Dedicated to Father Stanley Marrow, S.J.
Who took me into my own tradition.
for Karen and Barry





I. Much has been withheld from the laity.
            Rudolf Bultmann, 1904

Pipe smoke from opened doors of the elevator
in an old movie. It's Bultmann. What got left inside?
All the legendary talk. Doesn't it still burn!
They put you back on shelves
for most of an adult life-time,
showing up again on computer screens like this:
The conflict in us will remain, but it will
have lost its pain…mysteries re-emerge
and …as the riddles increase so will God's graces.

To hear your name spoken aloud is a knowing.

Your words on the beloved disciple,
gestalt of gestalt, takes down walls.
You, in my own tradition.
You, given to me by a Jesuit.
Father Stanley Marrow, SJ.
I hear the voices come off the page.

II. The vision of faith takes place in the process
of the upturning of all man's natural aims in life.
            R.B. The Gospel of John

Faith based on miracles won't do much more
than help one turn the page. It ties you up.
makes you say strange things even your mother won't believe.
Jesus wasn't the first to turn water into wine,
he's the one who wants you to ask,
What kind of water is this?
Jesus asks about each choice you make.
You think you can live by this?
Nicodemus isn't the straight one,
he's curious, present after the great dispersal,
present at the end of witness,
the entire being must be changed.
My notebook full of quotations.
Faith isn't something one earns
and not believing isn't evil.
This is the light come into the world.
You've traded in your old past for a new one.
"The resurrection of Jesus realizes itself in us."
Post cards come easier than prayer.

You deserve better than shallow belief.
You deserve better than tepid water.
Your shallow gospel will fail you in the end.
Your unbelief asks for a sign
Rebuilding the temple, rebuilding the sanctuary,
a fight between revelation and the world.
That so many people have been brought to faith
by miracles might tell you something of their value.
Not much. The attack on the sanctuary
is an attack on an idea. When Jesus walks
on water he walks on what you know.

Listen to the hearer when he cries.
He is saying this is all that I long for.
He is saying my here is my hope.
He is saying this is all I desire.
I will abandon the world for this.

I am in my abandoning of this world.

To be a single man contradicting the united front.

Your incomprehension is the shallowness of your own disbelief.
You hear what you already know.

Those with eyes to see imagine.
Those who are blind no longer wander in the dark.
Staking one's life on being for.
Staking one's life on being in the belonging.

Lines to you, Rudolf Bultmann,
written in a coffee shop in America.

III. Blessed is he who acts in accordance with what he has 
seen and known. Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John

Lines written in a corner at the Auto Shop

One doesn't achieve faith. Didn't I already say that?
How is the poem superior to theologians
who can't make it new. Like this.



Dark outside at closing time
asylum seekers from Honduras
just back from ICE appointment,
the young wife gets her ankle
bracelet off for first time                                     
in nine months. This
is Ephrata. Back and forth
from Yakima. Jesus says,
You soy el camino. There
are trails smaller than this,
ways into mountains
not shown on maps.
Poets pay attention.
Eating barley bread with friends
Jesus says,
Yo soy pan de vida.
We stop at the bakery,
Panadería La Esperanza,
on the chance there might be
Tres Leches for the children.

23 November 2019


Already it's noon.
When I could hear nothing
Central America found me again, and Mexico.
Young Mexicans took me in, Obispo Gómez
in El Salvador, said I was converted by Mexicans.
Los Santos de El Salvador: Ellacuría y su equipo.
Los martires. Jon Sobrino, sole survivor,
take the crucificados down from the cross.
Teologia de Medardo Gómez,
Pablo Neruda in Chile, Las Alturas de Macchu Picchu.
Sube a nacer conmigo, hermano.

And I had help:
Ron Marshall with Kierkegaard.
Ladd Bjorneby with Theology of the Cross from Douglas John Hall.
Ron Moen with Barth, and me.
And Rutilio Grande at Paisnal. 
But I was looking for you. I didn't know yet,
I hadn't stood in, as a man, with your work.
Rocked by Barth along the way, talking to prisoners
seeing Jesus with his first congregation,
those two crucified with him.
Jim Engel, pastor
Harald Sigmar, Icelandic pastor, por su puesto.
Obispo Medardo Gomez, Teologia de Vida
Abelina Gomez, Fe y Esperanza
Rhina Guidos.
Hebrew Bible NEH Seminar, Garrett Seminary
Zev Shanken

The letters between Bultmann and Barth.


