Monday, December 7, 2009

Four New Poems

False Love

Oh false love get back!
Thou knowest me not!
Sweet lips full of lies to the core.
Only one speaks true.
I will not be false loved.
I see who you are, though I may forget at times.
Fresh Eyes, be my guide for she lurks with thoughts to kill.




True Love

I cannot give you face, that is not fair.
You are formless yet you contain all I hope you to be—simply all that you are.
My love we shall escape time together.
For the threads of our love already stretch that gap between Dreaming and Reality…Now and Eternity.



Humility

I have broke the chains of pride.
I have been set free.
I was bound to death.
I was blind but now I see.
How good it feels to be rid of Hubris!
To be clean from the infection of arrogance and self love!
I feel at long last filled with joy and something else.
I could dance, I could sing…
Perhaps I’ll write a poem.



Sophomoric

Look at the words I write.
So affluent are my phrases.
Such eloquence that I write with.
How inclusive is my language.
Not just the academic elite nor the learned men and women, but those less fortunate.
See how I bring wisdom and the etchings of the sublime to the masses.
I know words and know how to string them together to say so much.
Packed it is in content and so much meaning.
Not a simple phrase will do.
I waste no words.
I write so that all may know.

Praise me, O praise me!
Look at what I can do with language!
See how I bring even the classes together!
Rich, middle and poor alike have access to my vision and words.
They all benefit and our species is enriched.
I do not write to keep knowledge contained.
Through me it is not owned only by those who own.
How horrible a thing to deprive a man a lesson, to keep a tool from him.

Look at my writing.
How it ebbs and flows!
I have such a large bank of words.
And how deep the meaning and how new my cause!
I shall unite us all and send us forward into the next generation.
For my words do not conform to patterns.
They do not echo the words of others.
I speak as though a person speaks.
A little child or a factory man.
I even write to save paper!
So much meaning in so little space.
Not one word wasted.

To those who sneer or miss my meaning--I weep for you.
Scholastica has made you a god.
It is sad that you do not see as I see.
But you may enrich us far better than I.
With words here not used.
Eighteen syllables each to say not one bit of anything.
I'll burn your books when you're gone.
I’m turning your world upside-down.
Rigid keepers of the way it is.

But nonetheless thank you.
Thank you for opening my eyes to see your sad ways.
Thank you for giving me the tools to force labels and separate others with my knowledge.
Thank you for giving me the keys to success.
Thank you for doing so much.
Thank you for your words.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beat
Brian R. Gehrlein
October 2009



Percussionist Poets may never write free.
Please read some more and then you’ll see.
For I contain an inner beat,
ticking and tapping from scalp to feet.
This helps me weave ideas in-time
which come in rhythm and in rhyme.
But poet’s prison is my mind
for words I need are hard to find.


In metre always! Why not in prose?
Will I escape? O heaven knows!
But what of choice, of sovereign will?
My life is blank, a page to fill!
Alright it’s done; I’ll stop the verse,
and finally end this writers curse.
I’ll change the words, the form and font.
And write this poem

However
I
Feel!



This is my most recent little creation. I wrote this after a very tranquil and spiritual late night walk home. All I could hear were the clicks and shuffles of my shoes on concrete. I noticed my steady pace and how my shoes seemed to set the rhythm of the night. Shuffle, shuffle, tap, tap, click, clickity clicky clap, scrape, shuffle, step ball change, rap tap tap tap.... (Apparently I was tap dancing home).

This lovely night sat in the wake of a recent conversation with a good friend about my “writing voice." I talked about my poetic form being trapped in rhyming-only meter sort of stuff and how I wanted to get away from that more. It’s not bad, I mean look at Dr. freakin Seuss and Shel Silverstein! Fun as it is I can't be a one trick pony! Those are lame. I want at least two tricks.

Any way I told my friend that I probably wrote metered poems because I have been a drummer formally for nine years and informally since the womb. Ask my mom I'm pretty sure I came out purple and beat-boxing. It was the eighties....

Seriously, I’m lucky to have made it out of Elementary alive…pencils were sticks and my mouth was a fifteen piece drum set….still is.

And so I live my life with a beat in my heart and skip in my step. It makes sense that this beat will bleed into my writing. I just don’t want to be restricted or predictable! We’ll see.

Another thing that has been on my heart has been the wonderful issue of Free Will. I love me some good John Calvin (depending on my mood), don’t get me wrong, I just also like thinking that God made humans…wonderfully and fearfully in His image….not robots.

Oh free will you tricky devil!

How much do I have? Do I have any? Is it a luxury of money? Am I a puppet and stuck in what life dishes out? Who is responsible, me or the Fates? Do I live my life like I have choice or do I send another message?

I’m pulling my hair out… is it my destiny to pull my hair out or am I choosing it?….OMG….

I hope you can think about your life and the choices you make. What about your choices indicates that you live like you have free will? Are you stuck? Do you feel the tugs and pulls of foreign strings? Are you trapped in the emotions of the past settling for second or third best? Do you dream and work to make those dreams come true? In the words of Switchfoot, “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” Do you march to your own beat or the beat of another? Can you hear a beat at all?

