Rick and Monique

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red Light Revelation by rje

A tear fell under my tire
at one red light.
A book in my hand from some
garage sale on Laughton and 64th.

Of a heart and a song and a mystery
toiled by an author, a story written
from some romantic gesture
detailed by some truth only
fairies have memorized late in the night.

In a dream by some might
words and time, unrelenting.
Until the teller of tales awoke
just in time to retell the story.

In ink oft is communicated
but time is even more permanent
to have seen the likes of utensils
born of chalk, plant or blood.
And that created by words
or battle, or laughter
and that divined by an eternal.

God spoke at some moment
Even a raconteur can barely tell when,
except that was the beginning.

All things, even we, begin dark and void
Authors of stories we have to live
first, but like the book in my hand,
he only wrote but never knew

What life would be like
with someone else's story?
Could we handle it?
Justice Served?
What would we do with another life?
Another story?
Stories are piano hands building a house.

Life...like a road with traffic lights
And many rules for one side of the road
and the other. An ostentatious series
of stops and starts and swerves
and forks and freeways...
can feel solidly up-hill
but is truly a simple road.

What was life like
before I learned to pretend?
That is when the mind was truly
free to believe what could be?

But one can't take a bath
in an empty bathtub.
Stories must be told...a tub
In what some of us were born
and others of us drowned.

I'm a romantic surpassed by
reality on my first word
spoken by a person I knew not.
Romantics are a wonderful lot.

A romantic's successful woo
in any occasion an honest trick
to step into tales and yarn long enough
to make them laugh
without destroying
what really is about you
or them.

Did we surprise God
by this little evolutionary twist?
Like trying to explain a thing,
anything to your loved
from your dimension into theirs
and failing miserably.

I think not,
for human knowledge is only a blip
in the scope of the entire universe.
A story not my own and impossible to tell
incapable to stand before God
but instead to fall prostrate.

The world contains no edges
beyond round, and love is like that...
A soapy clean bubble of universe between
demons and strangers.

The place where memories
do not fade, even as we do.
It's the place where truth is absolute
even when we sometimes hardly know ourselves.

It's the place of genuine laughter
Even when demons and strangers
languish in hypocrisy,
lies and stories dreamt by the devil
on our opposite shoulder.

It's the place where stories inside
match what is on the cover...that
is rarely seen for the story itself,
because we leave so much to appearance.

The world really has no edges
beyond round,
and love is like that.
That living on one side of eternal life.

Never bound by demons and strangers
and assuredly whetted by the voice and finger
of God.
And love and life are like that...
stories by whom our lives are told
and our hearts honed.

The clock tick-tocks in rhythm
meant to swallow everything but eternity,
cannot swallow miles and trials
and loves endured by them.
Pictures worth a thousand words
are blessed because some of them are ours.

A tear fell underneath my tire
at some red light.
A book in my hand from some
garage sale on Laughton and 64th.

The book inscribed
by a someone who loved
Another, "Dear Grace..."
it said.

A book witnessed lives
other than its own
and it's a private matter.
I should not want to know
except for a momentary eavesdrop.

Yes I am the owner of
some glib manuscript
on sale for 10 cents
at a local rummage.

Which also ruled
and tamed lives.
Lives and fingerprints
that dot its cover.

And who's personality
dog eared every fifty pages or so,
and a careless rip
and an accidental slosh of coffee.

Because maybe it was too hot
or the story cold and scary,
rippled with fear;
or steeped in
sadness or mystery or love...
an uncommitted jest
from a spot of coffee.

Or maybe the sun had long
ago tagged the moon
at the tip of the earth
after a long wrestling match with the day.

Tired and weary but unable
to quit or admit the day had slept.
The dog-ear two-hundred-twenty
pages after fifty-two tell me

A battle of wit and time
were played within.
Gregarious but untenable
the fight grasped and seized...
lingered between law and freedom.

