Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’


Causing people to suffer because you hate them… is terrible. But causing people to suffer because you have forgotten how to care… that’s really hard to understand.

-Dr. Julian Bashir, Star Trek Deep Space Nine (S3,Ep.11 “Past Tense Part 1)

A Saturday morning with coffee and Star Trek, there is sometimes no better way to ease into a Saturday. An arc of three episodes that on the 467th day of c-tine, ties into what is happening within our world today. Or more specifically for me, my province and city. A province, that has decided they are calling a pandemic on July 1 (Canada Day), regardless of what variants of concern such as the Delta has to say. The driving factor of course, being the Calgary Stampede, a major fundraising circuit for Conservative politicians in our province and country. We need some event before the next civic elections in October to pump up the cultish mantra of low taxes, cuts to services, and the individual above all.

Which is what echoes in the two-part Past Tense from Season 3 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which is where the opening quote is from. Forgetting how to care, as due to a transporter malfunction Sisko, Bashir, and Dax are transported back in time to 2024 San Francisco. Which is roughly 30 years in the future from the filming date, but for us is only a few scant years away. The story centres on the Bell Riots, a moment of change in history with civil upheaval in what is known as the Sanctuary Districts. Walled areas of approximately 20 city blocks, where the forgotten of society, the sick, the unemployed, the homeless are rounded up and placed.

The rationalization of the time, is the challenge is to insurmountable so here is what we do, so the individual freedoms without communal responsibility can manifest.

Individual rights asserted, as a society has forgotten to care for neighbour.

This mantra is what led to the election of the current provincial government. It has seen us bleed family doctors through unethical negotiation practice. It has led to Residential School deniers writing a K-6 curriculum that will be forced upon our children. And the soon to be unitaletal from Ministerial order change to whom can access and what supports for special needs education will be.

Bringing in a very Americanized style voucher system for education because of the fallacy of “parental choice” in what their child learns, instead of equipping a child with the best fully public education system that will open the world to them. The voucher system has public funds moved from public education to private, to follow teh “student” due to invidualism. As more unmarked graves are found of Indigenous Children at government funded church schools designed for genocide, there is palpatations to continue to ignore or downplay. I graduated high school in the last year of the schools, in the province that had the most per capita, But it is not about the hard conversations, the healing, it is about the individual.

How far away are we from our own sanctuary districts?

Well, there is a hard thing to create affordable housing, there is stalling on a Disabilities Act for Canada, and only about 3 provinces have their own over arching legislation. Care is downloaded onto the non-profit & religious sectors, but means of having income through funds and grants continually are reduced, or switched to fund matching, which leaves organizations going to the same soources over and over.

Which brings us to the epidemic of opioid poisonings (more commonly understood as overdose). In a province that has cultivated polarization of view points, and ideologizing governance into a science we are seeing the loss of harm reduction. At its core, harm reduction is about life preservation, reducing harm we see these through things life contraception, condoms, food banks, masks, free pantries, community gardens, handing out winter gear, the bottled water drives, hand sanitizer, vaccines, needle exchanges, and yes safe consumption sites.

What other forms of harm reduction do you see in your community?

Harm reduction is only successful in the spectrum of care for neighbour (which self is a part of), if we understand our true interdepence with one another. Yet, as a province the vocal have decided for the epidemic it is more important to have an ideological win that care about the person before them. It is more important to show that harm reduction is needed not recovery beds. Recovery needs to be abstinence only. All have the “evidence” to show the path, what is missing is the humanized quality that all are pieces of a healthy spectrum of care for neighbour. We must break the polarized lens to allow the true prism of life to emerge. The prism that can show what Constitutionally we are promised in Peace, Order and Good governance. The prism that is authentic disruption of our ideological driven eugenics experiment, into true heatlhy and authentic community. The greatest prevention for the epidemic, and creating the courageous safe space for response to neighbour in need that activates the spectrum of care for the person before you with the healthy circles of professional and personal support. Or we continue to be okay with the loss in our province of 4 of our neighbours a day.

As the pandemic has shown, Albertans are okay with death, as long as there “independence” is protected. As long as tax breaks go to corporations, as long as their lives and ability for beer and wings is not disrupted. A province where during the height of isolation, our government launched the predatory online casino to ensure revenue flow. Where there is a panic around how to ensure people come out this summer and unmask. The fixation over a piece of cloth is astounding. Where the rallying cry for the anti-maskers, and anti-vaxxers has become survival of the fittest. Where our premier speaks of the frail, disabled and those older than the life expectancy being the dead so who cares. The eugenics experiment continues as we look to opening up July 1.

We know of the long haul symtoms of Covid-19, not a flu (as many want to compare this to the Spanish Flu, a more accurate analogy would be to Polio) in a province unilaterally attacking supports for persons with disabilities and mental illness. As someone who left a field of work due to atypical PTSD, the fact it has been removed from our Worker’s Compensation is creating a poverty class.

Covid has sped up some transformations of work. It has revealed the need to slow our personal lives down and be present. It has reminded some that to grieve is painful, and shown the shallowness of our social media relationships in some cases. It has also shown toxic relationships as deeper conversations in some quarters have happened, and truly understanding how others disvalue life due to health conditions. Knowing selfishness manifest in individualism by the 1 in 5 choosing not to vaccinate themselves of their children. Struggling for those that are caring for self and neighbour in vaccinating in a system by Alberta Health Services where a family cannot book together if some are receiving 2nd and some 1st doses. Think of the complexity on the working class shift workers trying to navigate this system? The eugenics experiment continues with the youngest placed in the cross hairs.

A time of change. Which brings its own grieving. That is, was, and will be the coming months of C-tine, and its wind down.

Whether or not folks when ill or during certain times of year decide to remain masked, in the early months of re-open choose to keep masked. Is not my concern, they are showing care. The key though, is to disrupt the isolation. To connect. To truly cultivate community, to release. To authentically be together as nieghbours, friends, family and loved ones. We are at day 467, July 1 is re-open day for Alberta…Our circle opens up a little with those we love who are vaccinated, but we are also being safe, and ensuring we do what we can to care for self, neighbour, and those that our government has said are expendable for me, they are not, they are fully persons, with intrinsic value in community, because they are lovingly created in the image of the Holy Mystery and called very blessed and very good.

