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editorial “cartoon” from Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – without whose breaking and reporting the death of Charles Eimers on South Beach in Key West last Thanksgiving Day, items like these below would never have appeared in the Key West Citizen – www.keysnews.com
In today’s Citizen’s Voice:
“It seems to me that a FDLE investigation is like a fine wine that takes forever to produce the results you are looking to acquire.”
In today’s Citizen, I added the blue paper cartoon and interjected some of my thoughts in italics.
Sunday, June 15, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
Allegations overblown in Eimer’s death
Lawyer: Cops’ restraint lasted ‘a short time’ and was not ‘excessive’
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Lawyers for the family of a man who died after a Thanksgiving Day incident with Key West police don’t have a case that rises to the level of “excessive force,” the city’s attorney now claims.
Other police departments have been sued for far worse things than holding a suspect facedown on a beach while handcuffing him and attaching a leg restraint called a Hobble, states the city’s latest response to the federal lawsuit brought by the family of Charles Eimers.
“The right to make an arrest necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat,” wrote attorney Michael Burke in a brief filed Friday on behalf of the city.
Burke cites other cases as comparisons, such as a Riviera Beach incident in which a police dog left 14 puncture bites in a suspect’s leg. The suspect later testified that the dog was allowed “to chew on him for an eternity,” while one officer shined a flashlight on the action.
In a separate case from another jurisdiction, five officers took turns beating a handcuffed suspect as the man lay facedown on the ground without resisting. The officers high-fived each other during the beat-down, the city’s attorney noted in his response.
Key West police officers aren’t being accused of such behavior, the city’s attorney points out.
“Instead, the only force allegedly used on Charles Eimers other than the restraint itself (handcuffing, Hobble, pressure to the back and shoulders, holding of leg) was a single elbow strike to the back of the head,” Burke wrote.
Police officers, including the 13 named in the family’s lawsuit, have legal protection known as “qualified immunity” so they can do their jobs without fear of harassment or backlash, the city has previously claimed.
Eimers, 61, died at a hospital Dec. 4 six days after losing consciousness after the incident with police.
Actually, Eimers died on South Beach. His body then was revived, but his soul was in heaven.
No cause of death has been released from the county medical examiner since the case remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which automatically reviews all such fatalities.
A preliminary autopsy report, however, said Eimers suffered 10 broken ribs.
About a week ago, the Citizen did an article, in which the Eimers case was not mentioned, announcing the Medical Examiner was resigning and moving way up on the mainland to take a teaching position in a college. I opined that I could understand the Medical Examiner wanting to change locations: no matter how his final autopsy turned out, he was toast if he stayed down here. I hoped the angels who run me moved the Medical Examiner to safer ground, because the KWPD would not care for his final autopsy.
All of the police officers involved remain on the job. One detective was reprimanded for failing to keep tabs on Eimers’ condition at Lower Keys Hospital, which sent the body directly to a local funeral home after the family approved taking Eimers off life support.
Police Chief Donie Lee was told of Eimers’ death Dec. 10, and the coroner was notified the next day. That mix-up delayed the autopsy by a week.
Mix up? How about trying to get rid of the body? Keep reading.
Eimers’ body was kept refrigerated at the funeral home, where it awaited cremation. But the body hadn’t been embalmed when FDLE notified the medical examiner in Marathon on Dec. 11 of the in-custody death.
Ooops! Are cremated bodies first embalmed? The body was to be cremated to get rid of the evidence of what had killed Eimers. For a fact, the angels prevented that from happening. Just as for a fact, the angels had a bystander use a cell phone to video the KWPD taking down Charles Eimers, which video the bystander smuggled to Key West the Newspaper, which video destroyed the KWPD officers’ stories about what happened on South Beach.
Lee has said his department will do its own investigation after the state delivers its findings. FDLE hasn’t indicated when it will release a report.
What transpired between Eimers’ surrender and his subsequent ambulance trip to Lower Keys Medical Hospital remains in dispute, though. Treavor Eimers maintains police killed his father.
Led by Key West attorney Darren Horan, several law firms sued the city April 11, claiming police violated Eimers’ right to be free from an unreasonable seizure by holding him down on the beach that morning. The city claims in its response that the facts don’t back up the allegation.