I have no idea why,
and this garage sale memento
won't tell me its secrets.
And that seems to me
to be alright.

Somehow I hit this red light
at the wrong moment.
But someone else
might have needed a moment...
and another there for only a moment.

"Dear Grace" I read.

I guess it's true and I don't know
what's true or not.
I suppose I'll wait for the voice of God.

Because all I have is a book
purchased at a garage sale
on Laughton and 64th.

I hate red lights... don't you?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Autumn Sabbath

The sun wakes, breaking the rim of the earth and Iowa and points over and toward a freckled yellow tree. A tortured misunderstood color or a glorious one that verily blooms vibrant in the sun before any others have a chance at revelation? As if Autumn Yellow were queen, a lady at peace before her king of Spring. The spotlight on her she rules and sings and cries out and maybe she always has?

Like most I wasn't listening. I didn't notice she was coming until she'd arrived.

Yellow. To torture me or please me I noticed the Sabbath maple lift her worship. The yawning sun touches the others like her and they step into view, their branches and fingers open and Praise! Oh Praise! I am here!

I love the choir.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Closed Doors and Open Doors

Ok...shortest blog in my history. Maybe you'll have to use the rest of the time you would've used reading my arduous posts thinking about the short one...we'll see.

C.S. Lewis Quotes – God
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? - Mere Christianity

In light of this quote, my question is this:

Rick Elgersma Question - Doors
It's well documented and oft experienced that once God closes a door we can't choose to open that door again (a closed door is a closed door we say). When God closes a door we turn and walk another direction, wondering where God will take us next.

How come so many of us claim that when God opens a door that we can choose to walk through it or not? Can we boast the ability to choose to close the door ourselves?

Free will occurs only when the door is open? Does our will allow us to yank and strain over a closed door to no avail (definition of insanity)? I'm curious as to your thoughts?

Monday, October 22, 2007


Ok, I think I can keep this one short (er).

I'm continuing my political thoughts of last week Friday. I've listened to candidates again this weekend...on the radio, in the newspaper and on television. Here's what I want you to understand. I'm about to tell you one of the most politically prudent reasons to elect and hire a President of Faith...even Mormonism...yes I said it, and I'll tell you why I said it. There are certain people who have promised to protect any person who worships and anyone who doesn't worship...promises to protect the unborn, the dead (non-christian) and the born-again. All of the candidates that say these things are people of faith. There are candidates who swear to give rights and entitlement to a more progressive people, do not swear to protect the unborn and care more about protecting alternative lifestyles and raising taxes than they do protecting marriage and religious practice...care more about destroying a President, than they do about saving a war...care more about stem cell research than they do about the pain a fetus feels just before it's killed.

I don't know if a politician will be true to his/her word. For example, if one side
really cared about Katrina, why isn't New Orleans in any better shape now that they control Congress? If they thought the city could be rebuilt in a year and if they thought the only problem with New Orleans was a natural disaster, then why isn't it fixed?

But I'm looking at faith. Simple faith. I'm more interested in a man of Christian faith, but I'm also looking at stalwart leadership capabilities and integrity. That's it...both sides intend to be generous towards the poor, nice toward the disadvantaged, and fix roads. But the one some candidates look at my faith is suspicious and I believe that I am in danger of persecution...a fact for which I should rejoice, but still fear.

Maybe you can't legislate morality because true love comes from the Heart which is drawn by God...from which stems true morality...that is the attention to all things that are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled...anything that is pure, noble, right and excellent. Maybe morality can't be legislated...but it can be upheld and established. Some candidates have promised the life for all people that began here more than 200 years ago...some have promised to walk away from these principles. But look at them closely and you'll find that this is the difference between a man of faith, and one who has none, shuns it or ignores it. Some Christians might vote for someone because they are woman, or because they give excellent entitlements to minorities or the handicapped. But watch what they do with their profession...you just might hear a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.

