Kenneth E. Kovacs is pastor of the Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Catonsville, Maryland, and has served congregations in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Mendham, New Jersey. Ken studied at Rutgers College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. in practical theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. He is also an analyst-in-training at the C. G. Jung Institute-Zürich. Author of The Relational Theology of James E. Loder: Encounter & Conviction (New York: Peter Lang, 2011) and Out of the Depths: Sermons and Essays (Parson’s Porch, 2016), his current research areas include C. G. Jung and contemporary Christian experience. Ken has served on the board of the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, is a current board member of the Presbyterian Writers Guild, and a book reviewer for The Presbyterian Outlook.
Kelly Belmonte, founder and Chief Muse of All Nine, is a poet, blogger, and management consultant with expertise in nonprofit organizational development and youth mentoring. Kelly expounds whenever and wherever she gets the chance on poetry, writing, and the creative process. Her work has been published in Relief Journal: A Christian Literary Expression, The Literary Nest, and Atlas Poetica. She is honored to have her poem “How I Talk To God” selected for inclusion in The Word in the Wilderness (2014) edited by bestselling poet Malcolm Guite. Kelly also contributed a chapter to Women and C.S. Lewis (2015), a collection of interviews and essays on the theme of Lewis and women in his life and writings.
Kelly’s two poetry chapbooks, Three Ways of Searching (2013) and Spare Buttons (2014), are published by Finishing Line Press.
The windless northern surge, the sea-gull’s scream, And Calvin’s kirk crowning the barren brae. I think of Giotto the Tuscan shepherd’s dream, Christ, man and creature in their inner day. How could our race betray The Image, and the Incarnate One unmake Who chose this form and fashion for our sake? The Word made flesh […]
Strong Son of God, immortal Love, Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace, Believing where we cannot prove; … Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than […]
Six years a slave, and then you slipped the yoke, Till Christ recalled you, through your captors’ cries! Patrick, you had the courage to turn back, With open love to your old enemies, Serving them now in Christ, not in their chains, Bringing the freedom He gave you to share. You heard the voice of […]
You tell me, doubt is Devil-born. I know not: one indeed I knew In many a subtle question versed, Who touch’d a jarring lyre at first, But ever strove to make it true: Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds, At last he beat his music out. There lives more faith in honest doubt, […]
The first life, in the mother’s womb is spent, Where she her nursing power doth only use; Where, when she finds defect of nourishment, She expels her body, and this world she views. This we call Birth; but if the child could speak, He Death would call it; and of Nature plain, That […]
That Power which gave me eyes the World to view, To see my self infused an inward light, Whereby my soul, as by a mirror true, Of her own form may take a perfect sight, But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought, Except the sun-beams in the air doe shine: So the best soul with […]
She within lists my ranging mind hath brought, That now beyond my self I list not go; My self am centre of my circling thought, Only my self I study, learn, and know. I know my body’s of so frail a kind, As force without, fevers within can kill: I know the heavenly nature of […]
Why did my parents send me to the Schools, That I with knowledge might enrich my mind? Since the desire to know first made men fools, And did corrupt the root of all mankind: Even so by tasting of that fruit forbid, Where they sought knowledge, they did error find; Ill they desir’d to know, […]
Tom Darin Liskey is an author, poet and photo-journalist. More than twenty years of international journalism and business experience gives Tom a unique perspective. That experience abroad has given him a keen eye to appreciate different cultures and locations. His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry has been published in literary magazines, both in the US and abroad including two published books. https://www.tomdarinphoto.com/ All images © Tom Darin Liskey
At last, in spite of all, a recognition, For those who loved and laboured for so long, Who brought us, through that labour, to fruition To flourish in the place where we belong. A thanks to those who stayed and did the raising, Who buckled down and did the work of two, Whom governments have […]
Then stir my love in idleness to flame To find at last the free refining fire That guards the hidden garden whence I came. O do not kill, but quicken my desire, Better to spur me on than leave me cold. Not maimed I come to you, I come entire, Lit by the loves that […]
Over my suppliant hands entwined, I leaned just staring at the fire, imagining bodies of human beings and seen burn. And both my trusted guides now turned to me. And the Virgil spoke, to say: ‘My dearest son, here may be agony but never death. Remember this! Remember! And if I led you to safety […]
I thank my God I have emerged at last, Blinking from Hell, to see these quiet stars, Bewildered by the shadows that I cast. You set me on this stair, in those rich hours Pacing your study, chanting poetry. The Word in you revealed his quickening powers, Removed the daily veil, and let me see, […]
