The Church of the Heavenly Wood presents the neverending Lessons of Wood
Lessons 20 through 22 of Wood
Lesson 20: the Anti-Christ of Wood.


A frank, honest and open religious discussion about Catholicism, the concept of the so-called "Anti-Christ" in our modern age, and Reverend Steve Galindo's possible role within society.



My name is Reverend Steve Galindo. I am a mid-twenties actor, journalist, college student, heavy drinker, former drug addict, ex-Catholic and controversial religious mystic.

Oh yeah ... and I just might be the Anti-Christ.

Lets back up a little bit.

It's true that for a period of about 13 years I was a God-fearing Catholic zombie. I do not want this fact to be diminished - when you talk about me, about Reverend Steve, I want you to talk about "Reverend Steve, the former Catholic turned Woodism founder" because if it wasn't for my hellish 13 years of Catholicism, I would never have founded the one true Ed Wood religion.

I was not forced into Catholicism by my family as so many others have in the past. No, I was slowly led into it by my own desire as a child to be accepted. When I was growing up, that desire to be accepted is really what fuelled my every thought. My parents enrolled me into a Catholic private school not because they were Catholic but because they felt that the private school envorinment would allow me safe passage, what with me being a skinny brown little boy in the overly racist state of Arizona.

It was there that I slowly led myself into Catholicism as a way to gain acceptance from my overly religious peers. It was the emotional, spiritual, and physical mistreatment I suffered by Catholicism that led me to leave the church and form my own set of goals and beliefs. Ed Wood himself showed me the way. He taught me that you need to find who you are and then spend the rest of your life defending yourself. He allowed me to let go of the drive to be liked by everyone else. He allowed me freedom.

Therefore, without Catholicism to be the antagonist, we would never have had Woodism here today.

This leads me into this whole Anti-Christ business. You see, without Catholicism or mainstream religions to act as the villian, Woodism could never be the hero. I recognize this as being true not just within Woodism but within most social roles in society. Without evil, there would be no true good. This is the "give and take law of goodness" and it can be applied to almost any situation.

Could it be that, without any villians, Batman would be out of a job? Let's take that idea a little bit further -- could it be that, without Satan, there would be no God?

A fine example of this lies within Santa Claus. Santa doesn't exist but adults USE the idea of a benevolent and vengeful Santa to con children into being good. You see, if you don't behave, Santa won't bring you shit for Christmas. In that sense, this is the ultimate example of the give and take law of goodness in action.

The ultimate example of the G/T law lies within the mainstream religions of today. Religions like to over-play evil, especially in young people, in order to scare them into believing in the good with more passion. Catholicism and Christianity use God and Satan like adults use Santa. The entire basis of the religion eventually ends up relying on both the good and the evil in order to survive. Evil can never be fully wiped out because then there would be no good.

When I was in fourth grade Catholic school, the monsignoir showed our class a video. It was called "Extreme Exorcisms" and is was an hour tape of supposedly real exorcisms. People were seen eating human hearts and drinking blood and killing animals for Satan. Almost the entire class of small children had nightmares for weeks and vowed to pray every night to the one true savior. Catholicism rules mainly through fear and guilt in a really powerful way and that video is a perfect example.

I say, ALMOST everyone. I didn't believe that propagandizing shit. I had in my young mind the realization that they were scaring us into being Catholic. I believed in Catholicism but didn't buy in to all that bull about Satan and the seven deadly sins and all the other stuff they told you as a child to scare you straight. I was a Catholic on my own terms.

The concept of the Anti-Christ is an interesting one. In judeo-Christian mythology, Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero, the savior of everyone, the person who will one day beam back to earth, kick the shit out of the evil guys, and lead the good people line dance into heaven. He is the hero.

Every good hero needs a villian.

The Anti-Christ is a mythical villian that the religious set uses about once every decade to single out someone who goes against their set of beliefs. The Anti-Christ is the ultimate personafication of evil in the mind of the overly-religious, upper class, white Republican godlings.

The Anti-Christ is someone who will start out a follower of the apparently "one true religion" but then break apart from it and form his own set of beliefs that will rival Jesus Christ's teachings.

Which brings us full circle to me.

