We enter a social contract in Canada when we become citizens through whatever channel that takes. In the 1970’s and 1980’s it was dubbed the “Just Society”. But the rules are simply outlined in our Constitution Act 1982, Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and Canadian Laws. Over the past two decades the party’s that have formed Government have been bending and breaking the simplest of social contracts by not preparing for the lean times or the times of medical need. They have prepped our social safety net for health, not for what they are designed for. A prime example of this is Employment Insurance (renamed from Unemployment Insurance during Chretien’s tenure as PM). During the latest economic downturn Canadians have been hard pressed to access in a timely manner, thus driving up debt loads and creating a burden of poverty cycles upon citizens who wait or are denied that which they have paid into for their working life. These payments were for us in need, and our fellow citizens—our end of the social contract with the other end being from the government for prompt pay out when necessitated.

Part of this EI process is the medical portion, for a short 15-week duration so workers do not have to fear losing everything while this percentage of income comes in to cover costs of living while medical teams figure out what next steps are. This unfortunately has not been being dispensed promptly. I have waited 15 weeks for a 15-week payment program on a medical claim that has not been answered by EI yet, I have not been able to get through the call banks (which we know 70% of calls go unanswered). Below is excerpts from an e-mail communication I sent to the Members of Parliament listed, with Hon. Duclos being the minister over EI, and Hon. Hehr being the minister over disabilities. I encourage each person who has had an unanswered EI or EI Medical claim that has gone unanswered and is providing hardship to contact these ministers and your local MP to get answers and the support our social contact is to provide.

Please Note: This is not an ideological pissing match—both federal parties that have formed governments over the last 20 years have left EI ill equipped to fulfill its obligations to the citizen. This is about renewing the contract, and the other signee-the Government, respecting their end and ensuring the contract does not remain broken.

(once I have received my EI Medical there will be an update on lapsed time so others who need to apply can try to secure credit debt accordingly).

I also want to acknowledge being brain fog, stabbing pain into brain and undiagnosed seizure disordered subsided enough today for this communication-but how I paid after dinner for it (excerpts of e-mail sent January 16, 2018 to government):

_____________________

Dear Rt. Hon. Trudeau, Hon. Duclos, Hon. Hehr, Hon. Obhrai, and Hon. Angus:

October 2, 2017. That was 15 weeks ago when my employer filed for EI Medical coverage for me as I had to leave work due to stress induced unknown seizure disorder (40 noticeable events a day—that is someone else saw it happen to me) that was triggering neurological, physiological and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomology. It is only a 15-week program, so that is 15 weeks without income into my household. I am happily partnered with my wife who has health challenges; our two children (my daughter is termed “typically developing” and my son is blessed to experience life with tri-spastic cerebral palsy, legally blind, epileptic, and ADD with a global delay). We elected as a family to have one parent remain at home to aid with our son’s appointments and specialists, so yes, my wife is a stay-at-home Mum. But it was not my family’s personal stressors that brought me to need EI Medical (or even EI for the first time in my working life).

I serve in the non-profit sector attempting to eliminate homelessness within our great nation, have worked hard my entire life in peace, human rights, and poverty reduction—which has included work within dementia wards, youth outreaches, addictions/recovery, child sex trade (now called human trafficking) elimination on the front lines, emergency shelters, life and vocational skill coaching for persons with disabilities, and community and housing first housing programs. I have also taught post-secondary students from diploma through post-doctorate work and have mentored many a practicum student… I made a conscious choice to be on the frontlines in the working class to make change for those that fall between the cracks of our society….

How and why EI will not pay out what is owed? And they are unreachable (thanks to the CBC we know that 70% of calls go unanswered) …I await a prompt and positive resolution to my filing for EI Medical 15 weeks ago with the full back pay swiftly.

 

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Weird things wind up in one’s mailbox with alumni associations like the one I have with Ambrose University. Like today, where a trial copy of Faith Today with their ½ price subscription offer to alumni and free trial magazine. Now the Evangelical Fellowship is not my theological cup of tea (I know it must shock long time readers), yet the issue contained a 2-page article on inclusion of those with disability within the church community. It started to open a conversation I have been banging away at for decades…church is a place where all are to belong. It is not about creating a “program” or a “ministry for” it is about doing life together and with, it is about valuing the individual for who they are and have been created to be not seeing anyone as less than or in need of healing to fit our schema of wholeness (holiness).

It goes deeper than the functionality of the building. Although physical accessibility is a bonus within a building structure, that is nuts and bolts that can be fixed/adapted. What is harder is changing the heart of the community to full inclusion and acceptance of the wonders that will be opened through the different perspectives that exist across the spectrum of ability.

