The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty

*Note: a hardcopy of this letter has been mailed to Pope Francis

Letter to a Friend

To: Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty

When my mother was a little girl her favorite uncle was a Catholic priest named Father John that she believed could heal the sick with his hands. Her given name was Clara, but she chose to go by her middle name, Frances, in honor of her favorite saint. At the age of 18, as she stood in that threshold separating her childhood past from her adult future, she had narrowed down the course she would take with her life to one of two choices: Catholic nun, or Catholic nurse.

Her mother said – “You are going to be a secretary.” So my mother borrowed a $100 from her uncle the farmer, and a $100 from her aunt the family witch, and entered nurses training at Sacred Heart Hospital in Johnstown Pennsylvania. On that night when my parent’s stories first touch she was a 24 year old Registered Nurse who had won a scholarship to a degree program at Duquesne University. She wanted to go rollerskating. Her friends said no, so she went alone.

When my father was a little boy he would spin back and forth for hours upon a twisting rope. He said he thought that if he could figure out the laws of physics that controlled what appeared to be perpetual motion that he could design an engine that would change the world. At the age of 18 he became a mechanical engineering major at Pennsylvania State University, and he told me that when he graduated he took the lowest paying job of anyone in his graduating class, because they gave him exactly what he asked for.

It was the Westinghouse Research Laboratories, and they were going to allow him to rotate through their various laboratories and work with some of the worlds great scientists until he chose his field of research. It was the beginning of a “cold war era” defense industry career during which he would pile up more college credits than if he had received three doctoral degrees, and that would end at Hughes Aircraft, where he became Head of the Missile Propulsion Section, Head of the Secret Analysis Section, and Senior Staff for the Top Secret Analysis of Russian Missile Systems.

But on THAT night, he was a twenty-something, 6 foot tall, blonde haired blue eyed lean roller skater who had a thing for nurses. He said – “I knew that first night.” She said – “I wasn’t so sure.”

“You will convert to Catholicism, be baptized, and attend mass with me.”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“Our 8 children will be baptized and raised Catholic”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“They will attend Catholic schools”, she said. He said – “OK.”

During my mother’s sixth pregnancy she had a miscarriage, a boy child she was going to name John after her favorite uncle, the priest. There were complications, and the doctor warned her it would be dangerous to have any more. Then she bore my sister, and at the age of 43, she bore me. And her heart pumped 30 pints of blood out on to my delivery room floor, as fast as they could pour it into her. And then it stopped, and with it, stopped this story.

Four minutes later God sent her back. She named me John, and she prayed that she had bore the church a priest. I did not become a priest, but when I was a little boy, God was not the only one listening when my mother prayed for peace.

In my version of the Peoples’ Story we are all born into God’s Guessing Game, and every moment of our lives we must answer God’s Question -

What should you do?

When I was six years old my brother told me that there is no Santa Claus. I ran to my mother, who would never lie to me, and she admitted that yes, she had lied to me. In one moment I moved from inside of a story where Santa Clause was absolutely true, out into a story where it was all a vast conspiracy of lies designed to control how I answered God’s Question.

In the flash of epiphany I caught the pattern -

Where I was standing was controlling what I was seeing.
What I was seeing was controlling how I was answering.
How I was answering was controlling my consequences.

In the same flash of epiphany I caught the geometry of motion, from inside of mis-perception, out into a larger reality.

I was baptized. I attended Catholic schools. I was an alter boy. When I was 14, the age of confirmation, a good friend of mine announced that he would be going to seminary school in preparation for entering the priesthood. One day my mother came to me and asked me how old I was when I decided not to believe in God, because she wondered at the wisdom of such a young child. I did not have the words then to tell her that it was not God that I did not believe in.

My God is my Creator, that gifted me this turn upon the field of play, for which I am grateful. My religion is the Grateful Heart and the Seeking Mind of my hero character. I try to remember and give thanks for my great fortune, particularly at those times when I feel least fortunate. I try to remember the wisdom of humility, that I am human, that I am guessing, particularly at those times when I am most certain I am right. How old were YOU, mother, I might ask, when you decided to refuse to play God’s Guessing Game, when you chose to become a “Knower of the Truth”? Is this not the sin of arrogance that separates us from God? Which of us is the Prodigal?

In my version of the Peoples’ Story, God does not speak from man’s mouth or write books with man’s hand. God did not promise me ANYTHING, and I will not kneel in obedience before some false God crafted from some gilded words out of a selfish hunger for heaven, or a selfish fear of burning hell.

