The Gentle Traditionalist Meets The Man with No Name

No Names 2

Recently, we have been featuring fictional dialogues from my upcoming book The Gentle Traditionalist. So far, these fictional dialogues have concerned very serious things.

Thus we featured a dialogue here about sexual abuse in the Church.

And here in this post, we had an extract concerning the cultural war between liberals and conservatives.

Today, by contrast, we have something a little bit more lighthearted—even goofy. (I have a silly streak in my nature, which rarely expresses itself in my writing. But in this book, it does.)

Here the Gentle Traditionalist meets a New Ager – who refuses to bear a name, because, like, you know, names aren’t cool, man.

Names, concepts, categories that’s what creates war and violence in the world, right?

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At least, that’s what the Man with No Name believes. (And numerous New Agers I have known think along very similar lines!  You may wish to see this post about Findhorn here. As a Catholic convert from the New Age movement, I speak with long experience.)

Although the following dialogue between GT – the Gentle Traditionalist – and the Man with No Name is a parody of the New Age, I am still trying to express something serious.

For at the root of  much New Age thinking is an Eastern Monism, an attempt to reduce the wondrous diversity of the universe to oneness – and nothing else.

Herein, we lose the distinction between Creator and created. Not only that, but we also lose any ultimate difference between you and me, dear Reader, as free, autonomous, responsible individuals, capable of good and capable of evil.

Inevitably, New Age Monism leads to a world with no freedom and no love. (How can I truly love you as separate individual or love God, if I believe that you are essentially identical with me or indeed, that, I, myself, am God?)

This is one of the themes in this book. But today we will not offer much more than, as I say, a slightly goofy bit of dialogue.

The dialogue begins with a character whose initials are GPL. GPL laments the fact that his old girlfriend has dumped the New Age movement for Catholicism. The New Age, he thinks, is better than the Church – because the New Age doesn’t have divisive religious beliefs …

GPL: Seems like a good strategy to me. Just find some basic core ideas everyone can agree on and forget the rest. Why can’t we just agree to disagree? [My old girlfriend] was more open-minded when she was a New Ager. She believed in some sort of universal religion back then. It seemed less narrow, if you ask me.

GT: Less narrow and more vague perhaps?

GPL: Perhaps. But also less divisive. More accepting of differences. Now, she’s got all these sectarian doctrines.

At that point, someone rapped on the door. GT opened it and a tall, lanky man wearing an orange tie-dyed kaftan stepped into the room. He had a mellow American accent, which I couldn’t quite place. West Coast, I thought, maybe Californian.

“Welcome, welcome,” GT said cheerily. “I am Gilbert Tracey—the Gentle Traditionalist. And what might your name be?”

The visitor apparently didn’t like the question. “Me? I don’t have a name,” he said. “It’s better that way. People get too hung up on naming things. Pretty soon, we’re all divided from each other.”

“Well, I have to call you something. Can I call you No Name for now?

“Hey, yeah, that’s cool,” No Name smiled. “I like that. If only everyone had no name! There’d be no more wars and killing and religion and stuff like that!

“Where are you from, No Name?”

“Same place as you’re from—the Universe!” Slowly, a broad, toothy grin fanned out across No Name’s face, as though he had just said something enormously profound and satisfying.

“Could you be a bit more specific, please?” GT prodded.

“But why?” No Name didn’t like this. “We’re all the same, man. I am you. You are me. We’re, like, all together. Goo goo goo joob, you know? Nothing to get hung about.

I am the Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever,” I said, recognising the Beatles’ references.

No Name: Yeah, man, exactly! The universe is just an infinite strawberry patch! If you start identifying with different places, everyone gets separated. You get wars, nationalism, religious hatred—stuff like that. We are all children of the same Universe!

GT: You can’t post a letter to the universe.

No Name: You’re right. What a drag. Still, we won’t need post offices in the future. We’ll all just be able to tune in to each other.

GT: Telepathically, you mean? How do you know that?

No Name: Well, everyone says that.

GT: Who is everyone?

No Name: Well, you know everyone who’s really spiritually conscious I guess. All the great masters and spiritual teachers.

GT: Like St John of the Cross, I suppose, or St Teresa of Avila?

No Name: Who are they? I never heard of them.

GT: They’re great Catholic saints.

No Name: Oh, Catholic! That’s so, you know, um… medieval—Old Age and rigid. No, I mean like Deepak Chopra or Neale Donald Walsch: teachers of higher consciousness.

GT: Ah yes, the masters. And Sri Baba Rama Ding-Dong?

No Name: Yeah, yeah! That’s what I mean—teachers like that!

GT: What about Jesus?

No Name: Well, Jesus was cool! It’s just the Church messed up everything he said.

GT: How do you know that?

No Name: Well, you know, everyone knows that now. There was this guy Dan Brown who found out Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. Everyone knows that.

GT: Everyone who’s “really spiritually conscious”, you mean.

No Name: Well, yeah.

GT: What about the Pope?

No Name: Oh, he’s not spiritually conscious! Everyone knows that. Well, maybe this new Pope Francis is a little bit conscious. He’s kinda cool. But before him, they were all like, you know, totally unconscious. Hey, are you a Catholic or something?

GT: I am.

No Name: Oh, sorry dude. I didn’t mean to rag on your religion like that. Your religion’s cool, too.

GT: Why, thank you, my good man. I will endeavour to take whatever consolation I can from that!

