Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Father Joe

Kim Getgood, a friend of mine from my Madison days back in the 1980s, also the woman who introduced me to Thomas Pynchon, recently put up this brief post on Facebook. It's so good I've decided to go ahead and steal it for my blog:

My hero as a child was a man named Father Joe. He taught my brothers and me catechism at Grace Episcopal Church in Madison, Wisconsin. He wore a black dress and a beaded crucifix necklace and was very very old. He armed himself with holy water and a special brand of compassionate wit. When I confessed to him as a child of eight that I could not morally believe in heaven if there was indeed a hell, he whispered that I was "absolutely right." He never posted pictures of himself or his wife on Facebook armed with AR-15 rifles or pistols aimed at the camera because he died three decades before he had to witness the Internet, let alone the violent sacrilege of "right-winging, gun-slinging" evangelicals.

The father of my faith was a man of love, compassion and the Holy Spirit. He used to tell me: "Arm yourself with the Truth. It is all any of us will ever have or need. It is the only weapon of the Righteous."

My greatest spiritual examples (Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and so many others) have been willing to die unarmed for their faith. I can't trust people who say they are here to minister to our faith but then proselytize gun violence. Where is their faith that God is their protector? Or ours?

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