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Five and a half years ago an incident occurred. Pastor Jason Meyer (the man who replaced John Piper as lead preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church) told us about it (in two different sermons): he and Pastor John, on a missions trip, had faced down some eagles who were diving at them and others while they were eating lunch. So when he picked up a rock to throw at them, Pastor John told him he’d pay money if he actually hit one. I’m not going to tell you now the rest of the story, because I deemed that this story should have an ode or a ballad written about it, so this heroic story could be handed down through the generations into legend. This I have done.

Now Pastor Jason wasn’t very forthcoming with details about the incident (perhaps out of modesty?), so I had to fill in some of the particulars as best I could. He humbly made light of what had happened, telling it as a humorous anecdote, but I dare to suggest that it was more … dramatic. This poem uses the story telling technique and poetic style of Pastor Piper’s advent poems.

In his description of the event, Pastor Jason “speculated that the story could grow over time.” I can confirm: It has grown. But the way this poem presents the throw of the stone, the results of the stone’s throw, as well as the resolution of the wager, including what Pastor John wrote about this resolution (a poem within this poem, if you will), is really, actually, factually true.

I’m posting it today on the seven year anniversary of the day that Pastor Jason took over as lead pastor.

The Piper and The Meyer
A Legendary Epic Ballad by Scott Jamison

~~~ The Place of The Danger ~~~
Consider now this thrilling scene:
An outdoor café, valley green.
The luncheon had been pleasant, ‘till
They heard the screeches, harsh and shrill.

The men cried out, the children screamed,
The once bright sun no longer gleamed,
Blacked out by circling eagles high,
And here and there some dropping nigh,
Too close with threats of fearful death
From sharpened talons, flaming breath.*
Folks threw themselves, in great fear, flat,
For who could stand upright to that?

Yea, some fell down, but not The Two.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
heroes would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

They waved, they yelled defiant words
Exclaimed against the evil birds.
The thwarted eagles turned away,
Away from all their erstwhile prey.

“Now run!” The Two exclaimed to all,
“And if you can’t, then walk, or crawl.
To safety we must all now flee.
A home or store’s where we must be!”
(For there was still a strong concern
The dreaded raptors would return.
Reorganized they might come back
And, more determined, re-attack.)

And flee all did, from old to youth.
They knew The Two now spoke the truth.
They ran t’ward shelter, home and booth.
(Too bad that none there were named Ruth.)

And back they came, the eagles now,
Far sooner than they’d feared. So how
Could fleers hope to get away?
All hope was lost, as was the day.

But as the eagles, down, they went,
The Piper saw The Meyer bent
To pick up hard, round, solid rock,
Much like a shepherd for his flock.
The Piper saw The Meyer’s plan.
He smiled at his Succession Man
And inspiration to invoke
The Piper to The Meyer spoke:

~~~ The Words of The Piper ~~~
“Yea, hurl the stone, it is God’s will
(Both ‘perfect’ and ‘prescriptive’ will.)
I say again, it is God’s will
For you to use your throwing skill
To save the fleeing innocent,
(But still depraved – that’s what I meant
Of course they are not without sin.)”
(Thus context won the day again.)

(There was no time, the Piper knew
To more completely walk them through
The full Five Points* or to discuss
How God e’er works his will through us.)

(Or how through good deeds we don’t earn
Salvation, but let’s now return
To this dark tale of fear and dread.)
He, pointing to Lead Eagle, said,

“Yes, hurl the stone, and bring it down
For all our good and God’s renown.
A dollar I’ll pay if you do.
Nay, ten … times ten! So throw it true!
Don’t waste your … eagle! Here’s a chance
To highlight God’s preeminence.
And show this: God is sovereign o’er
These birds of prey who bring us war.
Desiring God’s good words – “Well done!”
Throw! Let the day for Him be won.”

Though sharp beaks might have pierced them through.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
pastors would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

~~~ The Acts of The Meyer ~~~

The Meyer gave a knowing nod.
He needed now no further prod.
And then he like young David stood,
Faced his Goliath, out for blood.
As always, his two eyes were shown,
Two ditches***, so he fell in none.
Intent on striking eagle’s bone
And knowing he was not alone,
For God is always on the throne,
And with The Piper near, not prone
The Meyer, with a mighty groan,
He raised up his Redemption Stone.

The stone, released. The stone, it flies!
And flies! It flies and flies and flies!
And lo, it did not take two tries!
Lead Eagle’s hit between the eyes!
It falls, to other eagles’ cries.

Though flesh wounds they both might accrue,
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
shepherds would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

~~~ The Ends of The Matter ~~~
The other eagles flew away.
They knew that they had lost the day.
They knew the Lord was not with them.
They flew from Thrower, fell and grim.
They rue the day. The day, they rue.
Why did they test The Two so true?
And there were other stones, they knew,
So, each to his own home they flew.
Our mighty haven’t fallen yet,
So yes, the eagles feel regret.

