Author Archive

Some Free Fall

Posted: January 23, 2023 by Ty in Free Fall
Tags: , , ,

Hoping to get some time carved out in my schedule for this to develop into something…

It is always a weird feeling to be in darkness, and then see a bright light, but not at the end of the tunnel, your notifications had decided to push through the do not disturb feature overnight on your phone. No wonder insomnia was beginning to become a rising issue? The covid pandemic pause had shown us exactly how overworked and running on empty we were as a society, yet as restrictions lifted, we wanted to jump back onto the eternal treadmill once more.

Hence the squawking at this ungodly hour, when one should be sleeping, others note it as the dead hour. Here I am in the darkness, should I be sleeping? Yes, a normal person would be, yet here I am awaiting a communion of sorts. Finished the cleansing of the darkness from this place, tapping into some Anglican Rites, being a good quasi-Canadian associated Anglican I used the Book of Common Prayer, needed the sludge cleared for the phone to activate once again.

In the phone there may be an answer, the question is whether it is a call I wanted to receive, but the communications had brought me to this old trailer, to do this. The essence is simple, to discover what my actual name was, not just be the bloke the locals had designated Jake Doe, whatever would come through would open more to me than that.

“Jake me boy is that you?”

Even a quick thumbing to dark mode did not help the blinding green screen glow, reminded me of the type on the monitor of an old Apple 2E in public school. Not exactly the best ergonomics for eye care in the 21st century.

“That is what folks have been calling me? Who are you?”

Who I am is irrelevant, the time is short, Jake you need to find it.”

“Find what?” My name? My memories? These are what are sticking out to me at this moment. But this disembodied voice through the green screen is attempting to speak in bad, almost pedantic, riddles.

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It is interesting, I always thought of my furlough into post secondary teaching full-time was going to be a prolgue into my next book of life. That tranistion period of discernment, before hte next big aha.

What is that old colloquilism about while we make plans?

I am coming up on my 3 year anniversary since the vocational pivot, have some great colleagues some have become friends. Over 2022, with one friend/colleague, began discussing teaching as ministry. Some may say well duh, but then take a step back, as I am not talking about my teaching in churches, or Children’s, Youth & Young adult ministry discipleship, spiritual formation. Or even the teaching in the bible college (though that is an aspect of my pivot, teaching at a bible college). This is in regards to what some would call “secular” vocational or tech colleges. Those places of higher learning, that has a direct correlation to employment outcome from learning.

Some have asked why I do not currently puruse work in universities? And it is because there is something that resonates with working with these first, second, third or even fourth career folks as they discover and ignite their passions in their studies, and how it connects to the work they are called to do.

These thoughts come together, after a PD Dinner, where a colleague led us through a reflective practice workshop that raised questions out of Parker Palmer’s Courage to Teach (it has been years, if not a decade or so since I read this work, but have re-rdered from the Library to remiliarize myself with it, as both this evening and a staff orientation at anohter school I teach at mentioned it). The questions raised wre intriguing, and percolated some extra thoughts here from me.

The first was our call narrative to teach. I had to chuckle, as in my previous life book, teaching was the side hustle that supplemetned my non-profit ministry salary, I never really saw it as more thant that. Then as long time readers now, 6 years ago, a health crisis happened, and as I emerged into 2020 all that was known was I could not go back to what I used to (was not medically cleared). One PhD psychologist suggested teaching, and I stepped into a contract role half way through a term (always a tumultous time for learers to have a new instructore halfway through). Then 3 weeks in, a global pandemic. Talk about learning curve over load.

Was it a calling? I viewed it as a nother way to aid, and to continue to support mys family. There was no deep theological reflective thoughts around it when I jumped in, or really over the years since. But as we shared moments during the workshop of the blessings of teaching, those meoments when we thought why do I do this (and for me, the question popped upwhat caused me to go back after that moment?), the connection to the 2022 conversations wtih my colleague connected.

I was able to see connections unseen previously. Years ago when I was undergoing official discernment in a progressive denom for ordination, there was 3 tracks- Sacratement and Word (what one thinks of with a Reverand); Diaconal (Justice/service and teaching), or designated lay minister (which is where most of my ministries were regardless of denom). Many readers know the story of walking away before the final vows, as the sponsoring congregation had issues with my son and his exceptionalities. At dinner though, the connection between the two books of my life hit as a lightning bolt (like when Billy Batson or Teth Adam say Shazam if you will).

