Break with tradition

Posted: January 23, 2017 by Ty in Spirituality

New Indigenous spirituality books challenge the notion that sacred teachings should only be passed down orally

Source: Break with tradition

It is funny as both the former Official Opposition, NDP, try to secure candidates for leadership, and the current Official Opposition, Conservative Party of Canada have a robustness of anglophones running to lead a bi-lingual mosaic of a nation…both decry the Liberals who are currently forming the government.


How did Trudeau and his team win the government?

It was by changing the tone of rhetoric. Finally moving away from mudraking and playground bully sounds– to positivism. They chose a term that caught on as most Canadians, regardless of actual socio-economics latched onto as their truth “Middle Class”. It was the sound of something new, and yes there has been movement on some things, back tracking on others as what happens when new Governments begin within their first term, and their first quarter.

But this is not about whether or not I agree with Trudeau’s leadership. It is about what is missing from the public discourse in my country. We have given up expecting vision and excellence in leadership. If you have time, find the archives to listen to past leaders federal and provincial like Tommy Douglas, J.S. Woodshworth, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, Robert Stanford, John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson, William Aberhart to name but a few. Leaders that did not need soundbites. They had conviction, dreams and visions that were cast, worked on and fulfilled that created the Canada that became a benchmark for the world at large.

Then as a populace we began to accept less from our prospective leaders. And they met where we set the bar.

We have finally pushed it to a level of civility, let’s push it higher. Let’s expect our leaders to leave the sandbox and enter the podium of vision casters once more. CPC/NDP/Greens and the other 13ish available parties federally, are you listening?

Don’t choose the blusteriest person or settle– choose the one that sees the greatness that is the mosaic of Canada, the land of the Just Society, a home for all. Find the one that speaks from the heart, with conviction, and vision that excites to build forward from the foundation laid.

Your party in waiting wants to form the next government, it has to offer those steps beyond just positive politics…. so show us your vision. Show us your heart. Show us your conviction.

For the parties. Know who you are as a gathered community, and find the leader that resonates that outwards brightly, not the other way around.

So politically it is not what is your tweet or sound bite…but truly—

What is your heart for your nation?

Tom Harpur was a religious writer. A minister, journalist, thinker and theologian who was highly accessible and readable. His work Pagan Christ written 12 years ago when he was 75 years old opened up a debate in some circles around historicity of the mystical Jesus story and the overlay of other mystery religions onto Christian life in the early days. Water into Wine was the follow up, and yes his Born Again (Journey from Fundamentalism to Freedom) were inspiring works in the later part of my spiritual journey as I went deeper into my own Franciscan formation and metaphysics.

On January 2 his joined the Holy Mystery for the next revelations at age 87. Another great voice of critical and progressive thought in spiritual journeys transitioned.

I mentioned to the wife that Born Again was akin to my own spiritual journey, and she quipped back except you started just left of the United Church on the spectrum.


Yet there is something about the progressive journey to remove oneself from the constraints of an institution designed to prop up the establishment of bureaucracy, wealth and real estate instead of actual experience.

But for those who are unfamiliar with his pastoral road, this quote of Harpur’s eulogy article from the Toronto Star January 6, 2017 sums it up:

“I feel a deep compassion and pastoral concern . . . for the untold thousands right now who want to express the new ways in which they are experiencing God today,” he wrote in 2007. “What is needed, I believe, is not more ‘renewal.’ . . . The time has come for a radical rebirth of the Church.”

-Tom Harpur

As a Christmas gift I got one of those inspirational sayings calendars, this one from a hero/spiritual formation guru of mine, the Dalai Lama. On January 4th the statement was simple: The sharing of food is where relationship begins.  It rings very true.

Think about it.

When do people usually relax the most?

Pub over nachos. Cheap burger joint. A kitchen table (heck its why most house gatherings eventually wind up there).

It is why I have always held the firm belief in my spiritual journey that communion was never about the grape juice/wine and bread/host, that was not what Brother Jesus was instituting as sacrament.

These thoughts were renewed when my daughter and I went back to our Presbyterian church home on January 1 and it was a communion service for us to partake in.  You just need look to the earliest church writings from St. Paul, where he is chastising people for abusing the communion (community) meal, where some gorge and some starve, and you begin to see the true institution.

A new way of life was being called for. It would lead to the structures executing Jesus. He was saying, take time together, slow down life, break bread, eat and drink so all are cared for. Take this time to get to know one another, and like Sabbath, refresh and renew.


Yes it is a big but, and I cannot lie. Like the Dalai Lama pointed out, for building community/family it was not the be all and end all.  This is meant to be the beginning where new life transformation emerges.  The breaking of bread is the beginning for the most radical transformation of ever…beginning to truly love one another authentically.

So who will you invite for a quick bite to start life with?

A great commercial to see, #Eattogether

The minister this Sunday noted how weird it first appears that Matthew 25:31-46 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 were paired together. But a bit of reflection and listening you can see the connections. For in Ecclesiastes, the Teacher (who tradition says is Solomon, which adds a whole layer of thought here) is laying out in the poem the rhythm of life, but in the work as a whole lays out that all that matters is living within, through and out of the Holy Mystery we are one with.

