“May I speak freely Miss?”
“It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another…”
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) – British actorhopes to debut on Broadway next year in a reprise of his role in “Equus,” a performance where he shed not only his clothes but the mantle of .
Radcliffe won rave reviews for his performance as a tortured teenager during an 8-week run of Peter Shaffer’s grueling psychological thriller in London earlier this year, but said the prospect of acting in New York was “terrifying.”
“It will be amazing, but I will be terrified because I was talking toabout playing and he said the most stupid thing you can do is underestimate New York audiences,” said Radcliffe, 18, in an interview with Reuters.
Griffiths, who appeared with Radcliffe in “Equus” in London and played the role of Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies, won a Tony Award in New York in 2006 for his role in “.”
While promoting his latest movie, “December Boys,” in, Radcliffe — best known for bringing to life author boy wizard Harry Potter — said “Equus” could open late next year in New York.
“I would be very nervous because I think that (the audiences are) even more discerning than in London,” he said. “But I know we have a good show, it was a good show when we did it in London and hopefully if we do it again it will still be that good. It has to be better.”
Media hype over Radcliffe’s nude scene in the play sparked more than $4 million in advance ticket sales in London.
“Equus” was first produced in London in 1973 to critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for best play in 1975 during a long run on Broadway. It was adapted by Shaffer for a 1977 film starringand , which received three Oscar nominations in 1978.
“December Boys,” Radcliffe’s first major role outside the Harry Potter films, opens in the United States, Britain andthis month. The movie tells the tale of four orphans growing up at a Catholic convent in outback Australia.
Radcliffe said he will begin working on “” — the sixth movie in the seven part series — this month and that the project would likely take a minimum of eight or nine months.
I guess I am supposed to write something coherent after posting all those articles below. A Canadian MP and his partner were wed in the Maritimes (Yay, Eh!) Mexico is getting blown’ away at this hour and the Queen of Mean is dead “ding dong the witch is dead…’
I’ve been engrossed by my most recent read “The Power and the Glory” Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Vatican. I have to say that if David Yallop has written one true word in his text, if all of what he writes is true, surely, to me, makes me question the life of John Paul II.
We have read through Liberation Theology, Solidarity, England and Ireland and Scotland and even Medjugorje, in what is now Bosnia. When I was a young person, in my home parish, we were visited by the priests of the parish church where the young people were receiving messages and visions of the Blessed Mother. I even had a rosary that was said to have been touched by the Blessed Mother herself. Now a relic of that extreme to have been touched by the Blessed Mother, to me, carried sanctified power of the Blessed Mother and of God.
Last night I was lying in bed reading when I came across this paragraph:
“Karol Wojtyla’s lifelong Marian obsession may have clouded his judgment on the events of Medjugorje. Since 1981 the Vatican has defended its inaction over the alleged apparitions by saying that it awaits pronouncement from the local bishop. The opinion of Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar that the apparitions were ‘hysterical hallucinations’ was confirmed in 1982 when he established a diocesan commission to investigate further.”
I’ve never heard this debunking of a Marian Apparition. If one is to take at face value, everything that David Yallop has written, as fact and certain truth, I must say that he shakes the base of a lot of my base faith beliefs. Much of the read through the latest 227 pages of the book, do not paint John Paul II in very good light. I just wonder how much of this writing is truth and fact and how much is speculation and inference?
This text is hock full of data with places, names and insinuations that John Paul I was murdered because of his move to clean up the ‘church’ and its cover up of the Vatican Bank Fiasco and the involvement of the Italian Mafia and the hierarchy of the church at its highest level.
This text is, so far in my opinion, an indictment of all things sacred and profane during the life of John Paul II. David has gone to great length to inform his readers just how many issues faced the late pontiff, how the world saw him, and what really happened behind the scenes of the “Rock Star Pope.” We know of the double speak, and the issues that John Paul II championed all over the world. David tells us in the text some very damning statistics of the Catholic Church.
“Father Andrew Greeley found in several polls, the following information:
- In 2002 Zogby poll indicated that Father Greeley might soon need to add the United States to those who are ‘no longer Catholic’
- 54% in favor of married priests
- 53% thought there should be women priests
- 61% approved of artificial birth control
- 83% though it was morally wrong to discriminate against homosexuals and on abortion nearly a third disagreed that is was always morally wrong.
In contradiction to those figures, in the same poll no fewer than 90% thought the Pope was doing a good job worldwide in his leadership of the church.
In Australia – between 1971 and 2006, Catholic weddings in a church had declined by over 50%, from 9,784 to 4,075. In the United States the number of priests more than doubled to 58,000 between 1930 and 1965. Since then the number has fallen to 45,000 and continues to slip away. By 2020, on present trends, there will be less than 31,000 and more than half of those priests will be over seventy. In 1965, one percent of US parishes were without a priest. By 2002, 15% – 3,000 parishes – lacked a priest. In that same period seminarians declined by ninety percent.
The same grim picture repeated itself in the figures for Catholic nuns and members of religious orders. Almost half of the Catholic high schools have closed in the past forty years. Weekly attendance at mass hovers between 31 to 35%. Annulment figures have soared from 338 to 501,00. Wherever one looks the story is the same yet the US Catholic Church still proclaimed that within the same period, 1965 to 2002, the number of Catholics within the country had risen by 20 million.
The MYTH of a hugely increased membership is perpetuated not only within the USA but globally. The Church’s definition of a Roman Catholic – a baptized person – flies in the face of the fact that hundreds of millions of notional Catholics subsequently reject the Church’s teachings on a huge range of issues and by doing so, notwithstanding what is written on the baptismal certificates, cease to be Roman Catholics. A non-practising Roman Catholic is an ex-Roman Catholic, or in Vatican-speak a lapsed Roman Catholic.” (Statistic, text pages 205-207, David Yallop).
I don’t disagree with much of David’s writing about the late Pontiff. I know of many of the historical stories that he more than plentifully enlightened. In my study of Papal History, and namely of the late Pontiff, John Paul II, I reserve my scholarly right to look at this text with as David Tracy writes, hermeneutic suspicion.
“All interpreters of religion, whether believers or nonbelievers, can employ something like the theologians sixth sense that to interpret religion at all demands being willing to put at risk one’s present self understanding in order to converse with the claim to attention of the religious classic.
Hermeneutically, I am clearly not bound to either accept or reject and religious claims prior to the conversation itself. But if I would understand that claim, I am bound to struggle critically with the fact that its claim to truth is part of its meaning. To understand the religious classic at all, I cannot ultimately avoid its provocations to my present notions of what constitutes truth.” (D. Tracy, Plurality and Ambiguity, pg. 98)
More to come …
By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer
LONDON –has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.
The Sunday Times newspaper quoted, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling’s, as saying the creator of the “Harry Potter” books is turning to crime fiction.
“My wife spotted her writing hercriminal detective novel,” the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an .
“It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes,” said Rankin, who is known for his own police novels set in the historic Scottish city.
Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in the Scottish city’s cafes. Back then, she was a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home.