The discernment process was accurate, I had spent the majority of my life in justice-service work, and 3 yaears ago was formally told I could no longer, yet service continues in the second piece of the vocational calling- teaching. I could fully articulate this teaching as ministry.

Now onto securing full-time continual/tenured role, and re-reading Palmer’s work.

2023, a new chapter of our life books has opened, what new ministry or current aspect fo life has had hte fog lift to clearly see as ministry, are you in?

End of a Flippin’ Era

Posted: December 27, 2022 by Ty in Musings
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Yes some tongue in cheek, as people ever wondered if I would give up the last bastion of 3G flippery (c’mon Trekkie’s it was like having a communicator from TOS). But I digress, yes I used to be one of keeping up with the latest phone, even had a blackberry until y’know, Telus’ customer service did that in when it died, and I wound up going to Rogers and starting the run of the “burner phone”, always stating I would upgrade to a smart phone, but things would happen.

Unexpected bills.

Health crisis where I could not use touch screens.

Loss of savings to keep a household going during health crisis.

About to get a Smart Phone when my career pivoted and relaunched, only to, y’know have a pandemic hit.

And then, well why bother, emerging out of, thinking of, but other costs and matters took precedent.

Really, it was kinda nice to have a phone that could only call and text.

Not available to socials or emails 24-7, I could choose when I wanted to engage.

A simplicity era.

Simpler times, as one friend noted, a reminder of when people actually had to call you to reach you (or market to you).

But today at 4 p.m.

The era came to an end.

Flippin’ no more.

The final bastions of my time in the homeless sector.

The final physical reminder of my unchosen tranistion time.

A simcard that now reads

No longer registered.

Funny,

how we mark change, not as makign life simpler, but in tranistioning away from simplicity.

A new era,

as one era flippin’ ends,

with one final flip

to close.


A Collaborative Faith Talk with Bruce Callow

For those unfamiliar with the term, you are not a Trekkie either (which can I show you some stuff?) or you are not a fan of the fifth movie adventure of the original series crew, The Final Frontier. It is the journey for the Source, God if you will. Some balk because of the idea, humanity advanced beyond the concepts of religion (or is simply we had advanced beyond the bigotry and divisions that religion used as an opiate for the masses, as a means of power and control?). For those who do not think spirituality (those intrinsic pieces of us that get renewed through certain practices that speaks to the beginning of the answer to the why question of life), look no further, than the show enjoying a renaissance thank to streaming, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which interweaves rebirth, renewal, de-colonization, reconciliation, science, and religion together. Illustrating the types of questions each is designed for.

Why does this matter? What percolated these thoughts once more, about how stories, like Star Trek, and science, and faith can co-exist together? It began to take shape on the Spock Days adventure, as my friend, Bruce, began to speak to joining the Roman Catholic Church in Costa Rica, and began pondering the wandering journey that brings us to these moments of pilgrimage. 

Bruce is a musician, a storyteller, a community builder, and an educator. For those regular followers, you may remember the various Friday night space & science conferences out of Costa Rica I would share that he was a part of, or you have read or seen one of his books, or been a part of one of his community building through music projects in Calgary through the Drop In Centre, or the name is memorable from the interview here, and in the Calgary Herald, of his work in Poland with Ukrainian refugees. 

I pondered his openness in sharing the journey of faith, with who he was, and will let him share…

What was your background of Christianity?

I grew up in the United Church of Canada. Parkdale United Church is where I received my Christian formation. That church had a strong social justice culture and my mum was very involved in that stuff. Later, as a high school student I began to learn about Liberation Theology in the fight against oppression which was part of what compelled me to want to learn more about Central America. Nicaragua had managed to overthrow  a dictatorship and it was heady idealistic stuff to be connected to, at least for a while. Several Jesuit priests and university staff were massacred in El Salvador at the time when I was studying political science at the U of Calgary, I had applied for an internship to work with them a few months before that happened. Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Jerzy Popiełuszko of Poland are heroes of mine. Both gave their lives in the struggle against oppression.

When did the questioning or connecting begin?

