You Don’t Know Reggie

ej-youngI’ll be brief. I was jamming on some old Elton John (aka: Reginald Kenneth Dwight) and was struck powerfully that few born after 1980 had any idea who this guy really was. For a glorious period from 1969 to 1975, Elton John produced 10 absolutely killer albums. Through this period he of course collaborated with Bernie TaupinThe Taupin connection is significant. When a lyricist is considered a part of the band – complete with pictures on the album sleeve; it speaks to his involvement in the band. Speaking of the band – it was awesome! Mainstays were guys like Davey JohnstoneDee Murrayand Nigel OlssonA million others played on songs at times but these guys were the music glue holding it all together; and they were perfect sailors for the vessel. Elton John grew during this time to be one of the biggest rockers in the world. His concerts were legendary – such as the show in Dodger stadium in 1975.

ej-concert ticket-1975

ej2During this small window of time Elton John created albums like Empty Sky, Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, and Rock of the Westies. My favorite Elton John album however, is Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboys. The opening song set the tone for the album. A chiming little acoustic intro rolling into a thunder rocking tune about changing times for the Captain & The Kid (John & Taupin). I still remember the television commercial for the album release. I was 10. “From the end of the world … to your town”.

For those that see Elton John’s music through the very stained pop-glass of the last 35 years – go further back. Treasures await.

ej-cap fan-fteotwtyt

Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy
By: Elton John & Bernie Taupin

captain fantastic raised and regimented, hardly a hero
just someone his mother might know
very clearly a case for corn flakes and classics
two teas both with sugar please
in the back of an alley

ej-cap fan-guitarwhile little dirt cowboys turned brown in their saddles
sweet chocolate biscuits and red rosy apples in summer
for it’s hay make and hey mom, do the papers say anything good
are there chances in life for little dirt cowboys
should I make my way out of my home in the woods

brown dirt cowboy, still green and growing
city slick captain
fantastic the feedback
the honey the hive could be holding
for there’s weak winged young sparrows that starve in the winter
broken young children on the wheels of the winners
and the sixty-eight summer festival wallflowers are thinning

for cheap easy meals and hardly a home on the range
too hot for the band with a desperate desire for change
we’ve thrown in the towel too many times
out for the count and when we’re down
captain fantastic and the brown dirt cowboy
from the end of the world to your town

and all this talk of Jesus coming back to see us
couldn’t fool us
for we were spinning out our lines walking on the wire
hand in hand went music and the rhyme
the captain and the kid stepping in the ring
from here on sonny sonny sonny, it’s a long and lonely climb

Not of the 99

sheep3Matthew 18:12-14 (NASB) – “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

I was thinking this morning about this passage. Interesting how I felt twinges of arrogance to imagine Christ so loving me that he would seek me out individually in my need to help me, uniquely. Change the 99 to 99 million – or 99 billion – and the truth of his unique respective-soul-love still applies. C’mon … who among us feels so confident in this truth? Who feels comfortable in embracing the magnitude of such individually focused love? Yet – that is exactly the love God has for each of us. To God we each are not merely one of many. To God, we are each one of a kind among all of creation. One of a kind to aim his love and blessing upon – uniquely. I can imagine no more comforting and encouraging truth than this.

Little Forgiveness

ForgiveThis morning I read from Luke chp 7. The passage where the woman washes Jesus’ feet always moves me deeply. I know this woman – at least I know her heart. I know the overwhelming flood of grace that is God’s forgiveness and I am bathed in his glorious love and mercy whenever I reflect on this.

Verse 47 concludes thus: “… but whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

I have always considered myself a very forgiving person. It just isn’t my nature to hold past offenses as many might; especially if someone sought my forgiveness. By God’s grace, my response is pretty quick, cut and dried. Yep – I forgive you, let’s move on. As I read Luke 7:47 again this morning, I’m struck with the realization that there is no magnanimity in my quickness to forgive. On the contrary – I realize that my propensity to forgive much stems directly from a deep understanding that I have been forgiven much. I am awash in beautiful gratitude even now as I type this, at the amazing, awesome, healing, lifting, saving forgiveness of God, as He pours his grace over my life in his glorious freeing forgiveness.

