This poem was inspired by conversations with Brian McLaren, who opened my eyes up to the idea that reading the Bible and taking it "seriously" was way more dangerous than I had imagined.

once upon a time in jericho

some stories we tell for fun
we don’t think too hard
just a whisper of a laugh
or a hint of sadness

some stories we tell
because they are to be studied
unwrapped, grappled and grasped
these stories help us become more human

once upon a time in the forest
children of cruel sad parents
leaving breadcrumbs, wandered lost
until they arrived at the gingerbread house.
home of the evil witch who wanted to eat them
the witch was burned in her own oven
the children lived happily ever after
the end

once upon a time in the desert
children of the living god
eating manna, wandering led,
   after being long lost,
to the walled city of jericho
where shout and trumpet blast brought down the walls
the triumphant wanderers entered the city
devoting it entirely to the lord

here the word devoting means
every living inhabitant of the city
was stabbed with a sword until they were dead

devoting means
that small children, whose only sin
was being born in the path
   of someone else’s destiny
lay dead in their own blood
victims of the faithful devotions
of god’s chosen people

i beg the god named love
that i might wrestle with text
and struggle to learn a deep and meaningful lesson
from the story of the candy house
and the clever children

AuthorMichael Toy