Monday, August 11, 2014

I Should Not Have Left so Quietly: a poem

Lately, I've been reading the Bible, and thinking a lot about it, and feeling pretty heavy.  So tonight I wrote this poem to try to express how I feel right now, age 34, about the Bible, and church, and stuff like that.

When I left the church,
around age 23,
I left not with a bang,
but a whimper,
my heart a little broken.
I should not have left so quietly.

I should have stood up,
on my last Sunday in church,
and announced,
“I’m leaving, old church,
never to return,
and here’s why…”

I don’t think many people do that.
It should be a tradition,
like baptism in reverse.
Whenever anyone decides,
for whatever reason,
to stop going to church,
they get to stand up
in the pulpit
and say exactly why…

“I was molested by my leader.”

“I discovered Nietzche, or Sartre, or whoever…”

“I went ahead and read the Bible
(Not just the parts you told me to)
and all I can say is ‘No thanks.””

“I’ve discovered textual criticism.”

“I’m gay and you make me feel like shit.”

"Your music sucks."

"I want to have sex
because I'm an adult human being.
I'm just not ready for marriage."

“Jesus was not a capitalist,
and you guys are, so see ya!”

Things like that.

I think, if churches had to deal
regularly with stuff like that,
it would make them softer,
more introspective,
broader-minded.

When I left the church,
I should not have left so quietly because,
with all the things left unsaid,
the church never fully left me.
It remained in my heart,
like a wound that never healed.

If this thing is going to heal,
I’m going to have to speak up,
to name the unnamable,
to (hopefully) begin to create
a language from which 
can be made sutures
to stop this bleeding.

3 comments:

  1. It was only evolution. Does the frog agonize over having left the tadpole stage? Human beings(many of us) evolve from the belief in magic and myths and sacrifices to god to the plane of reasoning and reality. We develop our empathetic capacity.

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  2. Holy crap that is good...why did you leave?

    mike e.

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