Posts Tagged ‘Robin Hood’


Many moons ago, with a Rosary in my weary end of night shift hand in the sanctuary of a Roman Catholic church awaiting the weekday Mass, the still small voice would whisper to me “build my church”, it was an echo sentiment from years before, in a United Church, where I cam back to church as adult with my Nan, after presiding over the Sunday Service, and greeting faith family afterwards, the still small voice would simply say, “you are called”… To scant months before in my first service, where after singing in pre-sing my Granddad’s favourite hymn, the voice, his voice, would simply say “it’ll be alright”, Each of these instances are a piece of book one of three for my life. The book of laying the foudnations and preparing. Experiencing what it means to build the church. That is simply, to create the courageous safe space of connection, purpose and belonging for the beautiful mosaic that is our neighbourhood (the Imageo Dei)

So many bumps along the road. Stories. Pieces of knowledge, ancient wisdom applied to the modern world, and modern wisdom working on the souls of many. Truly striving and stumbling to live out what home is, and having the true open door that I have been told has blessed many. But at my core, I am a simple story teller. That is the core of my parallel multi-career paths, and the core of the calling as book two opens…for what is the core of blessed community but the story of love and hope at its centre?

It is stories that have shaped my life, and still do. Many look at me weirdly in the academic, political and spiritual circles I exist in for the resonance I have to so many of our modern legends and mythologies. Not only the resonance, but how effectively they can be used as points of connection, intersection and discussion… so many ways to meet and understand neighbour. Whether it is the modern super hero stories (I am sure many know of the reflections shared around Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Flash, the list goes on and on) our modern pantheon of gods and demi-gods as found in anceint folklore and mythologies (which I also love). Or the more recent addition of Doctor Who? The Doctor an amazing story of constant curiousity, inspired problem solving, fun and, yes, new life (ah regeneration, since I went through my own health issues, and now into c-tine, it does so feel like a moment of regeneration?). To the inquisitive nature of Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries solved, and the importance of the right partners.

The Arthurian Legends, stories I so wanted to read as a child, and a system said I could not comprehend, and a Dad that said yes he can…and well, the copy of that hardcover from Smithbooks still resides on my bookshelf, never tell a child they can’t when an interest is shown. The wonder, magic and splendour of Camelot. The idea of quest, blessing, calling, and the connection/belonging of the Round Table. To the first movie I ever saw in theatres, Walt Disney’s Robin Hood, and the core truth that all have value, and every role in society is needed for us to be healthy, how easily power can corrupt (and I have seen it happen to far too many good people) for when power becomes the goal like with Prince John– well, the fact it is actually people involved is forgotten for the pursuit of gold (or is it oil?). When a season of life ended, I hope my team at that time understand the blessing of sharing that story book with each of them.

But a core story that has stayed with me throughout my life. From when there was the one night of the week as repeats aired on CBC, Star Trek. A true reflection for me, of what Brother Jesus taught our world was meant to be. Our universe, where all have equity, justice, equality, hope, can pursue who they are meant to be and we affirm the ideal you they are currently and are becoming. Where we aid others. Each of its iterations has brought a new era of story and contemplations into my life. From the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine to Voyager to Enterprise to (Kelvin) Star Trek movies to Discovery to Lower Decks to Picard…each piece introducing new characters, new allegories to our reality now and where we can be, what we can aspire to.

The re-connection to the stories, happened sharply over the last several years as I started to build myself back. As we unearthed, and healed the darkness, smudge and trauma that almost, yes, took my life, though it took me off of one path and opened up an epilogue/prologue upon a new path. A new story. My loving wife and kiddos that have journeyed through much, and we know eyes wide open what has been in all its diverse sorrows to joys, to what we know can be in a hope seen and soon to be lived.

See, for me, as I reflect back on the journey, the long road of getting here. Some may look at the hiccups, the setbacks, the loss, and say, why bother? Or didn’t so and so ruin your life…No they did not. I still remember the day in the early part of my PNES where a congregational cycle of prayer had my son make that statement as I had stepped away a few times from church based ministry to protect him from their heresy & ableism, as with other members of my family at other moments. For me it is about living love, and it is truly about discerning if there is authentic misunderstanding, or simply a desire for a quick apology so one’s own hates are not revealed on the altar for all to see.

