Author Archive


Ah on a weekend I could have succumbed to the lament I felt late Friday night seeing the funding notice rejection in my inbox, it is time to live into the emotions, but also cultivate optimism, and sometimes it is found in the simple things of a week. So I give you an optimistic ecclecicta, for taking a 7 day experiment of tracking at least 3 things you are thankful/grafeful for (with the rationale) can aid your optimism in resilience. That all to sound “sciency” with simply sharing some fun:

Do you belive a woman can fly?

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It is the first thought that leapt into my mind last weekend as my family settled in for a family movie night to watch our newest DVD- Wonder Woman 1984, with the microwave popcorn popped and dusted with dill pickle salt, and the root beer poured. I know critics and some have panned it, but it is, in my humble opinion, that WB did not do a strong enough job of essentially sharing the joy of this gem– you are entering into, truly, a circa late 1970’s to 1980’s movie with all the tropes that come with it. From the nerdy work woman that cannot walk in heals (Barbara Minerva), the megalomaniac oil business man (Maxwell Lord), to the body swap love (Steve Trevor), to the mall scene, and the soundtrack, to the greed that drove the Cold War, and the under current of fear that existed at that time, and the simplicity of belief in mass media that everyone just needed more stuff or would only care about themselves. Oh, and did I mention the fun little PSA moments built in around young Diana, like movies would have tossed in for kids

The core though is full on Wonder Woman. Discovering that what we wish for (in a twisted stone with Monkey Paw rules), is not necessarily always what we need. Oh, and that little thing of truth that our world finds so hard to understand even now: As a species we do not exist in silo’ed isolation. Every choice we make has ripple effects on creation and/or others. It is truly in understanding interdependence, connection and belonging that we can see the love in our own lives for ourselves (just as we are) and for others.

Yes, as my wife so easily encapsulated with the Steve Trevor storyline, “I hate when super hero movies make me cry”

If you want a movie that reminds you of the fun of the theatre and movie nights at home from the video store (whether Video Show Place, Rogers, Blockbuster, VHQ, etc), or simply, to have a movie that your kids (and yes mine are teens) that will cheer when good wins, it is worth the watch.

The Unicorn Find

A few years ago, while my family was binging the Comic Book Guys, I wrote about that one comic I owned that I no longer did that I wanted to find again. For me, it was one bought when out with my Mum, Nan & Granddad from WoodWard’s Food Store. Back when WoodWard’s existed, and grocery stores had comic book spinner racks (we geeks lament the young not getting into our hobby, yet our hobby is now exclusive to comic shops, not everywhere’s like it was before). Where I found the first comic I really remember owning:

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It was great fun to travel back to being a kid with a comic I literally read to pieces. I had forgotten the smell of a newsprint comic from the era, with many stories of that vintage I currently have being in reprinted editions. As well, it has me with my eyes keenly open for another rare gem, Marvel’s The Last Star Fighter magazine adaptation that my Dad had brought home one night after work for me (and my brother that night had gotten his first BMX Plus magazine I believe).

Pfizered

Ah, yes in the Province of Alberta confusion reigns on who qualifies and who does not with our wonky phased system. I do hope we follow B.C.’s route and shift simply to age groupings to get more shots in arms, and that Health Canada pointing out the AZ is cleared for 18+ will also create more movement, as we desperately need the light at the end of hte tunnel on C-tine (398 days at home).

Today we got our first dose (and yes once a vacinne is cleared for those under 16 years my kiddos will be getting one too) of two of the Pfizer in a quick move through system, and just a 15 minute wait afterwards. Go in, swap masks, register and needle in arm:

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Post Pfizer Selfie

So yes, there are bumps on the road, sometimes even potholes or sinkholes, but we can make it through and see some light. Just a simple musical reminder that came back on my radar as well to close:

What are your good views this week?


Tod Bolsinger’s (2018) Canoeing in the Mountains is another addition to the ideas of what to do as leaders in the post-Christendom world. We are witnessing the death gasps of the old modality, especially ramped up during our current pandemic. The crux of the journey, with a touch on the parables drawn from Lewis & Clark, but truly deep dives into Dr. Bolsinger’s time as a PCUSA pastor, what does it mean to traverse change in leadership?

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A book mentioned in a course, 2 years later found at Red Deer’s Parables Store.

It is a book that was mentioned during my reboot/healing work months in 2019, when I attempted a course at Alberta Bible College on Strategic Leadership (as an audit), as we explored leadership. The concept as leaders, being not necessarily to try and read everything available on the topic, but rather pick one title a year. A little like the advice I was given wen I started out in ministry last century in regards to conferences, not to be overwhelmed by the amount but rather pick the 1 or 2 that have value added for learning, but more importantly renewal (like the Leadership Summit I attended at ABC in 2019, but sadly, covid).

Though it brings forth in this reading some reflections, as I continue to deep dive into what it means to grow healthy spiritual communities.

What does community look, neigh, love like through a gospel lens?

