Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Have you ever heard to spiritual elders laugh and now what joy sounds likes? When I would listen to interviews of watch the videos of Archbishop Desmond Tutu & the Dalai Lama, this sound would ring with joy. Two men, trying to speak hope in the world, in very Franciscan ways of living before speaking. In my early days returning to the church, Tutu’s works, began to shape my emergent theolgoy (Along with Talbot, JP II & Spong). Working in a book store, I came across and devoured his two books emerging out of the TRC at the end of Apartheid in South Africa, God has a Dream (2003) and No Future without Forgiveness (2000). He spoke of hope, he spoke truth, and showed that the Christian sacremant of reconciliation was not something of words spoken between cleric and parishner in a tea room or a closet, but rather something that light shines into the truth to confuse the darkness and become action steps for transfiguration of society in hope.

His other books on forgiveness, hope, inclusion, belonging, children stories, powerful prayer, rebuilding, enewal ( a fuller listing of his works on Good Reads). I mean, think of being called to the highest office within your church, at a time you could not actually go to the Cathedral, because the nation, where your church exists, does not see you as a full person with full rights? Apartheid South Africa. His wonderful children’s story analogies around noses I would use in my multi-cultural ministry settings to break the unspoken prejudices that existed within generations, but also to teach about God’s belonging and beautiful Imageo Dei. tutu&shtp=GetUrl&shid=f290cb35-7c55-4884-9ba9-44ada3f6c102&shtk=TWFuc2JyaWRnZSBPbmUgb24gT25lOiBEZXNtb25kIFR1dHU%3D&shdk=RGVzbW9uZCBUdXR1IG9mIFNvdXRoIEFmcmljYSB0YWxrcyB0byBQZXRlciBNYW5zYnJpZGdlIGFib3V0IHRoZSBzdGF0ZSBvZiBjdXJyZW50IHdvcmxkIGFmZmFpcnMsIGFuZCBob3cgU291dGggQWZyaWNhIGhhcyBjaGFuZ2VkIHNpbmNlIGFwYXJ0aGVpZCBlbmRlZC4%3D&shhk=vUCsTLKvZVscG4%2F65LBh%2FaF04bfhxdf6XOv5zZZMAmc%3D&form=VDSHOT&shth=OVP.9BHSw3jsogzW0jmu8GIc7QDcB8

I encourage you to click on the CBC link above for an interview Peter Mansbridge had with Tutu.

As well, to remember one of his most powerful works, 2011’s God is Not a Christian and other provocations, take time during this holiday season to pick up that and his collaboration with the Dalai Lama in 2016 Book of Joy to spend time in contemplation. The great pause, that covid has caused the world, means we have an opportunity to live out joy in our lives and communities, to be povocateurs of transfiguration, with that little twinkle of Desmond in our own heart’s eye.

As we celebrate a life of Joy, the question that rests in our souls today, is:

Who is continuing the work?

Who is called to the work?

Are you being called to the work of Joy?

Star Trek CODA

Posted: December 15, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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The end was nigh once Picard premiered for a wonderful literary journey for fans. Since Star Trek Nemesis, it has been the written page, and to a lesser extent the comics, that have been filling the gap for prime timeline 24th century “Boldy going…” with intrigue, new worlds discovered, older worlds dove deeper into, journeys unseen, marriages and new life. A winding road that if you have been a fan of the journey then CODA is for you. If you are just coming into the world of Trek books via Discovery or Picard tie ins, then guess what? CODA is for you. Each volume opens with a timeline of important facts that lends itself to the reader, I can almost heare Majel Barrett’s voice over of “previously” as I would touch base and remember the fun the past 20 years of books have been.

For long time readers, you know as part of my recovery, it was a Star Trek Deep Space Nine novel that started my journey of bringing focus to the written page once more. So I was in for what was to come, as new and old friends gathered. Are you going to get spoilers from me?

