Per your request at our last gathering, I am submitting this report on my charge in the Dallas area, one Matthew Consprite, the young pastor who has been marked as an Eye of Thoth.
Since we last discussed his status, a number of events have occurred, including his full acceptance by the Archangel. He is struggling to leverage his new abilities – a fact I find to be in his favor, given the signs and markers that we generally look for as points of concern in one such as he. He is well-grounded in his Christian faith (Lutheran roots aside), and I do not believe that he poses a danger to any of our orders. Unlike his predecessor in the Metroplex, Matthew has gone to great lengths to foster relationships in the communities that he serves – to include the supernatural community (the self-titled “Freakshow Confederacy”). Despite the wide philosophical differences between mainstream Christianity and the various sub-cultures and traditions of the Confederacy, Matthew has striven to understand and accept those differences, even as he holds to his own faith.
My only potential concern for him is a recent romantic relationship that he has entered into.
“Oh, sweetie – you’ve got it bad.”
Belle smiled, genuinely happy for her friend. "Normally, we talk about all sorts of things on these visits – the Purple House, the Confederacy, work… but you haven’t shut up about Matthew since you got here."
Barbara blushed. “It’s loco, right?”
“Not as much as you’d think.” Belle grinned knowingly. “You’ve had a crush on him since you took him on as an apprentice.”
Barbara’s eyes widened. “How could you-“
Belle shrugged. “Not that it took a connection to the goddess of home and hearth to see it.”
“For you. I don’t think he even considered it an option.”
“Oh honey, he has eyes – he considered it, okay? But at that time I imagine he’d have seen a teacher/student romantic relationship as completely inappropriate.”
Sitting back in the wicker chair, Barbara pulled her feet up under her. “I suppose I knew that, too.”
They sat quietly for a few minutes, when Belle asked with an exasperated chuckle. “So?”
To say the last six weeks have been amazing would be a gross understatement. I wonder how long the signs have been there that Barbara was interested in me, romantically. Surely not while I was the proverbial babe in the supernatural wilderness with her as my teacher… no, the abruptness with which she cut me lose after my graduation – deeming me trained enough so as not to hurt myself – that was a transactional relationship, if one that provided the seed for our current status.
My reconnection with the supernatural community provided us a chance to grow as friends, colleagues in supernatural matters. I suppose I’ve been so absorbed in my work that I missed any subtle signal she’d sent my way – but I’m paying better attention now! Intimate relationships have never been a priority for me… and, man, have I been missing out…
My local contact with the Venatori provided me with some background information on the woman. She is of mixed South American descent, and her abilities are from a bruja tradition, specifically a European style that has distinct Catholic influences. Her immigration to the United States, while primarily for financial reasons, has also served to allow her to explore her powers and traditions on her own terms. This background is one of the reasons that she was the person that my contact directed Matthew to for training in his own supernatural abilities.
I do not believe that she poses a threat to Matthew’s faith at this time. She is certainly neither venefica nor maleficarum, but I am certain you are all aware of how closely I will monitor this situation – rest assured. In my opinion, Matthew has the potential to be one of the most powerful of the supernatural faithful not only of his generation, but that our orders have seen in many generations (Knights of the Cross notwithstanding). However, should his current belief structure be undermined in any way, he could not only lose this potential, but in the worst case; he could be turned against us at a critical moment, a course of action I will not allow to happen again.
“It’s a little frustrating that we haven’t gotten to second base yet.”
Belle snorted, nearly spewing her tea across the table. “Barb, bless your heart – you know you’re dating a preacher, right?”
Barbara rolled her eyes. “Of course… but it’s just fooling around!”
Belle sat back, recovered now. “How much have y’all discussed his religion?”
“Un poco.” Barbara shrugged. “He’s not Catholic, so he shouldn’t be that uptight about it, right?”
Belle set her cup down, giving up on trying to drink. “Remember that the older Protestant religions aren’t that far off of Catholicism – in some circles, Lutherans are considered ‘Catholic Light’ – but I digress. It’s not just religion for him – it’s faith – just as real and important to him as it is for me.”
