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Two Dream Warnings

SigningWill

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the wise men left for their own country by another road.

— Matthew 2:12 (NRSV)

The past two evenings, in late afternoon naps, I have received warnings in my dreams of my death. The second one was five minutes ago.

In the first, I was in a hospital, about to undergo one of those death by injection treatments which hospice nurses use on some people with terminal illness. (My mother died that way at home.) They administer painkillers, supposedly at a physician’s direction. I received mine, but I talked all the way through it, including afterward, which made me want to know why I wasn’t dead yet. Then the nurse left and closed a big old heavy wooden door – to shut death in with me, I guess; to make sure I couldn’t escape. Finally I asked, “Does this mean I’m going to keel over?” She paused, then cracked open a wooden vertical slot half an inch, and answered, “Yes.”

So I climbed back onto the gurney, made the sign of the Cross quite profoundly – and woke up.

A few minutes ago, I dreamed I was riding in a car with several middle-aged women as we headed to a political meeting; something to do with a fight over development in Clifton, a Cincinnati neighborhood where I once lived. I could picture the street in the business district they were all concerned about; they were fighting this development, and about to meet with a heavyweight donor in the northeastern suburbs. Then we’d all have lunch at a restaurant, and when the drama started we were already discussing how we would pay our collective food bill; a woman we picked up along the way would get the tab, then we’d all reimburse her. We were headed up north along the interstate – maybe from I-75 to the Norwood Lateral – when we rounded a curve and plunged into deep water that was flooding the roadway. I saw it coming, but the driver plowed through it, and in seconds we were all right. Then we rounded another curve with a much deeper wall of water, deep enough that no one would ever attempt to drive through it. At the crucial moment she glanced away to her left, and the car not only plunged in, it rapidly filled with water.

No one spoke. I could tell we would drown, and I headed my nose to the roof of the car. I clawed at it, managed to rip through the (old-fashioned) cloth, filled myself with oxygen and started giving directions, “Get your noses above water, there’s a little space here.” I tried the door, we were able to clamber out (which was odd, since I was sitting in the middle, and logically the door wouldn’t have opened so easily). I made it to the dry left side of the road, the driver somehow was able to drive a few feet ahead and park on the median, and when she got out she said, “I didn’t see it coming.”

Well, I did. That’s what dreams are for.

My spiritual director Marcia recently did an experimental painting, “Wake up to your dreams. They are unopened letters from God.” She’d gotten spiritually blocked about even trying this thing that wanted to come out of her, which I accidentally discovered while we had an e-mail discussion about an earlier work of hers, a pastel drawing of a young woman, which I own and she wanted to borrow back for an upcoming gallery event. She made arrangements to pick it up on a certain day, I took it down from my wall and Windexed the glass so it would be clean for her, and took it downstairs so she wouldn’t have to wait while I retrieved it. The day came and went and she never picked it up.

A couple of weeks later I wrote to her again, asking about it. And I somehow intuited her fear, though she hadn’t mentioned it. So I encouraged her in that e-mail, as best I could in my ignorance, that whatever was going on with her she should paint through it. “Just try, even if it turns out ugly or shameful or scandalous or wrong.” I didn’t know what I was saying, and yet I wrote this with confidence to her. She is quite a spiritual director, who has shared many things with me as I have with her, and the one thing I knew was that if my advice was off-base, she’d be strong enough to ignore it.

Two weeks later she finished the painting, took a picture of it, and sent me the photo by e-mail. Here it is.

Marcia Smith-Wood, 2013: Wake up to your dreams. They are unopened letters from God."

Marcia Smith-Wood, 2013: Wake up to your dreams. They are unopened letters from God.

It’s a self-portrait, but I’m not going to discuss it as art so I don’t intrude on her privacy. It was the title that got to me; such a clear expression of her insights. I thought it might even be helpful to my Daily Office congregation, so I posted it shortly thereafter for Morning Prayer.

