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Here is another poem by our great friend Karen Bowlby.

“I believe in God.

Not just any God –
Not that anything goes,
Spiritual but not religious,
Politically correct,
Don’t want to offend anyone
Anything but the God you think of when I say God -

You know – the one that hates abortion,
Fags, and anyone different

No – I believe in that God
The God
The one who did the whole Jesus-thing,
The one that beget all the Bible-beaters, and Republicans
That God, that’s the one.

And perhaps that doesn’t strike you as odd.

After all, you –
All of you
Every single one of you looking me in the eyes right now
Just judged me
Sized me up -
Little white girl, privileged,
Easy for her to stand there,
Say she believes in that God

Hell, people like her created that God,
Created Him to keep other people in their place,
She’s one of them, that makes sense

And it would make sense
It did make sense – for about 28 years
And then it stopped making sense
Right about the same day I came out

Caught the gay
The homo-sexuality
Years in the making, but nothing unusual there
Just another dyke with a story
Except…

I still believe in God
Yeah – in that God,

And that makes my life uneasy,
Dissonant,
And I try to find ways to ease that dissonance

I lie
I hide
And I reason that everyone lies and hides to a degree anyway

But then I hear God
Feel him walking through the garden in the cool of the evening
And I feel Him see me
Sense His eyes piercing through me into my soul -
The one thing I can’t find on my own,
And it’s probably a good thing that I can’t, cause I’d hide that, too,
And I shift in my hiding place
Nervous
Awaiting a verdict I’ve spent my whole life preparing for

And then I feel him open his mouth
Take a deep breath
I brace for impact and hear
“It is good”

Stunned, speechless,
These are the moments I look around
Thinking He must have made a mistake
Perhaps He doesn’t see so well these days

He is, after all,
Millenniums old,
And I am, after all,
A lesbian
Dyke
Queer

And so these are also the moments I protest
I point out what everyone else seems to know
Everyone but Him
And He speaks again
“You are good”
“Lovely”

And I laugh
I argue
I quote those verses – His words, not mine
Leviticus,
Sodom and Gomorrah
But He doesn’t respond
And I always, always think –
“See?”

I’ve won.
Here in the garden, in my nakedness,
I have argued with the Creator of the Universe
And I have won
And He laughs
He hears my thoughts
And He moves towards me,
Closer,
Arms outstretched
And I protest

I protest –
He is God – and I am… nothing.
Filthy.
Dirty.
Sin.

And He speaks
“You are good”
And I question if He forgot that I come from
Dust

These are the moments I look down
I can not meet His eyes,
But I can feel His touch
Everywhere in my nakedness – but no longer naked

Fully-clothed,
Status-restored
And I wonder what it means about
Who I thought He was
And who He is
And if He also gets tired of
The labels
The words
The actions
The hate
We ascribe as His.”

Much love.
www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Dena

    Wow! That is so impactful. Thanks so much for sharing, Karen. I love it! God loves all of us, knit us together, and says His creation is “good” – all of it! You’re an amazing poet. Thanks for sharing yourself, and expressing yourself so eloquently! And thanks Andrew for posting on your site!

  • Deb Wenninger

    Well said, Karen! Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you didn’t lose God in the process. I didn’t either…

  • Mrs. D in Oregon

    absolutely wonderful! so glad you took time to listen to God speak to you…

  • http://www.graceground.com Sam in San Diego

    Love it! You’ve got it right!

  • http://brian-bates.com Brian Bates

    Good stuff Karen. I especially loved the end when it got intimate, just you & God in the garden, “You are good”, him laughing, you restored. That’s the God I know too. Bravo!


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