Thanks to our public library, the wifey and I finally had a in home date night and watched Purge Election Year, the third movie in the Purge series. Not familiar with the horror franchise? It is another mirror of where a dystopian future that we may not be that far away from, written and directed by James Demonaco.

It is quite simply the shadowing of where corporate controlled populism leads. The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) have “saved” the country by rising to power and instituting a purge night. 12 hours once a year where everything is legal and murder is encouraged with immunity.

As the series progresses you see the way this works out on different socio-economics, within the first two films certain political levels are protected. By the third installment the rebellion is beginning to take route, and there is a candidate heading for the oval office who is anti-purge.  Cue the battle driven by the NFFA and the NRA (great lines of where Purge Night is brought to you by in the film I am still amazed made it through editing). As well, a look into the “Religious Right” cult that has formed around Purge night, with the elite holding Purge Mass to celebrate their own release, and the “herds” they have rounded up to execute slowly, including a plan to assassinate the voices of dissent this night.

Why do stories like this matter? Films, books and other forms of media speak out against what is wrong. As the story is revealed there becomes  a parallel for the military complex, gun “rights” run amuck that are used to create our own purge in this day and age of the lower socio-economic classes.

For that is what “saved America” the outplaying of the story that if you are disadvantaged or ill it is your own cause storyline in extremist propaganda… so purge and release. The saving is that the majority killed during the purge are those that when it comes to simple black and red ink budgeting on government budget sheets come out as debits: the elderly, the sick, those on social assistance, etc.

A stark reality of showing how eugenics can still be used to play a role in our world, but also a warning of seeing people as labels and others, and breaking down our communities into debits/credits. Breaking people down to simply numbers, and not seeing people collectively as a whole, that we are here to support and move forward with.

Why do the Purge movies matter? Simple, populism, voices of the people, activists even politicians and corporations or religion are not the issue. The issue is when all these things become twisted for power and control in the role and ideology of fundamentalism and extremism hiding behind labels. These extremists that create an us and them society, that time and again throughout history have wreaked havoc and destruction of people and society. This is the warning once again found in art, through 3 simple horror movies, if we are willing to listen, constructively think, and realize there is different choices to be made.

So are you willing to answer the question of who is my neighbour?

Are we willing to acknowledge our neighbour as a value to society?

Are we willing to realize the purge needed is of the extremes? Purge the labels? Purge that which destroys and distorts?

Are we ready to purge and purify our true being to become one with one another?


Prologue:

Sabbatical

 The words of my editor ring in my ears as I look down at my best friend’s grave. “This is not the time as a journalist to take a sabbatical. With conglomeration, it spells career death.” Not sure if the answer I retorted with about finally writing my new book is true or just wanting to get her off my back.  Truth is I have not been enjoying my role in the media for quite sometime as I have watched friends downsized, and more of our vaulted opinions become centralized. Sure, the crime beat wasn’t as overly run, but the time was coming.

Time. Susan kept telling me it was passing me by. When we oldsters (God I am not even 40 yet and I am an oldster in this game) took a stand, and took down the more black and white capital punishment types a few years back. John was mayor, things were looking bright, when the darkness crept back in, and his life was lost.

The armour’s shine was dimmed a little. Been a while since I have called upon the full power of the Pendragon, but I kept doing what I was going to keep the city safe. My pen crawls out of my pocket, a little pen sized dragon, a reminder of the magic I can wield in my other life, that manifests in my day to day to help.

Susan is wondering how with the rising affordability of life we will make it as a family if I was not working (sole income an all that) …but there’s investments, savings, that will be cashed in as I figure this out. She is still as beautiful as the day we met in elementary school, and when we fell in love in junior high, and when I rescued her from Killer Face VII in high school (hey it was the 80’s villains weren’t creative just copy cats).

The flattened plaque stating John’s name, the dates, the dash where he did so much good, and then some not so much good that would eventually return karmically to cost him his life. “I miss you man. Thought we would have years more adventuring to go.”

A twig snap behind me, a more paranoid man would whip around, transform and put whatever in its place. I simply let my Pen hiss. “Would like some privacy mate.”

“Even from an old friend, Ricky.” John said.

To be continued…


Sacrament:

a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.