This book, with ones such as a Church Called Tov are intriguing in how to do things differently, as Bolsinger points out apptly, when it comes to traversing the journey of change churches default to what they have always done (not necessarily what has always worked or even been enjoyable). It is the quick fix, the knee jerk reaction for as people, especially people in change pang (yes, death may be a part of it) is to default into what they have always done. It also is what creates the fight-flight-freeze response when new folks, or those shifting their journey begin to ask questions as to the why (rationale behind) actions, decisions, methodologies, etc. I would equip practicum students to ask my teams the why questions, if we cannot go beyond the “that’s how we have always done it” type of cliche, then it is something to be explored. That is, it is a sacred cow not necessarily an effective tool or community aspect (and from a leadership book of yester year’s title, sacred cows make the best burgers).

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For in reflecting on the idea of adaptive leadership within Bolsinger’s book, and his other twinned motto, failing only as fast as the community can handle, it becomes clear part of the learning curve for shifting gears is to work with congregations within the concepts found in Senge et el (2008) Presence which is about being present during change, during the move through the U Theory of letting go, letting come, prototyping new ideas, before crsystallizing the new reality. What I feel when I read Bolsinger’s text is being adaptive enough in leadership to act like an investigative journalist sync life coach to dive to the root of the issues at hand, to root out what is holding the community into the old paradigm, and to be able to let it go. Part of that work, as we know from working in coaching with internalized gremlins, is an often missed step, thanking that which we have always done. It has gotten us this far, but after thanking it, ritual of releasing it, so that the altar is cleared for the new call, the new commissioning.

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The New Community that is and will become.

What communal gremlins are holding back the church from becoming that which it is meant to be in a post-Christendom world?

How do we live into what Brother Jesus called us to authentically be, before Empire interrupted?


Ah Star Trek. My Dad was a Trekkie, through repeats on the CBC he introduced us to the series and the complex discussions that were brought up in some of the episodes. As a little kid it was great because it was one night a week that I could stay up past my bedtime. I remember when the pay channels would do their free weekend preview, and we would record Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan off of it, and yes, those literal ear worms still cause my skin to crawl just thinking of it. And the sorrowful death, choosing to save others (being selfless, Mr. Spock, not selfish, what a message for our existence in c-tine). As well, the copy of the movie adaptation comic book of Star Trek III that I read and re-read until it was no more…

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When Star Trek IV came to cinema, it was a fun and memorable Christmas Eve as Dad would take the four of us to the fancy cinema in Downtown Calgary to watch it on the big screen, and I still remember the sight of the whales.

“Captain there be whales here”- Scotty

I also remember being a part of Friday nights viewing of Next Generation, and in Junior High, the discussions on Monday Mornings around what had happened on Friday’s episodes, and the fun with the Unification storyline, and Hugh (the Borg that gets identity, when first teased we thought was going to be an adaptation of the amazing giant novel, Vendetta). This was also in the era of the panned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, though I loved the movie, the journey of discovery of the intangible (God), as with many Star Trek episodes and movies, it is a go to when teaching youth, because it asks many deep questions about how do we know what is truly Holy? What is our own creation? and what about the pain?

Deep Space Nine is a series that resonated from the metaphysical “Emissary” to the closing episode when I worked in electronics assembly. The journey motif, the depth of character development and change. The commentary on war, terrorism, refugees, religion in building hope and as a tool of oppression, mental health, grieving, what is family, belonging, and sexual identity to name but a few. There was many topics, and it didn’t connect well with Trekkies I knew, but Sisko and company, held my attention on Sundays.

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Voyager in its first run, was not on the radar, could be due to work and social life it was just hard to catch. Though as I moved through my time of healing, rediscovering the journey home on Netflix, was an apt metaphor as I walked through the healing process. The Animated Series (I am sure you can still find some of those reflections on this site) being watched were fun, and connecting back to the core principles of IDIC (more to come on that). Though there was a Star Trek, that rooted deeper. At first, I thought it would be Deep Space Nine, as the long walk to the bookstore when my brain was stabilizing a little for a read, it was a Deep Space Nine novel I would pick up, and draw me into a new journey of renewal, and hope.

Though, as I began to reflect that this journey would truly be a reboot, a new start, it was Enterprise that we found oursleves watching. Archer and company from beginning to end, disocvering the novels as they became a lynch pin for retraining my mind to read and process.

Simple blessings. Stories that showed the beauty of diversity and what can be accomplished by emrbacing Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC). Also stories, that cause one to think and reflect, skills I was scared of losing through the neurological challenges. Skills that through discussion and reflection, would gain round and stabilize, the re-engagement with Trek Lore was one piece of the process (there was other connecting points as well, but this is about First Contact Day).

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Each time, is like a First Contact, that day in the future, on April 5, when the Vulcans in Trek make contact with humanity. As we entered c-tine, aside from RuPaul, in the early days one of our joys was pacing ourselves through Picard Season One, reconnecting with familiar stories. In the summer, the joy and humour of Lower Decks, recently watching Discovery Season 3 (my youngest a non-Trekkie, who cheers when Adira-Gray are on the screen), other episodes of various Trek, last night the Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind and a few months back, the Nichelle Nichols documentary on her work with NASA- Woman in Motion.

Looking back on the journey of life, stories are what shape us and our understanding of the world. First Contact with Star Trek, began a journey of fun, discovery, and building a better world. Where we are made better by living into the best of us, living into our diversity and creating courageous safe space where all belong and can thrive.

Infinite Diveristy, Infinite Combination

How do you choose to live into IDIC?