It was a good article because it was from the perspective of parents who have journeyed like we have as a family, so I thought a little good news in my mail box deserved some good news in cyberspace. For those in Calgary here are 3 spiritual homes we have found that are more the later than the former when it comes to inclusion:

3) St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church

2) Centennial Presbyterian Church

1) Robert McClure United Church

Remember when we are called to love neighbour as ourselves…it is because we all exist within the Holy Mystery and the Holy Mystery exists within us…and no mistakes were made but perfect as we are meant to be.


First off, I am thankful to be able to put these thoughts together. Scheduler allowed thoughts throughout the 12 days of Christmas season (in traditional liturgical churches the only time Christmas carols are sung), which was rather chaotic with neuro-events and flashbacks. So today even though we did not make it out to celebrate Epiphany Sunday in the west or Christmas in the East, I did want to pass on a few thoughts.

As you read the main Gospel reading (the other 3 readings are after the post ends, so you can bring all four together to tease out themes if you want). Take time to bring different lens than the normal western church. As noted our house will begin hosting an exploration of the Qur’an.  While doing some reading (another blessing after about 4 days of not being able to focus to read) I was reminded of how that sacred text can be misunderstood because we do not read it in the light of the contrast style of writing.

Perhaps this is one way to approach the Epiphany for new discovery for your own journey. Read the text through the lens of contrast what new insights come through.

Matthew 2:1-12
2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 

2:2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 

2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 

2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 

2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 

2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” 

2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 

2:8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 

2:9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 

2:11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The other, is the way of Eastern Orthodox theological dialogue I discovered when serving in Anglicanism. It is the trinity dialogue, where you enter discussion on a topic with a party, but it is written to that party about the dialogue held with another. Taking this lens, with the understanding that the term Gospel in the time of the Roman Empire was a political statement. Read into the text the dialogue of the Magi and Herod about those in poverty, and realize it is with the believer decades removed, or the Empire overseeing. What message is being sent to both parties. Reflect on these messages.

As you spend time reflecting on this Epiphany discourse, what epiphany has come into your journey?

What is your epiphany for your life journey in 2018?

 

-Make your own little corner of the world a better place-

Dream no little dreams.

-Pastor Tommy Douglas

Rest of Lectionary for today:

Isaiah 60:1-6
60:1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

60:2 For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.

60:3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

60:4 Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

60:5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

60:6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
72:1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.

72:2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.

72:3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.

72:4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.

72:5 May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.

72:6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.

72:7 In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

72:10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.

72:11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.

72:12 For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.

72:13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

72:14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

Ephesians 3:1-12
3:1 This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–

3:2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you,

3:3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words,

3:4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ.

3:5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:

3:6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

3:7 Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power.

3:8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ,

3:9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;

3:10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

3:12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him

From: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=106


And Tobias went forward, and the dog followed him, and he lodged the first night by the river of Tigris.

-Book of Tobit 6:1 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

 

Yes, it is a line from the Bible. Why the dog went? Is it some grand theological mystery I am going to unpack for you now? No. Let’s be real, the family goes adventuring the dog goes with. And for my friends in the Protestant version of Christianities you will not find this in your 66 books. It is one of the Apocryphya-Deutero-Canonical. That essentially means extra books, it is found in the Roman Catholic 72 books. See the Bible is not as closed and finite as many believe, it is a varied collection dependent on the Christianity you journey through—Orthodox, Protestants, Catholic, Coptic, Gnostic, etc… each has their own canonical collection.

And within are gems that prove fundamentalist-literalism is truly a newer last 100ish years invention that was never intended to be the lens to read scripture through.  Literalism is taking the black and white word on the page for what it means. By extension that is saying to someone watch Shakespeare literally without the form that shapes the tragedies or Agatha Christie without using your reason and deduction skills to solve the mystery. It removes the humanity from the spiritual experience which leaves ones’ bones dry and dusty on the plains missing the connecting with the Holy Mystery.

Tobit is a story. Full stop. Enter it like you would a short story in your English class from school. Love the characters, read it, analyze it if you want, or just see the different themes that emerge. Themes of the archetype of blindness, oppression, character assassination, the hero’s journey with a needed companion, love and redemption. Read a version of Tobit hear online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/tob.htm

Take time now to read it slower over. A chapter a day through breath-contemplative Lectio Divina.

Read/hear each chapter 3 times. Before you begin to ensure you are comfortable, that there is a journal near by. Whether you journal through colour, drawing, words or all the above, ensure your hands move to answer the questions that emerge from your spiritual heart. For within Tobit we can discover the answers to the question Who is my neighbour?

