Posts Tagged ‘C-tine’

Care for Neighbour

Posted: September 11, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Fatigue can set in having the same conversation that lands on stones over and over. It feels like the proverb of entertaining a fool, or the gospel parable of seeds that fall upon the rocks. Yet that is where we are at in this moment in time in Canada. A place where rock/pebbles can be pelted by protestors at Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau, with threats to assassinate, and folks look to blame him. Where anti-vaxxers in Alberta are protesting hospitals, yes hospitals, barring access for patients and slowing ambulance responses. Ambulances that are already in crisis, and the regionalization of 911 has not aided in. Where farm supply stores have to keep livestock dewormer locked away and have one provide proof of ownership because people are literally drinking it, because the internet said it treated covid (because who wants to listen to science). Where health care, human service and educators are faced with constant abuse for trying to aid and help, burning out and yes, we are losing good people in the field, as Government policy provincially has targetted them as not essential. Students angry over having to prove vaccination (as well as other workers)…led me into a dip of despair as I entered my morning contemplation.

My Morning meditations brought me to these two passages from my tradition:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.-Luke 6:31 (New International Version)

A poster on my kitche wall, that I got after seeing it in the dining hall of the FCJ Christian Life Centre dining hall on retreat.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Everything in the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments.”

-Matthew 22:36-40 (New Catholic Bible)

Which led me to this sermonette on Facebook emerging from these passages and reflecting on c-tine:

21. That is how many in my circles have gone to the Great Tea Party during c-tine. 21 I will never see again in this life. 21 ranging in age from 12-82. 21 who some I found out about while teaching real time online, and then went back to supporting my students to success. Some gone due to covid, due to isolation, due to other health issues, due to inability to access care due to covid overrunning our system. 21 who brought joy to others life. 21 who I honoured and celebrated on my own because we could not gather and share laughter, love and tears… and why does this matter? Simple, I cannot believe the amount of selfishness and self-entitled privilige within our world, inability to mask, to distance, to vaccinate…truly an inability to care for one another. Those that slam religion saying its atrocious, but live into their own hedonism, those who are religious that have missed the point of their sacred teachings and need to revisit what it means to treat others as you want to be treated, within my own tradition to love your neighbour. Do not use your name for the Holy to hide your own folly.Our interdependent (because in the Commonwelath, we are not independent) rights are precipitated upon communal responsibility. Family and friends in health care and human services, being abused by those suffering who refuse to be vaccinated, protested, threatened, burning out, and yes this includes educators. Gaslit by those who encourage the division and misinformation at the highest levels.And now, communal responsibility is being asserted as it should have been months ago, and the outcry…mandated vaccination for those who are able has always been a thing, my son gets vaccinated because in his community he can to protect the many of his buddies that can’t. Serving the majority of my life to aid others, I have been mandated many times to take vacinnes and testing to keep those I serve and my colleagues safe– Meningitis, Flu, H1N1, TB testing, STI/HIV testing, Anti-retrovirals when possibly exposed, proving I received my childhood vaccinations, and the list goes on…The virus is doing what anything does in nature, mutates to thrive or die. We have an opportunity to have it die or at the very least shut down the thriving, but do we have the capacity to actually give a damn about someone outside ourselves?

As my family journeys through Ezekiel, a major prophet in the Hebrew Bible (due to the fact it is a longer work). My youngest chose, what does Ezekiel do? He points out to the nation essentially where they have forgotten the other. They have made life completely about themselves, their own greed…and the destruction this leads too as community is forgotten, and the consequence for that is a brutal exile of loss and devastation. The call back to what it is about… are we able to answer the call back?

Are we able to give a damn about others?

Writer’s Block

Posted: August 5, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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It is a bain, I neer had to worry about in my younger more prolific days of writing. Wonder if this is why I never had to create a practice of writing if you will. Now as I am not so young in my writing it comes in fits and gurgles. Which can be a bit tough when trying to bring focus during a time of discombobulation like we currently exist in. As we exist in or on the precipice of a fourth wave in Alberta (as we wind down tracking cases, one has to wonder where exactly we are). As health authorities continue to state at us puzzling, with our return to “flu” language, or we need to move resources to the opioid epidemic or syphillis’ outbreaks (because of course, we cannot do what our system should be able to do and respond appropriately) we continue to play roulette with who shall live and die.

Much as one existing in the disability community, regardless of age, does as we role back supports and make life harder for them and caregivers, all under the fallacy of belt tightening.

