Finally Did It

I finally submitted a piece of writing to an anthology based on Jack’s life.

I didn’t tell my proofreaders what it was based on but the comments I got are pretty interesting. One called it “immersive” and the other said it reminded him of the way an author from the first half of the 20th century would write about this. I wasn’t even trying to write in Jack’s voice but I think it came through.

It remains to be seen if this will be accepted to the anthology. If not I’ll shop it around. I think it’s worthy of an anthology somewhere.


From Here…

From here I have to wonder what the truth behind my experience of reincarnation is.

Intellectually I know that there were traditions in Judaism and early Christianity that were friendly to the idea of reincarnation, among them gnosticism. But I find myself less attached to gnosticism; my theology feels like it only touches on some gnostic ideas but I’m feeling less enthusiastic about whether one can truly pursue an enlightened path exactly as I am, a libertine with indulgent tendencies.

I’m not sure quite what to believe. I don’t buy for a moment that what I saw of those lives- William, James, Jack, and Phil in particular- was some demonic deception because demonic deceptions don’t drive one to seek God. I know the channels by which these flashes came to me as my own channels, even as I know my own memories, my own thoughts, and my own will.

But were they lives I lived? And if we reincarnate what does this mean for our destiny at the end of days? I cannot believe that the universe will exist in infinity; neither scripture nor science would support that. Perhaps another universe would emerge from the Fifth Dimension at some point in time but when this one dies in its inevitable heat death, where will we be? What becomes of mind when there is no matter in which to manifest?

There was a thought I had, that these were souls with whom I shared some affinity, who in late 2012 entered my body in preparation for God’s Judgment- perhaps even to receive one last chance at redemption through me. But that raises serious questions, like “what did I do wrong last time?” What could any of them have done in their lifetimes that was more damning than anything I’ve done in mine? Are we not all creatures of Hubris?* And did I not call upon the name of Christ to be my deliverer many times throughout the ages?

While I breathe I will pray that the answers will come. These past few days I am immersed in hagiographies, scripture, and deep reflection. My Anglican vicar friend (whose acquaintance has been a profound blessing in my life) says it sounds to him like I’m living a deep mystery of the faith.

Deep mysteries have found me throughout my life but this is by far the deepest. My whole life- and perhaps many lifetimes before- now stand in contrast to what I feel. I don’t believe I have ever lived the life of a Christian saint but more and more I feel that life calling to me in a way that is ineffable and beautiful and more loving and complete than I have ever felt. It takes me to quiet places, plants thoughtful words on my tongue, and asks of me questions that only a lifetime may answer. This is possession, but it is possession by a powerful and awesome spirit in whom I am content.

*The Greek word used in the New Testament for “sin” is “αμαρτια,” which is the word Aristotle used in his Poetics to mean “hubris.” Thus I take τα γαρ οψωνια της αμαρτιας θανατος to be a reference to the deadly hubris described in Aristotle, painting the human being thus as a tragic figure with little hope of redemption except through radical divine love. Here sin is not what you do but your tendency to err on the side of ego, which accords well with my experiences thus far. But I could be mistaken.

And Still It Grows

The urge to retreat again to some holy place and pray is getting strong.

I’m really tempted to ask about guest houses at the nearby abbey but I feel bad because I can’t pay for my stay. I know that under the rule of St. Benedict they won’t turn me away for lack of funds but it feels like taking advantage all the same.

I do need to get somewhere quiet, isolated, away from this place. And if I get on good terms I’ll be a regular guest. I’m not suited to the monastic life for a lot of reasons but I want to be as close to it as I can now. I want to turn my thoughts toward God and things beyond this world. I’ve seen so much of the world now, in the things I’ve experienced, and I’m not in love with it.

The feeling I have growing within me… it’s grown before. I thought when I walked away from the church last summer it had died for good but it came back stronger than it’s ever been. The feeling… how do I describe it? It’s like the feeling of something growing, like a mighty oak tree where an acorn once sat buried.

Maybe it’s good that I got a chance to walk away for a while. Maybe it was growing wayward and needed to be pruned so it would grow stronger and bear fruit. John Chapter 15 comes to mind.


As of this week I’m ramping up my study for the priesthood to a MINIMUM of one hour per day.

It wasn’t easy. I missed Monday and Tuesday and probably won’t make my initial goal on the current book in the curriculum. But I’m nibbling away at it and trying to make this a habit.

