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“You have entirely the wrong attitude. If you leave this school today,” you will starve to death in two weeks,” roared the red faced man across the desk from me, Lt. Col. John T. Stubbs, Principal of the Sir James Dunn School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

That night I arrived on the streets of Toronto. I had just enough money to buy a beer though I was 19 and drinking age was then 21. I did not let that stop me.

I had first met Colonel Stubbs three years earlier when my father moved us from Chipman, New Brunswick to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in the middle of grade 11.

“Don’t be ashamed when you fail,” he told me the first time I met him in his office, “the standards of education in New Brunswick are lower than they are in Ontario.”

I passed with honors.

I did have to repeat Grade 12 because I failed French. I asked to substitute geography in its place. I took grade 11 and 12 geography at once in the process meeting a remarkable man, Robert Herring who had been in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II where he learned to speak Japanese in two months. He said they placed bamboo sticks under his fingernails. Every time he made a mistake one was struck. “You must have hated them,” I said. He replied, “No. I respected them. They had no time to waste.”

I also had the equally remarkable John (Jack) Casey as my home room and English teacher for Grade 12. He loved my writing.

When I had to repeat Grade 12 due to failing French a fellow asked me to write a piece for his English class.

“You did not write this,” Paul Walimaki, the English teacher told him.

Everyone was angry with me because he had been found out.

Curious as to how the teacher knew the other fellow had not written the piece I went to him and asked.

“It was too good,” Walimaki said.

When I got into Grade 13 the next year Paul Walimaki was both my home room and English teacher. We studied T. S. Eliot’s MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL.

“There goes Reg,” said a girl in the class when I began to answer a question he had asked me.

It was the first and only time I saw Walimaki get angry. He said to her sharply, “He is the only person in this room who is thinking.”

From that time forward each of the students confused thinking with giving long answers to his questions.

A touring company of MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL arrived in the Sault. Where Eliot has 4 knights/murderers on the page on the stage there were 5.

Afterwards Walimaki asked us, “Why do you think the director had changed the symbolism in the play?”

Each student gave a longer answer than the one before him/her.

When my moment came the class braced themselves for the longest answer of them all.

I had an advantage, however. I had worked in the theater.

I said. “He is a very attractive young man. He is either the director or the producer’s boyfriend.”

That led to a near riot.

Everyone shouted that I was wrong.

Shortly after I found myself sitting in Colonel Stubbs office where I was told I had the wrong attitude.

“LEAVE THIS SCHOOL TODAY AND YOU WILL STARVE IN TWO WEEKS!” he roared at me.

How was I to know unless I did just that.

Marlene Dietrich, a great star as well as one of the strongest people ever born, said, “Weak men are more likely to make strong men weak than strong men are likely to make weak men strong.”

She’s right.

A few months after arriving in Toronto I met the young man who had played the 5th knight/murderer in MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL.

“What were you doing in MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL?” I asked.

He replied, “I was the director’s boyfriend.”

William Hutchinson Murray, in THE SCOTTISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION, wrote, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that the  ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

That is 100% true.

There is saying, “the nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from Allah, the Buddha, God.”

This also is true.

Thomas Becket had been the friend and loyal servant of Henry II.

Henry failed to understand that Becket was loyal to whom he served. When Henry appointed Becket Archbishop of Canterbury he assumed Becket would serve him not God. When Henry found that Becket would not serve as his tool he was furious.

The desire of the state has always been to take the place of God on earth.

Had Henry appointed  a priest to the post he probably would have gotten his will. Certainly later Archbishops of Canterbury have knelt to the will of the throne than stand up for the will of the author of all.

Becket, however, was no churchman.

“Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton.

On the main floor here at The Cineforum in Toronto hangs a full sized authorized replica of THE SHROUD OF TURIN, the cloth in which the body of Jesus was wrapped when it was placed in the tomb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6sM_GeUx24    .

Gilbert R. Lavoie,a medical doctor,  in  one of the first books written in the U.S. since 1988 that presents the Shroud of Turin as the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Lavoie takes us on a scientific and scriptural search (with more than 70 revealing photographs) that allows us to decide for ourselves whether the ancient cloth has any meaning for us today. His video (above) traces the story of the shroud from Turin to Jerusalem. In 1961, while poking around in a used bookstore in Boston, Lavoie stumbled across a paperback called A Doctor at Calvary, by French surgeon Pierre Barbet. As Lavoie thumbed through the pages, he discovered that Barbet was writing not about Jesus’ crucifixion but about the Shroud of Turin, a piece of cloth that contained the bloody image of a naked man. Thus began Lavoie’s 30-year quest to uncover the true origins of the Shroud and to reveal its mysteries. In this well-told scientific and theological detective story, Lavoie offers a step-by-step account of his attempts to prove that the Shroud of Turin could well have been the shroud that covered Jesus as he was taken from his cross to his tomb. In order to show that the marks on the cloth are indeed blood stains, Lavoie discusses the nature of blood as it clots, especially when those clots are covered with cloth. Through various experiments, he is able to conclude: “blood clots transfer to cloth as mirror images of themselves; the neatness of the transfers is related to the fact that the man of the shroud died in the vertical position; the time the clots take to transfer to cloth coincide closely with the gospel timetable of the death and burial of Jesus.”