P.S. I do hope on this day, you were able to take a moment to re-watch favourite episodes, or movies, or like me at least engaged with some of the fun trailers of what is to come…

Picard Season 2 Trailer (and yes Q)

Star Trek Discovery Season 4 Trailer

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 Trailer


It is unique, and something that things I have taught I was reminded of from a post on the Christian Left this morning that my wife shared. We tend to have the patriachal view of the Easter Events…that is the men that hid, not the women that stayed. How true. From the Gospel of John where we paused the Good Friday services reflection of the Stations of the Cross at this moment:

26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27, New International Version).

Many hear these words, and think it is speaking of John, the writer of tradition, who is being spoken too. Yet we took this moment to do a collective reflection with our family, as Raymond Brown, a Catholic Theologian I read back in my seminary days would point out. The Disciple that is loved (or beloved disciple) is a mystery in the writing, for a reason. It is so the hearer/reader can hear/feel/see themselves in the story. Upon the cross, Jesus is asking us to care for his beloved mummy. To care for others in our world, alone, or cast aside but yet truly belong. The point of view in being connection. Living belonging.

Which is one such example as there is two stories at play from Golgotha to the Empty Tomb. The women, his Mum and the women that had supported the ministry, that were empowered, and brought to the full view of community, society and Empire as people. They remained as he breathed his last, as he was lowered into and sealed in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea (Celtic Lore would share is was this Joseph that would bring boy Jesus in his travels to the British Isles). They remained, they prayed, they prepared, they went, knowing the risk on this morning, as the sun rose.

To find the tomb empty.

To take back the story and the glory.

Those who were seen as nothing, not hated, or forgotten, simply, society did not care about them for they were not people. Yet, in the story of friendship with God, they were as deeply loved as Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, Peter, Paul… Mary and the women at the tomb (Mary & Martha, Mary Magdalene, Salome are some names of the beloved women in the disciples) were just not cared for in society. It was one of the communal sins exposed that lead to Jesus’ death. A world that forgot everyone belongs, everyone is beloved, everyone is equal… a world that forgot how to care for neighbour, and was lost in its own selfishness, greed, and grasping for power. It is still a self-perpetuating communal sin that today, shows victory over is possible, that c-tine has laid bear in our world. Our collective inability to shape our actions for the health of all, and to realize that all life matters (and that all loss of life, is loss and cannot be rationalized out of on the human heart). We are currently the world, illustrated in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine two parter- Past Tense, that is so succinctly summed up by Dr. Julian Bashir:

In Past Tense Part 1 & 2, these were sanctuary camps in the 2020’s (think our own homeless camps)…and forgotten who our neighbour is, and why we have a crisis of homelessness and poverty in our world.

The women stayed shattered the glass ceiling of the oppressor. The women proclaiming “He is risen”, or for Mother Mary, “My son is alive”. Showed that these systems had no power. Nothing could overcome the simple love of life. As we sing Alleluia! and He is Risen, we truly need to understand what that means, for we were opened up to a very intimate relationship with Brother Jesus. He showed what intimacy, and compassion in action look liked. It is one of the great learnings from Diana Butler Bass’ (2021) Freeing Jesus I love, is how she walks through each way you encounter Jesus in a faith journey, yet the full scope of friend being the foundation. How it is not a puff piece, or pablum, but rather something we have lost in life. Biblically friend, is the terms the Hebrew Bible Patriarchs and Moses used in their relationship to God. For Jesus, Abba, the intimacy is even more than Father, but harkens back to Friend. That type of intimacy that is illustrated with the shredding of the veil in the Temple, the barrier separating what is usually termed the sacred and profane, or more palpable Creator and blessed Creation.

How do we truly understand this scope of friendship? Intimate relationships? Healthy relationships? The concept that family, as was shown in Golgotha is not about blood (genetics), but about love. Currently we have a skewed view of friendship, for social media has shifted it to a voyeuristic pursuit, not an active participation in life. But when we take the Holy Risk to make friends, we create true sacred space in our lives for belonging. When we approach those we do not know as possible friends, it becomes harder to forget how to care. It activates our empathy for the other, because we know how we care for those in our circles, and how we would feel if that was those family members.

We become the women that stayed. Watched. Acted. Proclaimed.

The disciple that is loved, and asked to risk taking someone in. The beloved disciples that wept, that prayed, that risked. The loving Mother, sisters, wives that show us what sacred love and holy friendship is. That if we can truly engage with and live into our world will be transformed as the call of Easter on our hearts.

Are we willing to stay?

Are we willing to risk being a friend?

Easter Reflection Sources:

Facebook post from the Christian Left

What We Left Behind: A Look Back at Star Trek Deep Space Nine (streaming on Tubi TV), watch trailer here.

Bow Valley Christian Church Easter Service view here.

Diana Butler Bass (2021) Freeing Jesus

A vigil Mulling

Posted: April 3, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Mulling. It was a word that when shared from me, would cause those leaders I served under or communities I served in, to respond with an arched eyebrow that would make Spock proud (and a few, I am sure, unintelligible utterings under their breath). For the time of mulling, usually meant, that my mind would be processing through the usual tasks of the job, while mulling many ideas under the surface. Yes, some days I do miss how my mind would work before the downturn, but the rebooting is still wonderful.