Nothing in the original or amended lawsuit against the city suggests any officer “knew that the prone restraint impaired Eimers’ ability to breathe or that they continued the restraint after realizing Eimers’ was not breathing or that his breathing was impaired,” Burke wrote in the city’s response.
Horan and the other attorneys working for the Eimers family, which hails from Michigan, have ignored several appellate court decisions analyzing excessive force and “positional asphyxiation,” Burke claims in the response.
A 2004 court ruling on a 1997 police in-custody death in Georgia held that hog-tying a suspect was constitutional. The suspect in that case, Eric William Irby, 25, led police on a high-speed, multicounty chase that placed officers and passersby at risk of death on only ended after a second crash.
According to an autopsy, Irby died of positional asphyxiation, but he also had methamphetamine and amphetamines in his system.
Florida’s Supreme Court in 2002 found police officers in Cooper City didn’t overstep the Constitution when they pepper-sprayed a suspect who was flailing his arms to resist arrest before restraining his hands and ankles.
That suspect, Fidel Fernandez, 48, who police claimed was schizophrenic, stopped moving and died shortly after. A medical expert said the cause of death was positional asphyxiation, but the factors behind it included not only the prone restraint technique used by officers, but Fernandez’s struggling and obesity, the court ruling says.
But a court rejected a claim that the three arresting officers went too far, despite an expert’s testimony that the restraint caused the man’s death.
When it comes to applying qualified immunity, Burke said, “federal courts do not use hindsight to judge the acts of police officers.”
While I hope it doesn’t happen, it won’t surprise me if the U.S. District Judge dismisses the Eimers lawsuit for failing to state a cause of action and/or on summary judgement. While that outcome might cause some, or more, Key West people heartburn, it will be just another day on the angels’ hard rock pile for me. They have me prosecuting the case in God’s Court. The defendants are having their day in that Court.
The defendants Mayor Craig Cates, the six city commissioners, mayor candidate Margaret Romero, City Manager Bob Vitas, City Attorney Shawn Smith, Police Chief Donnie Lee, the 13 police officers who got involved in apprenending Eimers last Thanskgiving Day, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and any Key West and Florida Keys citizens who know about and are not outraged over what happened to Charles Eimers.
The outcome of the federal litigation will have no bearing on the outcome of the proceedings in God’s Court. That is something African shaman Malidoma Patrice Somé, featured in yesterday’s post at this website, would have no trouble understanding and accepting. Nor would Malidoma have any trouble accepting angels provided the bystander’s video and saved Eimer’s body from being cremated.
Nor would Malidoma have any trouble with death of Charles Eimers being dealt with in spirit ways regardless of what happens in federal court. The defendants who do not get right with God, so to speak, will not care for the karma they created for themselves in that case. It may be they will connect the dots between the karma and the Eimers case, and it may be they will not connect the dots. It may be not knowing the cause of the karma is part of the karma.
After publishing yesterday’s post, I jumped on my bicycle and headed to Harpoon Harry’s for breakfast. Along the way, I bumped into mi amiga who had sent me the article on Malidoma – hardly an accident, bumping into her. I thanked her for sending the article and said it looked to me that Malidoma is the genuine article, and I would go back online and try to find out more about him.
I said, for shamans trained in the traditional way, there are many variations, a common thread is they go into the spirit realms and do things which help their patients, who do nothing but experience the results of that help. However, in my shaman school, the patient does half the work. The patient is given things to do on this world, stuff to engage, which stands for what is behind it, above it, below it – unseen. As the patient does what is in front of him/her in a way the ego would not choose to do it, changes happen in the patient. Changes can happen around the patient, too, but changes in the patient are the goal; anything else is a bonus. I go through the same process in anything I am given to engage on this world. It goes easier on me, if the other people in the “soup” do their share of the work.
In 2001, a novel about this kind of earth-spirit work fell out of me in about six weeks’ time, after I had dreamed in Key West of the the novel, without yet knowing the meaning of the dream. The meaning was shown to me two days later, close to 1,000 miles from Key West, when I spoke with someone who said something which told me I was going to write a novel and what it basically was about. His input resulted in both of us owning the book. Yet he never would sit down and read the manuscript, and I was told in a dream that was causing problems. Serious problems. The novel was supposed to make money that would get me off the homeless roles and get him able to pay his back due and future child support. Eventually, he was arrested and extradited back to his home state and jailed for a long time for not paying child support.
