On being a peripatetic disciple of Christ

La Virgen de Guadalupe

La Virgen de Guadalupe

Christ was a peripatetic teacher, as was Aristotle, as am I, now, since I’m now homeless, a writer, a philosopher, a theologian, a teacher, and a disciple of Christ. This is especially the case now, since I’ve decided to travel, taking my time, to Mexico, on a spiritual pilgrimage to the place on earth, in the Americas, where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, simply to be there, my body, in that place, and to see, with my own eyes, the miraculous image of her, which appeared on Juan’s cactus fiber tilma, or poncho, so many years ago.

A peripatetic teacher, philosopher, theologian, preacher, or disciple is one who walks, or travels, while teaching… or one who, while traveling, by walking, makes no home in any particular place, teaches and makes disciples, whether they be disciples of a school of philosophical or theological thought, or of Christ, which is what I seek to do wherever I am: make disciples, teaching them all that Jesus commanded us:

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

“In one sense, this modern version of discipling is linked to the New Testament model. The term disciple in the New Testament means “learner.” The disciples of Jesus were students who enrolled in Jesus’ peripatetic rabbinic school. They addressed Him as “Rabbi” or “Teacher.” To follow Jesus involved literally walking around behind Him as He instructed them (the word peripatetic comes from the Greek word peripateo, which means “to walk”).”

See: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/discipling-and-disciplining/

per·i·pa·tet·ic [per-uh-puh-tet-ik]
1. walking or traveling about; itinerant.
2. ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to Aristotle, who taught philosophy while walking in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.
3. ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to the Aristotelian school of philosophy.
4.a person who walks or travels about.
5. ( initial capital letter ) a member of the Aristotelian school.

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin peripatēticus < Greek peripatētikós of Aristotle and his school, literally, walking about, equivalent to peripatē- (verbid stem of peripateîn to walk about, equivalent to peri- peri- + pateîn to walk; akin to path) + -tikos -tic

Related forms
per·i·pa·tet·i·cal·ly, adverb.
per·i·pa·tet·i·cism [per-uh-puh-tet-uh-siz-uh m] , noun.

1. wandering, roving; vagrant.

See: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/peripatetic

Aristotle and Plato

Aristotle and Plato

Wikipedia – The Peripatetic school was a school of philosophy in Ancient Greece.

“Its teachings derived from its founder, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and Peripatetic is a name given to his followers. The school originally derived its name Peripatos from the peripatoi (περίπατοι “colonnades”) of the Lyceum in Athens where the members met. A similar Greek word peripatetikos (Greek: περιπατητικός) refers to the act of walking, and as an adjective, “peripatetic” is often used to mean itinerant, wandering, meandering, or walking about. After Aristotle’s death, a legend arose that he was a “peripatetic” lecturer – that he walked about as he taught – and the designation Peripatetikos came to replace the original Peripatos.”

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripatetic_school

The words “itinerant”, “wandering”, “meandering”, “walking about”, “roving”, “vagrant” well describe what I am doing now, on foot, although I have spent most of my life traveling, on the road, and I have the wandering, meandering frame of mind, and heart, which goes with this, meaning: I’ve always been contemplative while being active or, in other words, I contemplate things while traveling and while being in different places. I’ve always been a mystic and romantic at heart… never in a hurry… always thinking, and always taking the time to stop, appreciate, and smell the roses.


Ever since I was a child I’ve realized how brief and how precious life is and how quickly we can die. I was never one of those teenagers who felt invincible, but quite the opposite: I felt, and still feel, fragile and temporary, like a vapor… here today and gone tomorrow.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

Because of this I appreciate life, the world, the places I travel to and, most especially, the many peoples I meet along my way. I’ve always felt at home wherever I travel, although whenever I travel far enough away from my homeland, the land, people, and languages changes and become unfamiliar, and I can, at times, become somewhat homesick, feeling nostalgic for the land of my birth (America). But because I am both in-the-world and of-the-world I always feel at home no matter how far I may travel, how strange the land, the language, and the peoples may be. In fact, the best thing about traveling is realizing people are the same wherever I go… they all have the same wants, needs, desires, sorrows, loves, pains, joys, temptations, victories, and defeats. And although the landscape changes drastically from place to place around the world, the same basic background, or overarching metaphenomena, exists everywhere and is everywhere the same: earth and sky together, when traveling by land, and sea and sky together, when traveling by sea.

