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Freefall

Posted: October 21, 2018 by Ty in Spirituality
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It is the name of a periodical collection of Calgary. It is also a method of writing made famous by W.O. Mitchell. Yet, intuitively for a writer it is already a practice we have whether or not we have the term for it. It was the term I discovered for what I was already doing up to 16 years old. My Dad heard a radio ad for the Alexandra Writer’s Centre Society, which offered courses and gatherings for writers. Took many courses there over the years, and did a few public readings. At the time, was the youngest who had signed up for courses, now very proud to see that they offer youth courses.

But what is Freefall? Quite simply it is the act of writing. Sounds simple doesn’t it? You are a writer because you write. It is the process on keyboard, or long hand to write for 15 minutes each day. Do not stop, do not edit, just let it flow out of you. Sometimes a story, sometimes kernels of things, thoughts or snippets, or what may be blocking. A daily practice of creativity.

Growing from this daily practice of creativity, for those not inclined to write I would also encourage drawing, colouring free hand. It is the ability to allow what is in out in unstructured ways.

Words and colours together.

Movement on a page.

For free fall is about building and structuring the daily practice of time with one’s thoughts and creative spark. To be able to move through the sludge that stops one from getting to the story, or discovering the resonance.

Today take up the challenge of Freefall to see what you connect to?

What story emerges?

 

 

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Ah the reviews of “scary” or “terror inducing” for me were a bit over the top, but Haunting of Hill House (Netflix series, 2018) was good. Now, I must admit we will not be talking about the paranormal aspects of the show (perhaps another post, as I do love what was shown for the negative/dark side of paranormal, much like the Exorcist television show), but there is another topic that emerges within the confines of the 10 episodes and that is:

A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N.

And within the confines of addiction, the shame hierarchy of addiction so other addicts can hide and believe they are healthier than the other. The Crain family is the centre of the story.  A shared trauma when the 5 siblings were children,  which as they grew up each took their own path of suppression/repression/projection and psychological denial.

Luke’s addiction was the one that the rest could look down upon, as it was heroin. The eldest brother, Steven, dove into denial and repression through turning everything into a story to cover up what he believed was family psychosis and as a result created emotional walls to keep everyone out, and self-sabotage. Theo to avoid touch, wrapped herself in her work and the only release being one night stands not knowing how to love. The eldest sister became obsessed with death running a funeral home, and Nell became lost in trying everything to feel “normal”. Each had their own addiction…and while Luke chose the quickest way to numb the pain, each sibling as well showed that when their own path was no longer working they had no issue supplementing with hard liqour.

The most telling  scene being at a funeral viewing with Luke even though 90 days clean, still struggling with his own grief. The family’s liqour use on full display for drunkenness.

This is the question it raises. Addiction is not formed in a vacuum. It is not a choice. It is a coping mechanism for life, for trauma, for loss, for grieving, for lack of belonging. Feeling the eternal outsider and not knowing how else to silence the demons, or make the pain go away.

It is why 12 step programs still persist, because they draw people into community, and provide support on the journey. Create a safe port o call when the storms of life get too much. DBT/CBT (ala Smart Recovery) do the same, as it provides tools. Things that allow working through the symptoms, but it is striking at the heart of cause that brings release. How many do that?

In that journey, how many communities/families are willing to journey with the addicted?

It is in the journey when light is shone into the darkness that creates healing and ends addiction.

Recent studies on front line workers in homelessness/housing first have shown high rates of PTSD (higher than sexual assault victims) and currently peg 46% of active staff living/working with symptoms. One has to ponder, and possibly explore what is the functional/non-functional addiction levels of these staff for coping? As one struggles with flashbacks/anxiety/depression/pain and the darkness, reaching for what ever will bring relief/unconsciouness can be easier than working the healing. Discovering the light that the darkness has buried takes a lot (and requires a wraparound industry of support).

Yet for that light to shine, one has to look at their world…and do those around them create a safe port o call or simply a place where you can rationalize usage? Reflecting on Luke, he could very easily have looked at the other addictions and rationalized usage not healing. For the only difference in addictions, was legal/illegal.

