Ministers, Monks and Mynahs
Tom Kennedy had organized a 4 day speaking tour for me in Ottawa,
with a one day stop in Tamworth. But first, he wanted me to meet Rev.
Lindsay King in Toronto … and I’m glad I did.
Lindsay had advocated
the use of community currencies way back in the 60’s, long before
LETS was thought of. He was even interviewed on radio regarding his
radical ideas. But being radical has always been the way of Rev Lindsay
King. His web site at http://www.FLFcanada.com
shows a photo with this caption …
agree to disagree agreeably.’
In 1974, his
photo, with 2 mynah birds, was on the front page of the Toronto Sun
Newspaper, and also featured in many other newspapers worldwide. Lindsay
showed me the newspaper clipping and related the story to me.
He had asked his
church if he could bless and celebrate the fact that 2 pet mynahs,
belonging to the new Mynah Restaurant, were already mated, and for
life. This was as a result of a promotional approach from the owners
of the restaurant which was opening in Toronto, but would also give
his church much free publicity in the process. As mynahs usually pair
up for life, he thought it wouldn't be a problem. He even had hopes
of holding the blessing-event in Nathan Phillips Square, certain to
attract upto 1,500 curious on-lookers.
But his church
opposed the idea. This didn't stop him from getting in the newspapers
anyway, which announced that these mynahs, unfortunately, would not
be blessed after all. But in typical Rev. Lindsay King style, Lindsay
gave the birds his unofficial blessing anyway.
This story is
still being told around the world 30 years later, which certainly
shows the power of an acted-parable. And with the passing of time,
minds have changed. Last winter, the United Church Observer –
the national magazine of the UC – published an article, with
a picture, of a minister blessing a number of animals.
Lindsay King served with the United Church for 40 years, being ordained
in 1953 and retiring in 1993 at age 63. He founded the New Canadian
Theology – Unitheism, and is now actively involved with the
Family Life Foundation (FLF) which welcomes people from all faiths.
… Buddhist Monk
That night I gave
my usual LETS presentation to a small audience in Tamworth. Half of
them were already members of Tom’s Third Market group, and the
others were interested guests. Afterwards, Tom drove me the farm of
Karash, a Canadian carpenter who’d also become a Buddhist monk,
where I’d be staying for the night.
The house I was
staying in was massive. Three floors of huge rooms, all at various
stages of completion. Karash had been building his house for the last
15 years, but now at age 56, he was reluctant to keep at it with the
same passion as when he started.
put myself into an early grave if I continue to work as hard as I
did for the last 15 years”, he said.
His Swedish wife,
Margherita, cooked a wonderful breakfast for us the following morning.
And I had my very first taste of St. John’s Wort Tea. I know
the name is off-putting, but I can’t help trying things at least
once. Tom had also mentioned my play to them, so for their amusement
I squeezed in a short performance of my Homer monologue (see http://www.jamestaris.com/ebook-TheGloryOfAthens.htm).
Then after signing the visitor’s book and receiving a stone
crystal as a parting gift, Tom and I headed off for Ottawa.
Skunk, Groundhogs and Hare Krishna
On the way we
passed a sea-plane which had been converted to a lake-skimmer by fixing
a propeller to the back of it. I got Tom to go back and take a look
at a dead porcupine on the road. But it turned out to be a dead skunk,
causing me to start humming ‘Dead Skunk In The Middle
Of The Road’ (by Loudon Wainwright III), although,
thankfully, this skunk wasn’t ‘stinkin’ to high
As you must know
by now, I love to catch glimpses of wildlife, so I was pleased to
see a wild turkey walk off the road and into the bushes. This was
the largest wild bird I’d seen overseas, but no match for the
emus we see quite regularly in Australia.
At last we arrived
in Ottawa. Although this was my second visit, it looked very different
without snow. The parks were already a rich green and I was amazed
to see dozens of fat groundhogs scattered throughout these parks,
basking in the sun.
Dinner was at
Dovinda’s Hare Krishna’s Vegetarian Restaurant, near Ottawa
University. Tom had been there many times over the years, so he knew
it was good food at a good price. The menu read … All-you-can-eat
menu - $7. And then at the bottom it had …The above prices are
a suggested min. donation. … GST in Canada is 15%, so the bill
was going to be about $16. But Tom was happy to pay them $20.
Sights and Events
The sun hadn’t
set yet, so Tom drove me to the city center where we saw the National
Gallery of Canada, Léglise Notre Dame, the American Embassy
and Nepean Point with the statue of Champagne at the top. On the other
side were the Parliament buildings, and across the bridge, on the
opposite side of the river, was the Quebec city of Hull.
At 7pm, I gave
another LETS presentation to a small, but fiery, audience of Third
Market members and guests. And after the meeting, 5 of us continued
our discussions in a nearby coffee shop. In fact, the discussions
went so well, that the same 5 met the next day to continue our thoughts
and develop ideas for both local and international LETS systems, specifically
That meeting was
then followed by a performance of my play, The Glory Of Athens, to
another small but captivated audience. I love to entertain people
and make them laugh. But I feel much more fulfilled when I know they’ve
been motivated and inspired. I guess that’s the energy that
keeps me traveling around the world like I do.
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
Taris web sites