotions & motivations our culture tries to avoid, but God wishes to use for His good purposes in our lives and the world around us.  Love this!

A Franciscan Blessing:
May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships…
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy
And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.