Barbara set hers down as well. “He’s really that tied to his faith?”
“Oh hun, y’all have got to talk about this.” Belle crossed her arms and sat back in the chair. “Has he told you where his powers come from?”
“He’s always been of the opinion that they’re a ‘gift from God,’ but that term gets batted around so much in churches, I didn’t think much of it.”
“He may have meant it that way at the time, but I’ll share an insight with you – it really is. His religion is so strongly at the core of his identity, I guess I’m not surprised he hasn’t brought it up – he probably feels that it should be obvious.”
Barbara stared at Belle, and then realized what she was sharing. “The soulgaze?”
Belle nodded. “It gave me a glimpse of who and what Matthew is, just as it did me to him. It’s not my place to reveal what I saw, either, but understand – Matthew’s not just a good guy. He’s a Good guy.”
Barbara heard the capital G. “Wait – so you’re saying that pushing him too hard on this…?”
“If you don’t push him away from you,” Belle said gravely, “you could completely undermine everything that he IS.”
After some of our dates, I’ve been tempted to curse my calling for keeping me from indulging my baser human desires. Barbara is
beautiful gorgeous hot (being honest). I can tell (even I’m not that clueless) that she wants to push our relationship farther, physically. I don’t want to beat her over the head with my religion, but it’s gotten to a point that I need her to understand and respect my beliefs, much as I try to understand and respect others’ – including hers.
Christian religion is a dicey topic amongst the supernatural set – they still hold the Inquisition against all of us (not just the Catholics), and to a certain extent, rightly so. Supernatural powers are still widely viewed by the church at large as devil-stuff, and “suffer not a witch to live” is still way too close to the surface – I mean, look at all the rancor that some Christians raise about homosexuality. Imagine how they’d react to honest-to-goodness magic?
But I’m off topic – I need to broach the subject with Barbara, but I’ve also got to be careful about how I do it.
If there is one thing that Matthew struggles with more than anything else, it’s pride. His unwillingness to ask for and his hesitance to seek out help may end up being his undoing one day. It took a chance meeting with me to begin to show him that folly, and although he has struggled, he’s taken that lesson to heart.
This is one of the bright spots that I see in this relationship for him. The young woman has seen some success in business since her arrival in the United States. Her small business caters to the supernatural community, but she is also a savvy real estate investor, and she wants for little, monetarily – a far cry from the situation of our unemployed street preacher. Matthew has accepted the generosity of the Venatori and my parish’s food pantry, but accepting the generosity of a woman he loves, and deeply wants to take care of – that will shake his human masculinity to a degree that I imagine few of us could handle, brothers. If this relationship is to succeed and flourish, he must swallow that pride of his fully, and accept that others caring for his earthly needs may just be God’s plan for him.
The conversation moved indoors as the evening deepened. “So how is he taking you being the major bread winner in the relationship?”
Barbara smirked. “Se está ajustando. It’s so hard for him to accept that others want to help him as much as he needs to help others.”
Belle nodded. “His calling isn’t one that many answer, and it’s a lonely path – even the mundane side of it.”
"Especially the mundane side. One evening after we got back from the Nelson Center, the topic of shoes came up – and he said that during his heyday at LINC, he was replacing his shoes monthly! Without a car, he’s on his feet everywhere – even now with things slowing down on the gang side of things, he still is having to replace his shoes every couple of months. He seems almost tireless sometimes… I can only imagine…" Her last comment was nearly inaudible.
“Easy, girl.” Belle laughed.
“… but then there are other times that I can see that he’s so bone tired he can hardly walk, but he always has a ready smile and a friendly greeting for anyone he runs into. It’s only since we started dating that he’s begun to let his guard down around me, letting me notice it.”
“He’s been on his own for most of his life, Barb – not just as an adult, but he’s an orphan. You’ve seen the kids up at the Center. You know, I think it’s a good sign that he’s already starting to let you in.”
“¿Lo crees así? I’ve wondered a bit myself – he can be so hard to read.”
