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Poetry

If somebody would have told me before I came to Toledo that one of the keys to the lock for LifeLine in Toledo would be poetry, I probably would have laughed. Out loud. I hadn't written a poem since, like, fifth grade. My mom's a poet, not me. I'm much too serious and heavy and, well, too everything. I never would have believed them. Never.

But that is, in fact, exactly what happened. Meeting my friend, Jim, who introduced me to an amazing group of urban poets, was like turning the right key in a lock. A whole world was opened to me and the others who share the ministry of LifeLine that would otherwise likely have remained quite closed; and that world has formed the foundations of this ministry.

From the first time I heard these amazing friends read what their hearts and minds had poured out upon page after page, I realized they were opening their lives to all listeners in very profound ways. It was as if they were saying: "Here. By these words I cut my heart open before you. Watch me bleed." Often, it seems the most appropriate response would be to take off ones shoes for the ground upon which we stand is holy in those moments.

Not long after I met the Collingwood poets, I began writing poetry for them. Through it I have tried to speak to life issues from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, but without the church-talk baggage. I have written about incarnation, sanctuary, authenticity and community, humility, calling, redemption and more. For this preacher it has been both great discipline and exercise, and the connections that have come out of it are treasures to me.

Poetry has become a central part of LifeLine's ministry, and it reflects one of our core values: "Creativity is Normal." In this section of the website, we share with you some of our favorite poetry. Authors are identified with each piece. Each is written by someone whose life and words are treasured in our community. In some cases, the language is very raw, and may be offensive to some. I hope you can read the heart's cries behind the words in those cases. With my poems I have noted the Kingdom subject matter I have tried to address through its words.

Some of the writings contained here are prose in the form of essay or commentary, as opposed to poetry. For our community, however, it serves a similar purpose for our life together, so we include these writings here, as well.

We and our poet friends have cut ourselves open, and here we invite you to come, read and watch us bleed.

LifeLine Steve