The purpose behind was the same– numbing the pain of loss.

And that is the challenge for when it comes to addictions healing, we as the outsider do not necessarily want to admit perhaps our behaviours need to adjust for safety on the journey. The communal responsibility over personal right. It is a fine line, but one that shows the living breathing eco system within ourselves is how the community interacts with those in pain.

Are we going to be a part of the healing?


Daily practice. It has backed many religious/spiritualist movements. Secular mindfulnessIMG_2684 movements. Psychological/holistic healing. Creative arts. The idea that each day to do something that takes you into another space. The thin space that “separates” the creative spark (some call God) and creation…when in fact they resonate well together it is simply us that must pause, and enter into the thin space to truly create.

These are thoughts that have been spinning as I work through my own block. Writer’s block. Very rarely experienced in my life, but lately has been cropping up. It is a block of darkness. Or that is what I see when I take moments to pause and be present. The light is kept out, unable to truly break through. Feel one’s breath is what the experts say to enter into a deeper meditation. It starts with presence. Experiencing what is in the now. The now being a concrete block within my mind’s eye.

bookBut it comes back to each day trying to keep practice. For as Martella-Whitsett (2011) How to Pray without Talking to God brought the book group to this week. We tend to stop our practice to soon. That is we tend to enter into our prayer/contemplation/meditation time of creation/manifestation/denial/affirmation BUT before we truly make a breakthrough the silence scares us.  For it is resting in that silence that the heavy lifting to the “Thin Space” can be done.  Simply, because being with ourselves and truly affirming the divinity we are created in is, well, S-C-A-R-Y. So it is always easier to simply stop at the imaginary line, than spend that extra beat and wait to see if the light shines through.

The light of daily practice. Been a long road back to some semblance of this for myself, yet trying to attempt it. Working into some Wisdom in Ecclesiastes, reminders about the ebbs and flow of life. Silence. Concrete blocks. Reminders in the ancient story of Nehemiah, called to rebuild. On the front lines as a leader in the moment, but taking time away to get above the daily work, the daily battles to be able to see the lay of the land. The higher plain of planning.

That is the extra beat in the silence.

The higher plain, being able to see (wholly) who one is.

From their stepping into the true reality.

Yet, in the moment, one chapter hangs by the precipice. A block of stone blocking that light…just one more beat…in the silence…

Today’s practice.

awaiting


Psychologically speaking denial is the conscious or unconscious act of avoidance or locking away of the negative (or positive in some cases) experiences/emotions that will cause detriment to one’s mental, emotional or physical well-being. The extension of this denial can actually trigger unconsciously and systematically that which it is trying to avoid. Metaphysically and holistically denial in spiritual work is something different. And that is where the Skype conversation at book club (due to Calgary’s snow day) commenced. It is a practice many spiritualists already have if not named.

Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett’s work is the pre-course to becoming a prayer chaplain in the Unity Movement. For anyone who does prayer work, energy work or holistic work I would suggest her 2011 How to Pray Without Talking to God: Moment by Moment Choice by Choice for its constant reminder that we are within the Divine (Holy Spirit) and that is where our identity and self is anchored. I will be more blunt than her eloquent words, but we are not the labels placed upon us by society. Contrary to many “money makers” of religion, spirituality or metaphysics– we do not manifest the negative in our lives. Well duh.

Which brings us into the conversation on denial in this context. It is not avoidance or suppression, it is cleansing, or in Martella-Whitsett’s words (p.83):

Constipation in the body is relieved by following a treatment plan. First, you ingest a purgative that rouses the organs of elimination. Second, you await the outcome in a supportive environment, however many hours it takes. Third, you sit on the pot, relax and release. Finally, you flush. 

This is the way we deal with a physical blockage in our systems. Spiritual denial is the same kind of process as she writes (p.84):

First, you are provoked by a niggling realization that you are filled with false beliefs. Second, you heighten your spiritual awareness through study, prayer and meditation. Third, you cultivate a consciousness of denial by your words, leading to elimination of false beliefs. Finally, you flush- it is finished- with an emphatic Amen.