Belle shrugged. “I suppose. But back to bread winning…”
“Like I said – he’s adjusting. He refuses to impose himself, but at least he doesn’t refuse help outright when I offer, like giving him rides, or paying for meals…”
Belle smiled. “America is still adjusting to the idea of the modern independent woman. But let’s not kid ourselves, sweetie – south of the Rio Grande, as well as south of the Mason-Dixon, being the bread winner is still viewed as a ‘man’ thing – and that is going to be a big hurdle to cross, for both of y’all.”
Kept Man. Boy Toy.
These phrases keep surfacing in my mind when I ponder our financial relationship. I know they aren’t accurate – my existence isn’t centered around being at Barbara’s beckon call, physically or otherwise. I suppose my weak flesh can’t help but wonder if others have that opinion of me – and at less weak moments, I wonder why I care.
Honestly, the only major change in my work over the last six weeks has been that I’m in a car more often. I’m still on my feet, walking the streets in various places. I still take DART as I need to. But, if Barbara isn’t busy and it works out with our schedules, she’s willing to take me where I need to be. I know in my heart that it’s not pity – she does it because she cares, and because she can. And frankly, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s given us additional time together to get to know each other.
The same goes for meals. We’ve had dinner dates where we’ve eaten in, either at my place or hers – I’m not a bad cook, and neither is she. Sometimes our schedules are such that we can (or need) to eat out, and more often than not, she pays. Again, it’s not pity – heck, it’s reality – especially when it’s her turn to pick where we eat. That’s a culinary education… but off topic again.
Am I uncomfortable with the arrangement? Of course… society (and religion, to be honest) drives the image/stereotype of the male provider. The man is supposed to be the provider, the breadwinner, the head of household. Situations where this isn’t the case are becoming more common, but it’s still outside the norm, and carries some of the perceptual stigma of the “kept man.”
The Reverend is probably laughing about what this situation is doing to my pride – my particular sin of commission, and one I struggle with daily. The faithful part of me is willing to accept this as a good thing – another way that God has placed someone in my path that can help with my earthly needs as I do His work. But the all-too-human part of me is cautious that I don’t get too comfortable with the arrangement, should it end for whatever reason. (And I’m not saying anything about the relationship, but what if Barbara’s business dries up?)
When it comes down to it, these are just worries and anxiety – things that I should release to the care of the One who knows infinitely more than I do. Knowing that, however, doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish. So I pray for the strength and wisdom to graciously accept the bounties that God places in my path.
“But overall it’s good, then?”
“Definitely.” Barbara sighed. “Are there bumps in the road? Sure. But I don’t think I’ve met a better man, and I’m planning to hold onto him.”
“Then have those serious conversations, Barb. You’ve got to understand his faith if you’re going to hold onto him – push too hard against that and you’ll either lose him or end up with a different person.”
Barbara nodded. “I suppose I need to evaluate my own feelings on religion while I’m at it. I don’t think I even remember how the Ave Maria goes.”
“I think – maybe for now – just try to understand his. Yours will come – or come back – when you’re ready.”
Barbara cocked an eyebrow at her with a grin. “Any other advice while you’re at it?”
“Don’t let him overthink the helping stuff. Keep offering – wear down that male pride of his. The work that he’s doing is so core to his being, he’ll eventually let go of the other things. Let him have a few moments though – you still want him male, right?”
As she picked her drink to take a sip, her friend’s slight smile was all the answer Belle needed.
In conclusion, brothers, I do not feel that any further intervention is needed in the development of Pastor Consprite at this time. His current path is one that, for lack of a better term, feels right. His faith is mature (yet growing), his powers developing (but not out of hand), and he is connected to the greater community that he serves in a variety of manners. His current relationship, while bearing continued scrutiny, is also something that serves the greater good at this point.
Should any of you wish to meet him, I encourage you to visit – St. Patrick’s would be happy to host you for such an occasion.
Yours in Christ,
Reverend Father Joseph Kohler
St. Patrick’s of Dallas