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The Church of the Astral Delicatessen

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It is the aim of The Church of the A∴D∴ (properly called The Church of the Astral Delicatessen of Hillel the Elder) to promote the contemplation of the nature of the sandwich. Practitioners seek to be inspired builders of sandwiches. Founded after an encounter with the first century Jewish rabbi, Hillel the Elder (famous for stating "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."), the A∴D∴ seeks to find enlightenment in the creation and consumption of sandwiches. Thus the A∴D∴ recognizes any creation or consumption of a sandwich as a sacred ritual. In order to foster this position the A∴D∴ will seek to found a place where practitioners can gather and partake in this most sacred of rituals. The A∴D∴ intends this place to be a free form delicatessen where everyone may build their own sandwiches; sandwiches both for the stomach as for the soul.

The Church of the A∴D∴ is overseen by Rev. M.F. Damien

The First Revealation Edit

As I was walking late one night, a Jewish teacher from the first century B.C.E. approached me. At the time I did not know neither the identity of the man nor his origins, he appeared merely as a eastern European Jew, with his funny hat, ragged over coat, vest, and prayer shawl. Actually he looked much like Topol's characterization of Tevye in ...the film version of Fiddler on the Roof. He was carrying a plate on which was a wondrous looking sub.

"Blessed is the person who can understand the meaning of the sandwich." His voice seemed to be coming from far off and strangely from within my own mind as well. "For divine is the creation of the sandwich," he held up the sub, "and meshugena is the hot dog." He spit on the ground at the mention of the hot dog. "But wise is the one who can resolve the mystery of the sacred Kielbasa sandwich. He will gain much wisdom, and be spoken of well in the astral delicatessen."

"I am Hillel the Elder. Think on these things and spread the good word of the sandwich and do not lead others to the heresy of the hot dog." Again he spit. Then he held out the sub to me, "For you will be the avatar of the astral deli."

I did not quite know what to say, but I thought perhaps we should get some ground rules out of the way.

"What should I do about the heretics, unbelievers and eaters of the forbidden hot dog?"

Hillel needed not a moment to think before he responded with a shrug, "Oye vey, so they don't want to believe, what can you do? Call them a putz and be done with it. One last thing: the sandwich is too important to be confined by the laws of kosher. The sandwich is for all."

With that Hillel vanished and I was left alone. The sub stayed, however, and that was one damned fine sandwich.

As revealed by

Rev. Marck Francis Damien
Avatar of the A∴D∴
Grand Master 23° H.P.L.

The Cosmogony of the SandwichEdit

Endless bread and filling choices be upon you.

Let us eat.

Verily I say unto you, the time comes for us all to experience great hunger. Stomachs will begin to growl, fatigue will always become manifest, and there will be many acting like complete jerks, such is the condition of mankind. Indeed, it must come to pass. But fear not, brothers and sisters, we have been shown our means of salvation. Amen, Hillel the Elder has given us The Sandwich, that it may satisfy our hunger.

Let us not forget, though, that Hillel is truly wise. The Sandwich was given to us to satisfy more than just our physical hunger. The Elder called for us all to be inspired builders of sandwiches. Through that act of creation we are called to reflect on the nature of being and how it is reflected in the composition of the Sandwich. For are not all things in truth merely Sandwiches of one type or another?

Consider for a moment just what a Sandwich is. Is it not a rather vague concept, much like reality? Are there not many divergent opinions on what may constitute a sandwich, as there seem to be endless subjective realties? Let us, then, agree on at least a general view of just what a Sandwich is.

First, aught we not have some means by which the substance of our meal be contained and consumed as a unit? Traditionally this role has been served by two slices of bread. One slice at either end of the amalgamation of ingredient choices. These ends define the unit as a whole, as without them you are left merely with disparate ingredients. It is through the ingredients existing within the framework of the whole that they are allowed to compliment each other. A deeper appreciation of the whole then supersedes that which is possible through a single ingredient alone.

And just what must these ingredients be to constitute a valid sandwich? Is it not up to each person to decide this question for himself? Let us remind ourselves of the parable of Ally Sheedy. The parable comes to us from The Breakfast Club. Mrs. Sheedy, as Allison Reynolds, is confronted with a sandwich that was not of her design. Displeased with the composition, she removes and casts-off the bologna from the sandwich. In the place of the discarded meat-product she adds Captain Crunch cereal and a pixie stick. Yea, the possibilities for creativity and individualism are endless when it comes to each one of us building our own sandwiches.

A central guide to The Church of the A⁂D⁂ is “As within, so without”. Applying this aphorism to the Sandwich in relation to the greater cosmos certain conclusions may be drawn. Does not life seem to have two ends, much like the two slices of bread of the sandwich? In between the two ends, in both life and sandwiches, are there not individual components that come together as a greater whole? And are those component elements not ours to chose? Indeed, are we not constantly creating and consuming sandwiches? Are we not meant to grow fat in spirit?

Digest this.

As revealed by

Rev. Marck Francis Damien
Avatar of the A∴D∴
Grand Master 23° H.P.L.

What's all this about sandwiches?Edit

What do I intend to accomplish by founding the Church of the Astral Delicatessen and why should anyone care?

There are several goals I mean to accomplish through the founding of the Church of the A∴D∴, but the central goal and the one which I believe would be of most interest to others is that of fostering the development of local communities of artists, eccentrics, free-thinkers and those who just enjoy those types of folks. I truly hope to establish at least one brick and mortar home for the Church of the A∴D∴ that would aim to be a community center in the truest sense of the word.

The Church of the A∴D∴ would obviously have a deli counter where sandwiches could be had for a suggested donation so that the public could participate in the sacred ritual of the creation and consumption sandwiches and so that the church could obtain funding. However, one of the teachings of the Church of the A∴D∴ is that we are all constantly creating and consuming sandwiches, and since all things consist of aggregations of elements contained within a greater framework, all things can therefore be viewed through the understanding of the Church of the A∴D∴ as being sandwiches of one sort or another. (See: The Cosmogony of the Sandwich for elucidation on the subject of the metaphysics of the sandwich.)

It is with this understanding in mind that the Church of the A∴D∴ hopes to furnish a venue for the free expression of these “sandwiches”. Whether they come in the form of performances of music, spoken word, comedy, film, art or any other form of personal expression – even including dialogues between equals – they are viewed as valid vital “sandwiches” that should be shared with others. The more “sandwiches” we can create and consume, the fatter in spirit we will grow both as individuals and as communities.

Also, unlike many other religious institutions that ask you to hold dogmatic beliefs, the central teaching of The Church of the A∴D∴is that we are all called to builders of our own sandwiches. Build it as you please and once you consume one, feel free to build yourself another!

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