The God They Tried to Give Me


I’m at Church of Christ Bible camp in Alabama                    Genesis 3:16

& I try to wake up at 5 AM to shower while there’s               Genesis 3:17

warm water left. Pray the alarm on my borrowed                 Genesis 3:18

Nokia phone will wake me in time. Curse under                   Genesis 3:19

my breath every time it doesn’t.                                            Judges 19:24


I don’t quite grasp the concept of submission yet,                Luke 17:32

don’t think of myself as an empty vessel. Instead, I             1 Corinthians 11:3

find my light in the boys who volunteer to lead                     1 Corinthians 14:34

hymns, find my dark in the girls who I know                          1 Corinthians 14:35

to be loud in the comfort of our cabin                                   Ephesians 5:22

reduced to salt in public.                                                         Ephesians 5:23


This year is different than years past. This year,                  Ephesians 5:24

we have archery. Well – okay – I guess technically               Ephesians 5:25

the boys have archery. The girls are expected                        Ephesians 5:26

to just watch.                          Except                                     Ephesians 5:27


I beg the counselor until he lets me try &                               Colossians 3:18

once I try, I try again. I try again. I’m                                        1 Timothy 2:11

better than the boys. Better than I am at                                1 Timothy 2:12

sitting still in chapel, waiting for men to talk at me                1 Timothy 2:13

about beliefs I can repeat but not claim as my own.              1 Timothy 2:14                      


Within ten minutes, the boys are calling me                           1 Timothy 2:15

Lot’s wife & I wonder what my namelessness                       Titus 2:3

means for the girls who know silence.                                    Titus 2:4

I pretend the targets are expectations &                                 Titus 2:5

I send angry arrow after angry arrow straight                            1 Peter 3:1

into the middles, better than the boys can.                             1 Peter 3:2

I’m trying not to cry, trying not to tell them                         1 Peter 3:3

that I’m sure someone must have named her.                         1 Peter 3:4

Must have named me.                                                             1 Peter 3:5                                          

That Lot’s wife isn’t a nobody just because                          1 Peter 3:6                  

men want her to be.                                                                1 Peter 3:7


I won’t return next summer. I will

never look back. 

Rachel Tanner is an Alabamian writer whose work has recently appeared in Peach Mag, Memoir Mixtapes, The Rising Phoenix Review, and elsewhere. She tweets @ rickit.