Archive for the ‘Alberta Politics’ Category


When grieving, contemplation, prayer and collaboration lead to action. That is what this Saturday morning was about as my youngest tried to decide for their final Grade 8 Social Studies project which nation that is a part of them to discover and share (Metis, Indigenous, European), a friend reached out about what educators can do in our shock and grieving over the discovery of the unmarked grave on May 27, 2021 at the site of Kamloops, BC residential school.

What happened was, and I hope/pray will be powerful, a call to action on the dormant call to actions. There is a change.org petition you can sign here.

If you would rather reach out via e-mail to the local faith leaders and political leaders that can make the International Investigation and locating of the other missing children, feel free to adapt the below letter and send on:

To Pope Francis, Archbishops & Bishops of Roman Catholic Dioceses in Canada

 Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

 Moderator of the United Church of Canada

 Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada 

 The Government of Canada

Re: An Open Letter to actualize Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #75 from Educators from Canada and around the world.

On May 27, 2021, an unmarked mass grave of 215 children was found on Turtle Island (Canada). 

Youngsters stripped from their homes on the onus of the Canadian Government, handed over to religious authorities for the purpose of cultural genocide. This act of genocide ended their lives. A discovery that had the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada to ask for flags to be lowered in mourning.  

Sadly, this atrocity is not an isolated incident, but rather it is part of a dark chapter of history, known as Residential Schools which were closed in 1996. It is time for Canadians and people around the world to know this story, atrocities, and all. It is time to heal, as other nations have held up the mirror and investigated the darkness to know the truth and act in reconciliation.

It is time for Canada to be honest in our truth, and act on our intent of reconciliation. For those from a religious background, reconciliation is recognized as a sacrament, or an important act lived through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth known as the Christ for Christians. It is not simply saying, “I am sorry for what has been done”. It is articulating the right words for what has happened, making amends and reparations, affecting healthy closure, and with that closure the grieving process in order to  move forward in healing towards a new reality. 

This open letter from educators calls on those institutions involved to turn their records over to international investigators so that they will be able to locate and return the lost children to their families for appropriate mourning. For  international investigators to be able to state clearly to Canadians the truth that is being evaded. Only then will it be possible to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation. 

On every Holocaust Remembrance we utter those words, “We will never forget or repeat,”and the whole time our own genocide was being carried out.

We acknowledge the 4/5 institutions that have apologized, and the work Anglicans, Presbyterians and United Christians have been attempting in Reconciliation work. We call on the Roman Catholic Church to actively live what their Catechism teaches on Reconciliation and  to not only formally apologize but catch up to where their contemporaries are at in the process. And to move forward to ensure the call to actions are actualized (not simply read or taught but done). For Canada, like other nations around the world needs to finally interrupt and heal our intergenerational trauma, and know our truth.


I will admit, my heart is raised a little in the ongoing free fall of the United Conservative Party with just shy of 2 years in office, the billions they have added to deficit/debt, the lack of response to aid citizens in a world wide pandemic, one scandal after another, one crisis after another, and the missteps, the constant barrage of negative change patterns to benefit the corporation not the citizen. The actual anti-thesis from lived experience in the New Alberta, and reporting, for the constitutional promise of Peace, Order and Good Governance. For some light reading on what got us to this point, and where we are at for those who do not toe the line of the party in power I suggest you read: The End of Alberta Conservatism, A Word to my Haters, and Laying it Out (for a quick primer). We are living, what the Wildrose Party (a source party for merger with the UCP), branded anger is (as one mentor of mine in ministry phrased it, he just could not see that much anger sustaining much good for the citizens). We are there. An election cycle in 2019, that saw the loudest voice in the room shape the life and economic recovery diversification discussion for a province, not one of vision and leadership, but rather of anger, fear, hate and a drive to reclaim what has once been.

The pitch worked. We are now living it.

I am not shocked where we are. My property was vandalized in many election cycles for not backing the anger. I have debated federal CPC candidates, who would not answer questions but simply read from their policy manual and repeat their then leader, Stephen Harper’s speeches. This is what came to Alberta for political discourse. In the local candidates forum, when the UCP candidate would not answer questions honestly–such as the opener as to why he personally wanted to represent our riding, he verbatim gave one of Jason Kenney’s speeches. A woman in the audience called him out, his party members started making threats, I raised my voice to call him and them out…the response from the moderator was silence for he could not understand why people wanted an answer. The response from the newly minted UCP faithful was to threaten my children, to state “we’ll fight you in the parking lot”. Some media spoke to me, I spoke honestly and from the heart as I always do about what engaged citizenship, and being an Albertan means to me and how this party and their behaviours were an anti-thesis to a healthy democracy, not much if any was published as the take was I was an “NDP Plant”, though my local incumbent could tell you I had not given any support to him.

See, there was change in 2015 with the NDP as the new governing party. Yet, the same challenge for me locally happened then, as with this new UCP MLA, neither of the MLA’s would respond to any communications. Mine in the NDP government was an anomaly, what I am hearing more from Albertans is with the UCP it is the normal practice. One should not have to only communicate with Cabinet Ministers, opposition MLA’s, or as one former colleague suggested, reach out to UCP MLA’s I used to work with to talk as they’d respond (the idea is based on a pre-existing relationship) which isn’t how our system is to function. An MLA is to respond to the citizens.

Then the litany of things to harm citizens, and why one asks? Is it blind ideology? Profiteering? All of the above? One thing is certain, with the constant barrage what it is designed to do, is strip away, or simply break one simple thing we need to thrive (instead of survive), that word: H-O-P-E. It is lost with a government whose actions are literally a threat to life, home and livelihood. Many are calling for our Premier Kenney to resign, that does not give me hope. He has a large caucus that has run roughshod without accountability, no, I do not want a leadership race to give this jalopy a fresh coat of paint before a snap election to continue the cycle. I want a one and done, with each of these incumbents to face the electorate on their record.

So is it hopeless in Alberta?

See, in the world of life recovery, which is where Alberta is in with this great shift away from oil and gas. It reminds me of the hard working person, that didn’t have to worry about budget or other things because they could always put in the overtime to make the gaps or cover the shortfalls, until that one day when either the over time or their physical ability was no longer there to do that. That is what our mismanaged citizen’s resource is at now.

Now it is a time, as the last gasp of the old oil oligarchs, as another colleague in Reboot Alberta, phrases it. Our quiet revolution in Alberta is not just about the last gasps of Christendom, but corporation control as well. See I find hope not just in the falling polling numbers of the UCP, I find hope in what this means for our political discourse heading to the election in 2023 (if Premier Kenney holds to the election law, sadly he can also do what PM Harper did in his tenure, and hold to the Constitution instead, which means 2024). Yes, with the way the televised debates are shaped it is looking like Mr. Kenney and Ms. Notley as we are currently a two-party province for elected representatives. But it is the other parties that can leverage the local. Strong locally involved community members and leaders, not parachutes, not just vote tick boxes for the leader’s office own personal electoral college. Let’s bring back the independence of the representative within the Westminster system.

