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At The Smithville Methodist Church Analysis



Author: poem of Stephen Dunn Type: poem Views: 16

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It was supposed to be Arts & Crafts for a week,

but when she came home

with the "Jesus Saves" button, we knew what art

was up, what ancient craft.



She liked her little friends. She liked the songs

they sang when they weren't

twisting and folding paper into dolls.

What could be so bad?



Jesus had been a good man, and putting faith

in good men was what

we had to do to stay this side of cynicism,

that other sadness.



OK, we said, One week. But when she came home

singing "Jesus loves me,

the Bible tells me so," it was time to talk.

Could we say Jesus



doesn't love you? Could I tell her the Bible

is a great book certain people use

to make you feel bad? We sent her back

without a word.



It had been so long since we believed, so long

since we needed Jesus

as our nemesis and friend, that we thought he was

sufficiently dead,



that our children would think of him like Lincoln

or Thomas Jefferson.

Soon it became clear to us: you can't teach disbelief

to a child,



only wonderful stories, and we hadn't a story

nearly as good.

On parents' night there were the Arts & Crafts

all spread out



like appetizers. Then we took our seats

in the church

and the children sang a song about the Ark,

and Hallelujah



and one in which they had to jump up and down

for Jesus.

I can't remember ever feeling so uncertain

about what's comic, what's serious.



Evolution is magical but devoid of heroes.

You can't say to your child

"Evolution loves you." The story stinks

of extinction and nothing



exciting happens for centuries. I didn't have

a wonderful story for my child

and she was beaming. All the way home in the car

she sang the songs,



occasionally standing up for Jesus.

There was nothing to do

but drive, ride it out, sing along

in silence.





Anonymous submission.






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