McCoy Family Update!

After 12+ years pastoring at Doxa Fellowship in Woodstock, Illinois, I've accepted a new job working for Ed Stetzer and his Mission Group. I'll be doing work as a Content Strategist for Mission Group to help develop resources to equip the Church for the mission. Molly and I, along with our four kids, are very excited about this new chapter of life and ministry.

Our plan, God-willing, is to stay in Woodstock for Jack's senior year and to move near Wheaton, Illinois soon after that. My last Sunday at Doxa is this Sunday, October 2nd.

Thanks for your prayers during our time at Doxa and we ask that you might ask God to help us through this transition, for our needs as we hope to stay local for a while longer for the good of our kids, and for our church as we leave.

The Carnival Barker

Our Woodstock poetry group, Atrocious Poets, was brought in to interact with our local and amazing art show, 4th Fridays. Artists come from far away to show their stuff. 

We read some poetry inside, some outside. Some poems were our own and some from famous poets. Our fearless leader, Sophie, was sitting at an old Royal typewriter and writing "Atrocious Poetry While You Wait." The response blew us away. She wrote dozens of poems. My specialty was reading outside at an entrance point where everyone who entered funnelled in. I wrote one poem in particular I was excited to use and it really only served the purpose of this event. Here it is for you, and it should be read aloud in the style of a carnival barker.

For an event like this I wanted the poem to be quick to grab attention but not for long. It's an introduction to the rest of the show. 

Ladies and gentlemen
boys and girls, 
welcome to the greatest show
on earth.

Come one, come all
come short, come tall
step right up and pay the price
to see these wonders captured
by untamed imaginations,
by hearts enraptured. 

Enter the scenes
these artists have made,
leave the week’s work
and worries behind
and find in what
you see displayed
beauty and truth
for heart and mind.

Now go, enjoy,
drink deep this night
we hope in art
you may see light.

The night was a huge success and it was really just us dipping our toes in the water in preparation for a few other things we want to do the next show we participate in. Can't wait!

NPM16 - Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg: The great Chicago poet who looked carefully at his city and wrote everyman sort of poetry about them. Here one about the "Clark Street Bridge" which is near the famous corn cob buildings and a hundred other urban wonders. This bridge is only a few blocks from where we stay in Chicago during Elijah's crohn's treatments and was directly on our path back to the train station. Sandburg was the first to call Chicago the "City of Big Shoulders." 

DUST of the feet
And dust of the wheels,
Wagons and people going,
All day feet and wheels.

Now.    .    .  
.    .   Only stars and mist
A lonely policeman,
Two cabaret dancers,
Stars and mist again,
No more feet or wheels,      
No more dust and wagons.

    Voices of dollars
    And drops of blood
    .   .   .   .   .
    Voices of broken hearts,
    .  .  Voices singing, singing,       
    .  .  Silver voices, singing,
    Softer than the stars,
    Softer than the mist.

What poems do you write about your city, your streets, the people you meet and see along the way? Don't just go where you are going. Truly see the marvels around you as you go and then sit and write something beautiful about it.

NPM2016 - Thomas Hardy

I've been looking into some Thomas Hardy poetry recently and quite enjoy his work so far. "Though frequently described as gloomy and bitter, Hardy’s poems pay attention to the transcendent possibilities of sound, line, and breath—the musical aspects of language." Here's one to get you started if you don't know him. 

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, ‘Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!’

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

Thomas Hardy as found in Great Short Poems

NPM2016 - Acquainted with the Night

I heard Dana Gioia read this poem at a lecture and fell in love with it. I have a particular fascination with issues of darkness and light when it comes to writing, and the darkness particularly associated with the night. 

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.

NPM2016 - God's Grandeur

Especially for my Christian friends, the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins is a great place to go for devotional poetry. And it serves as a nice bridge toward enjoying poetry for Christians who only know the poetry of hymns. Also listen.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast

I just want to give this a hug. Follow the poem below.

—After Thich Nhat Han

It looked like a pancake,
but it was creation flattened out—
the fist of God on a head of wheat,
milk, the unborn child of an unsuspecting
chicken — all beaten to batter and drizzled into a pan.
I brewed my tea and closed my eyes
while I ate the sun, the air, the rain,
photosynthesis on a plate.
I ate the time it took that chicken
to bear and lay her egg
and the energy it takes a cow to lactate a cup of milk.
I thought of the farmers, the truck drivers,
the grocers, the people who made the bag that stored the wheat,
and my labor over the stove seemed short,
and the pancake tasted good,
and I was thankful.

Melissa Studdard