*Note: This is a work in progress. It is intended to be listened to and “performed” rather than read silently. Even so, I hope the exploration of the conflict of a young university student studying Bible will offer some food for thought. Enjoy.*
Two years of general courses on this and that plus
Two years of intensive religion
Of The life of Jesus,
Old Testament, New Testament
Daniel, Revelation, Archaeology’s evidence
And all I know now is what I don’t.
Generations two levels higher
Asking questions as though I were somehow
More in touch with God
Which shouldn’t be odd since with
All that education I must know
What did God mean when He said
That He created evil and darkness
And yet God is love?
Isn’t he harmless as a dove?
They ask with a touch of reverence
As though I might answer with benevolence
In my position on a suddenly erupted pedestal
Upon which I teeter
Trying not to stammer
And the generation one step up
Over weekend lunch or Sunday brunch
Asks with curiosity and diffidence
How can we come to grips with the place of women
When even the church can’t get it straight
Did God actually mean it or was He just catering
To a faulty and misguided culture?
And my roll sticks in my throat
As I try not to choke on the mental panic
Of the sudden responsibility
I never wanted
And my own generation of peers
Asks with candor and conflict
Torn between What They Know and
The sudden ocean of desperate other choices
How do we relate to our beloved peer who
Is engaged to another young man and still
Agree with the whole abomination issue
Because you are supposed to, aren’t you?
And generations from top to bottom inquire
How do we deal with church members who
Haven’t seen our version of the light?
How can you help me fashion these texts
Into deadly weapons to beat the ever-living
Ignorance out of their saintly minds?
Bless their hearts
Only because we care about
Their spiritual walk of course.
Can you give it to us straight from the source
Language? It sounds better that way
If you can teach us to say
A word or two in Hebrew
Blessed are the meek.
They don’t understand
How inadequate I feel
How much my own opinion flexes from week to weak
How hard it can be to really interpret
How much context has to do with it
How I have to struggle and grapple with
Emotional responses of my own; how
Sometimes I don’t even want people to
Tie me to religious types because
I feel the pain of injustice in religions name
And my heart bleeds
My silent voice screams in frustration
Yes. God ultimately created the potential for evil
It’s called free choice
And God takes responsibility for everything since
Nothing exists outside Himself
And God made women as the first solution to the first problem
Of loneliness of the first man
And ordination is a new thing
Women can do more than sing
For special music and teach babies
Even in patriarchal Israel God picked some ladies
To be prophets! More like ministers today than the priests were.
The average person isn’t male
Woman is the standard model in the womb
So don’t shove us back into the tomb
Of silence and ignorance
And same-sex issues are still mine-fields
There is no text that yields a solution that
Balms the ache in my heart on their behalf.
The Bible almost never talked about it
Can we just leave it alone?
Love is beautiful no matter the shape
You think your phrases are tolerant
But they can sound an awful lot like hate
And while I can’t fully relate
Loss is loss and pain is pain
And the blood of the murdered bond
Stains your hands
No! I won’t tell you how to hurt other people
With the word of God
It takes more than a word to understand Hebrew or Greek culture
And I will NOT act like a cherry-picking vulture
Cleaning up the out of context biblical waste
Dropped left and right
By the left and the right
Turning pearls into excrement
The little me that lives in my mind
Screams and weeps and huddles next to the rock
That I can barely feel.
I put down my fork
And swallow my dinner roll
I choke out a
Pre-digested spiritual meal.
They nod solemnly
Certain that they’ve got it now
Spiritual ammo reloaded for another scrap
And while they take their intellectual nap
I sit alone in a dark room
Waiting for God to show up so I don’t have to
Despite all the theological theorem
I like Him better than the most
Thoroughly exegeted passage
And when the going gets rough
His arms are the safest place
To protect me from the rest of
His precious people
And my own meager education.