It was a wednesday, sometime around the end of the Covenant of Happiness in the year 1999. I was drinking Corona and I had just finished having hardcore sex on the kitchen counter. I was drinking beer and eating Decker brand bologna and flipping the channels of the tv, still wallowing in the afterglow of perfect sex with the Woodian Patron Saint of Sex.

I happened upon TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, otherwise known as the God Shopping Network. It's that UHF station in your town that cons people into sending them all their money because God needs cash.

A fat white preacher (aren't all Christian preachers fat and white?) was moaning and groaning about how the Anti-Christ was among us. This didn't surprise me. Christian apocvalyptic visions are a self-fulfilling prophecy.Every year, the godlings bitch about how the bible signs of the end of the world are finally happening and we're all doomed to die very soon. If they're true, then the world has been close to doom for the last seventy years.

But this fat white preacher caught my attention. He started talking about the details of the Anti-Christ. In a lengthy half-hour moan, he gave explicit characteristics of the Anti-Christ so that good hearted Christians could find him and denounce him as a false prophet.

What follows are a list of a few of the choice characteristics. Read them slowly and clearly, paying close attention to see if they mirror a certain rebellious ex-Catholic religious leader.

- The Anti-Christ will come from the one true religion. He will walk amonst us, pray in our churches, and we will welcome him into our houses.

- The Anti-Christ will break from our religion, creating his own false idol that many will worship.

- He will lead many of our own astray, even our own children.

- He will love the things of the flesh. He will smoke and drink and have sex with women and give no regard to morals or decency as Jesus allows.

- He will rise to great heights in society, teach false teachings to millions, setting up his own church that will rival Jesus.

_ He will try to destroy Jesus' temple and de-construct all that he has built.

Well well well ... that sounds a bit familiar, don't it?

It was right then and there that I realized that being the Anti-Christ would be pretty damm cool!

I believe that the nature of the role of Anti-Christ isn't a negative one. Indeed, the Anti-Christ, like Satan, is just a role of antagonist. I don't think that being the Anti-Christ is a bad thing, like Judeo-Christian pundits would have you believe. No, I believe that, like Superman has his Lex Luthor, Jesus must have someone against him.

This idea of an Anti-Christ is just a label, something that godlings use to single out their villians. For a while, people said that Khaddafi was the Anti-Christ. Then people said that Saddam Hussein was the Anti-Christ. Some people today even go so far as to say that American President Bill Clinton is the Anti-Christ.

You see what I mean? Catholics and Christians use the term "Anti-Christ" as a meaningless label that they paste on people who go against what they believe is goodness. But does it really mean anything? Not really. The Anti-Christ is someone who rebels from the mainstream teachings of religion and comes up with their own set of rules. The Anti-Christ is someone who doesn't fully believe everything that Jesus preaches. The Anti-Christ could be anyone.

Even me.

I cannot say for certain if I am or not. I will say this - Jesus Christ was a great man. His teachings have done a lot of good to a lot of people. But his is not the only way. There are other ways with other teachings. open your eyes. There is no one true religion. There is no one true savior. Wake up, people! Wake up to Woodism and the good that Ed Wood can show you.

What I just wriote, the last paragraph, goes against what Jesus preached. Therefore, by definition, I am the Anti-Christ!

My name is Reverend Steve Galindo. I am the controversial founder of the Ed Wood-based religion known as Woodism. In the future, I may become the ultimate villian of uptight religious godlings. They might blame me for the destruction of the world. They may saddle me with the ultimate villian role and my life might be at risk as a result. And if they do label me the Anti-Christ, then I don't care. Call me what you will. I know who I am.

I am Reverend Steve. I am the founder of Woodism. I am the light at the end of the cave. I am the one who will bring you to Ed and he will be the one who will set you free.


HERE ENDETH THE LESSON




The constant, neverending Lessons of Wood continue onward with this, entitled
Lesson 21:the Pope of Wood

Where Reverend Steve discusses his meeting with Pope John Paul II, his problems with authority, being fired, and the Papacy question within Woodism.




For years, I, Reverend Steve Galindo, have struggled with four problems, obstacles if you will, that have harbored the further development of this, the religion I founded in 1996. These obstacles are not limited to the confines of Woodism and, in many ways, relate to the problems I've always had with my life.

