“And it came to pass that as [Jesus] prayed alone, his disciples were with him, and he asked them, saying, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ They answered, ‘John the Baptist, others say Elijah, but others that one of the ancient prophets has risen.’ He said to them, ‘Who do you say that I am?’”The Gospel of Luke, 9:18-20, The New Testament: A New Translation for Latter-day Saints, by Thomas A. Wayment
A Litany Poem
What I Am
…melanin, which is to say, matter organized.
…the first opinion that ever was.
…a vessel—a word made ugly by urgent men.
…water on, not from, the rock.
…childhood, and the second childhood.
…hope—needful, imperfect, but often nourishing.
…the news which inspires or offends you the deepest.
…the wood grain that parts for the nail.
…the best and worst of human wishing.
Why I Am
…because the strange must be faced; it will not be denied.
…because apparently omnipotent gods need defenders.
…because parents are no special beacons of rationality.
…because human intellect needs a backstop.
Who I Am
…a little child in Sunday best, darting into an opened elevator and toppling a businessman divining by his Wall Street Journal.
…they/them. Deal with it.
…a spouse, lover, and friend—I’m every human that evangelicals’ idol wishes would shut up in church. 
…a parent to incels and manhaters, but not their creator. Blame me. Blame away. But please, give these kids a little space. They are, as the sage declared, “quite aware of what they’re going through” 
…the unveiled one, who has no apologies left to give and no cheeks left to turn. I say, “Be it unto me, already. Be it unto me.” 
The Baptist’s Prayer
Lord of our universe, we stand before you
not entirely humble and not entirely grateful.
We ask you to make things better,
and failing that, to help make sense of things.
Lord, we begrudge you every child called home early,
taken back to you through pain, terror, and violence.
And but that it would be unchristian, we would say,
Let there be no more feet washing for gun lovers.
O Lord, do not be a useless God;
do not force us to look for another.
In the name of worthy saviors we pray,
Thank you for reading. I invite you to leave reactions in the comments below. This piece continues with my (admittedly cranky) Lenten series, sparked by guided meditations. I am enjoying these sessions, offered through the kind fellowship of the Community of Christ. Currently, we are wrestling with the story of Jesus’s final days in mortality. Here are the previous pieces. They need not be read in order:
- If Jesus Took Satan’s Offer
- A Trinity Within the Stone
- Spectacles in Glass and Stone
- Rage Against the Anointed
Here is a link to a short description of litany poetry and some examples. For liturgical examples, try these offerings from the Roman Catholic Church. This post’s featured image was taken by Jake C. It is of the Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús statue at Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas
 This reference is to the apostle Paul. The relevant verses come from 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in the New Testament. Say what you want about the broader historical and social context of Paul’s sexism; the prohibition on braided hair is just silly. Here is a link to the reference in the highly readable NRSV translation.
 Here is a larger quote from David Bowie’s song, “Changes.” I first became acquainted with these lyrics through their placement in the ‘80s teen movie The Breakfast Club:
“And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through”
Here’s a link to a full video version of the classic song.
 This reference plays on Luke 1:38—the most celebrated example of a young woman being sexually commodified for a patriarchy. Here is the KJV version.
Reading this is better than watching the dustbowl that conference is to me. So much substance. I’ll come back again to rabbit-hole the links.
they/them. Deal with it.” . . . Sooo perfect.
Thank you for your comment, MDearest! Except for Music and the Spoken Word, I skipped General Conference. Anymore, I like to hang back and pick out 2 or 3 addresses to watch later, based on Twitter buzz, SLTrib coverage, and reader comments here at Wheat & Tares. At any rate, Holy Week has begun and I wish you a good one!
Blown away, in the best way possible. Lots of thoughts, but nothing terribly cogent yet, which is how good poetry always hits me.