by Kelly Pelton (written 21 Nov 2020)

Tonight was a great feeling of non-belonging
at a church of my childhood denomination;
only later could I appreciate the peace
I had at this wedding, a festive occasion.

The absence of self-doubt, defensiveness, tension
went unnoticed as my inner preference declared,
"I belong with the secure men, not that ones who're
threatened by Spirit-led women who have now dared

to follow their calling in to the ministry
of preaching and teaching the Lord's holy scripture,
enlightening their congregations on Christ's love
that molds His people in to a Jesus-picture."

I felt no scorn or condescension, no sadness,
no anger, no caustic sarcasm, no dismay,
but only acceptance and maybe compassion
for men not yet healed, who must engage in role play.

They're on their own timetable in God's healing plan,
as are we all, and ultimately we belong 
in His body, the unseen kingdom, citizens
not of this world. To disown my brothers is wrong,

though they limit my freedom out of their own fear;
they are still my brothers, less trustworthy than some
who cheer their sisters on in the work of the Lord
and know that through both genders His kingdom will come.

I don't belong in churches of gender bias
but I won't be long in this temporary state
of existence; none of us will be long, really,
getting to where we belong, where we no longer wait.