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Historically we know that Jesus was not born at Christmas time. It is symbolic, but what a powerful symbol. Overlaying the ancient Winter Solstice celebration, it becomes a breathing allegory of the Gospel of John 1…the light in the darkness. This is what the Johannine Community resonated with. Mysticism. Living rituals to understand faith in action. John wrote beautifully of this in the fourth chapter. A great reflection for the liturgical season of Advent. Advent is waiting, and preparing. It is a journey into the darkest day, when light is born, and the days keep getting brighter from there.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

-Epistle of 1 John 4:1-6 (English Standard Version)

Holy visions since the early Church have taken the form of Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’ mother. This is because she can easily bring the story of Love and Hope without the baggage the institution has laid on her son. It is the resonating message of the gospel, in a different form. Sadly, yes the anti-christs have co-opted the spiritual life and teachers for many forms of evil.. terrorism, pedophilia, rape, fraud, money laundering, wealth building, oppression, and political power. This is why sometimes the messenger has to be different than the way that the Holy Mystery came in Brother Jesus. Yet there are many paths for the love light to shine in our world.

At this time of year the greatest reminder is the jolly elf himself, as my son terms him in his spastic verbalness, “ho ho ho”. That’s right: Santa Claus. The spirit of joy and giving this season.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

-Epistle of 1 John 4:7-21 (English Standard Version)

Some like to default to the rampant consumerism. But miss the point, there are always those that will look for the darkness in the light. Not the fact that it brings together community, it is a time to celebrate. It is also a time of year in which the story of the creche (as Francis of Assisi was the first to bring to life) is about a family in which the world had no room for them. Sadly, the fastest growing demographic of homelessness in Calgary is like the Holy Family of the Nativity. 30 years ago the Government of Canada pledged to eradicate child poverty in Canada, and now we accept homeless shelters for families.

Our society will be judged on how we love the least of these. That is our elders, our differently abled brothers and sisters, our children. Do we want to be known as the generation that normalized institutional hopelessness? Or do we want to be known as the generation that transfigured a city, province and country and truly made love of neighbour happen and complete a 30 year promise?

Suggested reflection listening: Toby Keith’s (1995) Santa I’m Right Here

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Spirit Loops 3

Posted: December 16, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , ,

There are many ways to view holy texts. Some take a very literal-fundamentalist lens in which the black and white on the page is what was literally transmuted by the Holy Mystery. The human behind it being nothing more than a possessed teletype. It can also be looked as all allegory. It can be viewed as history, or anthropological-sociological texts. Fine literature is another way. No matter where we fall on the spectrum when it comes to reading sacred texts, what sets apart the skeptic with agenda, and the critical soul is the value they place in the stories. For that is what sacred texts are, humanity’s stories of wrestling with, experiencing, living and journeying with the Holy Mystery.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh? Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:1-9 (English Standard Version)

It is one of the things many who have encountered me in ministry struggle with. Due to my progressive ways, and reads/explorations of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament many would want to class me as a heretic. Yet, one of the greatest gifts I have ever gotten at different points in my life is these stories. For, like any sacred text or story you hold as holy, each time you come back to it something new is enlightened. Much like Galatians. It is a writing of growth. For a psychologist, holistic, social or otherwise, Paul is writing to the gathering in Galatia about lifespan development.

The moment when black and white laws fade more into the background as we grow and change in life. The laws (or rules) we have grown up with have shaped our internal moral compass. It has given us core values. Those values are what guide. Yes there are times when the laws and rules come into play. Usually when we succumb to the shadow, or let our gremlins-saboteur literally sabotage us as the old urban legends from the RAF went. Yet it is these values, the core Cosmic Christ that Paul reminds the following of. The values that were instilled at the beginning when the cosmic dust and holy breath crafted us.

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”[d]12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit[e] through faith.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:10-14 (English Standard Version)

In our growth as people, beliefs change. Sometimes they are shattered completely as Paul lays out here. The only way to move out of our identity politics, and ideological entrenchments is to be jarred. The life and death of Brother Jesus did that, as it turned on its head what was understood about being cursed and blessed.

When has this happened in your life? That moment when what you believed to be true, was revealed to be a gremlin in your head?

