CVS Live Guest - 2022-03-06 - Tom Mennier

Author Streamed Sunday March 6th, 2022

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I met Tom through a mutual friend, Ivan Freud, who appeared as a guest on my podcast a few years ago. Tom is a musician who used to be an organist in the Anglican community here in Montr?al. His faith-journey has been very interesting.


CVS Live Guest - 2022-03-06 - Tom Mennier

Author Streamed January 11th, 2020

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
make sure you get the spelling m-e-n-n-i-e-r yeah two ends yeah okay yeah so [Music] i think we're live we're live i'm here with tom tom menier how are you doing great how are you good to see you dave very well yeah good to see you uh we've only met once right in real life that is that is true yeah so uh you're a friend of a friend of mine one of my guests ivan freud maybe we can touch on that at the end of the interview but for now uh i don't know you people don't know you so maybe just go right back to the beginning of your faith journey and talk a little bit about your earliest sort of notions that there might be this thing called god and this thing called religion and how that affected you as a very young child even before the age of reason that's good and then if you can go through sort of the story up until today at your own rate touching on those points that you think are uh most pertinent and that you're willing to share with me and my audience please that sounds like a book worth okay starting with my sense of god from a very early age um my mother was a catholic okay uh very catholic family my my grandmother was kind of like the the matriarch of the family really she was uh everyone's favorite and uh um so i was raised catholic but my father was an atheist okay and um my mother was probably because of her relatively strict catholic upbringing she probably consciously or unconsciously decided to be a little less hard on her own children so uh we were never forced to go to church okay now my mother like her mother like my grandmother uh was a church organist so every sunday my mother had to go to church to play the service the mass and uh and it was kind of like okay do you want to come you know to church with me and help me in the choir or whatever and um when we were quite young we didn't really have a choice we were just piled in the car and we went and then we started like getting shifty in our seats and causing trouble she's like well do you want to come he's like well no okay dear you know so we weren't forced to go to church okay um but uh we did end up going infrequently you know now and then we would just pile in and especially for easter and christmas and special masses but i do remember as a very young person uh loving the smell of the church uh the the general uh mystery of the uh you know the whole aura of the the big cathedral she the first church she uh worked at when i was you know from toddler on up until age seven or eight i believe um was a pretty big uh cathedral catholic and uh montreal uh insane i was born and raised in saint john new brunswick okay okay so this church was a stellar morris which was at the end of the causeway uh near the harbor and uh a big you know not huge but it was uh you know the the the organ was way up in the loft and it was a pretty big loft and a big big organ made a lot of sound and uh so i remember uh liking the vibe and i always loved music so i didn't mind singing in the choir but like any youngster i got fidgety with the long service and the sermons and too young to really understand what was going on plus it was optional i didn't really have to be there so uh you know in other words religion wasn't sort of shoved down our throat okay um and my like i said my father was an atheist so within my own household we had you know these kind of two world views um present and um they never fought over those things they fought over little things uh but um as i but you know i always had a sense of the uh well i wouldn't have used the word then but i had always had a sense of what i think is the supernatural you know uh i was sensitive to a fault as a youngster and i was a dreamer i was always uh reprimanded for my tendency to daydream okay i would i was the type that would just sort of wander off and talk to the birds and have the whole neighborhood worried where the hell's tommy you know and adults scouring the neighborhood sometimes the cops getting involved looking for a missing child and i was just across the street behind the shrubs on the neighbor's lawn talking to the robins or whatever um you know i was a bit of a weirdo um so uh i think that i always had this kind of sense of something more than than the five senses pick up even though i couldn't articulate it and wasn't really conscious of it myself it's like i just thought this is the most natural thing to do is to daydream and explore the mind and talk to the animals i mean why not so uh but as as time went on and i made my way in the world i think i sort of veered more towards well because my interest in in big things naturally led me to philosophy so i became sort of a natural philosopher i started reading a lot it was a bookworm because i was sensitive i i had a hard time in the social realm of life so i was alone a lot i found piano quite early i started learning and practicing piano mostly self-taught even though my mother was a piano teacher because it just sort of seemed like a place where i could just escape and and then same thing with books okay uh so and then uh through philosophy and my general uh discomfort with the world around me like none of this makes sense you know um i uh i think i kind of fell into a kind of uh leftist kind of direction and flirting with atheism okay this is going into my teen hood and um and like i say i was a loner um i still am um at first this was painful uh but then i learned to uh actually embrace it but that's another story but uh so you know uh speaking to my lone lone wolf kind of personality i would uh take off a lot on my own one time one summer when i was about 19 i took a long bike trip by myself a camping trip and i just uh explored the rivers in saint john where i'm from this is where two mighty rivers meet the cannabis cases and the st john river so we were we lived at the outskirts of town in our backyards was a forest we were the last street at the top of a a hill development so below us was just street after street of residence but we were the last street at the top so our backyard was basically miles of forest um and then also since we were just at the we were the last suburb before the highway uh even on bike i was like 15 minutes away from the river and from the country so um so i went off alone and before i went i went to the library downtown and i got out this thick book and you know i can't remember the author there's many books like it sort of like the you know the religions of the world okay and um i got that out and brought it with me on my camping trip it was like six or seven hundred pages long and it was just basically a comparative anthology of all the major religions known religions in the world and uh the general uh direction this book took was digging up all the connecting threads that unify the major religions and then and then going into the peripheral differences and uh but with the aim of just sort of like seeing seeing how they all kind of uh direct uh uh move towards a sort of a unifi unifying themes you know principles and whatnot uh i read the whole thing i think it was a way for two weeks you know i would set up my tent and build my fire pit and uh get all the work done and then spend basically the whole day reading with swimming breaks by the end of the two weeks i pretty much read the whole thing that changed my life okay um it didn't turn me into a catholic or uh steered me towards any particular religion but what it did was it convinced me that there is um there is a very real and inescapable moral law that permeates not just the human world but all of existence and um so that stuck with me okay uh but then i couldn't find satisfaction when i tried to kind of uh find which path to take as far as committing to any