Now she’s Britain’s richest woman — worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine — and her seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide.
In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Rowling said she believed she was unlikely to repeat the success of the Potter series, but confirmed she had plans to work on new books.
“I’ll do exactly what I did with Harry — I’ll write what I really want to write,” Rowling said.
The office of Rowling’s literary agent, Christopher Little, was not immediately available to comment late Saturday.
Excerpts from the Introduction from Robin Sharma:
“The whole reason we are alive, I believe, is to grow into our greatest selves and remember the truth about who we fundamentally are. Life will support you perfectly in this quest. You will be sent people, events and trials that will invite you to reveal more of your brilliance and discover more of your possibilities.
Often, your lessons will not come easily. Suffering has always been a vehicle for deep spiritual growth. Those who have endured great suffering are generally the ones who evolve into great beings. Those who have been deeply hurt by life are generally the ones who can feel the pain of others in a heartbeat. Those who have endured adversity become humbled by life, and as a result, are more open, compassionate and real.
We may not like suffering when it visits us, but it serves us so very well: it cracks the shell that covers our hearts and empties us of the lies we have clung to about who we are, why we are here and how this remarkable world of ours really functions. Once emptied, we can be refilled with all that is good, noble and true. Troubles can transform, if we choose to allow them to do so. As Joseph Campbell wrote: “Where you stumble, there your treasure lies.”
“Success is important but Significance is even better!”
Every human being needs to carve out the time to articulate a philosophy for his or her life – it is one of the most important things a person can do. Every person, to live truly and greatly, must define how he wants to live and what his brightest life will look like.
Without this philosophy you will live your life by accident, reacting to whatever pops up within your days. Living like that is a recipe for disaster – you’re just begging for trouble when you live like that.
“Without a philosophy, you just might find yourself on your deathbed and wonder ‘what if my whole life was a lie?’ ”
Rumi says: “Whoever enters the Way without a guide will take a hundred years to travel a two day journey.”
The past is a grave and it makes no sense to spend your life living in a grave. Every ending represents a new beginning. Or to put it another way, you cannot move forward in life if you’re stuck looking in the rear view mirror. As Cicero noted:
‘The souls of wise people look to the future state of their existence; all of their thoughts are concentrated on eternity.’ The key is to learn from your mistakes and build a foundation of wisdom.
“If you do not feel some fear on a daily basis, you are living life within a safe harbor and clinging to the shore.”
When you ask for something you’ve never asked for from someone and your heart starts beating rapidly, that’s when you are truly alive. When you want to say something to someone but the very thought of doing so sends butterflies through your stomach, thats when you are most alive. When you do something that you’ve never done before but follow through on it because you know in your heart it’s something that will make your life richer and better, that’s when you are most alive.
No one discovers their destiny. Your destiny will discover you – it will find you, provided you have done the preparation and inner work required to seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
Carlos Castaneda said it so well: ‘All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimeter of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. The difference between the average person and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this and stays alert, deliberately waiting, so that when this cubic centimeter of chance pops out, it is picked up.’
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
I never thought that doing something good for another would turn around and bite me in the ass. Christian ministry and emergent churches are the new faces of Christian worship and ministry. What I am is immaterial to Who I am. In the past few months as my degree was conferred to me by a University, I was thrust into a position of ministry leadership, not by my own choice, but by popular acclimation of the group who thought that I was the most logical person to lead them, in the wake of a colleague dying.
I have been working in my field here in Montreal for over five years. I work with the addicts, the alcoholics, the sick and the dying. I have probably spent more years in the ACTIVE practice of Christian Charity longer than most of you would even care to consider. When my friends were all dying of AIDS who do you think ministered to their souls, took care of their physical bodies, fed and bathed them and in the end buried them when parents of Christian faith walked out on them and left them in the streets to die alone!
My work was something that my peers and my supporters highly encouraged. I looked all over the world for the model that I would adopt to begin my work here. That church was RE:HOPE in Glasgow.
Let me stop for a moment and say this loud and clear. Just because I am a gay man, does not infer that any people I choose to support, or pray for, or attempt to raise funds for, speaks of the sexual orientation of anyone. There are straight writers on this blog and there are gay writers. They all have good messages and are people that I respect and admire. We all learn from each other.
So I know that RE:HOPE is trying to raise 12,000 GBP for their trip to the Holy Land this fall and I went OUT of my way to try and help them, because it was an easy choice and it was the right choice. I used the term “Partnered” and that has come back to me also.
You may not agree with some of my theology, and the obvious sane fact that I am a gay man of faith – speaks of just how much work I have done in 40 years of life to find my way through Christianity and Catholicism. I take what is good and I leave what is bad.’
Christianity isn’t perfect, and it is truly flawed. But Christ is perfect in his simplicity and direct in his message. People are flawed too in their beliefs and theology. People are imperfect yet God is perfect…
People have commented and Scott has commented about my choice of words and today he writes me to admonish me and to tell me about being careful of what I write, I got that.
What troubled me more – and to the point that – because I am a gay man in Ministry, some have gone as far as to question the sexual orientation of Scott Burns. I have to say that I am disgusted by this little piece of information. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to wonder about the sexual orientation of people? Have we not grown past this little issue? Are we all adults here?
I’ve never met Scott, but I believe in his ministry. Enough to put my own reputation and this blog on the line in the sense of credibility and respect. So what, I am Gay and Scott is not? Does my support of his ministry automatically make him gay or make him suspect? Have we backtracked that much in the year 2007, that doing good Christian work comes with parameters and judgments by some? Of course it does, I should know that.
All of you out there are Christianity Majors and have decades of Christian study and worship under your belts, right? All of you have spent years in University studying Church history, Christian History and Christian Origins. right??? And all of you have spent time in a Catholic Seminary in the pursuit of priesthood as well, I suppose?
I do not make choices rashly or out of one side of my brain. You may not agree with my stance of Church, and you can question my “take” on Christian Theology. I have spent over 20 years of my life studying religion, in seminary and in University so I do know much more about church and Christianity, than the run of the mill lay person or arm chair Christian.
Living with AIDS – over 14 years now gives me certain understanding of what charity and forgiveness and true unconditional Christian love is. I know what doing the right thing is, if you lived with the threat of death every day of your life, knowing just what is going to kill you and how, you either do one of two things, you find FAITH fast or you give up and die.
I took the high road. Seeking ministers, priests and bishops who were accommodating and understanding. I am part of the Anglican faith now because I was told, unequivocally that the Montreal Diocese agrees with the blessing of Same Sex unions. I, in fact, am Married, and have been for now three years. We had a United Church wedding before God and our families.
So if you have a question about my Christian faith – You Ask Me! If you have a problem with me You Tell Me.
I cannot believe that trying to help another ministry would come back with questions, inferences and disagreements. I love it when people come to read, and many do each day. I reach out to millions with this blog, we have even saved a few lives here and there with the work that we do here.