Let the parties know you expect engaged and active candidates, encourage independent candidates as well. We have a chasm that needs to be healed in our province, we need to re-open dialogue with citizens and move beyond labels. This is the part smaller parties can play in engaging the citizens. Shaping the importnat discussions on policy for all Albertans and showing the spectrum of ideas out there to cultivate a move forward plan, a vision cast.

A plurarlity of seats for a plurality of parties and independents, released from party whips to see if they can actually work together. Build consensus, and work together to re-imagine and reboot Alberta for the next 100 years. Yes, I would love to see a few minority legislature terms as a palate cleanse from the 40 years of Tory Rule, and the toxicity of 2018-present (and yes, the passion and leadership to guide that minority I believe is Ms. Notley). One where public servants truly understand they serve at the pleasure of the constituents, but also where our Premiers, truly understand they serve not only at the pleasure of their party, but of their caucus and the gathered Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Essentially, break the echo chamber.

Create the courageous safe space to work together.

To dream and realize a new province.

These are the parties that have the ability to bridge the chasm, especially as many are in renewal of policy, rationales as to why they exist, in listening exercises on how to build connection and belonging, electing new leaders:

Alberta Liberal, Alberta Party , Green Party of Alberta , Communist Party of Alberta , Wildrose Independence Party

These are the active players on the board, outside the two. They have an opportunity to dream big, to empower local candidates, and to move our province forward by shaping the discussion at the local constituency association, local communities, local candidate forums a true grassroots up change factory.

The question is, is there enough energy for Albertans to engage with these parties, for the politically homeless to come to a home, and begin restoring, renovating and landscaping for the now, but also for seven generations from now?

Is there hope for and in Alberta politics? The power is within your community.


It could be my 335th edition of ecclectica in all its itirations in life, but truly, it is reflecting more of the 335th day of the current exisence. Some days to bring together thoughts, and things of life in the here and now. Before we shift into what life should be through some reflections I just want to share something cool from a friend, and a former colleague, a dreamer living life building community. During c-tine many have been discovering Star Trek Deep Space Nine on streaming services and being astounded they did not know about the complexity, characters, and discussions that leap from every episode, and so compelling and applicable to our curent world. Bruce Callow, as part of his work in Costa Rica and science/space education was able to sit down and interview Nana Visitor (Kiera Nerys) from the show, read the Costa Rican Times article here.

Our road map as a photo collage, we have touched on living dreams to make the world better, and understanding how life experiences shape a person with our interview with Ms. Visitor. Now we move into the ecclecitca, which includes touching on different topics. The highest streaming in North America is of course, that a President whose words, actions and machinations that incited an insurrection where 5 citizens died could be acquitted at his second impeachment trial. It is some what of a commentary on our world, where accountability is only for some, and not reserved for those who scream “persecution” the loudest.

It has become a staple within the Right to Al-Right to Fascist to Neo-Nazi end of the political spectrum. As the right moves further along the spectrum (which when I was a public school student, was taught in school, but currently is not taught as teachers fear being labelled ideologues and lose their job. The result: a less critical thinking electorate and citizenry). The left which goes from Left to Socialist to Communist to Dictatorship to Stalinist is pulled further into the right end of the spectrum, for nature abhors a vacuum, and so does our political ideological entrenching, the chasm being created is one where many are left politically homeless. Where those left politically uninspired either become apathetically complicit for not voting, or do to the rage on one side or the other enter into a highly dualistic co-dependent relationship with an extremist ideology, that has to be completely good as the other side has created that it is evil, and then we are in the shouting match that with a simple match, the tinders can incite violence.

This was a chance in history, for the supposed leader of the Free World, to re-assert the need for healthy dialogue, for holding to account hate and extremism. Instead, they collapsed under the pursuit of power, and shoring up territorial biases and bases. It was a commentary touched upon recently in Canadian politcs by the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark (read article and link to podcast here), where some key points to be extrapolated is that our political leaders of all stripes have become more social media performers, than thought leaders. We as a nation need to demand better, we need to move beyond territorial entrenchment, and party-colour belonging, to push all our national parties to actually be pan-Canadian, to look at what is needed for our nation as a whole. To vision cast, to move beyond the tweet-byte, lay out a vision/dream. To take seriously the character of the local representatives that are running and serving, do they serve all Canadians and their constituents? If it is only serving the party line, then it is a systematic failure. It creates group think, that makes accountability only faux-shows, where parachutes are aligned after the smoke and mirrors. Or accountability is non-existent as we see in Alberta with MLA Barnes & Pitt joiing the Anti-Lockdown Caucus propagated by the People’s Party Maxine Bernier, a party known to overtly affiliate with the Neo-Nazi’s of Canada, and to be blunt the politicians that affiliate are creating streams of disinformation, and wreaking havoc on governments (many they are in the governing caucus’ of) to get traction on a pandemic (and we shall touch on the epidemics of opioids, meth and homelessness in a second).

Which the silent complicity of party leaders not kicking these members from caucus, leads to non-accountability as we saw on display this past Saturday Feb. 13 at CF Chinook Mall with anti-maskers marching through the mall hoping to spread covid, and comparing restrictions as making them the “new Jews” which opens up a whole lot of “WTF” in my mind that we have allowed once again mainstreaming of anti-semitism and the hate that perpetuated a holocaust only 80 years ago (the lifespan of many that are losing their lives in our pandemic currently). Yet, no ticketing, no arrests. Why?

We have created a world, where the smoke and mirrors of personal rights and performance creation of victimhood/persecution lead to 0 accountability. We have stripped the interdependence, as we make each side the other, and the villain. Instead of entering into dialogue. Having said that, I do state clearly when it comes to where the spectrum connects on Facism/Naziisms-Dictatorship/Stalinism, that needs to be called out. Though, we truly need to understand what that is when it is called out, so that the authentic is placed in the cell of silence it belongs in, and the impact of those terms are not destroyed by screaming it at every point we do not agree upon.