To give a human example, brothers:[f] even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:15-29 (English Standard Version)

There comes the point in life when you realize, and it is wisdom that brings you to this- not knowledge or age, that we are all part of the human family. There is inherent value just in the life. In that life is the promise of discovery of joys, loves, hopes, happiness, contentment, vocational purpose and the ability to positively impact our world through the simple acts of the Love Commandment. Loving the Divine that connects us, loving ourselves as our true self is, and loving our neighbour.

Paul is writing about the growth of life. The journey from infancy to becoming a toddler to school age to adolescence to entering young adulthood and into adulthood.

For that is what wrestling with the pilgrimage story is. That is the beauty and love within and for these writings I have.

For that is what sacred texts are, humanity’s stories of wrestling with, experiencing, living and journeying with the Holy Mystery.

 

 


The North Star is said to have guided the Magi (Wisemen) from the East to the Creche (hence the 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany) of a gift of light into the darkness of the world. This advent we hitch ourselves to a wagon train the to the stars as Gene Rodenberry pitched it in the 1960’s to CBS. This advent trek will be a different look at the five gifts that birth of a baby brought at the solstice: Hope, Faith, Peace, Joy and Love through the lens of the original Star Trek (thanks to the beauty of Netflix, DVD/Blu-Rays and Public Libraries you can watch along and reflect as well. Welcome to the Advent train to the stars…a different style of pilgrimage to the heart of the sacred in the season of waiting:

Space, the final frontier
These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise
Its five years mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life
And new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

-Captain James Tiberius Kirk, USS Enterprise NCC-1701

Jungian psychology speaks of the Shadow self. It is the parts of us that we suppress, and sometimes as we wear out it becomes our dominant traits. The goal is to overcome the shadow and bring peace into our being. It has been a topic of many episodes within Enterprise, and Deep Space Nine known as the Mirror Universe (as well as many excellent graphic novels and novels). Star Trek’s second season’s fourth episode, Mirror, Mirror was the catalyst.

A transporter accident swaps Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura between the universes. OfImage result for Star Trek Mirror, Mirror course the brutal Mirror Universe dopplegangers are quickly discovered in the main universe. In the Mirror Universe Kirk is confronted by a twisted logical sadist in Spock. One seeking power for power’s sake, at the heart of the Terran Empire. You advance through assasination, it is the love of money and power that drives expansion.

In the battle of inner turmoil though, Kirk notices a glimpse of his friend from across multi-verses. People are reduced to nothing more than pawns for power and control. InImage result for Star Trek Mirror, Mirror some respects property ala slavery. Sounding familiar on this journey of waiting for the light at the darkest time?

Kirk points out to Mirror Spock that the more enlightened empire he wanted was possible. The reconciling of the shadow to be the authentic self within Spock had begun with a simple seed of peace planted by Kirk. Beginning the journey of ascendance to the head of the Empire, as the Emperor…making the changes for the better he foresaw, to the point in the Mirror Universe the positive was seen as…well you get it.

Who is your mirror? These are the shadows that create the gremlins that speak negatively into our life and sabotage us. Confront them and bring out the voice to the light that is emerging. Have your gremlin-shadow meet the voice bringing you to peace within.

What would it take to bring peace into your being?

Your world?

Ready to crack the mirror?


Values. It is a scary word. It speaks to what we, well value. What is important to us, as individuals, a community. They can be used to divide if the value is about control, power, etc. Or they can be life giving. John is writing to a community in a constant flux of change. They are in the mystery of the journey of life. Having re-discovered the Love Commandment, and figuring out what it means to live that way. What needs to go away? What needs to stay? What needs to be brought in?

It is a change process.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

-Epistle of 1 John 3:1-10 (English Standard Version)

As we know, change is about loss. Even positive change of better employment, goal achievement, birth of a child, discovery of true self, sobriety, graduation, the list can go on. There is grief, for what happens with the change is what was known is gone. Let that sit for a while as we reflect on this part of sin and deceit from these first ten verses. It is about clinging to what was, knowing it is over, but not being able to grow upon the foundation. It is also about one’s personal and communal values. Has the change created something you can still be apart of? Has the change, literally or figuratively changed the vocation you are called to? Values are icky. They are hard mushy conversations many want to avoid. Much like understanding that change is a grief journey. May be short, may be long. But it is about honouring and letting go of the old, being present in the now, and living into the new birth.