All my kids and my peers and supporters who are part of this ministry are straight. One of them is in Seminary this fall. NONE of them question my ability to serve based on my sexual orientation. My exploration of faith has brought me to this point. And I will even go so far as to say that I probably have a better Christian practice than most of you out there, because you have to deal with doctrine, theology and teaching.
I study Theology and though I may not agree with it, and for the most part I do not agree with any church that limits its membership to those who believe and are straight from those who believe and are gay. I have struggled with this issue for the whole of my life. And I have made peace with it.
I CAN reconcile being Gay and Being Christian, IF You CANNOT then that is your issue, not mine.
I do what I am called to do. I serve where I am called to serve. And I love unconditionally because I am commanded TO! I read scripture too and those six references to same sex, homosexuality and sleeping with a man as to a woman are all scriptures that I have spent a great deal of time, during my studies, trying to understand. I don’t think that you have spent as much time studying scripture as I have in 25 years.
Nobody has the right to judge what kind of Christian I am – or question the ministry that I work with. The reason that we have emergent churches and church plants and Christian ministries popping up all over the world is in response to the way Christianity has played out over the centuries. Nobody is pleased or agrees with the model we have, so we set out and create our own. I have done that after reaching the conclusion after prayer, study and academic work to know that Church Christianity will not work for me – it never has.
I have been a Catholic all of my life, I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary as well and I left because I would not serve Man and also because I was not a pedophile and I was not going to spend another year keep secrets for my fellows and the Catholic administration.
The members of the Anglican faith, here in Montreal, have been planting seeds in my heart for a year. They allowed me to come and go as I please. And they loved me unconditionally. And now I have made a conscious choice to become part of the Anglican communion because the Bishop himself has given the LGBT community a green light in his church. I have already written about this.
Can a Gay Man be spiritually centered – Yes of course he can. Can a gay man lead a church, Many do, quietly. I can tell you how many gay priests we have in Montreal and how many are open about it and they still have parishes and communities. I can tell you that I know a handful of Christian Ministers who will speak on my behalf and tell you that I am as true to Christian faith as I can be.
I hook up with a church I see does good work and I try to style a ministry by its example, maybe partner wasn’t the right term but still, I pray for that community and I work for the betterment of that community and I work tirelessly trying to help them.
I write letters to my supporters on my time to help You, and I get a letter of “this weighs on my heart too much” ok, that’s your issue not mine. I was just trying to help you out of a situation that you placed yourself in, then you wrote about it and asked for help, how many of us listened to you and went out of their way to help you???
And I am admonished for doing something charitable and good. I am told that Some do not agree with my theology! That’s your issue not mine. Some do not agree that a Gay man can be a good example to the people he leads, because of the inherent problem with being gay!
I will tell you here and now that sexual practice in my marriage is between ME – MY GOD and My Husband, and nobody else. Go read my writings on the Sacred and the Profane. Maybe you will learn something about how much I respect the two states of grace. You cannot have the Sacred without the Profane, because they inform each other.
They are married in a coexistence of grace.
I would like to know from you, my readers just what objections you have to what I am, Who I am and what I choose to do for a living? I put those buttons on my blog because the ministries that are there need support either financially or Spiritually. I won’t make that mistake again…
I choose to support the needs of many and they should be grateful that a stranger would put himself out there to help another human being because he believes in the ministry of Christ. So until further notice I will remove all connection and fund raising for any ministry accept my own.
If you cannot understand what it really means to be a Christian and you can’t accept that maybe a Gay man with religious leanings, a full degree in Christian Religion Study and a further pursuance of a Pastoral Ministry Degree in Theology can lead and be a good example and a wise leader, then I invite you to be on your way.
Don’t waste another moment reading here and please, do us all a favor, do not return to this place, because we have no use for you either.
Yesterday I turned forty years old, and I had my own issues with faith, life and death, but to receive a letter of concern, admonishment and as I read it a separation in Theology and Christian faith practice insulted me. And to know that people who have come by here have questioned the dignity of another minister AND question his Sexual Orientation just because his visage and ministry appeared on the side bar of this blog made me sick to my stomach. I thought we were all adults here and that we were grown up enough to lay down our judgments and issues for the shared communion of Christianity. I guess I was mistaken.
Like I said, if you’ve got a problem with me, that is Your Problem not mine. If you don’t have the balls to approach me and state your case, that is also your problem not mine. If you question the way I practice my Christianity, that is also your problem, not mine.
If you do not know enough to understand that I have struggled with Christianity for the whole of my life and that I probably know MORE about the intricacies and minutiae of Christianity than you do – that’s not my problem.
God speaks to me – and he knows I am Gay, He also knows I am HIV positive, so do all my kids, my friends, my peers, and even my husband. They all love me just the same. God Loves me Unconditionally. There is no separation between God and Myself.
I don’t have time to sit here and write sermons like this and justify why I can practice Christian faith because of …. to you. I don’t need to. You can sit your happy ass down and write me and tell me of your concerns with my theology and practice and if I feel moved I will write you back, or even take the time to embarrass myself in front of you by writing a rant like this one again!
I know a lot more about Christian Theological issues than you might think. I have battled with the best and the brightest when it comes to theological and ministerial discussion. And we agree to disagree. The Catholic Church allows me access to the sacraments because it is a RITE of my Catholic upbringing, I was baptized into the church and in all my years only ONE priest saw fit to condemn me openly and with that condemnation he lost his parish and his people, they all left his church! In the Anglican faith I am in full communion with the Bishop’s church and it is high about time. God WEEPS at the intolerance and judgment of Christians all over the world. And we pray for them just the same.
I have studied Papal History and I continue “on my time” to further that theological education outside the classroom. I know all about the Churches laws and decrees, I have studied at great length – the life of John Paul II one of the most important Popes in Modern History second only to John XXIII. I don’t agree with all of his writing, especially about women, birth control, homosexuality and assorted other dimensions of his writing, but you must admit that in the hallowed darkness of his chapel the Pope begged God for forgiveness for some of what he did in public, forced to speak so many words at the consternation of the Holy See and those Bishops and Cardinals who were close to the See of Peter. So I know all of your arguments.
Christianity MUST evolve or else crumble in the ruins of its own intolerance and judgmentalism and condemnations. The Church must change to accommodate the many people who have grown up in a faith and as adults we are divided from the faith because of the stance of those conservative men in certain positions. The curret Pope Benedict will never earn my allegiance or respect, because he is a dog of a man. HE is responsible for much of what John Paul II wrote as he was the man in the position of keeper of the doctrine of the faith, now he is Pope, God help us all…
Faith for me as a gay HIV Positive man is cut and dry. You do good for others, and you love others and you maintain a humble presence in the world and you do no harm. I think that this simple theological model works. Don’t quote me mumbo jumbo theological ideas because all the theology in the world will not change the man I am today and what I choose to do with my life.