I sit, in an aging home, looking out at the landscape, one that is drastically shifting to a province I do not recognize.

Simply wonder, do I still belong? or is it time to move on? But if it is time to move on, where to even begin?

These are the thoughts rolling, along with concern for loved ones, disconnect with others who may be fearful of where some family member’s health is, and simply the ableism and prejudice revealed in others during this time.

Coupled with the simple exhaustion of a re-open non-plan, where many expect we will simply step our of our homes, and to step back in as the cogs of the machine as if nothing has happened over the last almost 19 months.

And then I no longer wonder, why I struggle, to write…to create… rather, some days, I need to stretch into soul care, if only not so exhausted.


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?

Ever Miss a Meal?

Posted: June 5, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Ever miss a meal?

It can be discombobulating, and we may not know why. Yes, there are the physiological responses of low blood sugars but is that all meals and eating are for? A way to get the fuel our bodies need? Are we simply a mechanical entity like our cars that need to gas up? Or is there more that happens? Personally, during covid, I can say I miss supper. 

 In our ancient stories, eating is something that was prevalent in the community life of Brother Jesus, it was where he showed God’s love, inclusion, welcome and connection–in essence belonging. Just look at how many times sharing food showed that all belonged?

Our stories tell us one of the last things Jesus did was gather with his friends, and share a meal, showed them and called them to love, the simple sharing of wine (we may use juice now) what I know as the cup of promise in belonging to community, and the bread, that is a source of life. Our fuel, in the midst of connection. This is part of what I miss, when I say I miss supper. Being together and sharing communion. I freely admit I enjoy liturgy (the work of the people, or rather the way the worship-community service is shaped in a church). I am also sacramental, and this speaks to the mysticism of communion for me. Yes, gathering online we have shared communion on those Sundays virtually, with our family unit…but there is something about gathering together physically, sharing together. For me, it is like a family dinner.

See the source image

And what a family dinner, as you can see in the story, it is more than simply eating. In the midst of being together, we belong, we connect, it is almost mystical as labels evaporate.

This is what I miss in my own home, the bustle of supper. Family & friends coming together for large meals potluck style, kids friends over for dinner or sleepovers whether it was burgers or pizza or hot dogs, laughing together, gathering around our large dinner table and talking about the day. Being with each other. Or simply, knowing that when we are sitting down to eat as a family, which we do try to do each night, that if the doorbell rings, it is simply time to add another plate at the table and welcome in our neighbour, not worrying about restrictions or isolations.

Simply being able to eat together, be together.

See the source image

As we look forward to more restrictions easing, more vaccinations happening, and the ability to be together outdoors, and soon indoors. Take a moment to do some soul care, and have supper with someone– an old friend or perhaps a new one you have yet to make.

A simple piece of soul care, by sharing a meal together.

425

Posted: May 15, 2021 by Ty in Musings
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Okay c-tine has created a time warp, as I cannot believe it has been nearly a month since my last post, when I was doing quite well weekly. Though there are other items showing sadly this loss of time, as everyday can tend to feel like groundhog day. For long time readers, 425 is of coruse the day count, since the college I had a teaching contract with switched to full online delivery on MS Teams, and staff went home to work remotely.

Who knew that 3 weeks into my contract, that the duration o the contract would be fully on line, as Alberta stumbled through a lack of response to a pandemic as ideology overstepped collaboration and evidence. But it is 2020-21 (though it does, some days feel like it runs together). Though I am not about to complain, it was a unique epilogue to the first book of my life, it was a time as it wound down when there was hope of returning to seminary and then ordination.

Sadly, the National Student Loans of Canada, does not adhere fully to finance rules, and as such funding fell through (still working on removing that barrier)–but requires a bit more emotional capital that I can hope to expend currently. As well, it is a rather ageist thing that the Federal Summer Student program has an age expiry of 30 years old, in an era of history where there are 60 years old getting diplomas and degrees, but I digress.

As the saying goes though when a door closes, God opens a window. It is true, from a wonderful 3/5ths opportunity worked up within a local church for community engagement. Truly, it is what I have been writing and speaking about for many years. A topic where I have pointed out the church needs to shift as Christendom is going through the Quiet Revolution here in Canada, a key piece of reconciliation and decolonization. That is, the church needs to accept and surrender, confess the sin of Empire power… truly it needs to shift back to what I personally read in the Gospels and Acts, being a soul of a community.

