Unorthodox (Poetry based on John 9)

By Christy Foldenauer


Jesus, You took mud – the kind we scrape off our boots –

And You mixed it with some spit

To give sight to a blind man.

The blind man washed in Siloam, then he could see.

And all this happened on the Sabbath.


Risky business, healing on the Sabbath, Jesus.

It’s unorthodox.

Call this court to order.


How dare You not keep the Sabbath?

How can a sinner perform such signs?

Who is the sinner here, anyway? The blind man? His parents? You?

Whose job is it to define the sin?

Who has the authority to dispense grace?


We criticize the Pharisees

But we’re a lot like them, it seems.


Forgive us, Lord, for when we pray

We tend to prescribe

How You should show up and why

How You should move and when

How You should work, and for whom


When You show up another way

We misunderstand.


Forgive us, Lord, because

We want to control the outcomes

Control the circumstances

Control You.


But You cannot be controlled.

Sometimes, You heal on the Sabbath – because You can.

Sometimes, You change us instead of the other person – because You choose to.

Sometimes, You show up in a way we could not predict, or plan

And we have a hard time accepting that.


All too often, we’re like those Pharisees.

Help us to see You as Hero even when You choose to save in unorthodox ways.



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How Do We Find You? A Christmas Reflection – 2016

How do we find You?

Amidst fa-la-la’s and merry tidings

Christmas cards and those inviting

us to do more, go more…

Keep up with the Jones’, Lord


How do we find You?

When nightly news talks terror

Contentious debates and human error

In war torn places, in a

Divided nation, Lord


How do we find You?

In a year of disappointing words

When loss underscores what we’ve heard

And we’ve said hard goodbyes

To people and places and time, Lord


How do we find You?

Wooden forms in the crèche

Holding space, help us confess

We do not always see you

Feel you, hear you, Lord


But You found us, and

More than 2000 years ago

You gave us Jesus so we know

Our vain searching is done

You’ve given your only son.

Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift.

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On Blessing My Kids

View More: months ago, I started a new practice at our house. I started blessing my kids.

I do it every day, as they leave for school. I lay my hand on each ones head, or their shoulder, or the back of their neck, and I speak out a prayer over them in the form of a blessing. Here are some of this week’s blessings:

* May the God who holds all things together and who ordered creation also order your day. May you remember all that you need to, and have the mental endurance for each thing that comes your way.

* May the joy of the Lord flow through you in every interaction. May His joy be your strength.

* May the peace of God transcend your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

* May the right hand of God sustain you as you move through this day.

* May your day be as sweet as the breath saver you are eating, and may you show the love of Christ to all those you meet today.

* May you wear the belt of truth all day today, and the breastplate of righteousness. May your feet be fitted with readiness.

You get the idea. A lot of my blessings come straight out of Scripture. A morning devotion sometimes inspires the words I speak.

Initially, blessing my kids felt a little odd. The first day I tried it with the middle schooler, he looked at me when I was done and said, “Uh, mom…are we going to be doing this every day now?” But we’ve grown into it with time, and my kids now ask for their blessings. As the bus rounds the corner, my daughter peers around from the backseat and says, “Mom! Bless me!”

It’s never too early, or too late, to start blessing your kids. Whether you’ve got an infant or a kid who is taller than you – go for it. We cannot underestimate the power of words in the lives of our children. Let’s speak the words that help them become who they are made to be.


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The Creative’s Blessing: My TEDx Open Mic Night Talk

Maybe you’ve heard: TEDx is coming to Richmond in March! Last week, I participated in an Open Mic Night at the Hippodrome in downtown Richmond, where 30 speaking hopefuls gave two minutes each on their idea worth spreading, in hopes of gaining enough audience votes to take the stage for 18 minutes at the upcoming TEDxRVA. 

A number of you have asked what I talked about, so I thought I’d share the TEDxRVA Open Mic message here. Read on for “The Creative’s Blessing.”

Creative work can be highly competitive.

Our culture is to celebrate the best work of creatives. This is advantageous, because it drives creatives to produce the highest level of work possible, and brings about supremely executed art. But celebrating creative work that our culture deems best also has inherent RISK.

Our risk as creatives is that we are overly influenced by the culture around us and value our creative output more highly than we should, while undervaluing the creative process.

I’ve been studying the intersection of creativity and spirituality for several years now, and I’ve come to believe several things. I believe it is our birthright to create; that the process of developing great art is life-giving. I also believe that our spiritual selves are deeply connected to the creative process and when we create, we are nurturing our souls.

It’s tempting, though, as a creative, to become overly focused on external acclaim; to become obsessed with creating one perfect idea. When we elevate the praise of others around us over the creative process that is happening within us, the work drains us rather than filling us.

It is within our power to celebrating the process of making something beautiful. THIS is the Creative’s Blessing: We are blessed when we stop worrying about what our craft does FOR others and begin to celebrate what the creative process does IN us.

Let’s celebrate the journey. We were made to create. Let go of one “perfect” outcome, and instead allow your artistic expression to work deep within you; to leave a footprint on your soul. That is what creating is really all about.


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Full Bloom


I believe God tends a secret garden and some of His favorites are hidden there.

He joyfully shapes and prunes their fresh buds and fragrant leaves.

The secret garden is lush, filled with vibrant colors and saturated hues,

They will take the world by surprise when He chooses to show them off.

For now, He delights in their hiddenness.

For although the world celebrates what is proven – a colorful show of petals plainly seen with the naked eye,

God is a Gardener who revels in the potential where soil has met seed to begin something astonishingly lovely. He holds new buds close for now, but will one day unfurl them in full bloom.

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Living Like a Monk…


I Am Going To Start Living Like a Monk – an exercise* in poetry from Christine Paintner’s book, The Artist’s Rule

(*The exercise: Take the opening line “I am going to start living like a monk…” and write your own poem, borrowing the first line from another poet and building on it in your own way.)


I am going to start living like a monk,

Embracing solitude as a long lost love,

Counting my steps and measuring moments

Like grains of rice that tumble to a pot.

I will absorb You in every fiber of my being,

And welcome You in each part of my day.


I am going to start living like an artist,

Finding life a full-color canvas to be explored,

Chastening words to the task of description

And imagery to the work of the heart.

I will uncover the beautiful and celebrate its shape and form

With thoughtful expressions of hope.


I am going to start living like a creative,

Infusing artistry, story and design into my call,

Bringing to life and light what many reckoned dead,

Dancing with the angelic host to be among them.

I will present the unthought thoughts

And show the world new patterns and precepts,

Never settling for what has been,

But always pushing for what God is calling us to be.




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A Prayer for 2013

BLESS the Lord, O my soul,

Let all that is within me BLESS His holy name.


REST in the Lord, O my soul,

Let me cease striving and learn to REST in His holy name.


PEACE in the Lord, O my soul,

Let my innermost self find that Abiding PEACE is His holy name.


TRUST, HOPE, and WAIT on the Lord, O my soul,

Let me live expectantly this year. BLESS His holy name.

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