Denial is doing the work to rid yourself of the destructive shadow. It is

bookthe gremlins-saboteurs laid bare and flushed out through laxative of the soul. It is the soul work that with other care (medical, mental health, spiritual) can create a healthy you. It is the system flushing that allows for authentic affirmation work. Not the trite- fake it til you make it- post it note to believably- catch all. Though within this stage the post it notes will be more real to you.

As the Rev. takes us through more soul work, this gem is found on page 94 in regards to affirmations (post system flushing or to have regular up keep on said system):

Feelings must be engaged. … If your intellect crafts wonderful words, but your heart does not believe them, your affirmation frustrates rather than supports. You experience inner conflict rather than inspiration.

For authentic denial is the flushing of the false shadow self, authentic (realization) affirmation (thinking) is tapping into our true Divine Self/Nature/Truth. It is the hardest soul work, for all these words must grow out of our whole being (heart and mind) not just an intellectual exercise.

When it happens it is beautiful, healing, and igniting of a (re)newed you. It can also reveal the new path the labyrinth of life is taking you too.

Or as Charles Fillmore (Co-Founder of Unity) would say:

I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me. (from Atom Smashing Power of Mind, 1949).

Where is the sizzle in your life to do what ought to be done by you?


Christopher L. Bennett’s Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code (Pocket Books, 2016) raises the ethical dilemma in a pre-Prime Directive Star Trek Universe. For the non-initiated (or those who live without fun), the Prime Directive is the oft-shrugged away rule of non-interference that the United Federation of Planets abides by in pre-first contact interactions.

As this series has come together, it challenges the early Federation (Earth-Vulcans-Tellarites-Andorians) working together on how to bring their different methods, values and ethics together as they continue to explore the Universe and face challenges. Among them a capitalist AI run amok- The Ware Corporation.

We all try to live according to our principles, but we cannot control whether history will remember us as heroes or villains. Sometimes, those of us who take the boldest actions in support of our beliefs are destined to be remembered as both.

-Samuel A. Kirk, The Forgotten Enterprise (2190)

It is a technology that replaced all sentient species on its home world from the work-exploration forces, and now out in the galaxy to continue its growth requires sentient brains to survive and grow. Hence the dilemma, some stations are quite aggressive in seeking new “fuel” sources. While others are in a forced symbiosis with the Partnership. A collection of pre-warp cultures/worlds that have found a way to not be used up (die) as fuel for the Ware, but find a way to switch volunteers in and out of the system. Thus having their societies benefit from actual technology though living in constant fear of what had come before. It is on the Federation’s Radar with Captains T’Pol and Reed, due to the aggressive nature of the technology and trying to end its spread.

An ethical dilemma for the species in the Partnership would not be where they are technologically without the Ware, yet the Ware had decimated much around them, and as a result of the Partnership, had brought war from neighbouring planets. Ends and Means. Is it worth the price? What if the Federation does not stop its spread?

While the cube squeezes tightly as the Klingon Empire on the brink of civil war due to an augment disease that had created humanesque Klingons (think those from the original t.v. show) who function as privateers of the space-ways but now see their way with the Ware to conquest of their home world.

While the Matriarchal Orion Syndicate squeezes the ethical standard of the Federation more by forcing a possible hand where they must decide in propping up dictators for needed supplies or not.

There are no ideal solution.s here, Jonathan. You should’ve learned that by now. When the galaxy is falling down around you, you have to prioritize whom to save.

-Shran (p.233)

And yes, Shran and Archer’s ethical conversations continue as to what direction needs to be taken as the galaxy is on the precipice of chaos fueled by hate over hope once more. The galaxy’s struggle brought down to a family microcosm on Denobula, as Dr. Phlox’s daughter is to be wed to her second husband (of three, Denobulans are Polyamorous, in which each wife has 3 husbands, and each husband 3 wives). This daughter has stepped out of the protectionist practices of Denobula and has married a human, and now an Antarran (for the second think of a British Protestant marrying an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland in the mid-20th century). As hate attempts to disrupt wedding with a less enlightened sibling who murders her soon to be father-in-law.

