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.

Can’t Escape It

After trying hard not to be bound by past lives in my present course, I fell back into the same patterns.

I’m acting like my 18th century self now, the ne’er do well who became a firebrand preacher on the eve of the American revolution.

I hadn’t even thought about him in forever. I remember so little about that life, apart from likely living in Boston for some time, likely having been an indentured servant in my youth who was transported to the colonies as punishment, and taking up with the church some time in my 20s or 30s. I became a firebrand inspired by the likes of John Locke and Thomas Paine. I may have owned a nice house in Boston with a pianoforte at some point. I may have taken part in the War of Independence in some capacity though my memories of this are very minimal. I was probably dead by no later than 1815 since I remember being a young man again by 1830. I have not yet been able to trace a possible identity for this life though not for lack of trying.

Now I’m getting wrapped up in the fervor of a new discontent… I wonder if there’s anything more to this than me following my usual impulse though?

I keep telling myself I don’t have to be bound by the past, but I’m always doing the same things over and over.

I See You

Remember this bit from my last entry?

I walked the Stations of the Cross. The very first panel was Pilate washing his hands as he let the mob condemn Christ to death. Upon his throne was the Fasces of Rome, the symbol of state power, the root of the word “fascism.”

Well… I’m just going to leave this here.



I may have found the signposts just when I despaired of ever having found them.

God, or light, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t making big loud signs for me right now. It’s in the stillness I hear Them.

After getting some thoughts of reviving an old idea of mine- a Cathar-themed order created with the intention of reclaiming some aspect of medieval Christendom from the reactionaries and advancing a theology of radical liberation through direct action- I began to feel very strongly about this. It’s not like I haven’t had this idea for a long time or that I haven’t given it serious thought before but this one came out of nowhere.

So I opened up about it to some friends. They agreed the idea was timely.

There were other things crossing my path. Some music that came up on random playlists, some images a friend posted on Twitter that reminded me of something important to me.

So after my electrolysis and counseling I decided to go on a little pilgrimage. At least, to the only site of pilgrimage in the Portland area, namely The Grotto. I love the feel of the place. Time passes differently there, the energies are level and calm. My ADHD symptoms- eyes and thoughts darting every which way- were noticeably less pronounced there.

I walked the Stations of the Cross. The very first panel was Pilate washing his hands as he let the mob condemn Christ to death. Upon his throne was the Fasces of Rome, the symbol of state power, the root of the word “fascism.” Christ, the antifascist.

At each station I reflected and meditated. At the stations depicting the three times He fell, I genuflected, letting my knee touch the ground. On the third of these I let myself fall quite roughly on my knees. I reminded myself of Veronica’s veil, Simon’s taking up the cross, and of the soldiers who stripped Him when the very last of human kindness was exhausted.

The whole time I got to thinking… I’m what some people would regard as a loser. So what? Jesus was a loser, according to a lot of people in his time. God loves losers. They love losers so much They gave us an illiterate day laborer to be Their greatest prophet. I want people to see that a tragic dumbshit who can’t get it together has value and beauty and depth, without turning them into something they’re not once they realize what they’re really capable of. I want people to know that Jesus was no better, in this shambling flesh, than the junkies and whores these pious Sunday Christians spit on. And God wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

What followed was a long stint of praying, meditating, and thinking, both before the grotto itself and in the chapel nearby. I have to say there’s a lot to be said for having an image before you even if your eyes are closed. If you feel your thoughts rambling you can open your eyes and fix your intentions again. And so, with my thoughts firmly on the Christ who dared defy Rome and His image before me, I began really thinking about what my deal is.

I’m a Christian mystic, and when I’ve tried to run away from that it’s always found me. I guess it scares me, and it took me a long time to make sense of all the stuff I’ve experienced. I’m still making sense of it. All I know is I find something right and true in Christianity, especially in its Gnostic form.

