• captnsupremo on Twitter
  • captnsupremo on Last.fm
  • captnsupremo on Flickr
  • John Raines on Google+
  • December Absolution
    December 30, 2015

    Yesterday, I did my Bible reading and prayer at the small table in the dining room of my house at 369 N Montclair Ave. There had been a wave of ice and sleet the day before, and outside, the ground looked snowy, and the white light off of it was soft and seemed to glow coming in the bay window. My Bible was laid out in front of me, but still turned to Psalm 34, which I had read and sung a few minutes before. I was using my phone to read the Gospel passage and follow the morning prayer office. I do not keep this practice daily, but I wish I did.

    I finished the daily office reading from John 7 and noticed that the next passage was the Woman Caught in Adultery. I probably would have just closed the Bible app, but I remembered that the lectionary might cut that passage out, so I decided to read it.

    When I got to the final verse–that moment where Jesus said to the woman, “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you,” I began weeping and shaking with the force of my sobs. I remember that I did not even want to cry then. Thoughts like, “you’re just trying to have an emotional experience” would flash through my mind, and I would try to quell the tears, but then I would hear Jesus say again, “Neither do I condemn you,” and I would start crying even harder and now louder than before. This happened two or three times.

    In the midst of the sobs, I felt a desire to pray, so I began crying out, “Thank you, Lord,” responding to his absolution, and realizing that nothing else seemed so pressing as this prayer of thanksgiving, I continued to pray, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus” for several minutes.

    I don’t know exactly why I needed this word that God was not condemning me. I can, of course, think of a hundred things I have done in the past week alone by which I have not loved my God nor loved my neighbor. Perhaps the weight of these (and the weight of all the weeks of these) is reason enough to explain the deep hunger that I did not even know I carried until He had already fed me. Perhaps the weight I carried was something more Original. Something as deep as the Adam that fleshes out my soul. Perhaps these two are really the same, for with both weights, I know that I will need him, again, to turn back my Accusers, to kneel in the dirt beside me, to turn and say, “Neither do I condemn you.”

    January 28, 2014

    Andrew Shepherd has been one of my dearest and best friends for a long time. He even named my car. Today, living in Brooklyn, he posted a video to go along with a song that we wrote together 9 years ago in Arkansas and in Dallas, and I think the video is beautiful. This recording of the song, I made in my apartment in the suburbs of Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Have a look:


    from Charlotte, NC
    January 17, 2012

    I sometimes find myself in strange places. Actually, that’s not quite right. It’s more like, sometimes I find it strange, the places I find myself in. The places themselves aren’t necessarily strange. What’s strange is the “it” which we fill in with an entire situation: a place and my finding myself there.

    Anyway, getting on with it, I find myself, tonight, having missed my connecting flight to Little Rock, in a hotel room in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the second time in my life — the second time in six months, and that seems to mean something — that I have found myself out here on the colonial proclamation line, resigned and patient. (But probably never patient enough.) Hotel rooms are strange things when one is alone. It seems to take a group effort to really occupy them. But alone there is hardly enough of me to fill it. So, I have simply accepted a stalemate of presences here — of my presence and the strange unfamiliar presence of the hotel room. I will not leave, and it refuses to become familiar.

    Hobbits. They are what come to mind. Certainly, I am in no caverns deep beneath the Misty Mountains. Nor am I creeping through the fortress behind Cirith Ungol. The walls here are beige, the curtains mauve, and everything else summons similarly unexciting adjectives of French origin. Yet I cannot help but feel as though I am wrapped up in some story that is larger, and that this was a turn that I had not intended to make, and how I wish I could go back and maybe not leave the Shire. And, you know, I think it’s perfectly alright to think that. So long as it’s brief and innocent, just to let the thought flash through so long as you know that of course there is no going back — and going back’s not even the thing. It’s never having left that’s the thing, and it’s not a thing at all, since it never happened and so doesn’t exist. And from here, there is only forward because that is where the story takes us, and it is better to be in the story than to not exist.

    But oh, John Daniel, what have you got yourself into?

    The Elder Zosima’s Young Brother
    November 13, 2011

    from The Brothers Karamazov

    “Birds of God, joyful birds, you, too, must forgive me, because I have also sinned before you….Yes, there was so much of God’s glory around me: birds, trees, meadows, sky, and I alone lived in shame, I alone dishonored everything, and did not notice the beauty and glory of it at all… I want to be guilty before them (only I cannot explain it to you) for I do not even know how to love them. Let me be sinful before everyone, but so that everyone will forgive me, and that is paradise.…Truly each of us is guilty before everyone and for everyone, only people do not know it, and if they knew it, the world would at once become paradise.”

    Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Compline prayer, p.134
    October 28, 2011

    Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

    Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.