No, but there was several nods to long time fan hopes; great characterization; Travellers; Vulcans, Mirror Universe; Emissary, Celestial Temples, Borg… oh the list can go on, and a very subtle nod to Benny (from one of the best DS9 episode’s ever) as the journey to end one story, one temporal multi-verse and align with the current is bridged.

The 3 month journey of CODA though, did remind me, as the writer’s came together, sharing their thoughts, knowing that there was things that could happen outside of their control, ala Star Wars novels and Legends, or seeing what was happening and being proactive. Taking time to share a different possibility that kept the stories as part of the whole tapestry of Star Trek, by connecting the puzzle pieces.

Is that not our own journey of life? Times when we truly feel that what is happening is not part of our prime timeline, yet it still is a piece of us? Is it healthy to forget it? Pretend it never happened? Or to take the journey that realigns ourselves and our experiences? It is in the relignment that we can learn as much, as those times we simply allow it to fade into the background. Especially in a time of polarization and c-tine, where we can feel like this is an out of time experience, and may simply want to forget. What happens if we are present and enter into our own CODA so when we re-emerge into the new, we are ready?

For what is a CODA, but musically the concluding piece of a movement that creates a base structure.

A grand 20 year adventure had a CODA this fall, and I cannot help but hypothesize that our world is in a CODA moment, and it is what we choose to do with it…

Soul Care:

Posted: December 13, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality

T’san a’lat

No, it is not a new Latin or other ancient language, though we are in the century when according to a mythology that has spoken into our world for 55 years would encounter this language. It is from Star Trek, most specifically the language of Vulcan, that loosely translated is book of wisdom. A wonderful concept that takes the idea of memoir to a different side level if you will, from Una McCormack’s (2021) Autobiography of Mr. Spock. Where, the titular writer, is nearing the end of his journey, and takes up the tablet to pen his own book of wisdom. Sharing his life, and what has been learned in the reflections to his friend, Jean- Luc Picard.

                It was some leisure reading between family, and my vocations. It rose some questions as I contemplate taking time in 2022 to navigate my sixth book (and the first post my own memoir):

  1. What would be included in a personal book of wisdom?
  2. Who would be the recipient of this gift?

A sharing of wisdom learned from life lived, at the end of a journey. I sit at a keyboard, as chapter one of book two of my life trilogy is ending. This idea of a trilogy of life, is my extrapolation of John Shelby Spong’s (1931-2021) three phases of life, as a storyteller and wisdom keeper I like the idea of trilogies, planned or unplanned. After a life of advocacy and going into the darkness with others to be a co-journeyer into the light, meeting and connecting people where they were at, creating space for belonging to be lived into and out of within the Holy Mystery, as the premise of my life rule as a Franciscan had its base in the Great Love Commandments; my first book ended—but we will get there.

Today, I ponder is there a T’san a’lat to share with the communities of Knox as chapter one of book two comes to an end. Though the wisdom comes as the ending phase of book one. See, a journey closing is the space I existed in from 2017-2020. A rise of a mysterious health condition left my ability to continue in my vocational work at an end. Myself, and my family, coming to understand and live into the fear and hope of what if, tomorrow never came?

When the new day was possible, the hardest news—to continue to be healthy, you cannot go home again vocationally. I could not return to the work that blessed me and others. My ministry was at an end.

What is it when your first book of life is closed by no choice of your own? What happens when you are trying to regain your own mind after three strokes triggered an almost catastrophe? Where the holistic health of two decades of being there helping, known as the glue that held community together, being honoured by those you served, and rising to each challenge as it came to be creative and empower teams…all the while living a calling and ensuring you cared for yourself. All of it for nought, for your own neurology betrayed you.

No easy task to discern, as 100’s of seizures a day ravaged your system, experts were stumped, emergency rooms cast you aside due to stereotypes, but you and your loved ones persist until finally one former student, becomes your advocate and triggers events, even though the wrong treatment path, that begins the beginning of the end. It would take many to put you back together in a new way.

