Archive for the ‘Course on Inclusive Leadership’ Category

It is the Holy Saturday in Holy Week. What does this mean? Is it a Liturgical blank day we have attempted to fill with something? Like has happened recently with the Monday-Wednesday days from Palm Sunday? Possibly, but it is more. It is that time we are to enter into the unknown. It is why concepts like Passion Sunday (instead of Palm Sunday) leave a bad taste in my mouth. It is the idea that all of Holy Week is truncated down to one Sunday Service, and brings you to the empty tomb so you are good to go for Easter Sunday.

It is also, why I love Tony Campollo’s writings, the quip many evangelicals rest on of, it’s Friday but Sunday’s coming annoys the ever lovin’ heck out of me. It removes us from the moment. It removes us from being in the feelings, the mystery. It is like the reader that gets the new mystery novel and reads chapter one, then skips to the end for the solution, or skips to the end of the Murder, She Wrote episode. This is what happens when we skip the day to day mundanity. We miss being in the “now”. It is in that now that many theologians calls us to discover our true selves Rev. Matthew Fox, The Fillmores,  Dorothy Day, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Eric Butterworth, Norman Vincent Peale, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, to name but a few. It is in the now we realize and actualize our interdependence and connectivity with one another, and within, through and being with the Holy Mystery.

See the source imageThis is why, Holy Saturday, matters. For it is the day of vigil. Waiting. For those in the story nearly 2,000 years ago it was a time of anxiety, fear, mystery, apprehension…wondering what was to happen next. Wait? Where are we in the pandemic now?

But, the question has always arisen in my ministry and practice-that children and youth are incapable of vigil, that those who are exceptionally abled are in able–that they as well cannot simply be, because they are extroverts and it is for introverts (truly, us 25% of the population that are introverted have rocked the spiritual world the best but it is for everyone). Sorry it does not wash. It is called a spiritual practice, because it takes practice, but it is also like self-care. Not every practice is for everyone, it is discovering the practices that rejuvenate, refresh, renew and re-connect you to the intrinsic self, and the Holy Mystery. Which is part of the journey, not always the destination, but the journey of discovery on what works for you.

Some ideas regular readers will have already seen in my writings. I do suggest using movies and television shows as exploration and contemplations, whether independently in journaling unpacking the questions and your responses or in group (see the balance). Sacred scripture such as the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, or Christian Testament, daily, with sitting with it and seeing what emerges.

This can be done through a Lectio Divino where you hear the words 3 times, and each time spend in silence seeing what images, memories, and calls come through. Breath prayer/mindfulness, where you breathe in on a count, and breathe out a mantra (such as peace, or hope). You can do this with a count up and count down, 10 is a good number to begin with. Search the internet and use a body scan to reconnect with your physical self. I also suggest journaling, this is not simply writing, it is doodling, poetry, prose, reflective thoughts, drawing, painting, colouring…the key with starting is deciding a time length, say 3 minutes, set a timer, and do not let your journaling stop until the buzzer, keep the pen to paper for the full length, once you start to realize that is not enough time, increase the limit.

I also recommend Jon Kabbat-Zinn’s (1990) Full Catastrophe Living as a comprehensive starters guide to mindfulness practice that can be adapted to any or no spiritual frame work. For those who claim extroversion as their rationale against reflection, Nancy Reeves (2008) Spirituality for Extroverts and those who love them. If you need some structure to begin a day to day practice, I would recommend exploring the Anglican Churches’ Book of Common Prayer or Book of Alternative Services for access to liturgical prayers and lectionary.

The simplest way to start, is presence. Turning off other notifications, setting time to check e-mails and social media, to be present with those you interact with. Turn off the other calls on your time to be in that moment. As Mr. Rogers would do daily then take time to reflect on those you have interacted with, and lift up their name in your form of prayer, for the best for them to come into their authentic selves.

Types of contemplation and prayer on a day like this can also be singing, dancing, yoga and tai chi are some examples. Things that move the body, connecting your holistic self. Ceremony as smudging as well. Immerse into stories as was noted before to see what truths and questions emerge for you to wrestle through to clarify your own thoughts on topics you may be struggling with, or may have never encountered before but now you are beginning to understand.