Have you told her you love her? When will you tell him the truth? Have you applied for that program or job? Have you forgiven him really? Have you walked through that door? Have you left that relationship behind? Have you gotten on your knees lately?

I will end with a personal revelation.

A friend’s grandfather recently gave me some sagely advice. I had only just met him and I was telling him about wanting to be a teacher. He told me his son in law was one and used to have trouble with school administrators. He shared with me the advice he gave to him. He looked into my soul with piercing blue-wise-eyes and said, “find out what you can control and do it well. The rest…don’t worry about it.”

A quote and a prayer…

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference. -- Reinhold Niebuhr

Dear God, please help me to have a healthy perspective on the amount of control I have in this life. I only live here once. Help me to not screw it up too bad or to ever take your rightful place as the captain of my ship. Let me make wise choices and enjoy the freedom you have given me in Christ. And as always…..THY WILL BE DONE. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Man in the Mirror

Being a commuter without a car sucks.

I found that out pretty well this last week. It didn’t hit me that hard until I had double practice for cross country, biked back and fourth to eat at my apartment twice and then went to weight lifting class. That day I put in a good fifteen miles of training—not including biking back and fourth which is roughly two miles there and back. I also had a considerable amount of books and a few other bags containing food and practice clothes and shoes.
On my way to class I probably looked like a homeless person who just stole a bike. No joke.

Coming to class sweaty and out of breathe everyday after dodging cars and making deals with God that if I make it over just one more hill without dying I’ll become a missionary in Africa is not my idea of a super time. Its fun to be a college senior!


Oh boy! Just think what splendid joy I’ll have biking to class with swine flu secretly nesting inside me while I desperately peddle in place up a snow covered hill in temperatures rivaling that of the former planet Pluto. Burr.

Oh come on we’re all going to get H1N1. At least that’s the impression I get from the media. I mean I’ve always been told I like to ham it up so it just seems to be the natural consequence.

Wash your hands please.

Well, this blog is not me complaining how horrible my student living situation is, because I actually happen to love living in an apartment and pretending to be an adult. Pretend is a fun game. Look mom I made toast without inflicting 3rd degree burns!
I know there are great financial benefits and I’m sure I will make responsibility strides just by sticking to this arrangement. No more complaining for me, however this blog is on complaining.

I feel ever so complacent. So much so that I feel the need to publicly complain about my level of complacency.

At any rate today in class Dr. Kim Harris asked us what we think the problem of the world is—what the problem with the human condition was.
I remembered a quote from G. K. Chesterton when he was asked to write an essay, along with other noteworthy intellectuals of his age, on the same question. Upon the request he wrote back with two words. What’s the problem with the world? His reply: “I am.”

And so I borrowed that quote and told Kim and the class that I was the problem of humanity. I am the reason there is so much pain, suffering, swine flu and bloodshed.

Ponder that for a while because I’m going to bring it home for you real hard.

Of course the answer “I am the problem” carries a bucket load of theological juiciness involving tasty original sin, the necessity for a redeemer, grace and salvation and all that jazz. We won’t get into that now.

However telling the class that after experiencing my grand “I’m a selfish jerk” moment sparked an interweaving of threads. Something God was trying to teach me or “unlearn in me.”
(I say unlearn because His goal is to simplify us until we bear a child like faith not complexify or complicate us.)

It all happened in the middle of a very intense workout after a miscommunication with a significant other.

My coach had almost doubled our workout amount and made us run it on a very hilly very difficult place.
In my opinion the number of intervals was a little excessive and I was upset for being asked to run so much.

I was cranky Brian. I had a bad attitude. I was emotional. This in turn exacerbated the problems in my mind and the workout itself.
Yuck.

Towards the end my teammates and I were taking a water break and one of them called us over to talk.

In my mind I thought he was going to complain and talk bad about our coach and how ridiculous the expectation was. Then it came. The pale of warm spit dumped over my head from my own dirty mouth.

Instead of complaining this younger guy decided to provide a simple word of encouragement and an inspirational quote to get us through to the finish. Positive thoughts. We were all experiencing pain and hardship together. What we needed was that one person to lighten the load just a touch. Healing words. Someone had to be Jesus.

I felt so low because that wasn’t me. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was the “Christ follower” wishing negativity and complacency over genuine encouragement and love. How could I be this person and still claim to be an image bearer of the One True God? The Gospel is revolutionary and yet in this moment I could not find one trace of it in my heart. Where was the cross in me?

This reminded me of the words of my pastor from the day before, “where is the cross of Christ forming in your life?”

Do I really know?



I could feel selfishness on me like a heavy backpack. I could feel sin covering my skin like black oil from the earth. Ugly.

The problem with sin is in its subtle nuances that go undetected until just the right level bleeds out to wake us up. It starts as a thought or an attitude morphing into an action or a word finally exploding into a broken home or the holocaust. Sin is there even when we don’t see it. Count on that.

After doing some careful reflection I realized I had to talk to someone about this gross affliction.

