Monthly Archives: January 2014

Opening a Galaxy-A Poem


In a universe where 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything
Resides the world of Magrathea where planets are custom made to order
On the factory floor is every world conceivable
Any customer can request a tailor made environment
So long as they have the funds to support the massive building project
Yet, Magrathea itself is contained within the unimaginable expanses
Of a universe which the story allows us to hitch a ride into
And we find worlds taking form in the factory floor of our own minds
Countless imaginations there for the taking from the stories
Contained in books, stories, movies, and some which are our own creations
Even when the words are shared, though the worlds are our own
For such is the elastic nature of words to evoke images in the eye of the mind
And we don’t panic as we hitchhike through galaxies as improbable
As a planet where planets are created and restaurants where that universe ends
And yet once we pick up another story it begins anew

Neil White, 2014

Waiting Rooms-A Poem


Sitting alone in the waiting room
Waiting to hear good news from the surgeon
That the loved one I committed to their care
Is waiting in recovery for me to come and join them
In that place where the waiting is over
And the journey of recovery begins anew
Rather than being in the uncomfortable limbo
Of the waiting room with those sentenced
To this place where talking heads echo soundlessly
On flatscreens to people who are seeking not information
But distraction from the minutes and hours that tick away
As they sit in the waiting room
Wanting to be somewhere else
But their love holds them here
In hope that this Purgatorial time will soon be over

Neil White, 2014

Jeremiah 25- Drinking the Cup of Wrath

Jeremiah 25: 1-14- The Voice of Frustration

The Prophet Jeremiah by Michelangelo

The Prophet Jeremiah by Michelangelo

1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah (that was the first year of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon), 2 which the prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 3 For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. 4 And though the LORD persistently sent you all his servants the prophets, you have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear 5 when they said, “Turn now, everyone of you, from your evil way and wicked doings, and you will remain upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your ancestors from of old and forever; 6 do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.” 7 Yet you did not listen to me, says the LORD, and so you have provoked me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

                8 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 I am going to send for all the tribes of the north, says the LORD, even for King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an object of horror and of hissing, and an everlasting disgrace. 10 And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves of them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.


After going through Jeremiah for the past several months, for whatever reason writing this chapter I wanted to stop. Twenty five chapters of darkness with little hope is difficult to go through intentionally and I can only imagine the pain that Jeremiah went through in not only bearing the difficult message he is given to bear but also the constant rejection and persecution by his people. Yet, after letting sit for a couple days I was ready to return again to hearing Jeremiah’s words and trying to understand them. This is a chapter that is filled with frustration, broken dreams and lost hope. For twenty three years Jeremiah has spoken the message given to him and for twenty three years it has not been heard and so the time of change is coming. In the frustration there is the promise of an everlasting disgrace, of a falling never to rise again, of a complete loss of joy and gladness. It is a picture of the exile to come, and yet even in the language of everlasting in English comes from the Hebrew ‘olam which doesn’t refer to a timeless future but rather the forseeable future. Regardless the judgment is harsh and at the beginning of the time of exile the prospect of being alienated from one’s homeland and all one knows for seventy years must have seemed like an eternity.

                Jeremiah probably seemed like a traitor to his people and his faith in saying that Nebuchadrezzar was a servant of the Lord, and yet he gives theological significance to the rise of the Babylonian empire and its king. Jeremiah gives voice to what others will not, that God is at work in the movement of nations and that even this pagan empire can be a tool that the Lord is using, and that the chosen people can be the recipients of both the Lord’s blessing and curse. The land and people that were meant to be a light will become darkness, the land of milk and honey will become a waste and ruin, and hope of a new light will have to come at some other time. In this time of the prophet’s heartbreak it is not here.

Jeremiah 25: 15-38- The Cup of Wrath


15 For thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and go out of their minds because of the sword that I am sending among them.

                17 So I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, an object of hissing and of cursing, as they are today; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, and all his people; 20 all the mixed people; all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of the land of the Philistines– Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; 21 Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea;23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who have shaven temples; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed peoples that live in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth. And after them the king of Sheshach shall drink.

27 Then you shall say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, get drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.

28 And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD of hosts: You must drink! 29 See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that is called by my name, and how can you possibly avoid punishment? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, says the LORD of hosts.

30 You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them:

The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice;

he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes,

against all the inhabitants of the earth.

                31 The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth,

for the LORD has an indictment against the nations;

he is entering into judgment with all flesh,

and the guilty he will put to the sword, says the LORD.