  1. To heal from darkness, and emerge into the light?
  2.  Do you get time to breathe before having to enter the prologue of book two?

How much planning can be done for book two, when there is still a question mark of unknown within your life? Stepping into a miracle, literally, to keep your household alive and afloat, finally being able to leave your house with a new career path that honours what you have learned and lived and can be used to equip the now generation of those who are called to serve. Then three weeks in—C-O-V-I-D—

How many crises can one soul handle?

Where navigation of the new, and the unknown of covid, more deaths would mount in an already addled system of loss. Would the treatment and healing hold? Work from home, some of the old symptoms begin to emerge…

Do you fall back into the abyss?

Or do you rise?

For atypical PTSD & PNES (psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, 25% of cases of epilepsy in Calgary are misdiagnosed and are this diagnosis), was cured once, by choosing to rise, heal and engage different and this time was no different. To centre and lean into the still quiet voice affirming you in the now. To navigate a pandemic and connect, by remembering it is about who we are in the story, in our own we are the protagonist, and for those we support they are the protagonist, it changes the outlook on what is to come.

                It brought you through to a successful completion of a prologue in book two with but a question being asked as to what is to come next? And that is where in chapter one, part of it was a simple four letters, K-N-O-X. As with every story of rising action, each element creates choice and discernment. A space to meet new folks, see what is possible, and discern where chapter two is to lie.

                My little bit of wisdom is that it is the journey, it is about celebrating the victories, the connections, those moments of belonging. It I what allows each of us to rise to the new day. It was part of the blessing of being a part of Knox’s Spiritual-Relational Hub during this time, emerging, and regressing with the pandemic, yet being able to see things grow, community connect, celebrate, grieve, and laugh together as life goes on. Watching as students were able to see the connections of the holistic person, and how a community functions the same way.

This is a meandering piece on sharing some wisdom of my journey, where I was when I entered Knox, and as to where I am going? Wherever the story takes me, as has been, with my life journey as I continue to step into the new reality of teacher-coach-mentor for those who feel a call into the field of service.

It is an old journalist device, back in the days before, to tell a story had ended -30-, for me, it simply means that chapter one of this book 2, what is this trilogy I speak of? Years ago, John Shelby Spong wrote a book reflecting on life stages, he had broken it down into 3 phases, as a writer I have adapted it to a trilogy. The first is adventurous exploration and preparation, the second you settle into fully purpose, and the third is reinvention in legacy. My book two is opening well, and I am blessed all of you had a chapter in its beginning, but now chapter one is closing, and in the new year, there will be someone new connecting and opening the new chapter of the book of Knox’s communities. So, this short, T’san a’lat, is not penned to a specific person, but rather a community, I hope its meanderings have provided something to ponder. And encouraged each of you to take a moment, to ponder, to whom would you write and share your own book of wisdom with.

Thank you, for being a blessed part of the story of me.

As for my chapter here—…


Originally published in the November edition of Knox’s Binding Threads, a newsletter I launched as part of my role in May 2021, and carried a soul care piece in each edition during my work at the church.

PCC Cyclical Presentation November 2021

Posted: December 13, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality

From Presbyterian Connection Winter 2021:

Ah, a bit of a trekkie-spiritual moment, just wrapped up Una McCormack’s Autobiograpy of Mr. Spock, presented through the writings of Spock sharing with Jean-Luc Picard upto and including what his life has been to the Jellyfish that kicked off the new movies universe as he was lost in the multi-verse. It is a t’san a’lat if you like Vulcan, the book of the writer’s wisdom. What has been learned throughout the life lived, I ponder what each of our stories if shared as our wisdom, and gifted to a particular co-journeyer, as our journey came to a close would percolate in our communities?

See the source image

An unwanted walk

Posted: September 18, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Have taken this stroll

many a times in my life,

journeying with those

to cross over

join the grand tea party of eternity.