Which brings us into the Gospel of Matthew’s story of the sheep and the goats:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[a] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him,[b] saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

-Matthew 25:31-46 (New King James Version)

A much-maligned passage as people focus on the judgment aspect, which the separation is a piece of it, but not the full scope of the passage. For it can be an interior separation as well where the ego (sin) that keeps the connection from the Holy Mystery hidden is finally cut off, and in humility true actions of love are revealed. Those true actions are what is seen in the “When did we see…” And the actions laid out appear simple, but all too often are ignored in our world of deserving/undeserving it calls us all to a different level of living, feeling, acting and experiencing. That is the level of a life lived out of love.  When there is a need, we fill it and build the relationship from there. It is the action of interdependence.

But how do we get there?

It comes from a deeper listening of the words of Ecclesiastes. So let us enter the Lectio Divina to see how the Holy Mystery speaks into our hearts. Get comfortable for you will be with the poem three times. Breathe deeply feeling the stress of the day wash away from your system, the sludge blocking your energy burn away. Relax into the chair, feel it as it evaporates into a cushion of years past, as you are within the midst of others listening and learning this teaching.

Prepare yourself for the first hearing, as you hear these words sit with them. What memories/images of your life of joy come up? Sit with those memories for a time.

Now hear these words:

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (New King James Version)

Now hear the words a second time, and this time see what images/memories of hope come to your mind. Sit with these a time.

And on the third and final hearing, see what images/memories of you having been loved and expressing love come to the surface, sit with these for a time.

Slowly bring your breathing back to normal, feel the bustle of the past, and the cushion dissolve bringing you back into the now. When you are ready, open your eyes.

Now you may ask how the two connect? Simple those memories, emotions, feelings and images of joy, hope and love you have experienced? That is the Holy Mystery within, that is the wall (ego) that separated you torn down a little. This is where you live out of for the humble answer to “When did I see you…” and know the answer is simply four little letters:


Welcome to 2017.

I will admit I was part of the Marchin’ Marvel Army as a kid, with a lot of DC thrown in for fun, yet as I aged what I found wonder in with Marvel became event and funky cover driven dreck (this was about the time sealed with Zero Hour, and James’ Robinson’s Starman at DC, matched with amazing stories of Green Arrow, Flash and a returned Superman, but I digress).

I have dabbled back in to Marvel with Disassembled,  Superior Spider-Man and Daredevil, but when something good is happening the next “re-start” event hits and yeah it grows tiresome to need to buy 20 kajillion titles to know what is happening with your character. But thanks to the joy of the Calgary Public Library discovered the Hawkeye series via collected editions. What Fracton and company were doing with Hawkeye (s) was great, getting a real street level of the people hero.

Fast forward a bit an in the comic shop picking up Hellblazer #5 (yeah Suicide Squad ya lost me with this early going cross over with Justice League that stretched an already tight budget). And my eyes fall on a title with Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye on the cover, called Occupy Avengers. Okay it sounds like a marketing gimmick tying to the occupy movement of a few years back where the 99% called out the 1%, and besides it was a #2, and in Canada, Marvel titles are like $2 more than DC. Say to myself silently, if they have #1 I will splurge and pick up…dang universe there was #1, so follow through.

Well Walker and Pacheco you created joy I haven’t really had since Starman, and then discovering O’Neill’s Hard Travelling Heroes stories of Green Lantern and Green Arrow. The partnership of Barton and (Red) Wolf—renamed simply Wolf by Barton with the throw away line that speaks volumes of a needed change in the world–Red sounds too racist for this aboriginal hero. To each issue having a different character’s P.O.V., the everyman becoming part of the team…and please–Hydro-Man—woot woot.

But I digress, I may need to check the library for the Civil War II collection to truly read the catalyst for this wandering, where Barton reports he followed through on his friend Banner’s wishes and killed him. Thus making him a pariah with Super Heroes, and a hero to every person who had ever been caught in the Green Goliath’s rampage.

The fact that the first two issue story arc centered on clean water on Rez land speaks volumes not just to an American audience, but to this Canadian reader knowing what our Northern Reserves are struggling with our Federal government over right now.

So yes, keep it up, keep it relevant, so far this is worth the extra money per month and will be my 1 of 2 titles I have budgetted myself to afford. So please no wonky cross-overs or events to scuttle the story that is emerging on the bi-ways and side roads of Marvel’s America.

Sax’s jaw couldn’t get any lower at the news. Speare was watching as Natan moved towards sweater vest for an embrace.

Natan held open his arms, and the small account man sunk into him.

“Yes Nate, we are one for ever and always.”

“Yet no more, I told you when I left the circles of home, that there was another.” Natan said. His voice a barely audible whisper beyond sweater vest.

The accountant pushes back.

His eyes have the funky greenish flame glow.

Speare contemplates the year that has been.

The global losses on the scholarly, intellectual, and entertainment world to many to remember in the blink of an eye moment like this…so many gone.  The memes on his Twitter and Facebook feed about protecting Betty White so 2016 doesn’t get her.

His personal losses of friends and family. The prophet John Constantine once said with magic comes pain. He just thought it was a throwaway line from a comic, how sadly wrong he was.

To the corporate pain in the city, despite the lived-in evil that needed to be dealt with John MacCurtis had bound so many together in the fight for good.

How at moments like this…

Speare knows what is to come.

There is a silent resignation.

Sweater looks at Sax, then at Natan. Speare is simply collateral damage in this day’s events.

“Then we all go home.”

Why Speare smirks and laughs as the flames erupt…

Because its 2016….

The End.