I would not normally quote Aristotle to support an argument, especially about my Christian Faith. However...he said something of a prophetic statement, but at the very least made a knowledgeable depiction of hypocrisy in Government...

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider God-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, wrongly believing that he has the Gods on his side.
–Aristotle, Politica bk v (ca. 340 BCE)

Seem vaguely familiar? Faith in God is the glue that holds this country together. Watch for and know the real thing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Be Reminded

I heard Hillary speak on T.V. this morning and I heard Barack Obama on T.V. this morning and I heard John Edwards on T.V. this morning...these three have me rubbed very wrong this morning. And if it were only these three, maybe that's ok. But Media giants who are actually foreigners to the concept of journalism, and who actually purport fairness in their strategy, have me also rubbed real raw this morning because they lie. Call me a hypocrite. I am. My words sometimes don't match my actions. I will heartily respond that my hypocrisies prove my need for God. In fact, I have taken His name in vain, because, although I do not use God's name in a swear word, I have done what is contrary to His will, thereby taking His name and making it vain. Therefore, although I accuse these people of lying, hypocrisy and deception, I do not stand on a pedestal. However, imperfection should not discourage us or I from caring, from being right, from defending ours and my very identify...fingerprints.

I've quoted Samuel Adams below. He wasn't a perfect man and never purported to be. But, Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies for rebellion against Great Britain, eventually resulting in the American Revolutionary War. Adams called for the colonists to defend their rights and liberties. Adams played a prominent role during protests in the events of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. He participated in the Continental Congress. He also advocated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress. He wasn't perfect, but I fear we've forgotten what a Patriot looks like.

I'm going to bend your ear, but I won't tear it off, I promise. I hope my steam doesn't scald but inspires and cleanses us from the cold of indifference. I intend ferocity but bear no malicious intent.

When I was wrong as a boy my Dad and Mom spared no effort in dealing with my insolence. From them I had to learn how to think, how to listen, how to pay attention, how to live with ambition, how to use my talents, how to behave, about truth, how to talk and how to act. I learned how to disciple and discipline and I learned how to stand my ground. They taught me about Patriotism and they taught me about God and salvation. My wife has to reinforce those things in me sometimes now, but I have most definitely put many childish ways behind me, so that I might not disparage my father's good name.

As I watched these people on television today, I reinforced the idea that there are many who have not put their childish ways behind them...especially in light of cognitive, intelligent thinking, and in light of American Patriotism. This isn't to say I hate them. Nor do I want to cause dissent. I want to garner unity and thought and identity and sometimes that means busting someone's chops.


For those who prefer to be socialized over independence; To those who would wish we were like everyone else, to those who would denounce their own citizen authority; To those who would risk the very citizen oriented benevolent, independent, Democratic and Capitalistic identity that Americans depend on and fight for and to those who would trade the benevolent nature of citizenry by giving full responsibility of it to the government, disavowing your responsibility to the poor, hurting and disadvantaged to it; To those who want our Government to provide all manner of benefit despite its cost; to those who would rather not be under God but under man (or woman); to those who would rather one branch of Government hold sway over all the others despite what is by the people, of the people and for the people; to those who would rather not defend threats before they ever reach our land; to those who don't notice that millions upon millions are benefiting from insurance and are healthy and well because they had access to it; to those who don't notice that their are millions of the millions who are not insured that don't want to be, millions whom can afford it but don't, and still more who simply aren't educated enough to access insurance and still wouldn't be if healthcare were socialized; To those who wish to make it very difficult for those who wish to immigrate legally and give simple amnesty to those who don't; To those who would prefer the ruling of the World Court over our own and to those who would prefer the treaties and constitutions of the U.N. over and above the United States of America; To those who pledged to defend all enemies both foreign and domestic and to those who pledged to, at all costs, defend the Constitution of the United States, but whom instead wish to vilify and belittle it; To those who disparage your leaders without next encouraging them; to those who see the worst in the U.S. without the presence of mind to revel in the best of it; To those who can't see that our men and women in the Armed Forces have historically and currently mightily, fervently and valiantly upheld both theirs and our honor by doing their work well and by succeeding despite those who can't or refuse to see it; To those who need to give Freedom and the United States a better effort and to those who need a gutsier outlook on life...to those who are these things...read Mr. Samuel Adams