Theology is too wrapped up in rules and dogma. I am wrapped up in simple Christian faith for simple Christian people. Faith is simple. Talking the talk is one thing, Walking the Walk is surely another. I can do both – I can talk the talk and I do walk the walk. You ask any of my people about what I do day in and day out, and just how much of my time I spend helping others because I am called to do that and I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised. Men of faith should be this “giving” of their time and talent for the little pittance I make in return. I work my ass off to the bone day and night, I write, I work with others because work was done for me when I needed it to. Ministry is not just about preaching the Gospel to people, but getting down in the gutter with them. How many Christians get out there and really get their hands dirty? Not Many.
So I see a group that gets their hands dirty and I start talking them up and I pray for them and I try to raise funds for them. I do that for my group too. All is not words and bible, show me the money at the end of the day – I don’t make nearly enough to support my house yet, and I have another 18 months to go before I hit my Masters and Pastoral ordination, but I am in the field, I have been in the field for years.
I have been a Christian presence in my Gay Community since I was a young boy, And I was in the trenches when Christians were fleeing like in the exodus from infected sons, daughters and children. I stuck and stayed. I raised money, stood in picket lines and I was there through the worst time when Christians turned their back on men and women who were sick and dying. I WAS THERE! I cannot tell you the countless and thankless hours that I spent in service to my community because NOBODY else would dare touch us or help us. So speak to me about active Christian Ministry. Tell me you know from what people like me lived through in our own lives! Tell me you know the words that self righteous Christians used to condemn people and people lost their jobs, apartments, lovers, family and friends. Were you there?
I can tell you about Christian families that THREW their sons on the STREET, Churches who REFUSED to perform funerals, Christian men and women who worked in funeral homes that REFUSED to process AIDS infected dead boys and men.
This is a double sided issue. Men acted with one another. Men did what they did. Do we condemn them as well? They are all DEAD and I am still alive, so God in his wisdom still sees good in me to fill my lungs with air and gives me life each day. I know how I was infected. I was trying to help another sick soul who LIED to me and then killed himself and I found out After the fact!! So fuck me right? I got what was coming to me right? I was a sinner just like the others. So fuck us !!! right??
Good Christian men kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die already. They believed I had a place in God’s kingdom, even if we did not go to any certain church. I learned Christian Charity from the best. I learned what Jesus meant by Loving others as I loved myself the hard way. I had no choice because good upstanding self righteous Christians could not stomach the horror and filth – the sickness and death. Yet, they could walk into church on Sunday’s and quote scripture and condemn from their Holy Pulpits and pews, UGH it makes me SICK to think about the past…
I can tell you that some of us angry gay men who were Christians who went to school to become morticians so that they could start funeral parlors to give our friends proper burials and I know renegade priests who WOULD perform funerals for us and the minions of people who worked behind the scenes behind the Christian iron curtain who DID walk the walk when we needed it.
I can also tell you about cemetery workers who refused to dig graves and those religious men who stood in the way of us burying those people in hallowed graves. Shall I continue? I can tell you about ministers, Christian ministers TODAY who still condemn us. And you want me to follow their theology?
I think Not!!
And I know good Christian people who loved me when my parents disavowed me and wrote me off as infected goods. I was not immune to judgment and condemnation. I got it from my own family which speaks to the effect that my family has no role or place in my life today – and I am 40 years old and I am still here writing this story.
I was there with Jesus, changing diapers, cleaning up shit and puke and feeding people – And I sat with them until they died, while Christians all over the world sat on their tuffets condemning us and alienating and judging us and telling us that
“AIDS was God’s punishment for our sinful lifestyles.”
I SPIT on the people who did that and I will SPIT on whomever says that to me today.
And God WEPT!!!
Christians could learn from the ministerial work we did in the trenches when it really mattered. So nobody owns the right to judge or critique my Christian life, ministry, theology or practice. Because when I take my last breath – it will then be God and I in a discussion of life review and I know for sure that he will look at me and say:
“Well done, good and faithful servant!”
1 Corinthians Chapter 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-7
Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one, and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
End of Sermon…
This is the first of several writings that have been written especially for my birthday. This is a most wonderful and amazing piece written by a young novelist from the UK, Mr. Ben Leto. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Maybe it was the light.
The words seemed harder to focus on in the blunt milky glow of the evening. Their bare stark scratches on the coarse paper stared up at her without meaning, without images, warmth or sound. She brushed a loose strand of hair from her face, crossed her legs and persevered with a sigh.
Maybe it was the wind, biting at her cheeks with the threat of rain, catching strands of long hair to float out of her like streamers and lifting up the pages of her book like a little girl’s skirt as she runs. Each time her eyes seemed to settle on the text, the page would rise to hover cluelessly on its spine, and her focus would be lost.
From the end of the road an engine roared as it turned the corner. She looked up. It was just a truck. A red truck. Another sigh. She let her head fall back against the bench and rolled her eyes at the clouds looming overhead – rugged bandages against a bruised sky, bulging greys and swollen like rotten fruit.
Slowly she closed her eyes and let the cool clutches of the evening grope indifferently over her. Her stomach was heavy with hunger, her knuckes mere white beads on fingers frozen red with the cold, clutching her disinteresting book like a handhold on the world. Her mind, dizzy and battered and numb, could focus only on the thought of getting home, getting off this damp cold bench, bitten by the perpetual hiss of the wind, and being warm and quiet before the clouds tore open and drenched her.
But there was nothing she could do but wait.
Suddenly she was aware of someone sitting next to her – a slight pressure against the wooden planks at her back, the sound of fabric being crumpled and folded – an undeniable yet inexplicable sensation of another person close by. She shuffled slightly in irritation at this new presence, too close to her own space but not close enough to warrant any more than that, and let out a deep but quiet breath. She would just keep her eyes closed until the bus arrived. If it arrived. Where was that bloody bus anyway? And how long had she been waiting out in the cold already? Another breath heaved through her. Not to worry, it would be here soon enough. Then she’d be home before she realised it, wrapped up safe and warm in her favourite…
“Interesting weather we’re having isn’t it?”
Her eyes snapped open, the milky light of the fading afternoon again flooding her brain.
“I’m sorry?” she asked, glancing to her left.
A short looking man was seated on the bench next to her. It was difficult to tell with him sitting down. He looked about fortyish – perhaps fiftyish with good skin or thirtyish with a bad diet – not too thin, but not too overweight. He was wearing what looked like a faded beige pinstripe suit and a grey motheaten shirt. His hair looked like it was thinning.
“The weather,” he repeated. “Interesting isn’t it?” He spoke softly, with a slight whisper, the way people mutter unconsciously to themselves when they’re deep in thought. Her gaze flicked up. His hair was definitely thinning.
“Um, yes, yes it’s very indecisive,” she smiled politely. His eyes were perhaps too big for his head, or seemed to somehow bulge out of their sockets. As she looked on she realised it was neither. The man hardly blinked at all, making his eyes appear heavy and unreal. She broke her stare and returned her attention to her book.
“Indecisive,” he mused, before chuckling suddenly. “Yes, I suppose it is that.” She looked up and smiled again briefly, before politely continuing to read, hoping that this peculiar conversation was now over.
“Is that a book you’re reading?”
She sighed, and closed her eyes briefly. “Yes, yes it is.”
