What if prayers are being answered all the time, even while you sleep?
Then everyone who owns a race car will be required to substitute a grocery cart with one loose and rusty wheel.

Why do so many innocent living things suffer?
Because there is a reality  beyond the grasp of this dimension.  What we call (so blithely) “god” is something utterly beyond our language and comprehension.

Why is there Death?
The energy of the universe slowed down has been slowed, has slowed, into this form, into these forms, into these dimensions, just for now.  It does not yet appear what we shall be.

Why is Life so precious? 
It’s solar rather than lunar, a river instead of a sea. It’s the shadow of Christ falling on bread and wine, because shadows are as close as we can get.  For more information, enclose a stamped envelope addressed to St. Joan, at her Paris address.


What is salvation?
Acceptance–not that this world is evil, but that it is, in all its beauty and terror, transient.

What is necessary for salvation?
Tender red-brown pollen-tipped locust fingers in pale green hoods.

What is the path to enlightenment?
The Crown Dragon from the Land of Five Colors who gives birth to birds again and again.

After the body’s needs are fulfilled, what is the universal human desire?
“Atoms and the Void” within, as well as  a lot of salty water.


Are human beings a three-dimensional projection of something multi-dimensional, yet undefined?
We are a chubby guy in high-waisted pants going into a dentist’s office with a zucchini., a policeman chasing a beach ball down a city street, a young woman trying to get a snowshovel through airport security.  We are hot, steady, dimmed only by random shadows, burning the sea, lightening the moon.

Is the “I” that other people see more “real” than the one “I” know?
No.  The instructions are far too complex for anyone wearing a hat on a windy day.

How can we be sure that there is a universe outside the cosmos of our own living conglomeration of cells and space?
By writing a letter to every mayor of every city with fewer than 6500 inhabitants.

Why do human beings keep trying to make religions?
Because the sun contains the moon and the river contains the ocean and the sun is the engine that drives it all.

How should we live?
By going through life with a green hat, a tin of fish food and a pocket full of jelly beans. By appreciation of scenery, the practice of good manners and the principle that there’s always plenty of time.


(This is a Dada one, like the one I posted awhile ago, but in this case, the questions are mine.  For the answers, I copied bits and pieces from my notebooks onto strips of paper and selected them at random.  I did take the liberty (poetic license) of cleaning up the grammar in several cases.)

What is the essence of what we try to call God?
An old woman in a red robe sweeping her walk at dawn.

What if all that unimaginable uncreature can do is drift through the universe, trying to pull itself back together?
Then the goldfinches will turn green in the winter, invisible in the hemlock trees, but vivid against the snow.

Is God is powerless?
Yes.  Being contented means having contents.

Is there something you can do to help?
Yes. Experiment with dada but call it mama, that primal cry of “mmmmm.”  Explain in haiku why dahlia bulbs must be dug up every fall in cold climates.


What is the Christian hope?
Pigeons huddled on the steeple’s warm side, pigeons flying under the bridge, their wings spread like bones.

What do we mean by the coming of Christ in glory?
Habits.  Coffee in the same mug.  Stick in the same hand.

What do we mean by heaven and hell?
The crumbs in the bottom of the ciborium.

Why do we pray for the dead?
So that they may walk across the ash, leaving footprints.

What do we mean by the last judgement?
A plastic bag that brings back memories of lardy cake rich with currents bought from a homely old woman in a bakery in the town where Alfred the Great was born.

What do we mean by the resurrection of the body?
Short images, meetings and farewells.

What is the communion of saints?
A tiny girl with indeterminate features, a fairy person in a filmy dress, pink.

What do we mean by everlasting life?
That all day long, the snow will fall and form itself into elegant drifts, that ice will spread from the edges of the river and downstream to the estuary, forcing all the herons to take to the air.

What, then, is our assurance as Christians?
That every fairytale is real—that all the hapless heroines, gallant, obsessive princes, useless kings and brilliant witches are arising and taking over every small-time government everywhere on Earth.


Thus ends the Dadaist Catechism.


What other sacramental rites evolved in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Chasing hawks, chasing crows, hugging someone who is trying to clean shoes, looking at someone’s sister’s photographs of Greece, almost anything from California, or for that matter, from west of the Rocky Mountains.

How do they differ from the two sacraments of the Gospel?
They are not rain, unemployed kids, tourists, a bustling woman, lots of people with nothing to do.

What is Confirmation?
A old guy with a Tootsie Pop at a community movie.

What is required of those to be confirmed?
To play the saxophone on a street corner.

What is Ordination?
A wickedness deeper than Dante’s hell.

What is Holy Matrimony?
An 83-year old Grandma trapped in a mangled car, sucking moisture from her socks.

What is Reconciliation of a Penitent?
A baby gate, so the baby won’t fall out the window.