After my father passed over in 2005, I received an inheritance on Valentine’s Day 2006, hardly a coincidence. That freed me from poverty and was able to find a print-to-order firm, PublishAmerica.com, which published the novel on its own dime. Even so, sales were really slow, almost non-existent, while dreams and other spirit world signals told me the novel was still in play. Today, HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale is available at www.amazon.com, in paper, large print paper, kindle; and at www.amazon.com.es, in Spanish, in paper, large print paper, and kindle soon, if not already. If Malidoma were to read HEAVY WAIT, he would grok the spirit world positioned me so they could write the story through me.
In the Mother Jones article down below, Malidoma’s reported perspective of Christianity and the New Age pretty much agrees with my view of those two religions, with which I have had considerable experience – perhaps because the two angels who shanghaied me in early 1987, they came into this dimension and spoke with me and jolted me with three bolts of spiritual lightning, eventually identified themselves as Jesus and Archangel Michael. Later, they introduced me to some of their “business associates”. One went by the name of Magdalene-Melchizedek. Those three I came to view as my spirit world handlers, who sometimes had one or more of the others work with me.
VISIONS: Malidoma Some | Mother Jones
VISIONS: Malidoma Some
—By D. Patrick Miller
| March/April 1995 Issue
A few years ago, at his tribal elders’ direction, Malidoma Some gave up a comfortable professorial position teaching African culture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to travel the U.S. teaching African initiation and rituals in a more grassroots manner. The 39-year-old native of the Dagara tribe in the small West African nation of Burkina Faso quickly became a favorite of such men’s work leaders as Robert Bly and Michael Meade. More recently, Malidoma has led or contributed to workshops for both sexes and mixed races, often in the company of his wife Sobonfu.
For the elders in his village, Malidoma’s life in the West was preordained. As Malidoma relates in his recent book “Of Water and the Spirit,” he was taken from his tribe at the age of 4 by Jesuit missionaries, who intended to make him a priest. At 20, he rebelled and went back to his village. But he could not speak his native tongue, was hardly recognized by his family, and was regarded with considerable suspicion by the villagers. After much discussion by village elders and undergoing his tribal initiation, Malidoma, whose name means “be friends with the stranger/enemy,” was told that he would fulfill his destiny by living his life in the West as a teacher of African ways and wisdom. “The village will be reborn,” the elders predicted, “in the heart and soul of the culture that is destroying the village.” Under their spiritual guidance, Malidoma pursued a Western education, first at the politically volatile university in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, then at the Sorbonne in France and at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He holds doctorates in both political science and literature.
Malidoma now lives in Oakland, Calif. In his workshops, he teaches that it is unthinkable to separate daily life from ritual contact with the unseen world of spirit, or to pursue political change without ongoing spiritual development. Africa’s inherent wisdom of marrying daily life to a spiritual worldview, Malidoma suggests, may prove key to healing our own cultural catastrophes.
Q: What do you think is the West’s proper role in Africa now?
A: To help diminish the tension in Africa, the West is going to have to understand one thing: the importance of native spirituality in the life of Africans. Historically the customs and traditions of day-to-day life in Africa have been dismissed by Western cultural anthropologists as primitive, chaotic, pagan activities that should be replaced by Christianity, the only civilized religion. The West has also long assumed that it should convert tribal cultures to literacy, which is to say an entirely different way of looking at the world, of living in the world. Most Africans who have achieved a comfortable Western lifestyle are Christian. Why? Because it comes with the package: Christian-ity, literacy, and a material lifestyle all come together.
Q: And that’s really Christianity’s selling point, rather than its spiritual perspective?
A: Yes, it’s a marketing strategy. In Africa, you cannot come into a comfortable material lifestyle without going through Christ. So many Africans say, “I’ll take the whole package. That way I’m sure I’ll get what I want.” This is the compromise the rising urban class of Africa makes. Christianity is not seen as a soul-transforming device capable of producing redemption, but as a source of substantial material gratification.