In social worky or human services of political policy terms, this is a community hub. A place of connection, resourcing and belonging for the neighbourhoods the churches exist in. A true and fun calling to enter into as a full-time teaching contract closes (though I am on as a sessional). It opens up the ability to take the biblical languages, which I wanted to shape my writing/teaching better, as well as a space where, perhaps, a discernment conversation can also be forwarded.

Day 425, and I look to picking up a new batch of comics and wonder what the new issue of Star Trek & The Orvelle will hold (self-care is a thing, that can be as simple as a hobby one enjoys) or driving through the country laughing with your family, as you pick up drive through donuts before returning home for pizza and RuPaul down under.

May it be a blessed week, where you can hear not only the whisper voice of the Holy Mystery, but experience the calling’s manifestation in your life.

Suggested reading as one institution wrestles with some aspects of inclusion, reconciliation with one group that I am sure Jesus would have called friends:

Keeping our Promises (A letter from the PCC Moderator)

A Precious Gift (A Report by the Rainbow Communion)


Tod Bolsinger’s (2018) Canoeing in the Mountains is another addition to the ideas of what to do as leaders in the post-Christendom world. We are witnessing the death gasps of the old modality, especially ramped up during our current pandemic. The crux of the journey, with a touch on the parables drawn from Lewis & Clark, but truly deep dives into Dr. Bolsinger’s time as a PCUSA pastor, what does it mean to traverse change in leadership?

See the source image
A book mentioned in a course, 2 years later found at Red Deer’s Parables Store.

It is a book that was mentioned during my reboot/healing work months in 2019, when I attempted a course at Alberta Bible College on Strategic Leadership (as an audit), as we explored leadership. The concept as leaders, being not necessarily to try and read everything available on the topic, but rather pick one title a year. A little like the advice I was given wen I started out in ministry last century in regards to conferences, not to be overwhelmed by the amount but rather pick the 1 or 2 that have value added for learning, but more importantly renewal (like the Leadership Summit I attended at ABC in 2019, but sadly, covid).

Though it brings forth in this reading some reflections, as I continue to deep dive into what it means to grow healthy spiritual communities.

What does community look, neigh, love like through a gospel lens?

This book, with ones such as a Church Called Tov are intriguing in how to do things differently, as Bolsinger points out apptly, when it comes to traversing the journey of change churches default to what they have always done (not necessarily what has always worked or even been enjoyable). It is the quick fix, the knee jerk reaction for as people, especially people in change pang (yes, death may be a part of it) is to default into what they have always done. It also is what creates the fight-flight-freeze response when new folks, or those shifting their journey begin to ask questions as to the why (rationale behind) actions, decisions, methodologies, etc. I would equip practicum students to ask my teams the why questions, if we cannot go beyond the “that’s how we have always done it” type of cliche, then it is something to be explored. That is, it is a sacred cow not necessarily an effective tool or community aspect (and from a leadership book of yester year’s title, sacred cows make the best burgers).

See the source image

For in reflecting on the idea of adaptive leadership within Bolsinger’s book, and his other twinned motto, failing only as fast as the community can handle, it becomes clear part of the learning curve for shifting gears is to work with congregations within the concepts found in Senge et el (2008) Presence which is about being present during change, during the move through the U Theory of letting go, letting come, prototyping new ideas, before crsystallizing the new reality. What I feel when I read Bolsinger’s text is being adaptive enough in leadership to act like an investigative journalist sync life coach to dive to the root of the issues at hand, to root out what is holding the community into the old paradigm, and to be able to let it go. Part of that work, as we know from working in coaching with internalized gremlins, is an often missed step, thanking that which we have always done. It has gotten us this far, but after thanking it, ritual of releasing it, so that the altar is cleared for the new call, the new commissioning.

See the source image

The New Community that is and will become.

What communal gremlins are holding back the church from becoming that which it is meant to be in a post-Christendom world?

How do we live into what Brother Jesus called us to authentically be, before Empire interrupted?

A vigil Mulling

Posted: April 3, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Mulling. It was a word that when shared from me, would cause those leaders I served under or communities I served in, to respond with an arched eyebrow that would make Spock proud (and a few, I am sure, unintelligible utterings under their breath). For the time of mulling, usually meant, that my mind would be processing through the usual tasks of the job, while mulling many ideas under the surface. Yes, some days I do miss how my mind would work before the downturn, but the rebooting is still wonderful.

