Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category


Wisdom is the application of knowledge. It is holy Love.

Wisdom of Love video.

Does not wisdom call?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
    and my cry is to the children of man.

When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established[a] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his[b] delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

-Proverbs 8:1-4,27-31 (English Standard Version)

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Buy Soul Ripples here.

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Love No Qualifiers.

Watch here.

 


A second post was necessary because the Lectionary gave such rich stories from the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament for Sunday June 9– Pentecost Sunday. What’s a lectionary? It is the way readings are designed (one from Hebrew Bible, one Psalm or portion, One Gospel, and One Epistle (letter)) for each Sunday so that in 3 years all texts are touched upon in Sunday worship.  Aside from the birth of the church (Acts 2) and the ancient myth of Babel (Genesis 11) there was a gospel reading (perhaps a youtube video to come)…but there was a Psalm and a writing of Paul that I think speaks to our current time, where politically, religiously and everywhere we are becoming so entrenched we are unable to actually discuss topics for growth.

The last provincial election in Alberta illustrated this point, especially with producing a legislature made up of only 2 parties. Essentially one must say I hold to this or that. The party machines do not have to actually listen to constituents. It also crops up in Environmentalism, sports, religion… no middle ground of consensus or question asking allowed… just blind devotion and if you are not of the blind devotees you are the outsider.

Let’s pause and wonder what that means? The ancient prayer attributed to St. Francis has a line in it about Seeking to understand and not be understood. Even 800 years ago we had this glitch. Listening to build a response, to correct, or to pummel our belief system NOT to actually listen to the person and see what is happening below the surface. This is how we lose the focus on addiction treatment because we treat the addiction not the root causes (lack of belonging, trauma). Why we are lost in a society of chronic anxiety (what if I don’t hold point a or b, then I do not belong, I am not worthy). The list can go on and on.

Over the past several years I was finally sidelined by a life of ministry due to, finally diagnosed, Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (due to a-typical PTSD).  It led to my current book as I entered into the treatment and healing process, Soul Ripples, which first started out as a story of mental health in my family, and then laser pointed to how those stepping stones led to me in ministry, and seeking to answer the question of who is my neighbour?

The answer though is found first, in the quote of Francis of Assisi, seek to understand not be understood. Understand those before me, understand those who came before me, understand how it works within my own life…for creation is interdependent.

This brings us to our first reflective piece from the Psalms. These are ancient poems, prayers, hymns and songs that reflect the story of God with Creation, and Creation with God, in all its glory and ugliness. Consider these words from Psalm 104: 24-35 (ESV):

Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
    which teems with creatures innumerable,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.[b]

27 These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit,[c] they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

 

In our thankfully dying or dead Christendom there are three doctrines that have created the inter-generational and cross creation traumas that still permeate our world today. The doctrine of Dominion, Discovery and Colonialism. Colonialism is the might makes right, our god is mightier than your god so we are coming in to take control as we were not there it is now ours (plant a flag if you will) definitely ripples from the ancient world until today (for Trekkies this the Cardassian, Klingon or Romulan mindset). The other is Discovery, which Rev. Mark Tremblay of Knox Presbtyerian in Calgary had an excellent discussion on June 10 about. I will give a sound byte at best, but it is the idea that due to discovery a new land it is now ours to do with as we see fit–our right to exterminate or proselytize at the point of the sword as we see fit (carried through from at least the Crusades, but also a formed vengeance response in my opinion from how the Roman Empire treated Christians before Constantine converted circa 325 CE making Christianity and Empire Religion and birthing Christendom). All these backed up by politically informed translations of ancient stories and teachings (as even after Protestantism, the churches were mostly driven by Monarchs ruling by divine right).

Doctrine of Dominion comes out of the stories in Genesis 3, original sin or blessing depending on your point of view, as Adam and Eve are removed from the garden they are given the earth… The idea that fuels dominion is it is ours to basically use as we see fit.Which has led to some atrocious practices overtime. The rise of environmentalism is a good thing for it recaptures that we were blessed to be caretakers of creation for it is interdependent with us. This is what we can learn and share with our Indigenous family. The challenge is to understand what that means.

Instead as we work to move through the death of Christendom how to care for creation has become screaming echo chambers where you are either a dominionist or an environmentalists. That is wrong. Extremism exists in all movements. Why I say it is wrong because it removes all of the human family from the equation, it accepts a some left behind philosophy which is not what resonates within the words of this Psalm. For Canada today it is becoming the bridge of healing, and seeking to understand. Declaring a ban on single use plastics is not effective. What is effective is a discussion with all who will be impacted. It can be as fascious as I dislike paper straws to some persons with disabilities who literally need a single use plastic straw to drink for life.