“I only ask because a lot of magazines look very booky these days.”
“What’s it about?”
“I… I don’t know. I’ve only just started reading it.”
“Is it any good?”
“I really couldn’t say.”
“She dies at the end. I don’t like people getting unpleasant surprises so that’s why I’m telling you. She dies at the end.”
She looked up again. “Who does?”
“The girl in the book.”
“There isn’t a girl in the book.”
“Oh,” he replied, suddenly crestfallen. Then he smiled. “Perhaps you just haven’t got there yet. But you will,” he beamed.
“And when I do… I know she’ll die, right?”
“Right. Well, thanks very much for that.”
“You’re welcome. I do hate people getting nasty surprises.”
“Yes, you said.”
A pigeon slowly shuffled past their feet. It glanced up at her in that way pigeons seem to look at people as if pretending they’re not. She shot it back a look of irritation and it looked away again, pretending it had never looked at her in the first place.
Writing along the lines starting at my last post, “Custodians of a Living Earth,” we take a more serious look at the past for guidance for the future. With all the wars in the world and all the conflict in many areas of the world like the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Iraq and Afghanistan:
“We have Failed to Remember and We have Failed in Never letting this Happen Again.”
I have updated my header with images from that period of time. I happen to have spent an entire semester last Fall 2006 studying the Holocaust. We watched film after film, looking at raw data and Nazi history. I read “Night” by Elie Wiesel and “Survival in Auschwitz” by Primo Levi and I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Montreal and these numbers come from research notes from our class. My goal here is to remind you that we may not call it Holocaust today, Some use the term “Genocide” and millions of people are dying all over the world by war, conflict, division, famine, disasters and so forth and so on…
It Falls to Us to make a Difference, I Wonder if We are Able???
And do We care to even Try? We Must DO there is no Try !!!
The largest Nazi extermination camp.
- Location: Oswiecim, Poland
- Established: May 26th1940
- Liberation: January 27th, 1945, by the Soviet Army.
- Estimated number of victims: 2,1 to 2,5 million (This estimated number of death is considered by historians as a strict minimum. The real number of death is unknown but probably much higher, maybe 4 millions)
From march 1942 until early 1943, it is estimated that about 600,000 Jews were murdered in Belzec extermination camp.
Chelmno, also known as Kulmhof, was a small town roughly 50 miles from the city of Lodz, Poland. It was here that the first mass killings of Jews by gas took place as part of the ‘Final Solution’.
The killing operations began in Majdanek in April 1942 and ended in July 1944. Majdanek also provided slave labor for munitions works and Steyr-Daimler- Puch weapons factory. The estimated number of deaths is 360,000, including Jews, Soviet POWs and Poles.
Sobibor was the second extermination camp to come into operation in the Aktion Reinhard program. Estimated number of deaths: 250,000, the majority being Jews.
Opening for “business” on July 23, 1942, with the beginning of the evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto, some 245,000 Warsaw Jews and 112,000 Jews from other places in the Warsaw district were murdered in Treblinka by September 21. 337,000 Jews from the Radom district, 35,000 from the Lublin district and 107,000 from the Bialystok district also met their death in Treblinka with 738,000 Jews who had been residents of the General Gouvernement. From outside Poland many thousands of Jews were transported to and killed in Treblinka: 7.000 from Slovakia, 8,000 from Theresienstadt concentration camp, 4,000 Jews from Greece, and 7,000 Jews from the Macedonia portion of Bulgaria. In addition to the Jews, some 2,000 gypsies were killed in Treblinka.
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Pictured here is the Very Reverend Gene Robinson preaching at the Out Mass at the Christ Church Cathedral last year. Seated behind him to the left in the presider’s chair, is The Very Rev. Bishop Barry B. Clarke, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal and our preacher for tonight’s Out Mass which was held earlier this evening.
I was amazed, astounded, overjoyed and very pleased to hear this blessed man tell the entire congregation without skipping a beat, that his church is moving forwards, that ALL are welcome in his church, man or woman, child and elder. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans gendered. He also said the words we were waiting to hear from a leader of the church, that in his opinion, NOT to respect and bless same sex unions was troublesome.
He talked about the Anglican Church at large and he set his staff in the ground and said that he welcomes everyone into his church, for what would Jesus do? Following his example, he stated emphatically that he 100% supports the blessing of same sex unions even if the church at large is still wrestling with the issue.
The church is ever more blessed for the diversity that finds comfort and truth under its roof. It is diversity that makes Montreal a truly special city. For what did Jesus do? He sat with the poor, he ate with them, he healed the sick and he loved those on the periphery, those on the margins of community.
In some churches you find that some are marginalized and kept out and away. But in Bishop Barry Clarke’s church everybody is welcome and everyone is free to pray, to worship and to come to the Lord. He told us to persevere, to be persistent in our prayers. Eventually, that door will open. And prayerfully and with a right heart we shall approach it when it does.
He said that the persistent man is rewarded. From the Gospel passage from the book of Luke Chapter 11:1-13
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation
Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’
“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
This is the teaching that he shared with us tonight. To keep praying, to keep coming to church because everyone is part of the church, everyone, not just some. We shall be persistent in our prayers and consistent in our Christianity. We will keep knocking until that door is opened to us. It was a wonderful mass, the choir was heavenly, the music, once again, lifted me out of my body.
I had my prayer beads in my hand during the communion hymn and I was thinking about Shirley and for a moment, I was praying for her soul, and I felt her – I knew it was her because of the energy and the feeling of maternal love. After mass I talked to our celebrant, the Reverend Joyce and she is going to say a mass for Shirley on Tuesday, July 31st – My Birthday at noon. I will start my birthday with mass for both of us and then go to coffee and celebrate at a meeting. How much better can life get???
After mass I was talking to Rev Canon Joyce, and she asked me how I liked the sermon and I was just smiling, and she looked at me and said “I think we are in the clear!” After that prophetic and positive statement from the church, by the Bishop, unequivocally stating his support of the LGBT community and that of his support in blessing same sex unions, that when the day comes when the church finally catches up to us, we will have same sex blessings in our church, in our diocese, in our community. That the Montreal Anglican diocese does not agree with the stance of some bishops after the
This is the exterior of the Christ Church Cathedral…
I’m reading again, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” and I am in the mindset to write about the custodianship of the living earth. The earth is in a shift, I think we can all agree on that – and attention is now on prevention and maintenance of the earth as it exists today. I have written recently about the fact that many people in my own community are not “Being Maintained” by anyone, they are lost among the crowd, banished to sidewalks, doorways and shelters. What can I do to change that? Write…
What if the governments of the world decided to stop warring and fighting amongst themselves? How much money would we have to spend on other things like food, shelter and water? I heard a comment on late night radio last night that
“There will be wars fought over drinking water!”
I am sure that there are some who think about the Order who seek to bring down the number of earths inhabitants by the millions. There is a surplus in population in certain areas of the world, and for some that is too much, and they would rather see them eradicated than to house and feed them.
