Heretic Is (Just) A Word

Many months ago, I wrote a poem from the perspective of one of my Baptist characters, Jake. A Year with the Baptists is actually told from Emma’s perspective, but sometimes I play around with P.O.V., especially when I’m trying to break through writer’s block.

Anyway, Jake is a writer at the fictitious Christian Culture Magazine where Emma is a receptionist. The second of three sons of Presbyterian ministers, Jake has chosen a slightly different path leading the youth at the local Baptist church. This poem expresses his thoughts about Emma meeting his passionate family.

Honestly, this is what I’d tell you about my family (some of us anyway) if you were going to meet them. (Except only my dad is a preacher).

So, here’s to Dad, David, and Seth – the irons to my iron.

Okay,
So,
My family.

Heretic
Is a word
We throw around at the dinner table –
Oh, don’t worry,
It’s (mostly) all in good fun –
We just mean
We disagree.

I take God’s Word literally
Is a claim
We make with puffed chests and knowing tones –
We really think that
But so does everybody else –
We just mean
We’re sure we’re right.

Let’s take it back to the Greek
Is a dance
We do when we’re talking ‘bout the Bible
Right along with
Look at that in its context.
We just mean
We don’t like someone’s interpretation.

Okay,
So,
My family.

We couldn’t care less about Piper or MacArthur
Or any Johns except
The baptizer –
Under no circumstances do we call him a Baptist –
And the disciple Jesus loved.
And don’t get us started on prosperity gospeleers.
No.
If we’re going to talk theologians,
We’ll speak of Spurgeon and Taylor and Tozer
And old heroes of the faith.

And truth be told,
We’ll even disregard them if need be.
We hold our own scrutiny and thoughts and convictions highest –
That’s how we were raised –
So there’s no point in arguing,
Or trying to change our minds
With anything less than your own scrutiny and thoughts and convictions.

Okay,
So,
My family.

We’re passionate
And loud
And disagreeable
About matters of faith
And theology
And doctrine,
And we talk about very little else.
But what else would you expect
From the children of two preachers?

Okay,
So,
My family:
I think you’ll like them.
I’ve seen you in action;
You can hold your own.
What do you think?
Are you ready to meet them?

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