Light a candle. Sit comfortably. Allow your breathing to slow. Feel yourself traverse time in the way only a story can allow you too. Travel back to the time of Assyrian occupation of Israel, in the ancient town of Nineveh.

First reading: As you hear the chapter the first time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time with this phrase? What emotions does it bring forward for you? Sit with that emotion.

Second Reading: As you hear the chapter the second time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time focusing on this word/phrase. What memory of your past does it bring forward? Live into the memory for this is part of your own’s hero journey.

Third reading: Upon the third reading spend time with the emotion and memory that have emerged before. Where do these guide you, what revelation on your own journey is opened.

When you are ready, bring your breathing back to normal, feel yourself come back to where you are in space and time.

At the end of the 14-day exploration, reflect back on the images and words in your journaling. Take time to reflect on them.

What has been revealed to you about the journey of being a neighbour in your community?


In the journey of the Magi is the metaphor of gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) that of the things needed for new life, and to honour the life lived at the end. But there is also the story of the journey from the East to the creche. Ancient wisdom for a modern world, or as my Bible College profs would spout on about—post-modernity.

For today, I simply bring a gift of a piece of my journey. Our journey of exploration with the Universal Church of the Master Alberta’s book study of the Aquarian Gospel. A new age imagining of the Jesus story from nativity through childhood-young adulthood-ministry-lynching-resurrection. It shows the influence of the spirituality of the world upon the growing Brother Jesus. There are moments you can see shamanic traditions, earth-pagan teachings, Eastern Philosophies, the Chakras, Judaic teachings, and the convalescing together into the gospel proclamation that would inevitably lead to Brother Jesus being executed by the oppressive powers. Yet the Cosmic Christ birthed out of that instance that continues to breathe new life. So below is a link to the text, and one to some reflections of my own:

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

My own Aquarian reflections

Now I did say there was no looking back, and this not looking back, for January 9, 2018 the group continues in its discovery of teachings from our neighbours by exploring the Qu’ran.  So watch for those reflections to come.

What will you choose to learn from your neighbour today?


It is amazing how an equitable and just community built upon the creation of equality found in Genesis 1 would become an empire of patriarchal oppression. Yet it is the story that happened. Constantine declares he had a vision to conquer under the cross. It was the cross that eliminated the pantheon and transformed the religion of the oppressed into the Empire’s rallying cry around 324 CE. It was also a rallying cry that stripped away many of the traditions, stories and mystics of the time for one that fit Constantine’s Empire narrative. Much was lost. Then came the great schism in 1054 CE between Eastern and Western, and more was shed to fit the surviving narratives on either side of the divide. And the narrative continues through the Crusades, the Reformation, Enlightenment, Restoration, Monastic renewals, Charismatic, New Thought/Metaphysic, Mormon and so on and so forth. Each stripping away narratives that spoke of the inherent equality of the movement.
Each that warned of a world to come if we allowed the power of the money, the power of politic to usurp the dignity of the neighbour, the person we are and the person next to us. Some of these narratives survived but so buried under the mistake of “unworthiness” needing to be saved in the “blood sacrifice” that the narrative of inclusion, love and belonging was lost. Even so much as to strip away the power of the Mary story, by usurping it by the Joseph story, and the God story. Making Mary a secondary or even tertiary voice in control of her own body.
This was not the intent of the sacred story.

Yet there are examples of warning, of other stories literally stripped from “Canon” depending on which movement branch of the tree of the Christianities you belong to. Here is one example within the Deutero-canonical tradition-the story of Susanna:

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1 There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:
2 And he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.
3 Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4 Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honourable than all others.
5 The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people.
6 These kept much at Joacim’s house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them.
7 Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her husband’s garden to walk.
8 And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her.
9 And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments.
10 And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his grief.
11 For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to have to do with her.
12 Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her.
13 And the one said to the other, Let us now go home: for it is dinner time.
14 So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone.
15 And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: for it was hot.
16 And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid themselves, and watched her.
17 Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me.
18 And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid.
19 Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and ran unto her, saying,
20 Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us, and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie with us.
21 If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee.
22 Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not I cannot escape your hands.
23 It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
24 With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her.
25 Then ran the one, and opened the garden door.
26 So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done unto her.
27 But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of Susanna.
28 And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death;
29 And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joacim’s wife. And so they sent.
30 So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all her kindred.
31 Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to behold.
32 And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.
33 Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept.
34 Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head.
35 And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36 And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away.
37 Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her.
38 Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran unto them.
39 And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out.
40 But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: these things do we testify.
41 Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death.
42 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all things before they be:
43 Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me.
44 And the Lord heard her voice.
45 Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was Daniel:
46 Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.
47 Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What mean these words that thou hast spoken?
48 So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel?
49 Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne false witness against her.
50 Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder.
51 Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from another, and I will examine them.
52 So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light.
53 For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay.
54 Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a mastick tree.
55 And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two.
56 So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.
57 Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness.
58 Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree.
59 Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two, that he may destroy you.
60 With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who saveth them that trust in him.
61 And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth:
62 And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day.
63 Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joacim her husband, and all the kindred, because there was no dishonesty found in her.
64 From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight of the people.

