The Poet of Ur: "The Liar’s Lament"
A reflection on the assassins within us all.

Daniel Haase, a professor at Wheaton College, is a frequent visitor to Ur. The last time he shared one of his poems with us it was after a heated conversation on the blog that turned ugly. Haase has composed another poem in the wake of the Ted Haggard scandal.

After reading Gordon MacDonald's recent post about Ted Haggard, I have been reminded how knit together and effected we are by the actions of others. As John Donne puts it, "No man is an island." This in turn has led to a reflection on my own actions and the "assassins" I allow within my heart and mind. What follows is a poem that has been written as a prayer of lamentation. I hope it might lead to a prayerful reflection of our own darkened corners and hidden places.

The Liar's Lament



I am sitting in a chair attempting prayer.

The assassins within make their way to the rooftops of my mind.

Anger is camouflaged in kindness.

They position themselves in the bushes of my conscious.

Impatience wears a smile and is dressed as a gardener.

Fear roams the street; he is carrying a newspaper ?


A shot rings out from the bushes.

A flash of light from the rooftop.

What was quiet has turned so loud.

I rise out of the chair.

Am I a dead man walking?

Displaying 1–10 of 19 comments


December 28, 2006  10:51pm

I don't mean to be tacky, but I really think this is rediculous...The man sinned. So he is not the first man to sin, nor will he be the last man to sin. When the southern baptist, Bill Clinton, sinned how many of us that called ourselves Christian try to get him back into the fold?. I am concerned that the right wing church actually had "victory parties" because they caught him in sin...Now let me ask you a question how many women save a dirty dress for a year or so?????????? Now Bill Clinton repented, did those that call themselves Christian that are right wing repent for their obvious (to the most causual observors) religious leaders repent for thier sin of entrapment and seduction and of the right wing church playing the devils advocate. There has evolved in this nation a religion in and of itself, void of the Spirit of the Lord. And it is right wing conservatism. The things that have happened to me and my family at the hands of medicine and the church and the military and politicians is not American nor is it Christian. In Christ's Name, Bonnie

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Bonnie Parvino

December 03, 2006  9:25pm

Sometime, do you think that Christianity today, (not magazine) is so political that we are having political conversions? We must preach grace or bringing back into the fold all persons, including those of both political parties. I am having a great deal of trouble with my faith–that is utmost in my situation now, and not some other person's sin. My situation is not necessarily sins of my making but things that have happened in my life..How about bringing me back into the fold?... or is grace only for those in the church with rank and position. Prayer would be appreciated. Bonnie

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Richard Moszumanski

November 23, 2006  5:46am

My Dear friend, It is the choice of the Holy Spirit and the way of growth ( Little children, young men, to fathers) that we come to recognize the only Life there is in us. Struggle which was overcome in the desert lives out in us as we come to recognize salvation as experience leading to salvation as expressed. We have to be pointed to that it is all about who is in us and a divided house cannot stand. That is why we are told to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God. We put on the cloak of rightousness at rebirth but feel the effects of the cold we came out of and identify with the chill rather than the fact. We call our fearfull feelings reality and put the cart in front of the horse. We tend to want to clean a clean cup because we don't see how the liquid would otherwise want to be in there, forfeiting the realization of the blood. We forget that we are by God's choice in a world of duality and desire to constantly experience the upward swing, we don't realize that when the tide ebbs or sun sets, faith has it's work set out for Him. Eventualy, by His faithfulness, we are aware of the Life in us as being His and we have relationship as intended. Strenght in weakness, light in darkness, groom and bride. Vine and branch, joy and suffering and finally, friend. Rejoice for God is God but He also Loves you and knows and directs our path, ask Job, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, Mary, Ruth and so many others. We are of the same stock as we go through the lessons dealing with the exposure of the self-seperated self. The empty self that is the prince of an empty world in an empty universe in which we are the "light of the world" as Jesus put it. That is not religous, it is salvation ( a work of God)to recognize our true personhood brought about by Jesus Christ, by the sheding of His blood for us. God takes us off the path of religous eggshells to a vibrant walk of the life giving Spirit in us and to the world, as us. Loving others in as we have been loved in... by a person. We can not keep it up, He does. Prayer at times is meant to get stale since we can confuse it as a getting thing and live in the " half full or half empty syndrome" our cups overflow because of the inner spring Jesus. Listen for His small vioce in you say " Give me a Drink" He will partake of you as you give Him the only thing you ever will have... youself. Talk to our Heavenly Father honestly, He can take it and desires it. Father I find no words to speak and the storm rages, I feel empty and forgoten but realize and sometimes I donn't, that you want me evetualy out of all this to recognize your faithfullnes. Father I lay here and the stone alter is cold, draining me, I haven't a clue on what is going on other than I'm hurting but you have me seeing this moment as you, for I live not for pleasure, but for the reality of your presence. We partake of baptism as a symbol of our death and resserction with and in Christ, the symbol of communion as being what we take, taking us. As always, He that has the son, has Life. I love you, Richard

