by Kelly Pelton (written 17 July 2022)

"I'll pass," they say, these women who walk away
from so-called patriarchal God to find 
a fairer world outside the church's walls
where giftedness expressed helps humankind.

"I haven't thought about it," say the girls, 
intimidated by the preaching of men;
young females have no confidence to question
if scripture's being distorted due to sin.

"Their roles are lesser, not their value," they lie,
those Christians who make God out to be like man,
those self-proclaimed intermediaries 
who speak for God a patriarchal plan.

The scripture judges thoughts and attitudes,
how we use it to subordinate,
how we use it to confuse, to treat
our sisters in the church as second-rate.

Love does not deceive, discriminate,
dishearten or devalue, or entice
entire congregations to subjugate women
all the while pretending to be nice.

Love does not harm; it causes none to doubt
God's goodness or the value of all souls.
It never will claim equal worth of women
while keeping them from filling equal roles.