My reconnection with faith-based matters got going during my time in Poland earlier this year. Christianity was always in the background for me, but this visit helped it come to surface in a more articulated way. The Catholic Church was a subversive organization during the Cold War that helped lead to the overthrow of the Soviet Union. I got a better appreciation of how important the church is in Poland by talking to people there.  That faith and strength rubbed off on me and I think I needed it as supporting refugees directly in a time of war can be a very draining and consuming experience. To do the work I was doing effectively I could not wear a mask. A smile can’t be shared very well  with a mask on.  Visiting refugee centers with 4,000 mostly unmasked people packed in there, well you know that you might catch something. It was a calculated risk and that’s where faith helped me a lot to be cheerful and always give my best to the Ukrainians. I had already had COVID and had had my shots too. My faith has given me the strength to carry on helping Ukraine in other ways this year.  I met someone very important in Warsaw, it was a chance encounter at the busy Central Railway Station where he was assisting new arrivals from Ukraine.I observed him and other volunteers with awe and much respect. That 2 minute conversation led to a chain reaction of activity and a very special friendship. His name is Roman Lakhnyyuk. Roman is a 23 year old Ukrainian but moved to Edmonton when he was 12. I guess you could say meeting him was the reason I went to Poland.  It is amazing how two strangers can connect like that in the midst of all the turmoil and distractions.  We have helped 40 Ukrainians get to Canada this year and now are delivering other projects in Ukraine.

What have you learned on the journey?

I like the saying “Your life is not about you.” There are so many generational aspects going on regarding the impacts you can make. It is a bit like time travel going forwards and backwards and sending messages to the future. Do what you can to help others but try not to sacrifice yourself in the process. But do push the limits of what you can do. Spending time outside your comfort zone is necessary if you want to grow. And denounce what needs to be denounced and that includes about  churches, like the petition we organized about the abuses committed by churches against indigenous school children in Canada. Pope Francis came to Canada to apologize in person this year which was especially important for healing to take place and trust to be restored.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-ukraine-refugees-canada-fundraiser/?fbclid=IwAR17FIlTKl6n2j02Qk6WmuN0OUr1cufhWCySxNkgWzPO8RB4gl7sf_Zohq8

How do you see God in science, space, stories, music, the world?

Verbal explanations of God are too hard for me, I’ll leave that to others. For me God is a quiet voice that tells me to keep going when I think there is nothing left to give. Humility is very important. I think religion and science can be effective partners, at least they should be.

“ This upcoming conference is a good example of how the worlds of science and religion can come together.”

https://www.wordonfire.org/wonder/

Anything else you would like to share in regard to the journey through spiritual formation in the church?

I don’t pretend to be a guide of any sort. I am happy I completed my Catholic studies this year and to be welcomed formally into the church. It feels like a direct connection to history somehow and there is a lot of cool mystery. Pope Francis suggested yesterday that people have a more austere Christmas this year and give what we have left over to help the people of Ukraine. His commitment to Ukraine is impressive.

Roman and I just arranged the purchase of a diesel generator for the state orphanage in Lviv Ukraine which houses 168 kids, using funds we generated at our recent benefit concert at St. David’s United Church. I feel good we can help Ukrainians in a tangible way to get through this hard winter and I look forward to continuing these kinds of projects working with all kinds of partners.


David Mack’s newest Star Trek: The Original Series novel, Harm’s Way (2022) is set within his Star Trek Vanguard series, and just after the TOS episode Doomsday Machine. There are many touches which makes it a fast read, and gives it a feel of an original episode, as Mack is equisite at getting the characters voice right. It is a subplot in the work where this ponderance comes from.

See the death/suicide of Commodore Matt Decker, has left Kirk with a quandry on how to communicate this loss to Decker’s family (his son, Will, many will be familiar with from his role in The Motion Picture). See, does he share that it was a suicide due to grief over losing his entire crew of the Constitution, or does he speak of him in a hearoes death that ended the Planet Killer? What is truth? What is comfort? Where does the power of grief guide one?

In the internal struggle, Kirk is brought back to his own loss of 200 lives when he was a junior officer on the Farragut, and that internal deconstruction we do of tearing ourselves down of past decisions, errors and losses in our life story when we look back on the events of what we know now.

