Wrong Turn Taken on the Straight and Narrow

Warning: this poem is a little edgy for our churchy audience.  The overall meaning is very thought provoking. 

Wrong Turn Taken on the Straight and Narrow
by Roy H. Williams

In the Land of the Way Things Ought to Be
I’m handsome and wealthy and strong and free.
But in the Land of the Way Things Really Are
I’m struggling and awkward, a bit bizarre.

I threw a party, invited my friends
From the Land of the Way It Might Have Been.
They were heartbroken. A man named Regret
Said they had gotten all they would get.

An Ambassador came, toupee in hand
From nostalgic Way-It-Used-to-Be Land,
Whose sad power comes from cellophane tape
On the box from which we try to escape.

War was declared by the Land of Who Cares
On the Used-to-Be, and all that is theirs.
“You don’t matter at all!” the Who-Cares cried,
“You said we had to, but we found you lied!”

Then there came from the Way It’s Always Been
Ten clones who bellowed, “Transgression and sin!”
They put their strength on the Used-to-Be side,
Shouting as one, “By these rules we abide!”

Onto the scene from the Land of Up Yours
Ran ten independents into the wars
Whose only concern was not being held
To standards imposed by heads that are swelled.

And all of this caused a deeper chagrin
Among those of the Way It Might Have Been.
“Can’t we all be friends?” they asked with big eyes,
Amidst the Up-Yours shouts and the Who-Cares cries.

But their pleas were drowned by the blood and noise
Of the late-arriving Gonna-Be boys
Whose only agenda was loud and long
Dismissal of those who said they were wrong.

And into the darkness the sparks did fly
And lifted like prayers into the sky
‘Til God stuck his fingers into his ears
And from his mouth flowed the music of spheres:

The sound of planets in orbit whirling,
The sound of lavender sunsets swirling,
The sound of smoke from a campfire curling,
The sound of a wondrous truth unfurling.

But none hears the music as they collide
Shouting “Beauty Herself is on our side!”
None hears the music. Not one of these Kings
Sees beauty in what the other one brings.

And the battle does rage, bubble and fizz
In the Land of the Way It Always Is.


About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at www.psmchurch.com

Posted on November 27, 2007, in Daily Word, General. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. is this written by Dr. Suess as a sad/angry christian?
    very interesting!

  2. I had determined a few weeks ago to keep my comments short and humorous, due to several comments from certain family members. However, I can’t help myself today. Just call me hopeless. I sure do not mean to offend anyone here. However, this poem seems to be written from a viewpoint of someone on the outside looking in, an observer more than a participant. The author assumes a superior knowledge of God over the misguided fools he writes about, and from his lofty understanding based on his own human wisdom, bemoans the fact that there is no compromise or unity. The point he misses is that God wrote the manual with the rules and will be the final judge of how they were obeyed. In my humble opinion, this author just joined the motley crew he writes about as one more deviation in the circus of man’s religion. I guess it did provoke some thoughts…

  3. Rob: a couple of things…
    – please explain: ” (he) bemoans the fact that there is no compromise or unity”
    – the author admitted he was a part of the group. reread lines 1-6.

    Joshua and Mr Sensenig, I am calling you out… surely you can give us a good angle.

    Reading these types of work create good dialog.

  4. Acknowledging first that I read the poem twice but have not had studied it indepth. I think the poem is about change. Change is never easy. There will always be ambassdors from the “Land of used-to-be” who want things to go back to the way they once were. There will always be people from “The Way it’s always been” who are comfortable with statis quo. When the “Land of how things aught to be” meets up with the “Land of How things Really Are”…there will be conflict. It’s like the spiritual realm meeting the physical…one of them has to win out. That’s the war. We have to decide which side we are on.

    Mean while, there are so many times when we get wrapped up in the war, we miss God. We miss His voice. We miss what He is saying.

  5. Good thinking, Casy.
    No unity or compromise- : “Not one of these Kings
    Sees beauty in what the other one brings.”

    On your other point: I’ll concede that he had been there, but he must have never invited the Master into his heart and given Him control, else he would realize man can never figure it out on his own. It will always seem fruitless and discouraging because there are as many opinions as there are people. What the author is seeing is man’s debasement of God’s concept of religion. It is why we must always base our existence on the Bible, not men’s opinion. James 1:27 says: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Maybe my initial reaction comes from this poem hitting close to home as I sit in my many generational tower of fundamentalism.

