While children's poetry is an unusual form for a Leadership article, this is what emerged after reviewing Andrew Sullivan's thought provoking article, "The Forgotten Jesus," in the April 9 edition of Newsweek. I'm glad that the disparity of church behavior with the teachings of Jesus is becoming a prominent national conversation, but it is often framed as a false choice between either Jesus or the church. Still, Sullivan's piece is an important article on the institutional church and the gospel of Jesus in our current American context.

There once was a writer named Sullivan

who wanted to give Christ a mulligan,

so he said "people, please—ditch the Church so diseased,

and remember what Jesus taught us again!"


His article published in Newsweek,

caused Americans widely to now speak

about clergy corruption, and "Christian" eruptions

of behavior not loving or meek.


My thoughts on the matter? As follows:

his argument's not at all hollow,

the critique is well taken, "churchianity" shaken,

an indictment we'd do well to swallow . . .

but I can't recommend his conclusion

(the repeat of an age old delusion);

that if the church lets us down, we should get out of town

and leave "them" to break down in confusion.


See, Christ married critique with communion,

restoration, and holy reunion.

The rich he made poor, but still opened his door

for all sinners to feast and find union.


And so I say listen to Andrew,

but do all you possibly can do

to live well in the church, leaving none in the lurch,

like our Teacher Jesus has shown you.


For the church is a whore, but our mother,

and as much as we might like to smother

those who hijack our lord, we cannot well afford

to leave Jesus behind with the others.

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