I made up with my significant other and started talking things through, telling her my story.
It began frustrating me. Until it came out.
I asked her, “when am I going to grow up?”

To which she replied.

“Brian it’s not about growing up, it’s about growing together.”

Growing together…...Brilliant!

She meant her and I which is profound in and of itself. But then I thought what if I apply this to my faith?
I had been a Christian for many years and still I had so much to let go of. What would it take for me to grow up… for any of us?
But it’s not about growing up.
It’s about becoming.
Becoming One.
Growing together, sanctification.
It’s life long.

So now I have to ask God.
“When are we going to grow together?
When am I going to let go of stuff that keeps me from you? When am I going to step aside and let you? When am I going to cherish the gift of your grace?”


If we really have faith in what we believe then we should know that we am not our own. We are not us anymore, not who we think we are or what our sin tells us. Our identity is found in Christ and in Christ alone.

We are becoming. A verb, His verb, not a noun.


We are becoming like Him with bits of Self hanging on like static cling until we leave this place.
I really should be more gracious with myself. After all it takes grace to receive grace. Accepting a gift is the most humbling thing.


So right now the world is filled with scum like me. A grim view.
But there is hope.
There was One who took that scum upon himself and transformed it into something beautiful. He gave us the ability through his grace to become beautiful too. If we only believe.

And so I may be the problem….but I’m getting to know The Solution and He's a pretty cool dude.

Don’t be the problem. Please dear friends get onboard with the Only Solution.
Its the only hope this twisted world has.


In the words of the late great Michael Jackson, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I am asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Summer in Words

The magnitude of what I have learned and un-learned this summer is too great to recount in any bit of detail at this point. Too much to chew, so I wouldn't want you to choke. I know the Heimlich but I'm a nice guy first and foremost. I won't subject you to intentional conceptual gagging. However I will touch on the major points of growth, lessons learned, hardships endured and joy felt through a sharing and analyzing of some of my summer poems.


1. Context: I worked at Six Flags as a live performer in multiple shows and the Glow in the Park Parade! One of my character's names was Chris Seafoam, another was Scott Smithsonian. WOW. One night during the parade I happen to catch the eye of a recent ex girlfriend. It was messy and I was still thinking I could salvage things. The truth came out pretty well. It always does.



Poem Number Three on Love Lost At the Parade


Amidst the glow,
and in the show
I saw you there
within the mass.

Who are you now?
I wonder how,
we ever came
to be this way.

If eye to eye,
I’d ask you why.
but silence kills
the hope within.

The music’s done,
we had our run.
And time reveals,
the heart moves on.


This one is about the dawning realization that the relationship I had previously ended in the Spring was really over. Sometimes hope is misplaced and we don't see who a person truly is until we are away from a bad situation. Enough about that. However I learned some great things about myself and about what I want and don't want in a relationship, so positive change no doubts or regrets. I got over it fast with a summer fling...guilty.



2. Context: A group of friends and I decided to fourth-meal it up at a local diner. I had coffee and waffles and was reflecting on some Shel Silverstein I had read a few hours earlier.


Waffles


Waffles, waffles everywhere and not a drop to drink.
But can you drink a waffle? The answer’s no… I think.
The sugar makes my coffee sweet; it’s tiny, white like snow.
The cream, it makes my black turn brown the caffeine makes me go!
The waitress is a little off my waffle a bit too small.
If there be a tip tonight there won’t be much at all.


3.Context: It was my day off so I went to Six Flags to chill. Go figure. I watched the sunset on top of the Ferris Wheel. I watched the Parade for the first time. It was spiritual and made me want to describe and contrast light created by God and light created by us. Keep in mind that Parade would have made Thomas Edison crap his pants.


Wonders of God, wonders of man


I am in wonder at the wonders of God.
I stand in awe at the wonders of man.
I see the soft glow of painted sky.
I feel the bright glow of magic movement.
I taste the dull fade in cloud’s tangerine light.
I hear the colors bursting onward in the parade.
A peace comes over me.
It is well with my soul at
the end of a wonderful day.


4. Context: I read a lot of books this summer, one of them A Severe Mercy. It was the second read. I had a lot of faith conversations with a good friend who roomed with me and goes to my school, he is also my counterpart in pretty much every play at Jewell and show at Six Flags. This poem was about him and others in my life struggling to find genuine faith in a sea of false belief and poor example. What does it take to set someone on fire for God if they are only playing around in the smoke of curiosity or doubt? For Aaron.


What Mighty Wind


What Mighty Wind can stir an ember to flame?
What Spark makes Fires Glow?
How can I Burn for You?
What makes Smoke change to Blazing Glory?
Come Mighty Wind come.
And Wake the Pyre.


An accompanying prayer...


Dear Lord, teach me how to be used by you to inspire others to live for you, to be loved by you. Teach me how you alone can bring us alive. Make me burn for you. May the heat you fan inside me spread to others in Jesus name.



5. Context: Dealing with my own faith battles. Identity check all around. My views on relationships and romance ebbed and flowed. My concept of faith and my relationship with Christ leaped forward in the words of Kim Harris. I didn't want anything fairytale. Just raw and real. I love to live in stories. I am Theatre major.


