Posts Tagged ‘Change’


It was a simple tweet last night, but one that really did sum up where our family is after almost four years of a rolled back existence (yes I know covid has only been 370 days– but there was health complexities that slowed our roll and disrupted our normal before that). Simply putting out there, that our home is quieter than it has ever been. We miss the open door, we miss the shared table, the discussions, the tears, the laughter shared by our family (yes biological and those that belong with us). Yet, even as we, as my wife phrases it, are getting tired of each others’ faces it speaks to something that Covid has laid bare in our world, society, communities and chueches. This goes beyond the polarized view in our Christianities or presented in the media. From beyond the local congregation struggles to understand and implement restrictions, or pretend faux surprise when they outright refuse to comply that there is consequences for their actions. Truly that has been the surprise twist in the story of covid, so many discovering that rights are shaped in communal responsibilitiy, and it is not a cancel culture but an accountability.

But I digress, for it is also seeing the challenge of our driven highly strutctured and booked world that came crashing down in covid. How do we actually connect with one another? The reality being that we had a busy world, where it was easy to trip into small talk with another, but were we connected? What does connection look like? What does it mean? As restrictions ease in Alberta, many churches are shifting to multiple services to cultivate connection again as we have missed gathering.

Is it connection? Or simply proximity?

My experience is porximity. We have cultivated a cultural dissonance, that being around people means we are connected. Taking the concept of not being physically alone, alleviates loneliness, which is not always true. It is the concept that to be together in community, means mass (or restricted gatherings), but if interaction is not there, is it truly connection? Some will remember my writings and teachings around the belonging pyramid, and the inverted structure supported by Agape. I think this is what is happening as we struggle with our disconnect from busyness, and our lived dissonance of what we believed belonging was. The light has shone into the darkness, and confused it. This is the soul fog we are existing in, and beginning to emerge from. The question though is our desire to return to normal, going to silence and sideline what can (re) emerge in our religious communities?

Will true belonging emerge?

What is being put out there is that simple accessibility is connection and belonging. No, being in the building together (and if a building is up to code being able to enter the building) is not connection. Having a space for the person is not connection (it is rudimentary inclusion). This is what passed for connection and belonging in our hyper-programmed/hyper-business cultivated Christendom in the before times. In the before times where we expected our spiritual leaders to be experts in all things strategic, knowing how to grow numerically, financially, online, and have the key plug and play programs to bring sucess. It cultivated an experience where we sainted the busy, where access and connection happened due to where you were plugged in and giving (experienced this many times in Urban churches, where what level of tithing equated to level of faux belonging, not always treasure/money but also time/talent). Yet, there was no belonging, because you are not valued for your intrinsic worht in the Imageo Dei only for what you can give. In other words, we mock politicians and business leaders that speak of human capital for driving worth, yet as Christians, we have exaclty cloned that belief system into action within our own communities (for some intriguing contemplative thoughts on the history of church, I have been enjoying Dr. Stan Helton’s Caravan series on the blog of my Alma Mater, Alberta Bible College. Read here.).

Belonging takes effort. Belonging takes risk. Belonging takes bringing our Boards/Elders/Pastors back to Christian Testament community. It is scary. It is challenging. It is affirming. It removes polarization/dualism.

It destroys the community sin of Us versus Them.

Which can be scary for it makes community fluid. Responsive to those who are there. It challenges both big and small T traditions. The key question is “why do we do this?” and if it comes down to “it is the way we always have done this” but removes belonging, should it remain? The greatest challenge in the shift, is that it blows wide open our concepts of the image of God, and what the table for Communion/Eucahrist means in bringing together the Family of God?

This mullings have come from rasing a diverse family in Churchdom. Knowing the blessings of being a part of many church families, my kids in pre-school choosing to be baptized a year a part on Palm Sunday because they knew the love of Jesus their Granny taught them to sing about in Jesus, Loves Me, and their Nana shared with them. That they felt in the church families, but also the pain and hate brought to bear upon them in various communities not accepting who they are in the Image of God, because it challenged the big and small T traditions. Also, as I reflect back in some communities, my worth only tied to that which I could give, and in instances where I had nothing more to give no longer being seen as worthwhile within the church (and yes this was experienced by all members of my family).

It is also a challenge, for with the program lens, it can be simply, if you do not fit somewhere, you will not have any social connection. Look at the church coffee or pot/grace lukck times. Is there interactions with many? Do you stay within the scope of the comfortable? It can be challenging when we look at belonging those steps beyond inclusion, those steps that blow accessibility out of the water. This is not a polarized idea stating one type of Christianities is better than another. I have journeyed through the spectrum. Over c-tine, I have witnessed the rise of upperclass privilige within progressive church circles that overlap into the Q-Anon cult, and lower socio-economic challenges in fundamentalism that have overlapped at the same point of the Q-cult that has shone a dark shadown out there that only certain folks matter in the family of God, and many are exependable.

