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The screams of a person are the screams of a soul:
One is never mere flesh in Phalaris’s bull.
But the pain is from burning of skin and not heart,
Of destroying the doors and the gates and the art
That connect in a manner essential to “me:”
For without which the “I” is a mere quiddity—
An intangible unknown, an unperceived core,
Transparent when stripped of all its decor.

A heart develops not without vein and a lung,
And a thought isn’t seen without pen or a tongue.
But a spiritless body is dead on its feet
As it can’t be revived and no mem’ries accrete
It, as tree in a wood in a book that’s unread
Never falls to the ground or will let its leaves spread;
Disembodied, unloved, unperceived, and alone
It’s a shell of a self--it’s completely unknown.

The worship of word is then a worship of prop:
A mould without fill and a field without crop.
But worship of flesh is a worship of bud
Decaying in flames of Dionysian blood.
Yes, the Word is our God! But the Word was made Flesh
And together the void and the formless enmesh
Into substance and man and a rational “could,”
That is only an “is” when it’s clothed with the good.
Parisian peasants showed a proclivity
A penchant for projects of perpetuity
That convert the finite, temporal shades to gold
From delegated motion to eternal fold
And looking to the superlative Ark, the Maid,
They wielded their hammers and foundations were laid.
And with lifetime effort they added a crumb
To what in two hundred years became Notre Dame.

Please ask what it would take for the dandy’s child,
Emotivists, solipsists, and the self-exiled
To lay brick, to make, if not rewarded power
To peacefully lust in their comforting tower.
For when their goods are defined in terms of their rights
And we’ve flattened the truth to equality’s heights
Then why leap to the sky as to grasp the great chain
Of being that hoists you to divinity’s plane?

They say that “first I am self, a chooser of spheres,
With patois of my making, apart from my peers.”
But peasantry claims that “I’m by family defined,
For without polis and custom, I’m dumb, I’m blind.”
My contemp’ry peers see in tradition a choice:
An emotive expression of interior voice.
But these peasants contend that “I’m born with a past:
A historical practice by fathers amassed.”

The individual’s death is death of the soul
But the peasant will die and be part of the whole.
When it’s reduced to the self, reality ends
At death; to children and friends it never extends.
The real for the peasant is eternally based
Even though after his death, his soul is displaced
He has faith he’ll return to the foot of the tree,
Of whose fruit he will partake for eternity

Appeal to authority, the peasantry knew,
Though fallacious at times, is usually true;
When ordered by God under scientia’s queen
We can be given a Truth that is known and seen.
And those who seek to challenge that whole unity
Will fail in desp'rate bid to structure a key
To the kingdom that belongs alone to the Truth,
Who delegates office to men sinful, uncouth.

The Intelligible needs a narrative whole
And meaning needs context to be contextual
The meaning of symbols will change by the mind
Unless author’s intent is with reader aligned
Which is why in pursuit of the truth I must tie
Myself to the context of Apostles; and why
Christianity’s true and not merely a wraith:
Because it is based on the Catholic faith.
_
1. It’s not so much a home for us
As home for our deceit:
Affirming every guiltless heart,
Distracting from defeat.
It’s found in lands of apathy
Where feelings limit thought,
And standards thought impersonal
Rely on what is not.

2. A place where temples will adore
The inner light inside:
Where you directly see the world,
Directly through your pride.
A place of icons that demand
A greater life than yours:
A life of goods and happiness,
Of wanting more and more.

3. A place where God is glorified
The most through our content,
Where suffering lament will be
Portrayed as deviant.
A place where God is glorified
When we have self-esteem;
Where trust in self is trust in him:
A god inside our scheme.

4. A place where God is worshipped most
When we try hard to touch
A presence we’re convinced is Him:
A feeling found in us.
A place where we’re convinced that faith
Is all we need obtain,
But then define faith as good works
And love only our chains.

5. A place where truth defined as less
Directs us downward to
The dimmer lights of narrowness,
A world of residue;
A world where truth has boundaries
Beyond which God can’t go,
For human thought is fallible
And Scripture’s all we know.

6. The prophets in our icons speak
Of truth without a Pope;
Tradition that’s as old as you,
Where meaning is a trope.
Where we connote, we don’t define
But by effects alone.
We’re hoping that the essence will
Eventu’lly be known.

7. Seduced, we tend to run to self,
The selves we wish we were:
With freedom, wealth, and pleasure and
A life fulfilled, secure.
But freedom’s just a neutral tool,
And wealth is merely means,
And pleasure’s mere result of good,
The Good it cannot be.

8. So when the church pursues these things
As visions of the Good,
They choose to play off barons’ lies
Instead of something true.
They build themselves an idol that
Is dressed in Words of God,
But paint His face in colors of
A cultural facade.

9. Where are the prophets of the old,
Who knew that truth is full:
That truth without tradition will
Be incommensur’ble?
That language, genre, meaning will
Be dead without a guide,
That texts alone will never speak
Past cultural divides?

10. Where are the princes of the old
Who though seduced by power,
Would, when condemned, kneel in the snow
And beg in rags for hours?
Where are the laymen, who when wrong,
Won’t split off from the Vine?
Who, blinded by the light of forms,
Won’t run back to their binds?

