[Rev.] Romulus Campan LTh (Hons), FDScMH (Forensic), CertEd, QTS,
PgCert Religion, Spirituality & Mental Health,
PgCert Special Psychopedagogy,
PgCert Autism & Asperger’s
Chair, Disability & Neurodivergence Staff Network – BSMHFT
Not all real-life stories have a beginning; especially those born from echoes of generational suffering and pain.
It hurts endlessly and helplessly, running from echoes of hope-lost parents’ and grandparents’ tears, loving me, hating me, mourning me ahead of my escape from the same pain and suffering generating the screams of my untimely beginnings.
I never understood until today, the reason for carefully picking the fluffs scattered all over my blanket and eating them; I know now, it was the insolence of roughly round little objects impossible to integrate with the rectangular fold of my crib’s side covering blanket, neither white nor blue…
They were tasteless, oddly textured, eaten nevertheless by a weird little boy more disturbed to sleep by the unfitting randomness of an old blanket’s fluffs, then by the TV sound of some program I wasn’t supposed to see in my parents’ living/bedroom…
A few decades later, waking up in a bed I didn’t at all plan before getting drunk the evening before, desperately understanding that no shower could wash down a pang of guilt I never felt before, I remembered the religious pamphlet someone threw under the door of my shared, four-bed nurse-hostel.
The message was simple: “Cast your burdens onto Jesus, he’ll carry them for you”. Remembering from my Catholic altar-boy years that praying is getting on your knees and talking to an unseen deity, I threw myself by the side of my bed and cried my heart and burdens out onto this Jesus, probably the first time in my life until then, when I was able to have a meaningful “conversation” with someone I called “God” …
“God, if you exist and hear me, I desperately need your help…”
And I went on and on calling God, Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit/Ghost, the Holy Trinity, anyone and everyone I hoped might have listened.
You don’t need too much psychotherapeutic training to know how honest tears and words of acknowledgment can alter the dynamics of hopelessness. That de-traumatizing experience became an anchor so deep into my life’s timeline, that it transformed it from linear into circular, around a newfound religious dedication.
One must remember that just some weeks before my drunken nightmare my uncle called, to share a family secret so deep, that it emerged only after my maternal grandmother’s death. You see, I was told that we were Jewish; suddenly, at that moment, a murky world of stories meant to cover the truth about our roots, fell apart, with the real stories of what truly happened unravelling themselves still, to this day. But that’s for another chapter…
A few more years -and three children- later, I started my formal, five years Licentiate in Theology university training, which forever changed my spiritual landscape. Because against all hopes and plans to become a supercharged Minister of the Word, exposure to the rigors of academic research, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Systematic Theology forced this student to allow mathematical-precision analysis and logic, into the world of “simple” faith. The road to understanding the derailment and hijacking of a genuinely Jewish, messianic sect flocking around the hopes to see the newest prophet preaching another dreamed miracle of deliverance, in this case from the Roman oppression, was long.
Having lost in the first year of my theological seminary, the twins we hoped and prayed for, had a cataclysmic effect on my belief in any form of love from the God I was training to serve; but I marched on “in the footsteps of Jesus”.
I became a regional missionary for a Hungarian Protestant denomination, an ordained minister of the sacraments through an international ministry and Eastern European representative for a non-denominational organization promoting and researching a Christian scientific, creationist worldview. My/our TV and radio programs were broadcast all over the world by religious and secular stations, being invited in Europe and the US by churches, theological seminaries, universities and schools to teach, present and debate on such subjects.
I previously mentioned “simple” because and against opposing opinions, faith is a continuous exercise of accepting something no one has ever proved, closely followed by another exercise, that of denying literally the obvious, what anyone could experientially prove.
I believe therefore that religious faith is an exercise of denial, self-inflicted on an individual or mass level, in order to maintain a perpetual pseudo-reality, in face of an experientially obvious one.
Realization wasn’t easy; going back and forth between the certitude bringing doubt, having to check for myself everything the Apostles claimed, and the guilt-ridden doubt of having become an apostate, condemned to burn for eternity in a lake of fire.
Because contrary to popular belief, Christianity is a religion of “love” for the surprisingly simple-minded majority only, living a carefully constructed denial of selectively placing their spiritual desperation in the illusion of a “love” to be found in far less verses, than the threats of eternal damnation from their “son of David, son of God” …
You see, Christianity is supposed to be the finalisation/fulfillment of Judaism through a once and for all sacrifice of David’s heir. At a closer look, however, Judaism, the religion of a deity redeeming his people through vicarious sacrifices of animals by a dedicated priesthood to act on behalf of Israel, has been taken over and de-judaized, to suit the imperialistic agendas of succeeding conquerors beginning with Constantine.