This is what happens in the moments of vigil. Taking time to be in the presence of the Holy Mystery. Which, we are in and is in us throughout daily life. Vigil is taking time to unplug and tune in to the quiet soft voice of creation that speaks to us. At Easter, the Vigil night is simple. It is time spent waiting. For some, during c-tine, it can feel like we have been in a constant vigil. There is deep truth in these statements, as there is yearning for life to return to the normalcy of the before times, yet was that normalcy truly what was of benefit for our communal wellness? For our holiness? Or was it simply the same oppressive systems Brother Jesus lived his life against, that took him to Golgotha. Drove his friends and followers into hiding for those 3 days, the vigil time. Where in the First Century they huddled in fear, afraid of being found and added to the next wave of crosses on the Jerusalem road side as a message.

May be an image of text that says "A church that does not provoke any crisis, preach a gospel that does not unsettle, proclaim a word of God that does not get under anyone's skin or a word of God that does not touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed: what kind of gospel is that? Óscar Romero"
Remember, the oppressors of Latin America so feared the love preached by Bishop Romero, they had him assasinated during Mass, while holding up the Holy Host.

That same fear does not exist within Canadian Christianities. But there is still a purpose for vigil. For me, it was taking a moment to begin diving into the new DIana Butler Bass book, Freeing Jesus, I first entered her work back in my Youth Monk days with the Anglican church in Calgary with her work Christianity for the Rest of Us. Freeing Jesus’ introduction brought forward sentiments that I have shared (and shared others who have shared similiarly) for quite a while on the state of Christendom, and the Christianities. She dove right in about the many walking away from the Churchdom due to how the power has corrupted and gutted, yet still have a resonance with the life, teachings, miracles, and Easter Morn of Brother Jesus. Yes, as she aptly points out, many traditionalists will say the church is the body of Christ and without the church you are not a believer…

And that is the crux of the Holy Heresy

The Body of Christ is responding to a cancer. That of Christendom (empire, abuse of power, etc), by exorcising it through leaving. It is not the Body that is not wanted, it is the politicized institution of trauma. This is a moment in time in history where c-tine has forced a stop of the inertial force that was Christendom, and has given space where we can actually go.

As we head towards another celebration of Sonrise, under restrictions, lockdown, online or at a distance…where is the Spirit calling you in the walk to the tomb? When we find it empty? What is the calling being heard you have been ignoring? This vigil night, engage in the conversation of renewal of Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace and LOVE for the Body of Christ lived out to our world? Or do we continue the death march out of fear for taking a step into the unknown?

Do we continue or do we transfigure?

Just like the early community around Jesus, in this time of c-tine, what mullings have arisen in your soul during the vigil of awaiting? Unsure of what is to come?

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Another year of entering into Easter Weekend at a distance. Many decry and wonder why we cannot gather, yet the sacerament of service, is the answer to the lament, and where Alberta is currently in our pandemic journey as I shared on Facebook yesterday (a unique day with Maundy Thursday & April Fool’s Day sharing space). Yes I apologize for the laise fair share of twoof my Facebook screen shots a day late instead of the normal Maundy Thursday reflection, but as the day closed after 381 days of online existence/teaching, weariness won out, so below were the thoughts that brings us into the reality of the Sacrament of Service:

Can you live out a modern foot washing in this pandemic time this Easter Weekend?

On Good Friday we have shared 11,000 new cases. Yes a third wave is here, and some, like those of Grace Life Church and Fairview Baptist use the conept of take up their cross and that they are “persecuted” under the guise of religious freedom to cause harm to neighbour and the Love Message of Brother Jesus. It was during our online Good Friday service, walking the Stations of the Cross Reflectively that we discussed as a family, what the idea of take up the cross looks like. It is not an image to hide our bias, bigotries, prejudices, hatreds, martyr complexes, or communal sins lived out. Brother Jesus lived out a radical servant messiahship, not a might make right, not Jesus with an assault rifle, rather a humble teacher from working class roots, with a calling to serve, to live out what the Imageo Dei was meant to be. It radically shattered the glass ceilings of the time. Lived out, it shifted dynamics, empowered the voices of the voiceless, showed that all had equality, and worth in the Kingdom (our divisive labels were there to divide and harm, and rather useless). There was a celebration of the once known as untouchable, unwanted or “property” of Empire, on Palm Sunday, that on Maundy Thursday, in John Mark’s folks upper room, Jesus would gather with his friends. Share the Passover Meal.

A meal that called back the rememberance of another time of freedom from Oppression from the story of Exodus. Think of the power of the Oppressed being freed, and another Empire publicly exposed for its weakness, and once the oppressed realized they had worth, it crumbled like a house of cards (thinking of any connections to the current era of Reconciliation and Transformation?). That after dinner, Jesus would go to Gethsemane, to the Garden to pray, and there that he would be betrayed, by one of his close friends, with the kiss of greeting.

From there, the fear of the Oppressor was on full display in the journey to the lynching of Brother Jesus. The lies, the propaganda, the falsities, and the gaming of the system to silence the one that chose to challenge what was wrong with society. What did harm and damage to the Imageo Dei. When we talked with our kids about what take up the cross meant, these are the moments we shared. The times when faith led to true and healthy change in our world, when the thin space between the Holy Mystery and Creation overlapped. Times like the Red River Resistance, Indigenous Rights, end of Apartheid, Truth & Reconciliation, LGBTTQ2+ rights, Feminism, Women’s Rights, social safety nets, disability rights, and, sadly, the list goes on, as the societal sin of Christendom (and insert any idealogy or religion that evil has used to hide behind to divide, to cause harm, to perpetuate genocide no one truly has not been used) but it is in those moments when we know we are standing up for the Kingdom value of the blessedness of the Imageo Dei, justice in love, and all belonging regardless of pushback–that is the true moments of taking up the Cross, and walking the path of Brother Jesus to Golgotha.

