Tag Archives: religion

A Giant Hiding in a Kindergarten

I went to Toronto a few weeks ago for a TESOL convention. The convention center was right next to the CN Tower, which for those who don’t know, is the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere. It stands out, is what I’m trying to say. Plus, Toronto doesn’t have a lot of super-huge skyscrapers. See if you can spot the CN Tower in this picture:

Hint: it's the one over half a kilometer tall

Hint: it’s the one that’s over half a kilometer tall

If you couldn’t find it, you must be listening to the audio version of this blog (available now!)

I find it a wonderful irony that large objects are unmistakeable from far away but can be easily hidden close up. Here’s a picture I took from near my hotel:


Fifty feet in either direction and the tallest building in the western hemisphere is hidden by someone’s house (well, a lot of someones’ houses) but the point is, it isn’t the tower that changes at all, or even the surrounding landscape: it’s the viewing position. For someone like me who thinks in metaphors, this is a very satisfying truth.

I am an English teacher, but I have actually preached in church four times. I was a deacon in my church in Korea and when the pastor is gone, someone has to do it. My style is much more logical progression of ideas and much less fire and brimstone. I must have a sulfur deficiency.

The very first time I preached, it was on this idea of perspective. The question I posed was: “What can come between you and God?” The answer: absolutely anything, because it all depends on our viewing position, not on Him. After all, the sun is the largest object in the solar system but I can block it out with my thumb if I hold it right in front of my eye.

I’d expound more on this, but this is ostensibly a fiction blog and you probably came here for stories, not theology (I could be wrong, of course). That is why I’m starting a new blog for all the rational, brimstone-less essays on religion, faith and philosophy that are rattling around in my head.

Don’t worry, the Green-Walled Tower isn’t going anywhere. This is a year of big things for this little blog and 2015 is draped in ivy, as far as I’m concerned. Still, I do have a lot of good ideas that don’t fit well into this blog format, so that’s why the Tower is getting a baby brother.

I’m still not sure what to call it: the Green-Walled Church? The Green-Walled Monastery? We’ll see. Stayed tuned.


It this place is anything like the Tower, it must be one quirky church.


5 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like a Hipster

Because of the huge number of people who are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today, if you are among them, then statistically you are probably not Irish. There is even a big celebration in Tokyo, which is not normally known for its brogue.

There are several reasons you might celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In descending order of likelihood:

  1. You like to hang out and have fun
  2. It’s a socially-accepted excuse to get drunk on a Tuesday
  3. You really like green beer
  4. You’re an Irish Catholic

But come on. St. Patrick’s Day is so mainstream. If you want to be really cool, I have a better celebration for you: the feast of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, which is also on March 17. Here are five ways to celebrate March 17 that no one else is doing.

5. Open Your House to Couch Surfers

Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of travelers, so it’s a good idea to take in some travelers today. However,  make sure you mention to people that you’re only doing it because of the holiday. If they ask if you’re having a party for St. Patrick’s Day, look rather shocked and say you’re celebrating St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day. Then expound about how Gertrude of Nivelles welcomed people of all types, especially Irish monks. Make sure you mention this too when you invite green-clad drunken revelers into your house late at night and explain why you have no beer for them.

4. Plant Something

Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of gardeners, so carry around a house plant all day, the more obscure the better. Remember, if anyone asks about it, that’s your perfect time to explain you’re not doing it because it’s green, but because of Gertrude of Nivelles.

3. Dress up Like a Cat

This is bound to confuse people, especially if it’s not a green cat. They will probably think you started drinking early and mixed up Halloween with St. Patrick’s Day. You can then explain that, in fact, Gertrude of Nivelles loved her some cats and is often portrayed with them. If this doesn’t impress anyone, put up random cat memes based on her. Make reddit fall in love with this 1400-year-old nun.

cat meme -gertrude

2. Stand on a Chair and Start Screaming

Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of “Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats” so doing this will definitely give you a chance to explain to people how you are celebrating the holiday in your own way and explain why this is way better than pinning a shamrock to your coat.

1. Get a Tonsure

This is the best and most hipster way to show you are a celebrating an obscure holiday that other people just don’t get. A tonsure, by the way, is when you shave all the hair on top of your head but leave a crown of hair around the edges, like this:

This is especially effective if you are a girl, because when people inevitably wonder if you have gone crazy, you can explain that Gertrude of Nivelle’s mother gave her a tonsure cut in order to keep “violent abductors from tearing her daughter away by force,” i.e. marry her.


cat meme -gertrude 2

So, the choice is clear, either go out to a party, wear green, drink beer, and do that horrible attempt at an Irish accent that you do and be one of the crowd, or stay at home, welcoming in traveling, loving cats and plants, hating mice, and knowing smugly that you are celebrating the festival that just isn’t “cool.”

Go Gerty!

Go Gerty!

Note: All information is this post is totally true and accurate. 

Discalceate Dreams – Friday Fictioneers

I thought the Friday Fictioneers community might be interesting in knowing that one of my previous Fictioneers stories, Enough to Go Around, was recently accepted to be part of the upcoming Leodegraunce flash fiction anthology. I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but I’ll let you know when I know.

As for this current story, I have nothing to say except that it is not an allegory, just a story.

copyright Adam Ickes

copyright Adam Ickes

Discalceate Dreams

The feel of verdant, dew-covered blades anointing his toes: rapture.

Gamboling barefoot through a meadow: epiphany.

The pungent, whispering squish of a cow pie under his heel: heavenly.

Feet baptized in a cool, sun-flecked brook: pure adoration.

Denouncing shoes forever for the wild, free ecstasy that only the holy unshod can know: heresy.

“Reebok! Reebok Puma III, are you listening to me?” The iron voice crushed his fantasies under its cruel heel and brought him back to an equally hard reality of tight shoes pinching his feet. He nodded glumly and raising the Sacred Shoehorn, he repeated the catechism again.

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