Don’t doubt The Piper’s debt was paid.
It took a bit, but it was paid!
(Though for a time it was mislaid.)
He sent The Marshal in his stead
and, to The Meyer, paying, said,
(More accur’tely, The Piper wrote-
He put his thoughts down in a note.
He wrote this poem which I now quote:)
“Consider pledge or flying stone.
Consider vow or diving bird.
Let it be marked, let it be known:
John Piper keeps his every word.”****
(Were nobler couplets ever heard?)

What we have heard, so have we seen,
This outdoor café, valley green.
Far countries and near nations spanned
– Oh, let the reader understand –
The danger fields aren’t all unmanned.
They know this, th’eagles from that land:
With one sure voice and one sure hand
As God from the beginning planned,
And always at the Lord’s command,
The Piper and the Meyer stand.

* The author has determined that they weren’t literally fire-breathing eagles.
** of Calvinism
*** Pastor Meyer often uses a ‘two ditches’ metaphor in his sermons
**** “Payment Poem” writing credit: John Piper, Author

I’ve started posting a series of stories for parents to read to their children highlighting the love of God. Please go take a look.

And if you’d like to see my other Attempts at humor, please click here.

Photo from

Yes, this is the same spot as highlighted in this poem and this poem.

Nevers Dam: The Other Side

We wondered
As we walked down the boat ramp
On the Wisconsin side
And saw the sign that said, ‘Nevers Landing’:
Where was the platform
On the Minnesota side
that we had stood on so many times
looking at this spot
wondering what it was like over here
and why couldn’t we see it?

And we heard the voice of a lady
walking up behind us
with a seven year old boy
maybe six
She was counting
. . . 27,28,29,30. It’s only 30!
She said to her son
She was counting the slats on the ramp
I’m not sure if slats is the right word
Cement rows? Ramp steps?

And then she looked at us
I was pleased that she was so generous
And said,
‘Yesterday the water was only up to 36!’
So the water had risen that much only since last night!

We looked and saw that
Many of the bases of the trees were under water
And the river seemed to be flowing very fast.

Since she was so forthcoming with this information
We asked her if it was possible to see the platform on the other side
Oh yes!
And she pointed up the road and told us that
“only half a block”
I felt it slightly ironic that she was using city terms
in this natural area
away was a path you could walk out to a point and see it easily
she explained
You could walk straight there
but not with this flooding

So we thanked her and soon found ourselves on a
suspiciously straight
similar to that which we’d walked on several times on the other side
Was this one engineered, as well?
we’d never have had a clue that it was there
except for the advice
of a mom we had never met before.
and soon
there it was
we saw the platform
familiar and distant.
All the way across the non-Jordan river.

It was equally as impossible to get there
now that we were here
As it was to get here when we were there.

Over at my other blog, I just posted a list of poems from this blog that were all of the same type: Specific and detailed descriptions of places our family has been to on vacations with commentary on how these spots affected us.

Written Exactly 10 Years (and 4 days) Ago.

And yes, this is Doggerel.

. . . And yes, this is cheesy. 

I want you to know that I mean what I say,
When I say what I say almost everyday.
(So as you can see in the way that I write,
these words are a poem, too corny, too trite)
The words that I speak of are three: “I love you.”
The words that I speak of are clearly not new.
So perhaps clarity would help to reveal,
my thoughts to you and help you to feel,
What I know.

“I love you” here means that a good husband should:
(A husband I am; I’m not sure about ‘good’)
Give his wife hugs and kisses each time he comes home,
And, more often than in a once a year poem,
Give her verbal messages and spoken caresses,
And show that he means every word he expresses,
With unselfish acts causing her peace to grow.
‘Least that’s what I think those three words mean and so,
Here I go:

You give me peace; yes, I’ve said that before,
But it is the truth and its true even more,
Than the days I first said it back in ’91.
You take care of our home, you take care of our son.
With such skill that I doubt not a thing that you do,
Nor your love, nor your song, nor your pleasures, though few.
It’s ironic then that you lack your own peace,
I hereby pledge now to help it increase,
‘till you smile.

