Brother, You Sit Across From Your Repentant Mentor

March 19, 2018 | Poems

Brother, you sit across from your repentant mentor –
our brother too,
in the coffee shop where I write.
He tells you about salvation.
About the forgiveness of sins.
But he does not tell you which sins.

Brother, do not repent of the animal.
The gluttony, the lust, the avarice, et al.
The “deadly” sins.
Do not be overcome, yes, but do not repent.
Use them to fuel your repentance from the true sin.

The sin of contempt for yourself.
The sin of giving your brother power over you –
corrupting you both.

Your mentor preaches a bastardized Pauline gospel.
One that does not account for his frailty, his humanity.
One that booms with confusing words and contradictions.
A shock and awe gospel.

There is a quieter one. More difficult to find –
in Paul’s gospel, yes, but also around you.
Not a natural theology, or a theology at all.

Dirt in your fingernails, blood in your hair –
the gospel of living humble before the grass –
of dying a king over oneself and no one else.