Thursday, June 22, 2017


This poem may rankle some folks, but I found it to be thought-provoking and truthful in many ways. The poem and comments can be found here.



Dave Barnhart

I have seen your religion, and I hate it.
I have heard your doctrine, and I loathe it.
Take away your empty praise songs,
your vacuous worshiptainment.
Your mouth is full of religious words,
but your proverbs are salted manure.

“The sick deserve to be sick.
The poor deserve to be poor.
The rich deserve to be rich.
The imprisoned deserve to be imprisoned.”
Because you never saw him sick, or poor, or in prison.

“If he had followed police instructions,
if he had minded the company he keeps,
he would not have been killed,”
You say in the hearing
of a man hanging on a cross
between two thieves.

“People who live good lives
do not have pre-existing conditions,” you say,
carving these words over the hospital door:
“Who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”

“It is the church’s job, not the government’s,”
say you fat sheep,
defending your fat shepherds,
shoving and butting with shoulders and horns,
while you foul the water,
and air,
and scatter the hungry sheep.

You watch the melting glaciers and say to the waves of the sea,
“this far shall you come, and no farther,”
as if your will could change the weather,
as if your will could be done in the heavens as it is on this earth,
as if you could drill the sky the way you drill the soil.

In your telling,
in the story of the starving of the five thousand,
there are not twelve baskets collected of left-over food;
In your story, God’s abundance becomes scarcity,
and the crowds devour each other.
“Send them into the villages to buy food,”
and let the Invisible Hand’s miracle of the free market sort them out,
the worthy from the unworthy,
while you eat the two fish and five pieces of bread
volunteered by a child.
These ungrateful poor,
the welfare queens
with their anchor babies,
stop before your disciples’ raised palms;
they hear you say,
“The Master cannot be bothered to bless your children.”

You see Hannah drunk,
and you jail her for fetal endangerment.

Like Haman, you hide behind the skirts of the king;
you make laws and pay bribes
that allow vigilante violence
and private discrimination
against those you hate,
sheltering underneath plausible deniability.
“It’s not a Muslim ban,” you say one day.
“It’s about religious liberty,” you say another.

This Bible you wave, this word you claim,
it is sharper than any two-edged sword.
You wield it poorly; it slices you on the backstroke.
You know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.
You tie up heavy yokes for others
whose burdens you do not bear,
but you will not lift a finger to help them.
To some you say, “Do not marry, but burn.”
You lock them out of the kingdom of God.
You cross sea and land for your missionary work,
and teach others to be as hateful as you.

Your kingdom is not the public park of Zechariah,
where children play in the streets
and old men and women lean on their canes for very age.
It is not the land where every fearless household
has its own vine and fig tree,
their own means of production and shade for their rest.
It is not the land where everyone has a home.
Your kingdom is the one with gates,
where homeless beggars have their sores licked by dogs,
where people who have the audacity to grow old
pay a premium for their insolence.
Like Ahab, you covet all the vines, all the fig trees,
letting your domain stretch as far as your eye can see,
adding house to house and field to field
until, in your gentrified land
there is room for no one but you and yours.
Like Pharaoh, you call those who refuse you “Lazy, lazy.”
You build walls, and walls, and walls, and walls,
and you stuff your ears to the sound of protest songs
that will shake those walls down.

I have seen your christ, and he is my antichrist.
He is the herald of a violent god,
a god of fertility but not fruitfulness,
a god of embryos but not emancipation, pro-birth and anti-life,
a god of war and retribution but not of justice,
a god of order but not of peace,
a god of might but not of mercy,
a god of marriage but not of love,
a god of sex but not of pleasure,
a god of platitudes but not of wisdom,
a god of work but not of sabbath,
a god who demands sacrifice from the poor but luxury and reward for Pharaoh.

Your religion is the religion of pyramids pointed heavenwards,
towers built to reach the heavens.
Supported by their flat base, built by slave labor,
they are stable monuments to wealth and death.
You fill their secret rooms with gold so that
in the afterlife,
you may cross to paradise
on the backs of the oppressed,
and live in forgetful pleasure for eternity.
Your gilded gospel is rusty ruin.

You are why the ancient Hebrews
seldom talked about an afterlife,
weary as they were of working
for Egypt’s dead heaven.
Your idols and your religion
are why those slaves left the yoke of heaven,
the land of binding,
for a wide wilderness,
for a nameless, faceless God
who told them they—even they—
were made in God’s image.
You are why your churches are empty
of those who love and believe in freedom.
You are why the Gentiles blaspheme the name of God.
You are the reason for the Exodus.

And if you pursue, may God throw you into the sea.
And the horse you rode in on.

