Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Poet, Unintentional

Rain-stained window pane,
And through it flannel clouds.
Road signs and power lines,
And the shadow of my doubt.
Real feel, wind chill,
But my heart's fire blazes.
Bow low and undergo,
A metamorphisis from curses to praises.
No more a metaphor,
This is the Presence of Divine.
Undeniable, I know You. 
I find you undefined. 
Daddy, son. Two,
And like a surrender to gravity's pull.
An open heart, words depart,
And my response? I am a poet, Unintentional.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Post-It Note

You drew a heart on a Post-it Note, and posted it on my heart.

The gentle thrill,

How your fingertips feel,

Pressing this proof firmly in place,

Tears race down my face,

And in my mirror's reflection I see,

No, no, no longer my inadequacy,

But now an identity,

You've lovingly bestowed upon, and brought forth in me.

It's like me...but not me,

It's like it's me...but a FREE...ME!

A simple heart on mine,

The two, in syncopated rhythm, beating intertwined.

The shaking created by the pounding,

A resurfacing, a resounding...

A dream, in a place where dreams cowered, formerly forbidden...

Uncovered, unearthed, undeniably now...unhidden!

A banishing of barreness, a resurrection, a resuming,

I'm intrigued by the flames' habitude of sustaining, while concurrently consuming!

Imposing hedges that stood between,

Myself, and the Unseen.

Indomitable, this passion surpasses,

A barrier...diminished to ashes.

This passion now knowing free reign,

These flames burn, untamed.

But in my ear,

A whispered fear,

It's certainly been displaced, erased, defaced...

And my finger reaches to my chest and I retrace.

Finding on the skin above pericardia,

An identifying mark,

Mark, what am I saying? No! It's ART!

Composed in ink, inexpungible,


Undefiled it remains...the same,

Only now...more defined.

More recognizable, I find.

Not that transitory paper, but on my heart a brand, a tattoo...

Engraved upon me, but whose ink-filled needles' pain, you knew.

I've lost myself, but in the losing, I've discovered,

The reality of me, this true me, you've uncovered.

My heart is yours.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"I said, 'Give me the putter.'"