What is Unction of the Sick?
The cold air off the continent lifting warm ocean air into a Nor’easter, tracking up the coast.

Is God’s activity limited to these rites?
No: they are dry mowed grass clippings in the letters spelling MOTHER on a granite gravestone.

How are the sacraments related to our Christian hope?
By explaining once and for all whether or not the “self’ is an individual reality, a social construction, or a twitch in the dream of an adolescent god.


What is the Holy Eucharist?
The way raindrops cling to evergreen needles after a slow rain, before the birds land and knock them off in tiny showers, echoes of the storm.

Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
It is like fish fingers, salamander wings—anything that makes sense only within the context of a most disturbing dream.

By what other names is this service known?
The Difficulty that Arises When One Works with a Bunch of Healers.   A Line of Light Moving Down the Trees.

What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?
An waning moon like an angry red eye through the haze.

What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
Big Jesus in a flannel shirt putting a hand over mine, laughing like he always does when I finally speak the truth.

What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
The universal theme from Eden to Casablanca, grand opera to country-western:  love won and foolishly, regretfully, or bravely lost.

What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
To ride a skateboard over piles of trashcans and pass the hat.



What are the sacraments?
Three pairs of handknit socks and an old toothbrush.

What is grace?
A cold kitchen smelling of turnips.

What are the two great sacraments of the Gospel?
The prickle of skin on the neck and winter lightning with hail the size of hibiscus blossoms.



What is Holy Baptism?
Incomplete collections of stickers of the States, English coins from the 1950’s, varieties of organic dried fruit, baby bonnets from dusty Italian shops.

What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
Perhaps the woman on the Cosmopolitan cover.

What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
Gravity, that curvature of spacetime, which is like love, the only thing that keeps us from being pulled apart by forces no one yet has named, for which there is no adequate equation.

What is required of us at Baptism?
To fit into a new skin without edges or protuberances, one that looks good in any circumstance, however alarming it may be.

Why then are infants baptized?
So that they can write anonymous letters to small children, elderly widows, or members of the House of Representatives on that strange Japanese notepaper designed for adolescent girls who do not read English.

How are the promises for infants made a carried out?
By the popping of white berries that grow by the sidewalk in front of the house belonging to the old lady with hair that smells of mothballs.


What is prayer?
The OneThing, stark, without edges, holding all things equal within its limitless infinite arc.

What is Christian prayer?
Two women in filthy pants, high boots, two tired women, up all night with lambs.

What prayer did Christ teach us?
A solemn dance to some obscure string quartet while strewing cherries and golden popple leaves.

What are the principal kinds of prayer?
The little V of concern marked for years now on my mother’s forehead, the birder’s squint around Bea’s eyes, my sister’s endlessly surprised eyebrows.

What is adoration?
Ritual, candles, scented air, good things to eat and drink, only with everyone on a tricycle.

Why do we praise God?
Maybe for red underwear, or air the shape of a body sliding across our skin.

For what do we offer thanksgiving?
A message on the answering machine explaining that your daughter has run away with a poet and will not be home for dinner, or ever again. That pain in your hips that awakens you at 4 am. and you can’t find a comfortable position and while you’re twisting there, wakeful, all the cats come and lick your face and knead whatever part of you is trying to be still. A brown paper bag filled with false moustaches.

What is penitence?
The kind of spring morning when you wake up knowing you’ll have lots of energy and get everything done and then you step out of bed onto a fresh hairball the cat coughed up while you were having a romantic dream of William Shatner or possibly Lucille Ball.

What is prayer of oblation?
Stones so old the glacier couldn’t have brought them.   Stones older than the moon.

What are intercession and petition?
Intercession is walking toward a shadow.  Petition is a glorious vulture,  preening its glossy feathers with a red bill tipped with white.

What is corporate worship?
One hot breath that breaks down the fine ferns and fiery plates of frost.

 From the Dada Catechism


Who are the ministers of the Church?
Thin green fish, transparent but for their dull black eyes, who swim their lives away between the tentacles of a giant squid.  A willing ballerina with a broken shoe.  A group of angry citizens bearing signs protesting the right of witches to sing canticles after dark

What is the ministry of the laity?
Not to go on pilgrimages.  Their bodies will do it for them—they are traveling all the time.

What is the ministry of a bishop?
To stare at a wall until it grows eyes and stares back, or at least until the cat intervenes.

What is the ministry of a priest or presbyter?
Not to be introspective.  Introspection makes no sense.  It’s boring and tedious.  No more can be mined from that bony hollow.

What is the ministry of a deacon?
To cut toenails in such a fashion that the new growth is quite flexible, almost like a kind of prehensile appendage.

What is the duty of all Christians?
To carve totem poles, build cathedrals, cross the Pole by air.