Job

Hey – the agency where I applied for a peer support specialist position called me back for a follow-up interview, so I didn’t totally suck the first time. I went back – wearing a tie and a nerdy sweater-vest – for the second interview, which was way more intimidating, and now I’m in the giddy headspace of waiting to find out whether I got the job. I’m swinging back and forth between trying to figure out what art I wanna put up in my office and wondering which knife I should use to commit seppuku. It’s kinda like being on crazy drugs.

And I finally “finished” a literature review that I was supposed to have done a month ago for a bullshit class – “Organizational Research” – for the bullshit Bachelors degree program that I’m slogging through. I don’t believe in research papers, don’t give a rat fuck about the class and would be happy to see the “instructor” fall off a cliff, but I am being forced to do this paper anyway. I’m writing about the falling membership rates in the ELCA, which led to the decline of Christianity in the US, which led to the general decline of American society. It’s been depressing as all hell, but that’s what happens when I do research papers. I should’ve chosen another topic – like whether or not people should spay/neuter their cats. But I did what I did and I sent the douchebro instructor (he got no teaching degree – I think he got the job because he’s related to somebody) the sprawling litany of APA-cited collapse of a godless civilization that I wrote, and now I don’t have to think about that for the weekend.

So. Occasionally, I remember that I’m theoretically headed toward the ministry. I accidentally mentioned that in the job interview – then back-pedaled wildly. Ya never know if identifying yourself as a Christian is gonna disqualify you for a job. But I certainly didn’t act like someone who was gonna bother anyone with my traditional “belief” in a “God” or whatever, so hopefully it didn’t hurt my chances too much.

I read the daily meditations from Christ in Our Home and The Word in Season every morning, and sometimes I read the Psalm that is associated with the day. There are a lotta Psalms about how God will see us through persecution and get us to a better place, which is nice. Also, I been reading Job, which I used to hate because it seemed like God was being pretty mean to Job, but now I love it because that’s just the way it is. Sometimes everything is pretty shitty and there ain’t fuck-all you can do about it. and it ain’t necessarily your fault.

When I hated Job, it was because I thought my opinion mattered. I thought that I was qualified to decide how God should run things – which is exactly what the book of Job is about. The whole point of it is that we aren’t qualified to decide how God should run things. God is God, we ain’t. Which doesn’t make it easier for me to pay my bills, but does relieve me of the responsibility that I take on myself to figure shit out. I actually don’t have to worry or wonder about the job interview. I showed up on time and answered their questions and I didn’t cuss or put my feet on the desk or nothin’. I am qualified for the position, so I’ll get it or not. Then some other shit will happen and I’ll deal with that somehow. And I’ll keep on reading and praying and going to the 11am service on Sundays.

Being a neurotic, anxiety-filled recovering alcoholic with chronic depression isn’t always fun. But then I look at douchebros like the one “teaching” the class on organizational research and I think “would I rather be like that asshole? Sure, he’s confident and makes more money than me, but he’s also a craven coward who has never even considered the possibility that anything is not exactly how his formula says it should be. He believes all data sets because data sets tell him he should. He thinks he’s doing a great job because he’s doing the things that his research says he should do. When students ask him to explain the instructions, he reads the instructions to them because he believes the instructions are clear. He doesn’t know that the whole class thinks he sucks because that information doesn’t fit into his spreadsheet. But we do think he sucks. I’ve asked around.

I’d rather be who/what I am, and have God figure things out. I’m sure He’ll do better than I would. And maybe I’ll get the job.