Before I continue with the four obstacles, let me tell you that I've been fired from my job of video store whore. This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that, since this is the first time I've ever been fired from a job ever in my so-far 23 years of life, I feel inner pain, like I've let everyone down, including myself.

The good news is that I don't have to deal with the __________ ____________ corporation [name omitted by vote by the Board of Woodian Reverends] which is an evil, ruthless, soulless corportion that cares only about money.

Also, and everyone should honestly see this within themselves, I'm very happy that don't have to deal with people anymore. I learned one thing from working at a video store - it's that no matter who you are, there are times when you are a dumb fucking asshole. That is a universal truth. I worked as a video pimp for seventeen months and during that time became the punching bag for so many people that I literally lost faith in humanity. That's how bad working in a video store can be, especially the one I worked in.

Why was I fired? This question leads us into the first of four problems that plague both my development of Woodism as well as the development of my life ...

  • I have a problem with authority!
  • I imagine this goes without saying. I mean, a person who has the audacity to shun a major religion like Catholicism and start his own church must have some sort of authority problem, huh? I will automatically rebel against any sort of hierarchical system placed over my head, be it school or work or the idea of a Pope. Sometimes it's a heartfelt rebellion and sometimes, I'm sorry to say, it's simply a knee-jerk reaction, something I've done for so long that it comes without thinking.

  • I'm constantly looking for a way to invent myself.
  • I bet that sounds extremely pretentious of me - let me try to explain it the long way. When I started with this church, I was simply Steve. Like Cher. People just called me Steve. After a while, my followers, independantly of each other, began to call me Almighty Steve. I liked that. I liked it a lot. It had a ring to it, something special that I could see using in books and magazines and movie credits all my life. But then, when I became a legal minister, I became known as Reverend Steve, my current moniker. I like it and the sound of it has definitely grown on me. But I've wanted something else, something better and stronger and more special for a very long time now, a name that will, hopefully like this church, live on when I'm dead.

  • I'm struggling to create a system of leaders for the church.
  • This is a technical one that I've been wrestling with for a handful of years now. My Catholic days, mixed with my fear and anger towards all forms of authority, have stopped me from creating any sort of authoritative system within Woodism. There are no priests to damm you, no nuns to scold you, and no Pope to act as king and tell everyone what to do. And yet, I feel that that's just what this church needs, but in the right way. But that's my problem - I don't know what the right way is.

  • I don't remember what's next.
  • This isn't one of the four problems. This is the truth - I don't remember what number four was. I literally don't remember what's next for the fucking life of me. It's right on my tongue, man, and I just can't get it out. Oh well, I'm sure it was important and if I remember it, I'll inturrupt the lesson and tell it to you.

    Secretly, though, I'll tell you this - I've always wanted to be Pope Steve. Not Pope Steve the First, not His Holiness Pope Stephan of Galindo, not His Excellency Pope Esteban of Arizona - none of that shit. Just Pope Steve. Simple yet strong. Like Alexander the Great, I always wanted to be known as Pope f-en Steve!

    I even remember the day I first thought this, the day I first thought to myself "I want to be Pope f-en Steve!" Ironically enough, it was on a day that I will long remember. Yu see, in the height (and ultimate decline) of my Catholic tendancies, I actually met Pope John Paul II.

    Don't burst your nut right here. It's not like I shared a private meeting with the guy. He didn't come to my house and give me a backrub and play Game Boy games with me or anything like that. I don't want to tease you into thinking that that decrepid old turtle and I had a shared moment (he's so old and slouchy that he looks like a turtle - think about it).

    But I did meet him. I met Pope John Paul II in person. And I'm a damm Woodite, man! In the grand scheme of things, doesn't that sound a tit bit strange to anybody else? I mean, how many Catholics can say they met him, huh? Not too many I'd spect.

    Wow - that girl that just walked up the stairs right now had really huge breasts. Ok, sorry - where was I? Oh yeah ...

    It was at a thing called World Youth Day. It happens once every year or every other year or every three years or some such shit like that. It's another vain attempt at getting young "I love Carson Daily" people into an old, decrept set of religious beliefs by having them share a mass with the head old, decrept turtle man himself. This year, somewhere around the early 1990s, it was held in Denver, Colorado. And I was there.

