Posts Tagged ‘Books’


Ah been a while since I shared some insights from my rolling through works picking out gems for the book on community building that will begin to hopefully take shape in the Summer 2021. Also, coupled with just the ongoing life of teaching post-secondary online as semester’s wind up my reading has defaulted to more popcorn for the brain in these moments (and with Dollarama’s having graphic novels for $3-4 it has been quite fun).

But here we are with a few thoughts, and the amazon links to the books for your own further reading. We will go from most recent to oldest. Which brings us to the Sabar’s (2020) Veritas: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife an intriguing mystery-conspiracy that truly reveals the prat falls and traps of being led down the garden path of our own bias. It explores an emerging and leading scholar in feminist Gnosticism, the impact of the continuing well fictionalized accounts of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code with the ponderance (that comes from Holy Blood, Holy Grail) about Jesus’ marriage and bloodline.

This crafted bias, wanting to humanize Jesus, which makes sense as the balance of Christ’s celibacy was more of an appeasement than a gospel truth (Re: Jesus Seminar & Vatican II). Why is this book worth the read for reflective practice? Simple, it takes one through exploration, unpacking and verification process of evidence based belief praxis. It illustrates the importance of the word gospel, and how to ensure we take the steps of critical thought even with something that fits our belief system still needs to be taken through a process.

The next step book I enjoyed, was from a bible college professor of mine, Tim W. Callaway’s (2020) from a new Calgary based publisher, God is Loser Friendly: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Me, a redeveloped sermon series and research to explore what it means to authentically follow God. Rev. Dr. Callaway’s humour shines through, as he walks through the stories of Genesis, the patriarchs, matriarchs and what they mean for our current walk in faith. The concept of loser here is not something of a mocking, but rather pointing out that there are those moments in time when we all fall short or may not make the cut, but in the grand scheme there is growth and life happening.

The practical applications and discussions found within the Hebrew Bible texts that are all to often glossed over, or so heavily sanitized to pass the “holy” test of church is refreshing. Whether reading by yourself, or as part of a household or a skype/zoom/teams discussion group it will be a fun and insightful ride in 2021.

The final work is a second edition of a book on endings, or rather death if we want to extend the metaphor that churches are the Body of Christ. It is Rev. Michael Jones’ (2020) Empty Houses: A Pastoral Approach to Closing Congregations. The author shares the journey, that touches on an intersection with my own, he was the minister when Trinity United closed in Calgary, for those who may be familiar with this congregation’s closure many moons ago, what sticks out the most is the news story of the locked out congregation by the denomination. Is this touched on? Not in so much sensationalism, what is touched upon in the work is the process, and within the process of closure the hard conversations that need to be had. In my reflection, like the discussions around end of life, and the grieving that ensues. How to move through the grieving, hold firm within the process, the answer, and the plan. Also the important side bar around media messaging, which has taken on a whole other layer with the 24-7 instant world of online platforming.

It is a practical and reflective tool for anyone involved in human services. Yes, it is church centric, but as we enter a new emergent reality. Where many institutions whether religious, political, or service are struggling. It is a process of reflection to outline the problem (is it a lack of time, talent or treasure in the mission? Or all of the above)? Thinking of mission and legacy (that is what can emerge from the end)? Is it time to merge with other organizations to continue forward or is that simply postponing the inevitable? Is it time to reach out possibly (my own thoughts) to other struggling institutes to craft, as those in palliative care speak of, ending well. Sharing resources to collectively mourn and release, but also take the treasure and create a healthy legacy plan.

Take time as 2020 and all it brought comes to a close, and we emerge into what ever is to come in 2021 to understand and become who you are being called to be.

Books Between Friends

Posted: December 10, 2019 by Ty in Current Events
Tags: , , ,

Many in Calgary may already know, but we had a hidden gem that aids many charities and non-profits through ongoing fundraising. How?

BOOKS!

