.

Check Out Your Church

inspired by this article: Queen’s former chaplain, others
slam ‘perverse’ Cambridge sermon about ‘trans’ Jesus: ‘
Repulsive and shameful’

Are the pronouns in the Bible ripe for change
Along with gender? Does your pastor pore
O’er the e’er increasing epic rainbow range
Of sexes for our Savior? Furthermore,
Do pronoun-picking vicars have a plan
To prove that the Messiah’s not a man?

Are there twerking drag queens strutting up your aisle
In risqué raiments bursting with burlesque?
Do they reach out with a preachy, peachy smile
In sleazy sermons selling the grotesque?
Is wrong portrayed as right and right as wrong?
Does Satan sing the hymns at evensong?

Has the focus dropped from Heaven down to Earth?
Is fellow man the chosen golden key
To the wonder of our kin—their weight and worth?
Does shade of skin determine destiny?
Is white a stinging blight that bends the knees?
Is God demanding reparation fees?

During endless days of plague is your door shut
To poxless flocks all shocked by lockdown spite?
When the lepers loom, is grace and solace cut—
Does fear trump truth? Does mercy flee from sight?
Are vices in your virtue-vacant church
Impelling hope to dip and faith to lurch?

If darkness blocks His light and conjures doubt
Perhaps it’s time to drive the demons out.

.

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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38 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    The Anglican Church is a lost cause, so the questions asked in Susan’s poem will all be answered with a Yes, at least by the moral cretins who now run that collapsing institution.. I am sorry for the real Anglicans, since apart from my religious differences with them as a Catholic, I have always respected and admired them, as I do all things English.

    Does it surprise anyone that this Heath character was a student of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury infamous for celebrating the coming of Sharia law to Britain? The entire superstructure of Anglicanism is rotten with the “Other-Worship” that now marks rampant left-liberalism.

    By the way, are things any better here? Should we Yanks not be shocked over the fact that the Biden administration appointed a sexual freak named Sam Brinton to be an important Federal official, even though it is now clear that he is not just a “non-binary” android, but also a common thief? Despite his handsome government salary, he felt compelled to steal an expensive piece of luggage at an airport terminal, and has now been suspended.

    Let’s see how Biden’s press secretary spins this one.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, your comment is the brutal truth, and it cuts me to the quick. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has an awful lot to answer for when it comes to twisting The Truth, dimming The Light, and losing The Way. I have utter contempt for his Godless mutterings.

      Reply
  2. Jan Darling

    Splendid verse Susan – are you suggesting that we live in an age of sinner-cism? Thank you, as always, you force us to think.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Jan. It’s always lovely to hear from you and I just love your “age of sinner-cism” observation… “sinner-cism” says it all, with wisdom and wit. What a wicked world we’re living in!

      Reply
      • Mia

        No, Susan, I don’t believe you are suggesting we live in an age of
        sinner-cism, the ‘suggestion’ is that we live in an age of demon-cracy!

      • Joshua C. Frank

        “Demon-cracy…” Good one! This makes me think of a priest I heard say that we’re no longer a Christian nation, but a Satanist nation, because the one tenet of Satanism is, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Mia, thank you for this devilish delight, “demon-cracy.” And Josh, thank you for that interesting quote on a “Satanist nation”… it makes perfect sense… sadly.

  3. Brian Yapko

    Susan Bryant, I have never been so glad to read a poem before in my life. And what a poem, in which you pull out every scathing stop to condemn what can only be considered a heretical act of war against religion, tradition, Western culture and common sense! I am in awe of your ability to channel the most justified of outrages into something constructive, artful and, most importantly, communicative. Thank you for speaking for so many.

    As for the heresy, where does one even begin? I’m outraged by something I consider deeply offensive. Look, I’m not Torquemada. I don’t spy and try to analyze what’s in other people’s hearts and try to tell people what to think. But damned leftists sure do, now to the point of astonishing sacrilege in the service of a bankrupt woke ideology that would destroy everything that matters. When will those who care about our faith, our history and our culture rise up? Believe me, if it had been Mohammed who had been the subject of this Jesus-is-trans sermon, it would lead to World War III.