IV. Already it's noon,

            The narrator has no historical interest in story telling.
                        Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John

the day after Thanksgiving. You're the food
in the sandwich, Professor. Playing the card
that turns up, praying for protection
is the same as praying for holiness. The insurance
man isn't the one investing in this house.
Guests have all gone home, God amongst us,
middle name of my father, Wayne,
theology and poetry is the same practice.
We know poetry's important, but not in what way.
Like you say in Gospel of John, the natural man
doesn't want someone to wash his feet.
Only the man who is loved
can love himself, becoming beloved,
being love, beloved. No one
can take away joy. It's like this:
You've crossed over from death to life
but you're still in the world.

Sitting with my sister and brother-in-law
after the guests are gone. Karen
in between us, coffee and  turkey sandwiches
with fresh cranberries.
My sister asks a question.
Bultmann's-Barth Letters in my pack
with my notebook.

Dichosos serán los que ponen en practica.

Coffee for tomorrow. The way it is.

How language works, or doesn't.

How can there be a day after thanksgiving


Part V.a.

A better drink of water.
Resurrection takes place in us.

Three days after Thanksgiving
(Is that even possible?)
I keep asking the same questions
the turkey goes into the oven
by seven. Corn bread dressing's
in the slow cooker. Sauteed
onion, celery, carrot, in butter.
Don't miss the moment
that can't be clocked or timed.

Sunday, Mahalia.
Sunday, Duke.

That's the day in a song
stretching the moment, stretching time.
When we come home, we'll belong
to our food the way we belong
to each other. There's a book,
I tell Karen, that feeds me,
it's food the way that food feeds.
The book is food you don't have
to wait for Jim, Karen adds.
You can have it now,
as part of your preparation.
You need to continued education,
it's part of who you are she says,
I need to be reminded
that I'm not a freak.

Turning from Bread and Water
Notebook #3 to the daily page with books
Navajo Blessingway Singer
Autobiography of Frank Mitchell
1881-1967, alive in your time,
Professor Bultmann, but you
wouldn't have had access,
two ethnomusicologists
Charlotte Frisbee and David McAllister
save and construct the narrative
Ólta’I Tsoh, or Big Schoolboy
Love centered on a grand old man
Blessingway rites, Navahoe backbone
controlling all other ceremonies
in favor of prayer sticks, sand painting.
Hózhóójí, Blessingway,
…boxcars we had been living in were hooked together
…it was mainly from Man Who Shouts
that I learned the Blessingway by following him
when he was asked to do some singing…

I started asking my father…asking how it was done
…there is no place where the differences are large enough
to say it is a different version of the Blessingway…
they start out from the beginning
way back from the first people

Hozho. Show me something, Grandma says.
Show me something that isn't beautiful.


Scholarship and truth produced under pressure
divine reality, receiving freedom from himself
only as a present, he can't get it on his own.
You are all clean, Jesus says,
cleansed by the singing word.
Do not interpret the poem psychologically
but read the poem as a matter of fact.

Theology and poetry, science from the same breath
We know poetry is important but we do not yet know
in what way it's important.

All this happened at the auto dealer's?
All of it, in a corner where they sell new cars
while they were changing my tires.

Only the man who is loved can love himself
Becoming beloved
be love, beloved,
like you say, sir, Blessed is he who acts
in accordance with what he has heard and seen.

You can't build on security
No, you can't No one can take away joy
giving and receiving of the world
but you're still in the world, right?
Right, and so you know…
You crossed over from death to life
but you're still in the world
And Jesus? Abandoned.

Oh, my God!

Fulfilled and commanded to love

This isn't it something manufactured, it's

Yes, destruction of security and peace of mind

fulfilled…in the loving

Jim Bodeen
16 November 2019-4 December 2019


Part V.b.