"Give me the putter."  
That's what Poppy said.
"Give me the putter."
An old man.
An occasional golfer.
And Poppy said...
"Give me the putter."
The putter.
I've been in this place of trying to find my fit in this thing we call "ministry" for something like 25 years.
I've tried being the youth pastor, planning events and being very cool around teens.
I've tried being the children's pastor, doing slap-stick comedy to minister to kids.
I've tried being the pastor, wise and future-seeing.
I've tried being the preacher, shouting and sweating and taking in deep breaths.
I've tried being the missionary, adventurous and self-denying. 
I've never really tried to be me.
All these attempts had aspects of being me, but being defined as such, just didn't fit.
These weren't all failures. 
They even had great successes!
They were used by my Daddy to build me up and teach me.
But being defined by any of these definitions, alone, just didn't fit. 
I tried to wear everybody elses stuff and, man, it just didn't fit.
I never really tried to be me.  
I tried to be what everybody else said I should be and, man, I just can't do it.
I never REALLY tried to be me. 
Give me the putter.
I knew my gifting, my talent, my strength had to do with collecting sentences and putting words together...but I tried to do everything else.
So much so that I lost sight of those gifts, and talents, and strengths.
Like a bearded, island-trapped man drifting away from a blood-stained volleyball...I was drifting away from what made me alive.
And I was glad to do it.  
I became so convinced that these things, about which I felt such passion, were in no way a modern-church marketable skill set.  
I was there for a long time.
It's funny how things work. When we start pushing away from the things we lived for, we eventually can't even see them anymore.
Eventually, we trade those faded dreams for something more substantial.
Something more marketable.
And once you've drifted that far from the things that make you feel alive, it's pretty hard to get them back.
And sometimes, it takes something like having your life fall apart, to bring those things back into view.
Give me the putter.
That kind of what happened to me. 
My dream, gifts, talents and myself...became separated by about 5000 miles...
And I lost everything.
I was broken, and I was angry.   
I was angry at the One who gave me this gift in the first place.
The One I claimed I was following, when I walked away from gifts...well, He brought me back.
Give me the putter.
I was down there. 
Somewhere down there where rock bottom is all you've got to stand on...
Where there's nothing left but echoing drips of water drops, and a voice.
A voice calling me up.
Down there, you realize something.
Give me the putter.
You realize you don't need alot...
You realize you just need what works.
What works for you.
When the only way to look is up, you tend to look up.
On that rough-solid pit floor...
I found my dream, my passion, my gift...again.
Poppy said, "Give me the putter."
So I started using my gift.
I started writing.
I started collecting sentences and pithy phrases.
And I used the tool I had.
I wrote.
I wrote about my burden.
My burden?
The state of the church.
I wrote about my passion.
My passion?
Changing the world.
Give me the putter.
I wrote.
And I wrote.
And I rewrote.
And I wadded up and tossed aside...
And I rewrote again.
I wrote on aircraft jump seats, and park benches.
I wrote in Starbucks and in hotel rooms.
I wrote while sitting next to the Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Stephens Green, the Arch, and at Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast.
I wrote in Macbooks, iPads, smartphones, notebooks, memopads, napkins and the back of pre-departure reports.
I wrote in almost every major U.S. city...
And I wrote in Rome, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Zurich, Moscow, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Santiago.
And then, I sat in Santiago...
And I didn't write.
I didn't write. 
I doubted.
I looked at the plethora of mediums upon which I'd placed my words...
I looked at my words.
I looked at my sentences.
Not paragraphs.
Most of the books I've read, contain chapter after chapter of sentences put together in paragraphs.
I just had the sentences.
My collection of sentences.
And I doubted.
I was discouraged.
I self-deprecated.
I was dying.
I didn't want the putter.
I cried.
And I cried.
And I sat there and, cried.
And didn't want my gift.
I didn't want "Ollie's way of doing it."
But then, I wrote.
I wrote about the doubt.
I wrote about the fear.
I wrote about feeling the duplicity of being both a withered flower blossom and a skinned-knee skating failure.
I wrote about getting scooped up, loved on and believed in.
Believed IN.
See, the one who gave me this gift, reminded me that he believed in the gifts he'd given me.
And he believed in me.
And I resolved, to believe in my gifts as well.
I realized a few things...
I realized I have a burden.
I realized I have a passion.
I realized I have a calling.
And, I realized I have a gift.
I realized, that for the first time in either twenty-five or forty-two years, these four converged into one dual action capsule: my dream and God's will.
Give me the putter.
And I hinged on a ledge of throwing it all away, because I doubted the gift, the tool entrusted to me to reach this end.
But then, in a search for a few pieces written over the last couple years, I read through a few former blog posts, and I decided this:
I like the way I write.
I get excited about my oxy-moronic phrases that don't quite fit.
I spend hours mulling over two words.
This is the gift I've been given.
Give me the putter.
I made a solemn vow. 
I vowed to my Daddy.
I vowed to my family.
I vowed to the Church.
I vowed to the world.
I will embrace this gift, this tool, and use it...
To lift my burden,
To indulge my passion,
To fulfill my calling and, 
To realize my dream.
I know it may not be the conventional tool.
I know it may not be the wisest tool.
I know it may not be the tool of theologians and scholars.
But, it's the one that fits.
That fits me.
Give me the putter.
I don't stand alone in my rebellion.
There was a destined-to-be-king, adolescent shepherd who stood with me.
When called upon for the simple task of defending his nation at war, he stood in my rebellion.
He used what he knew he could use.
The over-sized body armor owned by the king, didn't fit this kid.
I mean, it seemed wise to wear it...
But he rebelled.
And his rebellion kind of paid off.
You know that story.
But you may not know the other story.
It's a story about Poppy.
I didn't know Poppy well, you probably didn't know him at all.
But I sat in a mortuary's chapel yesterday.
At the culmination of a week of doubt, and deliverance.
Decision and determination.
A week of resolution to use the gift I've been given to fulfill the challenge of my calling.
I heard this story about another rebellion.
One of my best friends, Joe, stood behind a flag-draped casket at the front of a chapel.
He was recounting the life of a great man, his grandfather.
A sailor.
A daddy.
An encourager.
An admonisher.
A "Poppy."
By serendipity, one of the final stories resonated so deeply in my heart.
By Divine design, settled my resolve.
By a whisper from my Daddy, encouraged me to use the gift I've been given.
Joe told a story of his annual golf battle with his Poppy.
They played a course, better described as a cow pasture.
Poppy didn't own his own clubs, but used Joe's.
On the final hole, this old man was about 40 feet from the green's edge.  
And then, several more feet to the hole. 
Poppy looked at his grandson, Joe...
And said, "Give me the putter."
The incredulous, and golf-knowledgable, grandson rebuffed this request!
"Poppy! The putter?!"
Joe recommended more appropriate clubs. (I don't know golf.)
He recommended clubs that would work for such a shot.
Poppy said, "Give me the putter."
In half pity for Poppy, in half competitive foreknowledge of this impending win...
Joe relented. 
Poppy took hold of the putter, adjusted his stance, took aim at ball...
And swung.
Over ant-hills and patches of grass, onto the green and into the flag's pole, the ball travelled...
And fell...
Into the hole.
In amazed disbelief, Joe stood with his mouth open! 
"Wow! Poppy! Wow!"
In the midst of Joe's confoundment...
Poppy looked at his grandson...
And said,
"I said, 'Give me the putter.'"
Give me the putter.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There are days...