Dreaming of Real


Do I want Strength or the appearance of ability?
Do I want Love or the idea of it?
Do I want dirty, rough Faith or the beautiful illusion of belief?
Do I want Loyalty to the King, or halfhearted allegiance?
Do I want Real or dreams, Truth or lies?

I want Real all across the board.
After all, the best stories are real, not stories for the sake of stories.
So find me Real.
I’m ready to be found.




If you are still reading this, you are a trooper and I give you a gold star! Either you are obligated to read this as a close friend and editor/ reviewer or you are freakin bored. I'm not that entertaining.... But good news, I'm almost done.


6. Context: I started freaking out about all the unknowns of life. Then I realized how I have a tendency to "complexify" just about everything. Even simple things like snails and fruit. I over think and over analyze. Thanks Billy Jewell!

Anyway some things are just irreducibly complex which in appearance makes them "simple." Things like God's sovereignty and love and gravity and stuff. So I picked some symbols to represent the attainable Truths and truths that life is full of. Most of it in nature and the Bible. These truths are our constants in a sea of unknown. They make it possible to live and have faith. God is real and so are His words. At least this is my personal firm belief.


Music of the Math


Dreaming of reality again aboard the good ship Babyl-on, I look out upon the fray.
It is dark and the waves rise and fall in bleak sea of variables.
This vessel, my constant, rides on despite weathered waters of why, where, who, how, what and when.
Through violent cresting blues of y, foaming whites of x, and black raging currents of z, we marvel at the mess, careening to conquer the conundrum while ignoring the simple music of the math.

It comes in softly like the glow of sun-kissed horizon.

Oh how steady this vessel, these waters, if we just listen to the music of the math.

The music cools clenched fists, melts the ears and eases the eyes. It turns them toward eastern anticipating skies.

None shall know what dawn may bring

But soft, I hear a Voice beneath the storm…


And through the gales
within my sails, His breath
will chart my path.

In light of Dawn,
the Darkness gone,
I hear the Music play.

With gentle sigh
I float on by
and vanish in the tune.





Last one fools...



7.Context: Sitting in an empty apartment remembering every show, every parade, every roller coaster (literal and figurative). Catharsis. Closure. Realizing how much I sweat performing everyday and how much a human body can sweat in St. Louis in July humidity performing in a fifty pound flight suit covered in $6,000 worth of lights...


Six Flags


I’m done.
It is finished.
A chapter closed.
The summer of 2009 but a glowing memory.
A sweat drenched summer...
Filled with laughter and lights, speed and heights.




Its over!
Thanks for reading. So, you pretty much know my whole life now. I guess I'll go to bed or go eat something.


Looking forward to a brand new Fall. Lots in store and new waters to swim.

Much love!

Thanks for the words all who inspired and contributed!


Dear God, thank you for your presence and persistence with me. Even though I ran at times and probably frustrated the snap out of you, thank you for this summer and for every word you gave. My turn. I give you this Fall and ask only that you would use me and lead me to be a blessing to others. Let me not forget the lessons I learned and un-learned. Ultimately Lord, just lead me to a child-like faith and a closer walk with Jesus. That is all that matters. Simple, real, honest faith in The One who is the only thing worth living this life. Let me stop over complicating things and living in my mind. Let me learn to listen. In Jesus name. Amen.


Seafoam....out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poem for The Season

The Taking and the Giving
Inspired by A Severe Mercy

A time to take, and receive all that is around me.
Harvest time for winter’s approach.
But I am not far away from summer’s kiss.
My warm childhood and youthful spirit remain inside.

And still I gather, take in, and work for colder times
Not long, when the Time of Giving dawns.
The Dishing of the Grain.
A time when I shall deal generously with the hungry and thirsty.
Giving to those in warmer months, and in every Season.

So stay in now, where the bounty overflows.
Drink deep of Knowledge, Wisdom, Beauty, Love, Understanding and the Things of the King.
For soon the need to give them away will come.
The Taking passed as green to brown,
with the smell of crisp snow clouds and shorter days.




I dedicate this poem to all my twenty something guys and gals. College students, graduates, those living in their parent's basement. But mostly to my lil' bro. Here's to you Andrew. Don't be a fool, stay in school. Even if you and I are both pursuing useless degrees.... maybe one day when we teach living off government cheese, we'll look back and say: "Hey! I'm glad I'm up to my ears in debt so the state could give me this stupid little paper that says I can teach kids how to be deadbeat actors and theatre technicians!" I think it will pay off.

So, go learn, make mistakes, find your story, act and rethink how you think. Meta-cognition....ugh!
I love you bro....welcome to the club.
Take in every bit of anything they throw at you, but always remember your roots.....


Go to class and brush your teeth.


I was going to ramble on about this poem's importance to me at this time of my life before I finish college, but I don't think I will. Life is long. Just another ripple in my pond.

Oh boy...senior year....here I come....