The earth is sputtering on its axis. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricane, Oceanic changes to salinity and food source and the cooling of warm water fisheries all over the globe are causing catastrophic changes to major areas of the worlds oceans. How many more signs do we need from Mother Earth to tell us that something is wrong? And if we don’t stop with our preoccupation with war, division, killing and ignorance, that when “IT” happens we will not survive whatever IT will unleash.
I know better than to sit in my what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda! I can look out my windows from here and see trees and grass and the mountain off to the North. We can look out at our world and know that there are forests and people and animals who live amongst that forest. Forests are burning – trees are dying – infestations of beetles are killing swaths of forest across Canada, borne on the winds moving West to East. But I wonder what haven’t we done as custodians of the earth to try and mitigate these things from happening.
What if, The Almighty came down from heaven and told warring factions to lay down their arms, and those in power were removed and power was granted to the masses to govern themselves and the wars stopped all over the earth, not just in certain areas. All the warring areas on the globe. What if we heard from on high that “they” believe that wars fought over ideologies and factions needed to end today, right now, for us to stop killing each other and become custodians to one another. How would that change the face of the earth?
Is there a way for the world to get up and state unanimously that the wars should end? Can we impeach presidents around the world, in countries that are sponsoring, funding and are waging wars on other peoples? Do you see what I am asking here?
We truly need to depose several key world leaders, and the American President AND his entire cabinet need to be removed from office, sooner than later. Because America has been hijacked and “Nazi Control” is becoming an adjective to explain George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush, we are not With you –
And We Stand Against You!! It is time to leave Office…
DO WE want to maintain another Hitler in office? Do we want this man making law and imposing unconstitutional amendments upon his people and the world? Because if he does it – the world is watching and you know, the only reason Hitler was so successful at what he did in the Holocaust, was because the people listened to him, and if the American President can do what he is doing, that gives free reign to other leaders to do the same!!! Bush still has the ears of many world leaders, who are not MAN or WOMAN enough to say NO! We will not follow you. So what do we do?
There are some in power who would see people determined to be locked down and subjugated. That is already happening all over the globe, in many countries. Darfur, Sudan and in other areas of Africa, people are corralled into camps, with no water, electricity or better yet SHELTER. People are being slaughtered by militia men. We need to stop them and the killing needs to end. Genocide is happening in OUR time once again, and on many fronts, we must stop the genocide because:
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
In the Middle East, the most contentious area of the globe, not to mention Iraq and the Fertile Crescent area of the world including Afghanistan, the militias and the Taliban are trying to eradicate (on a mass scale) entire peoples akin to the likes of Adolf Hitler. If we prayed for the savior to come again and save us, this would be the time and the place.
We must now act, decisively and verbally. We need to lobby those who are in power to do the right thing. We need to Impeach the President. We need to stop the killing in Darfur, we need to stop the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. We need people on the ground who can be trusted to help reconcile the factions that are fighting with each other and those factions who have fighting going on within themselves. We need ambassadors to get in the game and negotiations must be made to end the worlds strife and wars. If we don’t start this now, WHO is going to take our place later to hold those in office accountable for
“Crimes Against Humanity”
It’s not about who – but What is in this photo, read on…
There are too many people around the globe, being ignored. There are entire continents and nations of people that need to be cared for, not to forget those people in warring countries who need to be fed, re-housed and repatriated back to where they came from, those who had to flee to save their own lives. Rich countries sit back and say “we are doing all we can for those inside our borders.”
Yet on the European continent we know for a fact that there are disenfranchised peoples, in the millions, who are not being cared for properly because of the arrogance of status, ethnic superiority and ignorance to accept everyone for who they are not what form of dress or religious affiliation they identify with.
It comes down to the people to start the tide of Anarchy and Dissension. It is time to take back our land and our government from those who have taken it from us. They have been poor stewards of the land, the environment and of peoples. We must stop this – there is too much conflict in the world, so much that any “other” needs are being ignored at the expense of the whole, for a chosen few.
It Is Time to:
Bring the Soldiers Home – Stop the Wars. You either follow certain prescriptions here: (1) You bring ALL warring leaders to Justice, (2) Let them kill each other and save us the headache, or (3) You bring ‘Just’ Diplomatic Solutions to Warring Factions and Areas – and Sit Down and HAMMER out Peace Agreements and Co-Existence Clauses.
Isn’t it time to sit down and think and come to the realization that what war has done for the last 4 years has NOT worked, so let’s allow the Diplomats to work on Peace.
The Mission is NOT Accomplished.
Peace and Democracy has not been attained and WON’T be attained with the present course of action. WAR does not create Democracy – it Breeds Contempt, Rancor, Hatred and brings Division instead of creating Unity.
In Stopping Wars, Governments Agree to Equal care to all Soldiers repatriated home and for their families. And Agree to Rebuild war torn areas with the funds used to carry out war, and Care for those most affected by the war in their Respective regions.
This applies to Canada and the United States and All Countries involved in wars worldwide. It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against WAR!! It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against a President or a sitting Prime Minister.
Democracy is built on the premise of government for the people by the people !! Well People need to start speaking out for Change…
The ‘People’ are being AND have been hugely ignored, save those who support the puppet in office and his cronies he protects. The Ship is Sinking – and is Going down. Who is going to save us? It comes down to us, those of us who are writing around the world, to speak up and ask each and every one of our readers to join this movement. To call your leaders and rulers to task, to make them accountable not only to you the citizens of the country that you reside in, but also to the immigrants who have resettled there as well. Leaders need to be accountable to the earth as well.
Or We Shall Pay when Catastrophe Occurs
We cannot remain self absorbed and self centered. We must step beyond the borders of nationalism and ethnic superiority. We all must be made equal, in that we must begin to love and take care of each other and to become custodians of the world at large, and it begins with me. It begins with you. It continues with US. We must, with a resounding voice say “we have had enough of this…” It is time to end this.
Before We Kill Each Other Trying to create Peace !!!
We must become better custodians to the earth. If we stop the raping and pillaging of the land, we must stop the wars, we must stop the killing of innocents. We must stop the tide of suicide bombers. West and East must come together. The West and The East must agree NEVER to wage war again, however possible that is… We must find peaceful and RIGHT means to the future sustaining of the worlds populations. We MUST find an earthly solution, if we must, a heavenly solution.
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
We have invited several well known and brilliant writers to come and write selections for my Birthday Celebration next week. The brilliant Cooper from BC on the Peoples of the West Coast, And Novelists – (The Misanthropic Anarchist) Ben Leto from London England and our very own Haiku author of Montreal, the most amazing Angela Leuck.
It will be a most beautiful day of writing, poetry, prose and story. I hope you all will join us on Tuesday July 31st…
1. Episode IV: Star Wars – A New Hope, Were we all that young once, 1977? I was 10 years old when Star Wars opened. I was in New Britian Connecticut and we saw the movie at the Twin City Theatre, across the street from Twin City, a department store that my mother worked at when I was a young person. I have memories of that time, for some strange reason. A lot of them.