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

~Samuel Adams

He's not only talking about war but about our vote, about our action over inaction of a land that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Mr. Adams was talking about our sense of who we are as Americans...and about the responsibility laid upon the shoulders of those who would purport to be or who would wish to be our leaders...lest we forget...be reminded.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Great Expectations

We're full of great expectations aren't we? Not much time for two-hour baths, not much time to take time away. There's even less time to let the world know what we're about. I'm not sure who hears what I know or sees what I do. I'm not sure who reads my blog or who listens to me sing or preach. I don't know. That doesn't mean their not worth doing.

My wife left my car this morning, on her way to work. She was some minutes late. Her lips touched mine only briefly, I'd swear it was the wind that tickled my lips. The wind didn't tickle my lips, her breath graced my own. I rubbed her shoulders and ran my fingers through her hair this morning, that's why she was late.

We're full of great expectations aren't we? This is the land of opportunity. I would hope that topping the list of achievements are when you made your spouse late one morning. That your bride or groom left your home knowing they were the most loved of all the loved that morning. I hope. I hope when you wake that you cherish your spouses breath.

We're upheld by accomplishment and intelligence aren't we? We're impressed by Einstein or the Bi, tri, and quadruple lingual. I'm proud of my wife's accomplishments. Sometimes she works from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. That will be what happens tonight. I'll pick her up from work and we'll soon be at church preparing for Praise Team. I'm also an achiever...I tell her every single morning that she looks great. I never fail. Never. If someone tells her she looks good at work, she'll know her husband told her first. Great expectations.

I'm going to share a poem I wrote yesterday. I hope it's universal and I hope that you can figure out how to share it with your spouse. I hope. Because great expectations include skipping the stubborn, the benign, the aloof, the indifferent to achieve greatness. I hope that you took your hands and placed them on his or her cheeks this morning, looked into your lover's eyes and said "I love you." Do that tomorrow. No kisses, no pats on the butt until you've said "I love you." Repeat that. "I love you." It will be the most fantastic kiss you'll remember.

Then it will happen again the next day. Your sweetheart's very breath is like the pearls of heaven. Know this.

It occurs to me that I haven't told my mother I loved her lately. I haven't told my brother or sisters that I love them in days. My nieces and nephews...do they know? I love you...I love you.

I'm not sure who reads my blog and I'm not sure how you love. But that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.


To love you,
A feather in wind
I might be lifted to the heavens
except that I am weighed
by the oil of love that burns forever
holding me fast to the ground
so that I might be the light beside you
as you are ever the flower blooming within me
like the ne'er wilted Joy of God
despite the fables of earth
a flower replenished by water

To Love you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hello to whoever reads this little spot in bloggersville! It's been a few days of work and play and now it's time to get this shindig back on the road.

October. Halloween looms, and although I don't celebrate it, I'm always fascinated by the costumes on sale at your local store. From knights to ghouls, the country is eager to be someone else for a day. The Israelites used to want to be someone else too. In fact, they wanted a new identity so badly that they would stop at nothing to demand a new king in hopes that somehow they could create their own image and identity. Why is that important? In Politics some want to be be identified by their civil rights, in grade school some want to be likened to their heroes, at work some want to be identified by their position. In the strident attempt to gain individualism we've become like everyone else. If you take the mask off you realize you were never your own (Heidelberg Cat. #1), but retain God's image. The irony is that in God's image each one is unique, having their own finger prints, personality, looks, stature--no one is alike. We were already individuals before we tried to be another individual!