No one commented on it, but its message stayed with me.

I can’t say, like the driver of the car, that I didn’t see it coming. My dreams, two afternoons in a row, told me death is coming.

Maybe I have a chance to repent and radically change my ways (I’m an alcoholic, sometimes in recovery and sometimes not, and I smoke). But I’m not entirely concerned with that right now. I am not for the most part horribly frightened of death. I hope when it comes it’s not painful, but my number one concern is my spiritual response to it. My first dream, in the hospital with the old heavy door, satisfies me; what to do when our death is at hand is to make the sign of the Cross. We don’t even have to say anything, for God will know. (It’s funny that in that moment of great physical weakness, I imagined my hand traveling all the way from my forehead to my waist, then one shoulder to the other. Liturgically impeccable, a death seen only in the movies.)

Last night just before I went to bed for the last time, I had a heart-to-heart with God about this. I asked him or her to make provision for my prayer site’s succession; it will need someone to outlive me. It is too big, after 2.5 million hits and another million e-mails to subscribers, and too successful simply to die with me. We are doing too well right now, with a pending grant application for $50,000 to church headquarters in New York, and brand new live webcasts five mornings a week. The technology is very exciting; a few people are trying it. We can see each other by webcam, hear each other by VoIP, and their computer screens (iPad or phone) display what’s on my screen: the website with its liturgy, art and videos. When I hit Play on the videos, everyone sees and hears them simultaneously. It really is like being in church together, though we’re physically located throughout the country.

None of my competitors even attempts such a thing – and indeed, one basis of our grant app is that we offer live curated services twice a day. (I’m the “curator,” because the term sounds grandiose enough to impress New York.) The two or three competing sites (why anyone would compete over this work is beyond me) are simply databases, where the user clicks enough times to put together the elements they want. No art – Fr. Richard Helmer recently trumpeted that he’s now added some, nine years after my innovation – and certainly no videos.

The pride I take in my site is the making of community; this is what online church should be, not praying to a database. If we do get selected for the grant, I’ve got another trick up my sleeve to grow this community. Don’t know whether it will work, but we’re big enough to try.

We get more visitors per year than the National Cathedral in Washington. They’re going to start charging tourists $10 a head, to raise $3 million for their overhead; with 50 grand I can take care of our techno expansion, pay myself a salary – which is key to my succession plan, because another minister will want that paying job – and start up a Spanish language version in cooperation with Padré Mickey.

Best $50,000 New York will ever spend, or so I hope. I prayed to God last night, “Give me that succession and I can go in peace.”

S/he gave me a loving response this morning, enveloping me in warmth, her favorite way, because I can receive it and know it’s her. She probably waited until this morning because I was headed straight to bed after our talk.

Then to have this death-by-drowning dream a few minutes ago, well – my fingers drum on the desktop – I clearly will have to completely change my ways. That’s what “repentance” means, an up-and-down transformation. Quit the behavior, no more self-destructiveness. Booze and smoking kill. That’s actually how my mother died; she smoked until she got lung cancer, and eventually drowned in the fluid that filled her lungs. I guess the morphine shots were a blessing – though the hospice agency was really dishonest about it. Nurse-assisted homicide takes place all over the country, and though that sounds shocking, people who’ve been there all know it.

Repentance is difficult, and for most people it’s very gradual, though fundamentalists would have you believe they’re all “born again” in a flash. This 180-degree turn is something they tell each other about constantly and take pride in, though they cloak that pride in describing how wicked they once were. (We’re supposed to think they’re not anymore!) It makes them feel better about themselves. And I don’t know that it doesn’t happen, so while I gladly satirize them, I don’t judge a one of them. May it all be just as they claim.

For 99% of Episcopalians it doesn’t work that way. We seldom have the same depravities they describe, and we seldom go through such a quick turnaround. I’m 62, and I’ve been working at social justice (while smoking and drinking, quitting and going back to it) all my life. They never get to that part, so fuck ’em. They deserve Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard and Fox News.