particular faith uh and that's because well like my mother i became a church organist as well and at university i met i made many friends that uh well of all types atheist agnostic and religious people of all different cultures and um i found that uh i would always i mean i've always been argumentative i mean in the in the sense of the good tradition of debate okay um and i found it very very difficult throughout my life to find good debating partners you know without things quickly becoming personal or people taking offense or whatever you know i just like exploring ideas i like to challenge people and i like to be challenged as well uh and as you know it's very hard to let down your guard um a lot of people have a hard time to just sort of getting out of their comfort zone and having a full examination of their position and i'm not guiltless in that regard although i've always left debate um so um and as as i got older i i went through university and uh i experienced poverty coming out of my training thinking i would be a wildly successful star and then discovering just how damn hard it is to make it as a musician um i go for i went further into leftist politics okay a critique of the structure of the world capitalism and all that war all this stuff and you know this is a very big temptation i think for young people especially young intelligent people because i don't think there's anyone on the planet that doesn't wish for a better world and uh and when you have a certain idea of how the world functions and then you're disillusioned and find out that it doesn't function that way at all it's uh a lot of platitudes and promises but we don't actually uh live up to them and uh you start to get this disillusioned you start to get frustrated and you start to get angry and you start to think that well you know i'm young and i see through all this bull crap i can i can make a difference i can help save the world okay i look right now as you know we're in a very heated cultural war and uh people are yelling at each other and and uh you know the right whatever that is because it's lost all its definition are uh castigating and ridiculing the left and the left whatever that is because it too has lost all its meeting is um doing the same to their opponents and uh and i got uh sucked into that whole heat for many years through my 30s especially until i you know we don't have all afternoon so i won't go into detail but i'll just say i i met a certain uh number of personal crises that uh that sort of forced me to uh change my behavior or look at things differently i had to do something to get myself out of the hole that i dug and uh one of the things that i decided to do and this was after years of a lot of alcohol and drugs uh i was you know bloated like elvis and all that i i did a radical cleanse and i quit all my habits smoking drinking drugs all that cold turkey which i didn't think i would do that wasn't the plan the plan was just to cleanse and i i was hooked up very serendipitously through a friend of a friend who knew this uh colonist um you know what that is yeah uh animus what uh yeah well it's more than enemas colonic irrigation is basically it's really quite radical they they they put a tube in your uh derriere and they pump you full of like like gallons of it's a machine and it's just this flow it goes right into you it's like a lot of water it's not just an enemy comes out your mouth that's what it felt like but no uh so it just keeps going on a loop it floods in and then it empties you out and it goes in and the session lasts an hour and i did that every single day for seven days on a juice fast purify juice fast no pulp uh for seven days uh after the first treatment i had no desire for cigarettes i didn't see that coming i thought okay i'll cut way down you know but after that first session i had absolutely no desire none wow and walking on the sidewalk someone was walking ahead of me smoking it it was like it was the most foul stench there was nothing attractive to me at all about it uh and of course by the end of the week i had lost something like 30 pounds and all my uh old desires were gone so i thought wow i'm going to keep this up you know not not that but seven days was enough of that part um but i did keep regular fasts up every every other week i would do three day fasts and uh and uh i i stayed clean for a good 10 12 years now i drink not nearly i'm not a heavy drinker and i don't depend on it but i'm back to that i smoke uh i wish i could have quit that forever but um you know it didn't perfectly clear uh clear me of that stuff but uh it's completely in control now and i i appreciate what pleasure is without ruining it by over indulgence so uh but the point is is that uh more than uh just the physical effect of that cleanse uh did wild things to my mind okay so i do believe there is a corrallery to the physical with the mental there's mental toxins there's spiritual toxins and uh they're connected uh so when one's cleaned out the other starts to and all your demons come out and it's painful at first you know your skin breaks into welts well your mind starts uh screaming demons you know demons come and i had a sort of like brace myself and endure that and when i came out at the end of it i had a completely different perspective um i'm so grateful for that because it wasn't it wasn't an intellectual change you know it was actually um because of that cleanse uh things happened to me that i never imagined would happen to me so it wasn't arrived at intellectually it was a process of clearing a lot of junk the junk was just cleared away and then i had to rebuild myself which is no easy task because i felt who am i what am i you know i couldn't go back to the old ways i didn't even have a desire to but then now what uh so um i uh i went to see a psychologist okay the first time really that i thought i i never thought i would do that um but i did it wasn't that i was suicidal or anything like this but i knew that i needed help i needed perspective and i didn't feel right i felt better that i wasn't that old other person that i was but then i had i wasn't sure what to replace it with so i went to see a psychologist and he was really amazing okay uh he was actually a psychiatrist a psycho analyst slash psychiatrist and um he was recommended to me by a friend so it's like i started to think it's like what what were the odds that i would meet this friend of a friend that got me into the colonics exactly at that time when i needed it because like i say i was bloated like elvis i thought i was going to die if i keep going this way but i didn't have the strength to just do it on my own and then out of the sky came this serendipitous connection with this particular type of uh healing that was lucky and then just when i needed the kind of help mentally my friend hooks me up with this particular doctor who was fantastic he didn't try to treat me with drugs he suggested things and i said no i i like these talks let's just keep going and he totally respected that but what i learned most from him was that he taught me the difference between guilt and shame in a way that i understood it for the first time and and the reason why this is so important is because since i can remember i've i've i remember i'd argue with people anti-christian people uh that took that nietzschean kind of notion that uh christianity is a slave morality and uh repressive in the whole thing and makes you feel ashamed of your sins and who needs shame you know so when i went to see this particular psychoanalyst and he so clearly made me understand the difference between guilt and shame which is basically shame is um is a condition that is often imposed from the outside uh you feel uh weak and ashamed yourself that you can't live up to someone else's expectations you don't know the way out unless you follow the tyrants dictates if you do this and this and this you'll be all right and you can't do that naturally because you can't reason your way into it but you know if you don't you're perpetually a shameful thing okay there's no out for shame it's an addiction too you start to love your shame it's like you know false humility false compassion