Ray Foss is my hero!

I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to a guy who inspires me. Ray Foss, a Methodist lawyer and active layperson from New Hampshire, has been on twitter every single night for the past week and a half sending up well over a hundred shoutouts to Jesus. I realize that both of our twitter followers are probably SUPER ANNOYED if they actually get on twitter between 9 and 10 pm EST because their feed gets cluttered with boisterous #JesusIsCandidate tweets pretty quickly. And I understand from the evidence that I have completely failed with a few exceptions to make an effective case for participating in this campaign or whatever it is. But let me tell you why Ray inspires me, even if I’ve already said something like this before in trying to persuade you to join in.

Ray inspires me because he doesn’t care what people think of him. He is willing to go completely outside the boundaries of social decency insofar as they exist in a social media landscape. In addition to the mere fact of having Jesus’ name plastered all over twitter with subversive theology that makes people think, one of the main points of this exercise is to get comfortable with being ridiculous. I’m not saying that everyone who is comfortable being ridiculous is representing Christ well. Most sidewalk preachers are willing to make fools of themselves but they do a horrible job of presenting a gospel that looks nothing like the model that we have from the apostles in the book of Acts.

Nonetheless, social decency is one of the chief forms taken by the “powers and principalities” that keep us from living in total freedom with Christ. Usually when we think of these “powers and principalities” that Paul tells us to battle, we think of institutions like the UN, the White House, or Wall Street. But that’s not where the oppressive power truly is in our society. The power that holds us down are all the hidden microscopic marionette strings that tell us “You can’t do that because…” We are drowning in You-can’t-do-that-because’s as a society. It’s the reason that we expect impersonal agencies and experts to do the work of society on our behalf. Our technocracy has created a social inertia with black hole-strength gravity. The more that we accept God’s invitation to do ridiculous things like writing “over-the-top” statements about Jesus on twitter, the more that we break free from this demon of social decency that Howard Zinn referred to as the crime of “civil obedience.” We rip ourselves out of the the amoeba of people who aren’t doing anything while the world rots.

That’s why I admire people like Ray Foss. He has 20,729 poems about God on his website. Who has ever had 20,729 poems about God on their website? We don’t live in a world that has any time for people who are earnestly zealous. Irony is so much more comfortable. It’s so much more enticing to write poems that mock everything and refuse to stake any claims. But I choose the world of the romantics whom all the postmoderns makes fun of. I remember in college, I decided that I was going to write my sonnets according to the form of Francesco Petrarch (ABBACDDCEFGEFG) rather than William Shakespeare (ABABCDCDEFEFGG) because Petrarchan sonnets fill the listener with longing while Shakespearian sonnets are designed to be clever. In any case, Ray’s poetry probably isn’t clever enough for the critics of today, but it’s earnest enough to make me want to fight for him. Here is the first poem that came up under the word “hope” on his website.

This would have been a bow

The branch on the ground
in front of the church
a live branch, willing
not filled with rot
left there, forgotten
oh what have I got

Just the right length
the right strength
as I gathered it up
and it fell into my hands
my shoulder feeling its weight
thinking back, to my youth

Of hand-made bows
of twine pulled tight
of the summer camp
and days by the lake
A pristine fall day
under the maple
the azure vista
grace in this fable

Ray, you are not a would-be bow and you will not be forgotten. You are shooting God’s arrows out into the air and I don’t give a !@#$%^&* if there are no other archers — I’m going to shoot those arrows with you every evening until November 6th even if all my friends decide that I’ve gone completely nuts. God bless you brother and thanks for your witness. Just as Jesus said of the woman who anointed Him, “What you have done will also be told” (Matthew 26:13) when years from now we look back and remember the year that the Pentecostals started taking weekly communion and the Catholics started speaking in tongues and the Methodists started barking again.

One thought on “Ray Foss is my hero!

  1. I posted so many that Twitter last night shut me off for exceeding the daily total. smile. Thank you is all I can say. As I said at our Charge Conference Thursday night. God gives me words to share (6,800 poems in the last year alone), so I share them. And God provides.

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