It is a gambit that does not aid us in moving forward, or healing or keeping the healing work done. See, we cannot even judge yesterday’s decision by what we know today. For what happened yesterday and alld ecisions made were done with the full knowledge and expereince of who we were in that moment. It is unfair and unethical to ourselves to relook and re-judge those moments of our story from where we are now. This is the struggle within Kirk, and how he then has to struggle how to share the story of Commodore Decker’s Death with Decker’s family.

Why does this ponderance matter, I posit a simple refelctive question/exercise for you:

How would you write the letter?

Now look at your own life, and those moments when you want to use hindsight to tear yourself up:

How would you write a letter to yourself?

Be kind as we enter 2023, and may the new be birthed well in our world.

Heading into 2023

Posted: December 23, 2022 by Ty in Current Events
Tags: , ,

It has been awhile. I have been keeping a blog in various locals (with many writings losts to the ther of the internet) since they first emerged as a platform. Sometimes shared, mostly by myself, a space to muse, to share poetry, thoughts, fiction and non-fiction. Postulate theories, and share some important information to aid those to transition from survival to thriving.

We as a planet appear to be in survival mode as we struggle to emerge froma pandemic not yet done with us, fracturing into what was once known as dulaism (now dubbed polarization), where for my view point to be completely correct and right, means that yours must be completely wrong. As well, as being in a space of not trusting any barometer of fact (note I avoided the term truth, for this has been supplanted by the religious-spiritual realm, and does not hold much water in current debates). Fact, however is something that should, we need at this point to listen to philosophers, artists, mystics, and theologians to discover the deeper intrinsic meanings of this time of transition, shall I risk, birthing of the new to come as the necroptic tissue of the old colonial world holds onto us within the womb?

It is also a time, where we have to trust fact. We have to listen to verified sceintists and social scientists. We have to challenge our news outlets, to move away from info-tainment and back into the slow news cycle. For authentic journalism takes time, and isn’t about sharing a both sidism, but about cultivating what the facts are for the reader to draw the conclusion. As well, requires resources, so this can happen, and not just using op-ed writers as defacto journalists, they both provide a function on the site or paper but both have different roles and responsibilities.

I sit here, 3 years out from losing my vocation to health reasons, with stumble starts into a new vocation. Wondering if, as the documentary states, I will ever move away from being professor precarious to actual full time continual/tenure role. I ponder this as the winter term 2023 looms, teaching in mulitple psot-secondaries and faculties to support my family. Intrigued and excited for the new courses I will teach, and learn from my learners as much as I facilitate their own discoveries. It is a vocation I feel as much passion for, as I did my past one. Yet I know to care for my beloved family, something needs to shift, and that is my prayer out into the universe for the narrative of ap rovincial government to shift and realize that education is not simply a cog in the capitalist machine, but rather a way of equipping a society for the transofrmative power of creating new, being kind, and changing this world for the netter. With that change of mind-set, comes a change in funding and understanidng that the gig economy is destructive to community, family and self-cohesion, health and authentic belonging, not only does it need to be addressed, it needs to be challenged, and dismanteld with incentives for employee retention, growth, and yest, being able to retire within an organizations that has ensured you and yours are cared for in proper and robust full compensation packages.

People before profits.

But I digress, as this is a message of the shift of the site, back to a sapce to share thoughts, musings, poetry, resources, writings and in spite of teaching 7 courses in Winter Term, I hope regular writing to be shared with you dear reader. For it is when I am engaged with this lifelong passion of writing, that pieces of my holistic health (mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual) are kept well.

As we enter into the eve of Christmas Eve, when Christians of the West celebrate the birth of light, joy, faith, peace, hope, and the greatest gift–love in the flesh to shatter the oppressive empires of politics and religion, may you stay warm and close to those that you lvoe and love you. May you know that embrace of authentic belonging, and may the journey into and through 2023 be smooth and one of discovery, curiousity and learning.

Belonging Pyramid

Posted: December 23, 2022 by Ty in Archives, Belonging Pyramid, Spirituality

Accessibility is the removal of physical barriers to existence.

Inclusion is simply after getting through physical barrier removal there is a space for you.