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Kevin DaVee

November 21, 2006  8:27pm

I guess I didn't know there were "Christian" and "secular" (should that be a capital "S") sides. Sides of what? In any event, I am cut by the truth of he struggle for prayer as my own weakness works so hard to prevent it. Thank you for posting this poem.

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Richard Moszumanski

November 16, 2006  4:51am

Who to believe Oh savior of all? The Truth of the new creature or the tug of the fall? Should I lift you up inside and give you your drink? Or in this moment, by the well, continue to shrink. What would I be saved from haven't I known... that I wasn't created to bear fruit of my own. A Holy Vine has holy branches and it is He who calls us Dear. Because of His blood shed... We are His Courage, not his fear.

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Gary Smitham

November 16, 2006  12:27am

Enoch...that is a poem I can understand...perhaps it's my fault that the earlier one went mostly over my head. Perhaps that is a lesson on the need to communicate with our audience on any given occasion. In this sort of setting I guess we can be grateful that different voices will comunicate (hopefully effectively) to different receptors. I like the lesson taught earlier about being more compassionate to our enemies. That has power rightly applied. Thanks. Remember to pray for Ted Haggard & his family...for mercy & grace of the deepest kind bringing forth (where needed) true repentance. We could easily despair of the "evangelical reputation" based on all of this but at the end of the day it just drives us to humility & the recognition that God is building His church & working out our purposes in His own way, in, around & about all our best & worst endeavours.

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E A Enoch

November 14, 2006  9:56pm

Thanks Daniel Haase for the poem. Here is one I wrote after visiting with a friend who had strayed: The vileness of my soul, Oh, Lord who can make me whole? Sin and evil seem so delicious; Wandering from your path so precious; Though you have been so gracious; Why do I still hanker for sin so vicious? Knowingly I stray from Thee, Fully aware of your grace so free, And what my sin had done to Thee, Nailed to the cross cruelly, Is there still, forgiveness for me, For me, so vile and filthy? I have wandered Lord again, Causing Thee and all much pain, Treated Thy word with disdain; Your grace for me was in vain. Miserable and dirty, I cling to the tree, There is none other but Thee; For mercy is my plea.

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Richard Moszumanski

November 14, 2006  7:19pm

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Perhaps it requires a certain Life's experience to somehow see public defacement and shame as not necessarly a bad thing. What could have been worse is having to live out a double life to friends and family. Thank God we can not express salvation save by the life of Christ in us.

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Evan Wiggs

November 14, 2006  6:32pm

If prayer in the chair or maybe better our our faces on the floor (less chance of getting shot down there I think)was more letting our hearts rest under the searchlight of our loving Lord we may be better off. Isn't God big enough to know our past, present and futue AND arrange everything for our ultimate good? Both the good, and bad and even the assasin's bullet? Oh that we may die the death of the cross and be resurrected again into newness of life to forever serve our risen King!

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Geoff Baggett

November 14, 2006  5:12pm

Violent. Sort of CSI-ish. Are there two shooters (bushes and rooftop)? I don't really get it. But then again, I never really liked poetry that much.

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