Which brings me into the other episode from today, Fascination (S3, Ep.10), and the Bajoran gratitude festival. The release of that which holds you back, the pains, understanding the good that has come through this time of c-tine, or as Major Kira would state it at the festival opening:

As the scrolls burn, may our troubles turn to ashes with them. And now, for the next twenty-six hours, I expect you all to enjoy yourselves! I know I will. May the Prophets walk with us.

Also, to grow resiliency, aid in grieiving. Take time each day to acknowledge Three (3) things you are grateful/thankful for and the why it matters. This simple task in a journal, each day for at least 7 days will aid in growing optimism, and shift your mindset at this time of disruption, disturbance and transformation.

“Having been to the mid-21st century I do have a question, how could they let it get so bad?”-Dr. Bashir. “That’s a good question, I wish I had an answer”- Sisko (from the end of S3, Ep. 12). We are in 2021, 3 years away from where this episode happened, and Bashir’s questions leaves it in our hands, are we going to let it get this bad?

Or…shatter the lens of individualized polarization for the prism of blessed community?


First, let’s lay it out, the term gospel is not simply religious, it is political. It is a call to action to over throw oppression, love neighour–y’know all that good stuff plus what is in the Beatitudes, though since the conversion of Constantine (or at least his narrative) to unify the divided Roman Empire under one religion he called the shots in, Christianity (the version of Christianity Empire approved) has been Christendom, which since the beginning of the 20th Century has been entering life support in their political power. The last gasps are being seen within Dominionism movements, Trumpers, Neo-Nazi, and certain Social Conservative circles. This vein of power cloaked in a Cross or a Creche is trying everything to maintain the power it is accustomed to. Though from my humble view from the pew, it is a changing throughout all the Christianities in loud and quiet revolutions, unfortunately the good happening is lost in the gasping tantruming that is harming our world (note Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., USA yesterday, and such staunch support still from folks such as Franklin Graham- Samarian’s Purse ready to punt your founder (or ex-communicate to use churchese) or you fine enabling hate and violence?).

Anyways I digress. Part of this tantrum, is Christendom’s death knoll, is trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that they are oppressed within the Western World. This oppression narrative is not new, I would say it has been amplified due to the ease of social media to spread. I can only imagine the pearl clutching and scripture thumping in some quarters of Christendom with each new right whether Labour, Women, Human (minority) equality rights, environmental, Children, protections of incarcerated, universal health care, pensions, employment insurance, minimum wage, and the list can go on and on (imagine Catholic Justice ministers legalizing divorce and homosexuality back in the day?). Oh wait, it wasn’t as loud because most from the pews were in the streets moving these agendas forward with neighbour…

I’ll let you pause on that.

I’ve also heard it around harm reduction (whether we are talking sexual education, contraception, substance abuse/use, compulsive behaviours, food banks, or…like 2020-21—-gasp—hand washing and masks). Talk to the over 2,000 Alberta families mourning the loss of a loved one due to our opioid overdose crisis this year on the importance of harm reduction and recovery centres (and let’s not think of the emergent meth epidemic and syphilis’s outbreak currently as well in our province). I have also heard the minority pulpit slam and fear monger around losing the ability to preach the scriptures due to hate laws (yes, we have ordained some winners in this great country from sea to sea to sea), and when same-sex marriage, simply became part of marriage (and later the divorce laws) screams of government interference on whom the church could marry (it’s a sacrament y’know. Actually only if you’re Roman Catholic, and possibly Anglican-in that it is part of the 2+5 formula). What it was, was the church had to confront the fact that the sacrament/blessing of marriage was not a church act within the Body of Christ.

Remember that fella Constantine? Well since him clerics have been functioning as agents of the state in performing marriages which were legal under law (that line about with the power invested in me by the province of) it was power being threatened, nothing more, that was causing the vitriol spitting from pulpits in some areas (not all for many it is a non-starter or issue). They had to truly begin to understand why they were marrying? That bit where Jesus spoke about what is Caesar’s? Or perhaps not able to serve two masters? Which is why I have advocated simply that religious marriage should be a blessing within the scope of the Body of Christ, if a couple also wants the governmental paperwork then fine.

But why does this matter? Are you seeing the failed attempts at creating this oppression narrative? A narrative some have bought into? Remember in harm reduction when I mentioned masking? Yeah, this is what is coming up now. This idea of the religious being oppressed. Poor Poor pitiful me in Christ. We can’t meet in person, so let’s lead anti-mask protests with the reprobates of society (yes Calgary, it is our shame). What? We can only be at 15% capacity with masks and distancing and then online? Unacceptable, how can I know my Creator if I can’t be in God’s house? I am not going to argue the concept of worship in a building or not having a building (if churches rent or whatever), but there is something in discipling processes that has to point out buildings are not where the Holy dwells but with each of us, as we connect. with the other.

But going so far as to attempt to sue the government as Heights Baptist Church and Northside Baptist Church did to get a stay on restrictions (read here) or being one of a few that have ignored rules and been ground zero for outbreaks and watches (for example in Edmonton, Lethbridge, Coalhurst, Calgary, Northern Alberta prayer gathering) throughout the last ten months, with a few that have been fined for violations with restrictions (for example in Edmonton, Calgary) the majority have been compliant, during these unique and challenging times with follow through.

For those that have not been such terms as tyranny or gestapo have been thrown around in regards to our Health Inspectors and Law Enforcement holding them accountable. Essentially keeping the citizenry accountable for personal responsibility to be able to think beyond ourselves. It is not an infringement on rights, as our Charter in Canada is couched in communal safety and responsibility. It is not oppression. No one is losing rights or being harmed. The case for civil disobedience is not made as it has been in the past situations that opened this post the church walked with and served within for transfiguration within our society. How does this non-compliance bring the Kingdom of God which is near (just through the Thin Space) to the now?