Those who convert will show up for Sunday Mass as usual, looking devout, but on weekdays they will see the shaman, do their sacrifices and usual rituals.
Q: What is the native assessment of Christianity as a spiritual perspective, apart from its capacity to deliver the goods?
A: If you discuss the beliefs of Christianity with the village diviner, the medicine man, he will say the white man must be extremely stupid. The white man must be profoundly troubled–probably torn by a huge guilt connected to how he treated the ancestors–to think that villagers would buy the idea that someone died on the cross for us. They would say these beliefs are evidence that the white people killed someone of great importance, probably a diviner and a healer. If you kill a healer, you must make amends by appeasing the healer’s spirit.
Q: You’re saying that Christ’s death was not properly grieved and ritualized, but even so, as a culture, we should have gone on, instead of fixating on guilt over this particular healer’s death.
A: That’s right. There’s a problem in Christianity that the white man is still running away from. It could have been fixed by facing facts and saying, “What should we do?” The healers and diviners in the white man’s culture would have known what that man’s spirit wanted.
Q: In the West we hear that the ongoing political turmoil in Africa is mostly caused by “ancient tribal rivalries,” with occasional mention of the disruptive legacy of colonialism. How do you see it?
A: It’s true that tribal rivalries have something to do with political instability. It’s also true that those rivalries were exaggerated by colonialism. Colonialism essentially insulted the tribal territories, and as a result, nations came to be composed of an agglomeration of many tribes–65 in Burkina Faso alone. The Mossi majority sees itself as the owner of my country; others are just negotiators for representation. That is the way it is now, and it is the sole responsibility of colonialism. The other tribes, realizing they cannot compete through normal political channels, resort to spiritual channels. They figure out ways to get their members into important government positions.
Q: Isn’t that use of spiritual techniques a corruption of them?
A: It is a corruption fostered by the change of times and the neocolonial situation, but you might call it a legitimate corruption. The initiative is self-preservation, because otherwise the minority tribes would find themselves crushed. Their only resort is to throw themselves into their ancestors’ hands, with a plea to help preserve their tribes’ traditions.
Spiritual methods are essential in Africa if you are going to survive politically. My cousin is the chief security officer for the president of Burkina Faso. He knows the key medicine man who works day and night to keep the president in power. These medicine men don’t have offices downtown; they live in huts in remote areas, but that is where the real political power resides. A medicine man has no clue about the actual workings of domestic or international politics. All he knows is that a person has a seat of importance somewhere, and his job is to keep that person on that seat.
Q: Historically, the West has perceived African spiritual traditions as “primitive animism” or “nature worship.” But you have explained that it is not nature itself that Africans worship, but the spirit seen to be moving behind it.
A: Nature is like a canvas, a painting of countless options and possibilities. It is the total of all the interwoven connections between these possibilities that makes up spirit. Or, you might say that spirit paints the canvas of nature. You don’t really worship spirit, because you are also spirit, and spirits don’t worship one another. What makes you different from spirit overall is that you are locked into temporality. You have a body, like a piece of cloth that is decayable. While you stay in it, it’s hard for you to have the same abilities that spirit has without a body. It is also easy to make mistakes about what is real, and how to go about things effectively. For example, let’s say that you want a particular job. In the West, you do the linear thing and apply to the person in charge. In Africa they say that if you want a job, go demand it, then let the job come and get you.
Q: Demand the job from whom?
A: From where it is–from the spirit. The African would go and see the shaman first, because the spirit gives you the job, not the employer–he’s just a human being, that is, a spirit who doesn’t even know he’s a spirit. So you must ask spirit, who actually sees where the job is, and will bring the job to you.
Q: Your identification as a shaman has put you on America’s spiritual freelancer circuit, both in the men’s movement and new age venues. Yet you are critical of new age spirituality. Why?
A: There’s no sustained, demonstrable validity attached to the beliefs that some of these people hold onto. It’s just some kind of vague, rather shallow, and sometimes really silly aspiration for something grand, all-encompassing. I see too many people who jump into spirituality as a shelter to hide from reality. It doesn’t work that way. The way it works is for the spirit behind you to follow you wherever you go, like a loyal soldier, and show you how to face up to adversity. If you can’t face adversity, you will get locked into a new age perception that everything is fine when it isn’t. That makes you vulnerable to being exploited by the person who comes along and says, “I am a psychic. I have studied with this guy or that guy, and I know what you should do.”
