Bill “Bix” Bischel
Father Bill Bischel (Bix) enjoyed a kind of radical freedom seldom experienced by most faith leaders. Bix is a bit of a legend in Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest as a Jesuit activist. He was winsome, passionate, determined, and untamable. He embodied the Jesuit formation process designed to free us from inordinate attachments and enjoy Gospel freedom that releases us to do the will of God.
A Free Man
Nearly 1,000 people from many faith traditions attended Father Bill Bichsel’s (Bix) memorial service in honor of his work for peace.
He was arrested 46 times. In 2011, at 81 Bix, and four other war protesters, used bolt cutters to cut through three chain-link fences on the Bangor Navy base in Kitsap County where nuclear warheads were stored. He served a three-month jail sentence. Having survived two open-heart surgeries, Father Bix brought along his nitroglycerin tablets and paused to take some during the long hike. About twenty marines with automatic weapons stopped the activists, put hoods on them to prevent them from seeing any more of the top-secret facility. When someone later said to Bix, Please, Father, don’t get into any more trouble, he laughed and replied, with a wry smile, “We’re all in trouble.”
Bix was a free man whose relentless acts of freedom came with a price. At his memorial service it was said, “Bix imagined and lived an impossible road, and he asked us to walk it with him…He lived the life of Jesus in his body, his blood, his sinews and bones… His love for everybody burned him up…There was nothing left for him to give, and the Father came for him.” What freedom!
Stories that remind us what is possible when leaders undergo the Incarnational Movements.