Amos 5:21-24
Luke 14:34-35
Matthew 25:31-46
Luke 23:33
John 9:1-12
Ezekiel 34
Job 38:11
Matthew 13:14-21
Matthew 19:13-15
1 Samuel 1:12-20
Esther 3:8-11
Hebrews 4:12
Matthew 22:9
Matthew 23:13-26
1 Corinthians 7:9
Zechariah 8:4
Micah 4:4
Isaiah 65:21-25
Luke 16:19-31
1 Kings 21
Isaiah 5:8
Exodus 5:17
Joshua 6
Genesis 11:1-9
Exodus 15:21


Bizzy Brain said...

Author is a radical leftist ordained by a denomination (United Methodist Church) which has an excellent track record of emptying its pews over the past few decades.

Douglas E said...

No argument with that Bizzy; however, that does not necessarily negate his points :-)

Rick O'Shea said...

Don't be so hard on the guy, Biz. Lots of people believe you need to be a good liberal in order to be a good Christian.

Douglas E said...

Rick - probably true for some, but I believe that to be a good Christian means not paying attention to any liberal/conservative/left/right labels and simply live according to one's understanding of what Christ had to say.

Rick O'Shea said...

That is a simple statement, DES, but quite a mouthful. Libraries full of books on understanding what Christ REALLY had to say, and not two understandings precisely alike.

Douglas E said...

Rick - agree completely. That's why my bias is when some evangelical type asks if I have a personal relationship with Christ, I say "yes, it's personal and really none of your business. And I would suggest that you also keep your relationship personal." It's easier to understand what a person truly believes by observing their life rather than listening to their words.

Lou Siefer said...

My favorite understanding of the Bible, and I believe the one that is common to most Christians, is that we are all sinners, and as sinners we will sin. However, God has made provision for the forgiveness of our sins so that if we believe in Jesus as our Savior and that he forgives our sins, we will still go to heaven. Thus, after you sin, say you are sorry, get forgiven, and all is well. In other words, you can STILL do whatever you want, for example, indulge in the delights of fornication, as long as you say you are sorry and then get forgiven. Rinse and repeat.

Rick O'Shea said...

I like the idea of "observing their life." In fact, such people, like me, joke about themselves as being "fruit inspectors," as in, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:16)

Thinks Great Thoughts said...

Hate to say this, Lou, but I think you are totally full of it when you say that "do whatever you want" Christians say they are sorry after fornicating. They think nothing of it, feel no pangs of guilt, realize in the back of their minds that it is a sin, but not one worth fretting over to the point of telling God they are sorry. The only ones who say they are sorry for sexual sins are prominent religious leaders like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, who express public remorse, but are mainly sorry that they got caught.

Douglas E said...

I believe that repent means 'to turn away from' - so simply asking forgiveness doesn't generally doesn't cut it if one simply continues. The really tricky part is defining sin :-)

Rick O'Shea said...

Agree, DES, one has to forsake the sin and sincerely repent. BTW, not tricky for some to define sin, but tricky for those who want to redefine certain sins, such as homosexual acts, into non-sins.

Y. Sinmoore said...

Those tricky interpretations can lead to bad theology and split your church. (Hint, hint.)

Douglas E said...

Rick and Y - sorry, but it is all 'tricky' :-) What is simple for Rick is likely to be considered wrong by many. And indeed it is the tricky interpretations that has lead to at least 40,000 different 'brands' of Christianity.

Dilbert Doe said...

Embracing certain “tricky” interpretations may result in one spending eternity separated from God. For example, the Bible defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and that sexual acts outside that union are sinful. Then along comes the trickster who says that God didn’t really mean it because God is love and how could He not love the cornholers. Thus cornholing is okay as long as you have only ONE cornhole buddy and “get married” or some such thing. Why, if you are a monogamous cornholer, you may even get to pastor a Mennonite church! Now suppose at the end of the world, we find out the Lord meant what he said about fornicators and adulterers not getting into Heaven and that homosexual acts are, indeed, fornication, despite what the trickster had to say about it. Some love that turns out to be. In the name of "love and inclusion," the trickster’s doctrine may result in many believers in that doctrine condemned for eternity.

Douglas E said...

OK Dil Doe - let's just start with your first interpretation - the bible defines marriage between one man and one woman. Exactly where is that defined, and where is it said that that particular definition assumes exclusive primacy over all of the other types of 'marriage' [and whoring/murder for a wife, etc.] that appears to be blessed by God?

Dilbert Doe said...