comes out of sort of unresolved uh inner shame whereas guilt is um there's there's sort of like you know jurisdic jurisprudence has a sort of corrallery to that guilt is just basically admitting guilt and taking full responsibility for it uh paying the punishment and making amends uh when when you're guilty or when you're when you come into self awareness of your guilt then you can you can actually articulate and pronounce it yes i am guilty of this and that and the other thing and uh and then it puts you in in the power uh to acknowledge it to make amends and to make appropriate changes that's not that doesn't come from the outside that comes from you you step forward and say guilty and then you can change it's not the same as shame at all and um so we went into my deeper psyche and my past and uh my father and i didn't have much of a relationship uh i i was kind of afraid of him he was uh he had a temper i didn't understand him i would avoid him and uh and he forced me to look into that and uh with his help and i only saw him for maybe five sessions okay and i stopped when i basically i he gave me everything i needed the difference between guilt and shame and uh understanding my father coming to know him for the first time here we are something like six or seven years after he died um and truly forgiving him because you can't forgive anything without understanding you can't you can't know or love saying anything or anyone or forgive them until you truly understand them and i achieved that and i know this is pretty personal stuff but um but it was from that point on that just like in the matter that i stopped smoking and drinking i stopped being a leftist and i didn't know what happened to me i didn't arrive there intellectually and i didn't even know i had stopped being a leftist until i went back and hung out with my leftist friends and those same old arguments would come up and i would like what the heck are you guys run about and at first i thought they changed and the world's gone crazier and and uh and no they they didn't it's like wait i used to think that way and so uh now i did this is this is very complicated stuff and a lot of people don't have a pa you know the kind of patience and humility to dig through this stuff because you know our tendency is to really sort of you know we we get drawn into a team a frame of mind and frame of references and uh we become very uh protective of it um so and and then you know the the the kind of binary teams left right you know is a prime example of that um and i got to realizing that it's not this and not that but it's this and that that the the the disunion between the various world views are not because they're opposite but because those points at which they can connect are severed okay so i still love my leftist friends dearly of course you know it's it's not um um and and i don't consider myself right wing it's not that either it's uh it's more you know to come to a point where you realize wait there's something going back to what i learned or intuitively sense from a very early age that there is an overriding transcendent eternal moral law that governs all existence and every one of us in our own way unconsciously or not is striving to align with that and the hardest thing about being alive is that it's not perfect and not only is it not perfect but it can be downright awful and and then we presume to think that well because we see what's wrong with the world we can set it right but it's never that simple and we're all we most often get it wrong we go into any number of vain pursuits to set things right because we're so confident that we see what's wrong well it's easy easy peasy easy thing in the world to see what's wrong especially in the world and in others but do we see what's right do we see what's true do we see what's true about ourselves and the reason why the youth are so easily drag netted into you know herded into this leftist mentality is because all the focus is outside of them it's all on the world and what's wrong with the world precisely at that time in your development where you have to develop the habit of self-examination because if you don't get the discipline and the help towards that end early in life because it's a lifelong battle self-awareness and it has to start young and if the the teaching of this age parents teachers the media is training our young people to always externalize and look out at the world at their political opposition they're wrong that's wrong the world's wrong i can fix it they they don't even realize it but they've uh abrogated the fundamental responsibility of being alive is to know thyself know thyself know thyself and to solve evil you cannot begin until you've examined and come to realize the evil that's inside of you that's inside of every one of us and to understand what that is and plato said famously nothing can harm the good man nothing nothing can harm the good man exactly and you know the whole you know the victimhood thing this you know is playing out so strongly and encouraged by the media and new education whatever um the good person or the godly person is never the victim or to be clear uh they're never they never uh succumb to victimhood yeah okay um but they certainly can be the victim they can be victims of every form of oppression and torture man-made and natural but they will not succumb to victimhood that is the holy standard and we're all tempted to do that and even the saints fell into that temptation the difference is knowing the difference between right and wrong and catching yourself and feeling terrible about it and that it comes back to the guilt and shame thing uh when you're when you come to it through self-awareness it's not shame it's remorse it's a full giving up of your guilt and then that sets you on the road through self volition and self awareness to harness the inner strength and the faith to correct oneself but shame is you don't know where it's coming from it's coming from the outside you don't understand the meaning of it it's coming from the outside you don't know what to do with it you want to try to fit in with the world but you're insecure uh you can't heal it and and then you go to the same sources that made you feel shameful thinking that they've got the answer and they don't have the answer but so is the difference between repression and self-control and freud came along and made everything about sex and uh the general modern psychological uh tenor of our times is is pretty much in line with it and it what it did was it it blurred the distinction between repression and self-control meaning if we just uh loosen up all the the walls of our prison and allow ourselves to fulfill our sexual needs then uh the idea was that uh this being the source of our neurosis uh with sexual freedom and liberation would come a less neurotic world and therefore a more enlightened and peaceful world how's that working out for the world it's uh licensed they've substituted license for freedom that's right because they they blurred the distinction between repression and self-control okay so basically getting mastery over oneself is a self-volitional thing it's something that comes from with inside and it's self volitional it's willed and uh based on knowledge and understanding and experience it's like well i did this and this and i let myself go and now look at the mess i'm in and then you learn and then you you you learn the the age-old uh uh you know path of of of not wisdom because wisdom is a big word but let's say the underlying structure okay that gives one hope to actually at least be on the path towards wisdom is self-control delayed gratification uh no one can do that for you uh it can't be authentic unless it comes in uh from from within through self-awareness and it also connects deeply with the law of love okay love is absolutely meaningless or full-on counterfeit without the sacrifice without the sacrificial element and without the sincere inner uh giving up no one can love for you you know no one can do the dirty work and as soon as you uh love is is free will and love are one thing that's what free will means it gives love and truth and faith and all these things