                32 Thus says the LORD of hosts:

See, disaster is spreading from nation to nation,

and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth!

                33 Those slain by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become dung on the surface of the ground.

                34 Wail, you shepherds, and cry out; roll in ashes, you lords of the flock,

for the days of your slaughter have come—

and your dispersions, and you shall fall like a choice vessel.

                35 Flight shall fail the shepherds, and there shall be no escape for the lords of the flock.

                36 Hark! the cry of the shepherds, and the wail of the lords of the flock!

For the LORD is despoiling their pasture,

                37 and the peaceful folds are devastated, because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

38 Like a lion he has left his covert; for their land has become a waste because of the cruel sword, and because of his fierce anger.

In this vision of the cup of wrath, where Jeremiah takes it to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem and eventually ending with Babylon which seems as unforgiving a passage as one will find in scripture. The language is so angry it almost spits when it is said and yet perhaps it is precisely this language of cursing that is needed to move beyond the woundedness. As the cup and its wrath and curse pass among all the nations of the region no one is exempted. The sovereignty of God is completely and utterly unquestionable to the prophet. What is the pot to say to its creator when it is used in a way that the pot might find objectionable? To be honest I find this a very distasteful passage, it reveals a dark side of God in Jeremiah’s view that I have difficulty coming to terms with at times. It is a picture of God who is so wrapped up in God’s anger that the wrath must be spread over every nation, that each people is now being held to the same curse as the chosen people. Perhaps it only the language of brokenheartedness, the rage that needs to be given vent. Perhaps it is Jeremiah and others trying to assign theological meaning to the crisis and destruction going on around them. Regardless of where it comes from I know that as a 21st Century American I stand in a very different place than Jeremiah and there are times where I cannot faithfully place myself in his shoes nor give voice to the pain and anger in his words about the brokenness of his people and of all the nations.

Daydream- A Poem

New Era by Aeon Lux on

New Era by Aeon Lux on

My mind drifts off to another place
I’m raising anchor to sail away from reality
To go wherever the spirit blows
To another world crafted in the corner of my mind
What possibilities and problems reside in this new world?
What monsters have emerged in the air or land or sea?
Is it a place filled with the hustle and bustle of commerce?
Or is it an isolated wilderness, some undiscovered country?
Will it be filled with technology that staggers the imagination?
Or perhaps some magical land in a time before rationality
Wher’er it may be never fear, I shall return
When the klaxon calls of necessity bid me return
But for now my mind is seeking some new adventure

Neil White, 2014

Making Monsters- A Poem

Monsters of the Mind, by

Monsters of the Mind, by

Stitching together the fragments of reality and imagination
Combined with the human energy of creativity
To construct our own monsters and demons
As a place to house our fears and concerns
Personifying them into corporeal forms
With mortal bodies that can be slain
For all the monsters found their wilderness banished
Under the unending growth of the cities
Cast aside into another cosmos
Yet without their presence there is an emptiness
And so like Frankenstein we set to work
Exhuming the monsters of the past
Adding a bit of our own devilry
And setting them free to roam
In the open places of our minds.

Is this also a Promethean struggle to rise beyond the limits set for us?
Some new and strange mutation of an original sin
Passed from fathers to sons and mothers to daughters
To need the foul creatures which take our own evil
And carry it as a scapegoat in their misshapen forms?
As the dark shadows of the world become know and its creatures labeled
And the imitation and exaggeration no longer holds our attention
Do we delve ever deeper into our darkness?
Fascinated with our own capacity for the creation
Of the beings to trouble our dreams
The peculiar draw of our nightmares
And our conflicted need for something to fear.

Neil White, 2014

Jeremiah 24-Exile, Figs and Reversals


1 The LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the LORD. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. 2 One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. 3 And the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 5 Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. 6 I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
8 But thus says the LORD: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. 9 I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth– a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.