So much of what was God
            came from Black Church
                   from the women singing
From Aretha, from Bessie before here,

Lightnin and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
          So much of what was God
                  came from James Baldwin

It still does


Part VI

Churches here--we explore our emptiness
            when we're more than one,
                        when that happens,
lots of  flags, and ones filled with something else,
                        but no mind,

Music you might not have heard,
Cannonball Adderley, Coltrane.
Some of these guys you could have known

and the Blessingway Singer
out of Chinle, Arizona, Frank Mitchell.

I don't know your music,

my blues come from here
            my blues come from the pew
where my sin comes from
                        I had no norm to follow

                        the pews were dark,
            Los bancos,
                                    bancos de la iglesia

            They kept us in the dark

They knew more, and they took cover


This time it's in America.
            Someone else will write this part.
                        I'm listening for it
                        every day,
                        I've been given other things
                        and there's the meal


A better drink of water
the meal and a better drink of water


Part VII: And then it happens like this:



LEFT ON THE PORCH, Guadalupe-like
Guadalupana. Warm-robed woman
of the margins, syllables surfacing
re-surfacing a Dylan soundtrack
lowland lady with the sad eyes
shouldn't I say something to her?
Solace defined is a rich harvest
of comfort and pleasure in the grieving.
When Terry gave me Consolations
a one-word title of on-word histories
I missed these rich roots tapping
into oft-told stories told slant.

Something about the day, Solace.
Something about the day. Rosemary
passed, comforted by her daughter, Rachel.
Remember my magic trick
at Jane & Terry's, breaking chains
binding my two index fingers?
Cy, her husband, was the magician,
and I'll see him tomorrow.
Clay woman, Sculptured Solace,
Rabbit Girl-God,
permission to weep,
permission to laugh.

Late 13th century Old French, solaz,
pleasure, entertainment, enjoyment,
bang!--assuage sounds downright onomatopoetic
after the sexual thread. Let them reconcile?--
we're learning to talk here, first thought,
best thought--earlier in the day--
do your ears get cold--ha, ha,
I've listened to those jokes all my life.
I got old but the jokes kept coming--

earlier in the day, before the ICE flight
arrived from Phoenix, this being Thanksgiving week
(I'm keeping a new notebook on Gratitude and Food,
62 days in) I prepared a Tea Ceremony
for those counting, waving to, affirming,
lives of asylum seekers and undocumented
arriving and departing Yakima in bus and jet.
Our Japanese friend Mayu's teapot
brewing the same green matcha her parents drink
each morning in Yokohama. It was steaming!
18 degrees in our yellow triangle.
I made a movie. Froze my knuckles,
Sister S--froze my knuckles filming
a painted yellow line. When you carry
the camera, good things happen.
I sliced pumpkin bread to complete
a Eucharistic meal, do rabbits, Solace,
like pumpkin? Do you even know
things like that? How earthly you are
remains a question. Those tea leaves,
though, they reached Japan
via Facebook, and Mayu liked seeing
her tea pot, too. The movie
is six minutes long. Did the tea leaves
reach those women in chains?
Last week we were cautioned not to chant
because it might put the deportees
in danger climbing the stairs. Our leader
told the suits, Those leg chains you put
around their ankles put the people at risk.
Do you mind if I curse? Some chicken shit
at the airport had them pull the big
fuel truck painted with the letter N
in red in front of us so we couldn't see!--
creating a chant, We can still see you,
over and over. I blew Michael's whistle
in his absence. Solace-Goddess!
Are you still there? When you see this movie,
stay to the end. Your story connects
to Plum Village--Jane told me so.
We've read Thich Nhat Hanh together,
Jane and I. Karen has the calendar
in the bathroom--Drink your tea!
The woman drinking tea, back turned
to Swift Air, spent three years at Plum Village.
Earline is her name. She says,
This is the way Thich Nhat Hanh drinks tea.
See for yourself, staid comforter, Sister Solace.
Teach us to burrow and be brave.