Which brings me into the reading of Irshad Manji’s (2019) Don’t Label Me, as a queer-Muslim writer, she has a dialogue with her beloved pup, Lil, about the state of the world. The challenge being revealed, is that we lose ourselves in labels which perpetuate stereotypes, and do not allow us to meet the person to see who they actually are. It is within her words she shares about moderate Republicans she has met who do not hold to the MAGA/Q Cult. She also shares about her own journey in faith, and the push back from other progressive quarters of atheism that do not want to hear the word faith even on things as innocuous as Facebook, taking offense that someone should not share that for fear of offense. It really is a call to keep ourselves safe, but also to get to know our neighbour and understand the anti-fascist, anti-rascist movements in the light of the impact on the other they have. There is a great story she shared of two friends in Missisipi and the move to change the flag, one a hip-hop artist, who speaks their truth to the symbology and the pain it brings, another, a man in the Confederate lineage that does not see a problem with the flag on their part. But then astutely shares, the hip-hop artist is their friend, and it causes pain, so “I have a choice, to take action to remedy, or not be a part of the change conversation and play the victim afterwards”. A proactive entering into discussion.

As a writer, I appreciate labels and stereotypes. When working a work of fiction they allow for a quick visual or quick reference words to create a word image for the viewer, yet we are living in this world where everyone is defined by the labels and no one wants to move beyond the label to meet the person underneath. Would we be able to shift our world to a better place if the more moderate on the spectrum connected and found the common ground once more? Built the bridge across the chasm that has been created by the extremists?

For it is the fear induced by the extremists that continues to perpetuate the hate and systematic racisms/injustices in our society. For the purity test on the other extreme just leaves them to default to where they are okay with the norm, instead of creating space to accept in the journey of life a person learns and grows and changes.

This is the message that resounds in the closing chapters of DC Comics’ New 52 Superman. In his final days, where a perfect tri-fecta has left him dying, he sets out to live the hope of his symbol until his last days. To try to lay the groundwork for it to continue. My question though, is do we have to wait until we are in a dire circumstance? Until the match has been lit again and people are dying? Until we are in the last days of life, to understand what it takes to create a legacy? Or can we simply leave each day knowing we have a story, and others we meet will have a story…

This is the challenge when individuals look to government policy as the silver bullet or cure solution. The challenge being in our current world of entrenchment, and each side needing to be able to claim the “holy and good” side, or to the spoils go the victor, much is missed. Framing the idea of ending homelessness. It is a broad and hard topic that hits the grieving of change vectors of individuals and communities. The first challenge is one has to understand how we have done as a society, has been okay, but in the first part of the 21st century decisions made have left many in poverty and homelessness and this is not okay. It is okay to admit we have made a societal mistake and want to move on. It is about being able to bring fresh eyes/heart to something like UBI, where many trip up thinking it is another layer of government entitlements added to the system and this is what trips up on costs of– it is a replacment for the piecemeal approach to support, it is stripping away the money wasted on disproving claims and the appeals process, it leverages technology to simply be. It removes space for individual grants if one has a dream for a small business, and gives space to let that happen, for artisans to flourish, and create new dynamic spaces for meeting, discussion, critical thought, it provides the top up for minimum wage jobs so they become living wage, as the pandemic has shown, each role is necessary for our society to function. The fist step though, is allowing permission to admit the bias and misunderstanding, and accepting that all can change. To shift the discussion from yes-no, to how. But first we have to allow the ability to acknowledge mistakes and change at the individual, the instittutional and the system level.

Permission to acknowledge mistakes is one of the things missing from public discourse. It is what leads to the unaccountability for actions. See, mistakes happen, some big, some minor, and we have to accept the accountability for those actions whether they were intentional or unintentional. I teach my students, each time I pushed the boundaries of the rules or broke them, I fully and rationally understoon what I was doing, and knew that worst case scenario it could lead to unemployment, and I was okay with that. Each person needs to be. Unfortuantely this quest for profit and power over people, has created a world where we do not expect accountability (good or ill) for our actions. We also have created a world where we cannot openly admit mistakes, or when we struggle.

That ties into a blessing I received for a Christmas gift. The complete CBS series of Elementary on DVD. I am a Sherlockian (I belive that is the right term), as I was introduced to the stories first through the ol’ Basil Rathbone movies on PBS, then reading Doyle’s stories, and the comics, enjoyed RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes movies, and Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. But there was something about this imaginging of Holmes in the modern world, with his sober companion Dr. Joan Watson into America. Holmes as we meet him is a recovering addict (the usage is part of the original stories, but was always on the fence for the reader if it went from simple Subtance Use/Social Use to Misuse/Substance Abuse). There is a beautiful scene opening up the first episode of Season 2, with Holmes in a meeting, and he openly talks about his usage, and that he feels he was born 100 to 200 years late, as the world would have been so much quieter, and perhaps then he would not have been an addict. This is also the episode where we meet his brother, Mycroft, and begin to understand the interplay of family in recovery, and what happens for both sides to see the other in their new reality, with new hearts. This is the beauty of Elementary it’s authentic portrayal of addiction, recovery and reconnection. The use of not only purpose in the process of being a part of community, but authentic belonging.

As the life and discography of Johnny Cash would illustrate, purpose is about what resonates deep within us. Belonging is those authentic folks who we connect with. For Cash it was about the music, his faith, and more, the story of his wife, and how that connection turned his life.

This is where we miss the mark in society on our march to end homelessness. We hold it is about upper-middle class developer housing- a house or a condo or an apartment. It goes deeper than that. It is about belonging. The government monies and policies speak to capacity and stock in the system to allow one (or family to be housed), same goes for the donations to non-profits. Decades ago I helped in writing policy for the now non-existant Federal PC Party, that spoke of all types of housing stock to have 10% put on an affordable sliding scale to aid in the stock on affordable housing, which very few took up as it was seen as to out there as what would your neighbour think finding out they are paying this and you are paying that (what does it matter what each of us pays, as long as we are all in community in a healthy way). By providing safe housing, that is designed for the needs of community members, we remove external stressors on their determinants of health, by providing a UBI, which allows for housing and food security, we remove layers of stressors/traumas on one’s healthy that actually burden more expensive systems of care on the emergency response end. As one ages in place, the costs on the system align with other neighbours.

Then it becomes more complex, as it is about moving beyond labels, for what to do with neighbours that may be provocateurs? Disruptors? If they are breaking by-laws/laws, it does not matter if they have lived next door for 20 years, moved in from another community or exited homelessness. This is where accountability for actions matter. What is needed in community is free options for neighbours to connect and get to know one another, so we are able to know what is typical behaviour, and when they need us to be present. This is why public libraries are so amazing, it is the one space left in our Western World where you can exist without having your bank account value checked. It is why I love seeing religious groups opening their doors for community meals, space for neighbours to meet together. A universal approach where there is no means test to access, simply saying come and break bread together. What if community associations created the same space? Are there volunteers out there that would share their skills for knitting circles? Meals? Book clubs? A space for those that live in community to use to connect based on hobbies and interests?

What if this allowed for funding from municipalities so that the halls were not constantly driven for rental incomes, and become spaces to cultivate getting to know one another beyond labels?