The creation of marriage is recorded in Genesis 2:23-24. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Jesus refers to this definition in Matthew 19:4-6. And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

The Family Research Council provides a lengthy discussion on covenant and contract marriage:

OTH, pro same-sex:

However, Matthew 7:21:23. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 21:23

My take on it is, “Cornhole like a maniac if you want, but if it turns out in the end to be a sin that really does lead to eternal damnation, why take the risk?

Dilbert Doe said...

There are many instances in the Bible where the "one man one woman" norm is violated, but you will notice that those who departed from the norm paid the price in one way or another.

Sum Ting Wong said...

It would seem to me that a Christian educator like Jim Brenneman would be more interested in delving into and applying Biblical truth and being remembered as a Bible scholar and Christian advocate rather than going down in history as a heretic.

Douglas E said...

Wong - I don't follow. Brenneman is becoming the next head of the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Of course you may consider Baptists as heretics - which some are :-)

Sun Ting Wong said...

The American Baptist Seminary of the West is liberal, which means it preaches/teaches an "anything goes" theology, whereas the Southern Baptists by comparison stick to a traditional interpretation of scripture.

Anonymous said...

There's not too much more sanctimonious than claiming "a traditional interpretation of scripture." Would that be the tradition of discriminating against minorities; or justifying slavery; or killing fellow protestants for the heresy of adult baptism; or on-and-on including the relatively recent nonsensical dogma that the earth and all of creation is a few thousand years old. Augustine dispelled such ignorant thinking over 1000 years ago. If one truly wants to be "traditional" one should be Roman Catholic where their church traces it's interpretation of scripture back to Jesus' establishing Peter as the head of the kingdom on earth. Or is you want to stick with protestantism, go with the Churches of Christ who claim to be a true restoration church just like the good old days of 2000 years ago when obviously there were no pianos or organs used in worship. Traditional usually means "I am right and you are wrong" - not particularly engaging.

Sum Ting Wong said...

Scripture teaches in the 10 Commandments that stealing, murder, adultery, and bearing false witness, etc. are sins. I don’t feel particularly sanctimonious in believing those commandments come from God and that violating those commandments constitutes sin. The tradition of discriminating against minorities, justifying slavery, or killing fellow Protestants does not stem from a “traditional” interpretation of the Bible. It comes from lack of discernment as to what the Bible actually preaches and teaches. People are free to pick and choose what they like about the Bible and reject the parts they think are wrong. They can misinterpret to their heart’s content and make up their own religion as they go along and fool themselves into thinking that it is all fine and dandy as long as they believe a few basics about Christianity. My contention is that is a perilous way to live.

Lou Siefer said...

Dear Anonymous, another piece of "nonsensical dogma" in the bible is the resurrection. Just as science proves the bible wrong on the age of the earth, it is definitely wrong on the resurrection. It is scientifically impossible for a dead body to come back to life after three days. It would be rotting and putrid and in no way could come back to life. Keep it up, A. The bible's lies and falsehoods must be shown to the world for what they are, and it is important for people like you to dispel the myths.

Douglas E said...

Sum - I think that you missed some of the point - even the 10 commandments that you have quoted are interpreted by 'tradionalists' in a couple of ways; e.g. adultery - Jesus made it pretty clear what he considered adultery, and many Christians waltz right around that [or simply ignore].

Lou - many would say that it's quite possible to be a Christian without accepting the bible as a source of science, and "proof" of anything. Indeed, there are no proofs in the bible; just things that folks accept as being true.

Sum Ting Wong said...

Very true about adultery, Douglas E. The theologians would say such people lack a "conviction of sin." Conviction is more than a simple pang of conscience when we do wrong. It is the realization of how loathsome sin is and how it dishonors God. People who lack conviction of sin are most likely people who don't really need God, but believe the facts of the gospel to allay the fear of what might be waiting for them in the afterlife if they reject the idea of God and Jesus altogether.

Little Johnny said...

I am just a wittle boy growing up and am confused. Liberals say if a gwown man wif a wiener says he is a woman, then the west of us must bewieve him and consider him and tweat him wike a woman, even though he has wiener. I like girls, but am not interested in girls with wieners. Does liking only wiener-free girls make me a hater and bigot?

hoosierdaddy said...

Whittle Yanny - yes you are indeed confused :-) To be brief, a wiener does not a man make. Most male to female transgendered folks have it, er, 'removed' and some have female parts surgically constructed. Thus, you could easily fall for a wiener free girl who happens to be XY. I suppose that you could have all of your dates karyotyped before you take them out, but that could get a bit expensive! Look at the bright side - your transgendered girl friend won't have to be on birth control pills :-)

Little Johnny said...

Thank you, hoosier. My daddy said when the time is wight, he will tell me how to find out if a woman is real or fake.