What do you do with this? You do not knee jerk to answer with whatever your stock answer is. You do not throw out terms of medical exemptions to further stigmatize. You talk to citizens and stake holders and find out what is possible. What can be easily banned (plastic bags can be replaced by hemp, or compostable bags) and challenge industry of cigarettes that filters are no longer allowed, you then move to the challenge looking at places like Nordic countries that have ways to transform garbage to energy. See what begins happening? You look to a problem, you address it in a way that comes to a solid grounding of moving through and dealing with the issue with the best impact to creation as a whole, but no citizen is left behind. For change management understand that every change is a form of grieving, for some losses have been compounding regardless of ideology and for health, to end hate and anger, we need to address it honestly, openly and give space for healthy release and redirection.

Why?

Well, see I think if you hold to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, then you have to think of Paul. He was a lynch mob leader, high religious authority that through mystical experience came to discover what authentic love and belonging were (what God’s love is big enough for all, no qualifiers? Yes it is, Jesus said so). Anywho…look at this reminder language as Paul tries to break the ideological entrenchment of insider/outsider in the early church between Jewish and Non-Jewish believers in a letter he wrote to the gathering in Rome (Romans 8:14-17):

 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[a] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

This is why Christendom was politics, power and control. It was explicitly what Jesus and his early followers fought against. It created a caste system and, in the vernacular of some old police procedural shows and mysteries “NHI” (no humans involved). Paul echoed as strongly as he could that the old ways, the old chains were shattered, we were family. The adoption language has been used to enforce the barbarism of Christendom, most recently Residential Schools in Canada, for it allows the idea that it is up to us to be a refuge and civilization-share the faith, the nice language we cloak our institutionalized genocide in, because they were “heathen” or NHI.

But here’s the thing…Jesus was adopted by Joseph. The Empire saw Jesus, Joseph and Mary as NHI, even those Jesus built community with it is how the religious saw those folks. Hitting close to home? Who are the NHI or your movement? May not be overt hate statements, could be like the straw ban, well y’know but the planet…

Or it could be the old stand by “I hate the sin, but love the sinner”…

Nope.

Family.

Love no qualifiers.

It is the qualifiers where we get into trouble. It is in Dominion, Discovery, and Colonialism. As we continue to reconcile, speak truth, and attempt to listen where our structures do not allow for true healing. Where we have a report after listening of decades of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls where it fits definitions of genocide but international law does not allow for statements to be made strongly to that effect. In essence those that would take the stand could then be the one’s prosecuted for it, which is not right. We are the grandchildren of a system, echos are still reverberating, but what drove it is dead or dying…the Quiet Revolution Quebec had in the 1930-1940’s, is echoing across Canada.

But we do need to listen, and not to respond or continue to slam with facts. We need to listen to those that affirm, question, and deny… listen to understand what is happening in their own hearts. You can not destroy hate and anger with more hate and anger, but you can heal it with love.

And some savvy words spoken in wisdom…for wherever one is on the spectrum of whether it was genocide or not…one thing as a nation we need to truly affirm is that those commissioned to protect us as citizens, our police forces/services, have allowed serial rapists and serial killers to propagate unchecked within our borders for decades because of who the victims were.

We let horrors happen to our neighbour, because we did not want to look in the mirror and challenge our underlying assumptions of life. Which truly, if you have taken on the Christian Journey as laid out by our Brother Jesus of Nazareth, it is a constant re-examining…

When you approach ethics, morality, values and those undervalued who are your NHI’s?

Are you willing to leave someone unprotected or behind to remain unchallenged or comfortable in your ideology?

Or

Are you willing to listen, and love for a better world.


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June 9, 2019 was Pentecost Sunday. It is marked 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, hence the term-Pente- meaning well, 50. But beyond that, and that the church decorations go to the bright red what is the big deal for this season we are entering? The story is told in Acts 2:1-47.  Some key-points on that reference- Acts, or Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book in the Christian Testament (colloquially called the New Testament of our Holy Bible). It is the sequel to Gospel of Luke, and written by the physician Luke to tell the history of the church as he knew it. In case you have never used a Bible, the numbers denote chapters and verses (the verses are sentences in the paragraphs). The number before the colon is the chapter (2) and the numbers after are the verses.

This is the Church’s birthday if you will. So how was it celebrated? Was it celebrated by creating rules on who was in and who was out? Which type of music was to be sung? How prayers were to be said? Wafers or bread at communion?

Nope.

In fact, as you note from the story. The colour red of today is to remind us of the flaming tongues that came down upon the Apostles. Yes, fire. The Holy Spirit. Or as some of the older creeds (what we believe) of the church will note, Holy Ghost. This is the breath of life of God that was breathed so creation, well formed after the big bang. The intrinsic divine piece in all of us. It is the piece we come into and that baptism in water is used as an allegory for.