But I digress, see there is an understanding that it is not a pollyanic view, especially in our polarized world where many akin the word Christian or Pastor to some device of hatred and exclusion. Or like in Star Trek V when they finally gound “god” and it was revealed to be nothing more than a monster in godcloaking:

Yet, here we are, a long road, some wear and tear, great learnings, lovings, and discoveries.

As was revealed earlier in the movie with the discussion of pain, and the need for the pain to emerge into who we truly are. So it is with each aspect of our life, all the ups and downs, sorrows and joys, losses and wins…they have shaped us…to be with others. To hear the authentic quite voice once more on this journey, one that others have heard.

“it is time to answer hope’s call”

Taking a risk, at this stage of the emegent chapter one of book two, prepared and now stepping in to the uknown. Accepted back to seminary as a student to complete my Master of Divinity. Awaiting the links to open up to apply for funding. To grow my skills, for my writing, community building, and to step back into ministry within the church. And maybe, perhaps, once settled to finish the journey that started with my Psy.D. to finally get my Doctor of Ministry.

To once more, be a pastor.

To aid others in being authentic communities of hope.

To discover honestly, what the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit is whispering to each of us to live out and transform our world for the better.

And yeah, it is one of the scariest steps in my life I have taken.

But also fills me with simply being

content.


Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Dornan, Eve Hewson, and Taron Egerton in Robin Hood (2018)

Marian: You call that a disguise?
Robin of Loxley: Well it fooled everybody else!

Ah great final line from Robin Hood (2018 trailer).  For long term readers and listeners you will know there is a soft spot for the legend of Robin Hood. It has shaped my outlook on life, justice, faith and humanity.

 

That all said, I must say the undertones I have been sharing for years have finally hit the forefront with the new 2018 film. From the opening sequence narration speaking of not tying us down with history that will bore, but getting to the heart of the story…to the draft notice for the Third Crusade. Get ready for a fun ride if that’s all you want from a movie…or if you want to actually engage and discuss (yes youth groups I am looking at you, as this would be a youth night or retreat movie).

Be ready to tackle real world issues. It is not simply a smash and grab thief issue.

Anyone up for a little wealth redistribution?

-Robin of Loxley

From the Holy Land where one is confronted with the atrocity of using the Lord’s Name in Vein. No we are not talking about lying, we are talking about masking the atrocities of war, land grabs, and war crimes behind the Gospel. As extremists seeking power and control, use the opiate of the masses to pacify, convert and create a banner to fight underneath.

Fear is the greatest weapon in God’s arsenal. It is why the church created Hell.

-The Cardinal

To the lies of the wealthy. Using power and wealth (the 1%) to keep the peasants/working classes subjugated. As a former Lord that was drafted and sided with the disenfranchised is reported dead and lands seized. As Xenophobia, heresy and hate are used to justify stripping what little the lowers classes have to prop up a war effort…but for which side? As espionage and collusion for a true power grab.

A power grab using the people’s faith as their greatest weapon. A weapon so that everyone will overlook what is being done to them because it is God ordained…sound like a familiar political gambit in Canada and United States of America to overlook ethical issues with leadership for the religious right states they are the Godly choice (that is using lightning bolt issues to confuse and fog the true issues of governance being for the betterment of the people, not power and control).

 

Taron Egerton in Robin Hood (2018)

In all my years of war I have never seen anything like you. -Little John

Why do legends such as the Robin Hood meta-narrative persist? Seen reincarnated, as my daughter noted, “Robin Hood is like Green Arrow”. Yes, my daughter, the creator of Green Arrow was inspired by Robin Hood, and the G.A. of my life by Mike Grell was centered on the urban hunter of social justice. It is because there is a war within us, between a Robin and a Sheriff. It is the challenge of being an authentic you that changes the world for the better, or the self that only cares about power and money.