This is what happens in the moments of vigil. Taking time to be in the presence of the Holy Mystery. Which, we are in and is in us throughout daily life. Vigil is taking time to unplug and tune in to the quiet soft voice of creation that speaks to us. At Easter, the Vigil night is simple. It is time spent waiting. For some, during c-tine, it can feel like we have been in a constant vigil. There is deep truth in these statements, as there is yearning for life to return to the normalcy of the before times, yet was that normalcy truly what was of benefit for our communal wellness? For our holiness? Or was it simply the same oppressive systems Brother Jesus lived his life against, that took him to Golgotha. Drove his friends and followers into hiding for those 3 days, the vigil time. Where in the First Century they huddled in fear, afraid of being found and added to the next wave of crosses on the Jerusalem road side as a message.

May be an image of text that says "A church that does not provoke any crisis, preach a gospel that does not unsettle, proclaim a word of God that does not get under anyone's skin or a word of God that does not touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed: what kind of gospel is that? Óscar Romero"
Remember, the oppressors of Latin America so feared the love preached by Bishop Romero, they had him assasinated during Mass, while holding up the Holy Host.

That same fear does not exist within Canadian Christianities. But there is still a purpose for vigil. For me, it was taking a moment to begin diving into the new DIana Butler Bass book, Freeing Jesus, I first entered her work back in my Youth Monk days with the Anglican church in Calgary with her work Christianity for the Rest of Us. Freeing Jesus’ introduction brought forward sentiments that I have shared (and shared others who have shared similiarly) for quite a while on the state of Christendom, and the Christianities. She dove right in about the many walking away from the Churchdom due to how the power has corrupted and gutted, yet still have a resonance with the life, teachings, miracles, and Easter Morn of Brother Jesus. Yes, as she aptly points out, many traditionalists will say the church is the body of Christ and without the church you are not a believer…

And that is the crux of the Holy Heresy

The Body of Christ is responding to a cancer. That of Christendom (empire, abuse of power, etc), by exorcising it through leaving. It is not the Body that is not wanted, it is the politicized institution of trauma. This is a moment in time in history where c-tine has forced a stop of the inertial force that was Christendom, and has given space where we can actually go.

As we head towards another celebration of Sonrise, under restrictions, lockdown, online or at a distance…where is the Spirit calling you in the walk to the tomb? When we find it empty? What is the calling being heard you have been ignoring? This vigil night, engage in the conversation of renewal of Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace and LOVE for the Body of Christ lived out to our world? Or do we continue the death march out of fear for taking a step into the unknown?

Do we continue or do we transfigure?

Just like the early community around Jesus, in this time of c-tine, what mullings have arisen in your soul during the vigil of awaiting? Unsure of what is to come?

See the source image


Another year of entering into Easter Weekend at a distance. Many decry and wonder why we cannot gather, yet the sacerament of service, is the answer to the lament, and where Alberta is currently in our pandemic journey as I shared on Facebook yesterday (a unique day with Maundy Thursday & April Fool’s Day sharing space). Yes I apologize for the laise fair share of twoof my Facebook screen shots a day late instead of the normal Maundy Thursday reflection, but as the day closed after 381 days of online existence/teaching, weariness won out, so below were the thoughts that brings us into the reality of the Sacrament of Service:

Can you live out a modern foot washing in this pandemic time this Easter Weekend?

On Good Friday we have shared 11,000 new cases. Yes a third wave is here, and some, like those of Grace Life Church and Fairview Baptist use the conept of take up their cross and that they are “persecuted” under the guise of religious freedom to cause harm to neighbour and the Love Message of Brother Jesus. It was during our online Good Friday service, walking the Stations of the Cross Reflectively that we discussed as a family, what the idea of take up the cross looks like. It is not an image to hide our bias, bigotries, prejudices, hatreds, martyr complexes, or communal sins lived out. Brother Jesus lived out a radical servant messiahship, not a might make right, not Jesus with an assault rifle, rather a humble teacher from working class roots, with a calling to serve, to live out what the Imageo Dei was meant to be. It radically shattered the glass ceilings of the time. Lived out, it shifted dynamics, empowered the voices of the voiceless, showed that all had equality, and worth in the Kingdom (our divisive labels were there to divide and harm, and rather useless). There was a celebration of the once known as untouchable, unwanted or “property” of Empire, on Palm Sunday, that on Maundy Thursday, in John Mark’s folks upper room, Jesus would gather with his friends. Share the Passover Meal.

A meal that called back the rememberance of another time of freedom from Oppression from the story of Exodus. Think of the power of the Oppressed being freed, and another Empire publicly exposed for its weakness, and once the oppressed realized they had worth, it crumbled like a house of cards (thinking of any connections to the current era of Reconciliation and Transformation?). That after dinner, Jesus would go to Gethsemane, to the Garden to pray, and there that he would be betrayed, by one of his close friends, with the kiss of greeting.

