Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Language of Reverse Culture Shock

With the sound of violins and techno beats bursting through the open windows, I drove home drowning out each passing thought, every few beats I snuck a quick peek at the night sky, letting the summer air ripple through my hair. I drove passed my street, and then the next, and the next. I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts; I still hadn’t felt anything since returning to the states, and the numbing sensation had begun to take its toll on me. But gas costs money, money I neither had nor wanted to waste, so uncharacteristic as it may be, logic took to steering the wheel and drove me home.
Thirty minutes later and I found myself kneeling on the lukewarm pavement of my backyard, bowing down before the King of Kings, robed in the blanket of stars overhead. My heart sat stone cold, but the beauty of creation spilt over the image of our 4,000 square foot home that my eyes couldn’t seem to reconcile with. I wanted to curl up and fall asleep outside, I could see God outside, I desperately grasped to feel His gentle touch in the soft breeze, to know His embrace in the summer night air that warmly kissed my skin, and to stand in awe of His vastness that the multitude of stars proclaimed. Inside the house I got lost, lost inside my big brass bed and walk-in closet, lost in the many distractions that only forced the numbness down deeper. I choked back a short and passing sob, and slowly stretched out till I lay face down against the cement. Not knowing how to physically humble myself futher, I continued to press my face into the gray beneath me.
I could feel the warmth left over from the long since set sun and I couldn’t help but realize that it was now breaking through the dawn on the other side of the globe. I had set foot on the plane in the middle of winter and had hours later stepped out into a California summer, how strange the grey below felt, its heat continuing to engulf me. My mind began to race with incomplete prayers, “Oh God, speak to me, oh God I didn’t leave you behind in Kenya, where are you, this house can’t possibly be mine, I can’t go back inside, why do I feel safer outside then behind the locked doors of my house, Lord please, would you tell them good morning, would you wake them with a memory of our loving embrace, Jesus would you tell me what to say to those around me, Jesus I don’t understand, I can’t stare at the walls around me much longer.” I had no idea what I was saying, I began to quietly weep, I knew each tear could communicate better than my frantic words. Thank God He speaks more than one language…

Something About Autumn

Crunch..crunch…my brown flats laced with golden florals, half conscientiously, perhaps almost instinctively, tread over the orange and red amber puddles splashed through the green autumn grass. Yes, I am once again maneuvering my steps to the placing of each crisp leaf, like a child in a grocery store that will only step on the black squares or red lines for fear of the lava filled white squares. Its fall and the colors of my favorite songs are beginning to play the first few notes. I recently heard that during the fall, leaves return to their natural colors. The vibrant colors are not the pallet of decay as I once thought, they are in fact the purest reflection of the leaves, free of any outside influence, also known as chlorophyll, but no one’s ear delights at the sound of chlorophyll so let’s leave science to science, and me with my words. They say, or often literature tells us that spring represents birth, new life, growth, but when it comes to the literature of my life it seems that Autumn often steals Spring’s thunder and pours a stirring into the dusty corridors of my mind. The corridors left quenched for creativity by the ever busy and preoccupied Summer. Autumn reflects not only the true colors of her leaves but of my spirit. I always feel more alive when the air stands on that in between of warm and cold, as if finally and for just a moment, vacant of brisk goosebumps or beads of sweat, my skin can finally touch the atmosphere without the fickle temperature of the wind. When the faintest of breezes prompts me to neither put on nor remove my sweater, but to breathe in the breath of that whisper of a wind, and soak in the voiceless and seemingly undetectable touch of the afternoon air. My soul begins to sing along with the gold altos as they harmonize with the sea of amber sopranos floating effortlessly from the branches of nearby trees to the cold pavement. A thousand tiny green drums beat against the branches in never know exactly what about October sunsets or November mornings that can intoxicate me so quickly, but something fills me with an awe inspiring release that turns my eyes into a camera lens tinted quiet anticipation. I feel calm and refreshed, each candy coated color sweetening the waking realization that I’m alive.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


There are more slaves today than ever before in history. 27 million men, women, and children are enslaved right now.


My little mouth learned to say “thank you” and “please.”
Her little mouth learns to make bargains and pleas.
My daddy showed me magic tricks.
Her daddy tells her to turn tricks.
My little heart was taught the book of John
Her little heart is tore up the by johns.
I complained about doing my chores.
She had no choice in becoming a whore.
My little soul dreams big dreams.
Her little soul dreamed big dreams.
My daddy chased away the monsters at night.
Her daddy will bring the monsters tonight.