It is the struggle of the True Self and the Shadow Self. It is seen inside a person, but also a community, a nation, and a species. It is the struggle to be better. To ensure corruption, lies, and oppression are not the rule of thumb and life, but rather the hiccups along the way. It is the struggle to put hate out of our species once and for all, and to understand that when horrible things happen whether through nature or humanity’s efforts no type of God ordains them. It is when the Sheriff is fed cosmological.

We are not powerless, we have one life. One choice.

“You’re only powerless if you believe you’re powerless”

A simple contemplation for this time in Lent, from Marian to Robin in the movie, trying to convince him to go big:

If not you, who ? If not now, when ? 

 

Want to read more of the Spirituality of Robin Hood?

Check out my new book, Soul Ripples, Coming 2019.


Have you danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

-Joker (as portrayed by Jack Nicholson in 1989’s Batman)

There are many catch phrases in Christendom that have grown out of the Pauline, Johannine, James’ and Jesus’ schools of ancient thought (to name but a few, but each of the original 11 surviving men, and 7 women established their own mystery schools and so began the cult of saints).  But I digress. The opening quote does tie into a spiritual practice/discipline. For there are two catch phrases that seem to resonate around again and again within Christendom—that of John 3:16, but also of “Remember who you are.”.

Over the past few weeks in church our minister is doing a series on the Letter to the Church in Ephesus (also known as Ephesians). It was written by a student of Paul’s.  In the early chapters of the letter Pseudo-Paul spends time getting the hearers to remember who they were, what they have come through and who they are now. It is deeper than just what we in the 21st century think of when we hear remember. For it is the pilgrimage.

The struggle between shadow and self; the unity of anima/animus; yin/yang. Both sides of a coin. The pieces that need to find unity for completion, and those parts we need to work beyond (ala Cosmic Christ moving beyond Ego).  Or as Levi reminds us in the Aquarian Gospel:

  1. The living waters always leap and skip about like lambs in spring.
    8.The nations are corrupt; they sleep within the arms of death and they must be aroused before it is too late.
    9. In life we find antagonists at work. God sent me here to stir unto its depths the waters of the sea of life.
    10. Peace follows strife; I come to slay this peace of death. The prince of peace must first be prince of strife.
    11. This leaven of truth which I have brought to men will stir the demons up, and nations, cities, families will be at war within themselves.

Aquarian Gospel 113:7-11

The war within. The eternal struggle between angelic and demonic ways. The stardust and chakra sludge. Giving in to the easy journey of selfishness and independence instead of striving for selflessness and interdependence. Now before you say how does the Joker show us this? Think back to any portrayal of Batman-Joker you have seen; or Superman-Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman-Ares; heck even Captain America-Red Skull, (Robin Hood-Prince John/Sheriff of Nottingham) and what you see in these tales that keep going over and over again that become our archetypes to show that unity means wrestling with the darkest pieces of ourselves manifested. And yes, in those instances as noted above the darkest shadow self, is our greatest strengths twisted when we are at our most lost in the wilderness of our interior castle.

  1. And Philip said, Must men and women suffer in the flames because they have not found the way of life?
    14.And Jesus said, The fire purifies. The chemist throws into the fire the ores that hold all kinds of dross.
    15. The useless metal seems to be consumed; but not a grain of gold is lost.
    16. There is no man that has not in him gold that cannot be destroyed. The evil things of men are all consumed in fire; the gold survives.

-Aquarian Gospel 116:13-16

Let those words resonate as you begin or continue your pilgrimage to the sacred heart within you. To get to gold the fires must burn away the crud and sludge, that which stops the shine and shimmer. So is the pilgrimage to our interior castle to live out of it. The crap must be burned away, a purgatory if you will (and yes there is some Roman Catholic theology around purgatory as this type of thing) that only leaves the truly good, very blessed creation continuing to live forward. Also, sometimes the sludge we have built up that has been cast on us is not due to our own actions, but the abuse of others, but in the process we also need to allow the purging of this crap to be able to shine forward as we truly are.

  1. Go forth and take possession of the unclean quadrupeds.
    20.And they, and all the evil spirits of the tombs went forth and took possession of the breeders of the plague,
    21. Which, wild with rage, ran down the steeps into the sea, and all were drowned.
    22. And all the land was freed of the contagion, and the unclean spirits came no more.
    23. But when the people saw the mighty works that Jesus did they were alarmed. They said,
    24. If he can free the country of the plague, and drive the unclean spirits out, he is a man of such transendent power that he can devastate our land at will.
    25. And then they came and prayed that he would not remain in Gadara.

