by Kelly Pelton (written 19 Jan 2020)

Ultra-conservative traditional fundamentalist,
the upbringing I gradually and gladly left behind,
is now my husband's identity, what he thinks truest,
putting our relationship into a spiritual bind.

I hurt him deeply, touched a nerve and caused him to swing far
to the distressed alarmists whose exclusionary view
restricts women from leadership; they are not on a par
with men, who consider themselves God's choice to fill the few

esteemed roles of the church, honored roles according to scripture.
They say "separate roles" as in separate-but-equal per Jim Crow
but the Bible itself acknowledges double honor
for some elder roles; females are kept out of these as though

God ordained it to be. "I don't need you," says eye to hand;
we fail to give greater honor to the parts that are weaker:
"Can God instruct me through a woman?" We don't understand
God's power, impartial to the gender of the speaker.

If God is impartial, then which of our power structures
will withstand His righteous and restorative judgment?
Only that which shows equal concern, brothers to sisters,
stronger to weaker, lifting the "lesser," love in sweet ferment.