Posts Tagged ‘Brad Paisley’

It is funny as my church’s minister starts a series on the Lord’s Prayer, and we celebrated new life in community through Communion that these thoughts tumble through my heart.

That’s life as the old song goes. It creates this idea around mental health to suck it up or buck up and carry on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it malingers and tears you down. In spiritual circles we shift to the pray/meditate about it. This idea that it only exists because we are somehow not holy enough or lack faith. It is the heresy of our times.

Life is a journey. We truly do not have much control over what happens to us, but we have control over response, and when we do not, as in the case of mental health, we have the decision to seek aid or not. The title of this post is a take off on two things that hit me this week, one was a Brad Paisley song, Noand the other was a find in the Red Deer Scott’s Parables. We had gone up to Red Deer for my son’s 13th b-day to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and stopped by the shop for him to get some Veggie Tales, that he oh so loves. On the racks I found Kerri Rawson’s (daughter of the BTK Killer) memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Sotry of Hope, Love and Overcoming. 

The song speaks of prayer. Whether you are one to mull, contemplate, meditate, pray in the traditional or the affirmative sense the song rings with truth. It is that all prayers are answered, even when it is no. It walks through a young man’s loss of his grandfather and other prayers that got the big N-O and what the outcome of that was. It is a reminder, that there are times when we have yet to grow into our journey. For any answer, is an answer in the journey of life.

This song wrung in my ears as I read Rawson’s memoir. Her prayer for her adult life was a calm normal life. Then on February 25, 2005 it all changed when the FBI arrived at her front door saying they had arrested her father, Dennis Rader for the BTK serial murders. BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. The killer had terrorized and taunted Wichita, Kansas for over three decades, with her father’s confessions he was found guilty of 10 murders (8 adults, 2 children), 7 families of victims. The memoir is a journey through the 8th family of victims. His own. He was a eccentric, sometimes abusive in the home, but he was a loving and caring father. He was the president of their church, and a Scout Leader. The journey is Rawson’s of faith, and transformation as she understands what the No to the prayer of her life was bringing her into and through. The shedding of the old skin, the family life growing up her Dad had been quoted as calling social contacts and pawns in his game; into her new life as wife and mother, and healing(ed) daughter.

It is the journey of discovery and challenge for me in the last few years. No, my father was not a serial killer. But in the healing process it is the No answer to many methods and spiritual practices that I had used to keep myself healthy in the journey. In the work of helping. When Mr. Roger’s would say in the dark times look for those who are the helpers, and you will see hope. I had the honour of being one, and serving with many. That crashed down in 2017 after months of mystery from 2016.

It is a journey of discovering the new-true you on the other end. Shedding the old damaged skin, and knowing what lies ahead. Denying the No’s from prayer, because that was obviously not meant to be so why hold fast to it. Stepping into and affirming the maybe’s and the yes’s. It is about resting. Resting in the silence of the Holy Mystery’s love.

Sometimes, the hardest part is admitting one needs help. The second hardest will be the patience to wait for that help to materialize. It is a journey, there is a shimmer of light, now what one has to ask is simply,

what new book of life awaits?



It can be an unconventional practice. We used it in CALM class, last century, and in a few Bible College classes, the letter to future self writing back to who you are now. What would they say? What does your future life look like? It is a ploy in goal setting, and laying out a path.

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From the live version of the song.

But what if we reversed the letter course in the process of discernment. Brad Paisley in my mind at times can be a modern day prophet in his music (I am sure Sr. Margaret appreciates the idea of music for spirituality as she always said singing was like praying twice). Paisley’s song Letter to Me at 17 (watch here) creates a different feeling.

It becomes a reflection on who made you who you are. The journey is more important than the destination. At many decades on you can see the pathways, the missed opportunities, the joys and the sorrows, and the making it through. It can be cathartic, it can be healing, it shows who you are in the journey.

Looking back on your life, what would you write to who you were back in high school? Back in College?

What letter rests on your soul?

To the emergent you.


Image result for palm crosses

Yesterday our neighbours to the South, and many in Canada #Marchforourlives to end gun violence. Watching the feeds it was inspirational, and shattering, and yes I hope these young people carry through on voting in their countries to shake up both the USA and Canada’s false 2 party system and show true change for citizens.

But it got me reflecting even deeper, for today is Palm Sunday. A day that those who dive deeply into the Liberation/Social Gospel/Progressive/Red Letter Christian/Catholic Workers Movement/Franciscan (read those who live in the margins as Brother Jesus called) do not look beyond. It is Holy Week. The week we travel the journey to the betrayal to the cross to the shivering in wait for our own capture and death for raising our voice against the powers to be, and then the resurrection.

1 year apart, on one of the most radical protests in history my kids decided to declare radical love and belonging as taught by Brother Jesus was their way (baptism)…Palm Sunday…the day the Empire and Religious controllers flexed their might, and a rabble of shit disturbers came to town with a different way that sooo scared them and shattered the existing glass ceilings the authorities broke their own laws to try and silence it. What happened? They got their ass kicked (sounds like two little radicals I know- we will belong and win with Love Daddy! or as Lee declared this year to his Nana at the heavenly tea party–Nana I Won!): Brad Paisley’s Shatted Glass ( )

-Facebook Post March 25, 2018

 To often the church and the follower want to completely skip the journey. It is why the week if celebrated has been contracted by many, where Palm Sunday becomes Passion Sunday. It missed the point. Jesus, the one that should have not been heard, was heard. Jesus the one that should not have garnered a following, had a following. Jesus, the one that should not have shook the world…shattered it. Over 400 active warrior would be kings/messiahs lined the roads hanging from crosses. The Empire led into Jerusalem by their psychotic, Pontus Pilate with his legions showing the strength of Rome to remind the rabble, those less than human of what fate awaited those that spoke against Caesar.

This stance re-enforced by the Religious Controllers who were the opioid of the people under Caiaphas, who ruled the Sanhedrin at the Herod’s family whim. The Herod family who played all sides of internal Roman wars to always emerge in a favourable light of the people. The family that led a genocide of the first born sons at the rumblings of this labourer being born in a barn to a peasant girl because he might have been of God or as rumours said a rape child blessed by God…but there was something scary being born from this illuminated teenage girl’s powerful yes.

3 years of shaking the foundations. Rattling the ladder of power and beating it into a circle that could be danced wider to include more of those cast aside and cast out, as the matriarchs taught. Included. Affirmed in their personhood. Life made accessible.

The Empire commanding their presence upon their parade of power.

When the first whispers hit.

Brother Jesus was on the other side, entering quietly.

The Empire, Religious controllers, and bureaucrat were offended when those that were told they did not belong. Found Belonging cheering the victory calls of battle, not for Brother Jesus, but because of him they now had a voice in their own life.

A cheer that so rattled the super power, the only way to silence it was to cast aside all that kept the Empire’s peace to ensure that the voice would be silenced… the plot begins… when the voiceless raise their voices.

Sound familiar?

Palm Sunday 2018 Gospel reading, what call to belonging resonates in your heart with these words:

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ reply,
‘The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.'”
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
“What are you doing, untying the colt?”
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!”

-Mark 11:1-10