I don’t think past lives are really that important in the scheme of things except for telling me that being of the world is not something I want to be any more. If I refer to Rome or fighting Rome or whatever, I’m not approaching it from the angle of continuing Phil’s work or even presuming I was him. Regardless of whether or not I was him, Phil’s work ended in 1982 and I am sure now that nothing miraculous is meant to happen to revive it. The work I am being called to do now is something entirely apart from that.

I’m thinking about going back into the church I was in. That is, it couldn’t hurt. But my hopes of doing great works of social importance through that particular church aren’t very high. I will be honing my connection to the Divine, studying scripture and theology, and learning the Mass though so it’s not useless to me. But becoming a priest will not be enough; I have a message I want to get out and I have ideas I want to see if I can get people to rally round. This particular church allows people to have side projects so I will do exactly that. And if the day comes when acting by my sincere convictions puts me at odds with the church, I will do what I think is right regardless.

I’m afraid I might be killed at some point; mostly I’m concerned about these paramilitary types who take exception to what I stand for. I’m in contact with a lot of outspoken people who are raising the alarm about the way things are going right now, and they get some really scary things happen sometimes. Threatening phone calls, broken windows, slashed tires. And the cops don’t do anything; half the time they’re in cahoots anyhow.

But you know what? I think I’ll feel better if I go forward into this with some spiritual grounding. I won’t let myself get caught up in some kind of John Brown adventurism but I won’t be a coward in the face of evil either. And if I am persecuted because I stood up for what I really believe in, I want to know in my last moments that I’ve lived as a saint, whether I’m ever recognized for it or not.

Maybe the darkness can win in this world. Maybe it’s not quite 100% exactly like the Bible. Apocalyptic literature was a genre; Revelation is a warning of what’s to come and how to respond to it, not a promise to be taken passively. And if darkness can win, then it is on all of us who see it for what it is to stand against it.

I’ll do it for all the people who get thrown under the bus.

I’ll do it for the hookers and the junkies.

I’ll do it for the immigrants.

I’ll do it for the prisoners.

I’ll do it for the people who’ve been robbed by the landlords and the banks and got no charity at all out of the Golden Calf that has raised itself in the place of a real Church.

I’ll do it for the honest losers, like me, who never get the chances I’ve had.

I will fear no evil.


Still In The Desert

I once thought I saw the thumbprint of God upon the universe.

Now all I have is the empty absence of the miraculous, and the lonely memory of a long-dead soldier that fluctuates between distant unreality and something half-remembered and uncanny.

I wonder what happened? I wonder why the more sublime aspects of my experience have not survived?

Perhaps I hoped for too much upon seeing the stamp of the Divine upon things. Perhaps I hoped for a miracle, for deliverance, for a sign that justice would be brought down and right this world of entropy once and for all.

Phil believed it. And I believed it when I thought I had been Phil. I can’t be so sure any more. Not after all that’s happened. Not after all the horrendous things I’ve seen in the world in the last year and a half.

I didn’t want to believe that the Darkness could win, but it’s winning. Entropy is devouring us. Entropy is becoming us. Entropy surrounds and consumes and destroys all it touches.

Perhaps the stamp of the Divine has been taken from this world, that never deserved it in the first place. Or perhaps it was never here to begin with. But I can’t reconcile it with what I see. I have far, far more in common with the shell-shocked soldier who died in 1915 than the science fiction prophet who thought real time had stood still until 1974.

Surgery Is Done

It took three operations, and I was the worst case my urologist had seen in the last year, but the kidney stone that could have killed me is no more!

I have a stent still in place with strings running out (rather painfully, I might add) that I can remove on Monday. I eagerly await finally getting rid of this thing.

I want so desperately to get out a little once this ordeal is over! I really want to just jump in my car and go as far as $10 or $20 will take me (it’s a little Toyota so I can get pretty far on that). The weather has warmed a little and I have most of my energy back. If not for the strings sawing back and forth inside me I would be out and about today.

I’m alive and I have the rest of the year ahead of me. Time’s not standing still. Please let this mess be over by Monday!