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Real Confession

Right now I am enjoying the eve of my day off by drinking lemon tea with honey and feeling the wondrous effects of Tylenol with codeine. Don't ask. The tea is for my poor exploited voice. Okay it’s not exploited. Maybe overworked but not exploited. I am a professional performer this summer for Six Flags St. Louis and I need to be a big boy and take care of my tools (Me). So I guess for me that means resting my voice, preparing well before work and exercising like a mad man.

Moment of vulnerable honesty. I'm not going to lie I didn't need to take Tylenol. I'm in no serious pain except for my blasted ingrown toenail. Besides my stupid toe the only reason I had to take prescription meds was just to zone out and feel good. Guilty. Sometimes I take medicine when I don't need it. Just to feel different.

I recently had an open conversation about whether or not its a good idea to drink alcohol now that I am of the legal age. I have since becoming 21 drank many times. Many times to excess. Guilty. Not proud.

I basically don't know what I think about drinking. I don't judge those who do nor do I judge those who don't. I have many reasons to not and they should be considered as I slowly formulate my opinion of the activity.

I am not fully convinced as Paul mentions in Romans 14. I suppose I'm getting there.

But as I write this and slowly slip into a codeine induced buzz I wonder why so many people (particularly Americans) want to escape the pain of their lives by diving into the tempting pool of numbness. Or the opposite happens, (one that I don't resonate as well with) people latch to pain to liven up the numbness. I don't know which is worse. Nor do I think it matters.

The point is life is hard and it sucks sometimes, whether your a Christian believer or not. Sometimes joy is hard.

The question then becomes: What is our escape? Who is our escape?

They say substance abuse is something that may be genetically linked. This is true of me. As much as we want to, we may never out run our blood. Depressing as this is I also hold another belief that trumps the fact of the latter.


Because of my faith in what Jesus did through his life, death and resurrection, I have been given a new nature. I am not defined by who I or who my family was, or what I did. I am redone. I am set free.

This doesn't make life easy. In fact I've seen how faith in the incarnate God can actually complicate things tremendously. Good thing it also simplifies them too. All things considered everyone has dirt. There are some pretty dirty Christians out there. I am one.

When I started this post I didn't have an idea in my head. Just floating words. Yet I see the question remains.
It beckons and needs response. What, Where, who, is your Escape? Why?

Can I honestly say it is only the Loving God of the universe who became human to give me Life to the Fullest? Sadly, no.

But I desperately want Him to be.

I’m borderline ranting now so I guess I just wanted to throw the idea out there that only a relationship with Jesus can bring meaning, and healing to the pain and numbness inherent to life. At least that’s what I think. That’s what makes sense to me, even if it is shrouded in mysteries that may never be known.

I remembered tonight my blog is called coffee and confessions and in a conversation with a friend recently I told him that one of my only guilt free addictions is of course the magical and mighty coffee bean.....uh.... in drink form.

I believe we all have addictions. I certainly do. But there is Hope. These addictions and tendencies and habits and escapes don't own me. My dirt is not who I belong to. I am owned by The One. And I can see myself falling in love with Jesus more and more.

I want to be addicted to Him. I need to. I really think only He is the One True Healthy Addiction. I think He is the Only Avenue. The only Way to True Love.

So yeah, confession. I can be a mild substance abuser at times. That’s not good.

Don't do that. Its out in the open. Air applied.

But don't worry about me. Worry about yourself. I just showed you the damned speck. Now go check out that plank....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let Love In

The topic of love has been on my heart quite a bit recently for reasons I’m not telling. I've gone through what can be described as an epic transformation, metamorphosis if you will. At any rate I will spare you the exposition and share with you how love has been on my heart. As a follower of Jesus, I am expected to love everyone. Myself, my neighbor, my neighbor's annoying friend, my neighbor's jerk brother. And the rest. I just finished the book Blue Like Jazz and I got to say....wow. Very good stuff. At any rate in that book the author proposes the question "Do you love unconditionally?" And so like the responsive reader I am, I asked myself the question, "Brian, what about the way you love people says you love unconditionally?" I couldn't answer the question... In the book the author has a similar freak out experience. I noticed that sometimes I'm not that great at being loving to all people. Particularly in my attitude towards others who annoy me or offend me or those who call me short. Nobody likes being reminded that they are small. Its okay I can run faster than them anyway.

So, a few days after I read that chapter I thought I would try something to try and fix my attitude issue. I went into work (Six Flags St. Louis as a performer) and everyone I passed I looked at them and thought "I love you." People need to hear those words. I think words must start as thoughts. It's best to think before you speak. I looked at probably 50+ people and muttered and thought I love you. All of them different. Kids, old folks, moms, dads, weird looking people, fat people, skinny people, people in wheel chairs. I thought I love you and something started to happen. I got this very "more than Brian" goofy grin on my face. It was like I was walking in the clouds. I felt lifted and purposeful. As if I was connected in a web. Part of a big family and every stranger my best friend or brother or sister. I wanted to kiss a child on the forehead. Good thing I didn't. I'm not a fan of jail. After a while of mentally confessing my care for these people, I felt an urge to pray.

Father help me to love as you love. Unconditionally. Help me be a magnet of love for you. Use me to show others that you are love and that only through your Son can we be made whole. Teach me and correct my selfish attitude. Let me not withhold love from anyone. Amen.