Some things in the world, such as the moon, follow me wherever I go…

In my opinion, young people can receive a much better education by traveling to foreign lands and meeting foreign peoples in their own lands than they can ever receive by sitting in a classroom at a college in the US.

Recently I spent some time with an old friend who was very busy with many things: work, money, and the many problems related to these, and it was a stark contrast, to me, my being with her, which revealed, to me, just how different I am from most people, like her, since her busy-ness is a fairly standard experience for most people living in the modern world today. She was constantly on the phone, Bluetooth®  in the ear, talking about work, money, the many problems related to these, as well as the many people she was concerned about, because she is a compassionate person. She was, and is, concerned about many things, far too many things and far too concerned, I thought, about things that, in the end, don’t really matter and will not last: work, money, and things.


Wherever I’m in a large city, such as Washington, DC, I see this everywhere, and am surrounded by very busy people, who, in Washington, are concerned with work, money, things, and power… mostly power… none of which lasts, all of which are temporal, and none of which is really important, due to their inherent temporality, in the grand scheme of things.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:7

Work and money are, of course, necessary to support our lives, and work is good, too, good for both our souls and our bodies, especially physical work. I’ve worked blue-collar jobs since 1976, my first job being a janitor, before leaving home to become a soldier in early 1977. I’ve been a truck driver most of my life, as well as a construction laborer, a warehouseman and manager, and I’ve worked in a couple of bookstores as a bookseller as well, until 2011 when I decided to become a Catholic Worker, which is to become a full time disciple of Christ who helps others in whatever way God directs for us to help them, mostly work with the poor and disenfranchised within our hectic society, the poor whom God has chosen to be rich in faith, by meeting their spiritual and physical needs, as well as by working for a more just society and for peace in the world, which often involves direct action protests of many kinds, and the arrests that go with them, concerning many peace and justice issues, because our government is evil and will not do what is just and right for the people it has charge over. I’m also a writer, as are many other Catholic Workers, and my research and writing has, until now, taken up much of my time. Catholic Workers also take a voluntary vow of poverty, meaning we are not allowed to sustain ourselves by working and must live our lives simply, and by faith, trusting that as we work to help others others will likewise help us with what little we need to survive, which isn’t much, and isn’t nearly as much as most people seem to think we need.

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Wherever I go in my travels I say and do whatever I can to give people hope, encouragement, faith, and love, all of which are in very short supply today in our busy, hectic, and very self-centered world, and the people I meet are encouraged, as am I, thanks be to God, even in the midst of the very discouraging circumstances that surround us each and every day, and which are becoming even more discouraging by the minute, it seems, because our government is growing ever worse, and very quickly, as time goes by.


Because of the reading, research, and writing I have done over many years, including especially, an on-going study of the Bible, and due to all I have learned concerning the political-media situation, if we can call it that, over the past year and a half, having now discovered the ugly truths of these matters, I feel as though everywhere I go I am surrounded by peoples who have no idea what’s actually going on, people who are living in a false reality, which has been constructed for them by the true evil – physical and spiritual – which runs every aspect of their political-media lives… the faster the better so as to keep them off balance and from having the time to discover these ugly truths, which would displace these malevolent forces, and would allow them to take the time listen to me and the many others who explain the situation we are in and how we can get out of it:

See: “Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare”: http://www.amazon.com/Societies-Psychological-Warfare-Michael-Hoffman/dp/0970378416

See: http://downloads.umu.nu/Books/Michael.A.Hoffman.II–Secret.Societies.And.Psychological.Warfare.[1992].pdf