Epiphany

Yesterday was Epiphany – the date that we celebrate the Revelation of Jesus to the Wise Men, who were more like astrologers than anything else. And I had an epiphany Sunday when I was driving back from taking my daughter to her mother’s house, a drive a little over an hour. See, it’s like this –

I applied for a job as a peer support specialist at a local agency, which means I’ll be working with addicts and alcoholics, some of whom will also have mental health issues and/or trauma – if I get the job. The interview was this past Friday. I put on some nicer clothes – not church nice, but better than usual – and reminded myself that Christ told His disciples not to worry about what they would say because the Holy Spirit would speak through them. Got to the place on time, sat in the waiting room in the exact same seat where I used to wait for my therapist to come out to collect me, back when I was strung out, stoned and trying to figure out the least painful way of committing suicide. I gotta say, I think I nailed the interview. If I don’t get the job it ain’t because I didn’t do my part.

So I was driving back over the mountain, thinking about how I would do that job, how I’d talk to clients about my experiences and try to help them find their own way to recovery, and I got to thinking about what kinda state I was in when I got sober and then – ding – I understood how the story of Job fit into my life. Like, I was aware of the conversation between God and Satan, when God says “Okay, do anything you want to him, just don’t kill him.” Because I was in a state not unlike Job when I got sober. I wasn’t covered in sores head to toe, but Job wasn’t psychotic. Otherwise it’s about the same. I’d lost everything, was estranged from everyone, was totally devastated and had no hope whatsoever. I would’ve been dead sooner than later – I knew that then and know that now. God kept me alive through a lotta shit that coulda woulda shoulda killed me, and then He gave me the insight that there was an end of that on the horizon. Time to get right.

And it was right around 6 Jan. when I had an epiphany that led me in another direction. I’ve written here about Christmas Eve, 1997, when I had an experience of God that blew my frickin’ brain, but I was too far out to get straight right away. I needed a lotta help. In the first week of January, 1998, I was in the local public library, where homeless people can go to use the bathroom and sit inside for a while, and I was wondering what I was gonna do that day. Kill myself? Get drunk? How would I find the funds to get drunk? And a thought came into my head – I mean it came into my head, not from my head – that I could go seek help. I didn’t have to get straight on my own. There are people and agencies and organizations that exist to help drunks get sober and all I had to do was get up and go to one. So I did. It was still seven or eight weeks ’til I actually got detoxed and was able to stay drug- and alcohol-free, but I started the process that day at the library which was within a day or so of 6 Jan. I really like it when dates and numbers match up.

Epiphany. I’ve started reading The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now, there’s a Lutheran. I gotta admit, I envy Bonhoeffer. I think it’d be easier in some ways to be imprisoned at Buchenwald and hanged at Flossenburg than to live in modern America, which I experience as a daily battering. Every day, another emotional beating by the twenty-first century Babylon. (The orange Fuhrer did some dumb shit last week that will involve US in another decade or so of idiotic mayhem in the middle East.)(Also, I hear that a Tarantino movie about the Manson murders won an award for “musical comedy” and that a movie about a comic book clown is being hailed as “drama”, so the priorities are all fuct up.) It’d be less pain and suffering to just pray in a cell for a few months and then go to the gallows.

But it’s God’s will, not Mine. If He wants me to keep trudging, I will. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany from the USA in ’39, knowing he would be a target of the SS, because he couldn’t participate in the rebuilding if he didn’t share in the suffering. That means something to me. I’m hoping to get a job which will allow me to sit down with people who have suffered and try to convince them to do things to change their miserable lives. I’m somewhat qualified by my own history, but the way of the Cross is the way of suffering. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ does not mean skipping through the daisies eating ice cream with kittens. It means sharing in the suffering of the world.

About kittens. The black kitten that I’ve mentioned here was hit by a car and killed in front of my house a few weeks ago. I buried her on the backyard. My daughter and I grieved and cried. Then we went out and got another kitten – an orange and white domestic short hair, from a rescue agency. The grrrl named him Simba. He’s really a puppy cat – licks hands and faces, carries his toys around in his mouth, loves to play Fetch. Delightful little beast. And a male kitten, too. I’ll be honest – I’m prejudiced in favor of female animals. I would’ve held out for a girl kitten, but my daughter, who does not share my biases, was determined to have that kitten right there, the orange one. So I’m learning to love a little boy cat. It’s a minor thing, perhaps, but these minor things add up. I am an opinionated ass and it is necessary for God to break that down, so that I can serve any and all.

