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.