have to be tested and this is not an intellectual thing it's not it's not something that's like okay well you think you have the truth i'm gonna test you it doesn't work that way it's written into nature itself okay it's written into actual reality itself as soon as you make a commitment it's going to be tested as soon as you give yourself up to love it's going to be tested just by the inner workings of reality itself and if you don't understand that you're going to give up really quick because the sweet fruit and the pleasure of the a gaped state of early sort of falling in love you know you want that to go on forever and it's not going to go on forever it's going to be tested and you thought it was always going to be this is what love is honeymoon yeah the honeymoon period is over and then you give up and look at the divorce rates like a j curve you know it comes down to this uh you know the we're in a materialist paradigm that sort of gave up the um the story they threw out the bath uh water with the baby uh in their attack on religion uh that um you know sci even you know i don't know if i'm rambling i'm moving all these threads are keep going um even you know brett weinstein who i i don't know if you've heard of him dark horse podcast okay the weinstein brothers his brothers eric they're both academics and they're they're uh rebels and in the good way they've sort of exposed a lot of the corruption in academia and okay correct in the peer peer review program james lisney and all that james uh uh i don't know if they know each other but they touch on similar things you know i have quite a lot of respect for them but even even brett weinstein dark horse podcast because he's a scientist okay um uh i don't believe he's a believer he certainly doesn't this sort of revealed to me that he certainly isn't regardless of all his amazing work and insights into the state of academia and and so many things i agree with he said the most absurd thing recently a few months ago he said science is the highest form of knowledge the natural sciences yes oh science uncovering the nature he said that's the the highest form of knowledge it's my fourth on my it's fourth in my hierarchy natural science you're good yeah i have god theology philosophy and natural science exactly okay now what would make him say something so absurd and i thought about this scientism scientism about you know but the thing is i don't think that he's really uh roped into scientism he's not at least not explicitly because he he's uh like i say i agree with so many things he's doing and i and i'm behind his his battle with the corruption and academia uh but because he uh because his beef basically is is right now science is is being done wrong science has become corrupted by money uh by a corrupt uh peer review process and a corrupt academia and he wants to write it he wants to get back to pure science so that's his beef and if we can get to that then you know the world would be a much better place because after all science is the highest form of knowledge okay well okay so the way i would um i would try to uh redress that is um the uh at the very beginning of humanity if we go into the the real uh deep meaning of genesis okay we didn't have science in fact we didn't have intellect okay we were uh pure and in line with god's creation until we fell when we ate the forbidden fruit and we attained the power of knowledge knowledge of what good and evil and through that power we basically walked right into the realm of satan and his pride where if we're not careful and we won't be because knowledge is incredibly powerful and we are living in a temporal physical realm and we are no longer in heaven inevitably we're going to invert and turn good into evil and evil into good this was the omega sorry the alpha of our existence the alpha of consciousness came before the fall and then there was our beginning uh relationship in the temporal realm with knowledge and then the omega is total consciousness and reuniting with with god and science came much later okay and science could not have happened shouldn't couldn't have come into existence to begin with unless we had this gift of human consciousness that logos is uh is something that is innate and written through the fabric of the universe uh that consciousness is our link to a transcendent logos okay and uh we came to a point where we realized hey you know the more we look at nature and ourselves and the universe the more uh it seems that this is discernible that this actually we can we can discern this we can figure out how all this stuff works because it is logical it's not just random twinklies in the sky but there's a there's an awesome order and meaning to the universe and we can we can figure this out and so through uh a process uh we developed a scientific method okay that couldn't have happened without consciousness that came first and then once we get that power because science is very very powerful and it's very good at what it does and uh keeps getting better at what it does with the advancement of tools and technology and so on um there's this pesky little problem that we discover certain properties chemical biological cosmological and and through science we can build tools to manipulate our surroundings and our interaction with the world through this knowledge so what we come to is the problem that everything that we do with our knowledge no matter how scientifically sophisticated is this knowledge and proven is this knowledge everything we do with it is no longer science everything we do with it everything we think about it is moral is theological okay we have this power we figured out how this chemical works with that chemical and then we put this do together and then we can build this machine we can do this this that and the other thing well should we do it why are we doing it the action uh and the application of our knowledge is no longer science even though it's scientifically it's like yo if we do this we get this outcome but uh but as soon as we make it an actual uh action every action everything we do has to be weighed on the scales of moral justice in other words just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it because every action ultimately is measured by the scales of the moral universe so this is where science goes off the rails and it's not the problem with science is the problem with men just like when religion goes off the rails it's not the problem with the religion it's it's pro it's a problem with the students or the practitioners and so um now i put all this stuff together over years okay through through my experience of of coming in and out of different philosophies and ideas and my various painful life experiences and coming in and out of it again whatever but what i'm pointing to is basically the long and slow process by which i became a catholic okay because um the uh the conviction came to me that uh that good and evil are very very real and they are not uh small g and small e evil they are capital g and capital e and both directions are infinite okay in other words good you know when we think of good well what's good you know what's beauty you know what's truth what's abu what's beautiful art what's beautiful music all of that stuff well when you meditate on it you realize that there's no end to how to just how good and beautiful and true it can be there's no end to just how real real can be and holiness can be and at the same time the same thing applies to evil there's no end to it it is bottomless okay there's small e evil and there's capital e evil they're infinite at both ends there is a there is a point in the middle that represents two paths and one path will start you in the process of going towards ultimate evil and much of the travel much of the journey will be unconscious you'll be unaware it would seem like the greatest idea uh you're not getting hurt um it seems to be working you know profits are up and so on and so forth um you have a lot of dogs in the race you know so our life experience is that you know the more worldly we are the more dogs we have in the race okay so we're betting on those horses on those dogs and and so we naturally blind