November 2008

Where is my church?

I grew up in a Southern fundamentalist preacher’s family, and as a 12-year-old declared that God had called me to be a preacher. But then, decades ago, I decided that I couldn’t possibly be a Christian if being a Christian meant being intolerant, bigoted, and hypocritical, if it meant being unconcerned about poverty and racism, disdaining the protection of God’s creation, and worshipping massive, organized violence in defense of a bloated and unjust empire.

The Passing of Oscar the Poodle

Oscar died early on Saturday morning. Oscar was our elderly black standard poodle, and a dear heart. The proximate cause of death was bloating, but the real cause was old, old age. Oscar was 14 years old, a dignified and respectable age for a sizable dog. Relatively sizable, that is. Oscar was quite tall for a dog, and from the side he looked imposing when his hair was grown out and poufy. Nonetheless, he was only an inch or so wide, and when you viewed him from the front or rear he virtually disappeared.

Cameron Penny's poem

If you are lucky in this life,
A window will appear on a battlefield between two armies.
And when the soldiers look into the window
They don’t see their enemies.
They see themselves as children.
And they stop fighting
And go home and go to sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.

Cameron Penny's If You Are Lucky in This Life was originally published in the November/December 2001 issue of North American Review. Marie Howe reads his poem in the film Voices in Wartime.