Jim Bodeen
Happy Thanksgiving
26 November 2019



Here it is.
A single image blast
                        in a single clue

Corner of the page turned down clean
            an unknown seeker
            book from a small library
                        in Oregon
inter-library loan

                        The recognition taking me 
            I glimpse/don't glimpse.

Know/don't know.
                        All colliding in memory and now.

Marburg, 11-15 November 1952

            Dear Mr. Barth,

Someone folded down that corner for me.

LETTERS 1922-1966
            Edited by Bernd Jaspert and translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley

The November, 11-15 November 1952 letter, 16 pages, in eight parts, in this tone:

…but first we need liberation from the mythological world-view 
of the Bible, because this has become totally alien to people today, 
and because the link with it constitutes an offense--a false one--and 
closes the door to understanding.

Liberation from it cannot, in my view, be trivialized 
as incidental or secondary matter; it must rather be achieved 
with full and open criticism…At root nothing
matters more than that the situation of modern man demands 
an existential interpretation of proclamation.

[I use this quotation here to signify the critical Bultmann
letter in this volume. I leave the letter, also, going back in time 
through the letters between the two men, to show an evolution 
of tone and discord and love between them.]

[Begin here, with this one, after finishing the letters a second time, 
slowly. How do I answer to myself? Start again. Start now. 
Start here. Instructions to the reader. Let discernment 
be your guide to the speaker. Voices being several. Pay attention.]

They ask each other what I ask, Do I understand myself?
The seeker, re-seeker, he's in here, too.
His cause is at stake.

Your own cause is at stake. It could be poetry, too.
What shall I say to my children?
How shall I say it to myself?
How shall I hear it myself?

I don't begin a poem by believing in the poem.
Open the book wider now, page through looking at Barth and Bultmann
writing back and forth.

Dear Mr. Bultmann, Do not take amiss, my stiff-necked silence. 
28 April 1927.

Working back and forth--not giving each other up.
In relation to you (Karl Barth), I am the recipient. 8 June 1928.
It would be fine if you could console me and tell me that all this
is not so dangerous (Mr. Bultmann) and that we are still allies as before,
but I fear you cannot tell me this. 5 Feb 1930.
Do you not think, (Mr. Barth) that I seriously want to hear finally
what you really have against my work? 14 June 1931.
Dear Mr. Bultmann, I have in fact felt myself treated by your students
with a mixture of fatherly kindness and policelike acuteness
which does not suit me. 20 June 1931.
Dear Mr. Barth, I am naturally sorry that you do not feel any need
for debate with my work. We did not mean to take 
ourselves too seriously.
25 Oct 1931.

Thanking Bultmann, Barth writes, It is a real gift from heaven to be able
to speak freely and rationally these days. 13 November 1933.
Bultmann asks, Is the hatchet buried between us and are you 
ready to come? 
7 July 1934

On 27 November 1934, Barth writes Bultmann a letter that on this day 
the press will make public his suspension on the ground of refusing 
to take the prescribed oath to the leader of the German Empire 
and people, Adolf Hitler.

22 Dec 1935
Dear Mr. Bultmann,
Mistrust is not really a good word
for what I experience in relation to you.
In face of your circling around
the existence of believers…
you quietly took the oath
over which I stumbled…
Yours, Karl Barth.

14 March 1937
Dear Mr. Bultmann,
For the rest is is very beautiful here
and the thought of the continental
kingdom of darkness terrifies us
only from a remote distance.
Yours, Karl Barth.

Barth writes Bultmann several times at Christmas.
Christmas Eve, 1952
Dear Mr. Bultmann, Is it clear to you
how things are with us--
you and me? It seems to me
that we are like a whale
and an elephant meeting
with boundless astonishment
on some ocean shore.
A riddle of creation
whose solution in the eschaton
I like to depict as Bonhoeffer does
by pointing toward the
I restore all things…

Seven years later, 18 December 1959, Barth writes:

In heaven (as the top floor of the mythological
world-structure) we may perhaps seek out
the apostle Paul together…but this happy
prospect should not be an excuse
for not letting myself be better informed
by you…if possible, at least in details.