Grown Up Games

Red light…exploitation, enslavement…
Green light… recycle, conserve,
Red light…forget, ignore…Green light….
Go green, save more…
Red light
district tonight
Two for the price of one
won like a prize,
buy one get one free,
freedom is not free,
one by one
we will set them – green fright…global warming,
Green fight…Go back to where you started
paper or plastic,
green light…fight for the rainforest
you’ve never seen, red fight. Stop.
You won’t fight for the slave you’ve never seen.
Red light…stop. Start over.
What good is a globe full of green
if it’s empty of souls free to live in it? Green light.

Commercial Break
12 year old joey: $24
One hour with 7 year old lyn and 6 year old anne: $6.00
One month’s “pay”: $3.00

Stealing someone’s soul: priceless
There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s slavery.


His death is my birthday,
the gun powder—my candles.
My camo is my blankie,
and the clamor of war—my lullaby.
No man’s land is my playground,
and the front line—my classroom.
The memory of abandonment is my nursery rhymeand the trigger—my pacifier.
Compulsively I cradlethe mortal metal.
Shoving my tantrum shut,
like the replacing of the instinctual suckle
with a plastic nipple.
You don’t need a mother’s breast,
when you have lead strapped to your chest.

Prayer of an Abolitionist

Lord You have called me from my restless slumber.
Said to me “Wake up O sleeper,”
and rescued me from my vain pursuits.
You have brought my rose colored glasses full bloom
as broken kaleidoscope petals
expose the paling colorsof my peripheral views.
No longer can I proclaim empty promises
fueled by emotion and arrogance.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to
look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being
polluted by the world”

Where are the widows, where are the orphans,
Have I not 27,000,000 reasons to wash off
the soot of comfort and grease of ignorance?
Have I not 27,000,000 hauntings of souls
left in a pit of darkness
waiting for your soldiers to rescue them?
God protect this passion, this pursuit, this purpose
from the calming negotiations of the church
from the media’s subtle fade from fight to fad.
We will break the chains of the captives,
bind up the
broken hearted,
and proclaim freedom to the enslaved.
Give me strength,
give them hope,
show me where,
show me how,
tell them now,
tell them we are coming.

Dreaming Wide Awake

We have our childhood dreams of candy castles and pink ponies, our school day dreams of becoming president or an astronaut, we have our romantic dreams of love songs and fiarly tale weddings, and of course the ever famous American dream. I have been made aware however, in the past weeks that an essential mode of “dreaming” has gone missing, its face not even on the side of a milk carton…nor on the back page of the church bulliten. Where are our Jesus dreams? Why don’t I dream about what life could hold walking in Christ shaped footprints?

Have Fear and Apathy worked hand in hand to kidnap the vision of an adventure filled life and replaced it with a monotnous nightmere we mistake for reality? Perhaps we hide behind “God’s will.” That is to say that we hide by thinking we shouldn’t dare dream of looking after Ugandan refugees if God’s will is that we teach 7th grade math. Or try the other way on for size; we shouldn’t dare dream of turning our college campus on its head for Christ because God’s will is that we move to Mexico to work in an orphanage. I don’t mind dreaming that I’ll marry a brown haired man with blazing green eyes when there is just as much chance I’ll meet a brown eyed blonde, we have no problem dreaming about securing a white picket fence or a top notch armani suit job even if we know we may be pushing paper for years. So why can’t I dream about brining hope to empty american junior highers as much as I invision bringing hope to an indigenous tribe in south america? I highly doubt God is sitting up in heaven saying “Charlotte get your head of the clouds, stop dreaming about hope, adventure, truth, and freedom, and for pete’s sake get back to your homework and leave the topic of loving the homeless alone.”

It’s as if I have spent my whole life under monochromatic eylids and am waking up to find possiblities in brilliant shades of Christ. It’s as if I have uncovered a treasure map full of long forgotten quests and endless trails with verses for clues and souls saved for “x marks the spot.” My appetite has been wet, my soul is hungry for adventure, and my heart ready to follow. How many late night sleepovers have consisted of dreaming out loud about first dates, china patterns, color schemes, and baby names? Why can’t my late night talks with friends have that similar tone of hope and excitement but exchange the location of first dates with nations desperate for the gospel, can we not exchange debating over baby names with praying over the names of lost friends? Why can’t I?

I can, and I will.

I am dreaming about replacing the gun of a child soldier with a warm blanket and loving words, I am dreaming about kicking down the door of trapped child prositutes and pulling them out one by one, I am dreaming about junoir highers being lights on dark school yards filled with perversion and hurt. I am dreaming of standing on the boarder of a closed country and praying it open, I am dreaming about loving my family with sincere Christ like love, I am dreaming that God can use my writing for His glory. I am dreaming that I can expand my intellect listening to biblical lectures on a boat in the carribean, I am dreaming about revival in the heart of the American church, and I am dreaming about what it would be like to walk hand in hand with Jesus. My head may be in the clouds, but my feet are firmly planted on the Rock.