I don’t drink 24/7/365 anymore, but I do jump on and off the wagon, and lately I’ve been off in left field for two weeks.

So I just poured out my last vodka, to make sure I don’t go through withdrawal. I’ve been tapering again, and I’m pretty sure I’m physically in the clear; withdrawal is life-threatening. (If I should die tomorrow, notify Maria L. Evans of the Diocese of Missouri at once. The site will belong to her until she makes other arrangements. This is my legal wish.) Alcohol is the more immediately dangerous substance for me, and since New York is taking its own sweet time to decide our application, maybe I’ll stay sober long enough to keep the site going awhile.

My strategy to quit smoking is a week or so away: never buy menthol cigarettes again. (Europe’s about to ban them, and they’re right.) The “regular flavor” tastes so damn nasty I won’t want to keep smoking. I’ll set a quit date, taper down and be done with this stuff. If I still can’t manage it I’ll seek every kind of medical help there is. I can’t afford cigarettes, physically, spiritually or financially. If I have to take a prescription drug instead, I’ll buy it until I find one that works.

As you have decided by now, my story does not offer immense moral uplift with a pop soundtrack; only honesty amidst struggle and dream warnings. (Masturbation doesn’t kill anybody, or I’d have been dead at 16. Apparently my fantasies will continue until five minutes before I croak.) I thank God for my dreams.

Marcia, I opened the letters.

Otherwise I’m quite content with my spiritual life. The site is going great guns, and yesterday’s big sign of the Cross ending leaves me at peace. I’m thankful for the Spirit’s embrace this morning; God hasn’t left me, no matter how much danger I put myself in. Even today’s nap had me making my way to the grass, not perishing in the water.

Otherwise, here’s hoping I can consolidate my afternoon naps and my nighttime sleeping. I’m a plenty dramatic fella, but I’d rather not go through this three afternoons in a row.++

Josh Thomas
Kentland, Indiana
owner and founder, dailyoffice.org
November 29, 2013

Last Will Cartoon

America’s God Is Capital

You never knew where Paul Lynde was going to show up on "Bewitched."

Paul Lynde’s head on a plate; I can think of a few more that ought to be there.

Sometimes I get the impulse to start a new blog which would list crimes committed by American business.

I’m going to resist this impulse for a host of reasons: it would get boring. Shrill, probably. Take up too much of my time, a drumbeat of bad news. Better to collect TV Guide covers, like I did when I was 10 years old; I had quite a collection there for awhile, I Love Lucy, the Flintstones, My Three Sons. Davy Jones of The Monkees!

Davy Jones was the cute one, a former child actor in Britain.

Davy was the cute one, a former child actor in Britain.

But it would be a good idea for some compulsive person to gather all the white collar indictments, fraud charges, shareholder lawsuits and convicted criminals in one place. Because there’s a pattern to them; somebody wanted to make money and didn’t care how they did it. Didn’t care who they hurt. Didn’t care how polluted that river got.

Let me start with this one, just reported today, February 21, 2013.

Feds Indict 4 in Salmonella Outbreak

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted four people in a 2009 salmonella outbreak linked to a Georgia peanut processing plant.

The indictment unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Georgia charges four employees with Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America. The charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and others related to contaminated or misbranded food.

The company’s filthy processing plants were blamed for the outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds. The company later went bankrupt.

Named in the indictment were company owner Stewart Parnell, vice president Michael Parnell, Georgia plant manager Samuel Lightsey and Georgia plant quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson.

They knew their peanuts were bad. They sold them anyway. A lot of them ended up being made into peanut butter sold to schools, where kids got sick. But the Parnells didn’t care about that; they cared about profit instead. They had a bunch of bad peanuts and they “couldn’t afford” to eat the loss, so they made sure schoolchildren ate them instead. And Lightsey and Wilkerson went along.

Or, to be fair, that’s what they’re indicted for; they haven’t been convicted.