    It’s no secret that leftists rewrite history. But I’m shaking with rage at the idea that they would rewrite the Bible too if they get the chance. And they do! A new Danish bible translation has completely stricken the word “Israel” out of the Bible because the name is apparently too offensive to be accepted. Wait, what? Yes, look it up. So the very people whose story the Bible conveys is written out of it to please some antisemitic leftists who can’t stand reality? But I digress.

    Leftists want the world to accommodate them rather than the other way around. This is especially so of the Transgender Hegemony but others also. This leads to the most ridiculous projections of their psychiatric and political wishes that I’ve ever seen. Suddenly Jesus is trans. Suddenly Jesus is Palestinian. Suddenly Jesus is a magician from the East. Anything but what the Bible and contemporaneous accounts actually say that he was: Jesus was a cisgender male Jew. Period. Deal with it. The cross He was crucified on said “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” He was called “rabbi.” He announced himself as the “son” of God. Not the daughter, but “son.” He was circumcised. He also announced himself as the Son of Man, not even “child” but a very specifically masculine “son.” If people don’t want to believe these basic facts about Jesus it’s because they don’t WANT these facts to be true. These are the people who cherry-pick evidence because that’s how they build their reality. Those who have to warp Jesus into something resembling their hateful selves have no integrity and a level of psychiatric need that is stupefying. Hating reality so much that it needs to be fantasized into something acceptable to them is not a legitimate call for a sermon. It’s a call for professional assistance and some serious push-back — such as the poem that you have just written and that Evan has just published.

    Thank you again for writing this poem, Susan. As you can see, I feel warmly on the subject.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, what a tour de force of a comment… a comment that supports and enhances every word of my poem. You’re helping to get The Truth out there. Many don’t realize the path they are treading might not be the one God had in mind. When sermons are selling a one-way ticket to the debauched dungeons of Hell, they may not be interpreting the Bible with the best intentions. It’s time for everyone to open their ears and eyes and to think for themselves… and to listen to their conscience… if the words and deeds of the local church don’t feel right, then they’re probably not right.

      Brian, in a world of apathy and indifference, your Jesus-in-the-temple moment has heartened me. I am thrilled to hear the impassioned words of a man who cares… very much! I only wish there were many more Brians out there… if there were, Satan would soon be sprinting from the pulpit. Thank you for your sense of justice, your unwavering support and for your beautiful heart!

      Reply
  4. g.KayeNaegele

    Susan, my main comments will be on your talents to write a poem of excellence of form and lyricism, where the phrasing, metaphors and imagery flow off your pen with such eloquence. I believe Satan has been plaguing the church since Judas, from the very top to the churches of all denominations. I think it’s both left and right socially and politically orientated. Sad perversions of God’s commandments and corruption of the word. After all, the word tells us that Satan was sent to the earth, where first, would he wish to corrupt, to all kinds of directions. The word tells us that we are all sinners, therefore, whoever thinks they are better, should be praying for the lost, as the Bible does say. The poem, as usual, is a work of art. Gail

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Gail, thank you very much. I thoroughly appreciate your kind words of encouragement and your astute observations. You’re right when you say, “Satan has been plaguing the church since Judas.” I believe he used to lurk in the shadows, but now he’s out in the open. He’s in the pulpit with his plots and plans made evident to all… yet many don’t seem to see or hear him… hence my frustration and despair. It would seem our churches are crumbling before our eyes and we’re happy to kneel amid the rubble.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Rohini, I thoroughly appreciate your continued support – thank you!

      Reply
  5. Joshua C. Frank

    Great poem as always, with your scathing indictment of the subject matter and your skill with alliteration, assonance, consonance, internal rhyme, etc.

    As for the subject matter… when someone notified me of this, I could scarcely believe it. Not just that someone is trying to turn Jesus trans based on his own perverse interpretation of some paintings, but that people are giving him any credibility at all.

    I’m afraid the answer to your questions is yes in many churches today, even Catholic ones. When I lived in California, the church I attended was like this, and it was the best I could find. The music director chose a popular song disparaging the Virgin Mary every Christmas and once chose a hymn numbered 666 (so, yes, Satan does sing the hymns at evensong); the director of religious education spoke of her daughter’s unborn baby as 7/8 of a person (saying her daughter had 2 7/8 children) until I corrected her; the homilies only told us to do what we all knew we should do (like give to the poor and spend less time on social media); the list goes on. And this was the least liberal one I could find.

