The Circle

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.


THE CIRCLE

When

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

alone.