My problem is that I forget what you need.
You need me and my time and my feelings decreed,
You need me to want to spend much time with you,
You need one to encourage your pleasures (though few)
You need one who will help to make your pleasure great,
You need a leader to initiate,
Can I do it? I don’t know, but I will say I’ll strive,
And I’ll always stay with you down each road we drive,
Every Mile

And I’ll say once again so that you know that I do
Really, really, really, really, really love you.

Behind the Cascade Lodge Restaurant

A unique place in the world – My boys and I stand at a point.

 I look ahead and up at the steep stairway,
  Moss covered wood railing
  Uneven steps that lead to the bright sunlit trees at the top of a ridge.
 that we are about to go up.
 I look behind and see the creek 
  Rock covered
  A pleasant, trickling stream flowing
  Water that has come from deep inside the thick north woods forest
  And is heading into the great lake
 I look to my left and see a small wooden cabin.
  With a chimney
  And a few small windows
 I look to my right and see the back of a restaurant.
We are above it, so we see mostly roof.
  We see the exhaust vents from the kitchen
  The back of this building is flat and dark

But one might ask – what is the poignancy here?
And sir, my answer:

 Looking ahead, I see steps that will be a happy challenge
for a three year old to climb 
  and for a six year old to count 
  and for a five year old who can’t wait to look down from the top of the ridge.
 Looking behind, I see the lowest part of a creek
That just two days ago, my boys and I hiked up
I see rocks that we all worked together to get across
 Looking to the left I see a cozy getaway log cabin
  Where my wife and I have spent romantic nights
  Listening to a crackling fire inside
 and the trickling creek outside.
 Looking to the right (Although it is not pretty to look at from this view)
 I see the dining hall
where we have eaten many pancakes
my one-year-old son smiled at old ladies
 who smiled back
  and my two-year-old showed her pink and blue crayon drawings
to another artist, fifty years older.

And what of those near things that are out of site?
Not quite in view?
 Looking ahead I think of the much larger river
   Beyond the steps
   Perhaps a third of a mile away
   With canyons and pine trees and tall wooden bridges
  Carving it’s place into the rock
 Looking behind I think of the cozy main lodge
   Beyond the creek
  With the old magazines and pictures
  And the grandiose fireplace.
  And grand piano where my wife and her sister once played a duet
Looking to the left I think of the open outdoor chapel among pine trees
  Beyond the log cabin
 Where a family sat and prayed and sang and read from the bible
And looking beyond the restaurant to my right, I think of the great lake
 Powerful and majestic
 Reflecting the power and majesty of it’s Creator
 Our presence here is what I tried to describe in the Georgia Hospital.
It’s good to be here.
I wonder . . .
What do others see when they come to this spot?

Night On The Sea

By Carl, Eldest Son of Jamsco – Age 9

The sea is bare,
No boat is there,
There is mist in the air,

But I don’t have a care,
You have nothing to bear,
In the open night air.

 Three Amigos – starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short, is a pretty good movie throughout, but there is one scene that I really enjoyed – not for the comedy, but for the music.

At one point they are sleeping in the dessert and Martin Short’s character is having difficulty getting to sleep, so the other two (and eventually him) sing a lullaby – Arizona Moon. I really liked the melody and the sweetness of the lyrics (you want to see it?), so when I had kids I changed the words to fit our situation – this is what I ended up with.

Minnesota Lullaby

Minnesota moon keep shining,
Through the open window there,
Six little kids, asleep in their beds,
They know that Mom and Dad are right downstairs.

Blue moonlight in the air
Little Children, close your eyes and dream,
The love of Jesus shines more than the moon,
He knows your hopes and fears,
Just close your eyes and dream, little kids,
Dream of Heaven

Blue moonlight in the air,
Soft wind blowing, through the trees above,
You’ve a big day tomorrow,
And you are safe tonight, so
Close your eyes and dream

A High School Poem, which was turned in as part of a Advanced Creative Writing project of the same title, and which was deemed ‘Excellent’ by the English teacher who, after looking at how he graded other poems that I turned in, was perhaps too generous. 

Point of View

Dumplings in a blue broth disperse,
Clear mirror with white chips,
 That have been scraped away
Ice begins to emerge
Cracked up – pieces of a puzzle
Solid uniform ghost against the still perfect blueness
Builds up into mountains
Covered with white sheets of cool.
The clouds come back,
And the peaks are gone.