Epiphanies all over the place.

Churching Of Women

So, I gotta write some fuggin’ research paper for a class, which I’d prefer not to do, but I gotta do it anyway because I can’t get into seminary to get an M.Div. until I get a token Bachelors in some shit and this research paper is a hoop I gotta jump through along the way. The young person who I will be paying to help me cheat assures me that “pretending to care” is a crucial part of doing a research paper, so I’m working on that. I do have some experience with pretending to care – I keep a straight face and act like I’m listening when my kid’s mother talks to me, fr’instance.

But anyway, I’m doing my paper on declining church attendance, specifically in the ELCA, which has been shedding members at an unsustainable rate since the denomination was founded, and I was skimming peer-reviewed research papers on church attendance in general, when I found one that focuses on the decline in happiness among women – https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5cb5/761c0935f19501d7dc107f296605724ad00b.pdf . You can read it, but I wouldn’t – because why would anybody read a research paper if they weren’t being forced to write a research paper? – but I’ll give ya the general jist (or gyst, if you prefer).

Over the past few decades, as second wave feminism morphed into third wave and now to fourth wave, women have made massive advances in every field, but women are not happier, according to them, than they were. During the same period, general church attendance in the US of A has declined. The paper I mentioned uses some variables and data, and some kinda mathy shit to make a correlation between women’s decreased church attendance and overall happiness. Comes down to this – not going to church makes women unhappy.

That is, of course, a gross oversimplification. Going to church is a form of participatory religious activity which indicates feelings, beliefs and certain identifiers. The changes in these invisible factors are surely more directly related to decreased happiness than showing up to a specific place at a specific time on Sunday mornings. Women aren’t necessarily happier when they see stained glass or listen to organ music. But internal attitudes can’t be measured, so we’re using church attendance as our marker.

It should also be noted that the inverse of the findings is not a given – it does not follow that if women start showing up to church they will become happier. Again, merely sitting in a pew for an hour isn’t the important thing here. What matters is the cultivation of a sense of community, a relationship with a Power greater than oneself, and a demonstrable commitment to both community and Power. Women might also enjoy volunteering more than men, seeing babies in little dresses and shaking their heads at what crazy ol’ Mrs. Johnson wore this week, but that’s all beside the point.

I will certainly be using this data in my research paper, in the end section where I propose some kinda solution to the problem of the ELCA’s bleeding out of congregants. In all honesty, I think the ELCA started out with a shitload of free riders who were just showing up because they were raised in one of the Lutheran bodies that merged to form the ELCA. The decline in ELCA numbers jumped after the Statement on Human Sexuality – https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Human-Sexuality – came out, which indicates that a lotta people decided that they hated queers more than they loved their church. I can’t say I’m all broke up that them folks went someplace else. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is a great place for homophobes to worship Jesus, who never said a mumblin’ word about the LGBTQ+, but who did say that His followers should love their neighbor as themselves and don’t judge.

I will certainly not be bothering my Bishop with some bullshit research paper, but I will be talking to people about women and queers, because they’re the people we, the ELCA, should be focusing our efforts on. We already ordain them, so we can lead off with that – Hey, ladies – and LGBTQ+s – we want you in our church so much that we’ll let you be preachers! And we should include some indication that showing up might make them happier. (Kathy what’s-her-face, who has given up on asking me to be a Crucifer, would love to have people show up and be worship assistants.) maybe they’ll drag their husbands/partners/squallin’ brats along and we can reverse the trend. Plus, it’d give LC-MS bloggers more fuel for their ire – they really don’t like that we don’t condemn the people they condemn.

For meself, as a woman who just happened to draw a Y chromosome in the sperm lottery, I know that attending church has certainly increased my own self-reported level of happiness. By the time Sunday rolls around, I’m generally pretty eager to get to church, and I always feel better when I leave.