    If we drove the demons out of all our churches, most of them would probably only have two or three people left. The Western world just doesn’t want to be saved anymore (as I alluded to in “Ballad of the Video-Game Hero”). But the demons are driving themselves out; liberal churches are dying a slow death as conservatives leave for greener pastures and liberals rightly decide there’s no point in attending a church that’s no different from the larger culture when they can get it all from TV.

    Again, great poem! Another one of my favorites of yours.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Josh, thank you very much for your appreciation of my poetry. You have written some mighty fine poems yourself, so I’m especially thrilled.

      I am not surprised to hear of your experience with churches in California. I think that experience is common in churches all over the Western world. I saw some beautiful historic churches turned into fast food restaurants in the UK. I thought the US was far more respectful of the Christian faith… but, I’ve been horribly disappointed. We are following Britain and Europe on the road to Hell. That’s why it’s so important to stand up and speak out… before it really is too late. Thank you for doing just that, Josh.

      Reply
      • Joshua C. Frank

        You’re welcome, Susan! I’m honored that such a great poet as yourself is especially thrilled that I appreciate your poetry. (I know, this could go on ad infinitum.)

        Yes, the blight of wokeness is worldwide. The book How Civilizations Die by David Goldman documents statistics showing that both Christian and Muslim countries lose faith quickly when they come into contact with modernity; both Ireland and Iran suffered this fate within the space of a generation. Hence my poem “The Great Satan.” (The title came from Ayatollah Knomeini’s name for Western powers and the United States in particular, which I think is well-deserved.)

        As an aside, Catholic Churches aren’t getting turned into fast-food places, but churches built in the last 60 years sure look like fast-food places with some Catholic decorations here and there.

  6. Paul Erlandson

    Cindy and I are Anglicans, so this is very sad for us. But not unexpected.

    Your poem is so ridiculously GOOD, Susan! So many clever juxtapositions of sound and meaning.

    Still, I think this line is my favo(u)rite:

    “Does Satan sing the hymns at evensong?”

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Paul, thank you for your wonderful comment. I love your favo(u)rite 🙂 line, too! It’s the big question everyone in the congregation ought to be asking… and if there is any suspicion at all, addressing it. Perhaps this poem and the amazing resulting comments will save at least one church… I’m ever the optimist.

      Reply
  7. Cynthia Erlandson

    The emotional impact of reading this poem (and the article) is a great example of a phenomenon I’ve been noticing more and more often for the past almost-three years: the extreme contrast between beautiful, excellent things, like this poem, and ugly, horrifying things, like the news it’s based on — and that this good and this evil can actually exist at the same time, in the same world. As one who discovered the Book of Common Prayer and became an enthusiastic Anglican in mid-life, I am especially sickened by news like this. Yet, I find that I’m less and less surprised, since each evil that the wolves have been allowed to get away with, just keeps leading to another. Paul and I have been grateful to have found small, conservative, Christ-honoring Anglican parishes, outside of “The” episcopal “church” which, I admit, I’ve lost all hope for. Susan, you have managed to express these things so artistically!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, firstly, I am so glad to hear you and Paul have found a decent church. I hope it stays that way… a tall order in these dark days.

      Your observations speak directly to my heart. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such an “extreme contrast between beautiful, excellent things… and ugly, horrifying things.” This clear-cut divide seems to have escalated since the horrors of Covid. Families are divided, friends have split, those who don’t agree with the force-fed narrative are ostracized, with livelihoods lost and nowhere to turn to… not even the local church, as many were closed down at a time when people most needed them. Mike and I have asked ourselves, is this a good or bad thing? At least we are fully aware of the darkness… maybe, it’s only when darkness envelops us, we appreciate the light to a far greater extent… well, at least some of us do, and I am thrilled the glimpses of beauty are even more beautiful when living through ugly times. Cynthia, thank you very much indeed!

      Reply
  8. Norma Pain

    Another amazing poem Susan. Thank you. But how sad that in this day and age of presumed intelligence and enlightenment, the words and meaning of this poem would need to be written at all.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, thank you very much, and I agree with you – it is sad. I have hope that a few people may read the words and make changes for the good – a few changes here and there may lead to the bright path of enlightenment … one can but hope! 🙂

      Reply
  9. C.B Anderson

    How one feels about the subject matter of this poem might depend on what one’s position on the doctrine transubstantiation is.