All those years ago, when I confirmed myself in the role of secret hero, and set out on my secret hero mission to answer my mother’s prayers for peace, I did not know how much the answer would hurt her. There can be no world peace, or end to poverty, as long as we allow the pretense that God speaks from man’s mouth, or writes words with man’s hand, in order to command obedience by cultivating selfish hungers with promises of heaven, and selfish fears of burning hell.

Mother, I am am not the Antichrist. I am John, your grateful son. Puke up the fruit from the Tree of Arrogance. Submerge yourself in the waters of humility. And return to God’s Guessing Game. Return to God’s Garden where we can join together to help feed the hungry, heal the sick, and shelter the homeless,

My question, Pope Francis – Is it possible for a Grateful Seeker to be a Catholic? Must I believe that God sent his only son to be tortured to death so I can go to heaven? Is it not enough that I choose to be grateful for what I have been given rather than resentful of my limitations; to remember that I am not God, that I am guessing; to try to live a life of courage and compassion in the footsteps of Jesus, and to die without expectations or regrets?

There can never be world peace or an end to poverty as long as our educational systems trap children in their selfish heart and their knowing mind to command their obedience with the words of God promising heaven and threatening hell. If they stand in the grateful seeker they will see nothing worth fighting about, and they will be able to play together solving the problems that are creating poverty.

Pope Francis, I watched my saintly mother dance across death’s threshold, and would not be surprised if it were her that whispered Francis in your ear. I watched my hero father purge his body, clear his mind and charge across death’s threshold into his next adventure. I cannot bring to them the solution I set out so long ago to find. Therefore, I bring it to you -

You are at the head of the largest private educational system in the world. With a wave of your hand you could create a Catholic Hero Engine that could bring world peace, end poverty, and accelerate the people into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity. But to do this the Catholic church must accept the Grateful Seeker, must propagate the Grateful Seeker. If you propagate selfish hearts filled with a selfish hunger for heaven, and certain minds that claim to know the thoughts of God, you can never end war or poverty. Only the Grateful Seeker can and will solve these problems. Thus I must ask you -

Can I be a Catholic?


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Posted in Ending War and Poverty

Hear me, oh Muse, I sing to thee…

*Note (7/24/14): Not sure what I am going to do with this post. I just “unstuck” it and I am tempted to delete it. This morning while I was tending my garden I decided to turn the “Letters to a Friend (Pope Francis the First) series I mention in this post into a post category. This post has become problematic. Before you read it, I would like to emphasize first – I was pretty stressed out when I wrote this, and two – what I was after here was to attract the attention of a Patron of the Arts with tons of money looking to support the work of writers and artists that they believe are working for the people. If that is you, please consider me -


Trouble in my garden. A couple days back I suffered another of a series of financial blows that began three years ago after I discovered my Philippine girlfriend was pregnant. This time I stood and watched months of work destroyed before my eyes. At times likes this I try to become more aware of how fortunate I am that it was not worse. I am very glad it was not worse. But it hurt. It still does. I needed that money.

I support a family in the Philippines. There are five children under the age of seven, the youngest one my son. My girlfriend is his mother, four of the children are hers, one is the daughter of her cousin who also lives with us. We have a house with a grass roof in typhoon season, no windows or doors or running water except for the flooding in the yard. Last year I was stripped of everything I had spent a year working for or I would have fixed it then. This year I was just trying to keep food on the table. I was counting on this next paycheck when I sent her money to fix the roof.

bahia cubo 1

New roof

I am in the mountains in northern Mendocino County, California, a long way from a paved road. As I write this post, I am in a place that is one stone’s throw to the north from the tent site I refer to in High Ground (1995), the story of my “enlightenment”, and one stone’s throw to the south of where once stood a dirty old shack that was the site of the vision from the Lord’s Bedchamber (2002) that revealed the cast of characters of the Peace Story, and the solution to the problem of man’s inhumanity to man. Which led to - 

Hero Nation (2004),
New Atlantis (2009 – video to Governor Schwarzenegger, filmed while living in a tent in the Costa Rica jungle with no money to get home )
Bring on the Hero Show! My petition to Governor Brown (2012)
The  Hero Engine Kickstarter Proposal (2013)
The Hero Engine Diagram, (2013)
A Catholic Hero Engine in my Letter to Pope Francis Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty (2014)

As you can see, oh Muse, I really am trying. I have given my work freely, and would like to continue that, but I must find some way to support my family in the Philippines na. I really want to learn how to be a great father, raise happy, healthy children, and contribute positively to the world that ALL children will live in. But now my family will go hungry for months, and that will destroy us. There will be no money for food or medicine or getting the kids to school, which is the only way I can think of to break the generational cycle of poverty. The children will be separated, and their mother, in order to support her children, will return to work in Barretto.