-Aquarian Gospel 118:19-25

An ancient story of Jesus casting out the torments of Legion into the unclean animals, showing that even when we take this as a story of the pilgrimage we can be like the people of Garda standing on the precipice of unification with our Cosmic Christ only to push back and away.

But is this the point there is two paths to choose, and we must contemplate which one as we literally/figuratively and allegorically dance with our own personal devil in the moonlight?

  1. And Jesus said, We cannot look upon a single span of life and judge of anything.
    27.There is a law that men must recognise: Result depends on cause.
    28. Men are not motes to float about within the air of one short life, and then be lost in nothingness.
    29. They are undying parts of the eternal whole that come and go, lo, many times into the air of earth and of the great beyond, just to unfold the God-like self.
    30. A cause may be a part of one brief life; results may not be noted till another life.

-Aquarian Gospel 114: 26-30

The role of life and decisions. The build up of karma when we choose the path of selfishness/ego for this life, next life or past lives… BUT when we choose the path of angelic/Cosmic Christ and living into and out of L-O-V-E (Dharma) our selves and our localized world transform for the better. Much like the pebble in the pond creating cosmic ripples through the stardust that connects everything into the Holy Mystery and the Holy Mystery into everything.

Today, as we celebrate the giving of sacred life with those who are our mothers; grandmothers; crones whether by birth, choice or tribal roles given. Take time to decide if you are going to choose the path of light or dark?

At this moment in time, will you choose the path of the hero or the villain? What will you need to do to be able to change direction of your path. To be able to become your own Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman?

Are you willing to dance in the moonlight?

 

 


Okay that sounds more ominous than intended when first typed as a title. Yet it has become the de-facto truth of this slimline leather bound New King James Version bible that I have had for over 8 years. Now to be honest it was used to other personal reading, leading study and preaching, but it was the nicest looking bible owned so when funerals came about it was the go to.

The challenge being is that was never the intent, although when is having multitudes of life celebrations in one’s journey the intent? It has served me well in my ministry. On the cover, it is scripted, not with my name, but one simple reminder of what biblical justice and gospel is to me: Robin Hood. My wife has a bible with a character’s name on the cover, so does my son and daughter (the children’s came when they chose the path of living the life of love inspired by the footsteps laid out of Brother Jesus).

So why this character? Simple, this is the meta-narrative that has shaped my understanding of the what it means to live life shaped by the life and teachings of the man Jesus, whose example lays out how to be truly enlightened within the Cosmic Christ.  For Robin had to choose between worldly riches, and living in the Gospel of Scarcity (which leads to control) or to choose love, and live in the Gospel of Abundance/Neighbour. Anyone who has seen any of the films, read the books/comics knows which he chose. And it inspired change (whether it is historically true or not to me is irrelevant, it is what you do with the claim: Robin Hood was right!).

So this brings me after 2ish years of meanderings and letting the Spirit blow through once more to renew, with only one Bible left (for those who have known my journey yes scandalously shocking)…and I have touched upon reading some passages in James and Philippians, but there is an energy that holds me back. That energy is that this was used for funerals. Most strikingly used last when buried my Mum.

So in a month filled with pain and grief, as we mourn newly transitioned and transitioning from an unsafe spiritual home into a new horizon…

I ponder if it may not be time to look into a new Bible for the road ahead, a fresh start or if the lessons learned with this one, and the pain held can be transformed into the new road?

 

 


It is amazing in the era where the “Robin Hood Tax” is a movement (the idea of the rich paying their fair share for life shared of Star-ship Earth) and the focus on the justice issues; the ideal of romance between Robin Hood and Maid Marian (even though she was a romantic era morphing his devotion to Mary of Nazareth, which in turn was a Papist morphing of his devotion to mother Earth, but I digress).