(The phrase “churching of women” refers to an old ceremony that was related to giving birth – it was a blessing and a celebration that mother and child survived. It might still be done someplace – I dunno.)

(I am wildly, totally and completely of the Third Wave of Feminism, though I do acknowledge the problems with the “wave” model of describing the on-going efforts for equality. we understand intersectionality better now than we did when Riot Grrrl was almost a viable social movement, and that’s a good thing, but I’m attached to the 90s form over against the Fourth Wave which I see as a bit self-indulgent and whiny.)

LGBTQ+ Arts'n'Crafts Bible Study

I had this idea – LGBTQ+ Arts’n’Crafts Bible Study. It’s kinda ridiculous, but I’d love for it to be a real thing. I imagine a buncha dykes, twinks and trannies hanging out, doing arts and crafts, talking about the Bible and how we can use God’s Word to help us navigate our lives in this modern Babylon. You might notice I used “we” and “us” as if I count myself among the LGBTQ+. Not an accident. The thing prob’ly won’t happen – it’d require me finding a place to host an event that would pretty much turn out to be me, alone, drawing and thinking about the Bible, which is what I do anyway, and I’m not very sociable or likely to invite a buncha people to my house. I started making a flyer because I think it’s funny and I’d want i to happen and maybe if I show people a funny flyer they’ll express an interest in actually doing it.

Then I read an article at Bitch Media about some pop singer who is kinda queerish – https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/is-harry-styles-queer-complexity-of-queerbaiting – which also mentioned Kurt Cobain and posited that he was a trans-woman and I was like “Well, fuck. Am I gonna come out?” ’cause if Kurdled Cokain was a trans-woman, then there just ain’t no ambiguity no mo’.

Was a time when I thought “trans” meant wanting to b the other gender. Wayne County got what was called a “sex-change operation” and became Jayne County. That seemed kinda weird, but it didn’t affect me much. In the 90’s – my mid-20’s – I came across a deeper understanding of trans as being about how a person perceived their self, not necessarily including any positive or negative feelings about one’s body. It was immediately obvious to me that I was a woman who was attracted to women in a male body, and I immediately said so, out loud, and was immediately informed that the thing I just said was not cool. My attempt to get info from the local PFLAG went unanswered. My girlfriend thought I wasn’t serious – that relationship was toxic as shit. She was all kindsa abusive – though she was less successful with physical abuse because I was able to grab her wrists and hold them so she couldn’t hit me – mostly with the psychological shit. I wasn’t sober, wasn’t getting appropriate mental health care, and was easily battered into a state of confusion and general agreement that I was a piece of shit. I got clean and sober and started taking the right meds, but our pattern was established, so for a few years I continued to endure her bullying, cheating and gaslighting. She finally dumped me.

During the course of all that, I never changed my mind about being a dyke with a dick, but I did learn to keep it on the down low to avoid mockery and/or rage. Nobody else I knew seemed to know anything about the whole girl-in-boy-body thing and it didn’t matter much in a purely practical sense. I got involved with women and did the stuff that people with my kind of body do. How I felt about me as an abstraction separate from this particular meat-carriage didn’t have to enter into the conversation. Sometimes the GF would make some assumption about me based on “how guys are” and I’d remind them that “I’m not that kinda guy”. I mighta mentioned feeling like a dyke occasionally – actually, I think I told one of ’em that, because she was bisexual and into LGBTQ+ advocacy and shit, but it really go anywhere because the relationship never seemed all that stable to me, which translated into “safe”, so we never got into all that. She was pretty demanding and controlling and I never felt like she was listening.

I quit being involved with women in any kinda sexual/romantic way about seven years ago. The last one I was with was a bisexual who only wanted an open relationship. I was okay with that for a few months, because I wanted to fuck her, but the fact that there was no possibility of a long-term, monogamous relationship meant that it couldn’t last. When she started talking about having a three-way, it was done. I’d love to have a female partner. I’ve given up on finding one I can actually feel safe enough with to really communicate who I am. It’s not something I think about alot.