  6. Elizabeth Duecker

    I really don’t write as well as everyone here, but my reaction to the poem was one of sadness. Been there done that sort of feeling. so many people don’t know the love and fullness of Christ and become those he speaks of. Thank God for his kindness and Mercy in my life

  7. this may be totally off the subject, however when i went to church last sunday in san antonio – a woman ::: who spoke to us there (Rev. Germaine Tropez Mathis) the theme was this “The Tie That Binds.”
    in jest, she impressed how we are All sinners and the only thing that is reqired of us as Chistians is to follow the commandments that God has set forth, to Love and praise Him, and to understand that we here are all sinners….”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that WE would have enternal life, according to HIS rule. Now i have been on this venture to seek God and be “perfect” in all ways – I now understand that Jesus died for us on the Cross at Calvery He gave His blood! (for us – the sinners of the flesh……that as long as I can abide by HIS rule and understand that I am of the flesh and I truely ask God to guide my every way………..I AM SAVED! it is so marvelous and hard to understand this at times for me! As for the “fools who are misundestood and searching for thier pleasure – i feel sadened and i pray for all those who seek the Truth. Just had to jump in and let ya’ll know how I FEEL … Janice

  8. oh and folks i have been on this venture for many a year, i believe that with Promised Land, I have found the TRUTH!! God Bless you all!

  9. Janice,
    thanks for your comment. It does take courage to “jump in”. So, welcome! I feel like you are in the right place too.
    don’t worry about understanding it all… all the time. Trust in Jesus. He will be with you!

  10. Man! Yall have covered a some great ground today. I am with Mr. Rob, everyone tells me I say or write to long windedly. However this one is impossible not to. I am as usally probably way off base here, however this is what I gather from this.

    This poem really hits a not to distant home for me. What society views in a whole as a complete fulfilled life, has little, nay actually nothing to do with how far we have really come, nor even who we are. More so it has to do with how far we have transgressed in most cases as a spiritual people. With this, all the baggage we carry continually screams with agony from amidst the emotion within our mind. Constantly reminding us of whom we have not yet become, yet ironically this keeps us fighting to reach the next marker. Perusing dreams of what we have been bread as a race to seek, what we believe will bring us fulfillment, and completion as a being. In the mean time these ideas, and thoughts, these “kings” are fighting to ultimately destroy us, this alone is their eternal task. All the while, God is there, in all of His glory, all around us, in all there is, and all there will ever be, awaiting our return as His creation. Upon this return will we only be able to truly live confidently in the Land of the Way Things Really Are.

  11. I should really proof things before I hit “submit”….Mrs. Kathy is going to have red marks all over the place in her mind.

  12. Calling me out, eh? Well, technically, you called my dad out since he’s “Mr. Sensenig”, but I guess I am getting old enough to be called by such formalities! 😉

    cbgrace had some great insight into the perspective on change put forth by this poem. I think that’s pretty close to where I was going in my mind, too, with this.

    With regard to Rob’s concern that the author claims in an arrogant way to know the heart of God on this issue: I think that God has revealed quite a bit of his heart to us. I don’t think that it necessarily (key word) has to be arrogant to feel like we have an understanding (even if its relatively limited) of the heart of God in some areas.

  13. Ok, Joshua, I let most people slide, if they are not family. 🙂 Sometime I forget to proof before submitting, also.

  14. The way things are and the way things are supposed to be will never live in harmony. The way things are can not ever be the way things are supposed to be because we are not in the land of the way things are supposed to be. We won’t be until Christ returns.
    There is no land of the way things might have been because the way things were is the way they were meant to be….or else things would not have been. Regret is no friend….Regret is the enemy.
    An ambassador coming from nostalgic the way things used to be is no ambassador but our memory. Our memory of the way things used to be….really only holds us down and does nothing to propel us forward. It keeps us in the past. How is that a way to move on…if you’re stuck under that trap.
    The war is being declared on us( christ believers) because we are too stuck in the past to realize the future. We’re over here yearning and yearing for it….when the now is passing us by. Now because of the attack we are seeing the way things really are because we are forced to by the land of who cares.( actually it means the land of who does not care for us )
    On to the scene of the Land of Up yours- means we rushed to war with those who attacked us and brought with us our friends who rely on us to protect them from being overtaken.
    This just caused even more problems because the who cares and the up yours were even more angry with us since it is their way of thinking they believe to be true that got us here to beging with.
    So their attack on us turned against them. We sent more of us to overtake them and GOD is looking down at us and shaking his head. Because all he wants is for us to love them. Even though they want us dead.
    This is the way it always has been…conflict will never end until things are they way they are supposed to be. when christ comes again

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