How can we experience the love of God if we haven't first felt the love of another? Furthermore how can we give love to others if we first haven't felt the love of God? Feeling love and knowing love are different things but they meet somewhere, hard to say exactly where.

Another concept concerning love on my heart is the idea of learning how to love yourself. How can I love myself? Isn't that pride? No. I don't think we can love others or God until we know how to receive love. That starts with the self. The knowing part of love means understanding that you are loved. Feeling love is the hard part. Loving yourself I suppose means respecting yourself. When you respect yourself with what you know (that you are valued and a gift wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of Almighty God) then you will let yourself be loved. Goo Goo Dolls say it best.
"You're the only one I ever believed in. The answer that could never be found. The moment you decided to let love in. And now I’m banging on the door of an angel, the under fear is where we begin. The moment we decided to let love in."

I recently took my Dad's advice the sage of 50 that he is. I let myself be surprised. I am learning how to let myself be loved. Nothing is more humbling.

When will we stop hiding and let love in? When will we let ourselves be loved? When does hate stop? When does selfish attitude stop? It begins with me. I must love myself in full confidence that I was bought at a price. I am not my own. I was loved enough to be died for. In turn I love me because I am loved. Then I can love my neighbor. All of them. All seven billion.

I love you. Whoever you are reading this. You are loved. Love yourself. Don't withhold love. It is not limited. There is enough to go around. So go. Share. In Jesus name.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009




Love's Interview:
All Humans Need Apply

Written by Brian R. Gehrlein






Love is patient love is kind

If asked to wait I would not mind

It does not envy does not boast

Then Green’s no color that I’ll host

It is not proud it is not rude

Though pride may creep I’ll keep it glued

Love is always other seeking

I’ll be the patchwork for your “leaking”

Love cannot be easy upset

I’ll do my best, if mad, I’ll jet!

No record of wrongs should ever be kept

My pages are blank, my memory swept!

Your love should not in evil delight

Don’t ask again its evil I’ll fight!

Love should always rejoice in truth

My joy is clear and pure as youth

And if you love you will protect

Though waves may crash this ship won’t wreck

Your love, our love must always trust

You’re right by that I know it must

If love’s all here but without hope?

I’m sure, as you, the love won’t cope!

Perseverance is love’s aim

Like lengthy walks or steady flame!

But most important that you know

I’ve got no place I need to go

This love I want can never fail

My love it won’t I trust the Nail!

Christ’s walk, is now my guide, my rule

Without His light, to live’s a fool!

I see the questions are but done

May we, in hand, begin the run?


We may, I see your words are true

But time will tell and actions too

You say you are the one for me


So, if you love me set me free!






Simple, cute, true... What else do we want?

This is who I am...the hopeless romantic... at least I'm trying...
This poem is like banana pancakes on a rainy day with your best friend and a little bit like Dr. Seuss chillin out with 1 Corinthians 13!

ENJOY!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Seeds to Sow

At a recent church service I experienced an interesting thing I like to call Intellectual Déjà vu.
Lately I have been meditating on the concept of Seed Sowing. The thought started after rereading my most recent poem about the interconnectedness of life (Ripple Effect). Every word I speak, every prayer, every action I perform affects those around me. I don’t always know how they affect others but I know they do. This led me to think about the way I have been communicating to others. How do I treat others? What kinds of seeds am I sowing in others? Are they seeds of Truth? Hope? Love? Faith? Friendship? Reconciliation? Peace? Or are they seeds of Destruction, Confusion and Fear? It is my ambition as a Christ follower to sow seeds of Faith in others. It is not my job to Nurture and Grow these seeds—Only God can do this. However, I am responsible to be a Seed-Sower.
This imagery is found in the Gospels about spreading the Seeds of the Good News of Christ, which is where my Intellectual Déjà vu snuck up on me. The sermon was about the Kingdom of God illustrated in Mark 4. God’s Kingdom is like a mustard seed which starts small but grows into a full tree. God has set things in motion from the dawn of time, that His Kingdom will be established and His Will be done. His Kingdom is alive and growing in the hearts and lives of those who share in The Inheritance, those who live each day full knowing The Need to be Made New through faith in Jesus Christ. We are all Broken people in Need of a Savior. We are made to be grafted into this Tree of Faith. God is the Ultimate Gardener Sowing Seeds of Faith in whomever He Wills. As He does this He calls us to be Sowers in this way. And so I step out in faith to Sow a Seed in you….God is real, He cares about you. You are not right with Him and so He sent His Son to die for you just to bring you back…Placing your Trust in Him will rock your world….


What seeds are you sowing in the ones you love? Whatever is planted will grow to fruition…..unless something else is planted stronger in its place.

