Poetic Pondering

Posted: September 24, 2014 by Ty in Spirituality


That should be where the mourning ends

Yet the question remains

In a society

Where the cost of dying

Is higher than living

What happens to one’s remains

Regardless of death with or without


Where shall the minerals that were once infused

With the source of all that is

With the star dust left

Reside for eternity

While the energy returns to the source

For the next energy source to be ignited by the wisdom


Saturday September 27, 2014 starting at 9 a.m. at Countess Country Museum we are celebrating the summer long Playhouse Community Tour that let you be a Wishmaker by donating to Children’s Wish Foundation! On September 27th discover the final total collected! Come celebrate with food! Games! Grand prize draw of the play house cabin!

And Volunteers needed for wish making:

Ben is looking for some friends to make his wish come true. He is a 9 year old lad who experiences life with Dyskeratosis Cogenita. Ben’s wish of having a kids only playhouse cabin is a wish that brings happiness to his life of going back and forth from hospital (watch Ben’s video here). As part of the festival on September 27 we are hoping some passionate people inclined with building to aid in building Ben’s playhouse wish in 3 sections which will then be transported to the Okotoks Wishmaker to be assembled the following weekend.

Volunteer builders call 403-272-9886 to join the team! And make Ben’s Wish a reality!

Countess Country Museum is located 8.5km east on Highway 550 from the TransCanada.A crowd follows Strathmore Tilley Parade Duchess Playin4keeps Red Deer 2 Taber 2014 whoop up parade

Yup, I am going to be a contrarian in my Albertaness today. That is this whole meta-mythos of the Protestant Work Ethic- Pull yourself up by your own boot straps- Independence jig is a fallacy. A meta-fallacy if you will. It has led to many issues in western society. What type of issues come to mind for me is just how we interact at the family level.

There is this thing called “L-O-V-E”; but it can be so widely defined. There are those that will unknowingly or knowingly define love transactionally. That is in line with this idea of “independence” or “Capitalism-pure” where everything becomes a commodity and where and emotion like love, or an action like compassion needs to be earned (in the Western Christian Theos this resounds with the newer take of Christ’s death on the cross because of  vengeful God demanding blood for “sin”; love can only be gained through a transaction, and in this case that transaction of love is the death of God’s son in place of us–and since Western Society since the time of Constantine leveraged the Christ narrative for control it permeates throughout). Other things though, engagement rings; weddings; grad presents; sweet sixteen; children’s birthday parties; remember the bidding wars over Tickle Me Elmos?

Each an instance in which love is judged via a commodity. Even if a relative comes to stay for a vacation or move in for a spell, and the homeowner needing money for increased expenses can be leveraged to be seen in the eyes of some through transactional love as an act of “you don’t love me” or “you don’t get family” instead of what it is: this is a household where we work together and as such a new adult (or adults with kids/pets) requires more money to keep it going (especially in Alberta where food costs have risen 10% conservatively)– the idea of in it together was seen most notably during the Fur Trade in Canada’s beginnings.

Now I am not condoning behaviours, but historically the Metis Nation (this is the traditional definition of French/Aboriginal mix) was crafted because of the Roman Catholic Church’s communal response that kept all three heritages going into this one new nation within Canada.

That is the true society context one needs to understand: Interdependence.

We are a society that needs many types to keep society running: labourers-white collar-trades-human services-scholars-artists-and front line store staff, etc… just think about it. Everything we do requires a village of talents, treasures, and time to make sure it runs smoothly.

This is our world, this is interdependence. It proves that one cannot pull themselves up, it proves that independence is not healthy, but rather isolating (the rise of social media and the rise of depression/anxiety through isolation I do not think are coincidental).

Oh and for that huge transactional love theos around the cross, read the whole Gospel. Jesus of Nazareth was a labourer, supported by a step-dad, an encouraging mother who taught him his faith, journeyed with friends, teaching society to live differently, to throw of the shackles of labels, to open up community to one another, to care for the whole person, to realize we are in this life together and as such we need to work and play together.

Hmmm…. this is where love and compassion are to come out of.

Which do you believe society needs to grow healthy. Is it TRUE: Independence or Interdependence?

Excerpt from Introduction:

Leaving Churchdom

My journey is at a crossroads, where I am done fighting the same battle for all to be loved and heard within institutions that are more concerned with money, history, dogmatic and doctrines. This work is not a collection of “ohh you’re so wrong” but rather reflections on what love can do, what can it open up, why I have come here. It is sharing personal anecdotes, gospel stories, and meta-narratives I love to enhance the reflections and let them resonate in your soul. For me leaving churchdom is not a negative connotation within this work, it is as my beloved Shawna would say, stepping out in love, no buts attached. For leaving churchdom is throwing off a burden and simply letting four words and a punctuation mark be a guide in life: What Would Love Do? (WWLD?).

I hope you enjoy this collection of reflections, every so often I raise a challenge for you to do your own personal work and reflection, and I look forward to hearing how this may or may not have helped you. The one thing about the chapel, all types came, all types shared, and all knew that bread would be broken, a cuppa drunk, kids and animals would play, and we would discover the common ground of our diversity of spiritualities that fed us, created a unity of spirit to step back out into our world in love.  Continue Reading the e-book: Rainbow Chapel Unplugged Leaving Churchdom

Image  —  Posted: July 30, 2014 by Ty in Spirituality
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Call to Worship:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is discord, union

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

Where there is sadness, joy

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

Seek to be understood as to understand

Seek to be loved as to love

For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Dancing the Circle Wider (speaking notes, but the spirit does lead)

July 20, 2014 @ Centennial Presbyterian Church (10:30 a.m.)