This vision takes place in the time between the initial exile of 598 BCE and the final massive deportation of 587 BCE. In 598 BCE, when the Babylonians come and deal with the people of Judea and the city of Jerusalem without the Judeans being able to effectively oppose them they take the elite of the land into exile leaving Zedekiah to reign in place of the removed Jeconiah. For the elite taken into exile it seems like the ending of everything they know, but they are the basket of good figs. This is the same exile spoken of, for example, in the beginning of the book of Daniel:

3 Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. (Dan 1:3-4)

With the officials, the artisans and the smiths taken into exile with King Jeconiah, what remains to surround the newly appointed Zedekiah are those who have risen to fill the void of power left by the removal of the elite. As Binyamin Lau describes it:

Whereas the exiled leaders had the capacity for leadership, their replacements come from the dregs of society, seizing the leadership vacuum as an opportunity to accumulate power. Violence and aggression prevail as paupers become princes overnight. Might makes right. King Zedekiah, young, weak, and bankrupt, cannot control the situation. (Lau, 2013, p. 131)

To those in exile there is now a word of hope. With their homes, wealth, position and status gone now God will act on their behalf to bring them back, to plant and to give them a new heart. Perhaps in the exile they will again find what it means to be the people of God. But for those still in Judah, the new officials of Zedekiah, the city of Jerusalem and the people of the land the nightmare is not over. Zedekiah will be led once again into conflict with Babylon and Babylon’s answer will be decisive. At this time where the people remaining in the land probably look upon those in exile as cursed and themselves as blessed, Jeremiah points to the opposite reality. Their horror still remains to come, they are not yet ready to receive a word of hope. Their course will still rely upon Egypt rather than the Lord. Just as the Assyrians became the instrument of judgment for the northern kingdom of Israel according to the prophets of that time, Babylon is the instrument of God’s judgment for Jeremiah. To oppose Babylon is to oppose God’s will at this time. The baskets of figs, good and bad point to a reality that defies the reality the people are experiencing at the time. The first harvest of the people out of the land become the first-ripe figs and in Jeremiah’s world of absolutes those left on the tree have spoiled and the time when they are swept away is quickly approaching.

Images for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

The Calling of the Disciples from Matthew’s Gospel

The Calling of the Apostles, Mosaics from San Marco, Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello and Murano

The Calling of the Apostles, Mosaics from San Marco, Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello and Murano

Apostle's Call, Relief from Manastery of San Pedro da Roda

Apostle’s Call, Relief from Manastery of San Pedro da Roda


Calling of Peter and Andrew, Duccio di Buonisegna (1308-1311)

Calling of Peter and Andrew, Duccio di Buonisegna (1308-1311)


James Tissot, The Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew (1886-1894)

James Tissot, The Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew (1886-1894)


Jeremiah 23-A Righteous Branch and Unrighteous Prophets

Jeremiah 23: 1-7: The Righteous Branch


1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.
5 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
7 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, “As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” 8 but “As the LORD lives who brought out and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” Then they shall live in their own land.

Anyone who reads Jeremiah has to make educated guesses about the context that Jeremiah is writing to, especially when the time period is not made explicit. I see this as an extension of what comes before at the end of chapter 22 which is addressing the beginning of the exile (the first exile where the leadership is taken into exile but the people are left primarily in the land) in the time of Jechoniah and so this passage comes very late in the story of Jeremiah. The chapter verse delineations in scripture come much later and probably reflect an effort to highlight the messianic hope of this passage rather than see it buried at the end of a long chapter of judgment against the king, yet this passage probably belongs as an extension of chapter 22. Rabbi Lau has a different perspective, that it comes much earlier in the time of Josiah and contrasts between Josiah and the local leaders of his time (Lau, 2013, p. 28ff.) but this is an area where I think both Walter Brueggemann and Patrick Miller, who I have been reading as I have gone through Jeremiah, are correct. (Brueggemann, 1998, p. 205) (Elizabeth Actemeir, et. al., 1994, p. VI:744)

The themes of these verses are full of echoes throughout the prophets and in the gospels as well. The verses about the shepherds and the ways they have not been faithful is echoed in Ezekiel 34:
2 Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them– to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4 You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
10 Thus says the Lord GOD, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. 11 For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out Ezekiel 34: 2-11
And is echoed in John chapter 10 where Jesus talks about being the good shepherd in contrast to the previous shepherd, or in Mark 6: 34 where the people are discussed as sheep without a shepherd. Here in Jeremiah at the end of verse four the promise is for a new and faithful shepherd who will come. After a long passage of judgment now comes the hope of the coming days.
Again the passage about the righteous branch has echoes in other places as well, for example in Isaiah 11:
A shoot shall come out of the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. Isaiah 11:1
And the hope is that out of the defunct lineage of David which seems to be coming to an end that the God of Israel will maintain the commitment to the line of David and from that line will raise up a righteous branch who will live out of the vision of the Lord’s peace. And the renewal that the Lord will bring will make even the paradigmatic event of the Jewish people’s story, the Exodus, take second place to the new renewal that the Lord will do when the people are returned from exile. This is a story of hope for at least two sets of people: for the Jewish people it was a hope of renewal and return with a righteous and faithful king where God would gather from all the lands of the diaspora God’s people once again, and for Christians is also is an image of hope for from the story of Jesus we cannot help but hear that story in the hope of the righteous branch that arises out of the line of David. One passage can bring hope in two different ways, and hearing the hope of one another should also help us to see our dependence upon the Hebrew Scriptures to understand the life and ministry and hope of Jesus and his followers.

