Verse – Burning Man (A Negative Acrostic)

Burners all must have real money,
Unless they will win the draw.
Rich folks flock to wear the funny
Nighttime costumes, whites will all
Imitate the best black dance moves,
Not that many blacks are there…
Get the best rental motor homes,

Make plans, we have time to spare
Art’s in our homes, our museums:
Narcissistic, not a care…

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, August 31, 2014

Steve attended Burning Man 2014 in Nevada this past week. Steve’s 71, had the money to go, but shared a tent.  He wrote by email “I did accapella singing, heard great jazz, rode on an art car (see the burningman.com web site). I would only go back in an RV… For the quiet, AC, & clean toilet & shower.”

Charlie Wisseman – Acrostic

Charlie Wisseman

Charlie Wisseman

Charlie Wisseman
(An Acrostic)

Craft? Art? What is this new construction?
How is it even worth debating?
An artist surely in conception,
Real thought, and then the Thing creating…
Look well, each level may be hollow,
Inside another world is waiting,
Enlightenment may sometimes follow.

Wise man is right: so much is hidden,
Inside surprises, jokes, a giggle…
So secret are the ways to open
Sweet Sarah herself has to struggle
Each time a new box by the craftsman
Makes entrance into pure existence.
And who would know of so much hidden?
Now a pathologist, for instance?

-Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, May 1, 2014

Every Stone Shall Cry


The stone lies

Near the pile of boulders

In the city park

Watching over the man asleep

In his cardboard shelter

And cries.


And every stone shall cry


The stone cries

Along the roadside

As the bomb explodes

Killing young  soldiers

As well as the children nearby.


And every stone shall cry


The stone knows to cry

Even before the excavator

Upheaves the earth

To take away the coal

And leaves only a ragged empty space.


And every stone shall cry.


The ancient stones

Of the wailing wall

Cry as they have cried for centuries

Listening to the prayers

Of the sufferers

And the selfish

The grieving

And the greedy

That reverberate

With echoes of misunderstanding

About who has been left out

Of the Kingdom of God .


And every stone shall cry.


Every stone shall cry

Yet goes unheard

As humankind

With hardening core

Pushes  violence



And neglect

Rumbling across the world like boulders.

– Susan Lince, Chaska, MN, January 26, 2014

The school bus driver

The white cane moving back and forth in front of him belongs to seven-year-old Sam. The little guy moves cautiously, as the blind must do, hand-in-hand with a young woman I presume to be his mother, on his way into the Artist’s Reception.

Many of the people here on this Friday night are school bus drivers for District 112 School District. I’m wondering if perhaps Sam’s mother is a school bus driver.

Turns out that the featured artist, John Lince-Hopkins, is Sam’s school bus driver. John has invited Sam to see “Morning has broken: a Celebration of Light”, the collection of oil painting that now hangs on the walls of the Gathering Space at Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska where I serve as pastor.

It’s an evening of revelation about a very special group of people who know their passengers by name, quietly welcome each child every morning, say good-bye to them in the afternoon, and watch to be sure that children like Sam with his white cane make it safely across the street no matter what dark clouds may cross their paths that day on their slow, daily journey toward adulthood.

Most of my teachers’ names are long forgotten. But I remember my school bus driver. Why we called Mr. Thompson “Tommy” is a sign of the time in which I grew up when, sadly, school bus drivers did not command the respect that lawyers and doctors do. “Good morning, Gordon.” “Good morning, Mr. Thompson.” All these years later Mr. Thompson stands out in my memory. Bus drivers are special people. Perhaps because they call no attention to themselves, they stand out in our memories as signs of light.

John welcomes Sam in that special way some bus drivers have. “Would you like to see a painting?”

John, whose art has sold for thousands of dollars in Texas, Alaska, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, is inviting Sam to do what most landscape artists most dread. He’s inviting Sam to touch his paintings, to “see” the only way Sam can: by touch.

Lifted high so he can touch the oils of the cloud formations and the light of “Morning Has Broken: a Celebration of Light” Sam reaches out his hand. Very carefully he runs his fingers over the dry paint that allows him to see the light and contours of the clouds and landscapes of his bus driver’s paintings, more raptly attentive to the art than those of us who presume to see what we are viewing.

On this night John’s art is a bus ride into the light of morning breaking into the darkness of night. A seven-year-old boy named Sam, whose eyes have never seen light, gets to touch it for himself.

Morning has broken like the first morning, blackbird has spoken like the first bird. Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning! Praise for them, springing, fresh from the Word!”

Motion Pictures

Movies, films, the cinema:

Art of, for, and from our time…

Images that change-in-time,

(Move, meld, shock, surprise), that may

Well arouse, inflame, inform

Only the senses– ignore

Mind and reason, logic.  For

Our eyes, ears, alive with time

Live entirely between past,


Reason and then reflection

Come only after the rest

Fades.  We are what we recall.

We know more than we can tell.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, November 26, 2012

The Trinity

The Trinity

This piece of art hangs in my friend Steve’s living room on the Illinois prairie. I’ve always thought it was a little weird.  Actually, more than a little. Here’s Steve’s interpretation. I never would have guessed. He calls it

“The Trinity”

It is a triptych, three panels joined together.

There are three hands, three feet, three heads (see the profile– lower left).  White triangles are found everywhere.

The fan (pneuma) is, of course, the Holy Spirit.

The prayer- hearing ear of the unseeable God is just barely discernible in faint profile.

The painted wok, an ethnic face, a real human naturally is Jesus Christ. Christians remember him with food…  The brand of found fan is “Tripl-aire.”

Dave Ellis, a big city, secular painter, is the grandson and the son of a pastor.

Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, Illinois, is host of  “Keepin the Faith…” @ http://www.will.illinois.edu/keepinthefaith. This Sunday (May 20), his guest is Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Professor Garry Wills of Northwestern University on “Ambrose, Augustine and the Mystery of Baptism”