 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,[c] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,[d]and God[e] in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

-Epistle of 1 John 3:11-24 (English Standard Version)

What is newly birthed? Is it a new birth completely or a rebirth of the old with impediments, sludge burnt away? Are you comfortable after the change? Does it still resonate with who you truly know yourself to be? This is the metaphor used with the story of Cain. A move from sibling rivalry. That is yearning for what your neighbour has, living in discontent, making everything a monetary value. Or bringing people down to a number, in churches and non-profits it can be seen as simply a donor line item of their value based on what they gave. For populist movements politically it is about taxpayers, those that pay taxes are the only needs that matter in society- not children, seniors, those with disabilities… 2000 years on from Jesus of Nazareth’s wanderings, teachings and living out the Love Commandment, and worlds built supposedly on these pillars. We are still having adventures in missing the point.

Change is scary. It is scary due to the fact it is grieving. You feel. You have to acknowledge feelings. Acknowledge values. Gut check. Sometimes it is stepping out into a new reality even if you have no clue how it will work. But the path has been illuminated before you.

Do you follow the light? or rest in the darkness?

Do you manage the change and maintain…

Or jouney through grief to a rebirth?


It’s funny when most people think of politicians they picture the bourgeois that needs to be overthrown due to its corruptness. Not a high ranking profession, believe in some instances with recent revelations certain clergy fall into the same distrustful category. But as Lee steps off the bus outside of the small truck stop for my meeting, Lee knows this Member of the Legislative Assembly is different.

The servers wear pink scrubs, the walls are a pastel pink, with a model train that goes around the roof. In a corner booth sits my coffee companion. Lee slides in and turn a cup over sending a waitress over with a fill up. Melanie Moon is an abnormality. “Ms. Moon.”

“Please, Lee, call me Mel.” Stated the reluctant politician. She was dressed in a Montreal Canadiens hoody and jeans with her hair in a braid. Wisps of silver was visible in the red, that only highlighted her face freckles to Jacobs and, her dimples which made her appear younger than her years. Jacobs knew in phone contact until they met her, many thought due to her young sounding voice she was quite young.

Please call me, Mel was a by-election candidate in the area after the dynasty ended. She ran as a Social Credit candidate which baffled many. As she spoke to the media on her by-election run, it was due to a Great Uncle she had met at a family reunion when she was a teenager who had spent hours with her teaching her the ins and outs of the political system, but also Social Credit. She signed up then. She won a by-election which then saw a general election 10 months later, and she retained her seat. A party that was supposed to be D.O.A., and here she was. Then travesty hit in her mind as her party changed names to appeal to a very specific so-con movement, becoming the Pro-Life party. Mel had not decided if she was going to run again, definitely not with that party that had drifted from what her values were. She had received permission from the speaker to complete her term as a SoCred, as she wanted to honour her Great Uncle and mentor that way. “Can I guess by stirring the pot it has to do with the C.M. death?” Mel, had attended St. Jude’s since before she ran, she enjoyed Jacobs’ panentheistic-original blessing take on her family faith. It made it come alive to her being able to openly debate, discuss and discover what God was doing for her now, especially with the change looming she was playing cards close to her chest. She also understood that any change was a process and journey of grief, she felt the heart pain for this transition.

Lee sipped his black coffee. It was strong enough to melt a spoon, never mind let it stand up. He ordered a breakfast special- scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and raisin toast. Mel just chuckled as asked for it to be times two. “Who gets to expense this?” Lee joked as he asked for a refill on the coffee.

“I think its your turn.” Mel said. “Now, about stirring the pot?”

Lee chuckled, he scratched the whiskers turning into a beard it had been a bit since his last shave. The salt was over taking the pepper making him just look old not wise. “Decided to take the fight to those that were, up to nefarious deeds.” His crows feet crinkled when he winked at her. Mel was never to sure what to do at breakfast out with a cleric.