I loved movies and I went to the movies every chance that I got. Along with music and reading, I had free access to go anywhere I wanted at a moments notice. Over the last forty years, we see certain movies come and go – we collect them like wisdom manuals for future reference.
Did we think then, that Star Wars would have such an effect on young people as it did then? I know adults who were in my life at that time, who did not take to the archetypal themes and wisdom as the young people did over the years – as the following films made their debut’s.
2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, came out in (1980) I was 13 years old.
and it had a huge effect on me. I remember sitting in the back of the theatre at “The Falls” in Miami when it came out. I was in junior high school. The Star Wars movies repeated throughout my life. We watched them like time markers at certain life intervals. To see how we had changed and evolved since the first time we watched them.
I was at Movie Land today and I was looking for something to watch on DVD, and I had picked up a couple movies, but then after wandering around, I ended up in the Science Fiction section and I was thumbing through the Star Wars movies. And brought Episodes IV, V and VI home.
I find myself watching them again, and I posted the Yoda sayings and I mused on the fact that for me, I have followed most of that advice over the years. That Star Wars did play a factor at the way I see the world around me and live my life. It may have been slow and coming and sometimes seemed to stop all together, but in the end, we find our selves here, discussing the spiritual teachings of The Archetypal figures from Star Wars and the value of the Star Wars wisdom.
You imagine, or I imagine, what the world would be like, if the adults of that time, took to the figures in the movie, would life have changed much or very little? If the world was in a different ‘place’ spiritually, economically and socially? I think those of us who grew up in the light of Jedi Wisdom benefitted more from it than perhaps our parents.
3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, came out in (1983) I was a junior in High School at age 16.
That was a very impressionable time in my life. A lot of personal and emotional upheaval. I lost my grandparents, and my parents were in self destruct mode, and let’s fuck up the children mode. So any escape out of reality was fantastic.
4. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, came out in (1999) I was 32 years old.
I was amid one of the most painful periods of my life. Being far away from anything in the middle of no where did not help me. I was in slip-self destruct mode. I was living with evil incarnate, and I had that battle with the Dark Side that almost cost me my life. But somewhere in the universe there was the force, because it saved me from imminent death.
5. Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, came out in (2002) I was 35 years old.
Ah, the light at the end of the tunnel had come. I was on my way to a new life in another country, sober and cleaned up. I was going to finally make something of my little life, which up until then had not gotten very far. Gay boys with HIV did not get very far in the united States, some have succeeded, but I did not. It was either a life of substandard poverty or a move to greener pastures. I was in Montreal by Spring 2002, I was on my way.
6. Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, came out in (2005). I was 38 years old.
The watershed movie of the Summer, the final episode of the Star Wars Saga was coming. We would finally have the last installment of the six films – where we learn how Vader came to be and where Luke and Leia came from and where they grew up. The journey was coming to an end. I had lived 40 years to see the culmination of George Lucas’ dream come to fruition.
How did Star Wars affect you in your life? And what reflections do you have over the last 40 years, in regards to the way you live, and how certain films made an impact on you throughout your life!
We will discuss this topic in Comments:
NO!! Try Not …
DO, or DO NOT!! – There is no TRY!!
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
The dark side is quicker, easier, more seductive.
Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Size matters not.
Your ally is the Force. A powerful ally it is.
Life creates it [the force], makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we.
You must feel the Force around you.
Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past. Old friends long gone.
You must learn control.
Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.
Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.
If you choose the quick and easy path, you will become an agent of evil.
Strong is Vader. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.
When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. Hmm?
Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.
Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.
Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.
Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.
Today’s Meditation from: The Real Live Preacher
A New Abraham and a New Earth
Have you noticed the great evil that comes from religious exclusivity? Whenever one group of people claims that they have some kind of special arrangement with the Creator and all previous ways of relating to God are not to be tolerated, evil inevitably follows.
Zoroastrians gained power in Persia and promptly threw out the pagan religion of the Magi. Christians threw out the Pagans in Europe after stealing most of their holidays. Mayday, Christmas, Halloween, Easter – it’s all spiritual booty.
Jews have hated Arabs and denied their right to live in the traditional Biblical lands. Arabs returned their lack of hospitality with as much passion. They all give as good as they get.
Christians march into places where primitive peoples practice ancient faiths, some of them not practiced anywhere else in the world. And we tell them to forget their traditional ways and give their hearts to Jesus so they won’t burn in hell.
The Taliban persecutes infidels and destroys ancient Buddhist statues by blowing them to pieces with their tanks.
Everywhere you look, the children of God wage physical and spiritual war against each other. The blood never stops flowing, and the rest of the world looks on in amazement. When will we learn that you can’t force people to change their ways of expressing faith and devotion to the Creator?
At some point your spirit or your gut or your humanity must speak to your theology. At some point you look at your holy book, and you look at all the death and terror and ugliness that comes from fighting people with other holy books and you say, “To hell with it. I’m not doing this anymore.”
At some point you look at the sacred rituals of the people you have come to save, and you fall silent. You sit quietly and listen to their ancient songs and stories. You watch their bodies perform dances that predate Christianity and are about to pass out of existence. And you ask yourself, “How is it that I have eyes but did not see?”
At some point you look at the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount, then you look at the bodies littering the streets and the children living in squalor and you say, “Enough is enough! Burn every Koran and every Bible if we must, but the lot of them are not worth the lives of these children.”
At some point don’t you start listening to the spiritual stories of other people and find the beauty and the common ground in them? At some point don’t you realize that our myths are delicate, like environments? The oldest ones are very fragile, and many have already been lost. At some point don’t you come to understand that these things are worth saving?
HEY, RELIGIOUS GUYS!
Humanity is moving on, fellas. You can get onboard the tolerance train or you can stay behind, but this train is leaving the station. Humanity is going to a new place.
Your way has not worked, and anyone with an ounce of sanity knows that. Beat your chalices and your pulpits into ploughshares. Hell, beat your sacred books into ploughshares too, if that’s what it takes. Beat everything into plowshares, but you better get on this train.
It may take a century. It may take several centuries, but the Day of the Lord is coming. The year of Jubilee is at hand. This Ramadan will last all year, and we will party like it’s 2099.
The Lord God Almighty, He who created the heavens and the earth does not need you. God can raise up children from the stones and from the dirt beneath your feet. He’s done it before. He can find a new Abraham, if that is His desire. There is always someone ready to hearken unto the voice of The Lord.
So come on guys, we’d rather take you with us. You’ve played such an important role in our history, and there is deep beauty and ancient wisdom in your traditions. We’ll listen to you. We’ll try to see the beauty that you speak of, if you’ll just quit yelling and shooting at us. Hell, we’ll even pitch in and help you rebuild the sacred monuments that hatred has torn down.
It would be sad if the children of Abraham were to miss this train and end up nothing more than a sad footnote in the story of humanity.