But I digress because how could I live in the month of October if I didn't revel in baseball. The Major League Playoffs are on. Balls, bats and testosterone glaze the stadium with euphoric energy. I wear Dodger blue but I was in Columbus Ohio last weekend and I knew full well that Ohio was in the Playoffs. The Cleveland Indians couldn't have a more excited fan base if they tried. There's so much hot air blown around town about Ohio's team, I thought I might lift right off the ground like a hot air balloon. It's exciting. I love baseball. Sixty feet away a tiny ball springs out of a talented hand at 94 miles an hour. The pitcher, forced to throw downward from atop a small hill at a strike zone no bigger than a small box, beads with sweat. Another man must place a narrow bat in the right place at the right time because only 1/2 second later that same ball will cross the plate. When and if a connection is made the ball pops toward the 2nd baseman at roughly the same pace or faster and is mostly likely spinning from the contact. It bounces off the diamond dirt and the talented player picks it off the ground as if it were sailing at 10 miles an hour not 100. Meanwhile a runner is barrelling at full tilt towards first-base, face strewn with effort , built with one purpose...make it to 1st base before the ball does. A hard throw is made and slaps into the first baseman's glove like a shot in the dark and the runner's cleat bounces off the base a click after the ball reaches the defender...a light speed moment a Referee must see clearly, as if a photo had been taken and the still frame given to him. With an enviable flare laced with passion and adrenaline that only those who're on the field can understand, the Ump calls "OUT!" , striking his fist in front of his body as if life itself lept from his fists. And all this in less than 10 seconds. Man I love this sport. I'm elated that a group of men could achieve such potent skill. When I was young, I used to believe I possessed such prowess. When I was young, my heals clicked the dirt and my toes possessed the base and I believed myself that I was playoff material. But look at me! Do you see the spindly legged bad-backed hero first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers? My God Imaged fingerprints contain something other than professional baseball.

Back to the play...the runner, wick'd with sweat, pleads his case, completely sure he'd reached first base in time...the audience boos, assured that the ump was wrong and they and their runner are right... innately knowing that, like myself as a little boy, they the fans possess skills that those on the field do not. Many in the crowd clamor in heat as if God himself would do the very same thing...

or are they once again trying to be in someone else's image?

Live a little...enjoy the game...then leave with the same fingerprints you had before the game began. God's image goes with you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ultimate and Absolute Freedom

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. I mentioned this idea in another blog but wanted to reiterate. God gave mankind tasks that He knew they could tend and control. However, even the affect of such things like gardening were solely the work of God (growth of plants, growth of animals, growth of babies). Man hears the whisper of Lucifer's promise to Adam and Eve in modern times. We've believed since then that we could somehow touch or choose to understand the power of God by our own decision.

Adam and Eve discovered that the converse was true. They discovered that they could never comprehend the full nature of good and evil, that they could never comprehend an ever expanding universe (when did the world move from flat to round?), and that they could never effectually grant themselves a position in heaven. Remember that God's removing them from Eden was a gift not a curse. He protected them from eating of the tree of life so that they might not live forever in their sin. God knew that on top of disobeying him, that trying to rise equal to, or above Him was impossible. One cannot rise above their master unless an outside force gives you an opportunity, to defeat, or has the ability to give you the authority over your master. For example, Abraham Lincoln worked to give slaves the power of freedom from their slavery. But there is no "other" above or equal to God that could give them their power. It is impossible. Even if it were possible for Adam and Eve to glimpse at the glory and power of God in goodness and righteousness, they would find such a thing too magnificent to see. In fact, they would find it such a power that they would cease to exist. The glory of God cannot be touched by man for any reason. TO even touch the tabernacle of God meant instantaneous death to the "toucher." Even Lucifer, the mighty and beautiful Angel could not comprehend the power of God in His attempt to overcome it. This mighty being was thrown to earth like a rag doll.

To think too highly of yourself is fruitless. Nimrod and those who would seek to build a building to Heaven could not comprehend a universe that was billions of light-years of creation. So, God protected them from their attempt by confusing their languages, knowing full well that the realization of a vast universe beyond their wildest dreams would be too much for them. He wanted this sin to stop.

