Not What You Know (Huitain)

Artists’ wisdom: draw what you see,
not what you know. But it’s so hard
trusting not-trusting my brain. Feels
unfaithful, ungrateful, like part
of a conspiracy or war
against myself. Funny enough––
when I listen, even just start,
my eyes get easier to trust.


What is a Huitain?

Things I Can’t Control (Strambotto)

The quaking earth; mountains tossed in the sea;
Nations toppling, kings rising and falling;
The daily rise of the sun in the east;
The birds in the springtime: lovers calling;
The raging, defiant, sinner’s screed:
Wicked, wolfish, evil caterwauling;
The love and mercy from eternity:
A delights-river ever enthralling.



What is a Strambotto?

Not in Vain (Dorsimbra)

Your trusting in the LORD is not in vain.
He sees, remembers all your sacrifice.
He hears your cries of joy and deepest pain;
His strength and grace in Your need He supplies.

He loves to bless with gifts
Those who trust in Him!
He gives them their hearts’ desires
And loves to hear them sing!

No army force nor education taught;
No sum of money nor celebrity:
In Yahweh’s name alone we make our boast–
Your trusting in the LORD is not in vain.


Both/And, Not Either/Or

For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29 HCSB).

Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes up before Him and burns up His foes on every side.
He protects the lives of His godly ones;
He rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous,
gladness for the upright in heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,
and praise His holy name. (Psalm 97:3, 10b-12 HCSB)

The declaration of the LORD: “I will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem], and I will be the glory within it” (Zechariah 2:5 HCSB).

The Bible is full of interesting–and often difficult–tensions. Many of these tensions deal with the character of God Himself, which makes the difficulties that much more difficult. But these tensions are necessary and foundational to life and worship.

The tension in the texts above is between the realities that God is both ours AND a consuming fire.

Continue reading “Both/And, Not Either/Or”

Faith vs. Sight, Wisdom vs. Foolishness

Trust in Yahweh with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
Don’t consider yourself to be wise;
fear Yahweh and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7 HCSB)

Proverbs 3:5-6 have been loved and memorized by saints immemorial, and it’s easy to see why. In Solomon’s expected pithy power, he reminds us of the need to live by faith and not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Continue reading “Faith vs. Sight, Wisdom vs. Foolishness”

What Polar Opposites Have in Common

The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
Yahweh gives light to the eyes of both.

Proverbs 29:13 HCSB

Once again, Solomon masterfully uses comparison and contrast to condense so much wisdom into a single two-line proverb. Reading Proverbs helps renew the sense of wonder at God’s immense wisdom, but also at His immense artistry. What incredible skill it is to say so much in such a pithy little statement! Continue reading “What Polar Opposites Have in Common”