    I was a hardcore godling at this point in time. I remember I wa sin the process of reading the bible from cover to cover, something I honestly thought would lead me to the truth. I did lead me to the knowledge that a lot of it is pointless, outdated crap about oxen and impure women and stuff, but I didn't come to that conclusion at that time. But that's just an example of how blind I was. I was just starting high school. I was a social reject who would get his face shoved into his Physical Education locker every day. I prayed six times a day. I was as far as I could have been to Woodism.

    The mass that he presided over was huge, but it didn't come right away. The place we were at was a massive green field with a giant stage erected that constantly housed some preacher, some singer, or some sad sap with no legs or no feet or no fingers or no testicles or something and they'd be vomiting up their 6:00 o'clock heartwarming tale of how they overcame adversity through Jesus. This went on all night. We arrived there at around noon, suffered through the b.s. all day, all night, then when and if we slept, we'd go through it again the next day until late the next afternoon, when the Pope would arrive in his Pope-Copter and perform the mass.

    It was sheer hell.

    First of all, there weren't any beds. I mean, we were sleeping outdoors on the damm grass. We sat blankets and sleeping bags on our "squares" - small 20 feet by 20 feet squares of land roped off for each church - and were forced to try to sleep in the rain in a massive endless field with almost no water, very little food and bad entertainment. I swear, there seemed to be about 20,000 other "squares" all around us in a neverending pattern just like the cover of that Pink Floyd album "Momentary Lapse of Reason." Nothing around you but annoying Catholic kids from all over the world singing "la Bamba" because that was the only American song they knew. That and CUMBAYAH over and over again.

    There were food booths. Well, there was two food booth, only two damm booths to feed about 75,000 people. You had to wait in line for two to three hours just to get your meal, which consisted of (literally - I swear to Wood) bread, cookies, water and hot dogs. I SWEAR TO FUCKING WOOD that prisoners get better meals than those Godlings got. And of course, one meal was five dollars.

    Ironically enough, you know what DIDN'T have a long ass line? The gift booths, where you could purchase Pope John Paul II t-shirts and boxer shorts for $20.00 each. I kid you not.

    Do you know where the water was? That's not setting anything up. I don't know where the water was. I never knew. For all I know, there wasn't any water. There was just a sea of godlings passing around water bottles like we were stuck in the same raft out in the middle of the ocean. I never drank water the whole time I was there.

    You wanna know how bad the bathrooms were? Let me put it this way - 75,000 people and 10 stinky port-a-johns and a line twice as long as the food line. And that leads me to my meeting with the Pope. I missed the first half of the mass because I was waiting in line for the port-a-johns.

    Here, though, is the ultimate sick story. So the Pope is saying mass, and I'm waiting to take a dump. The line I'm in stretches out for about five hundred people and after three and a half so hours I'm third in line. This girl runs through the line and cuts in front of all of us who've been waiting for hours. She bolts through us and parks herself right in front of us, making herself next. Someone screams at her, "Hey, Goddammit lady, no cuts!" and she tells back that it's an emergency, to which someone else yells "Yeah, well you should have thought about that four hours ago. Get in the back of the line!" She lady refused.

    Next thing I know, someone throws something at her head and a fight, an actual mano-e-mano brawl, ensues right in front of me in the line for the bathrooms as the goddamm Pope is on the stage preaching about Catholic unity. These people called themselves Catholics. These people called themselves religious. And these people, with rosaries in their hands and bibles in their pockets, were punching the shit out of each other while in the presence of Pope John Paul II.

    And I said "Well shit - I should be the Pope."

    That was my meeting with the Pope.

    Cut to:

    Reverend Steve Galindo, sitting here typing this to you on Woodmas in the end of Woodian Year 52. I've been fired from my hellish job as video store whore. I'm filled with feelings of doubt and self-loathing. I need a new job now but I'm scared to start the whole work cycle again. I fear and loath authority but without a job I need to find another authority figure to whore myself out to for money. I need direction, focus, and self-confidence.

    Hey - there's that girl with the nice tits again! She's coming down the stairs. Wow, she's hot.

    STARTING TODAY, OCTOBER 10th, 2000, REVEREND STEVE GALINDO IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BOARD OF WOODIAN REVERENDS, DO HEREBY ENACT THE CONCEPT OF THE PAPACY WITH CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS WITHIN WOODISM.