It does not.

What it does it create a self-fulfilling prophecy, makes the church the scape goat for a pandemic the provincial government is struggling to manage, and that is overwhelming Health Services:

Statistics of Covid 19 in Alberta on January 7, 2021 (1217 families and communities mourning)

This is the time when we can shine Christ, or we can let the darkness reign as seen most recently in Fairview Baptist Church Calgary whose leadership has invited members to continue to violate rules even after sanctions (read article here).

From my Facebook on Jan. 7, 2021.

Truly, church, we are at a point in time in history, where we can live Christ, or Empire Tantrum. It is your call on the world we are called to build.

Matthew 22:34-40 (English Standard Version)

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?

The First 175

Posted: September 7, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Humans are very peculiar. I often find them unfathomable, but an interesting psychological study.”
-Spock

175 days. On March 17 I will admit I did not foresee us having to be socially/physically distanced much beyond the end of the school year. Some would say, yeah but schools have reopened and Alberta is in Phase II. Yet daily numbers continue to climb, and currently 16 schools have had positive tests for Covid-19. Now I can spend this time ranting about the ineffectiveness of the current provincial government who has chosen this time to perpetuate failed American policy of funding following students, to defund public schools and a government actively picking fights with our health care providers, not to mention the parallel opioid epidemic happening during this pandemic.

Yet, that is not the purpose of this post. I think just last year at this time I was in the midst of treatment for my own conversion disorder/PNES/PTSD and now here I am in the midst of a pandemic, shifting gears in a career path to working from home. The current underlying anxiety of life. There has been ups and downs, making hard decisions within a life where my son is in highest risk of the worst case scenarios is he was to contract Covid-19. It brings a different lens to life, a heart lens, a heaviness that shifts life experiences during this time.

A Challenge lifted with the faux choice presented around back to school, where our other child could online hub, for the supports necessary for my son to continue to grow and thrive, he needed to be back in school. Even with his school providing one of the safest options, still many moving parts. Some will never know the amount of trust our medically complex community extends to be part of basic Constitutional rights as Canadians.

During this past 175 days we have learned, we have grown. We have continued to connect as a family unit. Shifted gears into what was safe to do- walks, drives (ah before the parks opened and you could get amazing wildlife pictures from the vehicle as they were so chill), checking out how things were set up for safety (Thank you Vulcan Trek Station). Oh and a fun Wynonna Earp tour of Didsbury (seriously Didsbury, think of Earper days).

Our kids mourning the summer shift away from the parade circuits, small town fun and doing some fund raising to help others. As thrift stores re-open being able to donate to at least continue our pattern of helping. Not being able to be around Countess as much as usual for the varied reasons of the c-tine.

Screen fatigue sets in as everything feels like it is online. A few close friends who get it, we can set up visits with. But the smack of heart/soul pain when you believed one got it, only to realize in the moment that they did not and the extra layer of fear it brought. But thankful for the screens, and the online communities that were able to build connection-summer camp for the kiddos, youth group, and church each week, thank you for the heart your brought to your passions.

Focusing on interests, exploring some new. Realizing that costs rise as you step away and lose the way you used to do things (ah Public Libraries). A summer spent reading, and another child discovering and refining their cosplay passion.

A fun summer of variety of RuPaul’s drag races (though what was up with that mask? on the Zoom finally!). Bosch, Star Trek Lower Decks (okay Trek in general), warped and weird comic book team ups brought to my bookshelf by curbside pick ups from Words & Pictures, Doctor Who…and the list goes on…so many new release movies bought and watched shared through my Facebook as our Ragan Chateau Cinema (and finally Good Omens!).

Empathizing for each family that has lost someone to Covid, for the outbreaks in our shelters, and for those who my son has lost in his life this summer. The haunting conversations with him during this time. Asking in a night of tears if I loved him and would do his funeral. Fear as he did not react in anger at loss of his classmates, but rather, just slumped over like one beaten by grief. As I told him, no it’s not how the universe works he needed to get through Bible College like he dreamed to do mine because parents don’t bury their kids.

His answer…

Silly Daddy.

While others look to starting back to life as close to normal as possible. We do have to double check and triple check, second guess…for the heavy heart of a Dad, I do not want to be the one that made the misstep that costs my son his life. Moments over the last 175 where I thought of breaking my tea totaller ways, but what a risk of loss for myself, for a sip of alcohol. Not worth it.

Enjoying and living the journey of discovery of my other kid as they come into their authentic self. Pride is the only word that comes to mind, with their passion and love and care for life and others.

Hope to find a new addition to our fam jam, a wonderful new rescue Mumma dog to love as day 176 dawns in the morning, and head back to work.

In the still quiet silence, trying to connect to calm the constant state of anxiety. Listening for the vocational call…that can shift back around to a renewal of the soul of the work February 20th…just need to take the step of risk and inquiry.

One can begin to reshape the landscape with a single flower.
-Spock

I talked with my wife, Shawna, about whether I stopped counting the days because the boi was back in class. I decided against it, because our life had not shifted gears back to fully belonging and inclusive in community once more. That will take some time. Just like reminding myself, that the compassion and kindness I try to bring to others during this time, I need to bring to myself.

For, I had set the intention for a post a day during this time, and some days (several back to back), after logging off from work finding the energy is just not there to even journal. I need to be kind to me, and move forward. Each day is a new day. And yes I still work to find my centre, and peace. Most days are good, had some dark days in the first 175, and that okay.

For each day can be reshaped, just like a landscape, by adding one thing. Take time each day to note at least one thing you are thankful for. It begins to make a whole new soul scape.

As tomorrow brings a new day, a new bus ride, a new log on…and the cycle continues where it leads…


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/

57

Posted: May 12, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
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Eight weeks

Plus a Day

We begin to look

to what our politicians want come Thursday

that has medical communities, experts nervous

what drives decisions?

Individuated populism?

A show of “care” of mental health, though no resourcing to match concern?

Common good?

Business and economics?

