by Kelly Pelton (written 28 Aug 2021)

When you indulge in internet ridicule
of your sisters who pastor, lead, and teach,
savoring the satirical barbs, bad
fruit whose evil root extends past the reach

of ordinary measures to unearth,
you join the religious elite leaders
who persecute not only their sisters
but Jesus Himself, whose cuts are bleeders

from lashings both verbal and in writing
by hoarders of power who subjugate
half their membership, harming the weak based
on the unalterable gender trait.

"Why are you persecuting Me," He asks,
His body in shreds of flesh, skin screaming
in pain from scorn, derision, and shaming
by those whose ambition has them dreaming

of an expanding "ministry" empire,
worldly in its worship of manly strength;
their slanderous charge that women are more
easily deceived is a whip-like length

of cat o' nine tails on the Savior's back,
excoriating with punitive talk
the women who serve Him in ministry.
The Lord's institutional church should balk

at such poor treatment of Christ's family.
We know you by your fruit, murderous Saul,
your contempt that springs from misogyny,
your ridicule of the weak and the small.

You're convinced the end justifies your means,
preserving your strong-ruling-weak worldview;
your crucifixion of these women shows
they walk in His footsteps as His choice few.