From there, the fear of the Oppressor was on full display in the journey to the lynching of Brother Jesus. The lies, the propaganda, the falsities, and the gaming of the system to silence the one that chose to challenge what was wrong with society. What did harm and damage to the Imageo Dei. When we talked with our kids about what take up the cross meant, these are the moments we shared. The times when faith led to true and healthy change in our world, when the thin space between the Holy Mystery and Creation overlapped. Times like the Red River Resistance, Indigenous Rights, end of Apartheid, Truth & Reconciliation, LGBTTQ2+ rights, Feminism, Women’s Rights, social safety nets, disability rights, and, sadly, the list goes on, as the societal sin of Christendom (and insert any idealogy or religion that evil has used to hide behind to divide, to cause harm, to perpetuate genocide no one truly has not been used) but it is in those moments when we know we are standing up for the Kingdom value of the blessedness of the Imageo Dei, justice in love, and all belonging regardless of pushback–that is the true moments of taking up the Cross, and walking the path of Brother Jesus to Golgotha.

How does our communities truly transfigure if Christians truly took up the Cross, like Simon of Cyrene did?

We gather a part for the second year, reminiscient of the early followers of Jesus on that first Easter. Our gathering apart shows our care and love in our Sacrament of Service.

In the name of our loving Creator, whose Image we see in one another, the love of our Brother Jesus’ whose cross we carry to the glory of the Sunrise, and the release of the Loving Passion in our communities transfigured through the Loving & Holy Spirit in us, through us and connecting us.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Some Holy Weekend Resources/Services for your reflection:

Bow Valley Christian Church Good Friday Service.

Culture, Christ and Covid

Stations of the Cosmic Christ

All Saints Lutheran Church Calgary Holy Week Resources, Reflections and Services.


Not fully, as Alberta allows for some in person worship, we take a step not to attend though our congregation follows through on all the i and t’s, with extra care for neighbour. My son has complexities and is high risk, he cannot wear a mask, and sometimes needs to move to a low sensor environment, we do not want to create extra-stressors upon an already tense situation provincially in the viewing of the church by some, or create unnecesary useless conversations for anti-maskers, so we worship, as one seminary prof years ago phrased it, by an inter-stellar conference call, connecting us with our church family via online.

Yet it does cause reflection. In those moments, with a calling renewed (reaffirmed?) to begin forward once more out of what was into what was prepared to be. Some try to get into one’s heart through a negative cycle in the brain (insidious gremlins planted for growth under the guise of, well what do you believe? or Do you really think… )or whatever questions come from anyone’s own individuated story not comprehending that sometimes, and most importantly most times, it should never be driven by “I” but rather “we” especially in the building of church family.

My Nan (my kids’ great granny) who was the one that opened the door back to me in church as an adult (my Mum & Aunty Donna, set it up as a child through baptism, then pre-school, then Vacation Bible School) oh the Matriarchs strength that the faith stands upon. Was giddy to share time with pre-schoolers, her great-grandbabies in church. To teach her non-verbal great grandson how to begin making music sounds with her favourite song,

For as she always taught, children are always welcome with Brother Jesus. More so, church, is to be the place that is free (something that has shaped my ministry in more ways than she could ever imagine). My understanding of community discovery from how my Mum and Aunt shared the faith. This is what I took to my children, as well, as the almost irrelevance of the denomination, for at the heart is the love of Jesus and living that love out.

The strength, even in failing health, when the church pushed against my son, my Nan standing firm and telling the wealthy, “This boy’s love, who he takes Sundays after church with my grandson to those with dementia, and the joy he spreads matters more to our God, than you busybodies. He belongs here more than you.”

The joy in her eyes when we’d come visit her when she would be in lodges and long term care, and J would take her to get “gussied” up for tea time. And the joy of their giggles and sing-a-longs.

As some will try to dissuade us on our new journey, this is what comes to mind. Also a visit in dream scape, where my Nanny has tears in her eyes. She shares the story of her little cousin, who took his life because the world could not accept him for who he loved. How that shame she shares hurts so much, yet the joy in her heart seeing how her tea party partner is emerging into who God created them to be. The love, warmth in the walk. The tears she shares were once of shame, but in this young one’s story, they are tears of Joy, for how Jesus loves them.

And to remind both her great-grandbabies, they stand on the ground of powerful women and elders, cheering them on to build forward.