Stewart Parnell, right, of Peanut Corp. of America took the 5th Amendment when called to testify before Congress. His tainted peanuts killed 9 and sickened more than 700.

Stewart Parnell, right, of Peanut Corp. of America took the 5th Amendment when called to testify before Congress. His tainted peanuts killed 9 and sickened more than 700.

Now it would be one thing if this were an isolated case; “a few bad actors.” But that isn’t so; for one thing, they had help from your Food and Drug Administration, which doesn’t have enough food safety inspectors, thanks to your elected Congress, industry lobbyists and your Republican Party.

I’d also put on my fantasy blog several entries about the Indianapolis concrete cabal; those convictions came down a few years ago. Most of the big concrete companies in the city conspired to fix prices, costing taxpayers untold millions for every mile of highway and public works project in central Indiana.

Notice I haven’t even mentioned Wall Street and the big banks until now.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren made news the other day during her first big hearing on the Senate Banking Committee. They had the heads of the financial regulatory agencies – the SEC, the Comptroller of the Currency, etc. – all lined up in a row to testify. She asked a simple question: when is the last time you took the big Wall Streek banks to court? I know you get fines out of them, you announce impressive-sounding settlements for wrongdoing, but when is the last time you put them on the witness stand?

Elizabeth Warren

It was good Washington theater. The agency heads hemmed and hawed, mumbled and shuffled, which was all anyone needed to know. The agencies, which are supposed to be guardians of your taxpayer and investor money, never take anyone to court. So, unsurprisingly, when a big bank gets caught being funny with the money, whatever fine they receive is simply written off as the cost of doing business, while the CEO takes his golden parachute to Aspen.

Corruption is endemic in American business. It’s everywhere – every industry and just about every big company. Or so I believe.

It’s not that there aren’t honest businesspeople, there are; but “corporations are people, my friend,” and people are greedy.

Johnson & Johnson is in trouble right now over a bunch of hip implants they knew were bad, but kept selling anyway. That’s right, the Band-Aid people who took care of my ouchies when I was collecting pictures of Samantha and Darren on “Bewitched.”

bewitched

So if you ever find yourself wondering why some people are religious, including some Gay people like me, here’s an answer. Religions are ethical systems. Right and wrong are their subject matter.

Religions make clear that if the peanuts are bad, you can’t sell them. If the mortgages are bad, you can’t package them up, stamp an A+ rating on them and sell them, while secretly betting against your own customers that those Collateralized Debt Obligations are worthless and may bring down the entire world economy.

It is wrong, West Virginia and Kentucky politicians and citizens, to blow the tops off mountains so coal companies can kill workers while extracting coal that fouls the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, which will probably destroy planet Earth.

There is no amount of money that makes these things right. And if the planet gets destroyed, Aspen won’t be worth living in.

Of course, even religions act corruptly much of the time. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a possible candidate for pope, spent hours testifying in a deposition yesterday about the pedophile scandal in Milwaukee during his time as bishop there. Cardinal Roger Mahony, rebuked last week by the new Archbishop and told not to speak publicly again, was also deposed in Los Angeles about the pedophile scandal there. Both Dolan and Mahony get to vote on the new pope – proving that religion is no guarantee of personal sanctity.

A person has to follow religion and really do what it says for it to be effective. The Episcopal Church isn’t pure either. And neither am I, but I’m working on it.

About the time I was collecting TV star covers, my Granddad, about to retire from the drug store he owned in our small town, asked me what I was going to do when I grew up. “Bidness?” he assumed. (David Letterman’s right, that’s how Hoosiers pronounce it.)

“No,” I told Granddad too heatedly. I couldn’t imagine myself as a businessman. (I probably wanted to be Paul Lynde.)

At 14, after Grandma and Granddad moved to Florida, I remember deciding I would never be part of corporate America. It was a juvenile decision, at the start of my hippie days in the ’60s, but I was right. I did end up owning a small business once, but I really wasn’t cut out for it. I’m a social worker, a writer, an activist, even a religious leader.