One of the remarkable things Lavoie illustrates for us is that when the image was formed on the cloth the body was not lying flat in a tomb but rather suspended in space vertically.

In this Easter presentation I am dealing with several controversial subjects.

Those subjects are the Resurrection of Jesus (which is Easter is all about), the fact that each of us is called to be a troublesome priest, faith and homosexuality.

We would all be better served if Rome would remember the Pope it would like to forget.

That Pope is Boniface VII who stated that sexual congress with young women and boys is no more of a sin than the brushing together of two hands:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Boniface_VIII    .

The name “Boniface” means “good fate.” It would have been a far better fate for us all had his view held.

This, however, was not to be the case.

“You will encounter in your travels folks of your own age who chose the institutional path, who became administrators rather than doers. These folks chose to serve an institutional authority in exchange for a paycheck, and these folks are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and you who come up off the street, who live without certainty day to day and year to year are going to have to bear with being called children by these institutional types; you will, as Shakespeare tells us, endure ‘the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes.’ “It is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to an idea rather than an institution. It’s courageous and requires a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive. They are so unequipped to perceive it that they can only call it childish, and so excuse their exploitation of you.”– David Mamet, TRUE AND FALSE.

Whatever else it may claim to be the Roman Catholic Church, like all organizations, is composed of bureaucrats.

For this reason it (and all the other organizations like it) are useless edifices.

“You have no need that any man should teach you,” writes the Apostle John in his first letter.

When asked by a person to be their teacher Christ replies, “You have one teacher, God.”

It takes Faith to believe that. Faith grows by accepting it.

Because I walked out of high school, because I took a chance on starving to death in two weeks I have been given far better teachers than could be found in any church, classroom, school or university.

One of those teachers was Judith Merril, the mother of modern science/speculative fiction. Of Judy J. G. Ballard (author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN) wrote in 1992,  “Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead, and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library to the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men.”

I find those timid and weak men are over abundant today.

John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), in ON LIBERTY, wrote, “The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honor and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond to wise and noble things: I am not countenancing the sort of ‘hero worship’ which applauds the strong man of genius for forcibly seizing on the government and making it do his bidding in spite of itself. All he can claim is freedom to point the way. The power of compelling others into it is not only inconsistent with the freedom and development of the rest, but corrupting to the strong man himself. It does seem, however, that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, that the counterpoint and corrective to that tendency would be the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in doing so, unless they acted not only differently but better. In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.

“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”

Eccentric is the word the media uses in place of homosexual. The media could be sued for calling a person a homosexual. They can’t be sued for saying a person is eccentric.

Personally, I don’t accept the words heterosexual nor homosexual. I refuse to limit myself by the definitions created by cowards.

I do know from experience that Judith Merril is right. I do know that I learn best in conversation after sex.

The moment the Roman Catholic Church made celibacy a condition of the priesthood the Roman Catholic Church automatically demonized women.

Personally, I would rather burn in Hell than burn from unrequited love.

In India 400 men are suing a guru who promised that if they castrated themselves they would meet God http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/spiritual-leader-allegedly-manipulated-400-men-into-removing-testicles-to-be-closer-to-god-10078095.html     .

The whole so-called spiritual movement is one of self castration.

Jesus taught that we have but one teacher, God.

Any man who calls themselves a Christian and says different makes Christ a liar.

Invited to join New York’s prestigious group theater at the dawn of her acting career Katharine Hepburn said, “I want no part of the group dynamic. The group dynamic by nature is second rate.”

She’s right.

Another person who came into my life BECAUSE I walked out of that principal’s office was Jane Jacobs, the author of the most important book on cities, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. “My mother loved you,” her children tell me when I meet them.

Said Jane, “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”

The robe Jesus wore was seamless.

Like the world we live in it was of one piece.

Not a single part of that fabric is unnatural.

“We get three educations. The first is from our parents; the second is from our schoolmasters. The third is from life. The last makes liars of the first two.”–Montesquieu (1689–1755).

I’m with Montesquieu.

I have learned from so many people who have given me their love that I can not weep for the cowards who run to condemn us.

–Reg Hartt 2018–03–07.

 

 

 


				

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