The question left hanging is what is forgiveness, reconciliation and family? Do actions define an individual?

And when the roles become reversed, can mercy be found?

Yes, a few more spoilers than I like in a reflection, but it is to show what diving in to a story can raise question wise. Many outcomes are reached by surrendering what we hold to be true. And the flip is that many outcomes can be lost due to holding what we hold to be true.

For the reader, the ethical dilemma may be a trite soundbite in this day and age, but the adage is more of a reflection for each of us:

Do the ends justify the means?

Or, will the means leave lasting harmful repercussions that even if the result is good, was it worth it?


The cross burned outside of Stone’s old home.

Reed Farrel Coleman’s latest addition to the Jesse Stone mythos is Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind (2018). For the uninitiated Jesse Stone is the Chief of Paradise, Mass. and was a former homicide cop in LA, via blown out shoulder so he couldn’t play in the big league’s of baseball (aside from strong novels, it is a good movie series starring Tom Selleck). Stone was hired as chief not for his expertise, but the perceived ability to control a divorced-co-dependent-alcoholic cop by a corrupt town council. As each story has proven there are more layers to this character than the proverbial onion.

Colorblind opens 2 months after Stone returns to Paradise from rehab. He enters a life not struggling not to simply not drink, but to actually live sober. An astute difference of circumstance and struggle that Coleman show’s in the internal struggle where the ritual of alcohol was so central to Stone’s process of crime solving, but also self destruction. Through subtle writing you see the struggle within and without for the entomology that is addiction, but trying to understand what redemption and healing can look like. Much like Paradise being a town on the crux of change with the influx of new, so is Stone a living embodiment of this change.

In ripped from life fashion, the S.S. comes to town to spark a regression back to the horrible old days of hate and never was days. But are they more than just pamphlets as interracial couples are targetted? And the “first” (hard for those who love the movies/books who always saw officer Crane as African American) African American Officer, Alisha, is hired, and struggles through what happens when the Nazi’s come to town and show hate is more cult like than any religion.

Paradise becomes the living metaphor of the struggle for healing from addiction, as hate may seem destructive yet it feeds on paranoia that change is bad and will bring worse tidings than simply embracing the “devil we know”. The same voice that rings in an addict’s ear when hiccups hit, and one glass or one shot won’t harm…

As always there is more along the surface, as an enigma comes to town in the midst of the struggle of light and darkness.

Suit is still coply and following his intuition. Crane is motherly and strong. Healy is the dour-acidic old cop. And quite possibly as normal Stone is in over his head, but unwilling to allow legal-illegal to be the only benchmark for justice when wrong has overcome right.

A good read for the mystery. A better read for the conversation on the resurgence of Nazism in North America and what it says about the state of our soul.


Thank you for inviting me to discuss belonging. This is a lifetime way of life for my family and me, that has left its physical, emotional and spiritual scars upon me. I was not designed for typical church. I was formed in the teachings of St. Francis and Clare of Assisi as a Franciscan, but was mentored by Basillians and Jesuits, and those that were of the social gospel, and sprung from the social gospel. The monastics, like Francis, Clare, Basil and Ignatius…they were of those that cared radically for their neighbour. Serving and learning in those communities, I was able to be apart of the radical love of neighbour that acted in such movements as the social gospel that sprung workers rights, women’s rights, that liberation theology would come from, that would have seeds in the fall of the Berlin Wall as John Paul II pushed for it, and Desmond Tutu in the end of Apartheid. The radical love I got to see in Calgary outside of the shelter system was at the community level. I speak of church families, where they realized families were staying in their church, and it struck the Holy Spirit within them…how do these neighbours shower? it struck on a Saturday, and on a Sunday the plumbers were in building the showers, and the priest was speaking as collection was to pay the plumber currently constructing…or realizing that they could not have all members of the community participate due to lack of a lift…or the food cupboard was empty…and well, let’s say collection for the church budget or the need of neighbour was a living breathing spirit.