As the early friends of Jesus huddled in hiding, trying to sort out what it all meant in the darkness. What the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed’s would frame around the descent to the dead (hell). This scourging happens when we enter into extended times of vigil, fasting from food, technology, luxuriousness, anything that clouds our ability to clearly hear the still small voice within ourselves for our true authentic beings to become relevant, heard, and whole.

There are many resources and books across religions, philosophies, and spiritualities that offer insight into discovering ways to renew your whole being. As one spiritual director would remind me, learn from many and varied traditions, it does not invalidate your own. Rather it opens up the opportunity to see what works for you, to include in your own tool kit and adapt. For what is the history of any religious movement, but rather adaptation and inclusion of varied practices that then are adapted into their own?

This time of Holy Saturday, do not let the idea of vigil scare you. Rather accept it as a day to re-affirm that which works for you to refresh, renew, rejuvenate and reconnect with your own soul, and the Holy Mystery. But also take it as a challenge to try something new in those realms.

For we await in the mystery of the darkness and the uncertainty today, and each day of this pandemic we take moment by moment and day by day,

but we ask ourselves,

what is the journey today, to a piece of hope?

See the source image

It is a funny question, and usually how we identify ourselves in new social settings. “What do you do?” It is not some deep existential question looking for validation of vocational calling, rather it is the question of what one does for work to earn money, and then based on occupation and how many spaces on the pay cheque before the decimal point one can assess if you “fit” their societal grouping.

Also along the lines if you mention an impressive job title are questions around your education.

Then there is the abnormality. I pride myself on being the abnormality, when folks here what I do, and the education I have they get the deer caught in the headlights, evil robot short circuiting eye glaze. It is one of the little joys of life. But isn’t bragging about oneself the point of Linkedin and not conversation of getting to know one another at beyond a superficial level?

My kids tell people I give people homes. Many believe I am in real estate, no that is buying and selling housing. An admirable role, but not mine. I believe in homes for everyone, and that is what I do. I walk alongside and aid my neighbours in becoming part of community and growing themselves a home.

I should say this is something I stumbled into, but really it was a path laid out that I chose from a young age. My parents taught me to speak out for what I believed in, to question and critically analyze societal issues, and to be welcoming to the other. I mean c’mon I grew up a child of `78 and was part of a peace march in elementary school to get Gorbachev’s attention to speak out on ending the Cold War.

I was a teenage journalist and activist challenging politicians and world leaders to understand that policy decisions were not just words on paper but affected people as a whole and individually. Yes I was one of those pains in the butt and even ran for office. I lived what the Creator laid on my soul by building communities of welcome for those we like to segregate by labels: homeless; youth; seniors; young adults; differently abled; mentally ill… think of a few more can you? The drive was a label-less world.

Follow your heart

-My Daughter, Justina, age 8, Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living

Some may read these words and say with a drive like that your home life growing up must have been perfect hell. That’s a nugatory. I had an amazing childhood with loving family, that encouraged my dreams and passions. Let us as children to develop into the adult’s we were meant to be, and to shape beliefs that resonated beyond the surface level. They showed us what a home was, and this is what everyone deserves regardless of situation and with proper supports it can be achieved.

See that is why I do what  I do…because it is part of my created being. I have answered J.S. Woodsworth’s over 100 year old question, who is my neighbour? It is each and every person I connect with in this world.

Discover your passion, then figure out a way to make a living at it.

-My Dad, Wayne Ragan, to me 16 years old in a Marketing Research Project at Lester B. Pearson High School.

So why do I do what I do?

Four little letter everyone desires, deserves, and I have been blessed to know deeply.


Course on Inclusive Leadership

Course Description:

This course builds upon the foundation laid in two previous courses: Spiritual Leadership Development and Course on Inclusive LeadershipMissional Leadership.  While both of those courses looked upon the minister in relation to the community, this course looks upon the role of community and that dynamic within ministry. 

Course Author:


The Rev. Dr. Tyler Ragan, Psy.D. holds a Doctor of Psychology (Holistic) from the Eisner Institute for Professional Studies, he has been active in ministry to those in need for over 15 years starting when he was in high school, and has been a life long peace and human rights activist.  His published works and research centre on outreach, self-discovery of personal calling, and spirituality.