Dante and Virgil emerge from hell and begin the ascent of mount purgatory So now we entered on that hidden Path, my Lord and I, to move once more towards a shining world. We did not care to rest. We climbed, he going first and I behind, until through some small aperture I saw the […]
Begin the song exactly where you are, For where you are contains where you have been And holds the vision of your final sphere. And do not fear the memory of sin; There is a light that heals, and, where it falls, Transfigures and redeems the darkest stain Into translucent colour. Loose the veils And […]
As I went, ruined, rushing to that low, there had, before my eyes, been offered one who seemed -long silent- to be faint and dry. Seeing him near in that great wilderness, to him I screamed my ‘miserere’: ‘Save me, whatever – shadow or truly man – you be.’ His answer came to me: ‘No […]
Victoria Emily Jones lives in the Baltimore area of the United States, where she works as an editorial freelancer and blogs at ArtandTheology.org. Her interest is in how the arts—visual, literary, musical, and performing—can stimulate renewed theological engagement with the Bible. In addition, Victoria serves as assistant editor of ArtWay, a Netherlands-based web publication that encourages church engagement with high-quality visual art, and as a consultant for the Visual Commentary on Scripture, an online biblical art project being developed by King’s College London. You can find her on Twitter @artandtheology.
Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year I felt a door opening in me and I entered the clarity of early morning. One after another my former lives were departing, like ships, together with their sorrow. And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas assigned to my brush came closer, […]
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurp’d town to another due, Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end; Reason, […]
Ere on my bed my limbs I lay, It hath not been my use to pray With moving lips or bended knees; But silently, by slow degrees, My spirit I to Love compose, In humble trust mine eye-lids close, With reverential resignation No wish conceived, no thought exprest, Only a sense of supplication; A sense […]
Coffee in one hand leaning in to share, listen: How I talk to God. “Momma, you’re special.” Three-year-old touches my cheek. How God talks to me. While driving I make lists: done, do, hope, love, hate, try. How I talk to God. Above the highway hawk: high, alone, free, focused. How God talks to me. […]
A hidden path that starts at a dead end, Old ways, renewed by walking with a friend, And crossing places taken hand in hand, The passages where nothing need be said, With bruised and scented sweetness underfoot And unexpected birdsong overhead, The sleeping life beneath a dark-mouthed burrow, The rooted secrets rustling in a hedgerow, […]
“You can’t step into the same river twice.” ~Heraclitus
Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age, Gods breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth; Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre, Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear, The six daies world-transposing in an houre, A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear […]
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
From Endymion by John Keats
And some time make the time to drive out west Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter, and inland among stones The surface of a slate-grey lake […]
This is the day to leave the dark behind you Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth, Shake off at last the shackles that confined you, And find the courage for the forward path. You yearned for freedom through the long night watches, The day has come and you are free to choose, Now is […]
I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. […]
Antique maps, with curlicues of ink As borders, framing what we know, like pages From a book of travelers’ tales: look, Here in the margin, tiny ships at sail. No-nonsense maps from family trips: each state Traced out in color-coded numbered highways, A web of roads with labeled city-dots Punctuating the route and its slow […]
Give me my scallop shell of quiet, My staff of faith to walk upon, My scrip of joy, immortal diet, My bottle of salvation, My gown of glory, hope’s true gage, And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage. Blood must be my body’s balmer, No other balm will there be given, Whilst my soul, like a […]
… though truth and falsehood be Near twins, yet truth a little elder is; Be busy to seek her; believe me this, He’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best. To adore, or scorn an image, or protest, May all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way To stand inquiring right, is not […]
I travell’d on, seeing the hill, where lay My expectation. A long it was and weary way. The gloomy cave of Desperation I left on th’ one, and on the other side The rock of Pride. And so I came to fancy’s meadow strow’d With many a flower: Fain would I here have made abode, […]
Andrea Skevington lives in Suffolk, and draws inspiration from the world and the community around her. Her work includes poetry, stories – mainly for children, and inspirational work in the Christian tradition. she has worked with children in schools and churches, and has a particular interest in retelling the Bible. She has led retreats and creative writing workshops for adults, spoken at festivals, and share my poetry and my thoughts. She also writes for Quiet Spaces “A creative response to God’s love”, and has written meditations on Women in Genesis, the medieval mystical work The Cloud of Unknowing, the I Am sayings of Jesus, the poems of Emily Dickinson, and many others.