I never thought about transitioning. Surgery and hormones wouldn’t give me the total experience of being female – lotsa women complain about their periods, but menstruation is an intrinsic part of being female and I’d want the total package. Otherwise, it seems like a lotta trouble and expense for less than all. The body I have is fine – it’s a good body. I’m healthy, able to do all the stuff I wanna do. Various women have told me that I’ve got better than satisfactory equipment. No problem. The women I tend to wanna be around are generally not the typical women in America – they tend to have hairy legs and armpits, to dress practically and to embrace both “male” and “female” activities and interests. That’s the kinda woman I’d wanna be. It’s just easier and simpler to keep the body I have. Also, I’d be an ugly woman.

But I really hate being treated like a “guy”. I hate the stereotype of what a “man” is at least as much as I hate the stereotype of what a “woman” is. I don’t want any of that shit. I was someplace recently – a big room with a coffee counter. There were a buncha women of various ages standing around talking. I was leaning against the counter and this man I’ve known for years walked over to me and said “Which one would you do?” I was kinda stunned because he’s a college professor and I wouldn’t’ve expected that, which is kinda stupid on my part. I mumbled something about how I wouldn’t want any of ’em. It was awkward and weird. I guess I could’ve called him out – that’s popular with the kids these days. I get called out often enough for failing to toe the PC line. But I didn’t call him out because our relationship does not include that. I didn’t want to call him out. In retrospect, I see that I wasn’t clear that his question made me uncomfortable, but that’s how it goes. Sometimes I’m surprised and don’t know how to respond in the moment. Point is, I don’t want to be included in that kinda shit. I already knew that me and him ain’t gonna hang out, so it don’t matter much to me.

So. What? What do I do with all that? I don’t wanna shave my beard or wear make-up. I’m happier single and celibate than I ever was when I was in relationships with women. I wear a skirt around the house sometimes ’cause it’s comfortable, but I need pockets when I go out. I’ve got some yoga pants a friend gave me – they’re really comfy if I shift the front way over to one side – I wear them under regular pants when it’s cold. I don’t care about pronouns, which are a linguistic convenience and not reflective of my inner being. And I really don’t want to explain a buncha personal shit to anybody. That’s a big ol’ chunk of it – I really have no fuggin’ interest in explaining to anyfugginbody that I am, despite all appearances, a butch woman. Unless/until I’m thinkin’ ’bout getting into some deep romance with somebody, it ain’t nobody’s bizness. And that ain’t gonna happen unless/until God taps me on the shoulder and says “Hey, I am the Lord, your God, and I want you to get with this woman, this one, right here” because I ain’t doing it otherwise.

Coming out as a trans-woman in this format is safe and easy. Nobody reads this and if’n they did, it ain’t my real name. I dunno what to do with it. I do know that I’m doing the level best I can to do God’s will and I do know that God understands that I am a fallible and completely screwed up individual in a completely screwed up world of sin. So however this works out, I’m fine with God.

Maybe I’ll do LGBTQ+ Arts’n’Crafts Bible study on Tuesdays.

Other Sites

It’s Thanksgiving and I’m at work, alone, using the internet. I finished the first part of some useless research paper I gotta write for a class. The instructor is one of those very normal, but kinda cool men who I think of as “douche-bros”. I don’t like him. I also hate research papers because they’re boring, useless and part of the wrongheaded notion that people can be classified and categorized. I hates it.

But I’m done with that shit. For now. And I got a coupla hours before I go to my Aunt Karen’s house where we will eat, watch football and talk shit about my Aunt Julie, who has been a bit of a pill lately because, sigh, you know how Julie is. Unless Julie shows up in which case there will be tension and no one will mention it. So here’s some of the sites I look at when I’m wasting time on the internets:

The Babylon Bee https://babylonbee.com/ I like that they hit the progressives and conservatives equally. Some of this, you have to know a bit about Christianity to get it.