ourselves to the fundamentals that will get in the way of those investments we're not blind to the to the peripherals and the minor things that get in the way because we're very invested in the in the outcome so we think okay well we'll just change this a little bit to protect the investments but we're utterly blind we have a an infinite blind spot to the fundamental underpinning structures of our world reality that in the long term will cause the whole card house of cards to collapse and our whole castle on sand to be wiped right out 10 years down the line 50 years down the line always into the future and when it happens it's too late so there's the those two distinct paths one the path of love and to god is sacrificial and it's uh you know the sufis had um you know i think was a sufis uh be in this world but not of it and uh and john in the gospels uh do not make friends with this world which is often misunderstood it just means basically it's just it's the same thing be in this world but not of it because there's no and george carlin uh the atheist comedian uh also uh put it right i think it was an interview that he did uh where he um he basically said well the reason why i see through all the bull crap is because i'm not invested i don't give a flying f you know uh he basically said the same thing he's not he's not overly invested in this this this world so he can sit back and just sort of like you know from from a distance and above you know it's like what the hell is going on here disinterested disinterested which is really the the the basis of the of uh uh well it's it's the basic ethic of scholarship you know which should that's exactly it should be it ought to be so anyway i've rambled quite a lot you've rambled quite nicely wow um can you tell me the exact moment when you decided okay i'm an adult now and i yes i am going to embrace my catholic faith with my childhood what was that moment do you remember the moment do i remember the moment um well you must remember the moment you went back to confession the confessional that's a pretty concrete moment on your calendar okay now i have to be clear i haven't i i consider myself a converted catholic i was baptized and confirmed in my childhood okay um i i consider myself a i hate the term born again but let's say reconverted catholicism but that doesn't mean that i went to the confessional booth okay i visited a few churches okay okay uh yeah i know so we're going to book you an appointment soon that's your next stop i would love to but let me explain this okay i would like to i i want to explain why okay as i said i was a church organist uh for many years okay this this was a big process of my eventual uh reversion to catholicism when i first started playing the organ at the church i wasn't going there as a christian okay at that point i was like i said on the fence skirting between agnosticism and atheism it was just a job i learned the skill from my mother uh it was an easy job once a week on sunday i never worked in a catholic church i don't have the footwork at the pipe org and i i'm a piano player and and a half decent two manual organ player um so i i worked at anglican churches at one point a lutheran church etc mostly protestant churches from the time i started at mcgill at age right up until what three years ago and i'm in well into my 50s now so you know a good 30 years plus i went every sunday and did this easy job i'm a good sight reader no prep just get up sunday mornings a couple of hours later i'm home and have my rents paid okay but what happened in that process is that uh i as i said i'm a natural debater and uh i try to keep my uh bs detector on at all times i became more and more uh annoyed with uh what was going on in the church what was the general direction of the ministry and the manner of their sermonizing and uh and i was critical purely from an intellectual point of view not not from a christian point of view because i wasn't a christian i just said this is this is so lame it's so lukewarm and it's so lacking in muscle and fire it doesn't ring true okay and uh because i was too lazy to actually explore the scripture for many years i just assumed that well you know christianity is it's a comfort for some but it's you know it's not for me okay but um as the years went by he played church every sunday you get to know the liturgy and you get to know a lot of the bible because every week they read you know at least two readings and a gospel before the sermon so after years and years you know i became just by sitting there every week uh quite acquainted with uh with a lot of scripture uh until some of us sort of i started to see the disconnect between what they were how they were sermonizing and what was actually in scripture so that's when i started to like go home after well first before going home at coffee hour i would start getting into little debates with the priest himself it's like well what did you mean when you know and um i quickly discerned what a good priest is and what a bad priest is the good priest would be willing to uh to enter into that discussion you know obviously uh you're you're a shepherd and one of your flock is confused you'll do whatever you can to help them understand as opposed to a bad priest who gets quite egoistic and defensive and it's like that's not what i meant at all i mean or uh well that's your opinion or or such things like this and without actually giving me anything to chew on uh so uh so i would end up going home after the like more and more as the years went by and do some homework i would get out the bible and i would and i'd have my church bulletin from that week with me you know okay so john chapter blah blah blah look it up and then i would read the whole chapter just to make sure i had the right context and i started to get quite moved because um i'm reading things now as a 30-something well now we're going into my 40s now okay this is after my cleansing with life experience and having learned a lot and read a lot and thought about a lot of things and experienced a lot of things reading things that would have not made sense to me in my 20s and especially in my childhood for the first time in my life in my 40s these words from scripture are flying off the page and stinging me the meaning started to just lift off the page and hit me like a ton of bricks and i started to see more clearly just where the ministry was going wrong and all of this it's it turns out was was prophesied from the very birth of the church that um that the the world would be uh the church would be taken over by by ravenous wolves um and and then to be clear they're not ravenous wolves in the in the literal sense a lot of them don't even know what they're doing but what they are doing is they're making friends with the world and because uh religion has suffered especially in the age of technology and science numbers are down they're trying to fill bums and seats as they say and they're trying to appeal to the world and so like an insecure school child they're like trying to like oh well how can i how can i be everyone's friend and make everyone happy and get get people on my side and how can i get people into my organization and how can we get our coffers back out of the red so to speak so this is uh i think a lot of it's done unconsciously a lot of it has to do with the the um i think the lowering standards and and the theology schools etc but getting back to my my reversion so i did go to um to a number of churches not too far from my house i was my wife has a catholic it's a catholic family um i checked out their church i got privy to their worldview and uh i have to say that it's infected the catholic church as well it's not just the protestants um and uh i i do hope to find a truly catholic church with an authentic um a devoted non-apostate shepherd and in this world i'm i'm afraid to say i hope i don't burn in hell for saying it i'm going to be completely wrong but it seems to me that uh that the the catholic church isn't in in big trouble okay i did find one person accidentally on youtube father mark goring yeah in ottawa okay saint mary's inaudible yeah yeah yeah now um i would love to visit that church i