For any pilgrim, it is the ceremony that is the outward reflection of our inward journey. Throughout Christendom there has been a sacrament of penance/confession. That is admitting when one has done wrong and seeking unity again with God. But this is a simpler understanding of what it has morphed into, now the sacrament of reconciliation. For this is a deeper understanding of holy relationships that permeate everything. The interconnection of the Holy Mystery in all, with all and through all. For Christians, it is the Holy Spirit, for others the creative force.

This is what ego, greed (pick your word for that which removes you from the flow, and allows “other” to create division) disrupts. It is the time of deep inward reflection, to be able to understand pain we have inflicted, or pain that has been inflicted, wrong done to us, or wrongs we have done to others, the list can go on and on.

Yet the piece of the sacrament that we have learned from our brothers and sisters around the world, is that the story needs to be told. It needs to be out there, and then we need to decide to move forward from that in a new beginning.

            My Father used to say,

Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.

-Desmond Tutu

The moment when you can move from shouting matches, to actual discourse, dialogue, debate and argument is the moment you are no longer seeing one another as other but as equals in discussion…once seen as equals, you can move forward.

This is the sacramental challenge that lays heavy on my heart. For I do much work with folks throughout their lives to speak the truth of their story, and then to reconcile to move forward. Then there are moments when I am too stubborn to do the same.

Yet the Creator knows those moments, and enjoys laughter. It is in these moments that outward acts begin forcing inward change. I do not know where it will lead or what it means. Am I in a hurry to once again become a member? No.

But the last several weeks being back in a United Church of Canada congregation has become a sacramental act of reconciliation for me. My story has been told, it is out there for the universe to know. Now, it is time of contemplative action, letting my kids wonder in Wonder Kids, and rest in a chair during the service with the wife. Am I ready to move forward?

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The new beginning has been laid before me.

The soul sludge is burning off.

Moments of laughter.

A social gospel congregation?

Yes, it is easy to rest in the labels of other, but at our core we part of the family of humanity on a journey to make our little corner of this world better.

Sometimes, it is simply easier to release that which may be holding us back on the journey towards the heart of the sacred, and the sacred heart that exists within us.

And yes, sometimes, that which we thought had been put to rest and released, was not and it takes literally stepping across a new threshold to reveal the light that burns off the darkness.

Now the question that remains when reconciliation work is working…

What is next?
What is the new beginning?

For, that is yet to come…

and blessedly undecided…

yet will be chosen with a refreshed heart, mind and soul.


Ah I love to reflect on some of the greatest things Canada has ever done. And it was repatriated away from Britain to us in 1982. The Constitution Act 1982 (an update on the British North America Act 1867 which made us a nation), and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is not a digression in the loss of the social charter that was spear headed by then Alberta PC Premier Lougheed. No, it is a reflection on what was accomplished, and for those who are more fluent in the American Bill of Rights, for Canadians what is the key differences. I also always encourage one to read both documents that are the foundation of Canada’s systems.

The act opens:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

One little word, God. But it is not a Judeo-Christian God, it is an anglicized affirmation of the creative force no matter how it is defined. For the charter this leads into, when one dives into the archives had all sectors of society speaking into it including and not limited to: First Nations, Churches, other religions, politicians, and justice.

It opens up the fundamental freedoms section:

Fundamental freedoms

 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

  • (d) freedom of association.

There are freedoms spoken of, but notice that under (b) it is not speech, but rather expression. Each fundamental freedom flows into the other, and ties not into just simply an individual’s rights, but rights as they exist in the collective communities, the villages that make up Canada. The nations as well, as you go through the other rights you will note we are not about independent singular lives knowing that actions do not have ripple effects in the pond.

Much like how the nation grew, interdependence in spite of labels. Unity within our diversity (a mosaic) is what this reflects. The charter in 1982 was the culmination of work that began in Red River rebellion under the leadership of Louis Riel in 1869 displayed the first human rights bill, which was built upon under Douglas’ Saskatchewan Government, and also federally with Diefenbaker in 1960. But all these bills came out of a sense of community solidarity.

Not just the words on the paper, but the context, the intent…and sadly that is what has been missing a lot in public discourse in my nation. We gravitated to a simpler black and white system without realizing our nation has never been black and white. First Nations, English, and Francophone. Later saw Scottish and Irish fleeing English colonialism coming to Canada; loyalists from the US. Nordic country settlers into the prairies… to the 20th century and 21st century with refugees and new Canadians of all stripes.

Our identity has been forged in our differences. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY the unity of one nation, under one law of collective rights, for the collective good. Essentially our rights exist up to the point they cause harm to the other, and then we work to welcome the differences of the other into our national fabric to make us better.

