“In the place where we are right, flowers will never grow in the spring.” Yehuda Amichai
To be a believer is to ‘walk humbly with your God’ Micah 6:8
In the camp of the tribe, one man looked for gain.
He decided to see visions and hear voices, and
Declare himself God’s mouthpiece, that he might
Guide, or rather rule, for who would countermand?
As long as mankind has worshipped higher powers,
Which is a very long time indeed, self serving seers
Have sought advantage, by anointing themselves
As sole arbiters of truth, beyond the reach of peers.
Reliant on ignorance and fear among their fellows,
These vicars of the divine have interpreted events,
Both natural and man-caused, to suit their ends:
Grow fat, reward lackeys, and curb all malcontents.
Contrast them with the prophets: those souls who
Often as not, would rather avoid the awkward call
To proclaim the ways of God to a turbulent people,
But, hearts on fire, paid the price and gave their all.
Common folk fear the unknown and unknowable,
And look for guidance, for rituals, charms, whatever,
To appease the gods and bring order to their days,
And as such are prey for any enterprising chancer.
Even today, in our so-called advanced societies,
Many respond to those essential – spiritual – needs
By trying cults, crystals, charts, and what have you,
And worse – finding solace in intransigent creeds.
Many folk look for meaning in belonging, choosing
Or cradled from birth into a tribal mind, comfortable
With black and white rules, and with clear divides,
With ‘them and us’, tall stories, fatwa and papal bull.
The rightligious are those whose beliefs are untouchable;
These are come down from heaven itself, divine wrapped,
With no space for adaptation, accommodation, alteration.
Dogmas with which the group and gullible are easy trapped.
The rightligious quote their scripture and prattle prayer,
But too often, their faith is little more than thin veneer;
Base tribal and ethnic emotions, scabbed with slights,
Hardening their world view, causing outsiders to sneer.
But the sneering only reinforces their intractable stand
Against a godless world, forgetting all the while that
God is in His world, it is of Him, and it is good, and
Speaks of Him – for nothing is defiled that He begat.
The rightligious are sad, fossilised by their own fears,
Heedless to hear the word of their hallowed deity through
The noise of their own nurtured hates. And dangerous,
Even prepared to maim and kill for the cause they pursue.
It does not honour the living and true God to pretend
You have complete and total grasp of His sacred will.
His ways are utterly beyond our ken, so much so that
An honest hesitancy is the mark of His true disciple.
When will the rightligious become realigious? When
Will the man in the pew reject the extremist voice?
God has given us mind and spirit, and we can mediate
His will, and yes, even exercise our own choice.
And choice brings dilemma, and uncertainty doubt,
And discernment is difficult, and guilt is subtle,
And life is a thousand million shades of grey, but
We never stand alone: grace is given, truth to tell.
For the human heart will never sit easy with cruelty.
The suicide bomber is brain-washed, and heart-bled,
For a person is never heart-less, nor conscience free:
Woe to those ‘teachers’ by whom he is primed and fed.
Everyone who refuses to listen and hear their brother,
May never take arms and commit atrocious deeds,
But their closed stance, exacerbated by faithmania,
Prepares the soil for those who sow vicious seeds.
When the many allow the few to set the tribe’s tone;
When their vote and support comes backed by rage;
When God’s blest purpose is twisted tight; then
Any compassion is lost, and hate takes centre stage.
Religion as man-worshipping-God is – man-tainted,
Vital for revealing His love, but never above dissent;
Never offering the sole and final summation, since
Faith is a journey, and new vistas will ever present.