The Legend of High Church Coyote
As with many religious sects, High Church Coyote (Episcopal Humor) began out of a conflict. Some people in one Episcopalian-themed Facebook group were offended by humorous comments from others, leading to a great deal of conflict and name calling. But in this I saw an opportunity. I created the group and invited a few close friends and like-minded fellow creatures. This allowed those of us with a similar sense of humor to move our frivolity out of the other more serious group, restoring calm in our wake.
The intent was to provide a safe space for people to share posts that are funny and religious in nature — a laughing place, if you will. For many, High Church Coyote has become church. For others, it is a respite from contentious and partisan political discourse. And despite the usual description of Episcopalians as begin the frozen chosen, I like to think we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We — those of us in the group — are lovingly irreverent, a phrase that is not an oxymoron.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the “prince of paradox”.
Back in 2014, I had no idea that five plus years later the group would still be around much less as active as it is today. High Church Coyote has grown into an active community of people now over 37,000 members and growing at a steady pace. While the group began with a focus on Episcopalian foibles, it quickly expanded to all manner of religious and general humor. Given the sheer volume of animal-themed posts, we could just as easily be described as a Franciscan ministry…
We often get the question, “Why a coyote?” The only real answer to that is, “Why not?”
But we can dig a little deeper…
Our first inspiration comes from pop culture, Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. That incompetent trickster is pop culture iconic, and like the fool or court jester in previous ages, remains a mirror for the blind spots and foibles that are common to human nature.
Vernon Cooper, spiritual elder of the Lumbee or Croatoan tribe of North Carolina, had this to say about the role of Coyote Clans:
Black Elk, a Sioux, talks about the hoop of many hoops. He says that above the people is a hoop, a conscience, the total belief of the people. If the hoop is sick, meaning dysfunctional, co-dependent, a lot of alcoholism, family abuse, violence, racism and sexual abuse, the people can get used to this and think this is normal. In other words, the people are asleep. If we have left the spiritual way of life, the people are asleep. If we are giving our power to another entity, the people are asleep. In most tribes, there are Coyote Clans. The job of the Coyote Clan people is to wake the people up. They need to become a nuisance and irritate the people. We must return to the spiritual walk.
(Coyote the Trickster illustration by HyraxAttax)
The coyote is also a beautiful and beloved canine in its own right. As one of the creatures in God’s good Creation, the coyote is as much an instrument of grace and love as any other.
So, pick your myth. 😀
UPDATE 28 December 2018
High Church Coyote
Founder and Administrator
Updated 27 April 2020.