Since our decision on December 18 the family has entered contemplative discussion on what is spiritual community? Holistic Community? Yes some may find it surprising that we are going to rest in a Presbyterian congregation starting in the new year until we get an urging from the Spirit, but then the Presbyterian Church in Canada has materials available to aid congregations in including God’s differently abled children as blessings to community life.
But I digress, part of this path laid out is understanding that the wife and I will need more to fill the cup if you will, and that means setting aside time in the week to listen to progressive spiritual thought and discuss, this led to an internet search of Canadian content. Yes there is a difference when you listen to American or European thought, compared to Canadian, we have a middle path (actually very Anglican when you figure we are a former British colony)…so I did some digging which turned up some places offering progressive thought and podcasts/youtube (if you have any more please share).
This list is unvetted, just so you are aware, but feel free to click and leave your thoughts in the comments:
http://revolutionchurch.tumblr.com/ (yes this is American, but Jay Bakker has an interesting preaching style)
Now we are not naive, and we know that not any one community can be all. Now the googling did lead to searches for things in our hometown. And yes it was interesting that it was way south (we are trying to be community centered once again and trying not to be destination based).
Yet for those in the South, this came up in my google searches, from Woodcliff United Church from an early mentor whence I returned to Christendom in my late teens, Rev. Linda Hunter:
A Message from Rev. Linda:
THE MAN AT THE BACK OF THE STABLE….
I have always been rather intrigued by Joseph, the father of Jesus. Have you ever noticed in nativity scenes that he is usually found near the back of the stable, close to the cows and sheep and camels. The center of attention is, of course, the wee baby Jesus laying on a bed of straw, with his mother Mary hovering over him. Joseph looks rather neglected back there.
Who is this man named Joseph, to whom an angel came and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Let’s give credit to Joseph here. What the angel was asking of him was unheard of in his culture. When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, the cultural norms of his day would have demanded that she be sent back to her family because she was “used” property. He had every right to refuse to marry her, abandoning her to the mores of her day—ostracization or death. But he did not.
Now I may doubt the veracity of this story, and in many ways it enrages me because of Mary’s position in her world, but one thing I don’t doubt is that to stand up to the cultural norms of your day is a courageous act. Joseph engaged in a courageous act by taking Mary into his home and marrying her.
When you look around our world today, do you see quiet, unheralded acts of courage in the challenging of unjust cultural norms? I see it everywhere. Folks refusing to give in to bullying. Folks refusing to give in to racial stereotyping of groups of people because of the colour of their skin. Folks striving for peace when it is so much easier to rush to war. Folks demanding human rights for the LBGTQ community.
Such courage is everywhere and I think we have, in part, Joseph to thank for setting a strong example. Let’s take that fellow from the back of the stable and place him closer to the action.
For those who have followed my speaking and writing career, know this is very close to my take on the Nativity story. And it shows a strong inclusive message based on the core of creation, Love…all that is missing for me is that the demand of human rights is not just our family in the LBGTQ community, but also for the family in the differently abled community.
In this Holy Season of the 12 Days of Christmas…please let this be the prayer of action in your heart and being…building a house of inclusion (and by the looks of Woodcliff online, if you are in the south of Calgary pop by on a Sunday Morning and see if this is the family for you!).