Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Brief History of Christianity

Those who manage to connect
With God don’t use the intellect.
It isn’t “it” (nor “he,” nor “she”),
Nor “is” (nor “was” nor “yet to be”).
The mind quite reasonably balks
When faced with this great paradox,
And settles for idolatry,
Based on what we think and see.

Then, in the midst of our delusion,
A compassionate intrusion:
The not-thing from beyond our ken
Was seen among the world of men
As one of us, to show the blest
Ineffable made manifest.
Transcending all the things I see,
Yet closer than I am to me.
Not circumscribed in any fashion,
Breathing in and out compassion.
That love cannot be said to die,
He used his death to verify.

Some centuries then came and went,
As we made sense of this event.
Though nothing of the Incarnation
Changed the basic situation:
God’s so far above our thinking
That--even though we saw him drinking,
Eating, opening his mail--
Words still absolutely fail.

Though, as we came ‘round to discover,
Some words fail much worse than others.
Some lead straight into a lie,
Instead of God-ward, by and by.
But others, though imperfect too,
At least allow us to see through
Them to the truth that they connote.
They’re like the rudder on a boat.

‘Twas this the Fathers sought to do:
To find the words that, if not true
Within themselves, upon reflection,
Point us in a true direction,
Leading us to what was meant
By that astounding Christ-event.

But, alas, articulation
Didn’t save us from temptation:
For as the words became enshrined,
This thought arose within our mind:
“These words, so naturally unflawed,
Are what there is to know of God.”
We’re back to what we think and see:
The triumph of idolatry.
It’s been the source of all our woe
For two millennia or so.


  1. I like this. Good job with the rhyme!

  2. I love and admire your poem! And I resonate with your background. I'm half Greek and half Chinese, and was brought up in the Orthodox church. Now I'm a mindfulness teacher in prisons and schools, and to get here have studied meditation, including Zen, for many years. I'll come back to this site for more!

  3. Thanks, George. Are you on Facebook? We can friend each other.