Q: What venues seem to be a better place to learn real spiritual development?
A: The best places are multicultural conferences. You have the opportunity to go through racial tensions and cultural differences; you can acknowledge that we don’t trust each other. The next logical step might be a fight, yet, by not fighting and staying with the tension, working through it together, you come to a place where that feeling can be transcended. Unless there has been sweat–people sweating to get through the countless things that keeps them apart–they are probably lying when they say we are all one.
If you believe that just by coming together to the same place you are already awakened, forget it. Because you are living in a culture with a very heavy history behind it, and you are all stained by it. You have to start by looking into that history, realizing where you are as a culture with respect to it. The choice is to do the hard work to transcend your history–or to just pretend that everything is fine in the way of naive spirituality.
D. Patrick Miller, a senior writer for Yoga Journal, is the author of “A Little Book of Forgiveness” (Viking).
The first week I was homeless on Maui, mid-summer 2000, this poem fell out of me.
All fig leaves burn
All ugly seen
All pain loved
All truth beauty
All people one
All time now
When in mid-December of that year I was magically whisked from Maui to Key West, I knew no one here. The city’s official philosophy, I would learn, was “One Human Family,” honored in the breach often as not; homeless people certainly were not viewed as members of that family. Nor was Charles Eimers, whom the KWPD wrongly suspected was homeless, which is why he soon died in their hands.
Homeless, I learned Key West from the bottom up. You learn a great deal about a place by hanging out in its sewers. You learn stuff nobody living above the sewers wants to talk about, much less be reminded of. Yet being reminded of what’s in the sewers, and dealing with it, is what always needs to happen, if a place, or a person, does not wish to go backwards in the spiritual sense. There is no other way to advance spiritually, than to see everything of which you are a part: the good, the bad, the beautiful the ugly. And not only see it, but engage it; wallow in it; simmer in it; roast in it. Until it is through with you, which is not something you decide; it is decided for you, by your soul, if you wish to look at it that way. If you decide to try to get out of it, take it easy, do your own thing, your soul and the spirit world will react, and you will not care for that.
When mi amiga, who sent me the first Malidoma article, and I first met maybe seven years ago, she was a Rumi fan and knew of Rumi’s spiritual teacher, Shams, who was about as irreverent as Rumi was reverent. Mi amiga was especially fond of Rumi’s poem, “The Chickpea”, which I’d first read right after 9/11, when another Rumi fan in Key West showed me the poem, and I figured Rumi was the chickpea and the cook was Shams.
A chickpea in a pot leaps from the flame,
out from the boiling water,
Crying, “Why do you set fire to me?
You chose me, bought me, brought me home for this?”
The cook hits it with her spoon into the pot.
“No! Boil nicely, don’t jump away from the one who makes the fire.
I don’t boil you out of hatred.
Through boiling you may grow flavorful, nourishing,
and united with vital human spirit.
I don’t inflict this suffering out of spite.
Once green and fresh, you drank rain in the garden;
you drank for the sake of this fire.
God’s mercy precedes His wrath;
by God’s mercy the sick ones suffer.
It has always been so; this is how God creates all that exists.
Without pleasure, no creatures would come into being.
what could the burning love of the Friend consume?
Such sorrow may come that you might wish
to be free of this life.
yet the Grace of God will overtake His wrath,
once you are washed clean in the river of suffering.
Chickpea, you fed in the springtime;
now pain has become your guest.
Entertain him well, that he may return home grateful,
and speak of your generosity to the King.
Instead of your vision of good fortune,
the One Who Bestows Favor may come to you;
then all true blessings may be drawn to you.
Just as Abraham commanded his son:
‘Lay your head before my knife
I see in a dream that I must sacrifice you,’
lay your head before God’s knife,
that He may cut your throat like that of Ishmael.
He may cut off your head,
but only the one that is immune to death.
Such submission is the fulfillment of God’s purpose
— seek this submission.
Chickpea, continue to boil in suffering,
so that no self may remain in you.