What I am wondering, oh Muse, is if you could maybe send just ONE Patron of the Arts my way? Maybe someone who likes that I am trying to pay back the debt of MY great fortune, and helps me to pay back the debt of THEIR good fortune. This would seem ideal, and perhaps, the beginning of a great friendship.

I am still trying to play your hero true, oh Muse. I like this new Pope, I see the same kind loving spirit in his eyes, in his words, and in his actions, that I saw in my mother. I have decided to continue writing letters to him under the title -

Letters to a Friend (Pope Francis the First)
Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty
Re: The Threshold of Uncertainty – Escaping Anger and the Hero’s Journey Back to Peace (in process)

I would sell 9.77 acres in the desert between Rosamond and Mojave for $19,500. (This would save the day oh Muse)

Also, I would sell/auction (ebay) the original and ONLY (ever!) manuscript of my first novel, A Hand Full of Sand (1987), written (mechanical typewriter) when I was 27 while living in my car , a 72′ Newport parked on the beach in the Redwood National Park in northern California, living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches spread with the handle of my toothbrush.

A Hand Full of Sand

And if you need a kidney, I have two. Please, oh Muse, I don’t want my kids to go hungry and the clock is ticking. My 2 year old son has a fever and I am on the other side of the world and can’t help him. This would be a great time for a Hollywood style “Rescue from Without”.


My Secret Hero Life – The Christopher Sly Story

 I am not looking for charity. I want to work for it. I have a plan. My kids are just starting school in Infanta and I want to help create a Permaculture Master Gardener Program for students in grades K-12 that integrates into the science curriculum. I particularly like the idea of a laboratory where students try to breed heirloom seeds in their family garden as part of the effort to adapt our food supply to their local environment. I also want them to learn how to design their family garden micro-environments to the needs of the plants. I can’t wait to try breeding potatoes for the lowland tropical area where my family lives. 

I want my kids to grow up mastering the sustainable knowledge and skills that will become increasingly valuable during their lifetimes and help them support their own children. We are just entering The Age of the Refugee. Our global environment is changing. We need to educate our children in the knowledge and skills necessary to adapt with it. I would like to launch a permaculture website focused on the Family Garden, along with a nursery to act as a local Permaculture Community Center near the ricelands of  the Pangasinan/Zambales border.

There is also a very serious and growing environmental problem in this area over the consequences of the nickle and chromium mining, for both the health of the local population and the future of the ricelands. I would like to help facilitate a research and discussion project (at the Permaculture Community Center) about how permaculture design and practices might help mitigate the problems that are of increasing health concern to the Infanta/Santa Cruz people, many of which are now in my family. There is a lot of red dust in the air, and my girlfriend and some of the children suffer from asthma. I have yet to test our water supply.

Please, oh Muse, if you could just send me someone who wants to pay me a million dollars for the original manuscript of my first novel, A Hand Full of Sand  (pictured above), that would be awesome, and I will throw in the publication rights. There are rights for sale to all of my works published here. If you pay the million I will ship the manuscript. I might even personally deliver it (depending on where), or you might come to the Mountain and pick  it up.

If you WERE to pay a million dollars, the publicity might finally get me my 15 minutes, the Pope might decide to build a Catholic Hero Engine, Hollywood might come knocking, there could be a billion people flooding into the streets cheering “GO Heroes GO!”,and before you know it, you made a great investment, helped end war and poverty, and financed the creation of a Permaculture Master Gardener Program (K-12) whose graduates will transform earth into Eden. And thank you for saving my family. You will always be welcome in my home. 

Having trouble with my contact form. You can email me -

Christopher Sly

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Posted in Letters to a Friend

Reader Alert

I am  going to go through all of these posts and delete what I don’t like. Then I am going to delete this post.

Finished for now. I am going to leave this alert in place for a while longer.

Reorganizing now. 5/18/2014

Update (7/22/14) Just deleted the rest of the posts except for the latest. I am going to reorganize this site but try to keep the library page intact so the links are not broken. Downloaded XAMPP and I am going to begin developing the new Bacchus Town offline initially, but I will likely blog the progress of this story here, so stay tuned to the Bacchus Town Blog. Got some help from a friend, so we will survive another month. Big thanks.

Note: You see very little blog content here now, but several times in the past I have published a fair amount of content and then deleted it all, as I just have once more. Much of that content is probably still cached out there somewhere, if you were to look.

Posted in Writer's Workshop

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