Think as we head into our civic elections in Alberta this October, what dream is there for a healthy and robust community beyond NIMBYISM, beyond labels…what does it look like for authentic belonging for all? For connecting? For purpose that is not tied to simply work?

I bring this up because it is one of the quick arguments of some, as to why we have a means test and work so hard to keep people from accessing Alberta Works and direct to day jobs in construction (which devalues the actual skill set it takes for what is classed as unskilled casual day labour, trust me, if my Dad, a general contractor and Master Electrician is aiding me on a DIY in house, it works, to my own skill set not so much). I am an Albertan and do not believe this ludicrousness. The entitlement is there for those in need. Not once they have cashed out all their savings and retirements then help. It is there for help. Say what we will on the back end of sorting out CERB and the possibility of taxation for those that made too much, at least those who needed it got it. See what shifts when we look at supporting one another in need? Not simply, trying to root out a fraudster?

See the source image

Same in our systems of housing, of care– why so much added trauma and stress to access the supports needed for physical, developmental or mental health?

Why not a robust system to allow for thriving, where we trust the family doctors and specialists that what is being asked for is needed?

Imagine how different our world would be?

See, Johnny Cash, found his belonging in his faith…

Others find their belonging through hobbies, interests, politics, philosophies, their faith. As we have moved into more commuter communities we have lost the local connection. We scream shop local currently, but miss a deeper point for health on the other side of c-tine:

Live Local.

For when we live local. When we connect, and know one another’s stories and journeys. It becomes truly hard to stigmatize, or live in fear. We can move through the grieving of change together. For it is in moving forward in understanding root causes we can truly make a difference.

It is in being present, that we live out the evidence.

For in that prescence with one another, we have to see the intrinsic value of our neighbour. The instrinsic value in human life, no matter what path brought you to that shared point of view with so many. Which shifts the discussion then from either or in solving our substance abuse epidemics of opioids and meth, to focus on the person behind the substance and their story. It leads us to understand for some the path is abstinence, for some it is harm reduction in the healing. It is a necesary spectrum, for as each person has intrinsic value, and are the protagontists of their own story, so too does each have a path of healing that touches on the tools of systems, theories and practices we try to create our own silos and chasms with. Instead of understanding, oh so simply, regardless of the theoretical label placed on the tool, it can be adapted for the person before us. The neighbour only finding away to numb the pain or silence the chaos.

Connecting.

Belonging.

Purpose.

Ideals that overlay so many things in our lives. That when truly sought, we can begin to accept the different paths to the same community. When sought healthily so many underlying causes can have truth spoken into them, space held, and reconciliation lived into.

Yet, it begins with you and me, not as an I, but as a We.. Your decision. Your choice. Your voice.

Become…

Our reconciliation. Our dialogue. Our decision, Our choice. Our voice.

See the source image

I’ve been watching the centrist-left leaning debate around the UCP Christmas message, shared some of my preliminary thoughts on my own site, and respected The Rev. Greenwood-Lee’s (Bishop-elect), which from the Anglican’s Via Media (middle way) path of theology taking into account the four footed stool was quick and enriching. The challenge being those who need to understand the message, sadly, would have dismissed as they do not believe in the ordination of women to senior leadership roles. But I am digressing on the points as to why I have decided to way in again as it is taking on the form of discussion of the Dominionist Christendom drive to craft a theocracy in Alberta. Which is partly true, and partly true that there are many overthinking the act (Read about the Heresy here).

See, the Via Media is an apt Latin phrase for understanding what is happening and is everyone who professes a belief in Christ or Christianity apart of this? Well, no. But there is complicity if we who are not remain silent and do not use our own learned lens to speak out when things are used to abuse. I have a rather winding road of involvement within the Christianities (yes, long term readers will understand the term as there is a multiplicity of denominations, traditions, and teachings out there with Brother Jesus at the core, but the living out is different), and have been involved with what used to be known as State Churches (that is those that were formed in the Reformation or pre-Reformation tied to political power that brought us heresy such as the Doctrine of Discovery, I also point you to the great work in refuting this heresy by Knox Presbyterian Calgary minister Rev. Mark Tremblay). It is a balance of voices and encouraging voices to become active within their expertise area, a mosaic (much like Canada is) so that there is voices/teachers that can speak into each situation with the message.

This is the challenge that happens in the divisive divide that exists currently within Alberta politics. What Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks equates to dualism, for my side to be right, the other side must be complete evil incarnate and there is no middle ground (I encourage you to explore his writings if you want to understand a bit more the concepts emerging and emergent around the dualism of Old & New Testaments and the systematic (and mostly unknown to those in the pews) anti-Semitism). Why does dualism and anti-Semitism matter? Simple, it is what is being pointed towards the usage of the Isaiah quote within the Christmas Message.

Here is the thing, as someone who has been involved in spiritual formation, confirmation, membership education, sacrament preparation, monastic orders, higher Christian education from fundamentalist to progressive, and over 20 years involved in ministry across the Christianities, sadly at this point in history one thing is true: There is a religious illiteracy amongst many. That means, they do not explore outside of what is really explore on a Sunday morning, for those that do, they will usually become involved in teaching roles, and for others leadership, but as with many non-profits, leadership does not always default to the most qualified, but rather to those with the longest tenure or donation power. Not judging this system, for each organization must live and survive (some thrive). This is to share that throwing out terms such as anti-Semitic is not helpful in the discourse of trying to show wrongdoing. For even the hyper-fundamentalist-dominionism (the perhaps 5-10% of pew sitters) are also those that will blindly support the nation state of Israel, so do not see themselves as anti-Semitic (using the Hebrew Bible-nee Old Testament-scriptures to show a deficient state, or the supremacy of Christendom feeds into dualistic anti-Semitism, a rather hard concept to understand or think through). For those that are not on the more progressive thinking scale, they can begin to understand, but will still use these terms of Old & New Testament, or even use these passages in their Lectionary Cycle that may or may not be used in such a way, yet, the way it is designed is implication.

Exploring what one can take from the Government's Christmas Meme

So even progressives may balk at the term.

And what does it leave between the 5-10% on each extreme, 80% that were simply taught that the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Jesus as Messiah, and do not see it as wrong, or it is never even touched upon. Throwing down the Anti-Semitic label, or how wrong it is to use, what is heard by those 80%?