And while there’s no money whatever in those professions – and yes, it takes money to live in this country – I’m okay these decades later with how my life turned out.

Paul Lynde never hurt anybody, while that peanut man in Georgia killed nine people. Four years later he’s finally being brought to justice with his brother and two other accomplices.

And let me note this: a few weeks ago my prayer site, dailyoffice.org, received a $500 contribution from a stockbroker. We really needed that money, and he’s not the first businessperson to give.

Where is J.P. Morgan – the man, not the company – when we need him? He was Mr. Episcopalian in his day; he used to hire a special train to take him and his mistress to General Convention, where he’d hold court and decide everything, while writing the occasional letter to his wife. He wouldn’t have tolerated today’s corporate behavior – he got his way because he was rich and people were afraid of him.

I fantasize he would have made a big announcement about his donations to the Republican Party – then quietly cut a check to Elizabeth Warren.++

No one was stupid enough to cross J.P.

Nobody fucked with J.P. – yet we still have atheists complaining about the Wrath of God. Don’t they understand anything?

Gay Valentines, 1980: Comedy or Revolution?

Gay Cupid

Eons ago in my undergraduate days at the University of Cincinnati, I decided that Gay students needed to organize themselves; I was in social work school, and the origin of the profession lies in community organizing (howdy, Barack!). So I founded something called the UC Gay and Lesbian Alliance to fight for our rights; David Packer and David Giesler were two of the early leaders. The group continued for decades, and over the years added B’s, T’s and Q’s to its name, until it’s now subsumed in an official university-funded LGBTQ Center, which you can find here.

Well, it’s one thing to have meetings and organize yourselves, but the question soon arose, What shall we do? We decided to have a dance for Valentine’s Day.

We reserved a room in the student center, arranged for some music (disco, no doubt), made up flyers and sent out announcements; no one comes to a dance they don’t know is being held. There was no Facebook or e-mail in those days; we posted flyers in the bars and sent out press releases hoping to get four lines in the community calendar of the student newspaper.

I didn’t give this project a great deal of thought; it just seemed like a fun activity – until the TV cameras showed up.

I don’t recall having a boyfriend at the time, though I was never long without one in those days. I knew I could find someone to dance with; meanwhile let’s make sure the decorations are in place and we’ve got something to eat and drink, right? Wrong.

As the president and founder, I was the one reporters sought out for interviews. Fine, I thought, this will put us on the map and let the university know we mean business. (UC already had a non-discrimination policy.) Besides, as one of the first two people to come out publicly in the city – with full real names and everything, in the Sunday paper the year before – I was comfortable being in the media.

They all wanted to know if we were trying to “take over” Valentine’s Day.

Our dance floor was about this crowded.

Our dance floor was about this crowded.

I was, to put it mildly, nonplused. “Since when do heterosexuals own Valentine’s Day? We came here to dance.”

You’d have thought I was a Gay Panther, armed and dangerous. The reporters were all paranoid; I didn’t expect that.

Valentine’s Day is a “cherished institution,” they said. (Where have you heard that before?) Lovers look forward to it every year; the stores are full of chocolates and roses. “I know; I bought some.”

Meanwhile the TV cameras were busy taping people dancing – forty people, tops, counting the wallflowers.

My view of the TV shot was Look at all this empty space on the dance floor. We were a new organization, lucky to get the few people we had. Most of our efforts up to then were focused on gaining university recognition as an official group, so we’d qualify for the right to reserve a room.

Reporters demanded whether this was a sign of Gay student militancy at the university? “I think it’s a sign that there are actual Gay people here, and that we dance like anyone else.”

All their questions were variations on this theme; reporters couldn’t get their heads around the idea that Gayness and love are connected – I suppose they all thought that “Gay” meant nothing but sex in the bushes, not actual romance – while I couldn’t get my head around the fact that they were so clueless.

