Hung out with the Christians today. Specifically to say goodbye to my friend, Andy Andrews who’s leaving St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Memphis for a church in Mississippi. Not sure why anyone would want to go to Mississippi, except for perhaps a preacher, because lawd knows there’s lots of real sin in that state.

My personal opinion is that General Grant should have put a torch to the plantations and the capital, driven the slave owners into the Mississippi River, and the state should have ceased to exist after the Civil War. But that’s a topic for a future post.

Andy is a good human being. He’s actively worked for the poor and the oppressed in Memphis and always put others before himself. Despite being a new friend, he was there for me during a rough patch, when many long term friends were not. I always enjoyed his Wednesday morning service where we fed over 100 needy and homeless people in downtown Memphis. It was a humbling, learning experience for me. Now he’s my last pastor ever, as I’ve returned to my natural pagan habitat.

In this regard, I sometimes feel like the character Athelstan in the television drama, Vikings. Torn between two worlds, Athelstan sees virtue in both camps. He appreciates the elevated, liberated role of women in the pagan camp and seems to enjoy its more open-minded approach to sexuality. He struggles with Viking brutality, but is cognizant and equally disapproving of brutality in Christendom which is ineffectively masked under the guise of doing “God’s work.”

The Vikings aren’t masking anything. They just want your shit. And your women.

I will give the Episcopalians credit for placing women and minorities in positions of leadership and for welcoming the LGBT community. Many of my friends in the church don’t believe the Christian story. They tend to see Jesus and the crucifixion as metaphors while connecting with the tenants of forgiveness, compassion, self sacrifice, love and peace. I’m down with that.

Adios, padre. May the wind always be at your back.

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