Monday, April 20, 2009


This past week we had the, quite unplanned, unwanted, unnecessary, uncool, opportunity to know what it feels like to be a victim of idiot thieves. We joined the thousands who have been victims of “forced entry burglary”. Our house was broken into on Wednesday afternoon within the one short hour that we were across the street at the office. The general theory is that we were being watched… I should feel important or something that low life thieves with bad family histories were watching my life. The only thing that I take comfort in is that, for all the effort they went through to turn our house upside down like a CIA raid, there was not much to be had. I wonder why that is? Oh, yeah, because we don’t have much. Don’t get me wrong, as far as much of the rest of the world goes, we are wealthy beyond measure, and we are grateful and enjoy everything that we have. What I mean is, in the land of thieves, it wasn’t exactly “Oceans Eleven”. Certainly not worth going to jail for, or being very physically injured if either myself or my wife caught them in the act.
I can’t really describe to you how it feels, and we’re certainly better off than many who have gone through this. People who have been through this type of thing say that you feel violated and insecure. I guess so. The officer who took the report was very kind and really felt bad for us. He called us “nice people”. I guess so. It would still be a crime though even if I were an ass.
Stolen from us, besides a sense of security, were the usual things that low lifes, who’d rather take your stuff or mine than get their own, take. I’m sure it was to feed a drug habit or some such social illness. The “nice” people would say that I need to be compassionate, these people are victims themselves….whatever. My practical self would like to pound the crap out of them, one shot for every minute that I have to wait at the department of licensing to replace m stolen license. And I’d like to add a shot for every stupid piece of identification that I need to bring with me to prove who I really am.
Sitting here this morning, consuming caffeine by the beach, I am reminded what was really lost in all of this. Because of an unusual dose of sunshine, there are an abnormal amount of little cuties wandering around the place this morning. The looks on their face are a mixture of wonder, joy, amusement, and innocence. I hope that they can be spared this kind of crap for a very long time. I still remember the time we lived in a small Midwest town and had to explain to a two year old why some low life would have stolen her bike. There is too much innocence lost, way too early, in what we arrogantly claim to be the greatest country ever formed. Excuse me if I’m not always impressed with our version of greatness.
In my Pastoral artist role, I am asked to defend a God who “allows” these kinds of things, and infinitely worse to happen. It’s an obstacle to their own belief they say. My thoughts are simply these….with the evil that permeates the world in the forms that we read about or experience every day, I have to believe that there is an alternative. There is a remedy to evil. I have to have faith in God, because it’s too painfully obvious where the alternative lies. The Book of Books, clearly spells out evil in all of its forms. It is no surprise to me, being robbed I mean. Statistically it’s only been a matter of time….although statistically I’d rather have won the lottery to be honest. My role tells me at times that I should pray for these individuals that I currently refer to as low lives. The best I can do at the moment is to pray for lost innocence.

Monday, April 06, 2009


In my early days of existence, I can remember being asked if I had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I came to understand that as a social commentary about the mood that I was in. I didn’t really know what that meant, I mean really, as long as there is floor on both sides for me to step down on, I don’t see what difference it makes which side I wake up on. Unless it has something to do with the olden days, when people were so poor that they could only afford one side of a bed. I’m not sure how relevant that saying was in my formative years. However, every once in awhile, I do feel as if I woke up on the opposite side of the world. It’s not like it’s the wrong side, it just feels opposite. It may be because the first ¾ of my life has been spent on the east coast, I don’t know.
This morning it was sparked by listening to an old Jackson Browne tune on Pandora that I used to listen to quite often in my dorm room during my days at the University of Buffalo. For a brief moment I lost 25 years….until my recently cracked rib brought me back to the reality of 45 years. The interesting thing is that there aren’t many memories from that period, probably lost along with the brain cells sacrificed on the weekends. There are only faces…like 2 dimensional cutouts from some elementary school collage project. I wonder when that happened, the collage I mean. At what point did the three dimensional memories become a two dimensional collage? And whose collage am I in?
Being a pastoral artist, I spend a good deal of time considering the afterlife, and quite frankly the purpose of this life. Early on I used to think that it was all about the afterlife, that the point was to get there at all costs. I have a feeling and a fear that this is when the collage began to form. I’m afraid that I taught others to think the same. When I began to look beyond the experiences and relationships, the images from the past lost their dimension. The lessons lost their meaning. Later in life, I pay more attention to the meaning and purpose of the time I have here. The afterlife will take care of itself. That’s called faith. Jesus always referred to the kingdom as being a present reality, not merely a future promise. I missed that for a time and as a result, I became a collage artist. I’d rather be a sculptor. I’d rather teach others in my community o’ faith to be sculptors. So my encouragement, no matter what side of the bed or the world you wake up on; invest in the day. Become a sculptor. Leave the collage to someone else.