“I heard about the drug dealer take down at the park.” Mel said. “I also saw what happened to the church doors.”  Part of the SoCred history was a focus on personal salvation, and Christianity. Sadly, like the Social Gospel movement that gave the country the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (which begat the New Democratic Party) eugenics had been a miserable sin of the ideologies. Mel and Lee had spent time discussing how to exorcise that particular demon from the movement St. Jude’s was trying to renew. “Fuck Nazis.”

Lee chuckled. “Yeah, I miss the days when anti-fascism was the default setting for society, and not a question on a multiple choice test.” Lee had spoken openly from the pulpit about many things the church needed to repent from, including its role in white supremacy. Some of the Elders and parishioners also knew that the Padre’s face that looked like an old boxer’s was not because of boxing but due to years of street fighting with hate movements in Canada. As Jacobs was fond of saying `I wasn’t born a padre’.

“And after cleaning the doors?” Mel asked. Lee told the tale of the alleged assault in the mall bathroom of the sex trafficking recruiter. Noting that the non-uniform uniform was the same as the dealer. “And what do you hope comes from the pot stirring?”

Jacobs’ grins a grin that says `I have no clue, but it’s going to be alright and one heckuva ride.’ “Honestly, it’s like doing theology, just bouncing around the darkness looking for where the light can poke through.”

Melanie Moon laughed. “Ever think you should have been a private eye?”

 


Change management, much like efficiency has become buzzwords around multiple industries from human services to political organizations to spiritual gatherings to corporate board rooms.

But what is change? And why do we only manage it?

Alberta currently can be a case study in drastic change. Change creates friction. Leads to identity politics in some instances where groups entrench to be on the preserve or change sides. Perhaps there is a frozen entrenchment were yelling just happens (hello NDP-UCP Governance)… but the root is missed completely.

See change happens. It is part of human society, and human life. It can be expected (such as boom and bust economic cycles, and the need to diversify). It can be that even though the wealthiest may not be doing as well, the economic shift is changing things. Those are some examples. Others are when belief systems shift, say in a church denomination one is apart of. It can be seemingly as insignificant as a focus on youth or children, as innocuous as leadership-governance structural changes or simply a new cleric. Yet ripples are sent, some stay, some go. Emotional weight hits many, and we yearn for a black and white existence.

Unfortunately the world has never been black and white. It exists in worlds of gray mostly due to the pesky of factors- humanity. As I wrote in the past about ISO systems and such under efficiency, it was the strategic process of an organization mapping out what they did, and what role did what in the process so that anyone could walk in and take the thick binder off the shelf and know what to do.

The mechanics of the work. The how, not the why.

That is the cusp of change management. Reactions to change need to be processed, not managed. You can manage chaos as a manager or director. This can mean continuing to push forward, pull along those who are willing or need survival income, but many will fall off and be lost in the wilderness to different levels of harm. Either financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. In the end though you can claim being proficient in change management as you had mapped out a process, a manual anyone can now pull off the shelf to show the system and that it is implemented. Yet in the push-pull to accomplish, what was missed is the values-morals-ethics that brought one to your organization.

It is not so much about managing change, as processing grief. We are at a time in human history where we know much about grief and trauma. Great knowledge, yet without application there is no wisdom. We seek those who can manage, not those that can lead. Mostly due to the fact that true leadership in the icky field of values, in grief work is not something that comes with fancy title but is the one that others seek out to understand and process with.

It is in the journey of processing. The ritual of acknowledging what has been lost. Celebrating what remains, that one can become open to the new being birthed within their community, organization or institution. The same journey of healing one goes through with a death in their life, or an enforced change of life circumstance due to health. It is a journey. It happens with every life change, we go through a grief cycle it can be brief or long dependent on what is changing, the social and professional supports we have access to, and if the new reality fits within our existing values, or are those values being challenged for growth or change or holding firm to the values and making a different change in life.

When it comes to change it is a harder conversation, and requires and understanding of those who are in the journey. It is not about managing change for the outcome wanted at a strategic level.

It is processing grief for the new direction to be birthed organically.