Notice a parallel in the Jian Ghomeshi or Harvey Weinstein story of today?

I challenge you to spend time with this parable. Break it down like one would in English class. Take it through the plot diagram of preamble, inciting incident, rising action, climax, denouement (falling action) and resolution. Then break down who is the protagonist (hero), antagonist (villain and other challenges the hero faces); supporting cast. Then challenge your world view, what would happen if you flipped the antagonist and protagonist? For we must understand that which we are against. Do this in community and alone. Then each take one of the outlines and re-write the text in 21st century of the community you exist in today (community league, religious gathering, etc.)…

What light has the story of Susanna shed on love for self and love for neighbour in the heart of the Holy?


For the last few days the journey of the Magi has taken you through previous thoughts of mine. Today marks the beginning of a renewed beginning as I continue to move forward into my new reality in this journey of discovery I have dubbed “My Neighbour”. Over the coming days (my brain and emotions willing, and thank you to the blessing of scheduler) you will see new thoughts and different takes from where I currently sit in my view from a pew (okay fabric chair) on what it means to build a better world where all belong.  So enter if you dare…

It is interesting what triggers flashbacks of pain. Yet within the journey of healing as you sit with the pain, you must look at the good. Sadly, in active ministry in the Christianities when it comes to the building of inclusive communities that challenge the oppressive wealth-patriarchy-traditional structure these can be few and far between. It is why I believe in my heart and through narrative evidence there is such burn out and PTSD among clergy and clergy in training. Why we can no longer fill our pulpits in the anthropological traditions of and out of Judeo-Christian.

Unless you break it down to the person. I wrote over a year ago about the dichotomy of acceptance versus rejection when my son was cast out by a “new thought centre” for being his joyous self and contrasted it with the acceptance from the pulpit in a Roman Catholic Church.

celtic crossThis year discoursing with our current pastor around the journey of ministry, it is astounding a year on, we have finally found a placement of celebration of our son person within a protestant church. Two different theologies and sets of doctrines, that show when you do not get lost within the ideology but the let the Spirit reign a community of inclusion is created.

Now this is not saying there has not been communities of warm welcome or belonging within our journey. For there has been. But this time of reflection (yes it takes approximately 4 unknown neuro-events to complete each post of mine currently) that I have pondered the true difference. What has spoken through the heart is the difference between a service/ministry designed to/for an individual or population contrasted to a service/ministry with the individual or population within the broader community. The later being the one where true inclusion takes roots for it affirms the full humanity of the individual and their place in community.

francis

Much like the Nativity story where the Holy Mystery (that exists within us and us within her) affirmed the full humanity of Mary despite the patriarchal-empire communal sin of her times. A communal sin we carry forward today and the populations become moving targets. This is the type of empire that needs to die, and it begins from the common good, the common teaching. The buzzword currently is holistic, root is whole or holy. It is the understanding the Cosmic Christ is ignited within each us, through the cosmic dust/holy breath as we are all interwoven in the beautiful tapestry of creation that is the Holy Mystery. Where our legends/myths/beliefs tell us the holy narrative of why, and our philosophy-rational-intellectual-sciences tell us the how of being.

Yet it is more. It is understanding the other, as neighbour not other. It is knowing that to be truly inclusive we must meet everyone where they are at and build a community that includes them in how the experience the world. As went enter the journey of the new beginnings of a new year. The question is before each of us individually, communally and interdependently whether in a religious setting or simply a community or a home:

How do we all belong?

 

globalSome of the greatest studies/explorations of faith I have led in my time have been those that have experienced texts cast aside by Imperial Christianities or those of other wisdom traditions, here are some links for further exploration alone or in community:

The Apocrypha, Deuterocanonical, Lost Texts of Christianities, and some Gnostic wisdom: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm

Internet Sacred Text Archive: http://www.sacred-texts.com/

New Thought Library online: http://newthoughtlibrary.com/