Tag Archives: media

Verfing – How the Screen Kills Awareness


It is not necessarily a new phenomenon, but perhaps a different sort of resolution for this coming year is in order.

To spend less time “verfing.”

It’s a made-up word, of my own design. A combination of “vegging” and “surfing.”

I define it as sitting around being fed by the screen. Imbibing streaming music, video, and other web offerings. Playing games. Reading an eBook or the news. Engaging with social media.

Now any of the above is not necessarily wrong per se. But with the limited hours allotted to us each day and in our lives for that matter, the question becomes what else could I be doing with my time.

These screens have a tendency to permeate every single aspect of my life which in a word isn’t healthy. Do I really need to be checking my smartphone every second of every single day?

One way perhaps to limit verfing is to keep the screen out of certain places. Off the top of my head, the following are where I have decided to limit if not outright ban the screen. The bathroom. Church. The dinner table. And in any moment where I am more present to the screen than my loved ones. You may have other suggestions.

More than discipline, a sense of awareness is required, which is the antithesis of the screen’s subtle yet powerful impact, that of distraction and inattention.

I have already noticed a difference though it will take awhile I am sure for me to fully awake from the sluggishness caused by years of verfing.

Home Invasion – Unbridled Freedom of the 24/7 Press


One Mississippi summer, my buddies and I discovered several abandoned houses in the wooded hills around our homes. We spent our days braving the dangers of snakes and broken floorboards, searching the old ruins for the treasures that appeal to boys; old newspapers, bottles, coins, etc. What adventures we had!


Then Ms. Ruby, one of our older neighbors, saw us going into a house and called our parents. She was upset. We didn’t know but she had grown up in that house and even though no one lived there anymore, it was still a sacred place to her, filled with precious memories. She was offended at our trespass. She even asked us to take back the things we took from the house. Thus ended our escapades into the local ruined yet not quite fully abandoned homes.


For even when unoccupied, houses are not empty. They remain filled with the stuff of the former occupants’ daily lives, not just the tangible, but the intangible; the memories, the dreams, plans, emotions, the remnants of past conversations floating like dust in the air.


Perhaps that explains my visceral reaction to the media’s public display of the interior of the California home of the couple who killed and were killed in San Bernardino.

Because regardless how I feel about them or their actions, it was a home.

It was once filled with love; the result a baby girl who now will grow up an orphan, her parents lost to an ideology of death.


I fault the landlord for inviting the press inside. I fault the press for rushing to accept the invitation and using said invitation as an excuse to forgo any ethical responsibility. Ask the mouse who accepted the hospitality of the asp. Not all invitations should be accepted.

But I also lay the blame squarely at the feet of you and I. Like the ancient crowds of the Roman Colosseum, we of so-called civilized modernity thirst for more blood. We invite the news bringers into our homes every hour of every day and challenge them to keep us satiated. The more violent the story the more greedily we feast.


If I am honest with myself, I spend way too much of my time obsessing over, trolling for, reading and feeding on the news. Being informed is fine, but an overabundance of information in my home leaves me less than present to those I live with. Perhaps it is time that I and maybe all of us begin to limit such home invasions.

Where is the voice of Ms. Ruby when we need her?

Peace Colored Gown Podcast Episode 9

This is a special #flypocalypse edition of the Peace Colored Gown podast recorded live at BWI airport. This edition is for the week of August 9 – 15 and features poetry, spoken word and song – highlights from the PeaceGrooves blog at http://www.peacegrooves.wordpress.com.

A PeaceGrooves Production 2015

peace colored gown logo copy


So Now I Guess Coke Is God


I went to the movies yesterday. Why I keep getting there early, I’ll never know. But I did.

And so I spent a significant amount of time being bombarded with First Look, or whatever they call it. You know, the smorgasbord of features and advertisements the theatre figures its clientele needs to watch before the previews start.

In the midst of this materialistic cacophony came an advertisement for Coke. A man is lethargically walking his dog in the morning when he gets a Coke and suddenly his day is better. He is happy. The dog approves with much tail wagging glee. Cute. Roll credits. Buy a Coke.

After the commercial, I turned to my wife and asked if I had heard what I thought I heard. She nodded.

You see, the soundtrack to the ad was a song I’ve sung at Christian summer camps my entire life.

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?), down in my heart (where?), down in my heart,
down in my heart to stay.”

Pretty general, right?

Except for the chorus which goes like this:

“And I’m so happy, so very happy, I have the love of Jesus in my heart.”


There is also another verse which is “I’ve got the wonderful love of my blessed Redeemer way down in the depths of my heart,” but we won’t get into that.

Now with the latest research showing people leaving soda in droves, you’d think the folks at Coca-Cola would be smarter than antagonizing the Almighty.

It’s not first time the tenets of faith have been appropriated by the world. (Notice how many current pop songs have Hallelujah in their lyrics?)

It won’t be the last.

Coke added life.
Coke was it.
Now Coke is Jesus.

Drink at your own peril.

Me, I’ll stick with the New Wine.

I Come To Work In Borrowed Clothes

wpid-wp-1440762573106.jpegI come to work in borrowed clothes
With face unshaven
Body washed, but not perfumed
Unadorned and entombed
In this angry earth and her grinding groans.

What is real becomes the stuff of dreams
Nightmare voices resurrected
Ears behind the three day stubble
Strain the silence from the rubble
Of a hundred hearts bursting at the seams.

Babel towers have crumbled down to dust
We are not gods
Just mere mortals armed with precious pride
Where love is lost is truth denied
My God, My God, why hast thou now forsaken us?

Were I to wrend these stranger clothes
Like some temple curtain
Grief would fit so unfamiliar
On feeble frames of we peculiar
Creatures, broken bodies lying naked and exposed.

We sit safe at table, you and I
Hear the smack
We arise from bread and wine and go to the window
To find a frozen finch robed in yellow
And see those fiery crosses crashing forever in our minds.

Crucify. Crucify. Crucify.
Lord, is it I?
Is it I?

September 12, 2001