Some say, it should be a call to learn and change, yet we are in a flux of massive societal change, and core beliefs are the hardest to move, long lasting learnings the hardest to jettison. What is heard is a message of inhospitality. See, this is the other personal aspect to touch upon in this post, how to cultivate, and decimate the Religious Right in Canada (I point you to The Armageddon Factor by Marci McDonald to explore the origin of this force in Canada). For my own life-long political journey of a political mosaic or rather all the colours of our parties and independent rainbows, I have found that those on the extremes are very unwelcoming to the religious. Those on the left, try to find ways to push you out through screening questions (you must answer with the exact words they want, or it becomes a debate that makes them uncomfortable), for those on the right that want to tap into the Religious Right of you, you must answer with the exact words of screening questions of they act to push you out (and answers that diverge but reflect living your faith makes them uncomfortable). Politically I can function more left than socialist, but truly it is through living my faith, and wrestling to understand the story and teaching from Brother Jesus in the Christian Testament (Nee New Testament, note the Anti-Semitism/dualism from those old labels?) that brings me to understanding and exploring the research, data, and the qualitative (that is the story/narrative of those impacted) to reach my decisions. Working within the parties in-between, there is discomfort with religion, because not realizing it, their approach to religion creates a gulf that makes one who is not ready to bear the brunt of a less chaotic storm, begin to think what they were told on the Left is true. If you want to believe the “myths” then the Conservatives are where you belong.

Note, what happens, when a fully engaged conversation that begins with unpacking what terms mean, examples of the rationale of why (moving beyond the 280-character limit) and ideological screenings creates? In the extreme, two instances: an apathetic religious who chooses not to be active at all, or will simply default to what the most active will tell them which is the Christian choice is on the right (and yes in Alberta I have even heard this in left leaning churches from the church board chair)—please note this is anecdotal, and shaped by my experience in Alberta, and having travelled within Canada’s religious and political world I do note it is not this simple, or black and white outside our rusted Bible Belt of a province.

Now, what have I discovered?

One being a bit hard-headed in asserting you space in the political world does help, but it is tiring, and you will be left battered (one of the reasons of pulling back on my end). But I have also found entering the work of discipleship with religious works well:

  1. This is where a non-partisan movement can cultivate a religious mentorship/think tank almost model.
  2. Where folks from the mosaic of Canada can come together and create resources, host seminars and courses, coffee/tea klatches for discussion (borrowing from the history and present of how shift happens).
  3. Take time to share infographics to full party platforms within these circles but do it as a blind study. Removing the party brands allows for them to wrestle with their belief systems and what it means in the public realm.
  4. Take time to move individuals beyond the smokescreen issues to what truly matters in their belief system, and how it can best be worked out.
  5. Understand when engaging in discussion to know which are key topics that can activate and it may not be what you realize, there is a passion to end sex trafficking, for ending poverty yet we allow the “Dominionist” to shape the conversation, re-take the conversation.
  6. Understand that in mentoring and connection, it is important to share a common understanding framework to begin therefore it is important to cultivate a healthy belonging space for religious discussion for those that need it to engage (but also have a stream where it is not necessary).

It is simple to break the back if you will of the heresy driving politics in Alberta. It begins with connection-discipleship-discussion-belonging. Cultivating a healthy space of equipping. This is what needs to be objectively thought through with the negligent messaging of our current governance.

The question is whether or not the divided political landscape of Alberta will allow the empty prairie of the middle to be heard and actualized?


Matthew 1:20-23 (New King James Version)

A rather innocuous passage in Matthew is often overlooked, similarly to the passages within Luke in regards to the visitation and questions of Mary. Here, we have Joseph, doing what any man of his era would be doing in finding out his recently betrothed bride to be (she of approximately 13-14 years old) pregnant. Pondering what to do? Shall he declare the crime? Have her taken by the Edlers outside the city gates and stoned to death? Simply cast outside quietly to turn into a beggar? A play thing of the Empire on the road side? Or quietly divorce her and let her family deal with her?

See, Joseph was struggling with pride and reputation. When Holy Love comes into his life, and this is the key moment for him. Do you hear it? That aha moment in the heart? That moment when he realized the power in his wife to be’s YES to the Holy. The “Yes” that shattered the bastardized topsy-turvy world the Empire and Religious oppression had stripped them of. The love, to feel the true awe of…becoming a Daddy (Abba).

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Saint Joseph and Toddler Jesus, according to Roman Catholicism, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Realtors, families, fathers, unborn children, expectant mothers, immigrants, travelers, explorers, pilgrims, house seekers, craftsmen, engineers, and workers. He is the patron saint of many villages, towns, cities, churches, and countries including- Canada, Vietnam, Mexico, Austria, Korea, Americas, China, Croatia, Indonesia and Phillipines.

Now this is where fundgelical praxis theology of the lovey-dovey thoughts hits the snag. See, Joseph became a Daddy with Mary’s pregnancy, Jesus grew up in a loving home, learned the faith from the Matriarchs, and the way of work from the Patriarchs in his family. Having grown up in a trades family, I can guess, he probably had a pretty cool experience with all the building things to play with. Unfortunately, instead of reading the gospel stories of Jesus’ family with the lens of love and belonging in family. Too many take the view of “step” or “adopted”, that is they impose an extra layer of distance the relationship with Joseph and Jesus. The default being, well, Jesus spoke of his Heavenly Father.

Except, the Holy Spirit that came upon Mary is usually in the feminine. Except, in the creation story in the Hebrew Bible, both male and female are created in God’s image. Yet, we do not speak of Mary, as the earthly mother, just as Mum.

So why the differentiation? To allow for a perpetuation of unhealthy dynamics, one that harkens back to the genealogy lists within the scriptures that prove ones “pedigree” (or worth) in society. Yet, what is missed, is that the pedigree of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is of Joseph.

So whose his Daddy?

Is it not time to move beyond this antiquated view of Empire imposed familism?

Do we not yet understand that the point of the birth narrative is to show that the bond of family and belonging is love- FULL STOP- and that Jesus was blessed with an amazing family with both human and divine parentage?

Next time you hear the bad exegesis about Joseph, not being or needing to be his Daddy as Jesus was not his son, simply reply with the theologically best answer I can come up with “bollocks”.

Which is point one of this ecclectica, the other was trying to be politics free on Christmas Day, and only doing spot checks of social media, The United Conservative Party proved my social media musing with the new Covid restrictions/exemptions that had been announced in Alberta a few days before Christmas:

And yes church it was shown once again, for a tweet storm emerged with the UCP sharing of a Christmas greeting:



Found in Revised Common Lectionary Cycle B (found at Vanderbilt University: Year B – Christmas : Revised Common Lectionary (vanderbilt.edu)

Now we can argue over which translation of the Holy Bible was used, and whether the term was government or authority, but it is found within the Revised Common Lectionary for the readings. A lectionary is the reading rhythms that within a two year cycles of Sundays the church will hear all the Bible (and/or major themes) read from the pulpit. This is the example of what the Christmas Day readings looked like this year:

For finding scriptures I suggest http://www.biblegateway.com

Now, there are some things of note.