    The Pope is not the leader of Woodism. The Pope is not the authoritative king of Woodism. The Pope alone cannot make changes to the concept of Woodism or its policies.

    The Pope is, in essence, the guidance counsellor of the church. He (or she - take THAT Jesus!) is the spiritual head of the church, the Woodian guru, whose job it is to help Woodites on the road to Woodism.

    The Pope is not a saint. The Pope is not better in any way than the Woodites that believe in this church. Essentially, the Pope is just this - a cool ass guy.

    I am Pope Steve.

    THERE ENDETH LESSON 21!




    The Church of the Heavenly Wood presents the neverending Lessons of Wood
    Lesson 22: the Love of Wood.



    An intelligent, enlightening, laid back, and extremely empowering look Reverend Steve's personal life, the problems with our lives, and Eminem, finishing with a simple talk about love, how Ed felt about love, and the future of the first major Woodian wedding!




    Written June 21st, 2001 sporadically until September 5th, 2001, pretty much in-between masturbatory sessions, sex, and times of extreme, zen-like Woodian drunkenness at the Metrocenter-area Phoenix Bennigan's.



    My name is Reverend Steve Galindo.

    I am also known around the world as Pope Steve, Esteban Galindo and Steve, the self-proclaimed Anti-Christ. I am a mid-twenties actor, semi-college student, former controversial journalist, heavy drinker, former drug addict, novelist, ex-Catholic and controversial religious mystic.

    And I'm now engaged.

    And you're all invited to the wedding.

    Yeah yeah yeah -- I know that's a mouthful. So let's see if we can explain that a bit.

    I am the founder of Woodism, the world's only Ed Wood-based religion.

    I created it as a joke in 1996 and now it's a serious, legal, honest religion that is actually starting to travel on the road to respectability. How, you might ask? Well, at Arizona State University, a few select religion classes are actually including Woodism in their lectures. That is no joke, my friends! And word is slowly coming to me that other universities around the world -- yes, the world -- are teaching Woodism to its students.

    And the end of May saw the end of my worldwide radio tour promoting Woodism. You might have heard me! And despite a few nay-sayers (like that Howard Stern rip-off Mancow), Woodism received a very positive response, changing lives all over the globe! Woodism is gaining happiness and security and, fellow Woodites, I say to you - we are on a road to utopia!

    Now, the heavy drinking, former drug addict part - my story is an old one, one of pain and salvation that has been said and said so many times that I will not repeat it here. Look throughout the rest of this holy internet church for the rest of that sad tale.

    To move to the next bit - the part about being a "semi" college student, well, let's be honest here. I've been going to Arizona State University for a lot longer than any one person should. Now, I know that now you're all wondering exactly how long it is that I've been going to college and I want you all to know that I refuse to tell you, suffice to say, I'm currntly 24 years old. My future at ASU remains doubtfull. There's too many pretty people there, too many Barbies and Kens and cell phones and thick-necked jocks and sluts and assholes for me to take. I don't know if I'll ever return there.

    I am also an actor.

    And I don't say actor with only high school productions and community theater crap under my belt. Oh no, my Woodite friends. On March 22nd, 2001 (a date now commonly referend to by Woodites as Galindo-mas what with it being my birthday and all), I completed the principle photography for my first ever motion picture, my first ever acting job in a real, honest to Wood film. It's a semi-big budget motion picture with all new young stars (myself included)and it's called SMOKE AND MIRRORS that should be in your local movie theater around summer 2002. I play the breakout character, a humorous Latino car thief with a penchant for pro-wrestling and Ed Wood and ad-libbing.

    Will it be a GOOD movie?

    Now, I want this all new lesson to not be Reverend Steve, Saint Steve, Pope Steve preaching down from the heavens. I want it to be an insightful look inside my life in the hopes that you all can garner some sort of wisdom and insight into who I am as a person. And in order to do that, I need to be extremely candid and, despite the feelings of a certain movie director and Woodite named Saint Allesandro, I need to be candid about this movie. So here goes ...

    This movie could really suck. Or it could very well be the single greatest movie ever. That's what's so exciting about this thing. It could be a movie that could be the number one movie in the box office,another Pulp Fiction that does wonders for my career and makes my name a well known one. OR I could be seeing it in the bargain bins of video stores or on Cineamax at three in the morning after some titty movie.