There are days.

There are days when discouragement is almost all I know.

There are days.

There are days when all I want is to shrink into some background.

There are days.

There are days when yesterday's blossomed petal, flutters to the ground in grotesque, withered dryness.

There are days.

There are days when rains pound down and clouds loom in low oppression.

There are days.

There are days when whatever gifts have been bestowed upon me, seem now useless piles, bundled together and boxed for delivery to second-hand stores.

There are days.

There are days when dreams seem not only out of reach, but no longer worth dreaming.

There are days.

There are days when what was free flying skates, flowing like the wind, are now skinned-knees and tears on concrete.

There are days.

There days when I can't believe.

There are days.

There are days when I can no longer believe in me.

There are these days.

This is that day.


But, then.

What is that sound?

Today, I hear a sound.


I hear footsteps running.

Feet pounding pavement.

Arms of insurmountable strength lift this wind-blown blossom.

Lips purse and blow a soothing breeze upon my aching knees.

And then kiss my furrowed brow.

A gentle thumb wipes away the tear on my dusty cheek.

You look deep in my eyes and remind me, "You can do this."

I'm having trouble believing in you, when you speak words that jet beyond my ears to settle into my heart, "I believe in you."

There are days when, my faith in you is waning.

But there are no days when you reciprocate.

There are days when I am lifted up.

There are days.

There are days when I must remember you put something in my heart.

There are days when I must remember you wired in me, this weirdness.

There are days when I must remember this quirky brain contains a gift.

There are days when you remind me...

You believe in me.

This is that day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Like Jenny

It was his first time.

And he walked timidly down the aisle.
At each row he was again embraced by rejection.

Then a little hand patted a seat.
And a voice invited...
"You can sit here!"

She knew pain.
She knew betrayal.
She knew rejection.

She could've used that knowledge as a justification for bitterness.

Instead she used it for compassion.
For acceptance.
For love.

I want to be like Jenny.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Unforgotten: The Gospel According to the Gummi Bears & Hearts Fun-Pack

It was a bag of chewy, red candy…
Packaged with a purpose: to beckon another to “be mine.”
The fun-sized package, in full holiday color, even down to the block of space for proclaiming love’s “to” and the commitment of “from.”
All the romantic colors of a day created for the observance of romance.
The colors of romance…
With the exception of one ostentatiously plain…
And overtly direct…
This order sat in stark contrast just under the blank space for “to” and “from.”
All caps.
Arial font.
Four words, designed to confer explicit instructions.
And the instructions jumped off the whimsical packaging, into my distracted brain.
Four words:
No punctuation. No room for error. No mistaking the command.

As if the designer of the packaging were demanding of its giver: “If you’re going to give these gummies to someone, and declare some type of affection for them…you had better MEAN IT”
Like it was saying…
Well—it was saying exactly what it was saying…

(I sighed here.)

I think that was the word.
I saw it once in an outline for a talk I was to give and was, of course, forced to look for its meaning.
(I like to know what words really mean, not just how they are used.)
In other words…
“Doesn’t last.”
Transitory means something that doesn’t last.
Something that doesn’t stand the test of time…
Something that is here today and—
180 degrees south of the word permanent…

And that’s how we view so much of life…
I’ve heard people say, “Everything came to PASS.”
And sadly…
Most believe it.
Most people believe that everything came to pass…
And nothing came to stay.
People, quite often, view most of life as being transitory.
Like trying to grasp hold of an uncontained gallon of water, is how most people view most of life…
How most people view relationships…
How many view love.
Not that people don’t try to hold onto love and relationships…
By in large, most people try desperately, vehemently to hang on to love and to make love work…but most, probably all, see love as something that can simply…
Simply be…

As though the request to “be mine” was made…

As though their name written in the blank under “to—“
And the requestor’s name was subsequently written under “from—“
The bears and hearts were delivered by hand and received…
The fanciful package was placed in the safe carrier of a book bag and carried home…
But in the process of the transfer…
While rubbing across the surface of spiral-bound notebook covers and pencil boxes…
The commitment of the romantic invitation…
Was erased from the plastic packaging…
As though the request was issued, but the instruction not heeded.
That in the haste of pre-Valentine’s shopping and school preparation, the four-word requirement wasn’t met and the temporal ink of a Crayola marker was used instead…
And the fading of the request meant the fading of the commitment made.