AUDIO – S. K. Bain & Kris Millegan Interview – Hour 1 – 9/11: Mega Occult Ritual & Black Christmas: http://www.redicecreations.com/radio/2012/10/RIR-121025.php

Amazon – The Most Dangerous Book in the World: http://www.amazon.com/The-Most-Dangerous-Book-World/dp/1937584178

Publisher: http://themostdangerousbookintheworld.com/index.php/

Prologue – See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/112749541/The-Most-Dangerous-Book-in-the-World-–-9-11-as-Mass-Ritual

VIDEO – Skull and Bones – The Catholic Connection (Anthony Hilder) http://youtu.be/Hh6xVz8uuo8

All of which makes me very sad, as I travel…. contemplating the chaotic state people’s minds, bodies, and land are in, the true evil the US government-media is, the chaotic state the Mexican peoples minds, bodies, and land are in, the true evil their government-media are, and how we all – together – can and must unite in order to escape the death grip these malevolent forces have upon us, which have, now, a seemingly unbreakable grip upon of the minds of the peoples of the US, Mexico, and, of course, Canada as well.

We do have a way out, which we are organizing now, as do the peoples of Mexico:

VIDEO – Mexican Poet, Activist Javier Sicilia Brings Peace Caravan into U.S. to Condemn Deadly Drug War:

See: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/16/mexican_poet_activist_javier_sicilia_brings

Facebook page – Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movimiento-por-la-Paz-con-Justicia-y-Dignidad/124809987605763

Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad: http://movimientoporlapaz.mx/

Philosophy and Plan of Action – Summer of Justice 2013 DC https://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/philosophy-and-plan-of-action-summer-of-justice-2012-dc/

Facebook page – Summer of Justice 2013 DC: https://www.facebook.com/makethedreamareality

Although it seems, to the rational mind, quite impossible for us to ever break free, we can break free, but only with God’s help, who desires justice, and freedom, for us all.

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

The embodied life is an important aspect of the life we live as human persons living in-the-world, and is especially noticeable to the middle aged peripatetic who has arthritis in his back due to many years of hard work, and who is returning to the dust he was taken from more quickly now than he ever has before.


The embodied nature of our being is often presupposed and unexamined by us, because it is so much a part of who we are; therefore it’s often taken for granted, and its reality even denied by those of a gnostic bent, especially in so far as the afterlife is concerned. I recently had a conversation with an old friend who had once been a follower of Christ who, due to delving off into psychic phenomena and gnostic beliefs, has been led astray, and is now following doctrines of demons, one of which is to deny the embodied nature of the resurrection and of the regenerated world to come, which the Bible speaks of, and which Christ spoke of as well. (See: https://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/the-future-glory-παλινγενεσίᾳ/.)

This person considers the body a shell, or mere container, which will be cast off after death, supposedly freeing the soul, which alone is eternal, according to this gnostic belief system. I myself once held similar beliefs, before I became a follower of Jesus, as did the Bishop of Hippo, Saint Augustine, who was, before his conversion to Christ, a follower of Neoplatonism, which is a gnostic belief system.


The resurrection is the most important aspect of the Christian faith, and I’m often amazed by people who call themselves “Christians” who neglect to mention the resurrection when supposedly preaching the gospel to those who don’t yet believe in the living Christ.

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17

I’ve listened to countless advertisements from 1-888-NEED-HIM on the radio during which the person speaking says something to the effect of: “Christ died so that you can have a wonderful new life and if you call upon him now he will enter your heart and you can begin your new life in him” missing the fact that the first thought a non-believer would have upon hearing this sort of message would likely be: “How can I talk to a dead man?”

The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament records several accounts of the proclamation of the gospel, all of which include the ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In short, the preaching of the gospel always includes the resurrection, and if someone is preaching Christ without also preaching the resurrection they aren’t preaching the gospel at all, but rather something else.