  1. The meme actually got more air time via progressives attempting to shame, call out, or otherwise put down.
  2. There is some issue with the meme any believer should take, when the Gospel reading of the day is from Luke, the birth of Christ, the scripture should have come from there. Unfortunately, Luke is the gospel written to and for the disenfranchised in society to empower and give voice, it is a rallying cry which with the track record of the government currently would have come across as higher hypocrisy than normal.
  3. The image of the Holy Family used is uber Blonde European. The traditionalist church images used, and not very historic. Some may say minor, some may say major point, but on point for the message.
  4. The use of the government in the quote is to be seen as a nod that the ruling party is there by divine right, yet who is Isaiah? Will share a bit on that.

Isaiah is a major prophet in the Holy Bible, respectfully from the Hebrew Bible portion. His book is 66 chapters in length, which has led some protestants to equate it to the Protestant Bible as an allegory (note I said Protestant as there are many bibles with books in as apocryphal/deutero-canonical or canonical that are beyond the scope of these 66). There was more than likely more than one Isaiah as a writer within the book, through textual historicity, the first writer would be the one who wrote the passage in the meme. Many of the Hebrew Prophets have had moments when their words have been pointed to foretelling the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or more mystically, the Messiah (for if you are Jewish, he has not yet come). Most of the work was probably written during the Babylonian captivity, around 8th century BCE. The prophets were not necessarily future oriented texts, as much as social justice texts.

The prophets were called out of Israel to literally call Israel out. To point out what they were doing contrary to the heart of the Holy. It was framed in contrary to the Law, yet what is at the core of the Law and the Prophets? Love of God/Self/Neighbour. The prophets laid out unabashedly the harm being done under the guise of the name of God, and then what the repercussions were to be (reaping what one sows), in two cases at least the exiles under Babylon and Assyria. Then the inter-testimental period of silence were Rome seized their world. The world that the angels came to both Mary and Joseph to let them know, much like Zechariah and Elizabeth, that they would become parents of blessed children. Blessed children, what Brother Jesus let his followers know was each and every child.

So yes, this is a simple Merry Christmas from a political party. Yes, it is a message of Christendom (the Christianity of Empire) that speaks to a minority seeking to hold power, but lose the gospel, and yes, it is from the actual scriptures.

What is also clearly shows, like the story of Joseph, is a tool that can be of division, scape goating, and used wrongly.

What it leaves us with, is will we take the deeper message of the birth of Christ? The context of the word’s of Isaiah and the prophets knowing that a governing party just did one of the greatest self owns in history by literally turning the finger back on themselves to say- hey guess who isn’t meeting the call of justice? Guess who is willing to enter the exile for power?

Take time, and yes, it is a time when anyone of religious stripes who wants to speak up clearly and honestly. Share your faith, share how it has been used to harm, share how it has helped, and when politicians or religious leaders or fellow congregants attempt to use it to harm, call them out.

For we are all blessed children, loved, with family that embraces and loves us at this time of year, as today we enter the journey of the Magi following the once in hundreds years astronomical event to warn of the impending genocide.

Be the clarion call to end injustice.

Stand in love.

Amen.


Out of coffee with a friend/mentor comes a recommendation to explore George Monbiot (2017) Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for An Age of Crisis which encapsulates many of the thoughts around community renewal, postulates some new ones, but truly percolates what is needed in our divided times (see my reflections on Rabbi Sacks works)– that is discussion, discourse and community building. For I see this work as something that harkens back to use during a simpler time, that when Pastor Douglas was growing the CCF and Pastor Aberhart was growing the Social Credit (yes I realize there was many involved in growing/educating these movements, I am using the two historical premiers as a short hand not as an all inclusive they did it independently fallacy).

See, they had their resources, for Aberhart it was social credit, for Douglas it was the Regina Manifesto if you will. It happened a household at a time, over tea and coffee times, with friends invited for study and discourse (much like a church plant if you will, growing and learning together as healthy community has the same points of genesis). This is how I can see this book work, over a few weeks of meeting together with then each small group choosing an activism activity that has come to mind from the text.

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It is at once a political science-political economics primer couched in cultural study which is easy to read and follow. Monbiot takes the reader through the short history of the shift from Keynesian theory underlying public policy and economics to Neo-Liberalism and its affect on the worker, community and shift from collectivism to exploited independent contractor to celebrity culture as they explore alienation. The continued exploitation and redefinition of the commons, whom it is actually to benefit. The writer touches upon what this looks like in ripple effects, and how it has impacted voting.

Two quick case examples are used, Trumps win in 2016 due simply to the fact that a plausible alternative could not be demonstrated to the Labour loss in the UK in 2015 to the Tories, simply because they had produced a till receipt platform (costed to remove their “threat” as seen in the media and corporate world) but forgot the connecting narrative of Hope that voters were looking for (wonder if this can be extrapolated to the NDP loss in 2015 in Canada federally?). Also a bonus snapshot later on is looking at Bernie Sanders, and how to empower volunteers and actual talk with folks to propel movements.

Why does this matter? Whether Monbiot is writing about economic choices, the balance between corporate or state control (actually more of a balance, with each having their own sphere of influence). To exploring what democratic reform needs to look like in its simplicity (single transferable vote) to online direct civic democracy like in the Nordic countries (quite a case study of rapid feedback and impact). Yet as you wind through the democratic reform what emerges is a topic I am familiar with, the important of co-operates, interdependence of citizens; fair taxation; belonging– more pragmatically for Canada is a renewal of the Constitution Act 1982 that would see an abolishing of the provinces to empower/equip the Federal and civic governments appropriately. It reads as the need for governance being local, known, and impactful (as well as held accountable).

It is not just a book for a bookshelf. I will be using ideas within my research on community building for my 2021 writing project. For the political activist though now, who wants to affect positive change I law out a simple path.

  1. Online or within your cohort (it is covid times) establish a coffee-tea book klatch to read-discuss and activate.
  2. As we head towards municipal elections, borrow from my 2006 playbook (which I borrowed from Rt. Hon. Joe Clark in Calgary City Centre 2000) and establish healthy rainbow coalitions of teams to run for the positions in your municipal or country councils; and school boards.
  3. Ensure it is not the candidate with the most money you are voting for (especially with election donation rules changing), but the one most connected to your local communities.
  4. Leverage the network of the rainbow coalition to renew community association, non-profit, community, sport league and if you have religious members, their boards for new vitality health and working together for the best of the communities you exist in and the households that make them up.
  5. Take time to understand and discover who your neighbours are, and how different ideas of co-ops and alternative economics may benefit everyone.

Just a few thoughts to begin percolating your thoughts. Healthy community based transformation is possible, it literally begins one household at a time rejecting the concept that our governance bodies are for sale.

What’s your first step out of the wreckage and into the rebuild?