I think maybe, people see love; that people see dedication—as a thing that time and circumstances can simply fade away…
Parents divorce…and nurturing becomes weekend trips with half-siblings.
Someone says they see you just as a friend, and an entire social network sees your “status” change to “single.”
Three letters, BFF, turn to letters written in a yearbook, but not lived out through the passing of years.
The person who opens doors and welcomes you in…closes a door and leaves you jobless…
Your biggest fan breathes a final, painful breath…and now memories and photos are the closest thing you’ll ever have to the hug that always welcomed…
Because of the circumstances of life on terra firma…
We often see love…
We often see commitment…
We often see “remembering I’m alive,” as something that is…
At its best…

But the requirement written on the package of Gummi Bears & Hearts Valentine’s candy still stares starkly.
The four, simple words reminding of a commitment that was made…
A love that is anything but transitory…
A love and a devotion that is, indeed, written by someone, who truly understands…
Someone who truly fulfills the command made in this gospel, to:
A person who requests you to be his…
And preemptively pays every price of requirement.

But, I mean, you know that story.
You’ve heard it…
You may have PRAYED it…
You may have “confessed” it…
But sometimes…
Do you BUY it?


(Oh snap…did I just type that?)

A pricking under the skin…
An intermetacarpal piercing…
And an indelible mark remains.

Jesus got a tattoo.
Yes, you did read that correctly.
Known as Master…
King of kings…
The Son of Man…
The Son of God…
The only begotten…
The divider of time…
The Alpha…
The Omega…
The personification of all that is Divine…
Of all that is holy…
He climbed shamefully under-dressed…
To the seediest of establishments…
Spread out his hand…
And with a careful searching for the prescribed physical locality…
With full and fulfilled knowledge of Levitical Law…
Got a tattoo.
He had himself…
The temple of the Holy Spirit…
The spotless lamb, took upon his on flesh…
The most beautiful of blemishes.
He fulfilled the ancient folklore written centuries before.

And for eternity after…
He gazes upon that tattoo…
His commitment of ultimate love.
As his fingers trace the deep, dark outline of a name forever in its place…
And he…
Even when the bearer of that name thinks they have been forgotten…
Even when the subject of that name feels unremembered.
Jesus stares loving, through tear-filled eyes at the name of his beloved…
The name written with such permanency,
That not even Heaven…
Or hell…
Or all the pain between the two…
Can ever remove.
More permanent than any Sharpie marker ink chemist could ever fathom.
And Jesus…
He remembers a dedication…
A nurturing, abiding love…
More deep and more real and more undeniable than the love known by any mother for the baby for which they travailed…
And second by second…
Without fail…
He recommits to, and commemorates, the love for the subject of his proudly displayed tattoo…
His eternal adhering to the Gospel of the Gummi Bear wrapper is eternally fulfilled…
Each moment, as Jesus remembers the name eternally inscribed on the palm of his hand.
And the subject of this skin art…

The name forever written in this brutally beautiful tattoo?
Oh, that name?
Well that name in that tattoo…
Is yours.

Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I'd never forget you - never.
“Look, I've written your names on the backs of my hands.”
--Isaiah 49:15 & 16

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh, this beautiful reflection!





A mad and beautiful ballet of bouncing light...dancing and darting around like a playground of over-stimulated school children finally unleashed from their desks...

Oh, this beautiful reflection!

I sit in awe...


It was at first a catching in the margins of peripheral vision...
And soon became a complete seizure of my attention...

From the secure four-point restraint of the one-left jumpseat...
I was drawn to this flickering reflection...bringing life to the otherwise lifeless aiplane interior wall.

I was entranced.

And a broad smile involuntarily developed just inches below my astonished eyes.

And apparently my fixated face caught the attention of my first class passengers.
First seeing my face, then looking around for that thing that brought such joy...

Then a comment, "Look at that..."

And a reply,

A thousand amber points of light, dancing wildly!

Blue-jacketed business people having their attention drawn from their Bloody Mary's and black coffees..

From the thoughts of depositions, meetings, and quotas not met...

To this impormptu light show...

Turning furrowed brows to smiling lips.

Oh, this beautiful reflection!

Upon "reaching a safe cruising altitude" I went to investigate the source of such a wonder-inspiring display.

And my finding?

A cheap bracelet of amber-colored plastic beads joined together by elastic bands on the wrist, joined to a hand frantically scribbling notes on a legal pad...

And all this next to a raised window shade welcoming in glorious rays of sun.

And the result of this convergence of dollar store plastic beads and unincumbered sunlight?

Words like dazzling...



Oh, this beautiful reflection!

Here's quirky "Ollieism" number 4: I LOVE REFLECTIONS!

I just find it amazing that such simplicity...

Such as plastic beads...