When Saint Paul proclaimed the gospel on Mars Hill (or: the Areopagus) to the Athenian intellectual elite they heard him gladly, the Athenians always being open to hearing new ideas and philosophies, as well as any new thing, that is until Saint Paul mentioned the resurrection of Christ and the general resurrection of all peoples on the Last Day of Judgement. Upon hearing this scientific absurdity the intellectuals of Athens laughed Saint Paul to scorn, thinking this new teaching quite unbelievable to modern intellectuals such as themselves, and the same is true in our day: the resurrection is a stumbling block to many peoples, as it was to me as well, before I believed.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The body and our life as embodied beings in-the-world is who we are, although we are more than just our bodies we are are bodies too. We aren’t beautiful eternal souls trapped within despicable, disposable containers, which we will shed upon our deaths, we are embodied beings who have eternity placed by God within our hearts who long to be clothed with our eternal bodies, which will be made like Christ’s glorious, resurrected body, and upon our deaths we will be separated from what is, in fact, an important part of who we are: our bodies.

Many (most?) so-called “Christians” in America give little thought to the resurrection of the body, mistakenly believing that after death they will live in heaven forever with Jesus and departed loved ones, when the Bible tells us that upon our deaths we will be temporarily separated from our bodies, which will be raised on the Last Day to live forever upon a newly regenerated earth, in our bodies, then, like Christ’s body was glorified and made eternal: both our bodies and the earth itself, which were planted like seeds that must first die before they can become what they were meant to be. (See: https://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/the-future-glory-παλινγενεσίᾳ/.)


Anyways, my awareness, especially this morning, of my old, tired, sore, peripatetic body is never far from my thinking…. I wake up many times during the night, because of the hard ground or concrete I’m sleeping on, my thin, foam mat giving me thin but very welcome comfort… and the cold, when it’s cold outside, as it is now. In a soft bed, inside a warm room, I can sleep all night with little-to-no awareness of my embodied nature compared to when I’m sleeping outside, on the ground, in the cold air and, although uncomfortable in comparison, I am not at all unhappy by doing so, because this is who I am: an embodied being in-the-world, and the awareness of this is made that much clearer to me by my doing so, as it was for Christ as well, when he walked the earth, tired, hungry, thirsty, walking and sleeping on the ground.

It also make me much more appreciative of things I often take for granted: a soft bed, a warm room, and a roof over my head.

We need very little to survive in this world, as Saint Paul tells us:

“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8

And since all followers of Christ are called to follow and imitate him, we should have as our goal to be like him in every way. Christ was thought by his family to be insane, had no place to lay his head, was mocked, scorned, hated, falsely accused, imprisoned, tried, beaten, crucified, and we should expect no less when we decide to follow him.


When Jesus sent his disciples out the last time, just before his death, burial, and resurrection, he instructed them to take with them a bag and a purse as they traveled making disciples of all peoples and teaching them all the things he had commanded them, and this, now, is where I find myself: a peripatetic disciple of Christ and teacher, traveling very lightly, sharing the good news with all peoples, and I would have my life be no other way.

Neither, apparently, would Christ.

“And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack.” Luke 22:35-36

“And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He [Jesus] is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21

“And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:58

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:16-17

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.” Philippians 1:29

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” Matthew 10:24-25

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also” John 15:18-20

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” Acts 14:22

“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

We do well to follow his example!


About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
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2 Responses to On being a peripatetic disciple of Christ

  1. I appreciate your article thoroughly, and was inspired enough finally to visit my nearest Catholic worker house in Northern Chicago (St. Francis Hospitality House). It’s currently full, but I may keep in touch there in case I can join them, if our mutual first impressions hold true.

    Catholic Worker is not a magic pill, but such an environment I expect would increase my availability for service similar to what you describe, with similar and various activities.

    • Thank you. I’ve had the same issue, in Washington, DC, with a full house. I’ve consider starting a new house there. Please keep in touch with the Saint Francis House. You’re right… CW is not a magic pill, to be sure… but good people working for peace and justice. That’s a hard work anywhere, especially in the USA. We need to do whatever we can do where we are. Peace!

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