How does our communities truly transfigure if Christians truly took up the Cross, like Simon of Cyrene did?

We gather a part for the second year, reminiscient of the early followers of Jesus on that first Easter. Our gathering apart shows our care and love in our Sacrament of Service.

In the name of our loving Creator, whose Image we see in one another, the love of our Brother Jesus’ whose cross we carry to the glory of the Sunrise, and the release of the Loving Passion in our communities transfigured through the Loving & Holy Spirit in us, through us and connecting us.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Some Holy Weekend Resources/Services for your reflection:

Bow Valley Christian Church Good Friday Service.

Culture, Christ and Covid

Stations of the Cosmic Christ

All Saints Lutheran Church Calgary Holy Week Resources, Reflections and Services.


Not fully, as Alberta allows for some in person worship, we take a step not to attend though our congregation follows through on all the i and t’s, with extra care for neighbour. My son has complexities and is high risk, he cannot wear a mask, and sometimes needs to move to a low sensor environment, we do not want to create extra-stressors upon an already tense situation provincially in the viewing of the church by some, or create unnecesary useless conversations for anti-maskers, so we worship, as one seminary prof years ago phrased it, by an inter-stellar conference call, connecting us with our church family via online.

Yet it does cause reflection. In those moments, with a calling renewed (reaffirmed?) to begin forward once more out of what was into what was prepared to be. Some try to get into one’s heart through a negative cycle in the brain (insidious gremlins planted for growth under the guise of, well what do you believe? or Do you really think… )or whatever questions come from anyone’s own individuated story not comprehending that sometimes, and most importantly most times, it should never be driven by “I” but rather “we” especially in the building of church family.

My Nan (my kids’ great granny) who was the one that opened the door back to me in church as an adult (my Mum & Aunty Donna, set it up as a child through baptism, then pre-school, then Vacation Bible School) oh the Matriarchs strength that the faith stands upon. Was giddy to share time with pre-schoolers, her great-grandbabies in church. To teach her non-verbal great grandson how to begin making music sounds with her favourite song,

For as she always taught, children are always welcome with Brother Jesus. More so, church, is to be the place that is free (something that has shaped my ministry in more ways than she could ever imagine). My understanding of community discovery from how my Mum and Aunt shared the faith. This is what I took to my children, as well, as the almost irrelevance of the denomination, for at the heart is the love of Jesus and living that love out.

The strength, even in failing health, when the church pushed against my son, my Nan standing firm and telling the wealthy, “This boy’s love, who he takes Sundays after church with my grandson to those with dementia, and the joy he spreads matters more to our God, than you busybodies. He belongs here more than you.”

The joy in her eyes when we’d come visit her when she would be in lodges and long term care, and J would take her to get “gussied” up for tea time. And the joy of their giggles and sing-a-longs.

As some will try to dissuade us on our new journey, this is what comes to mind. Also a visit in dream scape, where my Nanny has tears in her eyes. She shares the story of her little cousin, who took his life because the world could not accept him for who he loved. How that shame she shares hurts so much, yet the joy in her heart seeing how her tea party partner is emerging into who God created them to be. The love, warmth in the walk. The tears she shares were once of shame, but in this young one’s story, they are tears of Joy, for how Jesus loves them.

And to remind both her great-grandbabies, they stand on the ground of powerful women and elders, cheering them on to build forward.

A reminder that was needed during this c-tine.

A time that we emerge into an important anniversary. A time of celebration for our kiddos. Palm Sunday which as Borg & Crossan (2007) The Last Week pointed out it was not simply a welcoming parade for Jesus, but rather an act of sedition against the Empire. It was blatantly pointing that those who were seen as non-entities had discovered belonging and love. The oppression and oppressors of religion, power, money and empire were being shaken to their core. This is the global sin that killed Jesus, and exposed the fallacy of the corrupt system for all to see in this humble rabbi- servant leader.

It has meant quite a bit to me in the journey, taking Holy Week, as it is laid out (not compressing as some do with Passion Sunday). But it also grew to mean more as the next church we would land in (even their Granny’s strong words, we would not survive the purge of the money holders). But the next would provide some rest, a bit of sancturay, and other challenges. But in the eye before the storm, there was church family, where my son was heard. His passion for his friend Jesus, that Granny taught him shone through. Whether it was nattering during sermons about the baptism of John the Baptist, trying to help when others were baptized, his time finally came.

Palm Sunday, a day when all were shown that we are beloved and blessed in the mosaic and wonderful image of God. Tearing up when told it was time.

A year later, the dancer and joy bringer that was his younger sibling, who was discipled by Granny, Nanny, and brother would be baptized. Twirling and laughing, unbeknownest to us, the last time we would celebrate in church with my Mum as a whole family.

Also Palm Sunday.

Both knowing before, and since, that God, and those in the love, create belonging.