Or a bucket of rain water...

Or a mud puddle...

Can work together with the sun to create such beauty.

Preformance art on unsuspecting surfaces.

Making me smile...making me cry...making me want to write poetry or beautiful melodies in response.

Oh, this beautiful reflection!

And it makes me think of another convergence...

A Bright Light shining in on an open and reflective surface.

That surface?


That Bright Light?

The Diety who loves the name Daddy.


This beautiful reflection.

I see this reflection revealing its beauty in multi-faceted displays...

This brilliant shining...

In an unforseen text.

A wallpost of encouragement.

A " take this parking space" wave.

An invitation to lunch.

A little girl's "I love daddy" drawing.

A self-sacrificial act.

A smile.

A high-five.

A hug.

I see this dazzling wonderment carried out in the lives of my family and friends in the way they bring beauty to my life.

The way they open themselves up to being a purely reflective surface...

Opening themselves to the Giver of life...

To Eternal Light...

And allowing that convergence creating ballets of light to wash across me...making me alive!

I want to be that reflective surface.

I want to be open, pure.

I want that convergence...

Creating this Divine display...

Oh! This Beautiful Reflection!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Desperation. Desire. Fire.

Desperation. Desire. Fire.
Cold, dead ashes bury the ember that survived the night.
Refuse to surrender!
Fight! Fight!
Discarded refuse buries you, serves as fuel!
Fan the flame!
Fan the flame!
Passionate fire builds with each heart beat,
Feel the heat,
That fills this room,
Be consumed!
Desperation! Desire! Fire!
Cold and empty and nothing of consequence.
No heat to be noticed, no flames to illuminate in their wild, passionate dance.
Like a fireless fireplace was how I found my heart.
After years of encouraging others to realize the passion of their hearts and live their dreams, I could see nothing in mine but emptiness. A cavernous space laiden with the ashes of a formerly raging fire.
Where had the fire gone?
And why did it die?
What purpose does a fireplace serve if it does not heat it’s environment, if it does not facilitate the fire?
But the fire was gone and I felt cold.
Like an painter with no canvas, I could see no way to express my art.
And I thought there was always a fire burning.
Like the Aish Tamid, the everburning flame, I thought the flames were ever-present and beckoning to bring heat.
Or like the bush in the wilderness that arose the curiosity of a shepherd on the lam.
But after a night void of fire-maintaining timber, there was nothing left to be noticed.
Nothing, of course, but those dirty ashes. Just a chore that was sure to dirty the hands.
It’s a sad thing when there’s nothing left of the passion of life.
And that’s where I was, sad.
Time to get to work cleaning out the ashes.
The little broome and dustpan begin to stir the ashes into a swirl of floating dust, when suddenly something catches my eye.
An orangish-red pebble of glowing and the immediate knowledge that heat is present. An ember has survived the night.
An Ember!
Proof that hope may still be alive!
Inhale, purse the lips, fill the cheeks and exhale.
A thinly streamed gust of air meets the ember and immediately it’s glow intensifies.
So does it’s heat!
Hope grows as the gusts of air blow.
Gust of air.
Wait a minute! A gust of air has brought back to life that dying ember!
Gust of air. Pneuma.
A word of Greek antiquity.
It’s meaning: a gust of air.
It’s translation to English: the Spirit.
This Spirit blows into the heart of the dying ember, bringing it back to life.
And as the ember’s heat grows it is in need of something more in order to build the kind of heat it must produce.
It needs to be kindled.
Kindling, the introducing of something to the minute fire that will make it grow.
We use trash.
At our house, in our fireplace, we use pieces of trash to kindle our fire.
And so we do here. We bring the trash of our life to the glowing ember, heated by the Spirit’s forceful wind.
Those things heaped onto our lives, the refuse discarded that lands on us and tries to identify us. We begin to bring to the fire.
Consuming the trash, the fire grows.
The glow of its flames dancing across your face.
Can you feel that fledgling heat?
And then, as the fire has grown, the time has come.
A rough piece of split wood is placed into the fireplace.
And an amazing thing begins to happen.
The fire grows.
And as the wood dissolves into ballet of flaming movement, more wood is added.
And as it does more wood is added. And with each additional piece of wood, the heat grows.
Growing and filling the room as tiny toes are defrosted, it’s cozy warmth inviting all.
And what was once dead emptiness, ignored, avoided and put off for another day, has now become the center of attention for the room.
Captivating, enticing, not to be ignored (use another word).
Conversations are had with not an eye looking away.
The icy chill of winter winds stand no chance against the raging, consuming passion of the fire.
And immediately upon entering the room the fire…
The fire is…
Undoubtedly, decidedly…
Understanding the emotion and wonder of Moses, I can’t help but…
“I will go over and see this strange sight…”
Passion stirs and I feel my heart race!
I can’t sit still!
I want to shout, to sing, to dance, to paint…to write words.
I see my canvas in the light of raging flames.
And I write my words feverishly.
Growing with each strike of the finger against technological keys.
The flames rage on…
The dormant, dead, dirty ashes that once littered my heart, attempting to smother life…
The ashes that hid that tiny ember…
Have been traded in…
And in exchange for the ashes…
In exchange for the heaps of trash…
What is giving?
The crackling, consuming burning beauty…
Of the fire.
Desperation. Desire. Fire.
Cold, dead ashes bury the ember that survived the night.
Refuse to surrender!
Fight! Fight!
Discarded refuse buries you,
Serves as fuel!
Fan the flame!
Fan the flame!
Passionate fire builds with each heart beat!
Feel the heat,
That fills this room!
Be consumed!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I can't sleep.