The Hard Times https://thehardtimes.net/ If you know about punk, this is sometimes almost painfully true. The rest of the time, it’s really painfully true.

The Onion https://www.theonion.com/ The Gold Standard for news satire.

Introvert, Dear https://introvertdear.com/ I’m an INFP in a world that constantly tells me that ain’t good enough. The articles here are generally spot on and make me feel like less of an outcast/loser/freak.

Bitch Media https://www.bitchmedia.org/ This is the online version of Bitch magazine, which was the best feminist mag in print from ’95 – ’06 or so. I admit I liked the print version better, but that might be because I cared more about popular culture then. Now, I really don’t give a shit and I often don’t know what they’re critiquing. Still good feminism.

Cake Wrecks https://www.cakewrecks.com/ Funny cakes.

The ELCA https://www.elca.org/ That’s my church. I wander around in the site occasionally. Just checkin’ things out.

You’ll note there ain’t a news site. I do look at the headlines occasionally, but it’s gotten pretty boring. Trump says something stupid and offensive every day. Mass shootings have become as common as rain storms. The world is going to Hell in a hay wagon. I don’t need the blow-by-blows.

I used to watch stuff on Netflix, but the person whose account I was poaching got their identity hacked and changed all their passwords and I don’t want to ask her for the new one because then she’ll get all snotty about me poaching her Netflix.

Oh yeah – DeviantArt https://www.deviantart.com/ I started putting pictures up there because I want to put the images into the world, but I don’t want to have art shows. I used to do art shows and it’s boring as shit. Also kind of annoying. DeviantArt lets me feel like I’m communicating or something. A lot of what’s on there is pretty trite – anime cliches and women with big tits – but there’s some good stuff.

And that’s it. I don’ do much online. No F’book or any of that. I’m pretty sure social media is a tool of Satan. It’s certainly contributing to the debasement of humanity and the destruction of society. I encourage everybody to boycott all social media, but F’book especially.

Now I’ma go lay around for a bit before the Thanksgiving.

Protevangelium

Hey. Here’s another picture I made. This one is “Protevangelium” which might be a word ya never heard so – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protevangelium – but if ya know anything about Christianity, the basic concept oughta be clear.

There’s an in-joke here that some people will get and some of them will be pissed off and I’m too much of an old punk to give a shit.

Other shit going on – I asked to have my interview with the candidacy committee pushed back a few months – I just got too much going on right now and I can’t get all the things together that gotta be got together. Also – I’ve mentioned that I was postulating for the Order of Lutheran Franciscans – I was writing something for that and I wrote myself into “Why am I trying to get into this club?” The answer has something to do with community – but the OLF is mostly an online community. The nearest OLF Brother is a couple hours away. I really don’t care about online communities because they’re not really communities. So I hain’t told anybody yet, but I’m kinda thinking I’m done with that.

Any pictures I put up here can be janked for whatever use. I’ll eventually get around to doing some pics that could be used for church bulletin art. I’d really like to do some shit that might just end up in the pool of images that get used for peripheral art or whatever. I’d love it if that “Coffee is proof that God loves and wants us to be awake” image got printed off and put up near the coffee maker in church kitchens. That’d be hilarious. I’ll sue the shit outta anybody who makes any scrillas off any of my pics, of course, but free use is free. The originals’re fer sale. Price on request.

Tomorrow’s Sunday and I gotta write a paper for a class.