Jeremiah 23: 9-40: The Failure of the Prophets

The Breaking of Jeremiah's Yoke by Hananiah, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Amiens, France

The Breaking of Jeremiah’s Yoke by Hananiah, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Amiens, France

9 Concerning the prophets:
My heart is crushed within me, all my bones shake;
I have become like a drunkard, like one overcome by wine,
because of the LORD and because of his holy words.
10 For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns,
and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up.
Their course has been evil, and their might is not right.
11 Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
even in my house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD.
12 Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness,
into which they shall be driven and fall;
for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, says the LORD.
13 In the prophets of Samaria I saw a disgusting thing:
they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.
14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness;
all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.
15 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets:
“I am going to make them eat wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink;
for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”
16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They keep saying to those who despise the word of the LORD, “It shall be well with you”; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, “No calamity shall come upon you.”
18 For who has stood in the council of the LORD so as to see and to hear his word?
Who has given heed to his word so as to proclaim it?
19 Look, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send the prophets, yet they ran;
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their doings.
23 Am I a God near by, says the LORD, and not a God far off? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” 26 How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back– those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? 27 They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the LORD. 29 Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 See, therefore, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal my words from one another. 31 See, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their own tongues and say, “Says the LORD.” 32 See, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the LORD, and who tell them, and who lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or appoint them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the LORD.
33 When this people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, “What is the burden of the LORD?” you shall say to them, “You are the burden, and I will cast you off, says the LORD.” 34 And as for the prophet, priest, or the people who say, “The burden of the LORD,” I will punish them and their households. 35 Thus shall you say to one another, among yourselves, “What has the LORD answered?” or “What has the LORD spoken?” 36 But “the burden of the LORD” you shall mention no more, for the burden is everyone’s own word, and so you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you shall ask the prophet, “What has the LORD answered you?” or “What has the LORD spoken?” 38 But if you say, “the burden of the LORD,” thus says the LORD: Because you have said these words, “the burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, You shall not say, “the burden of the LORD,” 39 therefore, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will bring upon you everlasting disgrace and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

First the critique goes towards the ruling elite, the shepherds, the king but now it turn on the religious authorities and in particular the other prophets. There are several points in the book of Jeremiah where we hear about other prophets who are proclaiming a different message than Jeremiah is called to proclaim and the people hear different religious authorities proclaiming a very different message, or more likely they hear Jeremiah as a voice that is so different from the message others are saying that he goes unheard. In giving the people a false message they have prevented the people from having a realistic hope of turning. The narratives from the political and religious elites are going in the opposite direction of the proclamation given to Jeremiah. They proclaim an unconditional peace which serves the people rather than the covenantal shalom which calls the people to live in justice.
Perhaps these other prophets feel compelled to live into their roles, prophets are supposed to have a message from the Lord, dreams to dreams and visions to tell and so in the absence of these visions they have kept up the appearance, or perhaps the prophets have been coopted into the royal and priestly power systems to be additional mouthpieces for these authorities. Whatever the case they have failed in their calling, according to Jeremiah they are producing only lies and false visions and they are leading the people astray. They have become worse than the prophets of northern Israel which led Israel to worship Baal, for they perhaps are constructing a misleading image of the Lord. God’s judgment is on the prophets who have misled the people. Their condemnation will be harsher, everlasting disgrace and perpetual shame, and unlike the promise of a righteous branch that will arise out of the stump of Jesse, there is no promise for the prophets-they are also to be cast out of the city.

purple rose 01 by

At the Birth of the Day- A Poem


In the midst of the unmoving darkness with its bone chilling cold
Emerges the beginning of a new day
As the approaching sun paints the sky with its pallet of light
As the skies cry out in the labor pains of the genesis of morning
As the sun slowly emerges from the depths of the ground
Breaking the reign of darkness, crying out for life to re-emerge from its slumber
Smiling with its rays of fire to warm the creatures of the day
Re-inviting those with eyes to see into the drama of another cycle of new possibilities
Of awakening from the land of dreams to shape a new reality
In the breaking dawn of a new beginnings

Neil White, 2014