The Spirit fully washed out on the early followers who were sharing the story of faith. They laid out the past, the exclusionary past and the pain could be remembered at what had happened. Showing where they had been in an exclusionary world, where labels and castes kept people separated in life, socio-economics, with human rights, and in ability to worship.

Then BANG! Jesus. This labourer out of a back water town upsetting the apple cart, laying the foundation of belonging for all. All were open to realize and actualize the gift of the Holy Spirit (it was breathed into us y’know) and suddenly the powers that be plotted his death, and it horribly went awry as the cosmos shouted a loud n’uh. Now his followers were here, and the Holy Spirit was a flame…and the final barrier to belonging was shattered. For the tongues of flame, allowed speaking in tongues…

That is, the languages that kept neighbour from understanding neighbour, was suddenly no longer a stumbling block. Speaking in tongues, was the Apostles speaking their own language, and through the love of listening to understand, the words were heard in the language of the hearers native lands. Thus undoing the ancient myth understanding of the Tower of Babel.

Babel was humanities attempt to seek power for power’s sake and build a tower to the heavens. It was shattered as you can read, and the people were left divided by language. As they gathered out of love of neighbour, self and God in the infinite circle, the Tower was erased, and once more the people were one…in Love.

What is Pentecost as its heart?

Not just a liturgical thing in the church year where colours change. Rather, it is the season of the church year where we focus on ensuring all belong.

What is one thing you can do this week, to create belonging for someone?


The United Federation of Planets was founded by Andorians, Humans, Vulcans, Tellarites, and Rigellians. During the novel series Typhon Pact, Andor was hit by a plague that threatened the very survival of a species. Dr. Bashir (from those who liked Deep Space Nine) broke orders and found a cure (hence left in exile and lost in his own traumas on Cardassia now under the leadership of his friend, Garak).

Image result for star trek titan movieThat was the broad strokes. The cure though did not solve the problem of Andor moving forward from where they were. Or the fear that led them to create tenuous to no relationship with the Federation, or to answer what next?

A world and an institution trapped in a new existence and attempting to run their own strategies through what to do. The value: Life.

This is where Michael A. Martin’s Star Trek: Titan’s Fallen Gods. The USS Titan was the ship introduced in 2002’s movie, Star Trek Nemesis where Captain Picard officiated the wedding of his First Officer, William Riker, and ship’s Counsellor, Deanna Troi on Enterprise E. The Titan was the ship they were transferring to for Riker to become a captain.

It is the most diverse ship in the Federation, think Canada (or if you live in Canada, NE Calgary) in space. How does this tie into the meta story? Simple, within the crew is 7 Andorians. Andor’s government announces an edict that all citizens are to return home to ensure the survival of their species. See, it is not just simple math of male plus female can make a baby. For Andorians there are four genders involved in a bonding to produce a viable offspring. Hence, that they need to ensure all are back on deck for this.

The challenge is, what if you do not want to return home? What if you see yourself as a Federation citizen not a citizen of Andor?

This is the conundrum, as the Federation responds they would repatriate, in essence strip rights and citizenship and were sending a ship to take the 7 crew members. In the gap time, Andor sent a battle ship to remove by force if necessary.

Captain Riker, is left with his own core values, about free will, choice, and efficacy… and decides that it is up to each crew member to decide, not a forced choice putting him at odds.

First ethical conundrum comes up:

1) You are an Andorian crew member, what do you choose?

2) You are the captain of the Federation ship coming to rendezvous with Titan, what’s your decision?

3) Andorian commander, what do you do?

Finally, Riker, how strong is your resolve?

It is the same as having a personal or corporate mission or vision. Core values create it, and flow through to create the lens opportunities and decisions are placed through to come to decisions. It is a test to truly understand what core values are, for missions, plans and programs may change (same as careers) but core values usually hold good ground.

The second ethical conundrum. A simple request to meet each Crew member on the Andorian ship to interview. Attempts at kidnapping thwarted. But something is hinky with the Transporter. For Trekkies we all know Tom Riker came about due to a transporter accident that split Riker in two, creating two distinct people…guess what the Andorians had figured out to re-patriate those that did not want to come home?

Is it ethical?

What rights does the “new” transporter individual have?

Would you have fought?

Kidnapped?

Used the transporter to create new life?

The could/should question at the fore front of the Jurassic Park book and movies series, is good within the concept of Chaos Theory and whether or not things should happen just because we can. Have we extrapolated the full ethical impact before acting. What is driving decisions? Time? Fear? Power? Money?

In this quandary of a subplot, what would you do as any of the players? Where do your core values take you in life? How does it relate to how you are living now, and the decisions you make each day?


A short discourse from my book, around The Jonah Effect: What it is? What’s its roots?

Video here.

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coverA stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.