Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Kim Fabricius

Ben Meyers' blog over at Faith and Theology is the premier theological blog on the internet. One of the primary reasons for that is the wonderful, constant presence of Kim Fabricius, an expatriate American minister in the United Reformed Church in Wales. A few weeks ago I had the happy experience of reading through his Propositions on Christian Theology: A Pilgrim Walks the Plank, which was a downright joy. In between each of his sets of ten (or so) propositions on some theological subject is a hymn/poem of sorts -- and, as he says in the Introduction, because they were written before the propositions, in a sense they are the text on which the propositions are the commentary. All that to say, they are deceptively profound, and below is my favorite from the book.

My own poem afterward is mostly unrelated, but written this week, it expresses my persistent frustration at my own fear of God's good presence.

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Children die from drought and earthquake

By Kim Fabricius

Children die from drought and earthquake,
children die by hand of man.
What on earth, and what for God's sake,
can be made of such a plan?
Nothing -- no such plan's been plotted;
nothing -- no such plan exists;
if such suffering were allotted,
God would be an atheist.

Into ovens men drive "others",
into buildings men fly planes;
history's losers are the mothers,
history's winners are the Cains.
Asking where was God in Auschwitz,
or among the Taliban:
God himself was on the gibbets --
thus the question: Where was man?

God of love and God of power --
attributes in Christ are squared.
Faith can face the final hour,
doubt and anger can be aired.
Answers aren't in explanation,
answers come at quite a cost:
only wonder at creation,
and the practice of the cross.

- - - - - - -

The Violence of Peace

Your silence is hard, like
a barricade before
my freight train of busy
industry. I fear your
eyes met in prayer more than
the flames -- for there, there will
be cries and gnashing of
teeth interminable.
But alone with you I
am invaded by what
is alien to my
soul: the violence of peace
which you refuse, by what
is called grace, to forfeit
for my sake. I stop, in
terrified quiet, still
before divine glory.

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Previous Sunday Sabbath Poetry

8.31.08 - Wendell Berry
9.7.08 - Will Oldham
9.14.08 - Sam Beam
9.21.08 - Woody Guthrie
9.28.08 - Derek Webb
10.5.08 - David Berman
10.12.08 - Michael Nau
10.19.08 - Sufjan Stevens
10.26.08 - Wendell Berry
11.2.08 - Maynard James Keenan
11.16.08 - Wendell Berry
11.23.08 - Psalm 44
12.10.08 - Mid-Week: Derek Webb, Rowan Williams, Cormac McCarthy, Psalm 137, and Jesus
12.21.08 - Placide Cappeau
1.04.09 - Robin Pecknold
1.11.09 - Thom Yorke
1.25.09 - Reese Roper
2.1.09 - Chris Martin
2.15.09 - Wendell Berry
3.01.09 - C.S. Lewis
3.8.09 - George Herbert
3.15.09 - Gerard Manley Hopkins
3.22.09 - Rowan Williams
3.29.09 - Walter Brueggemann
4.5.09 - Dan Haseltine
4.12.09 - Easter: Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Colin Meloy, Michael Nau, Rembrandt
4.19.09 - Jeff Tweedy

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