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"The song playing on the radio as you drive across a country of faith, with absolute certainty at the beginning, and mysterious joy at the end."


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Holy Trilogy

i’m thinking of the bible as a trilogy

the strangest and greatest trilogy ever written
this is not a literary map, inscribing insightful lines
separating the words into three connected countries.
volume one is the entire text of the bible
volume two is the entire text of the bible
so is volume three
the text does not change from volume to volume
if you want to find out what happens next
you have to change, become someone new.

i know this this sounds impossible
trust me on this, it happens.
all it takes to move from one volume to the next is the smallest seed of an idea
which will grow, roots to stalks to branches to flower
until at full fruit you are ready,
the entire work is something new

volume one, an epic journey
full of unlikely heroes
wise sayings
timely miracles
good triumphs over evil in the end
i think i read volume one a hundred times

one day i could no longer ignore this whisper,
“what about the people who were in the land
    before it was given away as a gift,
what about the children
    who didn’t get the good promises?”,

a loose end, a thread, pull on it,
pick up the book again, it is no longer volume one


volume two, things don’t go so well
all the heroes have flaws
evil is everywhere unchecked
a final chapter of death and doom
written as if it were love and justice
closing the book after the last page of volume two
i threw it down in disgust
swore i would never read it again

one day i recognized a constant wind in my ear
as a whispered question, asking me over and over,
“what story have i ever told rightly,
or even fully understood as i told it?”


volume three, something unexpected emerges
crazy beloved people,  finally
    finding impossible redemption.
leaving behind them, utterances of awe and amazement
hoping it would make more sense to their children
than it did to them
i may actually be looking forward to reading volume three

 

A Live Reading

I have had my evangelical friends ask me, on hearing this poem, "Are you mocking me?" I have to say yes, but I am also mocking myself, and asking myself to believe better.

What am I really up to? Click the "play" triangle next to the microphone and decide for yourself.