Now that people are becoming more aware of my poetic efforts, interests are being expressed regarding the background of my poetry - in addition, to my spiritual muse. In this installment, I speak to a poem that ends in a direction, not initially considered...
I've attended Church services for more than 3.5 decades; as a youth, I was raised in a Baptist Church (in southern Maine). For those unfamiliar with this division of Christianity, there's nothing more important than studying "The Word of God". And hear me - there is nothing inherently wrong with studying the Bible; it's one of those necessities as a Christian. And for me personally, it just wasn't enough. As much as I love The Word, having a real and personal relationship with Jehovah became more obvious and critical for my spiritual growth. Eventually, I found my way into the Pentecostal Church, got filled with the Holy Spirit and learned to speak in tongues. Accepting this gift (of tongues) raised my ability to build my relationship with Christ. In effect, it significantly improved the way I'm able to give praises to God and to talk with Him. I share this background information to give a flavor of my thought process (that influences my spiritual writings) - and not as a criticism for those who have not accepted this gift from God. (People who have read my poetry should readily agree that it's fairly evident that my writing is based on the Scriptures and does not contradict the basic tenets of the Christian faith.)
In order to remain within my profession of I.T. (Information Technology), I've had to relocate to different U.S. states on the east coast. So I found myself living in southern Connecticut for about a decade. For more than three years, I attended this popular Church in Milford. Despite my own "baggage", I was a productive Christian, giving my time, talent, tithe and offerings to the Church freely and whole-heartedly. As a result, I started to dream of how I could give more of myself to Him - to be able to give my entire life for God's purposes (as He intends for everyone). My poetry manuscript was completed and blindly rejected by the Church - the clergy was not interested or curious about the "Christian poetry" I had written. Undeterred, I had already started working on additional poetry manuscripts. Wanting more of Christ in my life, fascination with Enoch began to grow at this time; very little about him is shared in the Bible and I never thought to research him on the Internet. The pages of my Bible are written upon with notes, concepts and ideas as I studied The Word and listened to sermons throughout the years. And yet, I noticed how little commentary about Enoch was known to me in my notes. What did Enoch know that the rest of us fail to understand? At the beginning of the Wednesday evening service, parishoners are allowed to submit questions - to be addressed directly by the bishop, prior to the evening service. I had begun assembling my poem fragments and phrases, but had not started the construction of the poem itself. So one night I submitted a simple question: "Why don't we know more about Enoch's life?"
I've come to learn that preachers are fickle creatures; they claim to be "dead men" - people who are unoffendable when interacting with less knowledgeable individuals in spiritual matters. And yet, with my analytical brain and decades of Church experience, I naturally rub minsters against their grain. After all, "iron sharpens iron" and my words catch on their spiritual burrs - which is something that ministers typically don't fully appreciate when dealing with me. My innocent submission uncovered an overly sensitive nerve, quickly made apparent by the bishop's unrighteous reaction to my inquiry. Instead of answering my question in a positive and forthright manner, he exploded into a contrite diatribe "of how I suffered from an escapist's mentality". Naturally I was unimpressed with his carnal response and came to the immediate conclusion that he didn't have a viable response. I'm fairly sure that this event wasn't lost on the congregation either; for when someone avoids answering a direct question, people can easily draw their own conclusions. When the time came for me to compose this poem, the minister's words were still grinding on my spirit - thus setting the tone of this work. Although different from my other poems, I can't say that I'm disappointed with the ending of my poem, given the actions of Christ's dealings with the Pharisees and Saducees. If anything, I've followed His earthly example. This poem is my reaction to the bishop's inability to provide me with a solution that I had sought.
P.S. Although there are other people who never experienced death, such as Elijah, who was taken to heavenly in a fiery chariot, Enoch was essentially snatched away by the "Hand of God", so that "he was no more". No other documentation exists, that details those who prevented their physical death in this particular way.
Logic, when applied to people, fails miserably! --Joseph J. Breunig 3rd