Many years ago I found this poem posted to a wall in a church. I don't know who wrote it but it reminded me of how insufferable and small intolerance and small-mindedness is. I copied it on to a scrap of paper and kept it all these years. In this age of intolerance, it has some resonance.
I first became a
member of the church, my
circle was very big...for it included
all who, like myself had believed and had
been baptized. I was then happy in the thought
that my brethren were many...
But having a keen and observant mind, I soon learned
that many of my brethren were erring. I could not tolerate
any people within my circle but those who, like myself, were
right on all points of doctrine and practice. Also, some made
mistakes and sinned. What could I do? I had to do something!
I drew my circle, placing myself and a few as righteous as I within, and
the others without. I soon observed that some within my circle were self
righteous, unforgiving, jealous and proud. So in righteous indignation, I drew
my circle again, leaving the publicans and sinners outside, excluding
the Pharisees in all their pride, with myself and the righteous and humble within.
Then I heard ugly rumours about some brethren.I saw then that some of
them were worldly minded; their thoughts were constantly on things of a
worldly nature; they drank coffee, when, like me, they should drink tea.
So, duty bound to save my reputation, I drew my circle again, leaving
those reputable, spiritually-minded within. I was surprised to
find that only my family and myself remained in the circle. I
had a good family, but to my disgust, my family finally
disagreed with me. But, I have always been right!
A man must be steadfast.
I have never been a factious man!
So in my strong determination,
I drew my circle again,
leaving me quite