Yet there is another piece of the story that deserves to be highlighted. For you see, Robin Hood is a meta-narrative, it is why this battle for justice and life has endured through the centuries.For at its heart is the story of the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest. It is not just Robin Hood’s battle against those that stripped him of his life, it is the community of the “Outlaws” that are in hiding for choosing to heal and live life together, and not allow injustice to be visited upon them.

In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves this was drawn out more fully in the film, by it being not just the outlaws, but their families. The Homeless of the Crusades period, placed outside society due to socio-economics, and choices of what it means. Indigenous Peoples (Saxons) cast outside of the newly invaded and chosen Norman society. Whichever era of Robin Hood mythos you wish to explore it is a story of power/oppression; belonging/loss; and reclamation of deep rooted things in the human spirit:

Love. Peace. Faith. Hope. Compassion. Respect. Empathy. Community… and finally… as the moment of celebration of the wedding scene at the end of most modern films: Family and from family…

H-O-M-E.

Which is what the recent BBC Robin Hood series finale captured beautifully with the regain,

“We are Robin Hood”.

So, are you willing to live it out. . .


It is a winding path that has brought this book about. It is a sequel to my traditionally published, Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred. This work comes at a crossroads within my own spiritual journey. I am a soul called Franciscan in spiritual Charism, which has opened my mind to Universalism within belief. Long time readers know of mine and my family’s spiritual journeys, the ups and downs within traditional Christendom, and yes even the meanderings into Unitarianism, New Thought (Unity), Science of Mind, and Eastern traditions.

Here is where I have arrived at in the space of a new journey to share in some soul shaping. For it is in shaping our own souls, we can then live out to shape our world in positive ways, tap into the 12 Powers, the 12 archetypes of life energy. My meta-narrative has been Robin Hood, but as you journey through these pages, what is your meta-narrative? What archetypes resonate with you in the 12 Powers? Please feel free to share these as well.

Read Pilgrimage to Our Soul The 12 Powers of Robin Hood

The Original 12 Powers of Man by Charles Fillmore


Yup, for the past well over a year I had placed the adjective “used to” or “retired” in front of writer. Why? I simply needed to distance myself and rest, to rediscover the glimmer of joy as writing when done at a publishing level can sometimes sap a lot out of an individual (I find especially in smaller markets where money is not enough to live on) and when I let the project not the market shape my work.

Yet, I am slowly moving back into writing and speaking on my own terms, a little as my home church, Centennial Presbyterian, has invited me to take 2 services this summer, but also in part to the Calgary Public Library where I have been on a retro reading kick rediscovering the comics that shaped my fiction writing in my teens.

Currently rediscovering James Robinson and Tony Harris’ Starman run. The story of Jack Knight really aided me in reshaping the super hero universe I had been spinning stories out of for my friends since late elementary school, and became known as “The Verse” in High School where friends would eagerly await each new chapter (and even say a short story banned from publishing as a winner of a short story contest for the CBE due to LGBTQ content–a bi-sexual monk of all things).

Yes, the stories that saw characters that stayed with me well through college years and were a great stress release.  Some rejuvenated and in e-books shared on this sites, others lost to the mists of time. Ah technologies dying and losing saved files, hard copies vanishing there’s only so much one can save when they could write the equivalent of a book a month when one had free time when work was not 40 hours a week, when a term paper could easily be distracted from by pounding out another epic chapter…before the layers of life… for non-fiction writing when A&W still had an excellent and cheap breakfast before the advent of microwave bacon and the doubling of price…when there was space for quietness and reflection.

But life story morphs and as one reflects on building the writer’s space renewed in one’s home, family crisis leads to the space evaporating to aid an individual.

Now though, as I continue down the retro train, and rediscover old interests I ponder a renewal of the work.  Maybe not “The Verse” (for the longtime fan out there know it eventually got dubbed “The TyVerse”; ah the era’s of Johnny Power; Bionic Knight; Street Avenger and Hacker such wonderful times that the stories were told, and as any good story not to be revisited but for a few).

Where will this renewal lead, I do not know, but it is time to first work on discovering/crafting the space to create, to research, to spread out and be…

Thank you my loving wife for supporting the renewal of interest.


