grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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ON THE OCCASION OF WINSTON’S ORDINATION
 
Walking with God and the Spirit of a Bulldog through these Darkest of Times


 
By Buddy Spell
 
July 10, 2005
 
 
He was my first boss; a hard knuckled, absolutely brilliant, king bitch of a trial lawyer.  His has been a legal career of undeniable success by any standard.  A tough guy role model for tough guy wannabes one day or twenty years out of law school, Winston had few peers in his stress driven world of high powered, high stakes competition.  Eat or be eaten.
 
Last Wednesday night, Winston was, at an age when men of his accomplishment begin to contemplate retirement, ordained as an Episcopalian priest in our local church.  In the twelve years since I left his employ to strike out on my own, this courtroom mutant had, clearly, gone through a brutal reassessment of his place in the whole gig. And, with characteristic courage, Winston stepped up to the plate confidently pointing up at the centerfield bleachers.
 
I first noticed Winston’s evolution when, about two years ago, he contacted me looking for something “interesting” to do.  A corporate attorney, he was inclined to sink his teeth into something weird and dangerous in criminal court.  We began working together to overturn the conviction of a young woman, Jill Miller, pulling a life hitch in Louisiana’s notorious prison system.  I worried that our client, framed for murder in the shooting death of her politically connected sheriff’s deputy husband in a corrupt rural town, would be intimidated by Winston’s overpowering, take no prisoners, in your face persona.  But, when I witnessed the humanity, patience, and compassion Winston showed this portrait of hurt and suffering, and the peace I saw overtake Jill’s palpable anguish, I had to wrap my head around some uncomfortable challenges to a cynicism I have nurtured for some time now.
 
Not long ago, I rejected the very church Winston will now guide when the Louisiana Diocese took a homophobic position relative to the elevation to bishop of an openly gay priest, Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.  Vocal in my objection to what I continue to believe to be a deeply disturbing hypocrisy integral to the open and baseless discrimination of any of God’s children, I walked out and stayed out. Wednesday evening was my first return in many months. I was there for Winston and only Winston.
 
In the pew next to my wife, for the first time in too long, I had the opportunity to consider the spiritual ramifications of a nation under siege by evil; a new and dangerous world where my country engages in murder, torture, and greed in my name and without any restraint whatsoever; those very issues which seem to deeply trouble me more with the passing of each Dark Day. I found myself praying for a way to find comfort under fire; praying for my daughter and the future we are leaving her.
 
But, the evening was about Winston, so I eventually focused on him. And I saw something I needed to see. Every time I glanced over at my friend, I could literally feel the grace and strength he had somehow, somewhere found to bring him to this turn at his crossroads.  In spite of all of his many victories in the secular world, he never before appeared to have access to such power as he did standing before the alter; the picture of sincere humility.
 
I was suddenly overcome with clarity. A realization that I had been played; that I had allowed these twisted fascists, all of them, from the intolerant in my own parish to the criminal oil men in the White House, to hijack my spiritual heritage. That’s their angle.  Without a strong spiritual foundation, my strength for the struggle necessary is weakened, there is one less voice on the front lines, and our enemies win out. I determined that I could no longer expend energy shadow boxing the apocalypse.  
 
On the occasion of Winston’s ordination, a switch flipped and the battle was met.  Once again, my friend and mentor led the way. He showed me through his own gift of grace that the strength was available and there for the taking. And, then and there, I took it back. All of it. 
 
There are fires burning on the hill tops tonight.  The moral high ground is reclaimed with the authority of a Higher Power wise enough to sometimes appoint a bulldog to lead the flock when only a bulldog can inspire the flock to howl bravely with the righteousness demanded in these Darkest of Times.
 
Come September 24th, when we deliver our struggle for peace to the heart of the war machine, I will be amongst my sisters and brothers walking with God and, through the miracle of grace, the spirit of a bulldog on the streets of Washington.
 
I trust I’ll see you there.


Buddy Spell, a felony defense trial lawyer in Covington, LA, is the National Liaison for the Louisiana Activist Network (LAN), a member of the board of directors of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Annie’s husband, and Sarah Jane’s dad. LAN is sponsoring the Peace Train to Washington, DC from September 22-24.
 
The Reverend Winston Edward Rice serves at Christ Episcopal Church in Covington, LA where he also continues in the practice of law as well as the practice of humanity.
 
Jill Miller is incarcerated at the women’s prison at St. Gabriel, LA waiting for relief from a sentence of life in prison without benefit or probation, parole or suspension of  sentence.  A ruling on her Petition for Post-Conviction Relief is expected any day.YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS ?  Visit your group "cawi" on the web.
 

 

 

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