I used to write for a preacher-man

I met ‘my’ Baptist minister back in the late 80’s when I was asked to be part of a ‘tribunal’ to divide the estate of a divorcing couple.  They wanted a lawyer, a minister and a layman to ‘do the separating’.  So, we all met.  We all looked at the circumstances and we all went to work on it somewhat separately.  Then we came together and compared notes, our reasoning and we then came up with the settlement.  It was mutually derived and no one took the ‘lead’.  We worked well as a team.  The settlement turned out to be a good one – especially over the long haul.

The minister got called to perform another quasi-judicial process again a few years later and it involved a very strict and heavily religious community in the valley.  They were intent on ostracizing and expelling a family and the family was fighting to stay within the community.  And so the minister asked us to re-group and do it again.  The lawyer declined but the Minister and I went out and ‘heard the case’.  Again, we separated and deliberated on our own and then got back together to compare notes.  And again we agreed on the outcome and so rendered our verdict.  It went well.  All very, very interesting.

I found it particularly fascinating in that second case that the minister went into OLD English law and found parallels in private societies, clubs, teams and the various conditions under which a member might be expelled. I instead, read their (the community’s) constitution and found that it was very reliant on God, the bible and the basic tenets of Christianity.  I read their constitution as an implied contract with the members.  The more religious stuff I read, the more the decision was made clear.  I concluded that the member family needed Christian forgiveness and that it was an implicit promise made by the community in their constitution to provide it.  I argued ‘bible’, the minister argued ‘private club’.

Ironically, the minister was somewhat drawn to the ‘private club’, exclusivity, high social standing and money-set and I am not.  He does not worship the golden calf but he admires it.  I do not.  But the gap is NOT huge.  We got along.

And then he asked me to edit all his monthly newsletters.  I do not know much about the bible, Baptists, churches or congregations but I agreed to help.  As the years wore on, I became more and more involved in the editing to the point that I would just tear up what he wrote and write the whole damn thing again.  Some people write as they speak (me) and others write as they think they are supposed to (him).  Fair enough…ministers can have a codified, professional-jargon-filled style not unlike engineers, doctors, lawyers and sea captains.  They talk their professional talk.  And I get it.  Being boring is not a sin.

But that ain’t me and he asked for me to write and say what I thought…so I started writing more and more irreverently.  I was not in the least sacrilegious, disrespectful or blasphemous but my prose was personal and familiar.  Earthy at times.  Blunt.  Worse, I started to sprinkle the odd Green meme or anti-capitalism theme in what was ostensibly HIS newsletter.  The minister was NOT all that thrilled by that ‘commoner’ approach but he kept his mouth shut because his newsletters were getting better reviews and he even went so far as to consolidate them all in a book.

But then he wrote something I strongly objected to and I reamed him a new ordination.

We split up.

I was OK with that.

I guessed he was, too.

And the years went on.

Last month he wrote and asked for another newsletter edit.  I gave it.  This month he wrote and asked again.  This months topic is forgiveness.   And that is not a coincidence.  Funny how things come full circle sometimes, don’t you think?

 

12 thoughts on “I used to write for a preacher-man

    • I went only to Community College for two years. I was gonna enroll in Social Work at UBC but I had to work to live and go to school so I got a job with Children’s Aid. Worked with really carzy deliquent teens. That job required a Masters degree in Social Work but they took me anyway. I had a lot of experience. Six months into the job my supervisor said, “We are a getting a bunch of Master’s degree students who are doing a ‘work session’ in situ and we need you to train them.” So, I did.
      And then, later, I applied to the same school to be a student. The fees had gone up. Couldn’t afford it. And I was working the 24 hour shift. We (Sal and I) could barely afford the rent. I decided, “Why get a degree that will only allow me to get the job I already have?”
      I am very glad for that epiphany because, after 12 years in social services, I didn’t wanna do it anymore. Hamstrung with a degree, I might have stuck with it. Instead, I went into real estate development. I was kinda interested in it. Twelve years after doing RE projects, I was more interested in dispute resolution. Went back to school to take abbreviated law courses for a year and I became a chartered mediator and arbitrator. Worked as a Ministerial Appointment to the Attorney General. THAT job was the perfect mix for me – social services in a private setting. I was ‘free to do as I thought was right’ and I could charge or do work pro bono as I also thought was right. I loved being a mediator/arbitrator……..
      My education? Somewhat lacking…..but definitely self driven.

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  1. Thanks, Aldo. That is a compliment I think. I am definitely auto-didactic but so is Rush Limbaugh, so is Donald Trump. I am self-taught but, sadly, the teacher is suspect. And that statement is especially true for Trump and Limbaugh. They are self-taught by imbeciles.

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    • I used to run a medical clinic in Vancouver. I have encountered many doctors all my life due to stupid sports injuries and other accidents. I even sat on a board of another health society. I may not KNOW medicine but I kinda ‘get’ a lot of the usual things and I was encouraged once by one of the clinic doctors who said, “If it is isn’t VD, pregnancy or a broken bone, your guess is as good as mine”. What he meant was, ‘We need to conduct tests to tell us what is wrong and then there are a few drugs or surgeries we can recommend.’
      Not exactly confidence inspiring.
      Of course I still go to the doctor when I am unsure of what ails me but I am usually pretty sure in my self diagnosis (not hard to do when you are bleeding from a cracked head after falling down a rocky slope). And remedies are better the simpler they are.
      However, we also have (what I endearingly call) our local witches. These women have been studying, using, reading and studying many local ‘plants and herbs’ and have some miraculous treatments to offer. Witch #1 once made up a back muscle ointment that virtually cured my twisted, pained back and I was back to work within hours. So, in that sense, they are also self-taught.

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    • None (disagreement) taken. I was just ‘on a bit of a roll’ and kept talkin’. It is not often I get a chance to write about such stuff so I took the bait and kept at ‘er. But, I’ll stop now. ENOUGH with the ‘med’ stories. It’s just that, as you age, ‘med stories’ seem the common thread. And especially NOW with ol’ Sal limping and getting calls from all and sundry about her recovery. I will go back to ravens and squirrels soon. And a bit about pest control, perhaps…? “Just how do you get rid of a Trumpitis infestation that is spreading and killing brain cells all over the world?’

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  2. It seems that if one wears a yellow vest and drives in a big truck convoy to some centre of power or threatens to break up Canada with civil disobedience if a huge carbon harvesting mine is not built…But the same yellow vest crowd asks for Wet’suwet’en blockades to end its civil disobedience because Wet’suwet’en protests are illegal? Andrew spoke at a yellow vest Alt-right rally and cheered on civil disobedience. How so? Well Lucy?

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    • On the face of it, it is a double standard. Truck blockades good, Indian blockades bad. But it is not as hypocritical as it seems. The Conservative stance is consistent with ‘putting money-making’ first. ‘To hell with the environment. To hell with the Indians. If we can make a buck, we’ll sell both of them down the polluted river! We’ll make a buck at whatever the cost, no matter the consequences, the victims, the morality or even the lack of equitable fairness…..we want M-O-N-E-Y!’

      Their thinking is simple: if it sells, it is valued. If it is valued, they want a piece of it. If you value something that doesn’t sell (like the environment, the spotted owl, the VI marmot, whales, salmon, honey-bees, etc.) then THEY (the money-grubbers) call you a nut and ignore you. Maybe arrest you, too. AND the law is inclined to agree with that! Money TRUMPS all.

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