A Trail Community

October 5, 2009

I flag. We rest.
My brother tires. We pause.

We ascend.
In pain the heights are scaled.
In suffering we behold the beauty.
We descend.

I flag. We rest.
My brother tires. We pause.

We cannot go on.
We go on.


Tender branch with sprouting bud.
This is mine.
It is not yours.
I claim it, you cannot.

Hulking trunk with tender branch.
This is yours.
It is not mine.
You claim it, I cannot.

Sprouting bud with hope eternal.
This is theirs.
It is not ours.
They claim it, we cannot.

I crouch low to touch it.
To run my hands across the pebble-bare slab freshly cleared of her former glory.

Grandfather! Look what your hands hath wrought!

I crouch low to touch it.
To run my hands across a memory.

…your boots have tread here…

I crouch low to kiss it.
To press my lips softly to a memory that is not mine but now is.

Grandfather! Look what your hands hath wrought!


September 14, 2009

In a chair.
In a room.

Careless of time.
Barren of heart.

Pregnant thoughts
aborted in mid air.

When my life
screams breathless
in the lungs
of a soul not
unlike my own.

Hope(less) and devoid
of any nuance.

pax fragilis

March 13, 2009

I watch through the storm door, smudged with a winter’s worth of cold fingers and faces, as a choleric blue jay alights noisily in my angry/contented tree.

I think he sees me. I step back from the glass.

“War! War!” he cries.
“Come and fight me. I can take the rook. I have defeated hawk and owl.”

“Please dear blue jay, I mean no harm. I am a pacifist. I will not fight you.”

The little dog comes up the walk, ready to come in.

In the violence of the storm door opening, the battle is over.

I am conqueror.

I am indicted.

You can listen to it here.

The wizened cardinal prattles

among the naked tree branches.


She looks




as if to say,

“Behold, the Glory of the Lord!”




“Good luck trying to get that little dog

to go inside on a morning like this!

Have a seat. Sip your coffee. Watch. Listen.”


She flits and flutters around in the woven mass

of angry branches.


But the naked tree seems almost glad

to be bare this morning; standing proudly

on the short, sloping hill behind our house.


My eyes follow the hill down.





To the ugly mess of mud and sandy silt

that lines the street.


And I trace the path that the torrents of

molten winter have made.








                                    And off


to the distant houses standing small before tall trees

(trees much taller than my angry/contented tree)


A wicked, loathsome wind sets them to shaking.

And I am reminded.


It is not to be.



When a friend calls to me from the road 
And slows his horse to a meaning walk, 
I don’t stand still and look around 
On all the hills I haven’t hoed, 
And shout from where I am, What is it? 
No, not as there is a time to talk. 
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, 
Blade-end up and five feet tall, 
And plod: I go up to the stone wall 
For a friendly visit. 

a*bridge: st. mark edition

January 20, 2009


Highlight(s) of the Week: It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done an edition of a*bridge. For the most part it has been because I was holding out for some big news that I’ve been waiting on for a while now. Well, the time has come for me and thus, my sharing with you, some big news. I’m back in the game! I have been hired as Director of Discipleship at St. Mark Lutheran Church in West Des Moines, IA. I’m very excited about this opportunity to serve in ministry once again. Plus I get to do so along side some fantastic people, including a good friend…jakebouma.com

Book(s) I’m reading: I’ve recently finished with the Chronicles of Narnia. Amazing. C.S. Lewis is a genius. I’m a little ashamed that I’ve never, until now, set myself to reading these famed children’s books, but better late than never. I’m reading a couple of other books now, which you can view in the sidebar to the right. Another book which I’m enjoying right now, but not reading through in its entirety, is the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Book of Matthew by Stanley Hauerwas. I’ve been hearing great things about these Brazos Commentaries (I think there are 11 so far) and I’m loving this one. 

Music I’m digging: We haven’t been listening to much music lately. Abe and I have been talking about getting some new stuff, but haven’t had anything new for so long we don’t really know where to begin. Any suggestions?

What’s brewing: The new coffee maker (thanks Jake Bouma) is brewing Gold Coast (thanks Jake Bouma) in the newly reorganized office (thanks Jake Bouma). To sum this bold roast up in one word: Elegant. Seriously, check the website.

Vocation/Ministry update: Today was mostly paperwork. But once we get rolling, I’ll be working towards the formation of a small group ministry and serving as pastor to young adults. Some exciting things are on the horizon at St. Mark, such as a new Saturday evening service, other new staff coming on board, and more. It is a blessing to be coming on board during such an exciting time for this growing community!

Looking forward to: We are really excited about becoming part of the life of St. Mark Lutheran Church. But I’m also, though we are moving on to this new ministry opportunity, excited about what will be happening over the weeks and months to come with the merger of Echo Park and Two Rivers. I’ve had an amazing opportunity to serve alongside some great men and women of God at Echo Park and have been witness to some exciting conversations regarding this opportunity for new life.


Highlight(s) of the Week: Abe and I got to spend some quality time with my side of the family for Christmas. We had some fun playing with the nephews and niece. My mother brought her A-game to the (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) table. And it was also nice to find that I’ve still got it; I can still get ’em laughing so hard they nearly fall out of their chairs. Booyah!

Book(s) I’m reading: I finished The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this past week and am now on The Horse and His Boy. Long Live Aslan!

Music I’m digging: The spirit of Christmas is still alive and well in the Mick house. I’ve been thinking a lot about and meditating on the period between Christmas day and Epiphany (the 12 Days of Christmas) which has enabled me to remain in the mood for Christmas music. Now this is weird for me to say, but I am really digging a song by Faith Hill. Check out the track A Baby Changes Everything on Faith Hill’s new Christmas album, Joy to the World, if you haven’t already!

What’s brewing: At home we’re brewing Starbucks Café Verona thanks to my brother-in-law. He knows me well. His Christmas present to me was a pound of coffee and a book I’ve been meaning to read for some time. But since I’ve been booted from my house and have set up shop at my in-laws today, I’m brewing a very, very tasty Guatemalan French Roast from Coffee Ambassadors

Vocation/Ministry update: No comment.

Looking forward to: This next Sunday our church, Echo Park, will be announcing whether or not we will pursue a marriage with Two Rivers Church. This is an exciting time. I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve as an elder so I’ve been able to be a part of the dreaming and strategy meetings. It’s been really neat to witness how God is moving and has been moving in these two communities to (perhaps) prepare them for this joint venture.