11. What happened to the saints portrayed
On icons made of gold?
Whose lives were good and true and real,
Not poured in market’s mould?
Why do we sing of present Lamb,
When altar’s absent from
A stage that points to podiums,
That’s filled with pipes and drums?

12. If we deserve what we produce,
Receiving undeserved,
Then pedestals should not be, for
Production’s sake, reserved.
Unless we think God owes us what
Was given on the cross,
Then worship Him, not music, words,
Not feelings, dreams or thoughts.

13. But then what choice remains when we
Reject the miracle,
Of accidents remaining same,
While essence changes full?
And when we strip the altars bare,
And throw away the bread,
We **** our God yet worship him:
A thought inside our head.

14. So those who want to find what’s true
And find a God that’s real,
Must pull the nails from Wittenberg
And cross themselves and kneel.
Five hundred years of modern pride
Have found in Paris home.
Unless we want to live there too,
We must return to Rome.
1-2. Thesis: Modern Christianity is a mask. It reduces God to self.
3-5. Examples of reductionism common to modern religion.
6-8. The problem with reduced theology.
9-11. What's missing.
12. A theology reduced to the individual is a theology of pride. It's why modern Christianity can't help but showboat.
13. Something greater than the individual was always central to premodern worship. Modernity tossed that away.
Everything is dying, but I don’t see the snow
That glimmers to remind us to forget that things would grow
Rather there are acorns that, lying strewn about
Will plead for painted, ghost-like trees, for dreams that never sprout
And seeing rotting seeds, we weep that they will die
Though desp’rately we water them and pray for them to fly
And then the wind decides to make the acorn quake
So we, delighted, fool ourselves to think its death was fake

Everything is crumbling, but I don’t see the fence
That stoutly stands to block the view, to put up a pretense
Rather, there are lampposts that flicker in the night
Directing eyes to shadows that will tell of every blight
And if there was a fence there, then we could ignore
The demons that are hiding there, in every sill and door
Instead we run away from ones that claim our soul
And to the crumbling buildings where, residing, they control
Wrote this after the loss of a friend. I'm normally not this angsty.
Dream of yourself in a cage in a dungeon
With cabbage-like smells and a grimy old floor.
Regular tormenting guards who are violent,
And kooky old fools stirring sleep with their snores.

Picture yourself in a prison of torment:
A Chateau d'lf or Guantanamo Bay;
Digging a tunnel's your clearest of choices,
For windows will still give you the light of day.

Thousands of times you have tried to escape it
In tunnels and ladders and heists from outside.
Failures compound so that hope becomes mythic,
As there seems no wa-ay to cross the divide.

You seem to remember the wind on your face,
The prickling of snow as it melts in your hand;
You seem to recall the tangerine sight of
A great falling orb set in some foreign land.

Vague are the thoughts that seem pleasant in cages,
They mix with the fake so that all looks the same.
Remnants of mem'ries of greater past things will
Seem made up as fiction to fan at hope's flame.

Daedalus' story seems invented as false
To claim that the prideful will seek what's too high.
Icharus' path is what all men must take as
It's prideful to think that a person can fly.

If a real road to the noumenal place will
Then never be found in the tunnels or skies
Then where do you go except to your own feelings?
What then is "escape" but some greater disguise?

You thought the window was hinting at real things
But you could not find them though search as you might.
Maybe the "real things" were just an illusion:
A comforting presence, deceptive and bright.

What if a Spirit was sent with a message
That there is a way to escape from the cage?
Spirit of hope becomes spirit of torment,
As stories of freedom are only a stage.
The little wanderer looked to the skies
And, dreaming of planets to roam
Glanced momentarily into my eyes
To ask what it’s like far from home.
“When I first taste of the flowing old sand,
Of minds that are not near my own,
How can I judge in so foreign a land,
The things that from them can be known?”

“Oh little wanderer, look to the clay,
Away from the glittering lights:
And find there realness above what we say:
A realness that’s felt not by sight.
In this taste, this touch, you know what it is
For your broken nails to be stained.
In seeing those stains on hands that are his,
You find that knowledge is gained.”

The little wanderer was satisfied,
Planting and playing in the muck,
But after a time, his eyes opened wide,
As another question had stuck.
“In seeing the stains, it cannot be found
That from the same source they align.
How do I know that in feeling their ground,
I’m not merely thinking of mine?”

“Oh little wanderer, why is it bad
That you can’t escape from your skin?
The beauty is gone when thoughts are not clad,
In the hues of intuition.
Digging your toes in the glittering pools
Of their alien, distant shores
You find that your home is another jewel:
Adorning the real with what’s yours.”

The little wanderer swam in the lake,
And chased little tadpoles around,
But from blurry eyes, new questions will break
As they look in water so browned.
“But what if the truth could be much more clear,
By clearing the image of dust?
Why through a lens must I vaguely peer
And on my experience trust?”

“Oh little wanderer, remember this:
That from planets all things are grown
Planting a tree outside of what is,
Is sowing what cannot be sown.
But binding all planets is common Word
Who refuses to blend the hues,
Creating instead a pattern absurd
To them who for clarity fuse.”

— The End —