We lifted you up

on a dark day

knowing the time we have is blessed

and you are a blessing

to those you spread love to and with

our corner of the world is better

for the simple joy, love, kindness and hope

that abounds from your soul

and life….

The future is unknown

the experts be-thinks, you are middling

yet I would hope

for more time,

as the “3 months” an see

have heard this code before

a promise of Halloween-glee

I pray and hope for more,

my son,

this is not a walk

I am ready for.

This summer was crazy fun in building and connecting, watching community come together to make things grow that will create positive space for belonging. It was stepping in to an ongoing project on pause due to Covid, but also seeing what new and renewed connections could happen. For those who wonder why we work with post secondaries, and why practicum students and the Canada Summer Jobs programs matter, this is an excellent piece of the story why.

For this and other stories, explore the Fall edition of Presbyterian Connections.

Those who are in the journey of something new emerging within the death of Christendom. That is the Christianity that has been more about power and control, than the gospel teachings of Jesus, lost a unique wisdom teacher today. It is not unique, that this thought process would emerge out of Anglicanism (or as his tradition would be dubeed, Episcopalian) that seeks to inquire, bringing together the dialogue partners of faith, reason, scripture and tradition together. Especially one, that traversed many ways a secular world wrestled with, and celebrated the diversity of the Imageo Dei (while churchdom lagged behind in some circles).

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG June 16, 1931 Spetember 12, 2021 Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those ofus who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed."

Bishop Spong (his books listed here), journey began with a passionate love of scripture. The stories of the Holy Mystery with their creation (and vice versa), it was the story re-told in his memoir of being gifted a KJV bible that I could resonate with in my own faith journey a few years ago. But it was not my first encounter with the Bishop. I was barely into my time back into churchdom as an adult, stumbling through discovering how to teach Sunday School, being supported by mentors in the church to join the Alberta Mentors Foundation for Youth, that I begam my confirmation journey while a studnet at Mount Royal College. Part of this journey was discussing one of his recent books, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, an intriguing introduction to explore what it meant to be a member of church, to understand a declaration of faith.

What did it mean?

For those who have served with me in ministry (and the various contexts I define being in ministry within my life), it truly was giving permission to be curious. To explore the why behind beliefs, values, supposed morals, visions, missions and mandates. To be able to look behind what groups (sacred or secular) saw as their “sacered cows” or the uniquitous, well that is just how we’ve alwasy done it, and allow the still small voice to inspire… inspire to understanding. Inspire to serve and see the blessing of other as a wonderful creation with full and inherent worth.

Many of this was alreay in place in my life,

but this exploration opened up what many view as static to be alive.

For those who have followed my life story, read Soul Ripples, and the reflective posts that followed, know that the ide of the three phases (I would term books) of life that Bishop Spong shared aided in shaping my health recovery. It was a hard and grateful time of cure, but grieiving of loss of the path I had been on. This simple idea is what came through to begin to unpack that my life is a trilogy, and simply book one had ended, on a cliff hanger, like an old movie serial…

As Bishop Spong’s third book closes, he joins the grand tea party (which he may or may not appreciate the metaphor), my second book is moving from prologue into chapters….

And I simply wonder, where the Spirit will guide next?

Thank you, Bishop, for being apart of the theological dialogue of my life, with my experience, other scholars and practicitoners, coming together to be wrestled with in finding my own Via Media, of belonging for all within what is being birthed anew as institutional church out of empire, out of political and financial power is dying…

What resurrects, is shaped by us as the body of Christ.

To follow more of the thought leaders visit Progressing Spirit

Perhaps, it is time, to find the time to shape a new book…

Service September 12

Posted: September 12, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality

Today I had the privilige to be the Worship Assistant at the Communion Service of Knox Presbyterian Church, the journey through the Gospel of Mark in the teachings continued. Here is the service watch here.