“I am going back because I am a coward. Sometimes it is easier to go back, than to walk away.”

-Wild Bill (Hickock, 2017 movie)

Westerns and Star Trek, it has been a childhood mythology renaissance in my house lately. Star Trek shares so many values that I hold dear around equality, exploration, peace, greater good (and the list goes on) as well as friendship, and the power of the intrinsic unnameable piece of the human experience that heals us and moves us forward.

Just look to Star Trek Deep Space Nine. The thrust of the whole series is essentially Truth and Reconciliation for a colonized, oppressed and almost genocide people—the Bajorans (at the hands of the Cardassians). It is the story of the Emissary, Benjamin Sisko who goes on his own healing journey with his dual role in Starfleet and now Bajoran Religious leadership. Releasing his own anger and pain at the loss of his wife at wolf 359 (for non-Trekkies, that is the major Borg battle where Captain Picard was assimilated and led the charge).

It is also more, as many have panned the finale of this series for pulling out the old trope of writing where it appears you have so written yourself in a corner that the only way out is to state “the Gods saved us.” Or some other miracle.  Yet, when you are dealing with a people who have had their worth shattered, and are bearing witness to reclaiming/learning their spiritual/cultural heritage it begins to make sense. Think of a whole planet colonized and people living through a healing journey of PTSD, and what finally ends the new war with the Dominion, the evil that has emerged from the Celestial Temple (wormhole) like an Anti-Christ…why it is the Prophets that save.

Could the society have healed without coming to terms and embracing that intrinsic missing piece? How can one heal from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of their entire cultural identity being stripped away by generations, if it is not by truly embracing their truth? Truly, to embrace the old light that shines through the new cracks of the pain to finally shatter the bonds.

It also led to thinking of a youth retreat where we discussed bio-ethics. How? Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s 5th season episode, Rapture wrestles with a child who has a parent that may be dying and needing to make a decision that may or may not be within the parent’s wishes on life and death and calling. The other was Spock and Sarek’s relationship in Star Trek’s Journey to Babel as the father has fallen ill, they are estranged, and duty calls Spock, a logical reaction is to follow duty for the needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the one?  What does one choose? Which part of themselves do they listen to…

It flows, there are many different ethical conversations that emerge from movies and shows. Hickock (2017) was a birthday present from my son, and is the fictionalized look at the time Wild Bill was sheriff of Abilene. A good movie with decent pacing as you explore what it means to follow your actual heart. To leave the comfortable trail, and to see the new calling laid out before you. That is what Wild Bill was speaking to. He was not being a hero or brave by going back to Abilene on his normal path as a gunslinger. He was taking the coward’s way. For it was the comfortable path, as the one that was calling him was the unknown—scary, and would take too much bravery. So, it was easier to simply go with the comfortable road.

These musings have meandered a might but they all speak to wholeness of self and community. For that to happen it means standing at the crossroads and making a choice. The choice that matters is the one that speaks to personal transformation.

The choice that matters, and which part of yourself you listen to…where you seek the intrinsic wholeness of self, whom your Prophets are if you will. These are only questions you can answer.

The question before you are much that same as what Wild Bill had to answer:

Will you be a coward or a hero in your own story?


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

-Captain (Admiral) James T. Kirk opening monologue to Star Trek; Star Trek the Animated series and Star Trek I thru VI

Ah Star Trek, a good sci-fi world to explore many things of morals/ethics and yes, even spirituality.  Thanks to the wonders of Netflix Canada I have had the fun of re-discovering the animated series, a simple 22 episodes from 1973-74. It was a show designed as a continuation of the original Star Trek series, though declared outside of canon. Which frankly I don’t give a damn about, I enjoy good stories with characters I love, this idea of which is to be paid attention to is simply a pain in the butt. Anyways, I digress and back on point. (Full episode guide here.)

The show was fun because with animation instead of live action many more aliens could be added to the crew and worlds, as well, many new things could happen. Many of the scripts were adapted from those that were too costly to make a go on the original show. Much like the comics series and book series that followed the shows, it opened up new alien worlds explore.

The series was voiced by most of the original crew, sans Walter Koenig due to financial constraints, but Leonard Nimoy refusing to be apart of the series if the rest could not speak to a high volume of community and friendship. Yet Koenig was not absent from the series, he was the first Trek actor to writer a Star Trek story in season one’s episode The Infinite Vulcan.

It is a story of creation of a master race, imposition of peace and what truly emerges as a choice between control and free will.