Tonight, I was taking Jordan to basketball practice and Promise rode along. We heard a brief piece of a story, on the radio, about this girl (they didn't say her age) whose father had cancer. Promise INSISTED that we pray immediately. She leaned forward, took my hand and said, "Pray Daddy, please!" It really got to me. I mean, I'm a very emotional person anyway. (Which some times I think is my greatest fault...sometimes I think it's my greatest strength.) But I couldn't stop crying.

Thinking about all this family was going through. The fear, the pain, the bills, the questions, the frustrations, the trying to have faith...coupled with questioning why a loving God would let this happen. (I do not have answers.) But mostly thinking about how brief everything really is.


I can't sleep.

Maybe I can't sleep because I almost feel like life is too brief too sleep. (I understand the stupidity in that...we wouldn't live long if we didn't balance out life with rest.)

Here was this nameless family...somewhere on this planet. I don't know their names, their birthdays or how they take their coffee. They are a world away from me and their world is falling apart.

I bet I know what they're hoping for: more time. (I mean, death is inevitable...but if we could just have a little more time.) That's what I wish I had with my dad. Just some more time.

Time to stand in a run-down convenience store in the bad part of town, just because their Diet Cokes were colder than any other store's.

Time to listen to him complain about my mom.

Time to watch hear him call Jordan "Boliver."

Time to hear him say of Promise, "She's my heart."

Time to talk about stuff that means nothing.

That would mean everything.

But I don't have that time anymore.

It is gone. I will never, ever have a chance to kiss his bald head and spend time with him again. Ever. (For the sake of those of you who are going to start talking about Heaven and the Sweet-by-and-by...I know. And it's really not any comfort.)



This past weekend, I cried with some of my best friends in the world, as we remembered and celebrated the life of their husband, Daddy, Daddy Tommy.

I saw a chapter close.

Less than twenty-four hours later, I cried with some of my other best friends in the world, as they celebrated their beautiful daughter changing her last name to the name of the man she loves.

I saw a chapter close.

One day I was watching people walk out of a funeral home chapel.

The next night I watched a graffiti-ed car drive away from a reception.

I saw life change.


I guess what I'm saying is...we only have so many chances. And one day, in some way, those chances are gone.


Sometimes it's a celebration where entire families dance with no inhibition.

Sometimes it's in tears, where a family can barely find the strength to walk out of a room.

Sometimes there are (in our eyes) irreconcilable differences and we just walk away.

Sometimes the kids get a job and move away.

Sometimes they get a car and drive away.

Sometimes people leave your church.

Sometimes people quit calling you to hang out.

Sometimes high school is over.

Sometimes everyone gets mad.

Sometimes you just never get to see each other again.

Sometimes there is no more time.

Because, life is brief.


And, while we can't go back in time and change things.

And, while we can't go into the future and change things.

We can go into the NOW and change things.

Now is when we can have more time.

If we don't know how much more time we're going to have with people, let's make the absolute most out of the time we do have.

Call someone today.

Text someone today.

Apologize...right now.

Forgive...even earlier.

Kiss your wife like you're afraid of getting caught.

Give your child money for something ridiculous.

Stay home from work.

Hold hands on the sofa.

Turn off the TV.

Answer their call.

Call them first.

Drive across the state for a hot dog. (My dad did this one.)

Sit in the floor.

Let them braid your hair.

Wear a feather boa.

Ask yourself, "Is this really worth getting mad about?"

Pour out your love for that friend or family member who hasn't heard it in a while.

Speak to someone you've been avoiding.


Show every bit of love you can...right now!

What is more important than the relationships we have...and the relationships we'll lose?

The chapters of life keep changing all the time.

Some chapters are thrilling adventures...some chapters are painfully tragic.