I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small field for a while, and gone my way and forgotten it. But that was the pearl of great price, the one field that had treasure in it. I realise now that I must give all that I have to possess it. Life is not […]
Temples and spires are good for looking down from; You stand above the world on holy heights, Here on the pinnacle, above the maelstrom, Among the few, the true, unearthly lights. Here you can breathe the thin air of perfection And feel your kinship with the lonely star, Above the shadow and the pale reflection, […]
So here’s the deal and this is what you get: The penthouse suite with world-commanding views, The banker’s bonus and the private jet, Control and ownership of all the news, An ‘in’ to that exclusive one per cent, Who know the score, who really run the show, With interest on every penny lent And sweeteners […]
The Fountain thirsts, the Bread is hungry here, The Light is dark, the Word without a voice. When darkness speaks it seems so light and clear. Now he must dare, with us, to make a choice. In a distended belly’s cruel curve He feels the famine of the ones who lose, He starves for those […]
Receive this cross of ash upon your brow Brought from the burning of Palm Sunday’s cross; The forests of the world are burning now And you make late repentance for the loss. But all the trees of God would clap their hands, The very stones themselves would shout and sing, If you could covenant to love these […]
As if the prisms of the kaleidoscope I plunged once in a butt of muddied water Surfaced like a marvellous lightship And out of its silted crystals a monk’s face That had spoken years ago from behind a grille Spoke again about the need and chance To salvage everything, to re-envisage The zenith and glimpsed […]
The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Please join me in thanking Holly Ordway for the wonderful journey through her book Apologetics and the Christian Imagination
JOURNAL SYLVIA PLATH I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And what do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and […]
Kayla Hodges lives in Cypress, Texas and loves being at home learning her role as a mother to her baby girl, Eden Grace. After graduating from Baylor University, she and her husband Matthew began partnering in ministry together with Bridge Point Community Church, an Acts29 church plant that they have helped launch with dear friends in Cypress. Healthy vulnerability and offering hope to the hopeless are among Kayla’s deepest values. Kayla finds solace in writing and is passionate about her family, the local church, stewarding God’s Creation of this earth, and mental health awareness.
PSALMS DIETRICH BONHOEFFER We say that religion is a matter of mood: we must wait until the mood strikes us. And then we often wait for years—perhaps until the end of our life—until we are once again in the mood to be religious. This idea is based on a great illusion. It is all well […]
“Suffering is not a punishment,” Robert Ingersoll wrote, “it is a result.”
HOLY SONNET VII JOHN DONNE At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow Your trumpets, Angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go— All whom the flood did and fire shall o’erthrow, All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies, Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose […]
Summer wanes. The heavy-headed roses Nodding by the river path, the scent Of sun-warmed earth and hay all mark the closing Of the year. The warmth was only lent, And does not last. One morning all is changed: The hedge is silvered with a sudden frost, The very paving-stones are furred and strange. My steps […]
Peggy Drew is a graduate student of Spiritual Formation at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.