    It could be wonderfull or it could be Woodian. I just don't know and I won't be sure until I see it myself.

    Now, about the former journalist part, I would like to clarrify that.

    In the last Lesson of Wood, the infamous lesson 21, I proclaimed myself Pope of Woodism because I was fired from my hellish job at a local video store. I proclaimed myself Pope after being fired because I was near being fired from my other job as a controversial weekly editorialist for the Arizona State newspaper.

    And I cannot stress the words controversial enough. Here's how college journalism is. Everyone thinks that they'll be the next Walter Cronkite and they'll change the world and make it a better place for everyone. So every article they write they feel like it's going to be the one that'll save a life and win a damm Pulitzer. But I just wanted to have fun, get paid and seriously fuck with people. I got a bit of heat when I openly called upon the entire campus to drop out of school. And I recieved a lot of hate mail when I made fun of the Pope and I wrote a whole article about how much the Olympics suck, which really pissed off a lot of foriegners. So I wrote a second article about the Pope that was never printed and almost got me fired. And I was so upset that I thought I'd make myself a Pope to brighten my spirits.

    But I wasn't fired then. I was fired later. But it was the video store first that I was fired/quit from, then the newspaper job fired me. The reasons for both were, well, let's just say that they both weren't ready for an independent, free-thinking Latino religious mystic. The video store job didn't want me to be an individual - they wanted me to be bland, innoffensive, a non-risk taker, and yet they wanted me to lie, cheat, and bend the rules. Pretty much the same thing with the journalism job. They wanted me to talk about politics and the government, so when I talked about wrestling and Ed Wood, they freaked out.

    So, in an attempt to pull myself out of the sadness, I made myself Pope.

    I got a lot of negativity for making myself Pope. A handful of people even succeeded from Woodism in anger over my decision. And for that, I don't apologize worth a damm shame (and I mean that in all Woodian respect).

    And now, before you all attack me and leave, let me try once again to try and reiterate the Woodian definition of the idea of the term "pope" - and this is very important, what we're all trying to do here, is that we're all trying to use Woodism to culturally redefine the religious mindset of the majority of American minds and, dare I say, the world, and let me explain this ...

    In America, the Christians and Catholics and Baptists are, and have been for thousands of years now, slowly been working their beliefs, their words, their lingo, and their everything into our construct. In that, I mean, even people who aren't religious won't cuss and won't steal and won't take God's name in vain (ps: GODDAMMIT!) because, even though they don't believe in God or Jesus, the ten commandments and Jesus on the cross and all that other religious hooey. In that, I mean, that society has, is being, and will continue to be infiltrated with the one-sided, dogmatic, archaic religious beliefs until someone, like, oh, say, I dunno, US, tries to stop them.

    So that's what Woodism is trying to do, on it's off time, I guess, is to socially redefine their minds regarding religion. Like, for example, the definition of the concept of the religious savior. You see, you say savior to any American and they'll say Jesus Christ, the apparently one TRUE savior. That's been imbedded into their brain by parents, friends, the media, and every corner of our society. It's a maddening cycle.

    So our own definition of savior is that there are many saviors out there. That's an easy concept to handle, you know, like for many young kids out there Eminem is a savior. Sure, he's a dumb white asshole but so many kids look up to him and respect him and hang over his every word and lyric that the fine line between fan and artist sometimes dissolves into a religious sort of adulation and in that sense, Eminem is a savior to many people.

    Tiger Woods is a savior. Wesley Willis is a savior (and a cool one at that). William Shatner is a savior and Elvis is a savior (both with their own churches, although not serious like ours). And, yeah, sure, Jesus Christ is a savior. and so is Ed Wood. He's our savior, not THE savior but he's most definitely, according to our culturally redefining definition, he's A savior.

    So there.

    And this is what we're trying to do with the idea of a Pope, too, and it makes sense if you disregard the societal ideas about the Papacy, if you disregard the idea of the Pope which is the mainstream cultural definition of it and open yourself to our Woodian culturally redefining of said idea.