Soon enough the videographers had all the tape they needed of half a dozen people pretending to have fun to Donna Summer and the Village People, and the reporters ran out of new ways to ask the same thing, so they packed up and left. As I recall the party did not greatly improve on their leaving; the wallflower caucus remained the biggest group.

We made the news that night, though; we usually led off the second segment, after the anchors used us as a tease going into commercial, “Queers hold a Valentine’s dance at UC, stay tuned!”

The reports on the different stations all looked the same; Josh the talking head, music playing in the background, then video of half a dozen souls bravely bobbing up and down. I didn’t regard it as a great triumph, and I don’t think the president of UC broke a sweat over us either. But at least we got on the teevee.

Two nights from now, the LGBTQ Center and Colors of Pride will sponsor a Valentine’s Day Mixer on Friday, February 15 in the same student center where we held our forlorn little party 33 years ago; maybe the exact same room. I hope they get a better turnout than we did. I don’t suppose reporters will swarm.

And in a few weeks the world will learn whether the inclusive prom at Sullivan High School in Indiana will be successful, or the bigot prom at another location will rival it. Special education teacher Diana Medley, demanding a Straights-only prom, has equated LGBTs with the developmentally disabled (!) and says Gay people “have no purpose.”

Special ed teacher Diana Medley says you're retarded and have no purpose. But she doesn't even work at Sullivan High School, so she's obviously dipping into an issue that doesn't affect her.

Special ed teacher Diana Medley says you’re disabled and have no purpose. But she doesn’t even work at Sullivan High School; she’s obviously dipping into an issue that doesn’t affect her, so she can get TV time and proclaim her love for Jesus.

The pastor at the First Christian Church in Sullivan, which hosted the Straights-only prom meeting, has disavowed it, saying all he did was let some people use a room. Other Christian leaders have come out affirmatively for the inclusive prom. It looks to me like that’s the one that will succeed. If so, the bigots will tell each other that Christians are being victimized again.

Thank God for today’s students. For those at Sullivan High School, the upcoming dance is certainly revolutionary. As for my little Valentine’s Day gig, I’d have to call it comedy; no matter what I tried I couldn’t peel the wallflowers away from their wall.++

"Are Gay people trying to take over Valentine's Day?"

“Gay people are trying to take over Valentine’s Day!”

 

So Far Away

Sure, I'll march - just don't expect me to pick up the damn banner.

Sure, I’ll march – just don’t expect me to pick up the damn banner.

I’ve noticed something lately. Whenever I go to pick up something off the floor, either I don’t bend as fast as I used to, or I’m just as fast but I don’t bend as far.

I stand, I bend, my hand is outstretched, but the thing I want (book, paper, Luke’s leash) just sits there until I bend a little more.

Which makes me wonder: why am I forever putting shit on the floor?

Yoga people make me sick.

Yoga people make me sick.

Put Grandmère Mimi among the Wikipedia Notables, Where She Belongs!

It has come to my attention that Wikipedia contains a glaring omission. It has no listing for June Butler, aka “Grandmère Mimi,” among the Notable Natives in its entry for Thibodaux, Louisiana.

WANTED: Suspicion of blogging.

I am sure Jimmy Wales, founder of the free online encyclopedia, never intended such a shameful oversight. Grandmère is a Distinguished Personage in any city – in every city – much less the capital of Lafourche Parish, there on the banks of the bayou.

So I am appealing to all my friends, followers, and my very large Entourage to correct this mistake immediately.

Now the good news is that Mimi’s entourage is even bigger than mine. Yes, that’s hard to believe, but hey, she’s got white hair and looks harmless. But do not be deceived; she’s notorious.

She always returns to the scene of the crime.