A reminder that was needed during this c-tine.

A time that we emerge into an important anniversary. A time of celebration for our kiddos. Palm Sunday which as Borg & Crossan (2007) The Last Week pointed out it was not simply a welcoming parade for Jesus, but rather an act of sedition against the Empire. It was blatantly pointing that those who were seen as non-entities had discovered belonging and love. The oppression and oppressors of religion, power, money and empire were being shaken to their core. This is the global sin that killed Jesus, and exposed the fallacy of the corrupt system for all to see in this humble rabbi- servant leader.

It has meant quite a bit to me in the journey, taking Holy Week, as it is laid out (not compressing as some do with Passion Sunday). But it also grew to mean more as the next church we would land in (even their Granny’s strong words, we would not survive the purge of the money holders). But the next would provide some rest, a bit of sancturay, and other challenges. But in the eye before the storm, there was church family, where my son was heard. His passion for his friend Jesus, that Granny taught him shone through. Whether it was nattering during sermons about the baptism of John the Baptist, trying to help when others were baptized, his time finally came.

Palm Sunday, a day when all were shown that we are beloved and blessed in the mosaic and wonderful image of God. Tearing up when told it was time.

A year later, the dancer and joy bringer that was his younger sibling, who was discipled by Granny, Nanny, and brother would be baptized. Twirling and laughing, unbeknownest to us, the last time we would celebrate in church with my Mum as a whole family.

Also Palm Sunday.

Both knowing before, and since, that God, and those in the love, create belonging.

How do you know that you belong?

Where is your courageous safe space?

What empowers you to not let others plant the gremlin seeds of discontent in your soul?

For Palm Sunday, as my children have lived, is the foudnation laid to build forward from. The love in us, connected to the love in you, that connects each of us in what can simply be known as the Holy Mystery some call God. Radicalized in the birth, life & teachings, execution, Cosmic no to the death penalty, and new life of Brother Jesus that connects each and everyone in community through the Spirit.

What is the moment in time, that when you hear it is time, surge of joy overwhelms as you know you are not alone, you are seen, you are connected, you belong?


There can be many reasons to slip into despair in our world. Or look to a situation we are in and not connect. Now I am not talking about truly abusive or risky situations, this is speaking more to the day to day life we lead. We can have a choice to always be looking backwards (and usually to a past that never truly was, rather an idealized mythology that never existed in the way we have framed it) or forward to a future, as we want to constantly think this is simply a step in our journey or an interim placement. It can fuel an underlying anxiety, disconnect or even, be a root in the anger many cannot put into words. Many questions swirl as to why this is our current state, and many rationales, conspiracies and stories are shared. But still…

The question arising as we live like this is, simply:

Do we set ourselves up to not have connection?

Sit with that a moment. Wherever you are in life. Have you set yourself up not to have connection due to letting past experiences shape your present understanding? Letting your own assumptions become a confirmation bias by the way you choose to engage with your present communities? Present workplaces? Present (insert reality here). It can be hard to traverse through change, there is grieving involved. There can be loss involved. One may not have the words to communicate what is happening. This is where the more creative outlets of colouring prayer or painting prayer can get the emotions out to connect with the root cause, the root reason that one is having the challenge of letting go of that which has tethered them to experience the new (and yes many times blessings) through the soul shaped prism of past experience. As the ligth shines through the now, still allows them to hide it under a bushel.

It may be weird to have this children’s hymn pop up as we discuss moving into the presence, but it is true. For it is pointing out a simple practice of gratitude. We have light. We have love. It may be small things to celebrate, but celebrate them none the less. It is why it is important, wherever we are, as we struggle with old paradigms that come into play to interpret current situations. It is important to cultivate that which is going well, that which is to celebrate. These are the instances, that when we look back (especially when we right them down to reflect on in times of despair or struggle) aid us in building our resilience, or letting our light shine.

How often, do we miss out on what is right in front of us, simply because we are focused on not being present?

Choosing to disconnect?

This simply can be by the picks of nit. Not where I see myself, not the job I wanted, not the church that fits my (insert label here), what other nits can you pick with your reality? What happens if we pause, breathe deeply, be in the moment, and right down what does fit. What does work?

Instead of rationalizing distance, we take steps in connection?

How does your reality change? Where are you connecting? How do you know you have belonging there? What is going well? Where is your gratitude? What are you thankful for? Why?

As we continue in Step 2 of easing restrictions in Alberta, what are you thankful for in the here and now with your story of life?

Is the frustration or anger beginning to alleviate?