9 May 1966 Bultmann writes:

Dear Mr. Barth,
From the depths of his heart your old friend
wishes you good health and good courage
for the new year of your life.
Yours, Rudolf Bultmann


DATED 11-15 NOVEMBER, 1952



…SO THAT we gained the reputation
of being a slanderous company.
            Rudolf Bultmann
from a brief account of his relations
with the city and university of Marburg…
            Summer, 1969

So many conflicting, sudden images of Heaven
gathering to walk into this letter with no postmark.
Let them have at. Bultmann, Barth and Paul,
as first suggested by Dr. Barth.
Certainly (Is that appropriate here?)
C. S. Lewis will have what does
one call time here? What is here?
All my images tethered.
There's a man, Stanley Marrow.
River of tears be my introduction.

I wouldn't be talking with you
but for Stanley. And others.
And others, because of Stanley,
auditing became an option.
From a far-back pew, slanderous
might be a credible word
for one like me.
None of us worthy.

Stealing images from your letter
to Barth, 11-15 November 1952.
My cause at stake, one who gambled
for the poem, an American,
of his time, if not modern.
Recoiling in ways best students
always have, troublesome.
Add controversy to my résumé
a core element in NT studies.
Belief, as you say here,
is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Let the slanderous among us
say, Amen. I have participated
fully in the sin of self-certainty,
perverted, as you call it.
Christ only in Kerygma.
An old pastor sent me
Barth's letter to prisoners
naming those with Jesus
on the cross as the first
congregation. I stay awake
because I can't sleep.
When Stanley confronted
me, things didn't start
going easy, surprised,
though by joy, as Lewis
says, quoting Wordsworth.
Such company. My Dad.
My Mom, my brother's joy.
And my sister. Returning
from war the teacher
called my son, Astyanax,
son of Hector. I loved
the Hebrew Bible before
I knew the proper word
to name it. I was a boy
outback, walking railroad
tracks with Crazy Horse
and Jesus. We were looking
for treasure in native graves.
I felt sanctuary in groves of trees.
I have studied the canon.
This is the canon I pursued.
Permit me in this spirit
a commemorative stamp.
An artist's drawing of a small frog
clinging to a reed in wetlands.
This water! This water!
My letter in the wind.

Jim Bodeen
11 December 2019


[This concludes the letters between the two men
in this volume. It is followed by the Appendix
comprised of 40 edited documents. Significant,
and important. Forthcoming. jb]






            Dedicated to Father Stanley Marrow, S.J.


It starts like this.

I'm thirty years old.
                    Returned GI from Panama, from Viet Nam.
                                    Tet. 1968. Med-evac. 85th Evac Hospital.
                                    Get those kids home, and on a plane

            Finish school on the GI Bill.
            Married. Three small children.
            With questions.

Forty years ago I found that man
                        who took on those questions.
                                    Who took on Me.
            A protesting protestant.

Stanley Marrow, S.J. Iraqi.

Living in community with priests and nuns.
Three summers. Three years.
Stanley rolled away every stone.
He took every question.
He took away every security.
Every turning point.
It all happened.
That life.
Over and done with.
That fast.
It all began then.

Then I came home. That was 40 years ago.

This will take some time. I still have six days
before I turn the two books back in
come from Interlibrary loan. One comes
from George Fox University in Portland--
the thesis of the young man from Princeton.
A thousand pages and a hundred bucks.
One paragraph from Christian Century--
a starting point. The other one,
Other, bless your heart,
the biography of the man come to me
across cultures and closed doors--
closed, if not forbidden. Six days.

I promised myself, given the chance,
my devotion and waking hours for the time
I have the books, if they came at all.
Their notice of arrival comes when I'm on the road,
costing me the first two days totaling twelve.

This is crisis.
                        Deciding makes me smile.
                                    A president on a battleship.
No time for insider joking in code.

                        The yes and the no.

I was young and back from the war. The one in Southeast Asia.
During the bad time. To be fair here, I already belonged to literature.
I don't know. I was Medevac Sergeant at the Evac Hospital. In personnel.
Everybody counted, and we counted them sending them out.
I can't say to safety, because most of them were going home,
back to the States.  Round the clock new year. This way home, GI.
In those months. That time. Those poems came years ago.
GI bill. Following literature.