The strongest seed of all, which will not germinate without Christ, is the Fear of the Lord. It is the root of Wisdom and the beginning of Faith… This Faith will not disappoint. It is the Only Way to Wholeness. Apart from this seed and its Breathing Life all grows death…



Ripple Effect


Lord of Love with tear drops full, drip one drop into my soul.
Ripple waves from Holy Fount, circle growing inside out.
Ripple moving faster still, striking others changing will.
Is it all connected through, every action that we do?
One small touch, or word or deed, vital thread or Hope Filled Seed?
Is it all Your perfect plan, waiting deep within each man?
If only Fear, through Love, was gone, could we see your gentle dawn?
Bursting through our darkened age, finally reading Brand New Page?
Hope and Love and Peace so dear, no more shedding Painful Tear
Ripple moving Love Linked Chain, Give us grace to help You Reign

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poem

Ripple Effect

Lord of Love with tear drops full drip one drop into my soul
Ripple waves from Holy Fount circle growing inside out
Ripple moving faster still striking others changing will
Is it all connected through every action that we do?
one small touch, or word or deed vital thread or hope filled seed?
Is it all your perfect plan waiting deep within each man
If only fear through love was gone could we see your gentle dawn?
bursting through our darkened age finally reading brand new page
hope and love and peace so dear no more shedding painful tear
Ripple moving, love linked chain give us grace to help you Reign
***
The interconnectedness of life...
This is something my mother taught me a long time ago. Everything we do has a ripple effect on others. Nothing is purely isolated. Thoughts, actions, words spoken all ripple into others. We can only hope that the ripples we send are Right and Good and True... All dripping from God's Grace leading us inward out to eternity and beyond...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Be My Lord My Love My All

Be my Lord my Love my All open ears to hear your Call
You alone shall reign on high in my heart that You did Buy
Be my Vision and my Voice Careful Thought with every choice
watching Mind and Heart and Deed, Breathing Life to Words I Read
and with every single day may Your Grace bring Peace the Way
holding Hand and Map and Sight on the path in need of Light
may I careful look and turn on my Journey as I learn

feeling every joy and pain sunlight’s kiss or drenching rain
seeing Truth and Good come round every season I am found
knowing Hope is closer still every time I let You Fill
loneliness is paired with fear Stir my heart and draw me near
bring me someone I may love completing partner from above
let us walk as ONE deep tied trusting You alone our Guide
believing love can last forever keeping You within The Centre
***

I wrote this poem as a prayer not for public view.
I hope this blesses many or at least a chosen few...


God is Meaning, Truth, Peace, Love and Beauty. He is Real and He is near, not far...not far away...

Monday, February 16, 2009

I realize that my past blogs have been super long and boring. These are two words that I have never heard to describe me. And so I feel that I must post on something less trivial, maybe less preachy, maybe less...whatever... so I think I might write about a topic I think I know enough about to have something to say. This is a topic that many people are into based on many conversations that I have had. I'm going to talk about dating. That's right the big D word. I'm not really sure what my views are on it, but we'll explore that together. I think a lot of young people are lost about how to approach a dating relationship especially one with those scary things involved--FEELINGS!!! Yikes!!! I know, I know feelings are scary and should be avoided at all costs. Anyway I just wanted to announce my next topic of discussion. I don't think I will ever need to get super specific because if I do there are a few girls out there that would probably eat my soul. True that. Alright sounds good! I'll see you soon... bring your opinions and your critical discussion hats and we'll hash it out!

Normally I don't like to super structure anything because I feel that restricts creativity and organity, but I would like to PROJECT a series of topics that I will talk about that include:
Brian on dating
Brian on politics
Brian on education
Brian on theology
Brian on religion
Brian on nature
Brian on life
Brian on love
Brian on poetry
Brian on Acting and theatre
Brian on Art
Brian on hangnails
Brian on planets that aren't planets anymore

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It has recently come to my attention that people actually want to hear what I have to say about things, or at least that in some strange way I entertain. I was asked by a friend to write about something so apparently (I don't know why) some of you people want to read what comes out of the random box that is my head. I don't know what I’m going to write about. I have nothing planned. However I am a firm believer that the most organic and beautiful things in life happen out of spontaneity... Anyway, basically what I’m doing right now is suffering from writers block (a fancy term for NO I DON'T WANT TO WRITE THAT STUPID TAKE HOME TEST ON CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY!!!) I've got nothing against contemporary theology, especially Neo-Orthodox theology (so far I love it... Reinhold Niebuhr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and some others) but I can't think of anything that makes sense in English as far as my thesis is concerned.... awkward pause..........silence.........sniff, sniff......uhhhhhhhhh.....hmmm....cough, cough. OH!

Right, where were we? Oh yeah what the heck am I going to write about?! Well, here is an idea, I recently got into a debate with a few friends, arguing which was worse:

1. Missing some one
2. Having No ONE to miss
3. Missing some one knowing they are not missing you

In my present state of being I suffer from the bitter, bitter #1. I have friends in each of these categories. I'm not going lie, you start to worry about yourself and your friends when you realize that you're all casually debating which one of you is the most depressed.... oh well sometimes life is a competition--yet in this case we all recognize that the winner is the biggest loser.....
(From Avenue Q) "it sucks to be me! it sucks to be me. It sucks to be broke and unemployed and turning thirty-three. It sucks to be me....."