One can hold concerns for all areas, but still come to a Spock

That is

needs of the health of many

overruling the individualism of a few

For is it not better–

all that can,

emerge alive?

Instead of a few?

For is not democracy

peace, order and good governance for a mosaic

not a majority of brashness and fear driving decisions?

Panels huddle and discuss

as many ponder what will emerge

Will it mean higher isolation in the darkest time of year?

Who knows,

but regardless,

a decision does not change much

for one on the journey with the vulnerable

for the clock still ticks

and the new normal continues

as we await the results.

 


The Gifted is a Fox show tied into their X-Men universe movies (ala before Disney just bought them out). It opens up in the mess the Mutant Registration Act (MRA) is wreaking on America. For the uninitiated a mutant is a person born with the x-gene, at puberty, powers and sometimes physical changes take hold (I mean imagine the ride of puberty hormones and then bam you can fly or bam you’re a telepath). The MRA is stating it is illegal to be a mutant, and they must be registered, using your powers is an illegal act, in this reality the X-Men have vanished, and their is a refugee underground to move mutants out of America in a safe third country like arrangement to Canada.

The show raises great issues, and before folks at me, comics have always been political so new age wanna be fans check your faux privilege. Any-who. The story follows a family on the escape. The Dad is a former federal prosecutor who served the law of the land, never questioning the moral of the law until his kids were outed as mutants. It raises questions around segregation, internment, experimentation on those that society has deemed as others, human rights or sentient being rights as just some of the more now issues. With a prophetic lens, it shines on society going yeah you keep saying never again with your lips, but the actions of governments and people prove never again is a catch phrase for just look at the rhythm of the 20th to 21st century in regards to equality of races, genders, disabilities, sexual orientations, refugees, migrants and immigrants. Each group having to fight the same battles over and over again. These are the questions being put forward. As with every rights movement as well, those left to fill the void with the m.i.a X-Men, and their villainous counterparts, Brotherhood also M.I.A., you have the Hellfire Club and Underground needing to find their path of resistance. Is it non-violent? Is it like the IRA and overtly terrorist? Is it all out war? Or just violence in self-defense? What do the choices mean for the person making them? And how can the be justified? For no matter which side of the MRA a group is on, there is a cause and effect trajectory that one can follow based on their action choice.

Shows and story lines like this open up the discussion of prophetic voice. For many religious, the term prophetic speaks to future seers and end times. This can be what one takes from the prophetic and apocalyptic literature found within the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament, yet with that lens you are missing as a reader the breadth and depth of the stories.  For in the religious stories from wisdom, to mythology, to history to prophetic to gospel to epistle there is a strong undercurrent on what it means to journey with the Holy. In this journey in the ups and downs the responses of the children of the Holy in living out the greatest commandments of love.

Yet, we still miss the mark, and hold to this end times scenario of fire and brimstone, destruction and rebirth. Currently the religious right has clung to their self-identifiers of anti-abortion, anti-inclusions (yes it can mean LGBTTQ2+, but also seeing the disabled as a full imageo dei as well), and for some reason vehemently anti-public services ala welfare and health care. Yet is this showing love? Love as I have love you is what Jesus commanded us. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 unpacks love more.

Most point back to their stances to the Hebrew Bible texts. Especially the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Stipulating that it shows the wrongness of same-sex love. Well, let’s look at the thread on this destruction:

Genesis 18:16-33 (New International Version)

1When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[d] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

First, it shows the Holy had heard the cries of something evil a brewing, that is anti-love, within these cities and was out to discover what was happening. Yet, much like many parents/caregivers/social service workers/”tough on crime” politicians had set out that the punishment for even a few would be the nuclear option. Abraham actually enters into a dialogue pointing out the fact that it does not need to be punitive. He opened up the dialogue, but could have done many things differently. I would say that Abraham set up the confirmation bias for the Holy on destruction. Abraham could have challenged the punishment, that is only those that transgressed be punished. As well he could have pushed the salvation line of questioning more by saying, you say I am righteous and loved, lets problem solve and save the city, do not destroy them based on who I am and who you are and how you want to be known by the people.

Abraham, did not fully use his prophetic voice. He chose the easy path. But part of the prophetic voice to, is knowing cause and effect so perhaps did Abraham not know how bad it was? Most certainly for his nephew Lot, and his family lived in the midst.

Genesis 19: 1-29 (New Living Translation):

19 That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom. Lot was sitting there, and when he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “come to my home to wash your feet, and be my guests for the night. You may then get up early in the morning and be on your way again.”

“Oh no,” they replied. “We’ll just spend the night out here in the city square.”

But Lot insisted, so at last they went home with him. Lot prepared a feast for them, complete with fresh bread made without yeast, and they ate. But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing. Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.”

“Stand back!” they shouted. “This fellow came to town as an outsider, and now he’s acting like our judge! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!” And they lunged toward Lot to break down the door.

10 But the two angels[a] reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. 11 Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.

12 Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” they asked. “Get them out of this place—your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. 13 For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters’ fiancés, “Quick, get out of the city! The Lord is about to destroy it.” But the young men thought he was only joking.

15 At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!”

16 When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. 17 When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”

18 “Oh no, my lord!” Lot begged. 19 “You have been so gracious to me and saved my life, and you have shown such great kindness. But I cannot go to the mountains. Disaster would catch up to me there, and I would soon die. 20 See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.”

21 “All right,” the angel said, “I will grant your request. I will not destroy the little village. 22 But hurry! Escape to it, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” (This explains why that village was known as Zoar, which means “little place.”)

23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.

27 Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. 28 He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.

29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.

The Angels came…and well…they were not very welcomed. In fact it ripped the veil completely off what was happening. But was it same-sex love between consenting adults that brought this city low? NO! Just read the story— gang rape, power, control, in-hospitality, Lot’s response to offer up his daughters, when mercy shown the fiancees laughing at Lot in their arrogance, and then his wife turning to a pillar of salt yearning for the past no matter how bad it was because “well it is better the devil you know than the unknown road.”

