I was known as an über-Christian “preacher boy” during my mid-high school years, and I attended Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church religiously.  They would have these periodic (I believe they were annual) fund drives, when our pastor would encourage congregants to make a pledge to donate a certain amount of cash to the Church each month.  I found it curious that this was even necessary, though I hadn’t yet heard Bono’s acidic assertion in Rattle and Hum that “The God I believe in isn’t short of cash, Mister!”

I bring this up because today as I was trying to write a blog about last Thursday’s festivities at the Literary Cafe, my computer kept freezing up while I tried to upload the ninety-some photos I took at that event.  And each time, it took me about an hour to unfreeze, reboot and get the upload going again.  This reminded me of those Chestnut Ridge pledge slips that read “I promise to give $_____ to my church each month for one year unless Providentially hindered” [italics added].  Throughout the year, this italicized clause gave folks a perfect opportunity to make the preacher happy and yet get out of honoring their pledges.  “The car broke down this month, and I had to get it fixed (i.e., I was Providentially hindered).”  “My tax bill from the IRS was higher than expected (i.e., I was Providentially hindered).”  “Gas prices have doubled since the President God chose was elected….”  You get the idea.  It was all God’s (or the Devil’s or Fate’s) fault.

Well, today I’m feeling a bit “Providentially hindered” from completing that Lit blog.  Never fear, I will post it, more than likely tomorrow – and it will be worth the wait (or I’ll refund your cost of admission).  But for now I’m amused by how people are either wired or trained to blame just about everything on God or the Devil or Fate or Providence or George Bush or the liberals or “the powers that be” (whoever they happen to be today or this year).  Not to say the powers that be aren’t responsible for a whole lot of shit in this world (they are).  But isn’t it possible that sometimes SHIT simply HAPPENS and no one in particular is to blame?  And maybe, just maybe, sometimes we ourselves are to blame.  Just saying….

Who’s responsible for my upload issues?  No one in particular, as far as I know….  In fact, now that I’ve begun this blog, the photos seem to have started uploading just fine.  Hmmm….  There goes my first-response theory that “maybe I wasn’t supposed to post that blog today.”  Supposed by whom, anyway?….

I know a few folks have been waiting patiently (or impatiently, as the case may be) for the blogs I promised covering the last three poetry readings I attended last week.  I apologize for the delay, and I assure you it’s not God’s (or the Devil’s or Fate’s) fault.  They will be posted by this weekend (unless my car breaks down, my tax bill from the IRS is higher than expected, or gas prices double… er, scratch that last one).

Meanwhile I leave you with this short poem I debuted at Friday’s deep cleveland poetry event in Strongsville.  It was inspired by two hymns I still recall vividly from my years at Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” and “To God be the glory, great things he hath done.”  Enjoy….

Ahem (a hymn)

Stand up, stand up for Jesus
While his father knees us in the nuts
Plugs us in our butts
Aims to please us or displease us, as the case may be
By leading us into paths of unrighteousness
For his name’s sake
Never giving us a break
Teaching us to take more than we live
Die more than we give

It’s the same stale story
We distribute his excrement
In this world gone grim
And attribute the government
Of this shit can to him

To God be the gory
Grating things he hath done