No Name: It’s just like every spiritual path. They all lead to the same place in the end, right?

GT: Well, if, by that, you mean merging with the universe, where no names, no separation, no division exists, I would have to say no.

No Name: Man, that’s the problem with you Christians! You all think you’re going somewhere different from the rest of us. You’re all so judgmental and arrogant. Like you’ve got to do it my way or else!

And the dialogue continues . . .

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8 responses to “The Gentle Traditionalist Meets The Man with No Name”

  1. Bryan M. M. Reynolds Avatar
    Bryan M. M. Reynolds

    Roger, thanks for the extract. I love these extracts. I think I’ll have to buy copies for my friends and family. By the way, will you and Kim say a prayer for me. Thanks again!

    1. roger Avatar

      Bryan, rest assured you are in our prayers. Thank you also for your very kind comments.

      I will also add – I pray it is not hubris – that your comment about buying copies encourages me. This is honestly not for my financial situation (as much as that needs repair!) but because, by the grace of God, I actually believe I have written something I never thought I could or would. That is to say, a popular apologetic that by His Grace may truly be able to reach people through writing that is much more accessible than the norm for me.

      Yesterday, someone who has seen the book said he wished copies could be air-dropped on all the homes in Ireland! That comment obviously reflects the Irish theme in the book. However, the book is also intended to appeal to Catholics worldwide and I am now receiving a fair amount of feedback from people that they believe it can truly help. I pray that is so.

      Thank you for all your support in various ways, Bryan. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. Marcello Mercalli Avatar
    Marcello Mercalli

    Hi Roger,
    I’m always reading your posts and enjoying the extracts from your upcoming book. Will it be available in e-format for kindle? Keep up the amazing work you’re doing, the world needs catholics like you! All the best from Japan

    1. roger Avatar

      Well, thank you so very much, Marcello. I pray I can live up to your most generous words!

      Believe it or not, I didn’t know the answer to your question, at first. But I have now found out. There will not be a Kindle edition at first, but the hope is to release one before long, perhaps in two or three months.

  3. […] Name, it should be explained, is a New Age character in my book. You can read a dialogue about the New Age Movement with No Name here – […]

  4. Janet Avatar

    WHY do you promote Amazon, the world’s biggest contributor to the gay marriage legal fund?

    1. roger Avatar

      Janet, thank you for expressing your heartfelt ethical concern here.

      For the moment, my response may seem lame. For I am mainly going to paste in something I recently said to someone else called Kassandra here who raised the same grievous issue.

      Thus I said to Kassandra …

      “This is a big, complex topic. IDEALLY either my wife Kim would like to devote an entire post to it – rather than just a comment. I better not promise, but hopefully there will be a post soon entitled something like the Paradox of Amazon.

      Very briefly now: here is the paradox.

      On the one hand, Amazon is no doubt guilty of countless sins, including and beyond that which you mention.

      Among them this big business juggernaut is destroying small bookshops. This doesn’t sit well with my Distributism.

      But on the other hand, Amazon is empowering small Catholic publishers – like Angelico Press which is publishing my two books. They are also empowering countless small Catholic enterprises and – unwittingly – promoting the faith.

      I suspect most small Catholic publishers would be out of business without Amazon.

      I believe it right to use Amazon to promote these great Catholic publishers, like Angelico, TAN etc.

      But Kassandra, a very complex topic as I say. I very much hope you will see a blog soon about this, although because I make too many broken promises here, I’d better not promise.

      Again your moral concern and honesty is much appreciated.”

      In short, Janet, I still need more time for this, but am very pressed now with an unexpected surge of interest in my book.

      I will however correct something I said above when I wrote: “I suspect most small Catholic publishers would be out of business without Amazon.”

      CORRECTION: Virtually all small Catholic publishers would be completely out of business … alas!

      Again, Janet, I salute your serious wakeful ethical concern here. So many are not awake to this …

      And I must beg you to forgive me for not saying more now. But you give me renewed impetus to do that blog post. Perhaps I should even call it: The Paradox of Amazon: Unwitting Promoter of the Faith

      1. Janet Baker Avatar

        Oh thank you for your very thoughtful reply! And don’t I know the truth of your comment about Catholic publishers. I just released a Catholic science fiction novel and am promoting it on my own with absolutely no success whatsoever.

        But I’m pretty sure it’s one book Amazon wouldn’t carry anyway! Catholics on the first space colony ally with Muslims who have a secret asteroid to offer escape the colony to form a Catholic state with a distributive economy. On the cover is a crossdressing Obama as President of the World, announcing the formation of a brand new One World Religion–and the Holy Father is on the platform. And plus they consecrate a king, in space, according to the ancient ceremonies, in a traditional mass. I don’t think Amazon wants it. Nor does Angelus Press, altho they vetted the theology for me and said no problems. There’s one short depiction of porn that makes it an adult book, though.

        You aren’t alone. The priestly society that staffs my chapel uses the Amazon Smile program. I have argued with them until I am rather persona non grata. They say they need the money. This organization is one of the few in the world that understands distributism, recognizes that we could have a Catholic economy, yet they won’t stop using this–so the opposite of distributism I can’t even say!

        Check out the novel if you could ( No one has ever bought one. I would send you a free copy, just email me. I need a review so badly!

        Anyway, I hear you and I thank you for your courteous reply.