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I wish I had known.

I wish I had known.

I wish I had known.

A poem’s preamble:

I wonder if the women becoming bishops and 

Politicians are not simply

Climbing the ladder of

Patriarchy by becoming Patriarchs?

 

I wonder if the cowardly leadership

Of a dominating Patriarch is taking

Rather longer to die that we originally 

Thought.

 

Sam was ordained last week.

 

He attended my ordination as a teenager, 20 years ago.

I entered that process at the same age Jesus 

reportedly was, 

when He was tortured and died. 

 

 

“I wish I had known”- a poem of loss and light

Charles LaFond, Poet.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known. 

I wish I had known

How beautiful it was to be

A minister.

The people who trust one with 

Their darkest secrets.

The music that soars as on eagle’s wings.

The serenity some have as they leave 

on Sundays – heading to their cars 

with slightly more hope, 

more courage, more questions.

I wish I had known how beautiful it was.

 

I wish I had known.

I wish I had known how evil it was.

I wish I had known about the clergy

Competition, the egos 

(including mine) 

swollen like boils, leaking, staining

Unseen beneath copes.

Under Mitres.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known how dangerous it is

To hold bishops accountable.

The tools they have to pounce,

To destroy,

To lawyer-up and attack.

 

I wish I had known 

how many wonderful clergy 

and even some bishops, there remain;

The ones who are honest.

The ones who are kind.

The ones who are faithful 

to caring for congregations 

Rather than cultivating retirement packages 

By climbing, climbing, climbing 

Into rich churches and 

Moted thrones.

Silent golden parachutes, 

Smelted from golden pectoral crosses.

Amethysts floating, skimmed off the top

Like closed oysters. 

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known 

How God

Would use my study for my conversion.

I wish I had known how little the scriptures 

Would take part.

And how much the walks on beaches would.

And the dogs.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known 

How dangerous it was to write about a bishop.

I wish I had known how liberating the 

Violent responses would be.

That I would, in the end, be poor, but free.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known how dangerous

It was to wear a clergy shirt.

To be so arrogant as to

Try to wear spiritual posturing.

And I wish I had known how 

Easy it is to weaponize an amethyst.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known

So that I could warn Sam in time.

 

I wish I had known so that 

I might have been content 

To be a good agnostic 

Rather than a bad Christian.

Rich.

Retired by now.

But unrefined by the crucibles

 

I wish I had known, 

Also,

That to be a priest today 

Means that one may

Host the annihilation

Of patriarchy.

That the good clergy can still do good

By ripping the Church down 

to its second century foundations.

Of peace.

Of love.

Of humility.

 

I wish I had known.

 

I wish I had known

That the Margaret Thatcher Syndrome 

Would delay good leadership

Just when we thought women 

In power might change things.

And some good ones do.

I wish I had known that many 

Are really, so often, just more climbers.

 

And I am glad to know, 

Today,

That some Bishops and some clergy,

Like Sam,

Can make a difference.

Can dismantle the Church’s cathedrals

And build shelters 

For the poor.

For the homeless.

For the destitute. 

 

I wish, in the end,

That I had known

How important was the difference between 

Saint Augustine,

And Saint Clare.

 

Yes. Indeed. 

That I wish I had known.

— 

Charles LaFond is a fundraiser, poet, novelist, author, potter living alone with his dog Sugar on a cliff, on an island, in the Salish Sea. 

 

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Teresa Donati

This is spectacular faith-writing, very brave, very moving, and filling this reader with many sighs.

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