Though once you laughed in the garden of earth,
you now are the rose of the garden of spirit,
you now are the eye of spirit.
Once you are torn from the garden of water and earth,
you may become food, and thereby enter the living world.
Become nourishment, strength and thought!
Once you were sap; now become a lion in the jungle!
You were born from God’s attributes;
return eagerly to them.
You came from the cloud and the sun and sky,
then scattered and ascended to heaven.
You came as rain and heat;
you will return into the Divine attributes.
You were part of the sun and the cloud and the stars.
You became soul and action and speech and thoughts.
Our victory after the checkmate of death
gives truth to the words,
‘Verily, in being slain there is life.’
Action, speech and sincerity become food for angels;
they climb this ladder to heaven.
A morsel of food becomes food for humanity,
rises from its inanimate state and obtains a soul.
The caravan of spirit travels constantly between earth and heaven.
Join it gladly and freely,
not bitterly and full of hatred, like a thief.
I speak bitter words to you so you may be washed clean of bitterness.
The frozen grape thaws in the cold water
and leaves its coldness and hardness behind.
When you endure bitterness,
your heart will fill with blood like the grape,
and you will be freed from all bitterness.
A dog not kept for hunting wears no collar;
the raw and unboiled are nothing but insipid.”
The chickpea speaks, “If this is so, then help me to boil!
By this boiling you elevate me.
Hit me with the spoon; delight me!
Like the elephant, strike me and brand my head,
that I may not dream of the gardens of Hindustan.
Let me gladly submit to this boiling
that I may be embraced by the Beloved.
Men and women, imagining themselves free,
grow insolent and hostile, like the dreaming elephant.
When the elephant dreams of Hindustan,
he disobeys the driver and becomes vicious.”
The cook says, “I was once like you, part of the earth.
I drank the fire of self-discipline, fasting and prayer,
and became worthy and acceptable to God.
I boiled long in the world of time, and long in the pot of this body.
From these boilings I grew capable of strengthening the senses;
I became animal spirit, and then became your teacher.
While inanimate, I said to myself,
‘You are running about in agitation
so that you might be filled with knowledge
and the qualities of spirit.’
Now that I have become animal spirit,
let me boil again and pass beyond that state.”
Pray unceasingly to God that you might not be misled by these words,
and that you might arrive at your journey’s end.
For many have been misled by the Qur’an;
by clinging to the rope of words, many have fallen into the well.
The rope is faultless, O perverse ones —
it is you who lack desire to reach the top.
The fellow who introduced me to the chickpea poem seem astounded to learn that I, who was homeless, knew not only about Rumi, but also about Shams. We had many conversations about those two Sufis: Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam, which knows the true jihad is fought inside. The same jihad Jesus fought inside himself, and taught his disciples to fight inside themselves. The jihad the African shaman Malidoma knows intimately.
The fellow who introduced me to the chickpea poem understood jihad, and that he was being broiled alive internally and by what life threw at him, which made him broil alive internally even more. He and I laughed a lot about being broiled alive, in a sick way we laughed. He came to call me Shams. Mi amiga up above, whom I came to call Chickpea, also came to call me Shams.
I told Chickpea many times she needed to read HEAVY WAIT; it was important for her to do that. I knew this intuitively, and also because I was shown it in dreams. She kept putting it off and putting it off. Then, after listening to her one day moan about feeling stuck, going nowhere, I said she indeed was stuck, and she would remain stuck until she read HEAVY WAIT, which is about what Shams and Rumi were up to, and about what Jesus and his close followers were up to, but in a contemporary American context. I told Chickpea that again, when I bumped into her after putting up yesterday’s post at this website. She didn’t seem thrilled. Doesn’t matter if she’s thrilled, or not. She needs to read the novel. I gave her a copy months ago, in case someone who reads this thinks I hustled her to buy a copy.
After pedaling my bicycle away from Chickpea yesterday, I fell into talking to Christendom. I said something like:
“You made Jesus and your religion into a superstition. Jesus is very simple: ‘Thy will, not mine, be done O Lord.’ That’s the sum total of Jesus, all you need to know about him. The prayer he taught, ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth,’ is about bringing the Kingdom down, onto the world; it is not about dying and going to heaven.”