How do you know that you belong?

Where is your courageous safe space?

What empowers you to not let others plant the gremlin seeds of discontent in your soul?

For Palm Sunday, as my children have lived, is the foudnation laid to build forward from. The love in us, connected to the love in you, that connects each of us in what can simply be known as the Holy Mystery some call God. Radicalized in the birth, life & teachings, execution, Cosmic no to the death penalty, and new life of Brother Jesus that connects each and everyone in community through the Spirit.

What is the moment in time, that when you hear it is time, surge of joy overwhelms as you know you are not alone, you are seen, you are connected, you belong?


There can be many reasons to slip into despair in our world. Or look to a situation we are in and not connect. Now I am not talking about truly abusive or risky situations, this is speaking more to the day to day life we lead. We can have a choice to always be looking backwards (and usually to a past that never truly was, rather an idealized mythology that never existed in the way we have framed it) or forward to a future, as we want to constantly think this is simply a step in our journey or an interim placement. It can fuel an underlying anxiety, disconnect or even, be a root in the anger many cannot put into words. Many questions swirl as to why this is our current state, and many rationales, conspiracies and stories are shared. But still…

The question arising as we live like this is, simply:

Do we set ourselves up to not have connection?

Sit with that a moment. Wherever you are in life. Have you set yourself up not to have connection due to letting past experiences shape your present understanding? Letting your own assumptions become a confirmation bias by the way you choose to engage with your present communities? Present workplaces? Present (insert reality here). It can be hard to traverse through change, there is grieving involved. There can be loss involved. One may not have the words to communicate what is happening. This is where the more creative outlets of colouring prayer or painting prayer can get the emotions out to connect with the root cause, the root reason that one is having the challenge of letting go of that which has tethered them to experience the new (and yes many times blessings) through the soul shaped prism of past experience. As the ligth shines through the now, still allows them to hide it under a bushel.

It may be weird to have this children’s hymn pop up as we discuss moving into the presence, but it is true. For it is pointing out a simple practice of gratitude. We have light. We have love. It may be small things to celebrate, but celebrate them none the less. It is why it is important, wherever we are, as we struggle with old paradigms that come into play to interpret current situations. It is important to cultivate that which is going well, that which is to celebrate. These are the instances, that when we look back (especially when we right them down to reflect on in times of despair or struggle) aid us in building our resilience, or letting our light shine.

How often, do we miss out on what is right in front of us, simply because we are focused on not being present?

Choosing to disconnect?

This simply can be by the picks of nit. Not where I see myself, not the job I wanted, not the church that fits my (insert label here), what other nits can you pick with your reality? What happens if we pause, breathe deeply, be in the moment, and right down what does fit. What does work?

Instead of rationalizing distance, we take steps in connection?

How does your reality change? Where are you connecting? How do you know you have belonging there? What is going well? Where is your gratitude? What are you thankful for? Why?

As we continue in Step 2 of easing restrictions in Alberta, what are you thankful for in the here and now with your story of life?

Is the frustration or anger beginning to alleviate?


It was a simple tweet last night, but one that really did sum up where our family is after almost four years of a rolled back existence (yes I know covid has only been 370 days– but there was health complexities that slowed our roll and disrupted our normal before that). Simply putting out there, that our home is quieter than it has ever been. We miss the open door, we miss the shared table, the discussions, the tears, the laughter shared by our family (yes biological and those that belong with us). Yet, even as we, as my wife phrases it, are getting tired of each others’ faces it speaks to something that Covid has laid bare in our world, society, communities and chueches. This goes beyond the polarized view in our Christianities or presented in the media. From beyond the local congregation struggles to understand and implement restrictions, or pretend faux surprise when they outright refuse to comply that there is consequences for their actions. Truly that has been the surprise twist in the story of covid, so many discovering that rights are shaped in communal responsibilitiy, and it is not a cancel culture but an accountability.

But I digress, for it is also seeing the challenge of our driven highly strutctured and booked world that came crashing down in covid. How do we actually connect with one another? The reality being that we had a busy world, where it was easy to trip into small talk with another, but were we connected? What does connection look like? What does it mean? As restrictions ease in Alberta, many churches are shifting to multiple services to cultivate connection again as we have missed gathering.

Is it connection? Or simply proximity?

My experience is porximity. We have cultivated a cultural dissonance, that being around people means we are connected. Taking the concept of not being physically alone, alleviates loneliness, which is not always true. It is the concept that to be together in community, means mass (or restricted gatherings), but if interaction is not there, is it truly connection? Some will remember my writings and teachings around the belonging pyramid, and the inverted structure supported by Agape. I think this is what is happening as we struggle with our disconnect from busyness, and our lived dissonance of what we believed belonging was. The light has shone into the darkness, and confused it. This is the soul fog we are existing in, and beginning to emerge from. The question though is our desire to return to normal, going to silence and sideline what can (re) emerge in our religious communities?

Will true belonging emerge?

