Skip to main content

Eyes Have I That See

Eyes Have I That See by John Julian

A monk, priest and a scholar, poet John Julian has given us a breadth of wisdom here in a new collection of poems that gathers together old and new poems alike.  Julian founded the Order of Julian Norwich in 1985 and his poems exude that same quite confidence.  These poems span the time from his first ones, written in 1959 to the most contemporary, written in 2014.  Yet, these poems have a strength to them that comes from someone who has long pondered the mysteries of life, suffering, and faith.

In the poem Incarnatus, Julian captures the profundity of Christ’s becoming flesh on the earth in a unique and forceful way.  He writes, Suffer, he said, but never cause suffering / Give, while the rest of the world seeks to take; / Die, if its needed , but never cause dying; / Love, with the knowledge that friends may forsake (49).”  The extending of grace, the giving of himself to and for others, and the love that he gave out completely to friends was part and parcel of the life and ministry of Jesus.  Yet, this giving, this unhindered letting go of the clutches of vain glory and recognition were met with rejection, forsakenness, and self-promotion.  Julian finishes the poems with the lines, “To celebrate life amidst deathly confusion, / To speak in your living the truth of my Birth (49).” 

The veritable tension that a prophet’s calling and what he should do is displayed in the poem, A Prophet Should.  Near the end of the poem, Father Julian endorses this tension, “A prophet should resolve, / facilitate, ease, answer, / and console. / Buts shoulds are alien to him and judgment echoes off his walls (55).”  The tension exists between a steady and growing conscience of a prophet and his duty to bring judgment to the people.  There is a sort of dissonance here that Julian calls to, the kind of tension between the prophet’s personality and feelings and what he must say from the Lord.  The tenderness is lost on the prophet in the midst of his prophetic oracles that many times come in the form of thundering denouncements. 

Thanks to Paraclete Press for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Check out for more resources


Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …