Saturday, May 21, 2011


When Neal the alien from outer space first arrived on Earth, he astonished the world in his first appearance on television by announcing that yes, indeed, God exists in truth, and that he had proof. This caused quite a stir across the Earth for the ten days Neal remained with us.

Immediately, those who had a fervent awareness of the Creator's name tried their hardest to find out if this scaly alien was actually a false prophet. "After all," they pointed out, "if he really knew the Creator, he would also know his name." In reply, Neal pointed out that he was merely using the common vernacular of Earth to reference a 'mighty one' and that furthermore, due to his alien language and severe accent, the name people had undoubtedly misinterpreted what he had said. The name people noted that he had spoken English. In response, Neal said, "Exactly."

Upon being theologically satisfied, the more religious people of Earth carefully examined how they should best follow the new teachings of this stranger. In his announcement, they realized, he had used the word 'indeed' to describe God's existence. That is, in deed, and with hardly any need for faith, God could be found. So the men circumcised themselves, the women started wearing full head coverings and veils, and everyone went on their merry way. The apostle Paul churned in his grave.

The conspiracy theorists and ufologists took a somewhat different approach to Neal, though it was found to be just as loud. They pointed out to the media that this alien and supposed do-gooder looked very much like a reptilian and therefore could not be trusted. Every word he spoke was a lie, and that in the real truth, it was all an intergalactic conspiracy to overtake the world from the inside. To quell their concerns, Neal explained that his scaly appearance was simply due to dry skin and besides, he was obviously acting alone. The conspiracy theorists answered by saying, "Clearly his denial of the truth is enough evidence that the truth is true, so we must admit that the great deception has finally arrived." Neal made no comments about the irony of their statements, and so the media became bored with this new angle of the story.

But just when things appeared as if they were about to calm down, the secular politicians of the world caused the biggest uproar. Regardless of any theological, philosophical or otherwise tricky statement this alien decided to make, he needed to be controlled, and so for two and a half days, World War III was fought for the rights of one country to give this strange being over to the international community of scientists. Unfortunately, when the smoke and the fanatics cleared, it was discovered that no one actually knew where Neal had wandered off to during the battle.

In no time at all, he was tracked to South America, where he was visiting a small Peruvian boy who was sick with cancer. The authorities quickly ran to apprehend Neal, and they were mostly successful in doing so. However, as they grabbed him from the sick boy's bedside, Neal reached out one last time to comfort the boy. As he reached out, he lost his balance, tripped over someone's boot toe, and fell backwards, hitting his head forcefully on a cinderblock in the corner. He was killed by the impact.

Thus ended the ten-day period of Neal the space alien, which was later to be memorialized in the factual account written by Josiah Swanson, entitled, "Neal, If Only We Knew Him Better." And soon enough, things began to return to normal, with Neal's claims that God definitely exists becoming what seemed to be no more than—except for those who had been circumcised—a faint memory of a brief moment of clarity. A great candle, people said, had been held high in the darkness of the times. What beauty, what beauty! they cried.

Sadly, no one ever got around to asking him about his proof.

Message in a Bottle

Oh, what can I say that hasn't been said?
I know what I want to write here,
That I have been blessed abundantly,
And very specifically, concerning one cheery person.

I want to do it with some wonderful pictures—
A view of the stars on a cloudless night,
The feel of a fresh sheet of snow in the beauty of winter,
And the smell of a sweet flower meadow full of mountain laurels.

But I don't have the words.
I've not been so blessed with that much today, it seems,
At least not as a poet
Would want them to flow like a river smoothly.

So I settle for writing this,
Because I want to have something written
For that certain feeling, and that more than a feeling,
When all is made well, is made well, is well.

Also, because it is Sabbath, I want to say outright, Yah bless you all abundantly!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

As She Holds Her Lamp to Be Lit

Perhaps madness is a defense mechanism
When you are afraid that the truth
Is more terrible than the life you're living,
Where the wind blows away the dust particles
Of guile and doubt, and the rains fall
And paste these trials to the ground, underfoot.

Perhaps peace is the essence of survival
That calls you to sleep every night,
All those hours when you are watched and protected
And light shines on you and from you,
When you hear the cry at midnight and leap up
And do not turn to the right or to the left.

Perhaps then, when your crooked soul
Is made straight with the loving light of truth,
With the solid, strong and uncovered blessings of rain
Dripping greater particles of glory and grace,
You raise your eyes and turn your face to see
The snow-white clothes and smiling embrace of a Savior.