A Post High School, Pre College Poem (indicating a selfish foolishness):


Lightning strikes the earth with a smile,
And missing me by nearly a mile,
It leaves a smoky hazy mist,
That everyone in town can see.

It brings about its death and pain,
And leaves me in this boring rain,
Indignantly I shake my fist,
Why didn’t it hit nearer me?

Another Dream Describing College Poem


A class,
And we were all forced to move,
And when we got back,
A girl, whom I had noticed before,
Was missing.
She had had an innocent face (no surprise there),
And she was not seen for the rest of the day.

So I must decide to search and find her
And save her,
I looked and saw a girl on ledge,
It must be her, and I rushed to help,
But at my entrance there were two others,
And she was not her.
I must have looked quite foolish.

And a walk into another world, still searching,
A world of a panther identity,
And spiders and reptiles,
Of poisonous venom,
And, for lack of vision,
Death and nothing found.

So real world search again and consider:
The teacher was not with us the whole time we were away,
Conspicuous, it might have been him,
A case of blackmail.

A new search, but, stop.
She merely had to leave for sport, no problem.
No search needed.
Oh . . . . good. . . .

So, I guess . . . neither am I.

Written yesterday – Guess where we went Thursday? 

 State Fair Dining Advice

So you step out of the Food building
 To the south
 With what you have chosen for your lunch or supper
  A difficult choice sometimes 
  We recommend
   For Large Families
Getting a whole pizza and a big basket of french fries
 Your kids feet are a little tired from walking
  Having seen the largest pig
and the found-garbage sculpture of a frog
  and having chosen their favorite piece of art
   Our eldest daughter chose the one with the cat
  Having climbed the 64 foot tall DNR viewing tower
  And having grinned and screamed on the ladybug ride
And you see
 Even though it a weekday
A patio filled with people
  (It is not huge)
 Sitting at tables,
 Sitting on the landscape rock walls
 Sitting on the curb
 And some just sitting on the patio

But do not despair

 You have other options
  Though it will take a short hike
   200 feet, maybe?
Walk east,
Cross a road and continue 
 through the crowd at the Leinenkougal (sp?) stage
  you may get a free beer sample opportunity
   (I passed)
And cross another road

And there
 Tucked between the
 Quiet, Unassuming
Administration building and the Building labeled “Admin 2”
 Look for the Snoopy on his dog house statue in the middle

Find deep green grass in shade
 Or you can sit at one of the two picnic tables if you‘d rather
And sit in a circle
 With your pizza in the middle
And eat in peace.

If you choose, watch the amateur talent contest
 Cheer for the nine year girl who plays violin amazingly well
Let your kids run around
 They haven’t been able to run much today
Or lie back in the grass
 The only deep green grass at the entire state fair
And rest

Then up you go, again
 The Sky ride is waiting,
 And what about the model trains in the center of the agriculture building?

No, you may require a short respite, but

The fair is not made for sitting around.

Another college poem. This is a poem is about a dream that I had, a very nice romantic innocent dream about a girl who I wanted to date, but was too afraid to ask out. I was like that, y’know, chicken, uncommitting. I was just reading this for the first time in a while this evening and I was surprised to find that I have forgotten most of these details. 


“Girl of my dreams, I love you” were my thoughts,
But following her around, I would not bring it up,
Until a confrontation:
“So . . .”  (her)
And a confession,
“Yes. . .” (me)
And like the Beatles song,
We took a walk
Smoothly, without steps,
Holding hands.

And then we were on a boat
And great, bright European churches
And I see a friend, and she sees us,
But passing by her out of the range of a voice,
I hoped she
(the friend out of range)
Because I could not explain.

“Ice Cream?” I asked her,
“I know of a place.”
And we went in,
And a doubt-inducing explanation unheard.

I woke up with a clenched fist. 


The good news is that this dream/story has a happy ending. I eventually did gather the resources to ask her out, and now I am married to her.

Another College Poem – this one a Theological Point Poem

Kingdom Not Yet

Kingdom Power
Kingdom Weakness
Kingdom Life
Kingdom Death
Kingdom Already
Kingdom Not Yet

Just when I thought I understood it all, I find that
Ironies about in the fellowship I read about
I wonder. . . . perhaps I’ll read more

Christ Power
Christ Weakness
Christ Life
Christ Death
Christ Already
Christ Not Yet

Ah, I see. . . . I think.

Another College Poem. And another poem that doesn’t really apply to me today. I don’t run into people like this very much any more.