haven't been able to get out of montreal for a while but as soon as i get a chance i'm going to go to ottawa and i would like to meet him and i would like to go to his his mass there's an example of the kind of church i'm looking for they're very hard to find now yeah yeah because it takes a lot you know because it takes a heck of a lot of courage okay to proclaim the gospel unadulterated and to apply it to the evils of our time it takes a lot of courage because uh we and again this was prophesied and timothy i believe uh that there will come a time when uh you know people will be so easily offended and uh daughters will be turned against mothers and sons against fathers and neighbor against neighbor and uh getting to the point where everyone will be walking on eggshells and terrified of just speaking spontaneously from the heart because any little thing can offend this that the other and there's vigilante mobs everywhere and plus they're trying to increase their business because numbers are depleting in the churches and a lot of it's unconscious i think but still i i don't see that as fully a good good excuse because anyone who has the gonads to enter priesthood you would think we'll be doing it out of a love of the holy gospel and be well trained not just in their knowledge and understanding of the gospel but to be tested for the kind of character a good shepherd is that is required of a good shepherd courage honesty and when everything goes chaotic and the world is ending who do we turn to for truth and strength who do we turn to who's not afraid of persecution and who will lay their life down for us as christ laid himself down for the world a good shepherd they're hard to find they're hard to find i'll be honest with you i was very disappointed when i converted in 2009 and i thought oh there's this religion where they worship the truth and the true god and wow it's going to be amazing but i might my experience was disappointment after disappointment and i was physically assaulted in a church uh because i went in without a vax passport at st joseph's oratory uh i found the second time i went in i got assaulted uh when i got assaulted the first time they didn't assault me they just called the cops and threw me out but the second time they actually physically assaulted me but at that second time i found a priest that i'd known for years and i said oh thank god i found you because uh the security's coming they're gonna throw me out and he's like oh what's going on what's going on but then the security game came and threw me out and he just put his blinders on and he just ignored me and i phoned him the next day i said are we friends yes or no oh yeah yeah yeah we're friends we're friends i said then why didn't you help me when i came to you for help why didn't you talk to me oh because i have no authority i'm just a priest i have no authority oh my god i'm just a priest just a priest well i i swear to god if he had been a holy priest of god he would have said to the security guard hold on one moment let's i know this man let's talk let's see that's right you know he has the authority if he wants to assume the authority and i don't want to disparage this this poor man's character but i've known him for years and we've had many discussions he's a moral theologian he used to teach uh at seminary uh he's a thomas aquinas he knows back and forth but when it came when he was tested uh he just crumbled he crumbled you know so that time there were six cops that came and took me out and i still have a bruise on my leg a bump on my shin from where i was tossed onto the concrete outside and he had the security guard had his knee on my chest so there's nothing but disappointment knee on your chest yeah yeah yeah as an idf there were people there were people videoing and i've been looking on youtube to try to find the footage i said save this footage and i want to see it but i still have the name of the uh two security guards here i don't think you're gonna see it but um everyone keeps telling me you gotta you've gotta pursue this you've gotta press charges against the security guards maybe i will just to make a point but uh i'm banned for life from my favorite chapel which is saint uh joseph's oratory uh i used to go there uh quite frequently it would take me an hour to bike there in the winter you know but i would go there that's why i was disappointed when they when they wouldn't let me in because of the vaxxed passport but i had spoken to our bishop our archbishop christian lepin uh multiple times and he always assured me you'll never be turned away from a church because of your vac status you'll never be denied the sacraments because of your back status and then uh lo and behold uh they imposed the vax passport on the church yeah yeah so well little did they know when they made that promise it was like well they will never bring the passport to the church yeah and then they did yeah it's like oh well uh i have to change my mind but we have to follow authority because yeah yeah so covent has really oh it's a terrible story um so just to just let you know i i i have met a lot of priests many of them don't believe in the true presence and the eucharist many of them don't believe in uh the sanctity of marriage many of them don't believe the teachings on sexual morality many of them don't believe all kinds of things and it's just one disappointment after the next but i've met a couple of i'm sure i've met many good priests i just i'm always suspicious i'm always very suspicious and i sort of assume that they're uh wolves until i have a lot of experience with them and i can sort of start to build trust but there's one organization called the uh priestly fraternity of saint peter and there's a church at water market that i started going to um they are uh more conservative i guess you could say and they do the traditional latin mass and stuff like that which i'm not into but um you know i don't really want to learn latin at this late stage of life but they're very conservative very open-minded and that sort of thing with uh they put they put they're not in agreement at all very vocal about not being in agreement with uh the church caving to civil authorities yeah right like i mean we should their their number one danger for humans is not covet the number one danger for humans is dying in a state of mortal sin and going to hell right so that trumps any other concern right if you're if you're if you're a pastor like you were saying you're a shepherd of the flock your number one concern is the eternal soul not the cold and flu symptoms right exactly exactly and the uh covet has really brought into sharp relief the um the fundamental uh problem at the root of the zeitgeist of our times okay the uh first of all it's terrible science we're told to follow the science excuse me um again getting back to what i was saying about science is knowledge but action is moral and when and so you know mass lockdowns of the healthy is not scientific and uh suppression of potential treatments outside of vaccination is not scientific uh rushing to a uh a rushed and let's face it experimental new form of vaccine to the worldwide population one-size-fits-all before actually doing rigorous battle with uh uh the knowledge available figuring it out what can we do to alleviate symptoms what can we do to bring down the death rate which by the way is very low the media pumps it up uh it's been said over and over again uh even by the crooks themselves have admitted that it has a very high survival survivability rate klaus schwab's on the record in his book uh cover 19 and the great reset is saying it's the least deadly pandemic in 2000 years yeah well and it's not a pandemic they've changed the meaning of pandemic pandemic used to mean uh widespread uh deaths why it's dangerous etc uh whereas this is more of an endemic thing like the flu or the cold uh it doesn't meet the the uh uh distinct definition of pandemic and we could go on and on but i don't want to get uh bogged into the detail kova but what we could draw from that is that um the the the the uh the um what this has really shown to me and i'm sure you and many other people of uh of our line of