But it is messy, and requires seeing all pieces of the organization as people, not cogs. Are we willing?

 


The writing of Galatians is Paul writing about coming into his own. The balance within the community between extremes, and coming to the Via Media (middle path). Preston Manning wrote in his leadership book about two pillars of the Christian political world in Canada- Woodsworth and Aberhart- they were two sides of the same coin. Woodsworth with the Social Gospel was focused on the community transformation; Aberhart was focused on personal transformation. Both necessary, yet one movement emphasized only a piece of it.

That is what Paul is laying out here, the danger of extremes, and the danger of exclusion of one piece or one population:

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

-Epistle of Galatians 2:1-10 (English Standard Version)

The early apostles saw Paul’s change not in his words, but in the journey he had walked. The balance of personal and communal transformation. The balance, not slipping to far into any one ideology. There was movements within the early gatherings of extremes as well…much like we wrestle with today. One would say extremists only exist on the right end of the political-theological spectrum. This is a misnomer, for extremism exists in all types of belief systems and ideologies. Taken to extremes social conservatism and progressiveness can create harm. Now stop the pearl clutching on either side, for it is true.

The horror of eugenics existed and still exists in both extremes. It can take on anti-lgbttq2+ rhetoric, ableism, anti-migration/immigrant, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, or the simple act of so demonizing the other viewpoint they are no longer seen as humans. It is in professionalism that uses coding as the be all and end all for the individual. That is they are nothing more than a number, whether in social services, affordable housing, public education, health care or the justice system. It is about moving language away from citizens to tax payers so that only those that are of the “haves” matter in society. It is about letting a circumstance become the definer of the individual instead of their Imageo Dei. That is, that it is okay to create a caste hierarchy of existence, and such violence is not a problem against the opponent. It also creates an atmosphere of group think, where to protect standing one will succumb to this belief structure.

 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.[a] 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

-Epistle of Galatians 2:11-14 (English Standard Version)

Yes it is not only the outside world that is responsible for curtailing hate. It is within our own movements and institutions. Those pesky ethics, morals and values need to be front and centre. Now I hear some clamouring that there isn’t an issue with this in the Christianities– poppycock (yes a good theological word). The rise of populism, propped up by what is termed the “Religious Right” in North America has seen a rise in hatred. Now the reader will go, yeah but you said it wasn’t right or left.

This is true, for hatred comes from all corners. It comes from those that see any group as less than. It is about overzealous environmentalists that do not see the impact or accept it is okay for a segment of the population not to live. It is those that believe forced sterilizations of persons with disabilities or aboriginals is okay. It is the religious right, upholding those that do not hold to their base values and saying “God’s elect” that allow Nazis back in our streets undeterred.  Historically, the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, and today the centre of a revisionist Christ at the core of many white supremacy/alt-right movements. It is progressive faith movements that create a space where leaders feel they have to be disingenuous to who they are because a partner has emerged into their true self whether trans or in the spectrum, even if the partner does not identify on that end of the spectrum. Not knowing you can love, and be friends, best friends, but romance may not be there anymore…or for those questioned who continue within the relationship because they emerge into their own as well. It is allowing blatant lies and cover ups to exist to protect one’s own political or religious power. Regardless of the harm being done- from frauds to bullying to sexual harassment to rapes, because we have elevated a leader or leaders to a messiah like position.

Paul risked all by calling  out Peter, the one given the keys to the Kingdom. Think of the courage that took knowing it could lead to a termination of his association with the movement he had converted to. It truly was a “going for broke” mentality to ensure integrity of leadership.

 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

-Epistle of Galatians 2: 15-21 (English Standard Version)

A trImage may contain: outdoor, text that says "#i Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light. J.K Rowling @YahushuaJourney"ue lesson for any movement as a gut check. If in the process of attempting to craft a new world, one is called into the darkness…then it is darkness you are reaping. Harm you do to achieve the goal, it is harm you are birthing. The old adage of the ends justify the means, is one of Empire, not Transfiguration.

Transfiguration means, even if it takes longer, it is about communal transfiguration and independent transfiguration not as independent events. They are interdependent lights that burn brightly into the darkness.

Will you be that light in the darkness at the doorstep?