P.S. if you haven’t already Albertans check these folks out who are doing great work, Reboot Alberta,


In the emerging c-tine I am beginning to gather material for a new book, that I hope to be able to put together in the Spring of 2021. The topic is one that reflects my spiritual life, community-belonging-connection. Now one may ask in a work reflecting on Preston Manning’s new book, Do Something, I would share this. I to ponder, but because there are some points that he writes that speak to health community. Much like I suggested Christians read Irshad Manji’s The Trouble with Islam so I suggest Manning’s new work to those of any political stripe to begin to ponder some key points.

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Once I as a reader navigated through the conservative partisan bias (which is to be expected for one from a conservative political thought writer), there was some kernels to share. Yes, I had to set aside some of the partisan broadsides, accept there was some kernels of truth in some, some continued bias ideological statements overshadowing seeing the good in other. What was refreshing in Manning’s writings, was his open sharing about third parties moving Canada forward in a healthy way, including his positive reflecting and sharing around other political heroes of mine, Rev. J.S. Woodsworth & Pastor Tommy Douglas, as well as the usefulness of populism section touching on the Famous Five, and other human rights matters but also touching on the chaos it can wreck with separatist movements and “western alienation” to the information of a data and science informed conservatism, that illustrates, how off track the current Alberta government is, the Federal party. As long time readers will also know, I do not give much time to the concept of private encroachment into our just society safety net (whether health care or education). It was beneficial to have an “elder” of current social conservatism, even while arguing against identity politics, point out the need for truth and reconciliation with our history of racism and oppression.

Now into some of the meat if you will, that I found useful in Mr. Manning’s discourses. These would touch on topics of science, political spectrum, religion, preparation, and community involvement. In reading Manning’s words, I was reminded of reading some of the writings of Stanfield and his team in the Trudeaumania era of Progressive Conservatives. Shifting from populist drive of Diefenbaker, to a data and science driven policy approach.

This is a key understanding I think any political group needs to get to, for us to return to healthy discourse in our country (and religious groups, as it is the science that explains the how of creation). For it then shifts from yelling matches, gotcha politics and social media sound bytes to raising the bar back up to policy discussions. Manning’s example was pollution pricing (carbon taxes) and not arguing against the practice, but rather the implementation. His challenge that if one cannot believe in climate science, rather look at environmental impacts and work to solve that which they could understand. For those who may be too young to remember, I believe it was when Jim Harris stepped down as leader of the Green Party of Canada, Manning aided in raising them to prominence. The intertwining of his faith and love of science has led him in my understanding to find ways to be a caretaker of the environment (if only more in his ideological realm would hear the call).

The concept that is also helpful, is the false dichotomies we want to exist within politics (liberal or conservative, left-centre-right), where he would share a 12 axis assessment on issues for aiding in defining what one held to be true. As most Canadians, exist somewhere in the centre, not wanting to make a decision, but wanting to ensure the most possible are included in the decision (a consensus as much as possible) this does raise some ideas. Within the 12 axis were topics such as environment, trust, jurisdiction, values, health act, education, etc.

It does also aid I believe as it moves one from blind ideology to one party, making each candidate needing to work beyond their party affiliation and leader to win the trust of the voter. This speaks to the need for character, and connection within the community. Does the candidate belong? Are they known for being a positive community member and builder? Stepping back into the concept of what public service is to be about– that is service for all citizens for peace, order and good governance. The role of government being to create the best possible life for citizens, and through that, the healthy environment for creativity, and business will happen (in my opinion and experience).

It also speaks to preparation for community leadership. Do we expect people to prepare for a vocation? Manning admirably used the example of Brother Jesus, and for each year of his public ministry, he had 6 years of life (and for some preparation). What would shift and change within our municipalities, counties, provinces and country if for each year of elected office we expected a certain number of years of preparation? Work/service in their local community? Connection. Belonging. The bottom line of the thesis do something is the suggestions of how to become active in community leagues, groups, political parties, research whether as a participant, donor or volunteer…the old adage of giving of time, talent and treasure (from small steps to large leaps depending on personal capacity).

With a final nod to the religious aspect of community life. This section was handled well, had a conservative bent, but could easily be expanded to all parties. Manning shared of those who served of all political stripes and faith. The idea being simple and familiar, we need to acknowledge the harm that has been done in the name of religion. But for those with authentic faith, you cannot separate the value system from who you are (goes back to core character and integrity), but it is not about imposing that on the populace. The other piece, is creating space for discussion, debate and acceptance within political movements.

So yes, is it everyone’s cup of tea this book? Probably not. For the entrenched partisan depending on which primary colour they are in it can be vilified or beatified. Both responses would miss the point of a call to action work. This was a call to action that can be read at the surface level for Canadian conservatism and democracy to what it means to moderate. For any other politico or religious politico, it can be read for ideas and concepts on how others think, how to do a mirror reflection into your own movements, and how to engage at the local community level to grow engagement, connection and belonging.

To extend a metaphor from the c-tine. Where we live is our household, each of those households creates a community, each community a village/town/city, and those a province and then a country. How are we creating health households, then communities? How are you choosing to do something to create a healthy ripple in your pond? What simple action- step are you going to choose to do?

To do something to effect positive change in your world.


Control + Alt + Delete for many with computers that was how you would escape the screen freeze or blue screen of death. Then have to answer the question if you wanted to restart in safe mode. Alberta thought they were doing that when the United Conservative Party was elected to governance just over a year ago. The traversing of change, the needing to re-invent our economy, and create space for belonging for everyone had stalled many out in the change process in anger and denial.

That was preyed upon by a high centralized bully culture.

Is it the best governance? How many voters have voter remorse as our world class institutions were decimated, the world rebuked our oil and gas sector for the draconian ways we scaled back to, and diversification was cancelled. With announcements of Premier Kenney tomorrow (Monday) around diversifying our economy, one has to simply wonder is it relabeling NDP era policy as UCP to try and win back support, knowing the shenanigans’ of this government I would side on yes.

In the midst of cancel culture though, it raises the question what about governance and politics? Why do we accept shady business and almost zero accountability for actions and behaviours? Have we defaulted to our “colour” must win at all costs in striving for power and be damned the consequences to ourselves and neighbour? Data points to yes.

The ideological lock chain does not help out world, our neighbour or ourselves. It locks us into false dichotomy for solutions with no robust discussion on topics and research. It leads to school yard tattle tale gotcha moments that can deflect from the ongoing ineptitude in governance for all Albertans (insert your context here as I am sure you have examples). The rallying cry for engagement has always been the least you can do is vote.

NO! That’s not the least you can do, showing up and putting an “x” beside the party name, as you say it’s the leader not the local representative doesn’t matter—oh but it does. For when the leader with the centralized power is off base, it is the local members that need to hold them to account, and within the Westminster System have the power to replace.

