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Broken theology… October 23, 2018

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Life, Poetry, Random Musings, Theological Reflection, Theology.
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My theology is broken.
I am not ashamed of that:
I live in a broken world,
amongst broken people;
and I, too, am broken.

I worship a broken God,
and he (or she) is not ashamed of that:
s/he accepts my broken worship
as her due,
sings along with me
in a broken duet.

She watches over me,
her broken worshipper,
and watches over you,
though you may not know her:
she watches over her whole broken creation
and weeps broken tears.

Why does she not let go,
give up,
let me go
and let you go?

Ah, but she does,
as her tears fall to the broken ground
and gently, gently caress the world to life.

Without her brokenness
there would be
no life,
no world,
no you, no me:
we belong together, broken together.

And broken together, we learn:
we learn to mend, to repair, to rearrange
our broken things and broken hearts.

Do not despair,
my broken ones,
for in the brokenness there is a gap,
a space,
a space for love to flourish
and grow.

It is, of course, a broken love,
but it is true,
for it is real:
there can be no pretence
in brokenness,
no hiding
from the messiness.

Broken am I,
broken are we,
and broken, we welcome all
who are broken
to come, dine with us:
be who you are
and be not ashamed.

In your brokenness find life.
In your brokenness, find wholeness.
Seek no escape now:
the brokenness is real
and the real is what we must face,
head on, heads unbowed.

And if you are foolish enough
to argue theology
with me
and if I am foolish enough
to argue back,
do not expect consistency
or sense,
for my theology is broken,
like me…

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday: Reflections and Refractions April 6, 2012

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Lent & Easter, Poetry.
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LORD OF LIFE, Lord of Light, Lord Christ:
You who washed your disciples’ feet,
stooping so tenderly —
setting aside your outer garment,
taking up a towel,
washing away the dirt,
the grime…

so tenderly
amongst the fragments of shattered lives,
picking up the pieces
and wondering why…

Why? The eternal question.
Why did you bother?
Why did you come?
Why did you die?

We take the scriptures and hammer them
home. like. nails.
into unresisting flesh:
God hates fags:
God HATES fags:
HATES fags;
and God hangs,
crucified by hate.

My God, my God, why?

The blood flows freely into famished ground,
life poured out
like water…

and fags go free:
whose radical action changes everything.
Time. stands. still.
Infinity unfurled,
love explodes:
new creation:

May we, like you, set aside our outer garments,
our self-righteousness,
our convictions of others’ sins,
and take up that towel instead,
drying the tears
of those desolate years…

We look back,
into betrayal’s gaze:
a kiss,
a sword,
a healing touch
and a riven side.

Truly this man was the Son of God.

New Year’s Risk: Adjusting my sails January 3, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Poetry, Random Musings.
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I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions: I see no point in committing myself to things that I know I won’t do. But this poem about risk, adapted from a piece attributed to William Arthur Ward, makes me want to shout yes! I hope it inspires you, too…


To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
to weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
to expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss,
to love is to risk not being loved in return,
to live is to risk dying,
to hope is to risk despair,
to try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
Those who risk nothing, do nothing, have nothing, are nothing:
they may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by their servitude, they are slaves who have forfeited all freedom:
only a person who risks is free.

Pessimists complain about the wind;
optimists expect it to change;
realists risk all and adjust the sails…

Lost thing July 22, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry.

A poem by a friend. I hope it resonates with you as powerfully as it does with me:

there was something I lost
I don’t remember its name
I don’t know that I’d know it
if I saw it again

I looked for it in places
I had seen it before
but it was gone and nowhere
was the same any more

I sought it in people
who once held it for me
but they just pretended
things were as they should be

I searched for it in faces
I had never seen
and started to wonder
if it had ever been

I longed for it sleepless
in silence of night
waiting for the lost thing
and missing its light

© JH 2010

Please respect my friend’s copyright and do not reproduce this poem elsewhere: thank you.

There’s no escape and no surprise June 21, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry.
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There’s no escape
and no surprise
and every day
is cloaked with lies:

I twist, I turn,
I try to rise,
but somewhere
— deep inside —
she cries…

Screaming inside… September 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Life Issues, Poetry, Theological Reflection.
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The Scream

The Scream

… as another friend is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Watching, waiting, hoping, praying… wondering at the futility of praying to a God who seems to have already opted out of the situation … is not the God we cry to for healing the same God who — if s/he is the God so many Christians, so many passages of the Bible, so much of the Church crack him/her up to be — could have prevented the situation?

That God is a myth, a fantasy, a desperate hope … like Father Christmas at Christmas time as we all collude in a massive pretence for the children … we know it’s not true, but we want the magic …

Another friend I spoke to asked me — if the God I wanted to be real, was real, what would that God be like? This poem emerges from that question …

The God I want God to be
would not allow
such things to be

The God I want my God to be
would sit a child
upon her knee
and gently speak
then set her free…

That child would learn
to walk alone
yet never lonely be
that child would soon
become full grown
and fully adult she
would dance
and sing
and joyful be
and tears of grief
would never flow —
she would not know
such things could be.

… and still, deep inside, I scream, and the echo of that scream, repeated by a billion other voices, haunts my dreams…

Your God is not my God September 10, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry, Theological Reflection.

Your God is not my God:
Your God is Almighty — in Control,
Ruling the world from His Celestial Throne,
Somewhere in the blue,
High up above.

My God is frail — wounded
in his hands and feet,
battle scarred and bruised
and living here below.

Your God is Strong —
you lean on Him.
My God is weak —
he leans on me.
“Brother,” he says,
“What shall we do?”

We are partners, he and I,
in a War against time —
and only time will tell.

Steaming Smoke Screen August 23, 2009

Posted by Emma Jayne in Poetry.
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A picture and a poem by my good friend Cindy…

Steaming Smoke Screen

Steam is running so fast, going off the rails but staying on track.
The smoke which gets in the eyes, obscuring sight but not the vision.
Puffs of grey and spouts of white, smoking engines heart embers burning.
Spinning wheels, cogs rotating. Rods anchoring the wheels in motion.
In the commotion, the direction is lost. The tracks are straight. There’s no escape.
Smoke exhaustion, sleeping denied. Running on empty, steam all dried.
New recognition. Coal shovelled in and water poured from the heavens.
Mechanical engine, or living being? Locomotive heart is being driven.
The Great western, Firefly, Hawthorn, Star, Consolidation.
Run away train I can’t quite catch, sitting inside but out of reach.
Atmospheric gases, smoke inhalation. Steaming ahead, standing still.
Transparent water to steam vapour, heated coals to fuel exhausted.
Back in the yard standing alone fire extinguished. Brain still smoking.

I am love June 18, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry.

They can kill me if they want to,
break my body into pieces,
they can
scatter my soul to the winds;
but you’d better not believe them
if they say I’ve been defeated:
I’ve paid more than double
for your sins
(I have paid more than double for your sins)

They can kill me
if they want to,
break my body
into pieces,
they can
scatter my soul
to the winds;
but you’d better not believe them
if they say
I’ve been defeated:
I am love:
I am coming back for you.

I am love:
I am coming back for you.

I am love:
I am coming back for you
(for you)

I am love
(more than double)
back for you
I am coming (back)
I am love
(I am) coming back
for you
for you
for you
[repeat to fade]

White Lies: Bad Friday April 10, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry.
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White lies the snow
but red runs the flow
of the blood
in the hills
of my mind.

What can I know,
where can I go,
to escape
from the mills
in my mind?

Is there a place
where the wind
doesn’t blow?
Is there a land
where the sun
doesn’t show?
Where is hope
to be found
in these days?

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