DOCTRINE AND LIFE

It seems to me that intellectual assent to

Some doctrinal formula

Won’t cut it

If you stay the same person

Or rebirth isn’t new birth at all

And repentance is but a Biblical, Latinate word

Some say faith will do it, alone

Some say without works, faith is dead

If I stay the same, the same nature, natural man, I’m dead

I shudder, chagrin at where I’ve been

And in the development I know hope blossoms

Planted in this fallen, fallible flesh, this clod of clay

Torment, foment, and a breath of inspiration

Bringing life,–they say I’m living better

If living matters amid faith alone

All I can say, can see, is I’m less restless, fractious, caustic, cynic

I know life is better for me, some serenity

I don’t know if it’s the Spirit moving over the faces of the deep

If it’s rebirth,

Or even if new life matters amid intellectual assent to

Some doctrinal formula

I know what I am, and what I am agrees with me

And I agree, assent, with the life coming at me

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LEARNING TO OUTGROW LIFE HERE

Although age slags and weakens my body

Though my agility, flexibility grow heavy and stiff

My soul grows, grows light, fills with light

Enlightenment matters more than matter

Wisdom—age’s donation to

This deteriorating flesh—

Grows as powers fail and hours fill

With matters other than those of the body

Other realms than matter suggest

Youth’s vibrant spirit

Returning in other realms when

This matter has had enough and spirit matters

My purpose here fulfilled

My soul outgrown this flesh and bone

This mortal community, camaraderie

As age passes on its lessons

Learning to outgrow life here