For many years Ms. Butler has masterminded a criminal enterprise called The Wounded Bird, from which her influence has spread worldwide. She was among a handful of shadowy operatives who prevented the Church of England from adopting the Anglican Covenant, along with her accomplice, one Jonathan Hagger, who goes by the alias MadPriest. Together these  anarchists have sought to undermine all Anglican Stuffiness and Pretense™,  which is all that keeps those old English bishops from crashing over at the slightest puff of wind.

Ask yourself, people: what institution will she try to topple next? The CIA, the Stock Exchange, the Jane Austen Lending Library & Tourist Trap plc?

Mind you, this so-called Mimi (which in English means, “Me, me!”) got started innocently enough; for years she cultivated her image as a charming, inoffensive Church Lady. But one fateful day, she got introduced to a life of crime, and let it be a lesson to you all. Ms. Butler took her first bribe.

Ten years ago she accepted the offer of a free, all-expenses-paid vacation at a palace in the American Southwest, where she rode around in limousines and ate like a queen – despite knowing that her hosts were charter members of the International Gay Cabal (known to the CIA as the “Gay Agendists”). These subversives succeeded in beginning her conversion to warped ways.

Experienced spies will tell you that everyone can be seduced to The Other Side. For some it’s sex, and for all we know that may have been part of her downfall. But for others, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Those Gay tempters must have taken her to the top of a mountain and shown her, “All this can be yours!”

She signed right on the spot, happily entering a life of sordid degradation.

Within a few years, Ms. Butler published a four-part series called “Confessions of a Recovering Homophobe.” It’s still in print today. Even worse, she began undermining all standards of propriety in the Diocese of Louisiana, particularly concerning a man referred to in official publications as “the practicing homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire.” (Co-conspirators know him only by his code name, “Gene.”)

From there Ms. Butler infiltrated a very popular blog run by one Terry Martin, a purported Episcopal priest using the alias “Father Jake.” This gave her access to a vast worldwide network of radical ne’er-do-wells and brilliant criminal minds, known to occupy key positions in the misty Anglican Mafia. She rose in the organization by mild, reasonable-sounding comments on events in the underground war on the Establishment, and occasional jokes she blamed on the patently fictional “Doug.” Fellow travelers took her to be a sweet, kindly old Southern lady who was no threat to their positions. But the bodies began piling up quickly behind her.

The Bishop of Pittsburgh – disappeared! The Bishop of Fort Worth – kaput! San Joaquin, even Quincy, Illinois, no town was too small to escape her wicked bloodletting. She became the de facto ecclesiastical authority (though she modestly calls herself merely Ordinary) in every section of the country.

And then, my friends, she went after The Mother of Them All – yes, Canterbury itself.

She triumphed a few months ago by reducing the Anglican Communion Office to rubble – though no photographic evidence exists that she actually burned the Anglican Covenant in a pagan ceremony under the ancient fig trees at Lambeth Palace. One source reported that instead of singing the hymn St. Anne, as any proper Anglican would do after burning effigies at the stake, the rebels danced instead to Dixieland jazz, in defiant violation of three known rubrics in the 1662 Prayer Book.

(Another report, since discredited, maintained that while the Covenant remained unlit, Ms. Butler oversaw a deliberate burning of the steak – known as “blackening” in south Louisiana. An eyewitness reported, “That wasn’t beef, ya’ll, that was largemouth bass. Them’s good eatin’.”)

The Foreign Office confirms that Ms. Butler’s passport shows multiple trips between Thibodaux and Heathraux. Her dossier in MI5 is six inches thick.

THEREFORE, as one of the many secret acolytes of our High Priest and Grandmère, and yes, a card-carrying subversive myself, I call upon all hippies and yippes, Gayboys and Dykegrrls, friends and relations, and everyone who knows anyone to join our Amalgamated Queer Entourage and rectify this horrible oversight in Wikipedia at once. Way-farers of the World, Unite!

As they say down in Cajun country, “If Grandmère ain’t Notable, Thibodaux don’t knaux Notable.”++

Treat her nice and she might let you kiss her ring. (revdlesley.wordpress.com)