I know this wasn't an eloquently worded's two o'clock and I can't sleep.

But...we don't know how much more time we're going to have with people, let's make the absolute most out of the time we do have.

Because life is brief.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Boomeranging Slingshots: the enemy of change.

(I'll apologize in advance for any typos here. This was happening pretty fast and I was tired when I was through. If I feel like it later, I'll fix them.)

Boomeranging Slingshots.

Smoke drifts low through the camp as soldiers cower and cry. Their strong bodies melted to quivering slugs in corners of irreverent hiding.

And here I stand, alone. An unproven warrior undoubtedly ready for war. Too young for such resolve, too determined to be retreated. And I stand alone.

Over the fearful whimpers of those much more prepared, I hear the taunts scream up the hillside begging me for battle!

And, I will give him what he wants! I will bring the fight to him and I will do this my way. How dare he defy my righteous cause! How dare he threaten the steady course my God has set before me! Even alone, I'm never alone and I will not let the cause of my nation or God be defeated by the likes of this.

Somewhere in the surge of confidence and adrenaline, the volume of my pounding heart fades both the instigating insults of my enemy and the unsolicited advise of my commanding officer.

The only ends of defeat are found in the means of moving...moving forward.

I must meet this enemy.

There is no victory to be had hiding in tents. No advance in simply maintaining ground. Staying in the camp is simply defeat, delayed.

I must meet this enemy.

I feel the eyes boring into my flesh as I begin my march to battle. Some behold the image of a champion...some see only a fool.

I've heard the legends of my imposing combatant. I've been told of his tactics and schemes...and OBVIOUS exaggerations of immense stature.

"Surely this was their intimidated perception," I reassured myself, as my fingers subconsciously slid across my handful of absurd ammunition.

But as I walked into the valley and lifted my head to the sound of thunderous laughter...I am found myself proven wrong. My estimations were obviously dead wrong.

In the much-too-near distance I saw a figure I could not fathom. Legend had come to life and was bellowing of my merciless death and defeat.

Fear brought bile to surface in my mouth as I tried desperately to remember my just cause for being in that valley.

That was not the hungry lion that sought my father's sheep. That was not a bear seeking food.

That was not the enemy of my charge.

That was my enemy.

Providential destiny brought me here, and now all I wanted to do wass run. To run from my enemy.

"I will rip you to shreds and feed you to dogs!" His threats were a task well within the abilities of my giant enemy.

My enemy.

Although in appearance superhuman, the figure that stood before was, in reality, human.

Purpose was slowly rolling across my mind and, with it, a recalling of past victories.

Courage flooded my brain's surface, bringing clarity and focus to my thoughts.

Clarity brought something different.

Just below the gravelly surface of his insolence, I detected a more frightening sound, similarity.

Almost telescopically, through heavy head protection...I recognized eyes.

I know this person.

He was my enemy. In arrogant self-assurance, he was insuring utter failure. He boastfully recounted every disadvantage I embodied. The sole purpose of his existence in this moment was to seal my defeat.


My enemy was "anti" every good thing for which I was ready to do battle. He was against my future, my dreams, my hope, my destiny. He stood in stark and rebellious defiance to everything God had intended for my life.

He was my enemy.

And standing in the shadow of his hulking existence I realized my most terrifying thought.

I knew him.

More intimately than my knowledge of any other man, I knew this man.

Louder and louder, more vehemently he shouted...insult after insult.

Each one striking my heart with more fear and dread than could ever be known by the sword in his massive scabbard. The intensity and heat of every hissing word pierced my unarmored chest.

And every word more convincing than the last.

Salty tears stung my eyes and blurred my vision as the doom of impending defeat drowned my soul with every oppressive indictment.

No! I entered this valley with purpose, resolve.

I will not shrink back.

I had to beat this man I knew.

But not just a man I knew.


A man I created.

A giant.

An enemy.

My creation.

He could not win.

The familiar straps of leather in my right hand separated almost instinctively as my left hand slipped silently into my pouch. Almost without thought a seemingly-impotent stone fell evenly into my sling.

And with it, a battle-cry began to build from some place deep within...some place where soul, spirit and flesh mix in unity.

As that sonic bedlam burst forward from my lungs, somehow time and space ceased their movement.

My arm began to spin forward as my bare feet moved swiftly across the valley's rocky floor. At full speed I ran toward the giant I knew so well!

Spinning my sling over and over and over and over and then...release! This smooth projectile rocketed forward with blinding speed as the giant's insulting laughter still sounded out...then suddenly ended.

Seconds took hours to pass as the now silent giant stood stunned.

My running never stopped and, just as I reached my self-created nemesis, he fell.