thinking and i don't want to call it a line of thinking it's just we're out we're outside looking in i think that it's something that anyone can see if they just get the courage to look at see what's going what's really going on and that that is that you know at what cost are we willing okay to pay for a safe world and how safe do you want to make it this is one of the things that i i've i've been saying since the beginning of the pandemic to anyone who would listen to me because it it ties into not only with covet but a lot of the modern ideologies that are running rampant uh throughout society today and that are encouraged by the media uh you know uh sexism racism homophobia bigotry all these things that they want to stamp out safe space we need to save space for everything how safe do you want how perfect do you want the world to be you know how first of all how bad is the problem that you claim to be uh fighting against how bad the is the problem really but also how perfect in your image do you want the world to be let me tell you okay there's only one way that you get your dream and that is kill everyone and start over again and don't don't that's the communist way that's the question we couldn't underestimate the murder that does uh that does grow in the heart of people that are so taken in even if they don't know it but but my answer to that is that they can get their wish um uh by one way only and that is perfect tyranny okay if you want a perfect world where there's no ignorance and no pain and no sexism and no murder no one's offended no one's offended by your jokes and no disease and on and on and on uh there is one way and good news folks we have the technology and the means to do it so that's the good news your dream is around the corner and it's and it equals perfect tyranny okay and the life of the faithful is quite a different uh bird altogether um it it acknowledges not only the imperfection of the world but the imperfection of oneself okay and the um when christ said bear your cross what he meant by that was that bear your own guilt your own pain your own shortcomings your own struggle bear it and be brave and god will grant you grace the opposite of that which is the way of evil is to get others to bear your cross for you and to expect others to bear your cross for you and this is exactly what we're seeing running rampant in so many modern assumptions uh this kind of a complete un binding of the principles of love and personal responsibility faith courage stoicism uh and and the very you know the fundamentals underpinning structure of of the path of wisdom itself and wisdom basically is a vision of the whole truth okay um and so when when someone says um uh science is the highest form of knowledge the reason why it's so absurd is because uh the physical uh reality of our universe uh and the utilitarian mechanisms of of our um immediate life is such a separate and such a specialized uh particular branch and even realm of knowledge um there's no way you can find proper use of it when it's disconnected so extremely from the whole wisdom is to take in the whole picture uh and and you know to see outside and beyond yourself and be even beyond space and time you know it's to take in the whole thing and to uh act accordingly it's like okay well this and this and this is wrong but if we go if we think this is the solution uh it might make us feel good or solve little problems in the short term but let's step back is that wise because an unwise decision would obviously lead to something that uh you know a stopgap measure now but uh tenfold the hell you're experiencing now yeah have you heard of logical positivism in your study of philosophy uh yes um it's like the most debunked philosophy ever and it's it's just keeps sneaking up on the atheist agnostic because they just want to control what they know and they want to limit what they know to things that can be examined under a microscope or measured or quantified and so yeah but if they just did a little overview history of western philosophy as i did when i came that was what brought me to religion too the overview of western philosophy if they just look at a little overview and focus in on logical positivism it is a dead end everyone knows it's a dead end there's it's just it's bankrupt but it keeps sneaking up and saying hey here's a good idea why don't we just why don't we just uh believe in only those things that we can reproduce in the lab well that that's a dead end we know it's a dead end right right that's right yeah and and so and there's an example it's like okay uh you know we know it's a dead end it's been examined and examined again and yet we keep returning to it like a dog to his vomit yeah uh uh for the simple reason that to to uh um getting back to uh you know the deeper knowledge or the highest form of knowledge uh is not simply intellectual because you can intellectually agree or disagree with something and then find yourself and your human weakness keep returning to something that you know isn't true but you rationalize your way back to it thinking well in this instance it is true or given the circumstances it's true now um and so you understood it intellectually and then intellectually you rationalize your way back to it but to deeply understand and to integrate the full deepest meaning of an insight uh and to to you know to work it out to its its its deeper essence and it's it's you know the total power and implication of what it means uh you wouldn't fall into that trap and that that takes more than intellect okay um you know the first commandment of jesus love god with your whole mind your whole heart your whole being your whole strength and um okay this sounds to me this is the way i interpret it okay because of our nature our fallen nature because of the inherent vulnerability of the experience of life and because the of the uh unavoidable fact of of the errors and sins and evil of this world um we are in a sinking ship okay we're in quicksand we're drowning okay and and god is sending out a buoy and he said and he's saying as the first commandment this isn't like something okay well if you have time you know this is very interesting philosophical direction it's not optional it's like you need to do this i'm i want i love you i want to save you grab grab that rope and that rope is the love of god and what do you do when you're sinking in your own pride and your own delusion and the evils of this world and all the temptations and and and layers and layers and layers of self delusion and brilliance and genius beyond belief of human rationality because there's no stupid person on the planet this is a big error in thinking and a lot of people who think that the world is ruled by incompetent people no no folks sorry to tell you the world is ruled by an unbelievably clever competent far-seeing structure of power and you don't see them on your tv sets now you might have incompetent prime ministers and presidents okay absolutely oh yeah no you don't say because they are easy to manipulate they're easily too they're easy to sort of bend to the but the people running the financial structure that are directing the wars and that are uh that are uh moving us away from god and the and the basic instinct of the transcendent that are muddying up our conscience um are very clever they know us more than we can imagine they know us and and therefore they know how to manipulate us this is not a world ruled by incompetent people and the real rulers are the ones behind the curtain the ones with the trillion dollar bank accounts and the unbelievable influence and they're doing a damn good job but anyway i diverted um the first commandment okay when you're living in a world like this the first the the the the imperative okay is to love god and okay oh well what's god you know some bearded guy in the sky how can you make me no god is the actual source of all creation the universe is infused with uh with uh you know the logos the logic and the reason of god which is so outside of our own limited perception uh so and you know you're in trouble down here you have to you have to grab on to that with your whole mind as well as your whole heart your