Therefore, my thought. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But so does absolute freedom. Ultimate Freedom means ultimate chaos. If we had ultimate freedom in America then everyone here would be able to determine what is right for themselves. What do you have? The problem of determining who's right has the most freedom? Where your freedoms deeply offend me, does that still mean your freedoms should not be censored in some way? If everyone had their own rights there would be a "conflict" of rights which would end in ultimate chaos. We in the U.S. are not completely without governing. We intend to limit how we are governed, but we are not absolutely free. It would be chaotic and ultimately destructive. We see small examples of it when Senators from the Senate floor (The Floor of the "People") carelessly blast those who would disagree with them. It is their way of attempting to wrest more freedom from the system than they are actually given (or should be given). In a religious setting, Complete free will offers us the ability to see God in any way we choose. But, much like our political system, the true "freedom" of the will of man leads to chaos and destruction...read Judges. Adding to this, Romans indicates this is not "Absolutely" free, and John 10 indicates that we are under the will and care of the master.

Some of us from Church will be studying Romans in the next several weeks and so I precede with these presuppositions that relate to the above explanations:

1. That, we do not have the ultimate freedom to see God in His glory or in His righteousness until he reveals it to us.
2. We do not have the ability to see Good and Evil for what it is until we are shown that information.
3. We will not see God until He reveals Himself to us (Presup. #1) Furthermore, we will not find God...He will find us and draw us to Him.
4. We cannot equal or or place ourselves above the master.

God has always protected us from the attempt at Ultimate Freedom...knowing of it's terribleness, it's awesomeness, it's glory and it's incomprehensibility. That is why He brings us to it in the way that will lovingly and safely reveal Himself to us, and in the way that will keep us, not kill us.

We love the "idea" of the Gift of Free Will or the Gift of Choice as many of us have purported. But, I do not find that gift spelled out in such terms from God's Word. Some of my presuppositions may be altered as I study...but I'm ready for God to show me in what ways they shall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I wrote about RAGBRAI last month and have oft attempted to explain to myself the majesty of God in all things. I was at times in great pain, disillusioned and tired. I was panting for relief and striving for reprieve. Spasms would rack my body, or my back would become weak or my feet would go numb. It seemed to encompass the entirety of the years behind me. Of course, other times I was great and fast and completely entranced by this event. The reason to finish the race is always before us. But along the way, God shows you glory as one is sometimes being refined by trial and fire. So, I wrote about it and thought I would share today.


I have sailed the great highway
which trembles beneath
All that God has put before me.

Pinions of effort and triumph
Of dubious pain and striving
Of songs in spellbound
company with my heart.

I have seen the white sun
turned to gold by hours
I have seen the music of fog swaying
to the rhythm Of wildflowers, wind and sun

I have seen the matron dew proffer
her benefit softly under the red skirt of sunrise,
turning feral field jade and vibrant.

I have seen the hills rise up
To the morning trumpeted
By voice and tongue and breath.

I have seen leaf bent in homage
To current and branches
like fingers Tickled by wing.

I have seen fields of alfalfa
Lying in patient wait for her harvest
I have known the gentle brook
Rippled and peaceful bastions of inspiration.

I have seen geese suspended
Pulling and drafting In assignment
known to them Milleniums before
man took flight In air or on road.

I have seen all things wild
Archbishops of the trees
And tenders of the field
And Guardians of the Sky.

Whir of tire and curling current
Efficient and tireless
And I turn my eyes to the golden wake
Where they are in commission
unfettered and undisturbed.

I have seen unregulated sky
Vastly uninterested in accomplishment
And yet I strive to dance amongst it’s power.

I have see the hills rise up to meet me
Where steeples reach like fingers
pointed toward heaven.

And I am whetted for the house of God

A poem by rje, 7/30/07