 The Testers 

The 2, 3 or 4 decorated, go

To corrupt, to pervert simple things we know

And they say if we stay we will understand

And accept unless we are but simple men.


If you laugh or ignore then you are not wise

And you must think again, open up your eyes

And though you didn’t know you were in a test,

And you failed, try again, they were unimpressed


Our Christ Said:


            ‘Do not judge, lest you be judged’


This is true, more than once,

Perhaps more than once more than the Savior meant.


And besides being judged by our Father above,

If we judge, we are judged by these men without love.


So watch out and attempt to score well on the test.

If you don’t, if you laugh, they’ll inform all the rest.

I just got done reading an anthology of poems that I wrote for a project my junior year of high school. The question is – should one feel embarrassed or humbled if poetry he wrote when he was fifteen really wasn’t that good? 

Here is the poem (I have edited the spelling mistake) from that project I feel most comfortable sharing here: 

Our Last Chance 

Hunting, Searching for the last duck.
Spot one, a dot, on the horizon
Coming straight in
Its mind set for food
Stand up aim and pull
All noise goes to your ear, Crack
The duck hesitates and starts again
Its heart skipping a beat.


You are correct if you guess that I wasn’t a very good hunter.

Two days late – another college poem

Grand Schemes

And as the Light and shadows fall across my page

I outline them with my pen

With the full hopeless knowledge that after this stage

Not one, not even I will understand them again.


These are not Grand Schemes of which I write

They are notes to a significant, lines from a far state

I feel the guilt as great poets I spite

But then possibly not, since admittedly I am not great


I write of the parallel between

The very simple and the everyday

The Grand I have not heard nor seen

But these others I may display


What of me if the abstract in me

Cannot be put by me to line?

And what, if the only rhymes I see

Are too simple to be fine?




20 Years Later my answer is: Then you’re probably not that great a poet.

(Another College Poem – Actually perhaps after graduation)


So if peace were like a river,
It would always flow in streams
But even though I’ve wished to find
It’s coolness, still it seems,
That I cannot find the river,
Nor yet even shallow creek,
So I listen for the water
And I wonder where to seek.

Yet if peace were like a river,
Then the search would be no chore,
For every tender knows you tread,
Downhill to find it’s shore,
No need to follow nose, nor eyes,
Only trust to follow feet,
Then sooner now or later there,
Find waters soft and sweet.

But peace is like no river or,
I’m blind, deaf, dumb and lame,
And while I am yet wandering,
I wonder who to blame,
Myself, it is most certain
I am sure not God above,
The poet had a part there, so
I doubt his “Joy” and “Love”


Needless to say – I’d have some questions for Young Jamsco if I were to talk to him. The first two would be – What would give you peace, and Are you so sure you need it?

To which he would probably reply – Easy for you to say!

I’m curious, did anyone get the reference in the last line?

Another College Poem

The Road’s White Line 

I find myself leaving the state of the sad occurrences

            But not of it occurring

And as I sit facing a straight dark road

I find it difficult not to dwell on it


As I speak with two friends


Both of whom have the situation more settled than me

I find myself wanting, waiting, wishing, willing


As I find myself staring at the white line


Changing, yet constant


I find the parallels altogether too silly.

(Another College Poem – this one was originally titled “Love Square” and while I like this as a name for a poem, I don’t think it works for this one.)


Four Around a Table 

We speak,

We spoke no lies,

But the truth was not said

We spoke, if looks could kill

We would be dead,

Except one

She is sweet,

She is the rope,

How do I send a rope to a rope?

My Foe, on the other side

Was not my foe before.

She was put there by all of us (I did not wish it)

The eyes watch, our friend observes,

And laughs

My foe observes the eyes

and smiles and cries

If it were up to my foe (if looks could kill)

I and the eyes would be gone

If it were up to me

            My foe would be gone

If it were up to the rope

            She would not be pulled between two

            But besides that, I do not know

The eyes glint with the recognition of a situation with a non zero amount of humor.

He sees clearly.

Another College Poem . . .


Yes, Confidence, Yes
There is no guess.
Frighten, Shock
Smile or Stern
And In return
A smile or “Please”
The heart that flees
Is the content one.

Take a walk
Hold her hand
But don’t ask first
Around the block
It just happens every day
Look for the Dimple
Or the Stylish Way
(so unrehearsed)
She comes undone
She Falls Apart
She flips
You have her heart
You now have won.

For me it never happens that way.
Still, thanks for the tips

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March 2023