by Kelly Pelton

Swinging like a sling blade, you wield your
weapon to intimidate: name-calling
everyone a heretic who champions
female ordination. You're stalling

Holy Spirit movement in churches,
leveling your charges, alarming
faithful Bible readers, accusing
long-time Bible scholars. You're harming

sisters and the brothers who can't see
your manipulation of emotion
causing a defensive second-guessing
in egalitarians, whose devotion

to the full expression of God's gifts
embraces all people as potential
conduits for God's voice to speak to
entire congregations reverential.

Jesus had a phrase for religious
leaders hoarding power in God's name,
venomous their wording to exclude,
undermining God's grace to spread shame.

Earnestly I ask you, are you like them,
hurling names at others in projection,
verbally abusive, though you claim to
be about the law and its protection?