As quickly as his lifeless body shook the earth, I removed the sword from his side and the vain protection from the giant's head.

With a surge of strength beyond my own, I lifted the sword high and swiftly brought it down.

I brought finality to my enemy's fatality.

This giant who stood to bring failure to all of who I was.

This giant who stood to prevent all that I could be.

This enemy that I created.

This enemy that I knew.

Was me.

We've all heard this story before. The ancient legend of overcoming insurmountable odds. We have translated this story to football teams, struggling bands and family businesses.
The untrained David defending future and hope...the licentious giant intimidating us with threats and size.
My greatest desire is that the world would change. I call it my Crazy Idea. When everyone else is writing off the world and reading it's eulogy, I see hope. And I see that hope being realized through love.
I want things to change. But before I can change things for others, I need to change me. There's so much about me that is not where or what it should be...and I need me to change.
But there is an enemy to change. There is an enemy to the life I need to live. There is an enemy to the world changing. There is an enemy to my Crazy Idea.
In tears I confess...that enemy is ME! It is the giant I have created physically, emotionally, relationally, financially.
Just like Goliath stood and cursed everything righteous, just like Goliath threatened the plan of God in that valley...he stands here now, bellowing the same insults and threats. And he is simply me.
The great hope is this: THAT ENEMY CAN DIE!!!
Not me literally, but all the things about me that fight against what I was created to be.
And not you literally, but all those things that fight against what you were created to be.
As you and I kill our giants, we can not only change ourselves, but WE ARE INDEED CHANGING THE WORLD!
Who will join me?
Who will identify their own personal giant?
Who will refuse to stand paralyzed with fear at that giant's taunts?

In a love I can't articulate,
Ollie Horne, a giant slayer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nekros: "an intersection of a King's kid brother and a song by the King," or "Imbalance is killing us."

You probably shouldn't read this.

For quite some time I've been disturbed by a word a King's little brother used. He probably used a Greek word, nekros.


He was talking about a place of imbalance. A place where fat kids sit lazily with eyes glazed over...staring at a life they wish they had and never having it.


And I think about the wisdom of the King's song.

A song about closed mouths and active bodies.

You probably shouldn't read this.

We're those fat kids.

We're in that state of Nekros.

You probably shouldn't read this.

So the King's little brother was a man named James.

And he was writing to everyone.

James was talking about "faith without action." He said this...having faith but not having any nekros. NEKROS!

Can you believe the audacity of this heretic? He has the nerve to write this sentence write there in the bible.

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

A lot of people think this is Jesus little brother...the King's kid brother.

And the King's kid brother said your faith is nekros.



The same bible that talks about faith. The same bible that teaches us to be people of faith...says our faith is dead.

You probably shouldn't read this.

You probably should go find a book for $19.95 that gives the 10 Secrets of a Faith-filled Life, and read that instead.


Jesus' little brother said your faith is dead.

He said it's destitute of force.


The King's little brother said if you're not adding action to your faith...your faith is nekros.

And nekros means dead.

Interestingly enough, this is just after the same man said something about religion (acts of religious worship) that God accepts as pure acts of worship are caring for widows and orphans.

And right after he said we shouldn't just read the word...but we should also do what it says.

Do what it says.

This makes me think of a song of the King.

Well, actually Mac and Billy wrote the song, but they wrote the song for the King to sing and he did.

It was song about the doing more than just talking.

A song about living rather than just being philosophical.

So here's where I talk about our imbalance.

We are great at studying.

We are great at quoting.

We are great at singing.

We underline and discuss, we contemplate, meditate and memorize.

We pray these words and dissect them.

We preach about them.

We hold them up in bleacher seats and protest lines.

But do we do them?


You probably shouldn't read this.

We should all have PhD's, we've read and studied so much.

We talk about the immorality of those who commit...but we don't talk about the immorality of us who omit.

We don't really do the words we study.

The words we say are truth.

The words we say we believe.

Which makes us fat kids playing video games featuring other people who aren't.

We eat and eat and eat and eat...but rarely ever exercise what we've eaten.

How many people have been in a bible study group?

Now, how many people have been in a bible DOING group?

How many of us sing songs declaring our love for our King?

Now, how many of us go out and physically show love to our King?

Elvis, the King, sang a song Mac and Billy wrote. The song: "A Little Less Conversation." I have this sneaky feeling he was probably singing about something else...but I keep wondering how frustrated the other King could possibly be. As he sings over us "A little less conversation, a little more action, please! All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me."

I'm not saying the studying, discussing, reading, memorizing and quoting are wrong. In fact, how could I have written this absent of those disciplines?

The problem is we have this incredible imbalance.

We read about what to do...and don't.

The result?


And our state of nekros is suffered not only by us.