Something Like A Title

In the last one, I asserted that I do not want to be a drug/alcohol rehab counselor with an M.Div. which is what the candidacy people seem to think – I acknowledge that I played a part in creating that erroneous impression. I started off saying “Well, I’m a recovering alcoholic and I do want to help people….” and it just kinda slid into everybody thinking that I wanted to do Bible study at a 28-day rehab or something. I didn’t protest it because I didn’t know what I was called to do specifically – ministry to marginalized people, yeah, but I had no clear idea how that would look. Then I did a raft of psych evals and got the results of all that shit, which were about as inaccurate as I expected, but in the process of going through the report and crossing stuff out and underlining and writing notes in the margin like “This is bullshit” and “Who are they talking about?”, I started thinking about who I am, as opposed to who the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory  says I am, and what I actually want my ministry to look like, on the off chance that I do manage to slog my way through all the hours of “higher education” that stand betwixt me and ordination. And now that I know what I’m s’posed to do with my ministry, I have to figure out how to articulate that to anybody who doesn’t have total access to the inside of my head, where visionary visions and exploding abstractions are swirling and bursting into being at a feverish rate like a kaleidoscope of fractals on acid – the really good stuff that I dropped in South Carolina that one time when I saw the future, but didn’t know it at the time. It’s complicated slightly by the fact that I don’t have a good read on the committee – like how much they’re committed to the way things are supposed to be which is a terrible that I am forced to deal with sometimes. I’m in the midst of some kerfuffle at work right now because of an unimaginative goon who worships at the throne of the way things are supposed to be and can’t recognize the validity of any position other than his own and that sucks. And it’s sad, but there is no way of enlightening those who will not be enlightened, so the rest of us just have to let the thing play out and pretend to care about what his algorithm or whatever dictates is the way things are supposed to be. Either I’ll find a way out of the business and not have to put up with him or he’ll get a sweet gig micromanaging the nitpickers at Stick In Ass Co. and go to his reward, whichever. But the point is, I don’t know if the candidacy committee is in thrall to right-brain, logical, rational braindeath or if they’re open to the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit and totally cool with vague aspirations to, ya know, minister to marginalized people and, ya know, feed the sheep, ’cause Jesus told one of the guys to feed sheep and stuff.

Chances are, they’re somewhere in the middle. And there’s a half-dozen of ’em which makes it a lot harder to figger out how to play the thing. My natural first inclination is to figger out how to work a situation, how to manipulate people to get what I want. That’s not too hard when y’re dealing with a college professor who has a clear and blatant bias – I’ve been able to get an A when I shoulda got a C by working the angle. This thing is set up to prevent that kinda behavior – not that I’m totally giving it up – but a frontal assault might be the best way to go. Walk right in, bold as brass, and tell ’em “I’ma try to get dopers and crackheads to come to church and I ain’t even gonna ask ’em to get clean first. I’m gonna do the best I can to fill the pews with sex workers, neo-Nazis, fall-down drunks and barking mad screwballs. Them’s my people.” (Not the Nazis so much – I got kinfolk buried in Europe ’cause they went to fight the Nazis the first time – but I have sat down with dudes who had Gestapo insignia tattoos and had conversations and I ain’t scared.) The more I think about it, the more that seems like the right attack.

I’m also writing some stream of consciousness shit for the Order of Lutheran Franciscans ’cause I’m trying to get into that club, and Frances had a habit of marching into the Pope’s office and making outrageous requests and getting what he wanted because the Pope knew that Frances was not asking for anything for himself – he was always after the greater glory of God – and because the Pope knew Frances wouldn’t just go away. Frances was not above standing on the front steps naked in the cold shouting at people when he was determined to get something. I can totally dig that crazy shit. I will try to get things done the right way, respecting the chain of command and all, but if I gotta, I’ll drive down to Roanoke and barge into the Bishop’s office and demand whatever it might turn out to be. I should prob’ly be up front about that – not totally, of course, but kinda. I can see me getting into some kinda kerfuffle that’ll have the Bishop hanging his head and saying “The fuck? What’d we ordain that guy for?” and when they come to bail me out I wanna be able to say “Hey, you knew what I was like when ya gave me the job.” So I gotta stroll a fine line right now.

Right, then. Seems like we got a plan.