Prophetic voice, pointing out that what is happening through parable, song, vision, oracle, psalm, or proverb that it will lead to this negative consequence. In the Hebrew Prophetic tradition it was showing the exiles to come, and the silence in exile. In Genesis it was showing the destruction to come. Or as the prophet Ezekiel would use as his own example in the space and time he existed in to communicate a point to Israel:

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

-Ezekiel 16:49-50 (New International Version)

The story of Sodom, used to show that the never again righteous thoughts and prayers, actions wise had returned and as such the same consequence was coming. Just like the stories in the Gifted television show. For Albertans it is not wanting to cope with the shift of industry away from oil and gas, so the willingness to wreak havoc and destruction upon the most vulnerable, the families…for the true first time in history create a situation where the next generation is made worse off, because of the fear of the older generation, and them like Lot’s wife wanting to look backwards.

What prophetic voice is there in this situation? Simple, under Premier Ralph Klein there was no plan, debt load was shifted from government to citizens creating a debt anxiety cycle at the household level, infrastructure and up keep was ignored which created a deficit issue that is still not fully addressed (what is it like a billion in differed maintenance the largest school board in our province carries?). Public Health care infrastructure and services still trying to rebound from the asinine third way tinkerings; no long term care or seniors housing, affordable housing behind the already abysmal percentage level in Canada; every year a crisis in homelessness that put life and limb at risk; and the privatization and deregulation of utilities that hit families hard. All this precipitated on false information shared as truth, and fear mongering about deficits that if the people’s resource had been managed as former Premiers’ Manning and Lougheed had laid out would never have been an issue. Literally prophetic political voice Mel Hurtig wrote his seminal work pay the rent or feed the kids during this time. For more on the Klein era I refer you to Kevin Taft’s Shredding the Public Interest (1997); Clear Answers (2000) and Democracy Derailed (2007).

Regardless of political affiliation, premiers since Klein have been working to repair the havoc wreaked to ensure that all Albertans prospered, and the huge poverty deficit created was corrected. Unfortunately as 2013-2015 the desire for our natural resource faded on the world stage Albertans began to feel a bit of a sting, in 2015-2019 a government that managed the down turn without creating a recession, and ensured citizens were cared for, looking at optimization of tax dollars, not perfect, and as Kevin Taft would point out in his Oil’s Deep State (2017) that it appeared as the NDP government had rapidly sold out to oil interests. Yet it was a balance they moved forward on to get a pipeline in the ground (yes the ground breaking, and work now is due to the NDP provincial government, and Federal Liberal government). Unfortunately, the invoking of the “saint” Klein, and the rallying cry to tap into the denial and anger in a grief cycle of Alberta by the United Conservative Party played well. It was aided by the NDP campaign focused on Kenney’s character, not their record of stable leadership and countering what was planned if Kenney was to be Klein 2.0 and what that would actually mean economically. That is translating socialism into capitalism language and showing how it actually prospers the citizen, consumers and corporations. Instead, in April 2019 a regressive regime (like Lot’s wife) eternally looking backwards to an authoritarian time when questioning of government could result in a negative impact, they had stepped up the bar to it being a black mark, even created a privately government funded corporation to look for enemies. They have so far gone after our children through public school funding (under-funding the typically coded students by at least 1,000 dollars a student, and not providing funds for student growth numbers, handing out a budget mid-year which has hit families with higher transportation fees of upwards for $400 a student, end of public transit subsidies so monthly passes go from $20 to $70) and the response when trustees speak out is to audit and threaten dissolution. Now I am no fan of school boards, but let’s keep it real. You cannot under-fund an endeavour then rally about their incompetence. If the end game is to eliminate school boards, state it, and fund my damn kids. They de-indexed AISH for inflation, so there will be no extra monies however little in our minds for disabled Albertans, they are looking at PUF funding (early intervention for children with disablities); they have removed from seniors pharmacy plans the ability of dependents to be listed (a wife a year or two younger, children in their care); they have messed with funding for Kinship care for our Child & Family Services; they have lowered ages for support for those in care from 24 to 22 years old; they have removed the cap from auto insurance premiums. Their statement on that was the bill was to expire anyways this year, yes, yet a government in Constitutional good standing understands peace, order and good governance would have looked at renewing, so now we have some people’s insurance rates going through the roof (one family in Wainwright stating in their local paper they have seen a 26% increase). Looking at safe consumption sites that are abating our opioid crisis and blatantly politicizing them as NDP Drug Use sites, and threatening to close them, rolling back protections for our LGBTTQ2+ children; removing the cap on utilities adding more costs to family’s bottom line. In the midst of a time when Albertans are already carrying the highest personal debt load, higher mental health and substance use, and sadly, a growing rate of domestic violence. Our premier has even stated it is hard for Oil & Gas companies to pay their property taxes and we just need to understand, he then back tracked a little saying rural municipalities could seek recourse through the courts. Speaking of rural? They are going to see an increase in RCMP, but the Provincial government will not provide funding so rural folks are going to have to pay for it themselves and see a growth in their property taxes upwards to 10%. Oh, and speaking of taxes, they have de-indexed exemption amounts on income tax so we all will be paying for tax as well. When they consult with the public reading and responding to the surveys that are specifically designed to report what they want to hear. Oh and if you are a post-secondary student, you have lost the tuition cap and your tuition is going up at least 7%. There is no questions around how to grow revenue, only what should be cut to reduce spending. A blue ribbon panel was assembled to explore spending, but at no point did it look at revenues which is not a full system examination. Oh and our “hatred” for the Carbon Tax, due to the ineptitude of the new government, we have two carbon taxes as of January 1, 2020.

Talk about cutting off our noses to spite our face.

Was the prophetic work their to show what was planned?

Campaign financing questions, kamikaze campaigns, arrests and charges out of leadership races, Elections Alberta fines nearing or exceeding (so hard to keep up) the $200K mark; the RCMP stating the investigation into the UCP leadership race identity theft has progressed to identity fraud. For the legacy party leadership of the PC’s, one leadership candidate leaving the race and joining the then governing NDP citing harassment and bullying by other campaigns.