I found Amos. Hosea. Couldn't find Jesus.

Before Bultmann, before Stanley,
the Icelandic pastor hounded me. Both of us with North Dakota roots.
Rural. Small town. Town family among farmers. 
Diaspora on the front end.
Him, into the beyonds. Beyond psychology, beyond religion,
wanting to write it. He wanted what the poem gave me.
I found Merton and C.S. Lewis from others.
He gave me Heschel and the prophets, he couldn't get me to Jesus.

First blush. Euphoric. Post-Bultmann. Pretty cool dude.
I'm the one liberated. Oh yeah. Look around. I try to tell it.
I try to say what happened. What I know.
I try to say where I've been. What happened.
I knew better coming home from Viet Nam.
I knew to shut up.
This was so much bigger. This was given to me.
Not a pastor now. Not anybody in pews either.
Sounding his name. Tongue explosion. A bolt of the blues.

The best that ever happened became the worst.
Name recognition. Oh. Yes. It turns out he doesn't matter.

The librarian calls. Both books, Spanking new. Never been opened.
Bultmann's eyes on the cover of the biography
dominate--the right eye directed at someone not identified,
the left eye in shadow. No attribution for the image.
Konrad Hammann. Marburg credentials. Translated
into English by Philip Devenish. This book presented
to The Guesman Collection for Biblical and Ministry Studies
at the Beverly Library, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

A Lutheran convert to Vatican II.

Let that one play out.

I've been with the Chinese poets. The ancient ones.
And others. So many beautiful ones.
Always asking about Stanley.
Stanley says he talks with children to learn the language.
Bultman's name under my breath.
It's been, well, it's been good, it's been,
what it still is, a wonder walk.

And now, the surprise of these books.

Jim Bodeen
1 July 2017--11 July 2017


            --and to Philip Devenish, English translator

American Christians here have POTUS' back
in Germany this week at G-20 talks.
A starting point of sorts. A context
for my reading of your Bultmann.
Delights come early countering depression.
Yesterday Donald Trump says three times,
Nobody knows for sure. Kerygma?

Early delights, Professor Hammann, as I said.
I expected treasure, but to be giggling on page 11!
You first, Emancipation from received tradition,
followed by Bultmann: Deliverance without compromise.
Stanley Marrow, four decades ago, my teacher,
in an auditorium of nuns and priests: We swoon
imagining Jesus on the cross for three days,

not seeing those on crosses for thirty years.
My context. A married Lutheran. Aversion
to traditionalism myself? I write from arrested
development, your book a medicinal purge.
The way you bring us Bultmann: Faith
not making truth claims, but personal experience
making contact with unconditional power.

Back and forth of dance. Compatible daring.
Redemptive. Eternal forces revealing themselves
in temporal events. Do you ski? Professor Hammann,
you and Bultmann descend through snow
on alternating edges. The right sort of foolishness
and high spirits. Trouble reveals divine strengths.
Alone in the pew, this was my time of testing,

but I couldn't see it. Crisis of the bourgeois world.
The faithful person, never the natural person, always
the person killed and brought back to life by God.
The two of you together crossing time.
Free from every entanglement. Sitting with your book
I say to myself, I'll be funny, exploding in tears.
Across time, I held on to Stanley and Vatican II

as doors closed daily. Reading poems, writing.
Tracing sources to their source in primitive form.
Whose voice here, authentic? What has been redacted?
Who are these fools? There is no 12-Step Program
for Bultmanians in America. After the euphoria,
I begin asking pastors about Bultmann. Who?
Oh. He doesn't matter. Young theologians

at the Master Narrative workshop? No.
A perverted state is at enmity with God.
Persecuted Jews, Gospel of John, the Demythologizing Lecture.
I spend three of my 12 days with your book here.
How many hours looking at photographs?
Can I thank you again without condescension?
Muzzling decrees and the confessing church, No.