Is the reader starting to see what can happen with these 23-minute episodes over a 22-week period? They work for all ages with viewing, a group of them could be used during specific times of the church year as well (ala Advent or Lent) as a special discussion series.

They are stories that can be tied into discussions, teachings for all ages, or used to craft a specific children curriculum for a part of the children’s ministry as each episode would lend itself to game/craft creation out of the story, and can easily tie into different topics from the epistles.

Considering season one’s episode Mudd’s Passion is a treatise on living as you were truly created (a nod to St. Paul’s writings in Romans that have been oh so misinterpreted as scriptures of pain over time).  There are 21 other short stories like this, that are accessible for all ages.

Basically, I do not want to offer up what a curriculum could look like for spiritual growth and direction. I do not want to say it should only be tied to the Christian Bible, for it can be used within any religious or humanist settings (as Gene Rodenberry was a rationalist humanist). What it is, is another medium for discovery and learning that can be overlooked so easily.

What it takes is someone willing to be creative. Someone who is good with craft/game/music creation or working with kids/adults to create these things on their own. Tying it into some discussion questions and launching. One thing I always stood on when I was working in churches was that money is not what was needed to create multi-generational communities. What was needed was passion, fun and purpose that when lived out becomes contagious. It creates the space for belonging for all, and that is the space that is needed.

Here is some thoughts on a simple tool that can be used.

And to quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard…

“To Boldly go where no one has gone before.”

 


It is a parable that uses a story telling device made famous on CBS’ How I met your mother…a father telling a story to their children to discover. This time around the story invests in theory of change.

There are many theories of change. There is the U theory or the stages of change to name but two. As well these have been adapted into grief work. There are stories of transformation and coming through change like the book parable series, FISH.  For you see change, morale are inter-twined together. It is about coming through the journey from what was to what is. But within the journey being able to honour and include the best of what was, wit the best of the new, or the crystalizing phase as in U theory to become the new norm.

This is the story of Dream Works Boss Baby (2017). For it is the story of actualizing reality beyond the “truth” out of fear, about enough of love (a resource) to go around and as such one group needs to be vilified over another.

“Obviously you have never been to business school!”

“Obviously you have never had a family!”

            -From Boss Baby (2017)

   But there is more. For it is the story of change in dynamics and understanding. The balance of quantitative results and qualitative existence. It is the story of new life. Not a complete abandoning of the old, but rather a building upon what was, to include what is, so what is to become can emerge.

This is the relationship between Boss Baby and older brother Tim on their journey together. A journey of give and take of learning. Learning that transforms each when they each open themselves up to learning from one another.  It was a gem of a surprise when my kids picked up the DVD from our local Wal-Mart for family movie night (and yes have been watching it at least twice a day since).

I am not going to share many plot points because it is a fun ride, and yes you need to experience it. Shape the parable for your own context. For it is time to discover hidden questions on your change journey:

  1. How are you Tim?
  2. How are you Boss Baby?
  3. How do you know you are ready to embrace the new? What from the old is coming on the journey?

But above all…remember you do not end with Ha! But Arrr!

Masts ahoy matey on the change journey!


“Every story has three parts, the beginning, middle and the twist.”

-R.L. Stine (Goosebumps Movie 2015)

                Mystery floats up. His eyes look through the window. There is probably an altar with flammables, but I cannot speak to his theatrics or if he would just look for a sprinkler to light up…

                When the wall explodes inwards sending sandstone and wood careening inside and the screamo music turns to screams.

                Mystery lets out a cackle “for Zed.”

 

The Street Avenger is a legacy hero. Many generations tough mo-fos battling from the shadows and keeping Gothic City safe from hooligans and villains. I had the privilege of battling many during my less than heroic past years, some may say I was one of said hooligans, but I was rarely caught. Douglas Katz was one who perished at the hands of a World War II villain known as K, it was short hand for what the Third Reich had dubbed him, “Nazi Killer” (ever the creative ones those puds). He was what was known as a tri-kinetic (telepath, telekinetic, pyro-kinetic).

Said K looked like he perished in the same battle that claimed Douglas’ life. But K was a monster that survived and came back to almost wipe out the whole family of generations, but a new hero rose for a time and defeated K.

During that battle Mystery came out.

Recently he has rejoined the Great Crime Fighters, and stipulates that he is Douglas (not Kevin as I mistakenly believed, old man memory I tell ya). During his recent renaissance, he has shown low levels of telepath (or is it simply over active empathy and intuition?) and a glimmer of pyro-kinesis.