For the story of Canada is not one of revolution. It is not a story of religious battles. There are gruesome histories that need to be spoken about in truth, and in reconciliation to move forward from. But as a nation, we have always been driven by answering two questions, since the Skralings rescued the Vikings in Newfoundland…

Who is My neighbour?

And what does it mean to build a community together?

2017 we vote for City Councils and village/town leaderships in Alberta.

2019 is a federal election that currently has two parties searching for identity and leadership.

2020 in Alberta is another election where change can happen for the better.

But it is time as citizens to learn from our neighbours to the south, and what happens when you forget what made you as a people. Not the labels that divide, but what ties you together. No more into a mirror darkly.

2015 the best part of Justin Trudeau was he raised political discourse out of muck racking to a positive spin. Now though is our time to demand better. It is our time to demand political leaders running cast more than management cycles, budget sheets and sprockets–the things the bureaucracy is designed to handle.

Now is the time to demand actual leadership from each riding, from each person running, on their personal level, what is their vision for their village in the collection of villages? We want electoral reform, let’s send visionaries to Ottawa, Edmonton and City councils…not managers. Let’s elect those with heart and passion. Those that understand our national foundation within the Constitution and Charter of Rights & Freedoms.

For these beautiful documents speak to a guarantee the engaged citizens of Canada can hold to, and that is quite beautiful and simple:

Peace, Order and Good Governance.

Let’s dream no little dream. Let’s dream what is possible, and hold ourselves and our leaders to what we said we deserved.

-30-


It is a question that is 30 years in the making. Okay not really, but that was a great intro line not to have used it.

But it is 30 years since a type writer first typed out the words “The Adventures of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight.” and history was made in my fiction writing as a whole super hero universe was birthed that in junior high became known as the Tyverse (Raganverse following the Reagan era of politics just seemed to pretentious). It saw a plethora of heroes and villains created with literally tens of thousands of pages written over the past 30 years on pulp adventure yarns. Some greats like the Agency, Street Avenger, Johnny Power, Speedster and the Great Crime Fighters and some not so great like Rock Dude, Tigorr, and the Rubber Guy (hey not all can be winners).

Yet the first was a hodge podge origin creation, the story of a teenage orphan being raised by an elderly foster parent couple, the Harumphs. A blonde girlfriend, Susan Kobwash, with a nerdy best friend from a wealthy family, John MacCurtis. Yes, this was Rick Saturn, the dweeb, the bullied who one night while escaping tormentors would stumble into a dump, and have Gerklyn the wise (Merlin’s crazy cousin) bestow upon him a ring of power.

What can I say, it was the late 1980’s. I was a child of the 6 Million Dollar man made for t.v. movies; a passion for knights in shining armour and the Arthur/Robin Hood legends; loved Spider-Man (n0te the story of the group); and a time of cartoons of the Bionic Six and Visionaries. It all became boiler plate for a teenage hero who with the “magic mantra” of “Bionics On!” was replaced with the golden armoured knight hero of Calgary…the Bionic Knight. Added a few years later to some angst of his back story was that his family was actually organized crime, killed in a rival shoot out.

But I digress. This character’s sidekick was John MacCurtis, who too would get a magic gift and become PinBall, and eventually Bionic Archer. As well as other identities…but Rick Saturn would centre on the B.K. identity throughout his career. At times a teenager, who aged, in other moments the elder statesman role of the superhero set like one would read in the Justice Society comics. But always holding to a code of a simpler time. Do right, no killing, good always wins.

A light in the dark. As bionics lost favour, I would drop it, and Knight would become his code name, later it would evolve into PenDragon, and the idea of Gerklyn would recede, to Merlin being his patron as the lineage tying directly back more to the mystical side of Arthurian legend reincarnated would become stronger.Perhaps it was due to tracing matrilineal lines back to Uther that led to this clarity. Each year, regardless of other writing there would be a Saturn story produced.

Which is unique, because in the creative process it was MacCurtis I tended to resonate with more. The sidekick, probably as a younger brother. Even to a time when MacCurtis on the page would act as a Tulpa to journey through a spiritual labyrinth.

Yet here I am re-introducing the Bionic Knight to the reader. For you see, part of the journey as well, is to realize that even though the sidekick may assume the helm (think Wally West as the Flash, even Dick Grayson becoming Batman for a time). There is a point in our own journeys, when it is no longer the younger or the sidekick that our life role identifies with.