But like the social gospel, these orders also had a strain of theology that was offensive. It was quite blatant in the late 19th and early 20th century, in Alberta as late as the 1990’s; and that being eugenics. The active belief those not seen “as typical” by society are deficient and everything has to be actively worked towards to eliminate them, or exclude them.  There is still strong pockets of this from secular and spiritual movements, most notably seen this past summer, with the United Church Observer’s supported work to ban the plastic straw, a device specifically designed for persons with certain disabilities, and without its accessibility would mean death. Most often we just see its more passive, and prejudicial form, of Ableism, most blatantly on display this past General Council with Moderator Nominee Colin Phillips, who with his form of CP uses a wheelchair and speaking aid. He stated in his column after it was a council of awkwardness, and people not engaging-my heart hears, to engage means we have to change, and adapt.

There is beauty in our heritage, but bad theology around the healings of Brother Jesus of Nazareth, has allowed Ableism and eugenics to flourish within the church by oppression or omission of the full Image of God, Imageo Dei in the Latin. And by that omission, we are missing out on the time, talent, treasures and blessings that come with the full Imageo dei. It is from reading the healing stories from the perspective of needing to be healed to belong, not realizing they are about belonging because of the beautiful rainbow of God’s creation to paraphrase Archbishop Tutu. To paraphrase Tutu again, if persons with disabilities, mental health concerns, cognitive issues, on a spectrum ala Cerebral Palsy or Autism, etc. are not in the Kingdom, then it is a kingdom I want nothing to do with.

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Affirming Sunday Oct. 1, 2017 Leland putting up his colour

For the work of the Kingdom to continue in the beautiful tradition of My Neighbour, as J.S. Woodsworth wrote it, the sin of eugenics needed an exorcism. This is the work I have undertaken, in thought, word and deed. It led me through My Neighbour, to what today is being presented as the Spirituality of Belonging. Before we step into that, i just want to take a moment to thank Robert McClure Untied Church for including my family in your community for the past 18 months. We will remember C. coming and talking to Leland directly about Wonderkids, Justina teaching how Advent and Sacred Aboriginal Teachings go together, the Christmas Play, Leland’s moment at the affirming service to step out of the ableism of Christianity with his proud declaration of rainbow colour, “I won Nana”; and B’s wonderful Easter egg hunt balloons so all children could be apart of the fun. Today, you will be a part of my last teaching given in a United Church, as I stated at the beginning to get to this point has taken its toll, and the activeness of ableism and prejudices, have left me today going against my medical support teams wishes and

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“I won Nana”-Leland

presenting. As I opened with, a lifetime of working to build places of belonging for all Image Bearers has taken its toll on my system, let’s just say it has been messy and the worst humanity has to offer I have witnessed. But that is why this work if so important. For this is the next step after the exorcism. This is the spirituality of belonging as the church titled my presentation which has a nice resonance. Belonging is the ickiness of life and the scariest word you will hear today.

It is the next step. But we don’t get to belonging easily, for that carries too much. I designed a simple culmination, the Belonging Pyramid.

It is inverted. The first layer being Accessibility which is the removal of physical barriers. This is the crafting or re-crafting of space so individuals can enter and use. This is the piece where community partnerships matter, money flows, Thanksgiving offerings work, and  government grants can be used.

The next step is the wonderful word most communities stop on. “Inclusion”  it is such a warm and fuzzy buzz word. But it means we got space for you.

The hardest piece, and the smallest that can create tipping and allow for the exorcism to be reversed, is belonging. it is that authentic space where you love your neighbour as yourself and the Holy. It is that space where the ickiness exists, because, you need to look at all angles before making decisions, all ripple effects, you may have to take stands for your neighbour that take your out of comfort, or safety. It is also the space where you heart recognize that one day that space will be empty…

But we do not do it alone, for the Holy Spirit of love was breathed into us at creation, and we live out of it…and the pyramid itself is balanced in Agape.