At Eucharist once, in community, common cup
turns into a vineyard at harvest, with wild dancing.
Years later in Lutheran marriage encounter
the pastor takes the bread from my mouth.
The Catholics tease me relentlessly.
Ask Jim, Lutherans know their Bibles.
Word encountered in proclamation.

Crisis occurring in the moment Jesus comes.

P.S. Baseball game tied: 13-13.

Jim Bodeen
3-8 July 2017


Blue Bultmann painted by Oliver Crisp is a good start.
Sunrise hues on forehead and under the left eye, reach
beyond paint and into text. Promise of light to come.
Mission to modernity. It's about time
someone from your generation writes this thesis.
After 12 days, your big book on interlibrary loan
on its way back to George Fox University Library.

What is the condition for a modern theology?
Be sure and run it by those suffering in pews.
They're waiting, David Congdon, Dr. David Congdon,
Welcome. Here, everything fabricated
is banished--Bultmann at 28.
Mission turned towards interpretation.
Wave to your friends. This will take awhile.

Tension and pull, back and forth.
Paradoxes testing metaphors to breaking points.
The poem gets to yes only after saying no.
Tergiversator they called him? Tergiversator.
We know that one without looking it up.
Resurrection occurs identically with faith itself.
Hidden, you say--the Bultmann appeal.

A word clear in itself Bultmann says, asking Barth in a letter:
How do I say this to my children?
Dr. Congdon bringing the next two:
How do I say this to myself?
How do I hear it to myself?
Entanglements, ideologies, and guarantees.
Free of these, the word clear in itself,

beginning. I write from the pew,
liberated 40 years ago, by an Iraqi Jesuit,
who took every false teaching he could find
before giving me back to Luther. My wait?
40 years-plus, from Fr. Stanley Marrow to here.
I write from the edge of gratefulness,
a garden, mostly poets, but this weekend,

a pastor, in his 70s, low bullshit tolerance.
Cooking Mexican. Corn on the grill.
Chiles--de arbol, pasilla, habanero,
with Nopales, scored, like fingers.
Once you start telling people the secrets,
they sit up in their chairs. Isn't keeping secrets
sin as much as the fear? Who carries more fear?

Laymen or pastors? The pastor remembers
Arthur Võõbus, in seminary. The Estonian
carrying manuscripts on his back.
Every seminarian killled. Looking at him,
Mr. Dean Stewart, I am very disappointed in you.
I expected more than a book report.
Only being open, not created, self-revealing.

The unnumbered dead never counted in pews.
Laying out the Bultmann program. How big, this wait?
Some of what's remembered isn't remembered right.
What froze changed in the storage. What took root    
grafted itself seamlessly. How it gets heard
reveals the eschaton.  No guarantees
in the poem, walk the image to the abyss,

I can be wholly other, only when the dream
is wholly other also. How many times do we die?
How do I tell you this is real?
Time to soften up under an aging crust.
Your companion Bultmann's on the shelf.
When God arrives, he's already here,
been here forever, already beyond.

God's word is money that doesn't spend.
I'm reading my margin notes
inside the art of understanding.
May we, in your words,
take this strange world seriously.
From here, I find Hammann's biography,
one way only, love, perpetually beginning.

Jim Bodeen
10 July 2017

Jim Bodeen
12 December 2019
Dia de Guadalupe

In Addition to those already thanked here, I wish to acknowledge Holden Village, SUMORE Program, Seattle University, 1976-79, Garrett Seminary NEH Seminar in Hebrew Bible, 1995, Obispo Medardo Gomez, Iglesia Luterana, El Salvador, and Christ in the Desert Monastery.All of the poets who walk the camino with Machado.

1 comment:

  1. Unable to penetrate the New Testament in the mid-1970s, I found myself living in religious community with priests and nuns studying Vatican II. An Iraqi Jesuit, Fr. Stanley Marrow, confronted me with German Lutheran Rudolf Bultmann, connecting me to my own tradition.
    Who influenced me most, Stanley Marrow or Rudolf Bultmann? 40+years later, I still ask myself. Suite for Rudolf Bultmann brings me closer to him through poetry, fragments and letters. An ongoing, organic, manuscript. jb