wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                     BREAKING THE CHAINS  16 of 61  The place where socks go  HOME    



The dangers of theology

Where the apostles (fortunate of men
to understand your mysteries!) had then
only you, Holy Spirit, to draw on
we have concordance and the lexicon,
such commentaries and textual critiques
that keep our curates occupied for weeks
as verse by verse they plumb divinity. 
The angels, awed, stand dumbly by as we
religiously apply the apparatus
(each new translation failing to placate us),
prod at your secrets, first this way then that,
as schoolchildren dissect a classroom rat
until Atonement dies before our pens
like blood under a microscopic lens
and Love, before which once we dared not speak,
becomes a mistranslation from the Greek. 

Lord, all your gifts are worthy, and forbid
that fruits of scholarship should be kept hid,
but subtle is the pathway to disaster
when all the scholar's study is his master.
O thou who prayed to keep us from temptation
save us now from our imagination
lest—thinking in our ingenuity
it's you who falls beneath our scrutiny—
we file and reference till we can recall
only the doctrine, not the All-in-All
and let you Lord (it will not save our necks)
be crucified again, by card index.