You can donate books, and then shop to buy new to you books, and all monies raised go to make a positive impact! Here is their latest e-mail I thought I would share, and maybe aid some in their Christmas shopping for the book worm on your list:

Our Christmas book table is loaded with
great seletions. Come in and brows.
Christmas Specials
(Until December 24, 2019)
All Christmas themed books – 10 for $5.
All Hard cover and Large Size Soft cover books – 12 for $15
Gift Cards for stocking stuffers:
    Special Christmas Gift Cards
    Buy a $25.00 gift card for only $20.00
    Buy a $50.00 gift card for only $40.00
    No expiry date
Store location:  #14, 3434 – 34 Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6X3
403-291-3855

What’s in a Picture, Dorian?

Posted: November 4, 2018 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , ,

I used to have an annual ritual from age of 12 until about 2 years ago. I would read Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray. Age 12 seems a weird age to discover this book, it was a suggestion from a Writerific summer camp teacher. I had a half-elf/dwarf character named Dorian, and she had made mention of the book (and a cat of hers that was gray and named Dorian as well). As an avid reader, and being in a end of town where our school libraries didn’t get many new releases, I picked it up.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it is quite simple. A young man who trades on his beauty, makes a deal with the Devil for his soul. A picture of him hidden away in his attic would take on the ravages of age and his sin, while he would remain pristine and young forevermore. James Robinson’s Starman comic series for DC in the `90’s even used the picture as a plot point. In that arc Jack Knight and Shade aptly point out that most mistitle the work as “portrait”; once picture is sought, the concept of a kidnapping poster used by Gray to steal folks to continue his youth.

Both are reflections of what the story is about. The cost of remaining static and fearing change. But the flip-side of that is what price are we willing to pay to keep what we see as our perfection? Beauty? Age? Power? Wealth?

Would you surrender a picture to be ravaged to never change? For immortality?

What cost is in the picture for you? For every deal has a price…

What is in your picture?


2016

 year of endings.

Globally some say,

hope died.

The fight for hope in spite of fear is rekindled

Many scholars, poets, actors and fools crossed over

from the global world.

Down home…

it was a time of professional loss

In community served

the little deaths and ends

as lockers packed

apartments packed up

doors locked

lives locked away

to be unlocked by a new.

Personally

S-H-A-T-T-E-R-E-D

Matriarch no more

—Pain

the littlest of us getting their wings

empty school room hooks

tears of a son,

hugs of a mum.

Not knowing how to fix as a simple Dad

what is shattered within.

Empty seats of what was thought as sanctuary

ripped out like stuffing from a neglected teddy bear

YET…

in the midst of the death

the loss

the endings…

a New beginning awaits

Not just the close of a chapter

or a year

but a book

for a new one will appear

as I hold the death card in my hand,

I choose not to reflect or live into the end that has been

but embrace the beginning that is to come…

for at the end of every dark hallway

a light can be switched on

it is the light I choose

to live into

out of

and through.

to a new year

a New Hope

is lit.

The Death card is about endings, and that includes the ending of a life. What everyone seems to forget, however, is that the Death card is not exclusively about the end of a human life. In fact, it’s far more likely that the card is telling you that a goldfish or a houseplant will die. Death can mean the “end” of anything: The end of an era, the end of a trip, the closing of a restaurant, the breaking up of a band, the conclusion of a very rough week.

From: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/death.shtml

 


The Buddhanature (or Christnature) the divine spark in each of us, is not hard to rationalize, the idea that as Jung discussed the ego and shadow could push this out of our ability to realize is apparent.  The inherent divine does not remove the question of suffering or evil from creation, why? Simple, yes we are all created good and blessed, but it is in our freewill where we discern how to act, and it is these actions that allow us to move away from self, or that aspect that seeks out the negative aspect of dukkha, and rather than move beyond it, which is what happens when we choose to embrace the Buddhahood inherent in ourselves. It is this seeking to align ourselves within congruence of our existence (living out of the buddhahood) that allows us to surrender our inherent negative self, and actually actualize the epitome of our existence.

The next step on the journey, walking meditation brings one into communion with our true divine nature, but also with the activity of creation itself.  Through communing deeper with all of creation the interdependent nature of all becomes evident to the individual, and allows for an openness of the soul to the true divine spark, which opens up to original enlightenment, or moving in this life, beyond the dukha.

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