Reflectors

http://www.lookingcloser.org/blog/2017/11/15/reflectors/

http://www.lookingcloser.org/?p=109148

I think

the poet who didn’t feel the pressure

at a politically difficult time

would be either

stupid or

insensitive. …

Debate doesn’t really change things.

It gets you bogged in deeper.

If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle,

then there is some hope.

People are suddenly gazing

at something else and

pausing

for a moment.

And for the duration of that gaze and pause,

they are like

reflectors

of the totality

of their own knowledge

and/or ignorance.

That’s something poetry can do for you,

it can

entrance you

for a moment

above the pool

of your own consciousness and

your own

possibilities.

(Seamus Heaney in an interview in The Paris Review)

Show me your hands

http://www.lookingcloser.org/blog/2017/11/11/show-me-your-hands/

http://www.lookingcloser.org/?p=109135

Regarding this week, in which so many men in positions of power and authority — whether in Hollywood or politics — are in trouble for how they’ve used their hands inappropriately, well, I have very little to say. I’m sick, as any human being with a conscience must be, over the testimonies of sexual harassment, pedophilia, misogyny, and rape being exposed across America this week.

But I also know that nobody ever gets away with anything. All of this is in God’s hands, and he promises that none of us will escape his justice. He also promises that the last shall be first, and that those who have been mistreated here will be consoled and blessed.

UPDATE: It took only a few moments, after I posted this, for me to get my first “But Hillary!” response. For those who don’t know, “But Hillary” is a terrible brain disease. It drives people to irrationally ignore and excuse all manner of depravity by trying to redirect all moral outrage toward one human being whom they have decided is The Devil, and who lost the election over a year ago. Apparently, any evils anywhere else in the world are unworthy of attention; only those that might relate to a Clinton are worth considering. We need a cure for this embarrassing malady, but any attempt to show the afflicted BH sufferer that there is a problem can lead to volcanic eruptions of verbal violence. Also, I received a comment saying that Roy Moore is “innocent until proven guilty” and thus doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. In response to that, I recommend this article by David French, who will explain why “due process” is not applicable in this case. I also recommend this one by Nancy French,which is essential reading on the subject. But I have also observed that those who suffer from “But Hillary” don’t believe in reading testimonies of those reporting sexual abuse by a “Republican.”

If you are troubled and confused by evangelical Christians who commit, excuse, or defend sexual impropriety in the name of politics, remember that Jesus himself told us that his name would be abused:

“Jesus replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am Christ.’ Do not follow them.”

These days, when I read this verse, I am tempted to revise one word, because, frankly, I don’t think it’s really a revision — I think it’s a clarification:

“Jesus replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am Christian.’ Do not follow them.”

How different is it to say “I am Christ” and to say “I represent Christ”?

Who is telling the truth about following Christ? It is the integrity of the witness that counts: They’ll know that we are Christians by our love, not by our political affiliation. Look for “the fruits of the Spirit”:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Where these are in evidence, Christ is alive and represented, whatever a person might say about themselves.

More and more, we need to look beyond the words of those who call themselves “Christians.” People in power know how to exploit vocabulary and manipulate the gullible. We need to see what those who profess Christ do with their lives, their politics, their money, their bodies… and their hands.

So… since hands have been getting into trouble, let’s do something useful with them, and try and wash some of the ugly news out of our ears.

Here’s a playlist of great songs about hands, compiled today by me and my team of Looking Closer Specialists! Enjoy!

Here’s U2 with a timely number:

Here’s the new Tune-Yards song, from their upcoming album with its timely title I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life:

Here’s one of my favorite Sam Phillips songs, from the album Omnipop (It’s Only a Flesh Wound Lambchop). Listen to the lyrics, and you might hear the influence of Rainer Maria Rilke on her work. These hands, I think, belong to the Great Mystery:

Here’s Bruce Cockburn singing that great Mark Heard song “Strong Hand of Love” (recommended by John Barber):

Here’s one recommended by Martin Stillion that sounds like it was recorded for those who are testifying against abuse this week:

Here’s My Brightest Diamond contemplating her own hands:

Lindsay Marshall comes up with a surprise: “Your Father’s Son” from Ragtime, which features important lines about hands:

Deborah Bloom wants you to get motivated with Ben Harper: “With My Own Two Hands.”

Damian Arlyn invites Tom Jones to the mic:

Ken Priebe throws Bon Jovi into the mix:

Here’s one recommended by Peggy Harris. I’ve got to assume that they’re singing about a respectful man with respectful hands.