Unification Sermons and Talks
Why Father Fishes
December 11, 1998
As Chuck's protege (he taught me all I know about tuna fishing one long summer in 1984), I will give you my theory. (Although I don't speak for Chuck, who is Ocean Church personified...)
Father fishes for three reasons:
1) To suffer indemnity.
I've never seen a person turn an enjoyable thing like fishing into such suffering. Father is in many ways a glutton for punishment. Speaking for all those hours on end isn't just to keep himself awake and cause US pain, it's also (in his mind) and offering of tears and sweat to give God's word. Staying out longer and in uncomfortable conditions seems to be a badge of courage for him. I have absolutely no doubt that one of Father's main purposes in fishing is to suffer.
2) Relaxation and Sacred Contemplation.
Another reason is to relax. (OK, it seems contradictory, but remember this is the theologian of True Paradox speaking.) Father loves the Ocean. It's like a Mother and a Lover to him. He merges with it mystically, regardless of whether it is an ephemeral shining lake or a mountain of tempestuous waves. He prays while he fishes. He contemplates its depths. He triumphs over the leviathan beast rising from its abyss and engages in a ritual bloodletting and later a feeding of the disciples. The Ocean becomes the theatre in which he enacts the myths that are sacred to himself and those who belong to him.
Father want's to make money through the ocean. (and paradoxically, he wants to use its resources to feed the world.) Whether its bottom fish in Alaska, or Blue-Fin Tuna in Gloucester, Father practiced the Principle of "a man does not leave his house to lose a penny.) Gloucester was actually quite profitable for a while, so much so that every tuna received free airfare on ice to Japan where in fetched up to $50 per pound in the wholesale markets. After gutting and beheading, a tuna still weighs around 500 pounds. so that makes a gross price of $25,000 per tuna!!!!! At that rate they can fly first class! Of course, they don't show up in Gloucester anymore, the processing plant in Alaska is a loser and I could go on. But the IDEA included making money and feeding people--pioneering a whole new way marine culture.
So there you have it.
Any good ideas expressed above are the product of many days ruminating with Captain Chuck in our Good-Go. Any bad ideas are the result of my resentment toward him for catching what should have been my first tuna without me on my 40th and last day of Ocean Church. (Chuck harpooned it. No hook, no bait. Just old sunburned Chuck with his red bandana tied around his head, standing in the bow, with Dan racing out from shore after taking the phone call telling him he had a new mission.)
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