Knowing the character of the person wanting to represent your party is important. Do they show up for debates and events? Do they live locally and have their kids in the public institutions? Are they a parachute candidate from somewhere else? A paper candidate or flag bearer (just letting their name stand on the ballot)… all these things are important and need to be understood, for if we move beyond gotcha, to the ability to demand better choices we begin to engage. In the last federal election the Greens and Cons played games with voters with the gotcha era pretending to fire candidates, and then election day people were shocked they were still on the ballot, once confirmed you are confirmed. Know our system, the local constituency associations need to take seriously a candidate search and are the main point of vetting for the best to represent… are they doing their job?

What if the ballots were party blind? No parties listed, just names, how would you choose your representative? You’d actually have to get to know them, and the volunteers behaviour would reflect directly on them…those that espouse ableist, rascist, queer hate, misogynistic views would be held to account. Also, knowing they could not fly under the party colours how much more seriously would the local EDA’s take the vetting? Would all parties be fielding full slates? Or would their be times if a candidate had to be of good character and active in the election period to stay on the ballot (i.e. 3 debates planned must make 2 or are deleted)…would we get a better crop (and I do believe a ranked ballot would aid the process even more).

Cancel culture when used well and targeted appropriately can bring about positive change. It needs to hyper focus on our political systems, demand better choices, push media to remove the voice of opinion from policy, and close off the options for populist-extremism on either side to be shuttered away, to create space for robust discussion of the issues, and the big questions on why and how? The voice to strip the centralized power from the First Minister’s office (Prime Minister and Premier), to re-empower the local representative, remove the party whip, and allow the local voices to come together to create consensus policy for the whole.

The least we can do is to open the conversation and share why things matter and are important, to create a space for healthy, robust debate and dialogue so that come election day, it is not an adversarial approach to save our own fragile egos that our team needs to win like some Stanley Cup play off round, but be able to say the local candidate with the best ideas is the one that was voted for and elected.

Ready to do the least for the vote?

If you’re interested in being a part of the reboot of our province, I encourage you to check out https://rebootalberta.com/


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The days tick by

some merge into others, or vanish completely

why count one would ask?

Simply to keep a record,

but also as it progresses, one seeks out a new regulation of the daily routine

ritual that emerges

Is it about a new skill set emerging?

Or simply deep diving into the love we shut out with the daily noise

to emerge as a new person

who was meant to be,

shaking off

burning away

the hate of the past

or the niggles of reminiescience from those that raised us.

Today we celebrate the diversity that we were created in,

and use the misnomer of “phobic” but what is phobia? According to the American diagnostic tool for psychology the DSM-V it is this:

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What we are fighting is not a phobia, for a phobia through psychological intervention can be cured, or mitigated…Neigh,

what we have in our world is H-A-T-E- grown out of ignorance, unwillingness to understand diversity, prejudice, bigorty and the need for a “less than” in our world…a subset…. on this day speak in favour of:

Diversity

Love

Beauty

Inclusion

Belonging

Hope

For these things destroy fear, which is the root of hate, which is truly what is being spoken against today…

Let us celebrate the beautiful mosaic our brothers and sisters in the human family are!

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Ah, it is always humourous to me how the Christian church in the death throes of Christendom and the spinning out of the Christianities, in their last gasp of Empire fail to realize that in the story of Holy Week, they have become the Roman Empire and the Religious Oppressors that Brother Jesus lived his life of Hope and Love out against. Just looking to the neighbours to the South and the screams of “religious oppression” and the lie of “We can gather, God will heal and protect us” (and yes, I have heard on a remotely minor scale some of this echoed in Canada just not covered–though Calgary’s Street Church—ARGH!!!!–but that is a rant, not the point of this message). The control, and herd mentality that can lead to the end is sad. See being asked to distance, and do things differently is not oppression, it is saying still connect, still worship, still be community, but do it safely and differently.

I mean, read the story of Paul in the Christian Testament pre-conversation for oppression, read the histories of the early church in the Didache…then reflect, and turn back to what is actually being asked not twitter sound bites.

But I digress with my opening, for we are in hope. I have been tracking moments of hope in the world currently, of world’s collaborating, of those times idiocy is overcome, of the calling out of that which many would’ve remained silent on within their own movements. Seeing the affirmation of the person at this time as we discuss how best to move forward as a society, seeing what is wrong with some aide plans rolled out, and providing constructive feedback to leaders to improve. For those that would like to continue to reach out to government officials in Canada I guide you to the Reboot Alberta community, and their short teaching around written engagement (and yes Alberta, with our doctors walking out due to our Government’s continued and sustained attack against the medical profession at this time, this is pertinent, for their continued and sustained attack against our exceptional children in education, and for their dehumanizing attack against our most vulnerable in shelters, it is necessary), please read Ken Chapman’s post in Reboot Alberta here. As in ancient times, the personal connection to the issues raise the words importance, and hopefully during this time of isolating where contemplation can open up a heart and mind, we will see even the most ideologically entrenched break and realizing people are not numbers on  balance sheet.

But again, do I digress, or is this real world application for the time of Palm Sunday. A time of celebration in my own family, as both our children chose to engage in God’s love on this day many years ago- a year a part. In our own family tradition, it was not specific denominations that stepped up to offer God Parents, but rather across the Christianities and without label, just a focus on the “love as I have loved you” command Jesus gave in the Gospel of John. The Johannine community as I have written of earlier, was a community of collaboration, interdependence, and focus of service to affirm, lift up and create belonging for all the blessedly diverse Imageo Dei’s of their world.

This is a resounding message within Palm Sunday. Calling for change, living counter to the authoritarian regimes’, helping one another, holding them to account. And then on the day we lift up today, Empire flexed its muscles and held a military parade on one end of the city, while Jesus, humbly entered (John 12:12-19):

12The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15″Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

The gathering of the cast outside of society, those that the actions of government said did not matter. The ultimate demonstration of love, belonging and hope to move forward with. Yes, the powers to be continued to conspire, as we see with some mega churches refusing distancing orders, and some governments Canada thought were friends, banning exports of desperately needed supplies so they can appear in control and in power, but the light is shinning through the shadow cracks, revealing their true character and what truly matters to them—it may look like an S, but it’s not for hope from Krypton it is $$$$$.

Yet the world as a whole pushes back and our story continues.

Will this parade of new way of being together continue?

Will we continue to crack the oppressive darkness and anger that has regressed our change?

We as a world, are at our collective Palm Sunday and ready for what emerges as new birth, when our physical distancing ends and our world has an opportunity to enjoy our Rebirth…

Like a DC Comics hero, what is our core story and values that will be on the table for us to move forward together with?