apocalypse poem #10–umarked

when I was in fifth grade
at the Baptist school
our teacher passed out
what looked like newspapers
describing people



in the middle of work
cooking dinner
shoe shopping

& for a moment
I felt certainly damned
having skipped past rapture

but the classroom was full
& the teacher still there
so I knew

it was a lure for sinners
that I bit

but for that minute
barely past 10
my throat would not
release breath, or open

& for that second
I felt forgotten,
or rejected
by God

by that cosmic net

I turned my hand over
to look at my palm
still unmarked
& wondering

what that mark
would look like

*** I say this as a person of faith, but this really happened to me in fifth grade, and I wonder how the adults justified passing out the fake newspapers to us.  Now I wonder how people cuddled in a smugness they call faith can justify frightening children into stumbling up the aisle and kneeling there.  To me, that is less an act of faith and more a desperate lunge toward a life preserver tossed out over that threatened lake of fire, or a get out of hell free card.  Makes me unpopular with a lot of evangelicals, but I cannot embrace a doctrine cooked up in the last 200 years or so.  Amillenialists, premillenialists, postmillenialists–makes my head ache to think about.  Guess we can just argue about it in eternity when we get there.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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19 Responses to apocalypse poem #10–umarked

  1. annotating60 says:

    Well written. But very different from the other poems.>KB

  2. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
    ~Oscar Wilde

  3. nelle says:

    Couldn’t even see through it, eh? Bummer. After my experiences with the CC, small wonder I embrace spirituality as a singularly personal exercise.

  4. Matthew 18: 3-4! ;-)! Lovely poem,
    My experience meeting “Rapture” for the first time through the voice of an energetic sweat drenched dramatist of a fundamentalist preacher in an African village setting left me half dazed, drenched in sweat & almost drowning in doubt – His spin on “Rapture” nearly causing the seams of the fragile sheltering cover of my religious-emotional universe to rupture!

  5. Oh–yes. Matthew 18:3-4. Being like
    children is one thing–scaring children another 😉

    I can just imagine what that experience was like for you (shuddering in sympathy). Think I have an inkling from what you shared. I was trying to go for tongue-in-cheek here (hope it worked), but I think I am still a little upset with my teacher for using that tool for the day’s instruction all these years later. Yes, the school definitely gave me excellent spelling and grammar (because the alternative stung!), but this was one lesson in religious instruction I will never forget.

  6. Leo says:

    The things people do
    in the name of faith or of their God (as is evidenced everyday by world headlines) Thank goodness my parents were poor or I would have been stuck in a Christian School as a child. I was lucky, I guess, I only had to contend with church on Sunday unless I could lie my way out of it…I was a sickly child whose symptoms always manifested themselves most severely on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. Sorry for running on….I really am glad that people find solice in their faith, I respect them and I do not belittle them for their faith…just dont try to force it on others. See the trouble you cause, Susan, just mentioning the word Baptist! You’re an instigator…you need to be interriogated.

    • Oh, laughing too hard to say anything but thanks!!!!! Think of it, if we were kids now, both our sets of parents would have saved money and HOME SCHOOLED us, and I would have had a whole new set of issues to work through with them, instead of the healthy set I had on my own already 😉

  7. mobius faith says:

    It’s amazing how people use religion to mess with kids minds. I grew up Mennonite and we had some of the same experiences.

  8. Suffer the little children to come unto me for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Jesus loves kids and embraces them without their being raptured

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