So great lecture, now let’s do the work…I encourage you to get comfortable for we are going to do liturgy…thats latin for “work of the people” via theology….

Take a moment, centre yourself. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply, exhale releasing the burdens of the day. When you feel you have breathed all the breath out, keep going, let the joys of the day out.

Enter into this space. Breathe in and exhale deeply twice more.

You are travelling to just outside the church. At the entrance to the parking lot.

Accessibility: Read John 9: 1.

A person with blindness. You are that differently abled person. Perhaps you require a mobility device-cane, scooter, wheel chair, walker; perhaps you experience the world through the lens of mental health: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and on the list can go; perhaps a global delay, or you are on one of the diagnosis spectrums ala Autism or Cerebral Palsy; perhaps it is deafness or blindness. Here you are, complete and at the gates of a new community.

You have heard there is a farmer’s market. You cannot reach it. The hill has no access for your device, so you turn away home. Or you are able to enjoy the market but need the washroom. Someone has parked a truck blocking main doors. You are directed to a curb to step over to uneven ground to a small dark door. Your left side is weak and you know you cannot lift your leg up or you are in a wheel chair. You have a choice- soil yourself to stay or go home?

You are new to the neighbourhood using a good day of energy to explore, your spouse can drive but requires accessible permit parking. You have heard good things about this church, off a Sunday you see that they use their accessible permit spots to park bobcats. Obviously, there would be no guarantee on a Sunday they would not be used likewise, time to keep looking.

There’s a community garden, you have saved money to rent a spot, but you cannot get up onto the field where the plots are or easily maneuver to your plot? Not worth the hassle, just won’t be this year.

You stir up the courage to come to church one Sunday, only to reach the door and realize that you cannot reach the door handle to enter, and no one is around. You turn around.

Some would say this is not accessibility, but it is through the eyes of the codes, for everything up to that point as not seen as “illegal”, much the way the man with blindness experienced his world.

Inclusion: Read John 9:2.

The world of labels and diagnosis was designed so we could become inclusive. In the best environment it simply shows what is necessary for someone to be brought into the circle. In the worst, it allows for different barriers to be erected under the guise of “inclusion”.

That is the question being asked by the disciples; what is wrong with this guy? What caused it?

You arrive on a Sunday, and someone opens the door for you. Obviously, you can see where the sanctuary is, but how do you know where anything else is in the church? You are non-verbal, possibly use pics or words to know directions but nothing is labelled. No directional signs to the office; or rooms; or Sunday School or youth group, does this church have a library? You heard something in the announcements about the library having an event this week?

It is soup after church. No tables, your wheel chair does not have a tray, how do you balance? Or perhaps you have weakness in your hands? Seeing the heavy table to be brought out you don’t want to be a bother to ask.

Sadly during service you had an accident and now the fabric chair is ruined, but you don’t want to be yelled at again.

You or a parent/caregiver have been overstimulated due to the noise level of service or something else. You seek a quite space. Can’t use the nursery not a baby, and too much stimulation going by the Wonder Kids. Try any doors to find them all locked. Can’t calm yourself in the lobby. Time to go home, as usual even the tools you have you cannot use because locked doors are more important, but you are included as the building let you be “included”.

Communion Sunday, a holy time when all are to come forward and partake of the “Lord’s Supper”. But you cannot eat. You are not part of the Lord’s Supper or the family table, at least you are included.

People come to talk to you, nope, they are talking to those with you about you because… there is something different, or as disciples said, what is wrong with that person? What label can be put on them?

You decide to reach out and be included in small groups. Some do not understand that not everyone in your house drives so always doing things the way you have always done them means exclusion. You struggle one winter night to come out to learning circle, it is a rough night for your physical self. Church is low lit and you almost trip over the chair blocking the hallway with the “silence sign” on it. Or you can’t get around it with your wheel chair—so you go home.