    You see, with us, with me, I accepted the position of Pope without the hierarchy. I am a normal person. I am not holy (or, to be percise, I an in no way any more holier than I was before I wasn't Pope). What I'm trying to say is that I am not in any way any more special than anyone else. The concept of the Papacy - our papacy, the Woodian Papacy - is something like a spiritual leader, a guru of sorts, and it's a position that, after my death, anyone in Woodism could obstensibly become.

    You won't see me in a Popemobile. I won't make anyone kiss my rings. And I don't want any sort of special treatment because I'm the Pope. I won't wear any funny pointy hat and tell people it's some sort of holy thing. And the only thing that I've used the Papacy for so far is to get me free beers at the local Bennigan's.

    I am Reverend Steve. I am also Pope Steve. And I'm a normal guy.

    Have I even mentioned Eminem up to this point? I don't think I have. Maybe I have. I don't know. why the hell did I write in the beginning that this was going to be about Eminem? What the hell was I thinking?

    Eminem sucks ass anyway.

    When I worked at the video store, I asked to fill out the forms to have my tax exepmt from my paycheck. They refused - my manager, my assistant manager, my store manager, my distract manager, and even the bastards down at the head office wouldn't even return my telephone calls. I got so angry. How dare those BASTARDS refuse this from me. It takes a hell of a lot to make Reverend Steve pissed off, but this really did anger me. Take it this way - if I was a so-called Mormon "elder" or a Baptist minister, then my paycheck would be exempt in seconds and yet we live in a country that was founded on the basis of religious freedom. Well, if that's so then why is Woodism persecuted, ridiculed, and shunned from the spotlight of American society for being a joke, why am I ridiculed for having my own religion that I believe in and would die for, and why the hell would a major conpany refuse to regognize my religion?

    I considered legal actions for a very long time. Instead, I tried hard for a very long time to just run the store to the ground from the inside, a real working class hero, the kind of person Andy Kaufman was for working part time as a dishwasher at a deli while STILL staring in "Taxi" so that he could remember that he's just a normal person. That was me, ruining the store and getting my jollies off and being Reverend Steve, the person they wanted to silence and shut up. I got tired of having to lie in the books during closing and I got tired of watching the married store manager flirting with a fifteen year old co-worker and I got tired of having a manager get away with smoking pot inside the store and I get yelled at and written up for not having nice shoes, and I was tired of working ten to tweleve hour days by myself with no break or lunch.

    So, Reverend Steve trashed the store for a couple months until I was fired/quit.

    And in case any of my current employees are reading this, then you never really read this.

    Anyway, I'm a good guy now.

    You see, lives are really short. You wouldn't think that if you lived in Tucson, Arizona or you've actually sat through Godfather III, but as humans our lives are extremely short. It is nothing short of extreme, massive, 100 % LUCK ALL TO HELL that you ever, ever, EVER find ANYONE on this planet that you can really connect with, that you can understand and who undstands you, all the facets of you that make you entirely you. That is, only for lack of a better word, something a lot like a miracle.

    And it is this kind of miraculous human interaction that everyone needs and that's what makes Ed's films so special and it is so great to see just a small fraction of this special human connection displayed in the Tim Burton film "Ed Wood" because within his rougues galler or what novelist and Wood historian Rudolph Grey called the "Wood Spooks" there existed this comraderie, this tight family unit of freaks and miscreants and society rejects. For example ...

    Tor Johnson: the bulky, english-declined professional wrestler turned bad guy monster movie icon who regularly got drunk and passed out on top of easily breakable objects in Ed Wood's home. He longed to be a real actor with a non-monster part, as shown in a never-filmed scene cut from "Ed Wood" and it was this that led him to play the part of Inspector Daniel Clay in the now legendary "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
    Criswell: the southern son of a mortician family who conned his way into becoming america's best loved fifties psychic and even though he though he himself was full of shit, he sure did have something going on there. He was Ed's crazy partner in crime and acted as himself in all his films.
    Dudley Manlove: despite the humerous last name, he was a star of radio and when television and movies came along, he found himself hard up for work until he played the part of Eros in Ed's "Plan 9," a momentous part that everyone who's ever seen the movie will remember.