A Living Cinder

“And when I could no longer look,
I blest His grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust
Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just
It was his own; it was not mine
Far be it that I should repine”

– Anne Bradstreet – From: “Upon the Burning of our House”

… and I am His – and I will remain in perfect peace as I stay my mind on Him. I will remind myself of this granite perch at every need. For though I surely bear my needs – He is my very present help in such needy times, as these.

Think Big, Go Long

lemonade painting bWhen life gives you lemons make lemonade; so the adage goes. Such sayings often epitomize over simplification but the simplicity of heart is oftentimes spot-on. There are a great many relative particulars involved in ‘living the good life’ – but we all agree a good life is desired and desired by all. Thus, it is attainable at least in theory. What comprises a good life differs from soul to soul but the base desire is the same among all; the great common denominator of happiness. The things that make me happiest are seemingly simple basic things. Things that many take for granted. I like having money but have never really cared much about it. I’ve never been a material guy. I have even tried at times to cultivate such interest thinking perhaps I wasn’t giving it a fair shake, as it seemed to be so high on many others’ happy list. I like Corvettes but in all honesty have no real desire to own one. If I were rich, I might have a cool car to just enjoy driving at times. I am however, content to drive my Honda Ridgeline. The things that always melted my happy-butter were things like relationships of love and sharing. These are among my very top-most desires. I am deeply moved by the beauty and good these relationships were designed by God to offer. Drawing us out of ourselves to love and grow with others is genuinely my cup of tea; or perhaps, lemonade. With all that life has thrown at me, I am more than comfortable in asserting I remain a deeply hopeful and happy soul. I have every experiential reason to have given up on any prospects of good that I might imagine enjoying via relationship – truly any type of close relationship. Yet, by God’s grace, I haven’t. The appetite is still wholly whet, present and powerful. I still hold the strongest desires to love and share life with others. The desire is so strong that I completely embrace the lemonade adage with one exception. I have no desire to just make lemonade from my life-lemons. I dream of a lemonade stand. Where goodness is poured in tall glasses, refills are free and a fresh pitcher is being made frequently from the mountains of circumstantial lemons. That is a gift from God to me. A very deep well of hopeful optimism, as it pertains to sharing life with others. One day will be my last. I will then awake to eternity. But until that day arrives, I will give myself completely to loving those that desire it. I will love them with a whole heart. Whatever the best of me might be, I joyfully extend to them. I still pour with complete abandon and without reservation to hearts that thirst. That is the best lemonade stand I might ever imagine building atop all of life’s lemons.

mama gorilla groove

buttery blondie wonder, wiggles giggles and shakes
penchant to ponder, thought filled flakes
flakes like snow the powder grows to cloud and blur and blind
buttery blondie wonder, wandered his mind

sexy chickeny yellow fluff-puff
i-ism’s duck-hut stuff-stirred
momma-gorillados turtles soft and round and smooth
groped, grabbed, petted and purred

mama gorilla all wrapped in sweet
pressed her heart to his to meet
aimed her words in one smooth move
mama gorilla found her groove

– as told to papa gorilla by mama gorilla

– t.e. davis

for naught

two seeds cupped in palms held high
raised aloft in prayer
plant the seeds for both must die
to grow through hope and care

one seed lay deep, planted poor
the weight of life too great
too deep to reach the forest floor
their life with us would wait
another seed there sweetly placed
laughter wrapped his soul
love poured out full to cultivate
the goodness they might know

naught treesoil to shelter, watered well
named them loved through nurture, taught
love and life infused through light
grew just pain; thus, how they wrought
bled again through bleeding, brought
all in vain, all for naught

– t.e. davis