Quite a bit of anger, yelling, threats. Hiring media trolls for social media, not to share and explain government policy, but literally to troll citizens.

Very authoritarian regime. When questioned responses are deflect, blame the NDP, or stating “we have a majority, Albertans voted for this.” A narrative driven out of fear, driven by deflections and seeking out an other to blame for our woes, instead of looking in the mirror and saying how are we going to come together and do this. How are we going to travel through transformation, and bring everyone along, and ensure we are all better off on the other side. I have not seen such venom directed at one another as I have since the inception of our governing party, openly hearing grandparents saying “well we don’t need public schools funded for that because of unions…gsa’s….get back to math…” and going, did your parents so hate you that they set your kids up for failure?

Sadly, Albertans did not look at the writing on the wall, or at the actions or invocations behind the party. Like the religious right saying this story of Sodom is about homosexuality, and then leveraging it to propagate hate, and harm to citizens draped in the cross. When in fact the story of Sodom was about arrogance, unwillingness to change, unwillingness to love…to be lost in anger, lust and pursuit of authoritarian power and control.

As we move more into 2020, examine your heart, your core values, your core faith. Are you living it? Are you using it to hold those that govern to account?

Are we using our prophetic voice like Ezekiel and the writers of Gifted?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

onal Version):

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[d] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.


The shortest work in the Hebrew Scriptures, Obadiah is a scant 21 verses of reality checking rant at the people. As probably part of the remanent left behind in Jerusalem between 587-76 BCE, and a symbolic name that means “servant of the Lord”…Obadiah laid it out for the people:

The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.[a]
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,[b]
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

If thieves came to you,
    if plunderers came by night—
    how you have been destroyed!—
    would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
    his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to your border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
    those who eat your bread[c] have set a trap beneath you—
    you have[d] no understanding.

Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Edom’s Violence Against Jacob

10 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
do not boast[e]
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

The Day of the Lord Is Near

15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.
17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.

The Kingdom of the Lord

19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21 Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
    to rule Mount Esau,
    and the kingdom shall be the Lord‘s.

Yes the whole kit and kaboodle of the book for you to read. What is Edom? It is where Esau went after being screwed out of his birthright by Jacob, who was Jacob? A patriarch of Israel. Why does this matter in the exile? It is showing the long history to the people, it is showing that Edom is reaping what is has sown in unethical practices, and the cancer it has let take root in its nation.

It is a rant…it is showing the people a stark message for where they are now. It is what the Orthodox Church does in theological conversation with other churches, we are going to discuss the problem we have with you, by discussing with this other party, so you move from survival to the point of view as spectator to see what is actually happening. Edom is the stand in for Esau, but both are the stand in’s for Israel and Jacob at this point in history.

It hits home as Wexit (though love how one British commentator misread it as the west was wankit!- if you know British slang and the term wank, you can see where it went). trends post our Federal Election in Canada. It is not heeding the warning that the SoCons that veil themselves in the cross, God and religion wanting back the hey day’s of yesteryear and are stoking Alberta separation do not want the people to hear. Like Premier Jim Prentice in the 2015 election provincially asked Albertans to look in the mirror, to accept accountability for our role. Instead we continue to pass the buck, let our grieving process in the transition of economy and politics stall in anger and denial instead of moving forward into acceptance, and being able to grow and be better.

Image result for 5 stages of griefWe want to hold onto the fairy tale that a landlocked province can up and leave Confederation. We are letting the angry speak for us, and to show that we do not understand simple things:

  1. The Clarity Act
  2. Constitutional Freedom of Movement in Canada
  3. Global Economics and cross country trade
  4. How our own electoral system works.
  5. Though Oil Field jobs are now scarce, there is a huge shortage in tech/IT and skilled trades— hmmm… perhaps there is a solution?

We continue to want to live out of isolationism, no common ground, no common dialogue, no common core values to move forward on. We want to believe wanna be media outlets that think it is okay to stalk at 16 year old girl to her hotel room, and wish harm upon her and her property. We want to believe a Prime Minister and government that bought our province a pipeline is a traitor (really need to understand Canadian Criminal Law and the statutes around treason). We want to believe the same lying wanna be media that if we separated America would take us as the 51st State, when in reality we would became a territory (and look at how they treat Puerto). And how in a privatized health care insurance system would that work for citizens in a province with a ridiculously (some say global leading) levels of Multiple Sclerosis and cancers that we could even be insured for health care, never mind everything you now have is pre-existing and exempt.

On top of that a separatist movement destabilizes economies, means we if voted to leave, would get our level of Canada’s debt, plus our own debt, and not have the stable interest rate we currently enjoy as an economic power in a stable nation, rather we would be negotiating and borrowing as the equivalent of a banana republic.

We are Israel, we have reaped what we sowed. We did not want to look in the mirror. We did not want to face reality, we did not want to admit that education was key, or that the oil boom everyone warned us about not being constant, was not constant. Norway with similar population and tax base, took the Heritage Trust Fund idea of Lougheed and the Royalty rate of Manning, and now have over a trillion in savings, Albertans have 18 billion, and you are not saying we have been mismanaged for 41 years?

We have gotten the lack of Peace, Order and Good Governance our constitution declares for us do to our disengagement, apathy, and placing a value on the investor dollar over the citizen.

So yes, dear Alberta, we, like Israel, have reaped what we sowed, and like the Nation in the Minor Prophets need to look in the mirror and choose to implode or heal and go forward…

As the prophets (although minor) have shown us over the last 11 installments, look in the mirror…what would Love do?

For further thoughts on the state on conservatism and Wexit (wankit?) see these sources:

Why Alberta Separation is the dumbest movement in Canada today (National Post)

Charles Adler on his move to the centre (or where Progressive Conservatism used to be)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister (PC Party): “I have no time for that” -also note what he compares Canada to– sound familiar?

Next: Party 12– the belly of a whale….