    That's what we hope to capture in some way with the Church of the Heavenly Wood and, to an even greater extent, with Woodism. This is a pop culture-based religion that welcomes people that have beenexorcized from society, people who have been labelled as different and, despite the fact that the white mormons and the upper-class christians might not want you, still want to have some sort of spirituality in their lives. We, being Woodism, are a portal through which you can build something within yourself. I have built a temple of peace, happiness, security, spiritality, and (surprisingly enough) self confidence, all by the tennets and beliefs and the open-ended structures created by Woodism.

    Through Woodism, I have found happiness.

    You all get it.

    All my life, I've wanted someone who "got it" with me. That's a bit hard to explain, but let me try to as best as I can - my life, everything about it from the way I talk to the things I believe in to the things I hold near and dear to me, somehow in the grand cosmic circle of things it's all a joke. I would like to think that me and my religion and the bricks that I'm laying down here will not only last way beyond my lifetime but become a grand temple that will help millions, but in reality I hope I can just find some place that serves cheap beer and good food and I'll just stay there with the spirit of Ed Wood until I die and hope that one, maybe two people will remember me as a really great guy.

    But life is a joke that few people get. That's why I love my Saint Debby, my special little woman. She "gets it" ... and so do you, all the thousands upon thousands of Woodites around the world who read all my lessons and chat with me at ED WOOD'S HOLY HAVEN and send me songs and e-mail me telling me how Woodism has saved their lives and given it a purpose. Not only have I found a funny, sexy, big breasted woman who gets it, so do all of you.

    And I urge all of you, just like Ed found his spooks, you must struggle to find people who get it.

    Well, that's about it. We're engaged now, Saint Debby and Reverend Steve. We haven't set a specific date although, to tame those people who reaally want us to set a date, we both agreed on the eventual date being a Wednesday, so we've set a date in a sense. We've also agreed that, when we have the wedding, it will be during "about noonish" so that there is a lot of time for smoking the holy bud (something I barely do but, well, debby IS the patron saint of it, so ...) and the drinking of the holy beverage.

    And I honestly mean it when I say that this, the 22nd most holy Lesson of Wood, is an open invitation to this wedding, whenever it ends up happening.

    And here is where you all come in ...

    This will indeed be a most momentous wedding, probably the BIGGEST wedding in Woodian history! Now, there have been four legal Woodian weddings up to this point, so this will not be the first Woodian wedding, but this, without a shadow of a doubt, will be the wedding (a legal pope marrying a legal saint) that all other Woodian weddings will have to live up to and match. So, in that very real sense, debby and I are indeed constructing the basis for the future of all Woodian wedding.

    Which is really neat when you think about it. There's a possibility that two young, love-struck lovers seventy years from now, will do and say the things that Saint Debby and I create for the cinstruct of our wedding.

    Neat, huh?

    So here, at the end of this holy lesson of Wood, I ask all of you to personally e-mail me, Reverend Steve Galindo, with your ideas on how this new wedding should be. Should we exchange vows or have a wrestling match? Should portions of Ed Wood scripts be read in liu of a gospel? Should the father walk the bride down to the altar? Should there be an altar? You see, we, the Woodites, all of us together, we will now create the construct for a holy religious ceremony that will be followed for Wood knows how many years to come.

    So please e-mail me, Reverend Steve, as soon as you can with your ideas ... and we hope to see you at the wedding!

    THE WOODIAN BAR PRAYER!


    I would like to end this lesson with something special ... the holy Woodian Bar Prayer! Now, this is something that few people know. It's been around and has been used regularly since 1997 but I've never publicly announced it until now. I don't know why. I guessed that I really liked having this chant be a small little thing within the party of fifty or so Woodites I see on a regular basis, something special just for us, but now I am ready to share it with the world. Thiis is something that is so powerful, so great, that it cannot be held back any longer.

    Now for the convocation ... this Woodian bar prayer is to be used at bars, although at any typical party-type gathering (say, smoking pot or drinking kool-aid, WHATEVER as long as it's a festive Wood-like gathering) would surfice. This, in its original form, is a mix of a catholic-type prayer and a drunk Irish drinking chant thing. It is something that, in it's original form, you, as a Woodite, MUST say right before the consumption of the last sip (or chug) of beer left, or the last of whatever it is you use this prayer for.

    You must place the Woodian hand gesture over the glass and chant the following ...

    MAY WE ALL LIVE LONG, STRONG, AND DIFFERENT!

    HERE ENDETH THE LESSON