Membership classes are offered…nothing on ages for membership. Nothing on child care. Your family can then not join together as one would have to come one year and the other next, for financially it is not there to afford child care for the weekend. But you have a seat in a sanctuary on Sunday morning.

A service on different prayer practices. Stations set up, cannot maneuvor a mobility device around to get to each, so sit silently and hope no one notices you.

Feedback on sound system that can trigger convulsive brain activity or flashbacks from trauma.

Exceptionally loud music compared to speaking that can overstimulate a mind that is not neuro-typical.

There’s a youth group. Nothing about ages or when it is or who to connect with. You may fit but are afraid of rejection because so many churches before have told you you do not belong.

But like the blind man of the story, or women of the time, you are allowed to come hear about the Holy, just not be in the whole presence of. But you are included.

Belonging: Read John 9: 3

There are those that have shared the journey, that share grieving, and celebrate life together. There is a rhythm on the “way things have always been done” so if you have always been here, much like the disciples, you got the norms of the place and time. Jesus looks at you and does not see the labels, the diagnosis, the worldly prognosis; or whatever other b.s. (belief system or the farm term if you prefer) the world puts on you.

Jesus flips it to the heart of the matter. You are here to shine through the glory of God.

Genesis 1:27-28 (read it) the Holy Breath is within you. You are created just the way you are meant to be, in a perfect reflection of God.

It was Jesus pointing to the world and going, YOU BELONG because YOU ARE. Any healing done after that was because of how dull the hearers were and the risk they were placing a child of God’s life at due to their ignorance.

But as you rhythmically breathe back into the now of your community. Breathe in the Command Jesus gave us. Love. Breathe it in deeply, breathe it out deeply.

Do this three times, and rest in the presence of Love. Or Agape as it was termed.

Rest in that Agape, and when you are ready come back.

(Once all are back).

It is fairly simple, we can discuss accessibility, we can discuss inclusion. Those things already happen, I took you through the eyes of the one experiencing what is. The physical building can be as pretty as one wants it to be. Universally designed as much as we want it to be and is able for a 30ish year old property. We can have someone open the door or prop it open so everyone can come claim their seat on a Sunday. We can attain everything up to code and function so the circle is drawn wide for inclusion.

BUT, and this is a big but. If we are still the disciples pointing and asking the question, or not making eye contact…we are having adventures in missing the point. The point is belonging. Authentic longing, based on the love Jesus showed in this story. The scary thing of belonging especially within the differently-abled/persons with disabilities/mental health/medically complex (let them pick their descriptor) is that there may be no warning and suddenly…

Their spot is empty. That is why we create barriers and labels. You have now experienced different perspective, the thoughts on building agape belonging is upon you or remain in the status quo.

 

Within your groups take a moment to pause and reflect:

 

  1. What did your heart hear in this experience?
  1. Where does that feeling reveal you to be within the pyramid?

 

Accountability: 

Consider, what you can do to create a spirituality of belonging this week. One little step within your own community. Share with your group, and come back and share next week with them how it went.

Children’s Time

You Are, You Belong

Image result for Brad Meltzer's I am Helen KellerOur stories start with a beautiful poem of Great Creator making all. It speaks to us that when each of us was created it was in their image, and breathed into with blessing. Today, I am going to let you meet one of Creator’s images and blessings.

Start with the last page: I am Helen Keller, I won’t let anything stop me.

Helen was born both deaf and blind, if you cover your ears and close your eyes, that was how she knew her world. Her own relatives believed her to be a monster. Yet she didn’t stop wanting to let the world know the love she had inside. Her family, her tutor helped her discover how to communicate in her own way. She would go on to shatter her world’s old way of seeing things.

What are ways your family or friends have helped you?

Helen learned to communicate through signs, by being shown through touch.

She realized people needed help. She fed the hungry, grew schools to help those who were told they couldn’t to learn.

What is one thing you can do to make your school or home or church more welcoming?

Read the last few pages…

Closing prayer: Thank you Creator for the wonderfulness of difference, that each of us is lovingly blessed to be who we are meant and created to be. Amen.