Forming habits isn’t easy for me. As someone with pretty severe inattentive-subtype ADHD, sticking to regular habits is hard and getting distracted/derailed is easy. It takes so much mental energy just to follow a work schedule that it stresses me to the point where I can’t work a regular job and if there were any justice, I’d be on disability.

And I want to be ordained?

Yes. Yes I do.

I’m having trouble and I probably always will. But recently a friend went through a difficult experience and I think it would have been much worse for him if I and the church hadn’t been there for him. And I was the one he sought out first when he began to see things for himself because he knew I wouldn’t ridicule him. He knew I’d give him a moment because I’ve been there, deep in the strange.

And I realize now that there are a lot of people like him. Wounded healers who, in prior times, would have been hermits, shamans, holy folk, clever folk, medicine men, etc. The modern world doesn’t have a place for them because they don’t fit the modern schema of the human being as a unit of production. Until a few decades ago they filled asylums; now they fill prisons, breadlines, and homeless shelters. They’re bored and frustrated and scared and usually a big mess once life gets done with them.

And yeah, I’m one of them. God help me.

What else am I to do then? This church is too small to pay its clergy though. I worry about how I’ll support myself. But there are those who need me. I have to see this through.

So I am committed. I don’t know how I’m going to see it through but I am committed.

For The Record

My Christianity, no matter how deeply heretical it may be to anyone else, is real, sincere, and enduring.

Never- as a conservative Evangelical, a liberal Protestant, an atheist, or an eclectic witch- did I ever feel this wholly and fully committed. Never did I walk away from any of those things and actually care enough about them to come back like I did with this. Never before did I feel I had found a path that I could proudly live with the rest of my life without compromising against my truest convictions.

And if- and this is thankfully rare in this part of the world but it has happened– someone pointed a gun at me and asked me “Are you a Christian?” I would not deny it. I was duly impressed by Eusebius’ accounts of the courage of the early church and their spirit has inspired me to stand up for what I truly believe in, in all areas of my life.

But I don’t seek martyrdom. I think there’s something genuinely sick about someone who obsesses over martyrdom, who deliberately provokes others to turn against them so they can experience some perverse thrill of “persecution.” That was the spirit of the church I was raised in and I reject that spirit; it’s the same line of thinking that leads people to crash airplanes into buildings.

I’ll live the best way I know how. Through devotion, goodness, charity, and deep contemplation on the mysteries of the spirit, which is called in Hebrew Ruah and which has made its thumbprint across the ages known to me. The same that manifested in the prophets, even in the Christ. The same that continues to manifest throughout the ages. The dove above the storm that alights on ships tossed in the tempest.

Update On My Friend/ Possible Memory

My friend is being cared for. I do not know his condition and I don’t care to speculate on that here. All the same he is safe and I consider it a prayer answered. Thank you.

Also, while on YouTube this video called “Defeated Eateries” came up in my recommendations and I was particularly struck by one called Burger Chef. The one with the two animated chefs bouncing around was the most familiar commercial. Looking them up, the last ones were rebranded as Hardees or other restaurants before I was born. HOWEVER…

…upon further searching I found a map of former locations. There was one near Orangethorpe Ave. in Fullerton, CA, just a little ways off the Santa Ana Freeway. Not too far from places Phil would have frequented.

I can’t call it a confirmation (there are lots of places that *exist* that one never goes to, like Long John Silver’s), but a periodic reminder that this isn’t going away. And a fast food restaurant is a strangely a propos thing to remember (if you’ve ever read “A Scanner Darkly you will understand exactly why).

Very Concerned

Very concerned for a friend.

He’d had a powerful transcendent experience just moments before losing his job. Thereafter he told me about it, albeit vaguely.

He attended church with me last Sunday.

Some time during the week he deleted his Twitter and came by my bishop’s house early in the morning, distraught (he lives very near the church which is basically in the bishop’s living room).

Now I can’t get hold of him. I fear the worst. These sorts of experiences… they can be distressing. Sometimes they’re a symptom of mental illness; sometimes, they cause it. Sometimes it’s a chicken and egg question.

If you’re going through a transcendent experience don’t be afraid to see a mental health professional. I don’t regret getting checked out; it answered a lot of questions (though it confirmed that I’m in that rare category of cases with no easy explanation which is a tough thing to cope with). I’m worried about my friend because he seemed to be losing insight and that’s a dangerous place to be.

If you’re the praying sort please pray for my friend. So far I haven’t seen any bad news about him on the local news or in police reports so I think he’s probably alive. But… well, alive and okay are two different things.