Portrait of a Franciscan Friar

Portrait of a Franciscan Friar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you for all those who have come to A Robin Hood‘s Musings for inspiration, information, controversy or just a good read. Here is a thank you for your support in 2012, the first two rough chapters of a new adventure and a new world, Enjoy:

One

            The Dalai Lama is hinted at once saying his morning prayer/meditation was when he read the newspaper, answered his e-mails, and other communications. This centered him to begin his day centered with others.

            He never served in a church that was struggling to stay alive, with parishioners that as soon as they see the flicker of a light are knocking on the door. Why? For the benevolence aid available for food, or utility/rent payments. So much pain created in the aftershocks of Alberta’s common sense revolution of the 90’s to early 2000’s. Yet I feel the desire to centre myself, so here I am huddled in the Sacristy with a candle, my Book of Alternative Services and Bible doing morning prayers.  

            The walls are so thin on this brisk fall morning that I can hear voices outside the building. Inside my eyes squint to find to Holy stories for the day. The rustling and screaming outside is getting louder. The use of racial epithets has begun; the Aryan Guard has been trying to create a beach head in this, the greatest mosaic of communities probably in all of Canada. What is it when people are struggling financially or in pain become easy prey to monsters that are unable to see the beauty that is the rainbow children of God. We are the beautiful rainbow given to the sky in the promise of Genesis 9.

            More rustling and jostling, sorry Morning Prayer, but what is happening outside sounds a wee nip more urgent for centering my day than this. Leaving the Sacristy, I dart through the candlelit (or should be candlelit) sanctuary (really should pay the Enmax bill one of these days, oh right that takes some money) into the Narthex, need to fix the baseboards here. Hit the dirt path outside to the double ply wood doors (yeah had to sell the oak wood ones last spring to pay a family’s rent), the dirt path is there because the cement caved in and it was the cheapest way to fill.

            East side of the building where the community garden is, that is the origin of the screams. Now that I am outside there is also the sound of leather on flesh. The community garden was planted by the Grandmother’s of the community so that fresh free vegetables were always available for those who needed them.

            Two rather large bald men in black bomber jackets with iron crosses embroidered on the back, black jeans and jack boots with black hoody’s pulled up over head to try and hide their ugly mugs. So I do what any good priest would do in this situation, as there is a third person on the ground getting the boot treatment. “Hello there!”

            The two thugs turn to me. Okay at least they have stopped pummeling the young lad. Now I accomplished plan A, divert their attention, what is the next step in the plan however? They are transfixed however at the site of me in my patched brown wool habit. Perhaps it is the tonsure shaved into my hair that has them mystified. It is possibly the first time a Franciscan Friar has ever confronted them before in their lives.

            A young indigenous youth stumbles up. I know the lad, he helped me learn Latin and Cree. “You okay Daniel?” He is a pillar of the positive youth movement within these communities, maintaining a 90.5% average in grade twelve, works two side jobs to aid his single Dad in caring for him and his two sisters, and will probably be the first of his family to go to university (I have personally already sold the original gold communion service of the church to pay his way through, a special church scholarship). The beauty is the reconciliation within God, as his father was a student at a Franciscan residential school, brutalized, yet we were able to come to forgiveness and reconciliation to aid the new generation in this community in breaking the cycle of hate and addiction.

            Daniel looks right at me, his left eye is already puffing up. “Yes, Friar.” I nod; he grabs his messenger bag and bolts to the school across the road.  The two wannabe men look mad, it is quite obvious they have paced brass knuckles within their black leather gloves.

            I bob my head with prayer hands. “Now lads, it is time for you to vacate my parish.” Word usage may have been too large for this dim bulbs, what is it I learned in my Missiology degree, speak the vernacular. “Get the fuck out.”

            That they understood, good. The much smaller of the two steps up and tries to intimidate me by inflating his chest and trying to get into my personal space. “Fuck you Friar. We ain’t done fuck all, but we will fuck you up.”  Mental note to self, do not laugh at the one ill-equipped for the contest of wits they are trying to engage in. I feel the corners of my mouth begin to form a smile, under the hood I can see the formation of cold sweat beads from fear, and the sweet aroma that sweat breeds. Win.

