A Dresser of Sycamore Trees

Keizer, Garret

Nonpareil, 1991

pp. 25 - 26

Keizer speaks admiringly of a fellow Episcopal cleric named Castle: “’And could you maybe give us a little cash?’ the spokesman for a small group of vagabonds with remarkably good teeth asked him. Quite possibly he could–in exchange for painting the church steps. I shall never forget Castle expounding on ‘Take up your bed and walk’ as though the Lord’s Aramaic had meant ‘Get off your ass and take some responsibility for your life.’ He did not say it so crudely as that, but however he said it, he had said it first to himself, and then, obliquely, to those who were ready to manipulate his heart. No one with a heart prone to hemophilia could help but be envious. Along with ordinary hustlers, there is a great class of people one meets who have no intention of ever setting foot in a church, but who can speak with enough certainty to shame a pope about everything the church needs to be doing, especially on their own behalf. Castle cut through that garbage with the authority of a priest who’d been ‘there,’ in the struggle, longer and harder and with greater risk than anyone who was likely to challenge him.”