    Reply
    • Joshua C. Frank

      As a Catholic, I agree. If it weren’t for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the liberalism in the human element of the Church (as opposed to its teaching body, the Magisterium) would drive me away from Mass attendance.

      Reply
  10. Russel Winick

    To me, Susan’s skill is unparalleled. And Paul’s choice for the best line of this latest great poem is my favorite as well.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Russel, I’m almost speechless… thank you, gracious poet of wit and wisdom. I thoroughly appreciate your words. 🙂

      Reply
  11. James Sale

    Fabulous poem, and fabulous comments too; I especially liked Brian Yapko’s and his allusions to the very specificity of the New Testament (and for that matter, the Old Testament has the same quality – detail, detail, detail!) and its detailed portrayal of the maleness of Christ. Only the perverse could argue or suggest otherwise – you don’t have to be a Christian, fine; you don’t have to believe in Christ, fine; but when you start suggesting that the wound in his side in some Mediaeval painting (yes, that’s right: some painting at least 1000 years after Christ’s death) is really a vagina and so Christ is ‘trans’ truly we are in Bonkersville!!! Susan – sadly but beautifully – draws out the utter menace to faith that all this claptrap represents. I left the Quakers some years ago because it was becoming totally Woke, and I joined the Anglicans – but now, as Joe Salemi comments, even that is proving wobbly! Still, however bleak it looks, if we really believe in the One through whom, by whom and in whom all things cohere, then we know the victory is already won.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      James, thank you very much for this. You have added to Brian’s amazing comment to shine some much-needed cheer and sanity on Bonkersville:

      however bleak it looks, if we really believe in the One through whom, by whom and in whom all things cohere, then we know the victory is already won.

      I am going to return to these words of truth and beauty every time I witness a heart wrenching atrocity in today’s increasingly ugly world. I will be returning regularly, I am certain. Amen, indeed!

      Reply
  12. Julian D. Woodruff

    Brava ancora, Susan. The usual ferocity and resourcefulness, and altogether fitting. You remind me of Fulton Sheen’s remark that it would be the laity, not the clergy, that rescues the Church.
    I know one Church, and that not very well.
    We’re told she’s safe upon the rock of Peter.
    But with so many acting to defeat her,
    I sometimes fear she’s on her way to hell.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, I always love your comments, and this is up there with the best. Thank you for your continued support of my feisty and forthright poetry… it means a lot!

      Reply
    • Joshua C. Frank

      I fear that too sometimes… but the fact that the Church has preserved all the teachings in spite of intense pressure from without and within shows that Jesus was right that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church.

      Reply
  13. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan ,

    So much to say on the subject. Tried to do it, and evil computer wiped it clean ! Briefly, I was an Anglican organist and choir director. Loved the music and the voices. When the Archbishop of Canterbury deemed it acceptable for homosexuals to become priests, many in our small church wrote to him, questioning his decision. His answers were a joke. Dropped out, went to the Romans. They were doing similar things.
    Now I pray a lot but don’t attend church. Perhaps others have had similar experiences.
    Thanks, Susan for your fine poem.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dear Sally,

      Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, they serve to highlight just where many are at with their church, I am certain. Since leaving my position of secretary at our local church, many of the congregation have seen exactly why I wasn’t happy and have left too… some have found other churches, some are still looking, and many are asking questions and seeing what they can do to get the church back on track. To my mind, this is a good thing… all the time we are able to communicate we can address the problems and deal with them, which is exactly why the voices that don’t agree with the political aspects of their church are being cancelled. Sally, I am heartened by the comments on this page… it might spell change.

      As ever, I thoroughly appreciate your wisdom and your support.

      Reply
  14. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I too was horrified on reading about this. You have written a most powerful piece. I particularly enjoyed, “To poxless flocks all shocked by lockdown spite” which is internal rhyme going ballistic. Your breathtaking use of language is a lesson to us all. Thank you for expressing what I was thinking this week.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you very much for this. It would seem that my poems are prompted by ever-more shocking news – my heart skipped a beat when I read this one… then steam began to seep from my ears… and I sat down to vent my ire in a poem before I chewed Mike’s ears off… Oh, the wonder of poetry… it keeps me half sane. 😉

      Reply

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