Fast forward to the attack on the Ashram and the surgical assault and assassination of Zed, which led us to the cult-gang Killer Faces, brought us outside their temple (in genius tax exempt organized scam if I will) and the idea to drum out the punks by a simple act of triggering what I hoped would be a sprinkler system.

Instead I get a wall exploding in ward. Security alarm going off. Folks from the cult and neighbours with their phones out video taping, and sirens in the back ground on their way here. Sure, technically we are the heroes, but not really the well know variety. The upside is the exploding wall has silenced the god-awful music sounded like a cat being skinned from the inside out.

“Where is Killer Face?” Mystery’s voice echoes.

I draw my double barrel and as I look upon the armed goons coming over the wall wish I wasn’t packing rubber buck shot in this one.

“We are Killer Face.” Sounds like an off key Greek Chorus. Aim and fire. More screams as I open and load more cartridges.

Mystery is floating into the temple. His telekinesis is tossing folks, some bleeding from being hit by flying wall sandstone and wood. Hoping some of those sirens are EMS, there’s going to be a few hurting units inside. Mystery does not look or sound happy.

Never realized how much Mystery was…mean.

Another volley of rubber buck shot, reload and fire again. Groans but I am at the wall.

Mystery knocks out one KF member. A large gorilla looking man is running his way. His back is turned. I aim to fire rubber and knock him off attack, but Mystery whirls. A jagged piece of wood flies loose from the wall flying through the right eye socket of the assailant.

Ok, Mystery missed the memo as the cult member drops dead.

“We don’t kill mate.”

He whirls in mid-air. His fedora flies off as his eyes flare with crackling blue flame. “They killed Zed. They started this war.”

“So you will end it?”

“Damn straight, Will.”

I feel a telekinetic push knock me back hard on my back. I catch around the altar one shrouded in black cloaks, a middle-aged man with that Charles Manson look and a dagger in hand. The Bishop himself. “We killed no one tonight, it is murder sabbath!”

Wind is out of my lungs when I hit the dust.

I stare at the way the wall came down.

The Ashram.

I hear again the Bishop screaming they killed no one.

Can’t get to my rifle. But in my boot, my hunting knife. A bit awkward but throw while he’s distracted.

The temple wall.

The ashram.

Street Avengers were never tri-kinetics.

K was.

Douglas helped his nephew beat K once and for all then retreated into the shadows.

Shit how could we all have missed this.

The knife leaves my hand as Mystery is focused on the leader of the cult.

Sirens are closer.

A screech of pain. My knife hit his shoulder.

Mystery wheels around to focus on me. Hopefully this Bishop sees his opening. “Do not think you will not join Zed tonight William.”

“Precisely you murderous sanctimonious sack of shit.” If I could stand I would spit for emphasis, but I think I bruised or broke a rib when I landed.

Cars are screeching.

The Bishop screams trying to rally the disillusioned troops.

Mystery sticks out his arm and catches the Bishop by the throat.

“Killer Face Prime I presume. Consider this your 2 weeks notice.” When a neck is snapped it is an eerie sound. Even though he was a murderer, that was cold. The body crumples down onto the dust of the yard. “If you wish to live, I am the new Prime.”

There appears to be no dissension in his new ranks.

Mystery touches the ground before me.

Police have the temple surrounded.

The kerchief is loose and Mystery lets it fall away.

Zed once told me it only takes a little bit to embed your presence into another. The human mind like a computer, a skilled telepath could create a Trojan horse virus to embed their essence into another for a complete take over.

The eyes I stared into I remember from the past. A cold killer’s glare. One crafted in the very bosom of hate.

“K.”

“Very good weakest link. This temple is my home, these worshipers are now my followers. This city will be mine. Let your sniveling heroes know their time of life is limited. This city will be mine.” His face turns into a sneer. “Let your friend Rick know, I will have his head on a pike.”

I watch as he floats back into the temple.

A new evil begins….

 

 


I hate Killer Faces. They are the worst, its not just an intricate street gang, but one wrapped in a wanked out killer cult motif they try to tie back to weird practices of the occult and esoteric or so the revolving door of Killer Face Prime that leads them. I say it’s a revolving door because there is no way it is the same dumb ass running the show for over 30 years, but stranger things have happened.