Belonging you are welcomed for the full divine person you are, no strings attached, no codifiers, no “yeah buts”. You simply are “I am” and welcomed into the community as a full participant, and the scariest part the community needs to affirm with belonging, is that when you are gone… they will grieve.

All this inverted pyramid is propped up by Love (Agape- kindness, compassion, welcome).

Why inverted? Simple, accessibility should be the easiest, as it is design/retrofit based. Inclusion as it is simply saying the circle is drawn wide enough that one can belong.

Belonging though is the trick, for it is that moment of acknowledging and welcoming the person-hood of the other. The “My Neighbour” life embraced and lived out in community, no qualifiers. For the spiritual, this pyramid is the teaching of Brother Jesus, and many others whose mark we have missed.

Read more thoughts on here.

Dust Jacket Reviews-Archives

Posted: December 23, 2022 by Ty in Archives

Ty Ragan is a colleague who can unfold the mystery of science, metaphysics and spirituality with down to earth conversations and understandings; helping you, the seeker, to see how we really are already all connected and a part of oneness.

-Rev. Deirdre Leighton

I find Ty’s writing to always be insightful and inspiring. As a member of the LGBTQ++ community, I am usually apprehensive to reading blogs from Christian authors. Ty’s is the exception – regardless of your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc – his blog is inclusive and has a message for everyone.

-Sam Perry, Student

Ty Ragan and his teaching mentored me both professionally and personally. He taught me about boundaries, the importance of silence and to continue to pursue making my corner of the world a better place. He’s full of compassion and wit. He fights for the important things to him and inspires others to do the same. He taught me that the impact of truly listening to others will never be a waste. I have found that this teaching bears much wisdom and grace. I’m so grateful for the way he’s impacted my life.

-Kelly McGregor, RPC (Counsellor at Restore Counselling)

“He walks his talk”

“You are what we term a Wisdom Keeper”

From Light News Radio broadcast March 28, 2018

I have had the opportunity to work alongside Ty for close to 5 years. throughout this time, I learned more about myself and the role I played as a social worker. Whether it was a formal staff meeting seminar on grief and loss or a conversation over coffee, Ty had a way of growing an individual without them being consciously aware of it happening. Ty brings a passion to teaching that is rare in the field and his experiences to show you that anything is possible. I am eternally grateful for his teaching and friendship.

-Scott Hofstetter, RSW

Ty always puts people first. He walks with you to find faithful solutions to any challenges life throws at you.

-Paul Vargis, Yoga Instructor; 2004 Provincial Election Candidate; 2011 Federal Election Candidate

Awarded Honourary Doctor of Divinity (2009) for social justice work. Awarded Honourary Doctor of Metaphysics (2010) for theology teaching. A community found a way to ordain him in 2010 after he stopped his discernment for ordination due to ableism. In 2006 completed the Munay-ki rites for a Wisdom Keeper. McKillop Awards for Community Services Nominee (2012). Calgary Northeast Federal Election Candidate (2006).

“Brilliant” and “Thought Provoking” about Awaiting Inspiration (part of Belonging Pyramid).

-Deb

“when it was my darkest and I thought no one cared, you told me to come home. Who knew Come Home would be such a life changer”

-Anonymous (former resident client)

My Neighbour

Posted: December 23, 2022 by Ty in Archives, Spirituality

Who is My Neighbour?

An eternal question with the simplest of answers we refuse to hear due to our entrenchments that “I” is always right in beliefs, culture, race, gender, religion/spirituality, politics, paradigms, etc.

Yet, the answer is found throughout the meta-narrative foundation myths/legends/stories of our existence.

In monasticism communities and individuals vow to follow a way of living. It is taken as a whole being, in communion with all of creation, it is simply called a “Rule of Life” or “Rule of Ministry.” It basically is covenanting to not live as an asshole.

It has been many years since I have renewed my Rule pledge, it has transformed, grown and contracted over time, yet it comes back to two simple things, a teaching and a story…that echo from 2000 years ago, and many more thousand years old to those stories and movements I am drawn to today.

Who is My Neighbour?

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

-Matthew 22:37-40 (New King James Version)

and…

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[a] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[b]

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed,[c] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

-Luke 10:25-37 (New King James Version)

Our world can be transformed…one simple act of kindness at a time, by seeing our neighbour before us.