My name is Paul Burkhart. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, I went to Virginia Commonwealth University and now call Richmond home. I am currently working on a Masters of Divinity degree in Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. I love the depths, simplicities, and eccentricities both God and life have to offer. My relationship with my Lover and Savior is a messy one full of tears, underlined pages, and bruised knees. I hope my feeble words and articulations can be used to woo you to Christ as your only hope and only joy.
“I once described faith as something I got on my shoe and can’t kick or wash off. I’m stuck with it. My poems are the trespasses and blasphemies of a malpracticing Christian, one who can’t stop ogling an attractive leg, or wanting to be first, who is venial, foolish, seldom at peace, horny and lonely, and so far from the kingdom of God that his whole life becomes the theme of that distance, someone knowing he is in deep shit. It’s the perfect place to be, where you can’t fool yourself into thinking you’re on the right track…The only thing I have to offer God is my sins. I am interested in mercy when it appears in places where you would never expect it. I am interested in love that shovels shit against the tide. I am interested in grace…It is better to be annihilated and crushed by God, if you are in love with God, then it is to have no relationship at all. Better God smite you then merely be absent. God does not ‘tolerate’ me. God loves me.”
– poet & professor Joe Weil
Jesus? May I?
I sit here at this laptop, a vision bouncing ‘round my head
to write a prose to you that shows your grace, beauty, and strength.
But I’m tired and I keep typoingt ypos, over and iver again.
And you know what? I’m not going to correct that above,
because that really was an accident.
I know, I know. “Nothing’s new” I heard the wise one once said.
No thought, no word, no deed has the sun not shone itself upon.
Looking down, looking down upon my filthy rags, mocking and burning,
mocking and burning. I just need to get this out!
Oh, Christ! Will thou not enable me to write these words?
Some may say I’m attempting some not so subtle display of irony,
trying to be original, profound, or cute; noting the use of prose to Him
as my medium for my diatribe on not being able to write a prose to Him,
but it’s not.
These words are nothing, they are filth, not fit for the King I serve.
No edits, no plans, no thoughts or “brainstorming” went into this.
Just the feeble cries of a broken man, wallowing, drowning, fighting,
losing. It seems.
The weight of people not yet known – their souls upon my shoulders.
The sin I bear upon my back, the doubt that grows within.
I’m lost. I’m depraved. My futile thinking, my hardened heart,
my ignoble desires, my Glorious King! the One I have! the One I need!
Oh Christ! Oh Sovereign Lord! Be the God to me You are!
Oh that my tongue were loosed with the tongues of angels
to say all your Grace could say!
Let my soul take flight! Rise me into Thy Love!
Faster. Faster! Make me only Thine! I need it!
I must! I lust, covet, and gluttonously gorge myself upon
the Grace I so desperately need desperately. . .
And even with that, I end this now, not having said
what I wanted to say – what I needed to say.
Your Grace did not come, or at least in the measure I hoped.
This burden thus stays, this wineskin won’t burst,
this angst will continue to grow.
But I know, in the quietest parts of my soul, those deep whispers
and silent voices, echoing within:
my Beloved is mine and i am His, and His Grace is at His whim,
for if it were up to me, I would not need Him,
and it’s in my need I have Him most.