What is being put out there is that simple accessibility is connection and belonging. No, being in the building together (and if a building is up to code being able to enter the building) is not connection. Having a space for the person is not connection (it is rudimentary inclusion). This is what passed for connection and belonging in our hyper-programmed/hyper-business cultivated Christendom in the before times. In the before times where we expected our spiritual leaders to be experts in all things strategic, knowing how to grow numerically, financially, online, and have the key plug and play programs to bring sucess. It cultivated an experience where we sainted the busy, where access and connection happened due to where you were plugged in and giving (experienced this many times in Urban churches, where what level of tithing equated to level of faux belonging, not always treasure/money but also time/talent). Yet, there was no belonging, because you are not valued for your intrinsic worht in the Imageo Dei only for what you can give. In other words, we mock politicians and business leaders that speak of human capital for driving worth, yet as Christians, we have exaclty cloned that belief system into action within our own communities (for some intriguing contemplative thoughts on the history of church, I have been enjoying Dr. Stan Helton’s Caravan series on the blog of my Alma Mater, Alberta Bible College. Read here.).

Belonging takes effort. Belonging takes risk. Belonging takes bringing our Boards/Elders/Pastors back to Christian Testament community. It is scary. It is challenging. It is affirming. It removes polarization/dualism.

It destroys the community sin of Us versus Them.

Which can be scary for it makes community fluid. Responsive to those who are there. It challenges both big and small T traditions. The key question is “why do we do this?” and if it comes down to “it is the way we always have done this” but removes belonging, should it remain? The greatest challenge in the shift, is that it blows wide open our concepts of the image of God, and what the table for Communion/Eucahrist means in bringing together the Family of God?

This mullings have come from rasing a diverse family in Churchdom. Knowing the blessings of being a part of many church families, my kids in pre-school choosing to be baptized a year a part on Palm Sunday because they knew the love of Jesus their Granny taught them to sing about in Jesus, Loves Me, and their Nana shared with them. That they felt in the church families, but also the pain and hate brought to bear upon them in various communities not accepting who they are in the Image of God, because it challenged the big and small T traditions. Also, as I reflect back in some communities, my worth only tied to that which I could give, and in instances where I had nothing more to give no longer being seen as worthwhile within the church (and yes this was experienced by all members of my family).

It is also a challenge, for with the program lens, it can be simply, if you do not fit somewhere, you will not have any social connection. Look at the church coffee or pot/grace lukck times. Is there interactions with many? Do you stay within the scope of the comfortable? It can be challenging when we look at belonging those steps beyond inclusion, those steps that blow accessibility out of the water. This is not a polarized idea stating one type of Christianities is better than another. I have journeyed through the spectrum. Over c-tine, I have witnessed the rise of upperclass privilige within progressive church circles that overlap into the Q-Anon cult, and lower socio-economic challenges in fundamentalism that have overlapped at the same point of the Q-cult that has shone a dark shadown out there that only certain folks matter in the family of God, and many are exependable.

And sadly, the refrain is not Jesus loves me, but boldy from the pulpit, if you die I’m okay for my rights mean more than your life.

It is a struggle within to understand if the still quiet voice being heard within and communally is the Holy Mystery, or our own ego run amuck. For even good can come out of darkness, and that is the hardest challenge.

Yet, I sit here and continue to mull, for I know my family’s journey of joy and sorrow, has shaped us. How we entered c-tine has shaped us. Sadly, entering into a new relationship with church having to be reaching out for benevolent aid so you do not lose everything shapes your reprehension in reaching out to connect. Coupled with it being the same week picking up food hampers for survival from a former parish you were a leader in, humbling, but shaping the wall of protection more. It is something many givers and program makers forget. Especially in church, the socio-economic lens, shapes how connection happens. We are thankful to have cultivated a healthy summer camp relationship with our daughter, but there was another that could have been cultivated by the institution was locked into their socio-economic lens and myth story that broke the relationship. Now, is needing aid breaking a relationship? No, I raise the example, for the shaping then is always the wondering if you are to reach out again will it shape the interaction? Good intents can also be, unfortunately, shaped in the receiving. When the only personalized connection from a church family is in regards to aid, and not simply being. Yes, it is good to reach out to help, but it does shape in the receiver an understanding of relationship dynamics (true or false). How to shift, I am simply raising the contemplation at this juncture.

For part of the risk of belonging, is that sharing the space together- cyber, phone, or physical. The scent in the film Lars and the Real Girl, when the ladies group from the church comes to be, nothing more. Always brings up the concept, that appears to be lost in our busyness cycle of urban church. The fear when we talk about going back to normal, was normal truly that functional for belonging? Or was it functional for celebrating behaviour addictions that did not risk connection, for with connection (belonging) comes the risk of emotion?

What I have learned from c-tine, is confirmation of where I have existed. What I mourn in c-tine, is facing into the cup, and seeing revealed the dissonance we accepted to simply have a butt in a pew. What I pray emerges truly out of c-tine, is not how church was in the before times. I truly pray, communities of belonging are cultivated, with all the beaufitul risks that come with it.

My scariest moment, is my family standing with me, to take the step forward to risk belonging, and answering the call fully.

Amen.

Some intriguing reads for Lenten contemplation as we head towards Palm Sunday, the day Kingdom of God (belonging) met Empire Parade of Power, Money and Careers: Your Addiction to Outrage is Ruining Your Life | by Pete Ross | The Bad Influence | Medium

Ecclectica Ruminations

Posted: March 13, 2021 by Ty in Current Events, Spirituality
Tags: , , ,

Up until my early 20’s I would go to the barbershop to remove what was left of my hair, and when the shift happened that it was no longer a simple $5 shave, but due to the popularity had moved into the $20 range, well…it was time to shift praxis. Which brought it in line as a moment of mindfulness in my life, a time of pausing, focusing on the simple act of shaving, release (recently the rapidly graying). Practice learned in my Buddhist days, but as Franciscan, as the joke went I was follically ill-equipped for a tonsure (not sure if I was missing the ton or the sure).