Nevertheless, and regardless of all efforts by the New Testament writers, their Jesus character’s ancestry doesn’t match the rigorous expectations set out in the Jewish major prophets, causing, therefore, the ab-ovo collapse of the whole system.
However still, I have been left an agnostic minister, with the moral responsibility to care for every evil-hating soul, which is ultimately the only requirement of Judaism, in a nutshell…
I declined around 2009 to continue being the Eastern European representative/director of the aforementioned international creationist ministry, having built an effective regional representation involving religious and secular universities, television and radio programs, many still broadcast around the world to this day. The reason was simple; I find it intellectually, morally and ethically impossible to promote and defend, anything logically and/or rationally untenable.
I continued as a government translator/interpreter and a qualified teacher, having specialised over the years in special Psychopedagogy – Defectology, a postgraduate training giving skills in teaching children/adults with innate or acquired Neurological/Sensory disorders.
A very important part of my professional duties was a project I initiated and carried out over several years, designed to raise awareness of anti-Semitism and about the Holocaust, through visits organised to the Budapest Holocaust Memorial, located in the former Pava Street Synagogue. However, by the end of 2009, we arrived as a family at the point where we couldn’t afford the housing previously affordable through my ministry support.
This is how by mid-2010 I became the 24/7 carer and personal assistant of a middle-aged, British gentleman with hemiplegia; away from my family until 2014, relearning and applying the fundamentals of care from a clinical, social and psychological perspective, having to rely sometimes on nothing less than my military infirmary medic experience for organising moments running away and returning/revolving around a life forever changed by a massive stroke.
Fully reuniting in 2014 with my family raised the question of spirituality, of living our Jewish heritage in a community. I met an amazing young Rabbi, who rekindled the hope of continuing what we so much loved with our South-East Hungarian Synagogue Fellowship.
In vain as it turned out because the U.K.’s rabbinical Council decided that our papers aren’t up to their expectations of orthodoxy, and our Jewishness isn’t the same as “theirs”, expecting from us to basically undergo a reconversion procedure…
I’m still hurting, even after five years, to be told that I have to prove my Jewishness either by producing original ancestry papers or by reconversion. It still feels like what the Nazis wanted by chasing and scattering our family all over Romania, burning every trace of our Jewish heritage, might have succeeded.
I will forever be thankful to the rabbi for not letting me go before wrapping me in my ancestors’ Tallit Gadol (prayer shawl) and Tefillah, holding my hand and reciting together the Shema, every true Jew’s call for our long due God…
Here I am, therefore, a mutilated Jewish soul, having travelled through valleys of shadows of death, awaiting alone in Leonhard Cohen’s larger than life spiritual shoes “for the miracle to come”, tired of all the maestros telling me it’s Mozart, when in reality it’s the same, lame sound of some cheap bubble-gum …
I do however, consider myself privileged to work as a forensic psychiatric/MH practitioner, with specialists from all areas of mental health clinical care, being also as Chair of a dynamic Disability and Neurodivergence staff network, raising awareness and driving changes to benefit staff with neurodivergent conditions and their families.
But what does [Rev.] actually mean?
It stands as a bold statement of a well-earned professional dignity, in respect however of my [temporary(?)] less active status.
And to silence the ignorant choir of self-appointed “specialists” and “experts”, “autism advisors/consultants/etc”, I have put on display my credentials, the infrastructure of my oftentimes merciless assertiveness.
As I am writing, I hear and see, the voices and faces of my patients for whom my years of study and dedication could become steppingstones onto a future away from a criminal justice system which has only started to learn that maybe mishandling due to misunderstanding of an autistic person in distress, could well be considered “assault against a vulnerable individual” as automatically as their autistic-reflex reaction is hastily considered “assault against a law enforcement officer”, condemning an innocent individual to a stigmatised life …
I remember a couple years before the confusing end of the second millennium, an American missionary kindly offered his Microsoft Encarta 95 Encyclopaedia. As I inserted the disc into the drive, I was surprised to hear the inimitable voice of Nelson Mandela, quoting one of his own thoughts, which as years passed by, became more and more embedded in the foundations of my own thought process, a beacon of resilience for the painful years to come, a root and fruition to withstand the atrocities committed against us, the vulnerable and the oppressed, by the laws created for, and by those wearing their Orwellian, face-stomping boots:
“Let there be justice for all.”
*If you would like to support my work please consider donating at paypal.me/RevRomASD