The most twisted thing is that they pooled money and purchased a “temple” for their “services” where they gather to hear the gospel (keep in mind ancient word gospel was a political statement) according to K.F.P… The temple they purchased was a deconsecrated Anglican church. Which keeps its doors locked unless you have this week’s password. Which is why currently Kevin—sorry Mystery—an ol’ Shotgun are waiting outside.

They haven’t kept up well with landscaping, grass is so brown its blowing away in the dust, and five trees would have more life if they were driftwood.

Over the solid oak double doors is a cross that is stain glassed images of the stations of the cross. If I was a religious man this would be sacrilegious in my mind. Instead it is quite in genius for the scam, the members of the gang/cult unbelievably tithe to the temple so they are not only used as canon fodder, but also pay for the privilege.

Mystery is still trying to get a telepathic fix, but he is not a strong telepath, so its not the easiest thing to do. Part of me wants to knock and open and just see what happens. But, I also am not a young man, and I counted at least 50 inside and that was for the 20 minutes we were watching before service began. No telling how many may have arrived earlier.  Can’t believe this collection of idjits got the drop on Zed.

“Ready Kevin?”

“For the last time Shotgun, my name is not Kevin.” Mystery said.

“Oh right, sorry it’s Mystery.”

“No, you daft wanker, my name is Douglas, Kevin was my dad. What B.K.’s fist back in the day rattled your brain too much back in the day.” Mystery retorts. I can’t help the laughter escaping. Damn, he’s right. Kevin was entering retirement due to being crippled at the hands of K, and it was Doug that was the Street Avenger during the early days of Rick. The one that others believed was killed but no body was ever found. “Besides I wanted to use Enigma, but that was during Rick’s turn at being touch brooding mystery tech man. So, I took Mystery instead.”

I nod as the weird screamo wafts and hurts the ear drums out of the temple. “Why not use Street Avenger?” Valid question it being a family legacy name and all.

He dips his hat at me. I see a little flame crackle in the corner of his eye. “My nephew was the last Street Avenger. He gave his life and the lineage ended with him. I honour my family by continuing the fight, and letting a good, honourable death stand at the end of our legacy.”

Sometimes it is true, the heroes have darker souls than the villains.

But that spark.

“How strong of a pyro kinetics?

“Why?” His eyes follow mine to the cracked open windows around where the sanctuary would be. And I believe if this was a cartoon there would be a lightbulb going off above his head. If the temple is up to code he would set off the sprinklers, if not…well humans are resilient in survival.

Mystery floats up. His eyes look through the window. There is probably an altar with flammables, but I cannot speak to his theatrics or if he would just look for a sprinkler to light up…

When the wall explodes inwards sending sandstone and wood careening inside and the screamo music turns to screams.

Mystery lets out a cackle “for Zed.”

To be Continued…


Speedster called, but she’s still laid up at home and Johnny Power is playing nursemaid. That left the mysterious, Mystery to float down to the ashram to investigate. I know he likes to play off that he is this living enigma, but truly that is for those outside of the know. Not ol’ Shotgun have you though. This was a Street Avenger. It appeared the villainous K (a Nazi super-killer) had done him in, but left him in the sewers with amnesia for years. He finally regained his memory, a Kevin Katz. But still hiding from his true self. A tri-kinetic, low level, part telekinetic, telepath with flickering’s of pyro kinesis.

I stand at the gate. The ashram has seen better days, burnt out, by my old eyes, from the inside out.  The metal burst in such a way to look like a tormented lotus in bloom. At the centre, pipes twisted into an upside down cross.

Puff intakes as I light a Cuban and begin walking towards the floating man in the billowing trench coat and fedora. Rumour had it that Zed was some ancient alien entity that our ancestors in Greece called Zeus, in Rome, Jupiter. His latest form to survive he had taken on the monastic form.

But here he was stripped to the skivvies, upside down like tradition tells us they did St. Peter. The glimmering fires I can see the scourge marks on the back. But his throat is slit. Who knew alien-godling-immortals bled chartreuse. If I wasn’t processing information to spot some clues I am sure I would laugh.

“Will.” Mystery’s voice sounds like a bad impersonation of the Shadow radio voice.

“Mystery.” I know who he is. He still won’t admit it. Not worth the oxygen having the same argument over and over again. Wonder though if he remembers the many times we tangled back in the day. Ah the bad ol’ days, sometimes it is hard to not want to take that path again, so comfortable like a worn pair of Levi originals they used to sell with Harley’s. The new path still takes breaking in of the new jeans creases.  But breaking in is the way to repay my karmic debt, as Zed once intoned it to me.