whole being and your whole strength that's what it takes what does it take okay to humble a human being words philosophy jurisprudence suffering you gotta be joking okay uh it takes it takes uh um it takes me well you know good parenting is is about uh providing your children uh any number of of games activities and pursuits that form character that that develop discipline and it doesn't matter what it is of course unless it's towards harm and evil but any any stupid little game uh any uh you know uh ballet piano lessons even if they don't have talent like oh do it it's not because you're going to become this thing it's because anything a baseball whatever it might be and the and the the standard of excellence is over their head you know all these things are good and godly because they train the young person into a disciplined habit a habit of discipline that will be applicable and and so entrenched in their development that becomes part of their character and that they can apply to any situation in life self-control and all these things um and then as you as you grow older and life experience comes into play uh then you start you start to you're in a better position to make sense of difficult things because uh the the habit of uh a disciplined mind and a disciplined will will always come to your aid in times of trouble now if we get lacks on this kind of parenting on this ethic and standard of parenting which i think is happening in a serious way today then you're uh you're doing uh tremendous harm to the new generations because they grow into adulthood uh having failed to develop those most basic skills uh that will uh enable them to think through serious problems not just intellectual problems but serious uh personal problems um and and know how to seek help and know the kind of sacrifice and the kind of uh uh suffering that comes from uh that uh to coming uh to a solution getting back to you know love is sacrifice well yeah and that applies to everything if you want to do well in anything you're gonna have to suffer you don't go looking for suffering but you go looking for the thing at a high standard it's like yeah i'm going to do this and then you discover oh you mean to do this and get there i have to give up this and this and i have to do this much work and i have to be measured against this standard and i have to fail and try again and i i oh uh i have to suffer yeah yeah you do have to suffer you do you love is suffering it you can't have love without suffering and you have to acknowledge that and accept that and so so the you know the battle against evil well first of all conquer it in yourself uh and secondly uh you battle it by cultivating love and the true sacrificial relationship to the transcendent of your own volition and understanding that you're going to come up against serious opposition okay so be it how much do you love this thing how much are you willing to lay your life down because if you're not you don't know what love is okay so the first commandment is is the first commandment for a bloody good reason yeah yeah my favorite it's my favorite commandment and i think of it in terms of uh the parallel sort of horizontal commandments because i think of the ten commandments in terms of uh three for god seven for a neighbor and so the first one i pair with the ninth and tenth and which have to do with intimacy and power your neighbor's wife and your neighbor's ox so it has to do with intimacy and power so what i think the worldliness is is like yeah i want my neighbor's wife and my neighbors tractor power vehicles whatever it is money um and the antidote to that is to say no my intimacy is going to be with god primarily and then with with my wife for god's sake and my power is going to be primarily rooted in god and then secondarily you know in my money and my tractor and my aux and all those tools that i have in this worldly horizontal dimension so i was thinking about the first first commandment in terms of the ninth and tenth and it does uh it does come up a lot uh these issues of intimacy and power uh as a man with uh you know struggled with wandering eyes and this sort of thing finding women attractive i always think about that intimacy that i'm that i find myself uh going after at least in my mind you know that uh that's an indication that i need more intimacy with christ and his church and with god and so it's a it's a good it's a good litmus test and the same thing with power i don't i don't really strive after power i don't really lust after power but in those occasions where i do i just think well no it's not about this horizontal power it's about getting my power from from from god and what saint paul talks about with uh how his st paul's weakness his strength in in christ you know and these sorts of things and uh the uh even the the foolishness that we have is is if we if we're humble about it it can be make place for the wisdom of god and these sorts of things this very paradoxical like uh if you want to live you have to die if you yeah if you you know you can't bear fruit unless you die like a seed and buried it in the ground these sorts of images are paradoxical but they all have to do with intimacy and power ultimately so that's how i think about the the first commandment i spent a lot of time thinking about it okay intimacy and power so think about it maybe something will come to you in your own meditations on the first commandment yes do you think a lot about the ten commandments uh yeah more so more now yeah uh well one thing i could say about uh the ten commandments is that i started noticing um complaint first i think it was bandied about in uh cbc ideas or something i don't know suddenly all these people that intellectuals i knew who listened to the cbc started saying the same thing and i started seeing a pattern it's like where the hell did you get that idea and the idea was uh you know oh the ten commandments uh it's it's just like so negative you know it's like don't not don't do this and don't do this what about like what should we do it's like and i had an immediate answer for them then and that was before i was a catholic okay and and it's that it's the obvious answer that came to me immediately uh was that um that uh there are literally zillions of well there's infinite variations of love and creativity and honoring god well they're as infinite as uh at least as as multitudinous as as the number of individuals that live on earth because every individual is unique uh we're the same in species and biology and general needs but the person the individual is utterly unique everyone has a particular question that has to be answered that's unlike anyone's question everyone has a particular road that they have to grab onto to get to god oh do this do that that's ridiculous but there are only a few well in this case 10 but they speak to all the 10 really converged to i think you know probably less uh like a few principles principles don't fall into that principality or you're doomed just a few of them is that asking too much guys guys go on live love multiply uh you know find me listen to me uh fulfill your unique utterly beautifully god-given unique potentials go nuts yes do this do that do that i'm not even going to tell you what to do but do what that will but yeah do what thou wilt according to the law of god provided you just is it too much to ask guys just a few principalities that are your doom just just don't do these few things is that too much oh it's so negative don't do this and don't do that i mean i i immediately saw the absurdity of this complaint it's a typically liberal complaint oh that's so negative god you know well i think i think i think about that idea every time i pass by a school ground especially a primary school or for younger children or a daycare and how they inevitably have security fences to protect the children from getting run over by the cars or getting abducted by pedophiles or whatever um you know the the dogmas are lights on the path and the the rules the negative rules if you want to see it that way i mean it's a positive rule because it's love love of god love of neighbor

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