Many on the political discourse like to look at other countries. Yes, I can spend my time doing that with what is happening in Hong Kong, Camaroon, Sudan, Ethiopia with the Annuyak, or our neighbours to the South (and yes I realize there is also the EU, and Middle East). But I think we need to address voter apathy here, because voter apathy allows for bad economics and governmental policy. It allows false narratives that governance is like a religion, non-profit or business model…it is neither, but can be all of those things. The current Religious Right ala Social Conservatives in Alberta/Canada that lead the religious charge are a multi-faceted mosaic, mostly good hearted, but are using the Cross or the Crescent (or pick the religious symbol) as a means of stripping away the care of neighbour which underlies most if not all religious belief systems. The ethic of care surrendered in the chasing of political power, and bringing everything down to a debt-credit bank statement style budgeting, and an either-or, us-them analogy that is also perpetuated by the secular-progressive-left.

This is a post I have been struggling to right, because I am religious, I believe in the Holy Trinity, and have shaped my life on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Politically I fall in the Red Tory to Socialist-Communist leanings, yet I am not made to feel there is a political home there due to the hate I take for my religious beliefs. 

Image may contain: one or more people and textWhile the place where a religious is welcomed does not fit with my core values of what government is supposed to do in care of citizens.  It is what has led me to affiliate with a grassroots organization Reboot Alberta, and continue talking to folks that all levels of governance are important to engage in, and at the very least cast a vote in. Get to know the candidate above the party, understand we have more than 2 parties in Canada and Alberta and discover the party that resonates with you the most. Vote for something not out of fear to stop something.

This is where this ecclectica post began, as I begin ruminating on the City of Calgary and Province of Alberta begin their cuts.

City of Calgary-

We have not learned the lessons of history. We use austerity, and front line cuts as a way to show that we are being “fiscally prudent”, but do not address the burgeoning muffin top of city managers, and the exorbent pensions for City Councillors. Instead we attack the least. This started, as I wrote in Soul Ripples, with the way the City dealt with what is now deemed child sex trafficking when I was in high school, and the ripples it created in youth homelessness, youth gangs, rise, fall and re-rise of neo-naziism, and child sex trafficking.

I was reminded of this short sightedness when dealing with the property tax department as they cancelled my TIPP program in complete violation of the contract. The City did not accept responsibility or fix it. In fact they left it to me to fix, and pay a fee to re-up in the program. Not seeing the ripples of the time it takes a person to accomplish this, and that the re-up fee is directly from my family’s grocery budget as an unexpected expense. If I hadn’t solved the issue, or had been away and missed the deadline all together getting into arrears with property taxes can have the ripple of affecting insurance and mortgages, yet City of Calgary does not care. It is CYA all the way and screw the citizen.

Image may contain: 4 people, textLook at the first wave of austerity they have unleashed? 14 new suburbs, yet cuts to Fire, EMS and Police. In Fact, we are in the midst of a rise in youth gang violence (which actually is modus operandi for the council)…so they also cut free programs like the mobile skate parks, and shutter 2 pools. Places that create safe community for our youth are chopped. The ripple effect? As history has shown us, is more lost youth to the darkness, yet City of Calgary doesn’t care. It’s a CYA to protect themselves not govern the citizens.

Hence, a ripple effect of the current Government of Alberta approach, as municipalities are a function of provincial powers, not an autonomous entity. The current government refuses to release a budget until after the Federal Election. They can use any smoke and mirrors they choose, yet it comes down to the fact they have seen the effects the Ford Government has had on the federal party in Ontario and do not want to cause the same effect here.

Yet, it has created the conversations and actions noted above. Let’s look at the beginning roll outs after the smoke and mirrors of the 5% MLA pay cut, or even before when they attack the lowest paid-but hardest working- cutting minimum wage for youth workers from $15/hr to $13/hr, and now exploring cutting servers wages the same if they serve alcohol. The tax cuts to big oil that led to over 14,000 more job losses. Yup, it is for the people (note sarcasm for those who do not have a British background).

The us-them dichotomy is ringing true as they halted work  the new school curriculum. The new curriculum which was started under the PC Government pre-2015, and continued by the NDP government. Stating that the Alberta Teachers Association and partners were not apt to do this. They stated parents… well I was engaged and spoke about things in the previous curriculum consultations. Yet, lets be real…a good reality check. Who is the best equipped to design curriculum and curriculum delivery? Do you go to the doctor with a bursting appendix and be like, yeah I know this can kill me but really can you deal with my ingrown nail? Same effect here. I have seen the majority rules parental ruin of education. Under Klein it led to no fail policies, it has created a culture within education and society where bullying is so allowable we have 9 year olds committing suicide in Calgary. How about we let those trained in lifespan development, educational theory, pedagogy, curriculum development do their work. The goal of education is a well rounded, functioning life long learner. It is designed for those meant to go on to post-secondary to achieve there, for those meant to be in the skilled trades to thrive and achieve there, and for those not in those two streams to still be life long learners and discoverers so they are able to support the next, current and elder generations. See why educational curriculum in an era of post-truth become such a whack-a-mole? If everyone completes grade 12 (which Alberta has an atrocious track record of) as engaged citizens and critical thinkers, it makes ideological populist movements harder to steal power.

The next is the over 3 million cut to the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Now, yes it is bad, and punishes the most vulnerable. Yet, I want to engage in another conversation of question asking. Why do we have organizations like the CHF? Third Party funders that get government funds and distribute to the sectors. They are funded for a full staffing structure including directors, etc (taking money out of the helping pot)- they have created another organization to own real estate that then master leases to non-profits, so the non-profits don’t build their assets to leverage for clients. The questions that should be asked is, what is the full costing going towards the sector? What changes if they third party funder is removed? What increases in funding go to agencies? What happens if we direct fund the clients? So their decisions direct funds to the agencies they choose to use? How does this transform the sector in truly investing in staff health, staff retention, and increase to front-line staff salary for good human services delivery is built on the trust of relationship.

