Friday, October 21, 2011

Kissing Paul

I am perplexed
by this figure cut in rock
the marbled morality
the conservative touchstone

I run my fingers
over the cracks in the stone
and feel a warm breath
escaping the fissures


Liberate the man
from the bondage
of controlling boondoggle
of deified domination
of fearful veneration

Arise Paul
from the tomb
of dusty imaginations
and dirt dry passions

Arise and enter my room
sit stay and talk a while

I am surprised
by Paul's passionate kiss
surprised by the exchange
of breath
and spirit

I had forgotten your doubts and pain
the thorn in your side
the pain of your fragile soul
unable to control your
mysterious urges

What warm body did you confide in
who did you embrace
who did you cling to
in the agony of your humanity

Who kissed you
returning the smile
to your Apostolic face

Who granted you the blessing of fragility
of finding God in our fragility
who reminded you
again in your anger
your despair and sorrow

Who in the body of Christ
touched your body in Christ

Who taught you the mystical kiss
we now share

Who reminded you
that the greatest of all things
is Love


  1. I really like the invitation your imagination think of Paul as a human being in time. Curious about how your relationship has changed with Paul? I guess through your recent studies. Boondoggle- a southern term I guess???? Beverley

  2. My first "real" exposure to Paul was in my Literalist/Evangelical period at about the age of 12 - 15. Unfortunately in that perspective, Paul came with an agenda attached, a twisted judgmental bramble of thorns which choked the life out of Paul's and my relationship. Paul was used and abused as either a weapon of judgement and condemnation or as a shield of self-justification and rationalization. When I decided to put away childish things, which for me was Literalism, I left the Icon Paul behind. I could no longer stomach the theology of condemnation and ironically I was leaving that Paul, as I wanted to be in Paul's words, a "minister of reconciliation". In my words, a "minister of restoration". So twisted was my conditioning that I couldn't see the truth of Paul's words in that of all that I have and am, the greatest achievement, the greatest for any person is in realizing and giving Love. The consequence was that I left Paul on the shelf, having "torn him out" of the New Testament and then I simply focused on the Spirit of the Gospel.

    It took Crossan and Borg's perspective on Paul to begin to mend me to Paul. It was also C&B, who through their relating the scholarship which separates the authentic letters from the disputed and inauthentic letters, also removed the logical difficulties in the inconsistent ideas of "Paul" through the Epistles which made Paul look nearly schizophrenic! C&B helped me to take a sledgehammer to the Myth of Paul to reveal and engage the real flesh and blood person who proceeded the Apostle and remained with the Apostle through-out his life and career. As Bogart said to Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."