One solid foundation of any young persons life, is that of Youth Ministry. It was the one place where kids from different backgrounds, lives, and ages came together once a week to sing, to congregate and to celebrate what it means to be a young person and a Christian. For many of my friends at that time, broken homes was something of a phenomenon. Everyone I knew during those days had parents either coming to, deep within, or on the outs ‘of’ divorce. I was stuck somewhere in the mix of ‘they have no clue what to do!’ They will either kill each other or they will end up in separate ends of the house until the end of time. But I digress…
We had fearless leaders, who took us on journeys of personal growth and discovery. We were taught the ABC’s of Christianity, and back then, when I was a teenager, disclosure of ones ‘following of Jesus’ was damn near impossible to maintain, because you know those ‘Jesus Freaks!’ I look back on that time in my life and it pains me to think about it. How hard it was for Christianity (the being born again in Christ) life was so foreign to kids of the 80’s who were all about rebellion and Satan and all things ‘profane!’
Yes, even at the high school I attended we had our cliques of people. The preppy boys and girls, the jocks and the sporto’s, the sinners and the titty girls. We had our local 214 dead heads who smoked pot in the parking lot. The geeks who gathered in the science labs, and we also had our share of ‘Satanists.’ This was serious business. These guys were not fooling around with the dark arts, they ‘were’ the dark arts incarnate.
They at one time had such fear running throughout the school that teachers were afraid of them, one case in point, I had an amazing Algebra teacher who just had a new child, and these kids threatened to kill that child and the teacher. This was no simple kids threat. Needless to say they posed quite a conundrum to the ‘new Christians coming up through the ranks.’ They haunted and shadowed us like demons where very we gathered to pray and read our bibles. I took a bible study class in a high school setting in my junior year of high school. And I am rambling…
I’m headed for the ‘Born Again’ theme.
After these past years in the pursuit of sobriety and then the years spent acquiring a four year degree in the study of religion, I have some hindsight to a specific period of my life and I can look at my youth as a ‘burgeoning’ young Christian boy, I can appreciate what it must have been like for the first Christians to identify themselves on a wide scale within a society and community of ‘others.’
They took us away to Camp Get Away for weekend sojourns with our friends, peer leaders and leaders. Trusted servants to the church community, who took time out of their busy lives to feed us spiritually. They ask me, if there was one time you could return to, as it was, to relive once again, (like the diet Pepsi commercials) it would be to my years during high school, because it was so hard, and so difficult, but at the same time so sacred and the most incredibly amazing time of my life.
The program followed you through your first year in the youth group where we were the newbies on the block. Each year a new crop of kids were brought to Christ through a finely orchestrated plan of action that was the Youth Ministry of my home parish. That was 10th grade, the same year I was confirmed into the Catholic Church.
I remember the night – that first night, after a four hour bus ride far away from the lights of the big bright city, we got to the camp, lit by candle light. It was the most incredible time of my life. On that weekend we were broken and brought to the Master through talk, testimony and service. We learned what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus, that meant something particular at that time, seeing that so many of us were living in homes that did not bode well for the fostering of Christian youth trying to follow the message and teaching of Jesus.
Can you imagine what it is like to come home from a weekend at Camp Get Away – bible in hand, profession of faith on your lips, and a testimony before two thousand people sitting in the church upon our return to hear a parent say “Jesus Christ, what have they done to you?” Imagine how hard it was to maintain Christian values when your parents constantly fight, your father constantly up your ass with his hatred, bigotry and racism and disdain for all things noble and Christian and Holy!!
Not to mention the life you were re-entering back in school on Monday morning, when you tell your friends that you met Jesus over the weekend and wasn’t it swell!! As they roll their eyes and walk away in disbelief, you try your might to stick with your friends that went to school with you – that just came off the mountain, with that glow of Jesus still alive on our faces and in our hearts.
The finding Jesus on the Mountain experience was the most incredible point in my young life. Short lived as it was, I had the youth ministry to help me along the way. A haven of sorts that I, we, could go to and hang out on any given night – all night in some cases. We used to find ourselves sitting on the hoods of our cars in the parking lot of the church until all hours of the night talking about life, safe within the property of Mother Church. The chapel was open all night long, the blessed sacrament always there to give us strength.
Not long after our first ‘Mountain Experience’ we were invited to return to that mountain to get another glimpse of the Holy of Holies, through the veil of the Holy Spirit. We packed hundreds of kids on 5 mega size buses and made the trip to Camp Get Away again. The second time up the mountain was so much sweeter because we knew where that ‘mountain’ was now. We learned about being ‘baptized in the spirit’ and we were all there in that ‘Upper Room’ waiting for that Pentecost to come for us too. The Spirit would be called down upon us and we would see and know for sure the Love of Jesus once again.
The second time coming ‘down the mountain’ was not as painful as the first time, because we now knew what to do to maintain that ‘mountain top’ feeling when we got home. We had begun to build that community of faithful kids that knew where to find each other at any time of day or night. We created safe places for each other. I spent A LOT of time in other people’s houses and bedrooms during those years of my life, because my father went through a very ruthless period in his life. I knew too much and he had to stomp me every chance that he got. God bless him…
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…
There happened to be one particular portion that made this journey into Christianity a little softer. That was the dawn of Contemporary Christian Music. Singers like Amy Grant, (whom I am listening to at this very moment on my pod), The Imperials, and groups like Petra and many others. Contemporary Christian music was the soundtrack to our lives back then. We had a DJ that carted hundreds of ‘records’ (yes we had records back then) with his stereo and turntables to Camp Get Away and he would serenade us with Holy music that was uplifting and sometimes painful.
Much of the life of a young Christian boy or girl was shaped by the music that was the backdrop to any retreat. Even today, if I hear a particular song, (I collect Contemporary Christian Music from the 80’s) I will be transported directly to a specific point in time – I can see it, feel it and can describe in fine detail exactly who I was with, what was going on and why that piece of music impacted me so deeply.
Where do you hide your heart???
The entrance to any meal was met with – Come on in the Waters Fine, Leave on shore your troubled mind…
Amy Grant was one of those artists that was coming up the pike when I was a teenager.
My Father’s Eyes, was one of the first albums we all had to have because she was the singer that led us into our Christian lives. We used to sit at each others houses just listening to her sing, because that music was played during Camp Get Away weekends, and music had instantaneous capabilities of transporting you right back up the mountain, as if we were standing there right now.
Sing your praise to the Lord …
One of the duties that I wish I had the ability to do today – would be to take young people up that mountain to find Jesus – like I found him so long ago, because today I can share a complete journey of coming into my own ‘Christianity.’ That journey started over 25 years ago. What a journey it has been – what a life it has been – and Jesus is as alive today for me as He was then.
I have come full circle now. That first introduction to Jesus in that church as a child, by my grandmother on the sanctified day and hour, grew to a high school boys meeting Him once again as a teen ager, and now as an older adult I understand what Christianity means to me as the man I am today in the words I teach my fellows who stand on the path with me.
In a Little While – We’ll be with the Father Can’t you see him smile…
I have decided,
I’m gonna live like a believer,
Turn my back on the deceiver,
I’m gonna live what I believe…
More tomorrow… maybe