Living as Jesus lived, and said to live, is the chickpea experience; what Jesus called the baptism in fire and in spirit.
Take no thought for tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own. Turn the other cheek. Take the beam out of your own eye, first. Resist not one who does evil. Do good to and pray for those who persecute you. Say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.
That’s the living Jesus in the Gospels. The shaman’s shaman. Who was homeless. What a sense of humor God had.
On this world, nothing is what it appears to be, ever. Without second sight, without hearing messages from beyond, a person lives in the dark. I once read where Abraham Lincoln, my favorite US President, said something like: “When the Lord wants me to do something, He finds a way to let me know; and when He doesn’t want me to do something, He finds a way to let me know that, too.”
That was how Jesus was. That’s how Peter became, and how other of the disciples became, after they were in the baptismal fires for a while. After they were chickpeas for a while. A long while, actually. Don’t take my word for it, though. Read Jesus in the Gospels; he’s there in plain view. Always in church. Terrifying.
Christendom and the New Age ignore the ancient knowing: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.” Perhaps that’s the reason for the old Sufi saying: “Let God kill him who himself does not know but presumes to show others the way to the door of His Kingdom.”
I wonder how many of the chickpea defendants in the God’s Court Eimers case are Christians?
Meanwhile, something about lions.
Once upon a time there lived a woman named Alya. She was the medicine woman
in her tribe, using herbs and poultices and spirit ways to help her people.
Yet she had one flaw: she hated lions, because once a lion had killed her
father. Her hatred caused her to cast spells against lions, which caused her
husband great concern. He often told Alya that her war with lions was going
to get her into big trouble, but she was a medicine woman, she knew the ways
of the spirits, and she did not listen to her husband.
One day while Alya was out gathering herbs, she spotted a lion sunning
himself in tall grasses on the savannah. She hatched a scheme in her mind to
sneak up on the lion and cast a spell on him, which would enable her to
steal his spirit and have it for herself. As she crept closer to the lion,
she began chanting softly and seeing in her mind’s eye her spell taking over
the lion. However, she was so focused on what she was doing, that she did
not see in her mind’s eye the lion’s mate returning from hunting. Nor did
she see the lioness catch her sent, drop her kill from her mouth to the
ground, and circle around behind. Too late, Alya realized her peril, just as
the lioness took her from behind.
Next thing Alya knows, she is in the spirit world, standing before the Lion
Spirit. Trembling with terror, Alya wants to run away, but the Lion Spirit
speaks to her heart, says, “There is something you do not know.” Then,
Alya is back on the savannah, watching a hunter from her tribe sneaking up
on a nest of lion cubs, whose parents are away hunting. The hunter has a
twisted spirit and decides to kill the lion cubs just for the fun of doing
it, even though killing any animal just for sport is taboo in his tribe,
which worships the Lion Spirit. On returning to his village, the hunter
tells no one what he has done.
When the lion and lioness return to their nest and find their dead cubs,
they are enraged. They catch the hunter’s scent and track him back to the
edge of the village, where the lion hides in a thicket and begins roaring
and bellowing out his rage over what has happened. The hunter knows why the
lion is there, doing that, but still he tells no one. Alya’s father, the
tribe’s leader, prepares to go out and face and kill the lion, because it
his duty to protect his tribe from marauding lions. And so he sets out to
face the lion, even as the hunter lets him go without saying what has
happened to bring this about, and that a lioness is also out there with the
lion. Alya’s father quickly finds and confronts the lion, and is preparing
to kill it with his spear when he is taken from behind by the lioness.
In her horror, Alya helplessly watches on, even as she now realizes her
hatred of lions was completely misplaced. She feels awful. Then suddenly she
is back on the savannah, stalking the lion whose spirit she once wanted to
steal for herself. The lion looks up, stares into Alya’s eyes. She shakes
all over, is terrified, but does not look away. Then something takes hold of
her, she says to the lion, “I have lost my father and you have lost your
cubs. I will be your cub.” The lion looks deep into Alya’s spirit, nods,
says, “And I shall be your father and will always protect your front.” Then
beside the lion is the lioness, who says to Alya, “And I will always protect
Happy Father’s Day
breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, aka “southernmost the nut house”