Yet, as the cut happens, it becomes an austerity measure, another us-them battle. But what happens when we engage and ask? What happens when the marginalized do not allow themselves to be herded into a one-size fits all solution. Admitting that each situation has a myriad of reasons to the now, and takes a mosaic to heal and get to home.

This is also the failure of the debate over the Supervised Safe Consumption Sites.  Location is important. It needs to be accessible to those in need. Yet, it also needs to be controllable. What does this mean? It means that the users need to be safe, the staff need to be safe, and the predators need to be kept out. Is the Sheldon Chumir the best location for this? Location wise, yes. For the other two, no, as it is too open and easily targetted. It is akin to when they moved the safe house for child prostitutes in the early 2000’s onto the actual stroll, the kids could get safety, but the pimps and predators were ringing the bell for them the next night. Perpetuates a cycle of harm acceptance. Now however if we critically look, expand, and create safety for harm reduction then it creates space for keeping people alive, having conversations, niggling out what led to…

Which is the other piece. See it is not safe sites OR treatment. False dichotomy for twitter wanks, and sound bytes. It is both and. It is not harm reduction OR abstinence based programs. It is both and. See, human beings are tricky, some who slip into addiction need the stability of harm reduction and may shift towards abstinence, others to simply survive need a sober environment period. To discredit either is to say that person’s life has no value in our society. But if the goal of harm reduction or abstinence is simply survival then it has missed the mark.

The root of the addiction is trauma. The human system attempting to null the unspeakable pain. This is the other sound byte that annoys me speaking with front line staff. Trauma informed care is not a pass for a person to be abusive, it is understanding where behaviours come from and in the courageous safe space to have conversations around healing, and when something goes awry to be in that type of intimate healing relationship to be held to account.

But that word T-R-A-U-M-A. It is healable. It takes time, it takes trained clinicians. It takes healthy community around a person. No, it is not staying in unhealthy family or community, rather it is knowing where health is and re-planting oneself there. It takes expansion of mental health services, normalization, and giving a damn about one another. It takes the removal of labels, and seeing each other as citizens, but beyond that as a PERSON. We are not monetary transactions, we are people. The simple act of being people, is our inherent value.

The question though, is as are we going to allow this current populist belief system to continue, or are we going to critically engage and challenge what needs to happen. To firmly, accurately, and compassionately call out the false narratives and dichotomies regardless of the institution they exist in and we exist in as members?

Are we willing to truly be person first in this life?


If Trudeau does not do what Harper did, we shall have an election on the fixed date in October 2019. We have just come out of an election in Alberta. It is a time to give pause, for there are a few fallacies that parties rely on:

  1. My vote does not count. It is an apathy that keeps people away from the booth. It is peddled and not fought against because it allows for two parties to court their base and get them out to vote to maintain the governance.
  2. There is only two choices. NO! Federally and provincially there is many choices, including independents. It is when we decide to vote against something, or to default to this logic that the best governance for the citizenship is lost. Government entitlements, human rights, Universal Health Care, were all policy planks of 3-whatever number parties. Due to their rise in popular vote (note not polls, but vote)…these policies carried chutzpah, and even though there may have been moderation, came to fruition.
  3. Strategic voting– is the ultimate B.S. that drives people out of voting. It is precipitated on voting against something, instead of for something. It allows for parties to wallow in the much, court the trash that is the extremist, have false arguments over food guides…it is about not standing on beliefs, and pointing to records. It is fed by the rabid base of both sides, and once more sidelines the importance of the candidate.
  4. Party over candidate. Especially this last round in Alberta with historic turnout (54% is historic, I weep for our democracy)–do you know how man folks are shocked about the investigations? Who did not know what the name of their local candidate was? That they were voting for “Leader” (unless you live in their riding, you are not voting for them. The leader of the party with the majority of seats forms the government, and becomes first minister. In the Westminster system said minister serves at the pleasure of the caucus, in Canada, we have lost this and made the leader all powerful–reclaim the power of the representative over leader/party). Know not only the party, and how their policies affect not only you, but the seniors, kids, neighbours…y’know think beyond the not my family, not my issue mental b.s. Authentically get to know the person and see if they have the character you think matters.

See candidates go through a vetting process. It is akin to a job interview when you put your name forward or someone asks you to run. There is usually an application, have to get some party support, win the nomination in a vote or by acclamation. Part of the process is biographical digging, resume, and interview. Lately it has also been the party wanting all access to a person’s e-mail and social media.

See it is no longer about a person who holds to the value of the party being able to speak from who they are in that context for their constituents or those they wish to represent. It is about, becoming a puppet of the leader, and the party line. See at its worst with Conservative Party of Canada candidates Federally, and United Conservative Party candidates, who literally re-read their leaders’ talking points or directly from policy manuals. They are not themselves among those they seek to represent. For it is leader and party banner over citizen.

Now, lefties, you are not off the hook either. For yes, there is some control on talking points, but what is even scarier (seen across the spectrum) is the sanitizing of social media. The idea that you have sold your very being to the party and they now can delete or close whatever they wish from your online footprint. It is a pristine person who only mimics the party line like a good parrot they want out there.

What is lost?

In this system we are growing, we have lost the importance of the local candidate. The idea that how their beliefs are shaped (religious and-or secular) matter. How they live in community. Communicate online and in person. The genuine person. It does matter, for what if the party wants to do something in power that harms the citizens, will this person have the guts to stand up and speak out? Or will they succumb to power/money?

Never admit past mistakes, default to no comment. If you can delete it.

BUT what if, we as a citizenship demanded different. We are okay with our candidates being human, like we are. Be authentic. I always joked growing up there was “happy black spaces” where I wasn’t too sure what the full story was, but I never did not comment when something was brought up, or challenged or questioned on a belief I had espoused. It creates conversation, discovery, and connection.

This is probably the biggest reason why the fallacy of Leader Branding perpetuates, then there is no actual connection with the diverse ridings folks seek to represent, the only connection is with the party War Room, and whatever Bizzaro type Rocky-Bullwinkle villain escapades they dream up to play gotcha games with instead of vision casting, and talking with us.

In these less than 90 days until the vote, demand better.