See the source image
The Franciscan Tonsure, a sign of vocation and entering into a new relgiious life. Though in my tenure as the Youth Friar at one Anglican church, the fundraiser to end the child sex trade in Calgary did have me with a fuscia goattee for a while.

It is the moment, of being able to pause, and gives a time of mulling, ruminating, and sometimes epiphany moments (or perhaps I am overthinking and over spiritualizing you decide).

For tonight though, it is looking at almost a year (362 days) I have some odds & sods outside of work to accomplish next week around checking on applying for school funding, when spring textbooks will be ready, oh and those fun things called taxes, but there are other thoughts. As the polarization of political and religious life begins to bleed into everyday life. Leaving the secularized or uninitiated to disengage, become apathetic, or wonder aloud why nothing changes or look for the lurking bogey monster– which all is what we have put out into the world to be responded to, or that which at least social media, main stream media and alternative media share. What is missing is the local community stories of hope.

Where do those come from though? From the bystanders not accepting the status quo. From the bysander not defaulting to the loudest mob voice in the crowd. From the bystander wanting honesty, transparency, accountability, and the courageous safe space. From the bystander not accepting the narrative that perpetuates the polarized bully pulpits of the public squares. From the bystanders (which they are far more of) removing the sound system and podiums, and amplifying their stories. For the Dr. Seuss being cancelled story, no, a published decide to not re-invest in non-selling properties to correct issues with them, like many other forms of printed works there circulations ended. Pepe Le Pew? C’mon, he was the bathroom/snack break cartoon in Looney Tunes, what sadly will be missed is what sounded like an amazing teaching moment for the younger and family audiences on consent in the film, for the Potatoe Heads? It is an imaginative building toy with many disguises, one should be more angered by the fact that most come with only one or two sets for looks that fit in the butt of the toy, not the bucket of pieces it used to come with. Some recent examples of what happens when the polarized rhetoric is stripped away… but I digress.

Stories of Hope, that show divergent core values can actually come to the same services, and community provisions because a better world is what is wanted. Stories of Hope, that show discourse/dialogue creating healing space, and changing the systems that perpetuated the old harms and isms, because in the courageous safe space of discourse, where the hard conversations happen, the intrinsic value of the human can be affirmed, all wanting a better community to live in, can be affirmed, and explored…beyond that, plans can be struck and action begun.

But it takes the bully being silenced.

Aiding the bullied, and the bystander finding their voice (thanks to Barbare Colorossa’s book on the Bully, Bullied and Bystander that everyone in public life should read to understand what the term do better actually entails). Why have we lost so much traction on ending bullying in our schools? It can be due to a misapplication of Trauma informed work that some can point to as a removal of accountability. But that is short sighted, as understanding has grown, what is happening is healthier communites designed around restoration and healing measures.

No, it is more insidious, it is about the deep root of individualism, and the belief that what one says or does, cannot affect another. Also, couched in the polarized self-righteous belief systems that it is impossible to be a bully if you are within your ideology for you are truly in the right. Our children see this, the parents take this into our schools. This is the systematic thought that needs to be broken to bring about the proper bridging of the chasm to end a toxic practice. A system that is more boldy perpetuated through our alternative media, the shift to 24-7 mainstream news into newsfotainment (as true journalism is slow and not really designed for a 24-7 cycle) of talking heads, and behaviours on social media that creates echo chambers where how many likes negative behaviours get are seen as “holy home runs” within movements. As well, we have lost the understanding that extremism in any vein creates a perfect circle (I learned this in graded public school social studies). The extreme on the right politically goes into authoritarian/fascism/Naziism, on the left goes into dictatorship/Stalinism which behaviours, genocides and hatreds overlap. In religion, doesn’t matter which is put before extremists/terrorists the outcomes of intolerance/hate/supremacy are the same and usually deadly. For all those in the giant swath of the middle though, you can still be toxic, even standing on attempting to do right and end harm.

And yes, regardles if you are the good or the bad or the undecided, your behaviours can still cause harm and be toxic (this where personal reflection factors rather hugely into a healthy life, not only what we are doing wrong, the balance of daily examine, where we look at what is meh, what is going well, what we are learning, and where we need to provide space to heal).

Why have bystanders fallen silent?

It is draining to constantly be the thumb in the dam against the flood while the Hurrican level tropical storm continues pelting you on the other side. Yet as the bystanders, it is time to reclaim the silenced voice, not to demand better from the existing scream-bullies, but rather to shatter that dark mirror and step into what needs to be.

To simply- be and do.

To connect, create space for the courageous discourse, discovery of action tools.

The key, that which the polarized remove though, is to create…

authentic belonging*.

*(Accessibility is being able to get physical access to a space, inclusion is there is a spot for you-note this is where bystanders lose the voice and power, but belonging is the key. Belonging is when you are heard, known, accepted, purposefully part of community, and if you were to no longer be heard or seen, would be missed).