A poem for Wild Goose

I am at Wild Goose, a gathering of progressive Christians from across the country gathered near Asheville, NC for worship, fellowship, and teaching focused on self-liberation and social justice.
It’s a camp out, Christian conference, tent meeting, and concert all in one.
I wrote a poem this morning after meditating by the river, about my experience here, and the spirit of this gathering:

Green leaves stretch out like wings
Flapping with the cool confidence
Of serenity born in each person’s breast
Who gathered beside these rushing waters
Thick with foam in which they wash away
Their own self loathing, shame, & heartache
Like a gosling newly hatched
Breaking free from its shell
They lay aside other’s expectations
Other’s images of the good and holy,
That prison falling away in so many pieces
While they become at home in their own soul
Alive finally not in the unattainable bodies Hollywood says they need
But those The Creator gifted them as their home
Beautifully diverse

Those wings flap
Stretching out with a faith
Not grounded in abstract doctrines
But rather a confidence grounded
In the green ness of the earth,
The coolness of the enfolding shade
And the all embracing Spirit
Who breathes in them all
Blowing over them as refreshing wind
A faith found in accepting all of God’s creation
A faith expressed in compassion not in creed
A faith content only when put into actions that set free

And as one these many stretch
One wild goose of many feathers
Rising on the wings of justice
Bathed in the fallen rain
Of new beginnings
Ready to soar.

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Rebel Cry (In Honor of the Moral Monday Movement)

Kat and I were blessed to join in the Moral Monday demonstrations today. I wanted to share a post I did last year in honor of it.

One blessing that was mentioned by many speakers is the effect the Moral Monday movement is having now: public sentiment is turning as people are becoming aware of how policies truly stand in the way of their best interest.  I think the words of this poem’s promise are even more true now.

Rebel Cry

Moral Monday 12013-07-01 18.20.20

I was recently meditating on the historic struggle progressives in my state of North Carolina have been in, with the moral Monday demonstrations speaking out against systemic racism, neglect of the poor, of our children, and many other concerns.  It got me thinking about some of the other struggles we have gone through — the fight for equal rights for all we had in combating Amendment One (a battle that we lost), the fight many in our community who were spouses of soldiers in same-gender relationships had with the fall out of DOMA (a fight we have won, in part).  I thought of fights we have seen progressive on — the sit-ins to fight racial segregation in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

This got me thinking of my experience of what it meant to be a southerner growing up in a conservative home, and now how I view my role as a progressive North Carolinian.   These thoughts birthed this poem, an ode not just to our Moral Monday patriots but also all fighting to help our state live up to its own best values.

And I’m not just whistling Dixie here!

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah Royal

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Rebel Cry

barns Honeysuckle_2

“The south will rise again”

whispered in winds thick with smells

of honey suckle and jasmine

joining barns, creeks, church bells,

and watermelons

casting a kind of spell

shaping the landscape in

my childhood mind when hells

like slavery, Jim Crow,

and poverty weren’t known.

dinner-table-lwatermelon

I heard “the south will rise”

as a promise of grits,

cornbread, tea, pecan pies,

at tables all can sit

affirming our shared ties,

a re-union as fit

as a sight for sore eyes.

Then, at twelve, I was hit

by news of a black man shot

in the name of the rising south.

hate crime Trayvon Martin

That south which filled my sights

was falling, not rising, then:

falling into hate and fright

based on folk’s shade of skin,

if who they love was deemed “right”,

forgetting that the true sin

is not those whom we fight

but in not letting them in.

With waving flags, guns ablaze,

we plunged b’neath where we can raise.

martin luther kingsit-in-greensboro-record

My heart sank til I heard

a Georgia preacher’s dream:

children unencumbered

by hate of color or creed,

from whom a new south is born.

Now I know that south’s rising,

rising beyond fear and scorn

of those different, with wings

of a new morning for all

without more dividing walls.

Yes, the south will rise,

will rise again

rise with justice

rise with equality

rise with shadows of hate forgotten.

carolina sunriseDiversity 1

The Spirituality of Fishing

progressiveredneckpreacher


You get a line, I’ll get a pole

We’ll go fishing in the crawfish hole…

“Boondocks” sung by Little Big Town

 

     It is that time of year isn’t it?  The air is warming up.  I can feel the wind blowing in my hair, and smell the honeysuckle.  It all is drawing me to creeks, rivers, … well anywhere with water teeming with life.

     It is fishing time.  A tradition I think many of us southerners embrace with a true gusto.

     I can still remember staying up all night, camped out at a fishing hole, with my friend Paul in high school, not coming home til pre-dawn hours, waiting for that just right catch.

     From childhood on, fishing has been a part of my life.  In fact for me, like many southerners, fishing is not just a past-time.  It is part of…

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