Ezekial 16:49

Matthew 25: 31-46

quote for sermon 2

And with those two scriptures, and the quote I just shared to open, everyone lets out a groan thinking, oh there goes the poverty worker again preaching on about helping the needy and trying to make those haves feel bad…

Or not. For if you were here last week we discovered our voice through the story of a peasant girl of some note, Mary, Mother of Jesus. So this week, we hear her son’s words.

For you see when I hear these words, I reflect on these stories I truly think about the heart they are speaking too, the spirit of the words, not the letter of the words. Literal reading of holy stories is such a late 19th to 20th century phenomenon; we miss the true mysticism of these words.

Who are the poor? What were the deeper sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who are the least of these?

Jesus said his life fulfilled The Law & The Prophets, Ezekiel’s words challenge the institutional church to actually live their faith, not hide behind words. Jesus’ calls us out of our comfort zone. The true depth wasn’t the “sin of the week” that one can target to make themselves feel good, na, and it wasn’t even speaking about have and have not’s, although that is a part of it. These speak to the heart of community, family, and something that needs to be challenged within our faith, we are not a community hierarchy, and we are a circle with a heart beating in the centre called Jesus. Why a circle? Because it speaks to the equality of all.

Think about it, when you boil Sodom and Gomorrah down, the true sin was inhospitality, brutality, and exertion of power not love. Who have we ever made feel unwelcome? Personally? Communally? Who do we need to open the circle wide to so Ezekiel will not be speaking to our institution?

Yet even more challenging is this teaching of Jesus. Where he points to those that if the community, their family, that which the church says we are with humanity, do not choose to care for then we are not doing our faith. Who are the least of these for us in the 21st century church?

There’s the big meta issues, the Drop-In Centre has a banner on it inviting one inside to meet the other 1%; we can talk of those trafficked into human slavery of all brutalities; former prisoners and addicts. These are the easy ones for a person of faith to name of because, well they are sort of already named on the page. But who are those that truly need an uplifting and loving community to exist?

I could share the experience my family had running the Rainbow Chapel out of our living room in Rundle, where we became a hub of love if you will. Where neighbours say no problem, and some still do, to knock on the door, many times where we would sit down for a meal and be throwing on extras because our door was a rotating experience of who was going to be at family dinner that night. Our kids made many friends and discovered many new aunts and uncles and being loved on from what some would say is the fringes.

But why?

Simple, our circle was drawn wide. As an aside, at my Mum’s funeral I discovered she had opened our home on the block when first built running a free food Hubbard for neighbours in need.

Who should draw your circle wide? Who are you comfortable with coming into your home and being friends with?

Is it a young adult recently out of prison attempting to turn their life around? Widowers? Seniors? A family whose loved one is in prison and needs support? A single teenage mother or father? That couple not married, but living together in a deeper love than most married couples? Differently abled persons? Those so spiritually abused they have no desire to know the loving God, until they come to a family and discover through the lives of others? Someone in the process of transitioning genders? An older gay couple struggling to adopt their first children? An older woman coming into her sexuality and love of women for the first time in her life? Someone throwing off the patriarchal shackles of their Christianity and learning to dance the circle of a loving God? Children gleefully playing and discovering together, teenagers seeking a safe space to be themselves and for many it simply is a place they do not have to be the label their school community has placed on them. New Canadians struggling wit the immigration process, awaiting for years their family members, admitting they left to come here when their child was born and now their child back home is almost school age, sharing joy when word comes of the reunification. Watching language barriers melt away through the youngest members. It is letting the abused in, and not judging or pushing, but just giving a space they can exist and rediscover themselves.  Someone struggling to be seen beyond their previous labels of addict, nerd, sex worker, pimp, criminal and just wanting to be their name for once….

Who are those you feel God calling you to draw the circle wide to include?

(Leave a space of silence for congregation to respond)

A church that draws the circle wide is one, as Pope Francis said, that has gone outside of itself into the streets of its community and taken its lumps to get to know its neighbours. It is one that has celebrated triumphs, wept and grieved with those in crisis, had their hearts fall a little when someone embraced continues a negative choice of life… yet you stand awaiting a possible good outcome or just a shoulder for the tears.

Are we ready to heed Jesus words’ a seek those others may class as least, others may state are “sinner”, others or even ourselves may cast a label on to keep them outside the circle, are we ready to widen the circle and welcome them in?

Will we dance with God today and meet Jesus in each person and welcome them as such into our circle?

It is quite a unique paradigm that exists within N.E. Calgary. From my own research a few years back in my Masters’ it is the vast majority non-western European descent, working class, yet we have this astounding quandary of the most churches per capita anywheres.

Most of these buildings are multiple congregation use. That is one name on the mast head, and at least 1 more congregation (if not sometimes up to 6) renting. So you have these multiple service times, worship styles, money going in to keep the rent paid, and pastor paid, very little outreach done…and each grouping not even filling one service fully. Yet within this microcosm there is usually great cultural diversity, languages and worship styles…but they each hold to their own brand.

What if N.E. Church, the congregations under one roof set aside their human ego and actually became one faith family? Where diversity of culture, language and worship existed as one? Where monies were pooled to streamline costs, and used to drive out reach for the broader communities youth, children, seniors and working poor…or those families that fall between the gaps due to hiccups in monies… What if we moved to a model in these new unified Community Faith Families that saw us set aside pastor pays to a truly tent making model where pastors worked elsewhere and members of the congregations became equally equipped for spiritual direction, pastoral care, teaching and preaching?

What if???

Questions to be asked, as more churches enter life support but won’t step outside ego to surrender their denominational identity to truly make a change for the positive…