Well this is pretty sad but this post isn't about how much my life sucks. I love my life and I feel humbled knowing God has blessed me with so much.
I guess the whole point of this is that when we are GOING through pain it seems to us that the pain is the worst pain we have ever felt. In some strange way because pain is temporary we never fully remember how much it hurt going through that thing we did when we were going through it.
When I hack sawed my finger this summer I never thought, man this hurts but it wasn't as bad as when I got my fifth ingrown toenail surgery without a numbing agent.... (true story)

When I was in the heat of the moment the pain I was feeling was intense and real and "the worst pain ever." Yes, I speak out of ignorance full knowingly because I realize I am not a woman. I will never feel the intensity of birthing a child. Yikes! I may one day pass a kidney stone (God forbid) but even then I won't be able to say that I have felt more pain than the next guy or gal.

Pain is all relative and it sucks the most in its own present context. Its like our memories have some sort of defense and blot out the full reality of what we felt in the past. Of course our brains can recall bits and pieces of a particular horrific experience (physical, emotional, spiritual) but we still never fully go back to that low place. This is a good thing.

Going back to the three questions, I know I am #1 because the love of my life lives in Dallas and I am in Kansas City. Yes it is hard but SO WORTH IT! Faith, hope, and love keep me here. For me, missing some one is the worst (because I am experiencing it!) and for my other friends, their specific situations are far worse in their own minds. Even if they have been in a similar experience in a different category they will probably still choose their present state as the worst. I may be wrong or other generalizing but if you think so remember this the next time you feel pain and see if I am incorrect then. Bring it on. I welcome criticism!

In practical application to this post I guess you should take away a more urgent necessity for a greater sensitivity to the suffering around you. Its everywhere. We live in a broken world full of broken people wracked with pain. In our own pride we think well they aren't me, or heck, they haven't felt pain till they have experienced X... that is so selfish. We are so selfish. I think it's about empathy and bearing burdens. Whatever it is, pain always seems to be more endurable when we are sharing it with others. Partake in each other's sufferings. For me this is a sort of theology. Wow....organic spontaneity of writing on the breeze of a thought... I have come full circle as this is the very core of Bonhoeffer's theology: living fully in the world and sharing in its suffering with our suffering God who has felt it all.

This brings me to my last point. Too many Christians live by the saying "In the world, but not of the world." People who default to this now meaningless idea from the Bible usually emphasize the latter portion of the saying. NOT OF THE WORLD. These day dreamers say this in a sort of legalistic fashion and a touch of holier than thou attitude to get out of doing something or going along with something they "don't believe in or support." Its different for different people and we all do it--this is not to say Christians should DO EVERYTHING--if you are reading that then just give up....cause your pride has taken you out of this discussion already...

ROMANS 8:17...if indeed Christ endured and took on the suffering of the whole world, we too are called to endure in its suffering. This means that we must suffer along with the world. It’s time to put to death this false notion that Christians are "better" "perfect" or above the rest of the world. We are REAL people who are broken and feel pain and are in need of a God who can bring about something beautiful through our suffering. I think that is why so many are turned off from Christianity... it seems that somewhere along the way we forgot how to be human. I apologize for being preachy, but give me an Amen if you resonate.

Back to the people who are stuck in the NOT OF THE WORLD mindset...
They are like children who in anticipating recess forget to do their assignments sitting in front of their noses. The Teacher (Capital T for allegory ; )) walks around the room growing ever impatient and worrisome over the foolish boys and girls sitting as drones gazing and itching, eyes stuck on the clock. They may miss out on their education......Recess will come when it will. The task before us is what our focus should be. We can't shy away from pain and suffering in a world filled full to the brim with grief. We can't recluse into this non-human state of dreaming for better times and for God to come rescue us from our horrible ("not supposed to happen to Christians") pain. We cannot get stuck waiting for heaven or for change to just happen supernaturally. Now please don't misinterpret I am completely 100% a believer of God's Sovereignty and Grace, His Provision and radically life altering power--I just think we have free will too (ohh controversy, FREE WILL!!!).

Further more don't interpret me as condemning people who are excited over the idea of heaven or being with God in eternity or the Kingdom of God being fully established on Earth. But how can God establish His Kingdom on Earth if His people have their heads stuck in the clouds? Don't get me wrong, I am excited too!! Rather I am reminding us (especially myself) that we have a job to do and there is pain involved...it must be endured, used and shared. God cannot be our "get out of jail free card" in the life game of Monopoly. The stakes are too high and there is too much injustice and suffering to simply be brought out of the game every time we get our feelings or our little fingers hurt.

SO, in conclusion, embrace the season you are in no matter what. God has you there for a purpose. It is not just to get you to that next season of happiness (Lord knows what's next!). There are lessons to be learned and there is work to be done. God isn't a magic wish machine to grant us our selfish and tainted American Dreams. God is our joy in the midst of all and nothing...In Christ..... He is the Meaning and Centre of everything....In pain and sorrow, in sickness and health till death do us join....AMEN!

of course....I could be wrong........

"I discovered later, and I'm still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life's duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sorry this was a book.... I can't ever find an end to the things I want to say...