JAN 25 – 6pm AST
JAN 26 – 6pm AST
JAN 27 – 4pm AST

The Blue Building
2482 Maynard Street Halifax, Nova Scotia

In-person and Online (Streaming Link will be posted at a later date)

Youth pastor is a narc. Youth pastor is a perv.

Youth pastor is a mark. Youth pastor is sketchy.  

Youth pastor is pathetic. Youth pastor is so fun!


I found myself having to explain this title to two of my more ethical, yet less traumatized, friends. These are people I really respect, who I know are really smart, but who were just totally flummoxed by the phrase.


On the other hand, there’s been a handful of people I’ve given the phrase to who’ve immediately laughed. 


It’s a funny thing about this project in general: how to talk about what it feels like to be an addict from the perspective of a person who is one, but is still smart.  which is essentially an impossibility in the public imaginary, because of the way that drug addicts are represented. narc.  Sketchy. Mark. so fun! Pathetic. 


So there’s a real appreciation when people just see the darkness and can see as well what it illuminates.


What is a youth pastor? well, significantly for me, a youth pastor is the person in a church (the institution first instrumentalised against addicts, best situated to narc).  And in an American survey of church leadership, youth pastors were found to be the most likely to suffer delusions of grandeur and paranoid symptoms.


What better illustration is there of the failure of the very notion of leading the young toward their salvation? What better illustration is there of the failure of the very idea of leadership?


In Krista Davis’s The Trauma Surrogates, the narrator describes the limits of empathy (perhaps I can put in scare quotes that empathy is the white womans burden—like the salvation promised by the missionaries, it’s false, and in that same missionary fugue, we feel we can extend it like a gift. Ha fucking ha. 


Like . It’s essentially a piece of speculative fiction in which the author is delineating her fantasy about finding a way, as a less-traumatized person, to help contain the radioactive matter that remains as an artifact of trauma for more-traumatized people. This is in a work about rehabilitating a radioactive mine. It’s a beautiful metaphor, and she writes “empathy wasn’t the answer. It was just a start.” Containment as a precondition for healing.