            “Look you little Aryan Guard fuckwit, this parish, these people are blessed through the Holy Mystery and under the protection of the Almighty. You are not wanted here, so get out.”

            A shift in the wind. My forearm flips out and connects with his wrist, as a smooth loud snap as small thug’s wrist bends out the wrong way. The sock which probably had a cue ball in it hits the dirt. Aryan Guard one crumples out of my personal space crying like a new born babe at his circumscion. The bigger gorilla is on the move, but thankfully my Birkenstock moves faster and quieter than he. The heel of the sandal to his chin with a new fangled blessing causes both his hands to go to his bleeding mouth and I think there will be a tooth or four to remove from my sandal later.

            “Friar, need a hand?” Got to love the thick Tibetan accented English, to keep the church afloat, we sold the Manse to a small group of Tibetan religious, refugees actually that at one point claimed sanctuary in our basement. The five dollars we received for the Manse aided us nicely with seed for the community garden.

            “Brother Lao, I think my visitor’s are leaving?” The two white supremacists are already stumbling over their own feet to get away from the pacifist who just humiliated them can move. Brother Lao may clear 5’1” if he is wearing platform sandals, but with the saffron multi-coloured robes of his homeland he looks quite regal as he walks up the crumbling path way to me as I straighten my own robes.

            “The ministerial tea still on today?” I smile, for most communities, the Ministerial is made up of the local Christian Leaders. St. Clare’s Anglican is the only Christian church in the communities of the Shire (4 communities, built 40 years ago as a town within a town: York, Nottingham, Worchester, and Berk). So our ministerial is myself, and Brother Lao, the lead of the Tibetan Buddhist Religious (4 elderly nuns, and 8 monks), and a network of House Mosques that on Holy Days pay for the candles to use the sanctuary at St. Clare’s.

            The rumble of the 15 year old Dodge Caravan rolling to a stop in the dirt and gravel (more dirt than gravel) parking lot announces the last of our trio arriving. Tarek, the Imam of the Mosque gets out. He could have been a pro-basketball player, but instead used his scholarship for a full ride for a religious studies degree up to and including a Ph.D. Lao and I look at one another, smile and then in unison announce. “Welcome, and how is your better-half, Frank?”

            Tarek smiles. “Working far too much, and too hard. It is the lot of the self-employed carpenter.”

Chapter Two

            Evening green tea, alone finally in my office, tomorrow God will provide the funds necessary to alleviate more pain in this community as the coffers are currently dry. Eleanor, the elderly lady who freely gives her time as secretary has just left (crossed the street home, as Eleanor is truly Sister Eleanor and is one of Brother Lao’s). Soon I will retire to the choir loft, that I converted to my own bedsit to save funds (as we had sold the manse for the great profit).

            Why do you ask that a church that is healthier than most in Canada with 200 members and about 250 attendees a week throughout our multiple Masses is so financially strapped? I really have no clue.

            I hear the laughter of children from the basement. Since our Tibetan religious moved next door, two families have claimed sanctuary because their deportation back home would end with death.

            I rub my temples as I begin a tea meditation. The media will have another round of calls tomorrow, as the slumlords that own all the residences in the Shire are talking selling out for large upscale condo and casino developments, so chances are the rents will go up before Christmas to force the families into the shelters. Which is disastrous as the highest (not average) family income in this area is $25,000 per annum (wait I only make $18,000 I should call the Bishop).

             Our church sign still says Anglican, but it is not completely true. Most of my congregations are everything but Anglican (closest we got outside of myself, is Sister Eleanor and she’s Buddhist). We actually also left the Anglican Church of Canada, not because of the “question” (the same-sex marriage bullshit) but rather because we are not seen as a viable parish by the Diocese and they were trying to close us. So we made a shrewd business decision. St. Clare’s closing would have killed these communities as they would have lost one of their major supports. So we petitioned The Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) we used the 2009 Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict XVI, Anglicanorum Coetibus and became an Anglican Use parish within the Roman Catholic Diocese. None of the parishners noticed really as we kept doing our own survival thing.

            Through R.C. social justice initiatives in the Diocese we get some aid for the basics which helps, as we are a “beachhead” for the Great Commission or some such thing in the Shire. Yet we are still only one disaster away from this building finally being foreclosed upon, and we have no plan B, but the people of this parish are family and family keeps the homestead going.