There comes a time, when where we are in playing mentor to others we realize, we are not Wally (West, Kid Flash, Flash III) or even Barry (Allan, Flash II) but have become in our own journey Jay (Garrick, Flash I) and perhaps are a sidestep away from being Max Mercury (a sage not affiliated with role).

So this year, 30 years on, I begin to plot a new adventure of an old friend. The hair a little thinner and grayer, with a wife not a girlfriend, a family, mourning the loss of a close friend as seen in the last Speare adventure…

So it is time not for a rebirth or reborn moment for a hero. But a grail quest moment.

Watch closely over the next little bit, for it may not be an old manual type writer pecking away at keys, it may be a netbook onto a blog.

But soon…

the question of Who is the Bionic Knight? will be answered, here…when…

The Quest of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight debuts.


Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth.

-Thomas Fuller

In the journey of spiritual home finding, it was looking like the UCM-Alberta group had floundered–yet–it had not. It is a group of metaphysical-spiritualists on a journey of discovery. Quite unique when you think about it as the wife and I stumbled upon them as they had lost their worship time, and were existing as a spiritual book study at the end of summer 2016.

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ  is the text we are exploring, a universalist take on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Now there are articles and spiritual practices on this blog taken from this work and inspired by the study. Yet, this quote came out during our bi-weekly discussion this past Wednesday night, around our kitchen table that for many years hosted our Rainbow Chapel, and now as the Christ light was lit, hosted UCM.

Anyways I digress, it happens for us writer types. It is a famous quote that opened this post. A quote that we usually only hold to the first part of, as it rings of St. Thomas, the one known as the doubter, who would not accept the resurrection without probing the holes on the body of the risen Jesus. Yet there is a pause, for the 1 that asked for proof, there was 13 whose emotions drove their belief. For it is in the feeling of the 13 that another truth is known. It is that truth that speaks to the Cosmic Christ that resonates within each one of us.

The Holy spark that connects each of us together with all of creation and creator. Not an old man in the sky, but rather a permeating universal energy that binds everything. That’s manifestation is L-O-V-E.

A love light filled their souls, and all the people were amazed.

-Aquarian Gospel 83:26

And what does all this same old, same old matter?  As those who are regular readers will note similar themes of living out of love, channeling that which is pure to make our world a better place.

Some may say it is the reinventing of Christianity, for some it is a new form of spirituality, yet for some it may be getting back to a pre-Constantine or an authentic Gospel life.

Yet it is intriguing this conversation happened after the last 4 weeks of release.

See, four weeks ago…something happened for my family in our journey of finding a spiritual home. We wound up in a local United Church Congregation. There has been emotional struggles over the weeks I will not lie, especially the Sunday we were asked to pray for the church that I forced a choice between vocation and my son.

Yet there is much that reflects from Wednesday’s discussion in subtle ways. A Sunday School that affirms those whom are differently abled and my son for the first time in many years feeling safe and welcomed fully enough to participate. Also not only participate, but to shoo parents away and not want us there. Yes it was only one week, but it was a week that spoke of his own heart change.

So the contemplation continues, for there needs to be more release of old pain. Allowing scars to fade some more. Yet seeing a place where my kids are welcomed for the time, is relaxing. As written before it is one of 2 places so far, and if we are to include our book study that is 3.

So what does love light filled souls look like?

It looks like the women at the empty tomb.

The disciples who left the upper room no longer afraid.

It was the moment when Jesus sat by the Samaritan Woman at the well.

The moment the Good Samaritan aided the man beaten by robbers.

When a member of our book group said she enjoys moving between houses to see our children.

Or a Sunday School teacher coming up on a Sunday Morning when I was still ill at ease by re-entering a denomination I had much history with (and not always the most healthy)…to speak directly to my son if he wanted to come to Wonder Kids.

Sometimes the love light that shines through, is in the simplest words or actions of life.

So how are you going to let your soul’s love light shine this week?


The province’s slashing of more than a third of an injury prevention program’s budget will wound Albertans, Liberal leader Dr. David Swann said Friday. Last year, the NDP government reduced its funding to the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta from $1,585,500 to $1 million, a nearly 37 per cent cut, said Swann. He’s…

via Alberta Grits take aim at funding cut to injury prevention centre — Calgary Herald