Happy knowledge spins a carriage.

Pumpkin cheeks smile upon you.

Loving words and soothing touches

Caress the soft skin and feed if hungry.

Watch him grow he’s getting so big!

Nothing but a joy to live.

Rocking chair gets lots of use.

Writing poems for your new muse.

Happy, yes, happy, yes, happy.

Circles of Insanity

Softly sleeping in the folds
Of silky swabs on the deck
Of a sailing ship,

Echoes of rhythmic pounding
Drive through my aching temples.
Who is the captain of this roguish craft?

Who gave the orders to
Run a rampage through the hearts
Of innocents, to cast a dark shadow
On the wretched faces of children?

Only somber tones can soothe
The memory of that castigation.
Only blood can satiate
The appetite of such hungry wolves.

Who would be so uncouth
As to disturb the peace and order
Of a simple man and his wife
Dining in the privacy of their home?

Who would be so rebellious
As to eat the flesh of a sacred cow,
Such as one that hovers nearby
A holy temple?

Only the whispers of a lovely pixie,
Dizzily dancing round and round
A bonfire in the depths of the
Ancient forest can come close

To enchanting this unworthy
Troll that casts a horrible stench
Across these pristine hills.
What is worth her ritual?

Who can begin to imagine
What demons lurk behind
Jagged rocks and at the bottom
Of such abysmal pits?

Who is willing to march across
Abandoned cities, pillaged
To the extreme, sacrificed to
The appetite of barbarous dogs?

How can one come to grips
With the secret blessings that hide
In the recesses of one’s mind,
Accessed solely by nymphs,

Loathed even by the heartiest of
Gargoyles, cursed with the shame
Of encountering the reflection
Of their offspring’s soul?

How I weep at the glimpse
Of my only morsel of redemption,
Hiding in this minuscule kernel
Of truth, buried underneath

Millions of centuries of lies, rumors,
Tales and sweeping romantic
Reunions between lonely
Peasants, clinging to hope,

Ready to die at the first symbol
Of heavenly, cascading rivers of light!
“To be young again!” they scream.
To be free of this overwhelming

Nightmare, to escape the tortuous
Gaze of the wild doe, caught in a trap
Of spikes and razor blades.
Lost is the promise of deliverance,

Once again.

A Religious Background

Well, let me say first off that I do have a long religious background. I was raised in the United Methodist Church in Miami, Florida. The interesting thing is, being raised in this church did not interfere whatsoever in me keeping an open mind and resisting stereotypes and prejudice, as is possibly the case in some places. After all, Miami is a metropolitan city and a virtual melting pot of ethnicities and an international gateway to people from all parts of the world.

Although I was a child, and like a child, I took part in teasing, cruel jokes, and other immaturity typical of children all the way through adolescence and even young adulthood (and some for the rest of their life), I have learned to think for myself on most subjects, simply by intellectualism, reading a wealth and variety of literature, and by meeting a variety of people from all walks of life, all of whom usually dispel any stereotypes I held onto, even if just a little bit in the back of my mind.

I think we all have prejudices and stereotypes. In some ways, it is a survival instinct. We try to separate the “good” from the “bad” and those who are in “our group” from those who are not in “our group”. It gives us a sense of safety and security, even if this sense is mostly a delusion. I think all minorities and groups who are persecuted by society benefit from “circling the wagons”, so to speak, in order to get support from those who are of like minds, hearts, and bodies, and gaining power from being in a group.

Now, I say all this right off because I really think that, although religious groups can do these things, and maybe some of them do, I don’t think they are really any different than any other group in as far as whether or not they are religious. Now that’s not to say that if they are made up of people who are already very prejudiced and stereotypical, that they won’t reflect those traits in their religious group, but the prejudice and stereotypes do not originate from the religion.

Coming from a religious background as I have, I must say I have learned a lot of very good lessons through the church. I’ve learned to care for the hungry, the homeless, disaster victims, those who suffer from the ravages of war, those who are persecuted because of their race, sex, religion, etc. And yes, discrimination does still exist in our world, and in the church, and this problem is mostly due to one thing: reverence for the canon of scripture.

Scripture contains some pretty harsh things said against homosexuals, and even worse, these things have been blown way out of proportion by our culture in America and across the world. Homophobia is rampant everywhere. That is a challenge for today’s society that still must be overcome.

I want to end with the greatest thing that religion, my religion, has taught me. The man, Jesus of Nazareth, was the greatest man that ever lived. Anyone that has any doubts should read the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books will give four different, sometimes overlapping, perspectives on who Jesus was, who he claimed to be, and what he means to Christians. I can tell you in short that Christians believe Jesus to be the Prince of Peace, Holy Lamb of God, Son of God, sitting at the Father’s Right Hand in Power and in Truth. Christians believe that in dying on the Cross in complete innocence, Jesus paid the ultimate price for the sins of the world, thus enabling us all to attain everlasting grace and peace. Salvation is something that is hard to comprehend without faith, but basically it is the attainment of forgiveness for guilt and condemnation that we earn by falling short each and every day of what we could be, what we were born to be, what God created us to be. With salvation and God’s grace and forgiveness, we can come a little closer to becoming his vision for our lives.