            I take another sip of tea and crack open my Great-Granny’s Book of Common Prayer for Vespers when a new creak is heard. It is just one of those days God, thankfully Franciscan Charism speaks of being constantly in prayerful Communion with the Holy Mystery and only taking certain times to be intentionally focused upon this.

            Another creak, not our tenants.

            Not the building settling.

            A visitor. Guess I should have written the cheque for the alarm system instead of to the public school for tuition for one of our kids over 16 years old to cover the school fees so the child can be allowed to attend class. Drop out one of our kids my ass, totally unconstitutional and illegal, when we actually get the monies together for the legal challenge it will be a grand statement to the Alberta Government.

            Move slowly out of the office space into the Narthex. The door is unlocked (okay technically the lock hasn’t worked for three years, but humour me that I simply forgot to lock it). There is someone kneeling in the sanctuary at the altar rail. Long curly red hair, jeans, bomber jacket, hoody, and a nice ass.

            “I am sorry my dear, I know God loves everyone, but the Aryan Guard is persona non grata in this House of God.”

            The kneeled figure leaps up and twirls around. “Fuck Tuck do I look like some supremacist prick?”

            There’s that cheeky dimple-freckle smile I grew up with, and on graduation night almost convinced me not to begin my postulancy with The Society of St. Francis. “Bronwyn, you scared the crap out of me sneaking in here.”

            “The door was unlocked.”

I think the bald part of my tonsure must have gone red at that. “Bloody hell woman you know there’s been no locks on these doors for three years, you’re the one that gave me the alarm sticker to try to convince people we were `protected’.” She giggles at my air quotes.

            “Air quotes? From the bloke that tussled with two of the baddest asses the Guard has huh? And in the Garden no less, ain’t that for walkin’ with God or somethin’.”

            “You really need to come to Mass more often my dear.” A full out belly laugh this time. Bronwyn was/is a cradle to grave Irish Catholic. She is a member of the parish but she only darkens the door on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays when we offer midnight Vespers, as she hates crowds. “The two yahoos decided to play cowboys and Indians with Dan and me. I pointed out the errors of colonization to them.”

            Bronwyn gives me a hug and peck on the cheek, is it wrong that if she asked I would seriously consider dropping the habit and leaving with her? Her hand slips an envelope into the side pocket of my habit. “Watch yourself, Friar rumours are they put a price on your head.”

            “How much this week?” I ask.

“Thousand.” Is her answer.

            “Please, the last thugs offered twelve times that and no one took.” My response, true but simple.

            Bronwyn smiles, crosses herself, and begins to walk out. She stops in the sanctuary doorway. “Tuck you’re not Superman, regardless of what your bicep tattoo says.” With that she leaves the building.

            I retire back to the sitting room (I long ago gave up having an official office, it looks much more like a tea room with comfy chairs for working, praying, writing homilies, and journeying through the Sacrament of Reconciliation) withdrawing a manila envelope from my habit. Bronwyn’s vocation is to protect and serve, she does this as an Inspector with the city’s finest. She has retained me on a few cases due to my past, the modest retainer has aided those in the parish with food, water, heat, and rent when most needed it.

            I open the flap of the envelope, as I lower myself into a cushy wingback chair. There is one 8 x 10 photograph in it. I look at the relic pictured.

            “Damn, Bronwyn what have you gotten yourself into.”

Editor of…

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Ty in Archives
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am not only a freelance writer, I have worked on several projects on-line and in print as the editor:

On the Campaign Trail (my 2005-2006 Campaign Blog)

Musings of an Ol’ Broken Down Robin Hood (2003-2005)

The Calgary Democrat (2004-2006)

Franciscan Times (2005)

St. Mary‘s Fraternity SFO (Fall 2006)

Alberta Liberal Party Campaign Literature (2004)

The Hard Copy (A Youth Newsletter) (2005-07)

A Robin Hood’s Musings (Currently)

Also Taught my Urban Pilgrimage/Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred at University of Calgary Continuing Education (2008) and Spiritual Directions (2007)