Now I am looking at—friend is to strong a word—colleague? Bit more, teammate just hanging there. “Any idea when rescue gets here to cut the poor bastard down?” I ask.

Mystery softly lands before me. “Rumour has it, Rick called in a favour to allow me to attempt to see if I could capture anything from his essence.” It is a telepaths trick, for those a bit stronger, that they sometimes if they respond quick enough can grasp a bit of synaptic energy and replay the last moments for clues. “Sadly, we were too late.”

I nod slowly, but my eye catches a blinking green light. Mystery’s eye slit (only thing visible between fedora brim and black kerchief) moves to the blinking light. I take a puff on my cigar as I move and squat. I go to click the flashing button on the cube, reminds me of that asinine power saving power bar the government gave me for free a few months back.

Mystery uses a telekinetic push and holds my hand still. “What if it’s a trap?”

“Well, I either press it and it goes boom, or we wait till the flashing stops and its goes boom, either way boom.”

I actually believe Mystery laughs as he releases my hand and I double tap (yes I loved Zombieland too) the button.

The blinking stops.

I exhale a little, didn’t think I was holding my breath.

Mystery looks at me, I give him my best Han Solo grin as the box pops apart and a beam opens wide with a whir. Hologram. I really hate this sci-fi shit. Not as much as the godling-alien murder crap, but its in the top 20 things I despise (though surprisingly not as high yuppified coffee bevvies).

The image is simple.

How did they manage to pull of murdering an entity whose twin existed and required literally the Son of the Devil to exorcise?

Mystery exhales. “Killer Faces.”

To Be Continued…

 


It is official, the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta have a betrothal agreement.  I am going to avoid soap boxing about allusions to the McKay-Harper merger fiasco federally that put centrists out of the party structure and those not wanting the merger unable to vote. Even though under 60% of eligible voters for each party (55-PC; 57ish-WRP) voted to give the 95% YES for both parties (and ignoring the WRP PIN issuing issues).

But the membership that did vote, much like any election the citizens that did vote, carry the mandate and form the government–or in this case the new party.

Yes it does alter the landscape politically whether or not one wants to admit it. Much like the fall of the 44 year dynasty (though I stretch that conservative control back further to Ernest Manning’s So-Creds after Aberhart’s transition, but very few historians back my opinion) fell to Rachel Notley’s NDP. We are 2ish years into a 4 year mandate for what could be another dynasty, a transitional pivot, or a course correction for Albertans where we allow our compassion, rationality and pragmatism to enter fully into our voting so we no longer elect dynasties (minority government anyone? Just for a few terms to correct much of the muck that is our money eating bureaucracy?).

But is the UCP the utopia that will accomplish this? One cannot say as they are a vote tally, and a name. What is being seen, much like the federal vote of merger is an exodus by Red Tories seeking a new political home–this federally gave bumps to Greens, Liberals and NDP, but also the formation of smaller parties like the Progressive Canadian Party as these centrists searched for political home.

That is the story of Alberta currently. The Alberta NDP is calling on them to take out a membership, so is the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberal Party (just look at the Centre Together movement that meets in Red Deer).  There is an open call, and a caution. Slow down when seeking the new home, or the first home. Really explore all options on the table. Contemplate, meet your local associations and members (for it is not just policy, but those members in your area you will be a apart of)…and simply see where you fit?  It may surprise you.  Also remember a strong party regardless of size allows members to speak into all aspects, and craft the policies that shape the party.

The landscape is re-shaping in Alberta. It is our time as Albertans to put out there we no longer want decisions made by blind ideology, rather we want solid Peace, Order and Good Governance that has citizens, not PACS-lobbyists or politicians, best interests at heart.

Begin your party search here (for those with websites simply click on the name, otherwise office contact is listed):

Alberta First Party:

Alberta Liberal Party

Alberta New Democratic Party

Alberta Party

Communist Party Alberta

Green Party of Alberta

Pro-Life Alberta Political Association (Formerly Social Credit)

United Conservative Party (UCP-PCAA & UCP-WRP)

Reform Party of Alberta

I also encourage you to keep your ears open for local Independent candidates in your riding that you resonate with to support. For every voice in the legislature matters for crafting the best social contract.

…We’re practical and generous and open and bold. We want responsible and accountable spending. At the same time we’re willing to pay fair value for efficient and effective government services, but we want to know each and every dollar is put to good use…

-Greg Clark, Alberta Party Leader excerpt from Facebook Post July 22, 2017