If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. - Mark 9:42-48


One of them came in wet with a millstone and a rope
knotted around his throat gasping for air having dragged
the damn thing up from the bottom of the river
where he once was baptized a while back
because he had cursed at a child for high pitched screaming

Another came in with her right hand
hacked off – she was left-handed –
and she dripped crimson drops all the way
down the hall to Jesus' living room
admitting she had used the missing appendage
to flip someone off in traffic for cutting in

One more limped in with a lopped off foot
in his hand and he dropped to the floor sobbing
because he had tripped someone in line
in front of him to get a better seat
at Bonnaroo this year to see Radiohead

Then there was the disciple who had an eye patch
and fumbled her way through the door
having glared at her next door neighbor with
a bitchy stare because she looked so freaking good
in that new dress and those shoes with red soles
and wished she would trip and tear her ACL

They gathered around Jesus, each face
with a seriousness that puzzled the good Lord
except for the one with the plucked out eye –
it was hard to look puzzled with the patch and all.
He looked at them and said,
holding back an uncharacteristic chuckle:

For God’s sake, stop damaging yourselves.
You know I was kidding, right? 
Have you heard of hyperbole, people?
Just don’t do those mean things anymore
and if you do, say you’re sorry, make amends, and move on.
Lift up the lowly and respect the helpless.  
 It’s just not that hard.
Come on, folks!  Get over yourselves!
You're not that bad, and you're not that good.

And then they ate supper and he taught them
many more things that they misunderstood.
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