10 March 2010

Busboys & Poets

Busboys & Poets . . . This might now be on my list of favorite places on earth.

A hip, urban spot with high warehouse ceilings. Blue, bright green, brown and tan walls filled with art and happiness. Cozy couches, dining tables, a section in the back with tables, booths, a stage--for spoken word and open mic--and quotes on the wall all about peace. Coffee, chatter, wine. India.Arie singing "Beautiful" and Lauryn Hill belting out "Zion" through the speakers. Candles, lanterns, lamps that double as art. People--every shade and age and size. Organic dishes, fairly traded brews. Large images of Gandhi, King, Mother T. Poems of Langston Hughes and quotes by Eisenhower and the Dalai Lama sprinkled throughout the menu. A delicious, smooth chai latté. This place is funky-strong and laid-back chill. And in case it couldn't get any cooler, there's a non-profit bookstore inside with children's books, poetry books and tons of books about peace and a fair trade store with artisan crafts from impoverished countries worldwide.

One roof. Seriously.

I'm here at Busboys & Poets for the second Split This Rock Poetry Festival. It's a gathering to celebrate the poet voice in activism. We're a group of poets who have come together to share with each other and dream together ways that our words can and will make this world a bit better. A lot better. In fact, we gather because we have the audacity to believe that poetry can inspire in the hearts of the world a need to live into the more beautiful ways we were created.

I accidentally read the wrong page of When You Pray in this morning's devotional, but after reading this quotation, I think it might have just been the word God wanted me to hear today:

The true prophetic message always calls us to a spiritual defiance of the world as it now is. Our prayer, to the extent that it is fully authentic, undermines the status quo. It is a spiritual underground resistance movement. We are subversive in a world of injustice, oppression and violence. Like Amos of old, we demand that "justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream" (Amos 5:24). We plead the case of the orphan and the widow, or whoever the helpless ones are in our context. In our prayers and in our actions we stand firm against racism, sexism, nationalism, ageism, and every other "ism" that separates and splits and divides. -Richard J. Foster

Fitting. Please pray that my poetic words might help justice roll down . . .

And may we all live into another way that is very much possible.

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