And sadly, the refrain is not Jesus loves me, but boldy from the pulpit, if you die I’m okay for my rights mean more than your life.

It is a struggle within to understand if the still quiet voice being heard within and communally is the Holy Mystery, or our own ego run amuck. For even good can come out of darkness, and that is the hardest challenge.

Yet, I sit here and continue to mull, for I know my family’s journey of joy and sorrow, has shaped us. How we entered c-tine has shaped us. Sadly, entering into a new relationship with church having to be reaching out for benevolent aid so you do not lose everything shapes your reprehension in reaching out to connect. Coupled with it being the same week picking up food hampers for survival from a former parish you were a leader in, humbling, but shaping the wall of protection more. It is something many givers and program makers forget. Especially in church, the socio-economic lens, shapes how connection happens. We are thankful to have cultivated a healthy summer camp relationship with our daughter, but there was another that could have been cultivated by the institution was locked into their socio-economic lens and myth story that broke the relationship. Now, is needing aid breaking a relationship? No, I raise the example, for the shaping then is always the wondering if you are to reach out again will it shape the interaction? Good intents can also be, unfortunately, shaped in the receiving. When the only personalized connection from a church family is in regards to aid, and not simply being. Yes, it is good to reach out to help, but it does shape in the receiver an understanding of relationship dynamics (true or false). How to shift, I am simply raising the contemplation at this juncture.

For part of the risk of belonging, is that sharing the space together- cyber, phone, or physical. The scent in the film Lars and the Real Girl, when the ladies group from the church comes to be, nothing more. Always brings up the concept, that appears to be lost in our busyness cycle of urban church. The fear when we talk about going back to normal, was normal truly that functional for belonging? Or was it functional for celebrating behaviour addictions that did not risk connection, for with connection (belonging) comes the risk of emotion?

What I have learned from c-tine, is confirmation of where I have existed. What I mourn in c-tine, is facing into the cup, and seeing revealed the dissonance we accepted to simply have a butt in a pew. What I pray emerges truly out of c-tine, is not how church was in the before times. I truly pray, communities of belonging are cultivated, with all the beaufitul risks that come with it.

My scariest moment, is my family standing with me, to take the step forward to risk belonging, and answering the call fully.

Amen.

Some intriguing reads for Lenten contemplation as we head towards Palm Sunday, the day Kingdom of God (belonging) met Empire Parade of Power, Money and Careers: Your Addiction to Outrage is Ruining Your Life | by Pete Ross | The Bad Influence | Medium


We as a world are changing gears and being stuck in the cycles of grief most congruent with anger and denial. I believe, and have observed, as it is the only thing that makes sense for the rise of hatred, and entrenchment in our world that for my side to be right it must be wholly good, and the other side needs to be completely evil, and the majority that usually exists in the pragmatic middle in most belief/ideological spectrums need to be viewed as weak, traitorous or complicit. Those are some political thoughts as we are hopefully at the end of the Polar Vortex here in Alberta, with normal winter returning. Another sign, that the environment is trying to keep us moving slower to allow for space for more healing, I mean, the pandemic hasn’t slown us. In fact it has illustrated the rise of faux labels we apply for prestige or perhaps, attempting to cry persecution for what is simply accountability and expectations of good citizenship. The current thought world of dualism, has created this weird space, where we so desperately want to assert our independent rights, but do not want to take on the interdependent communal responsibilities that come with those.

When I would speak on the history of povery and homelessness in my province, it was a key challenging question I would lay out to the first year students:

How did you get here today?

Many would postulate good grades, and hard work. I would stop them short and challenge them, did you appear fully grown and educated? Was there no adults who provided guidance and the necessities of life for you? Did you build your own house? Dig your own sewers? Treat your own drinking water? Grow your own food? Write and publish your own textbooks? Train your instructors? Build the school?

In the literal sense, one of the few times I like using the literal, did you pour the road? Make the bus/car? Drive the bus?

You didn’t?

But you had just told me that you got here through your own hard work, nothing more?

It is a simple truth our world has lost. An understanding of community, at times such as now, a leaving behind of the before times that perpetuated this fallacy, it should be a moment of renewal. Yet… fear that drives anger and denial… stops us…and creates more chasms between, silos, and perpetuates things such as the QAnon CULT (yes, cult, not in the anthropological senses of any religion, but rather the 20th century mainstream understanding ala NXVIM, Branch Davidians, Raelians, Moonies, Jonestown) all the pieces that perpetuated those tragedies brought to life online, and to bear on Jan. 6 with their faux Messiah, Donald Trump, still flexing his rage muscles against accountability at his impeachment trial (but shouldn’t this also be a criminal matter? The world is watching).

But it touches on what has been noted in Alberta during the pandemic, yes some decisions can be and are driven by the science (though lacking the transparency of knowing the CMOH recommendations fully to the UCP governing caucus this is an unknown). What is apparent is there are pockets within our province, that keeps talking personal responsibility and education in regards to restrictions, 333 days in it is time for accountability. Whether the small pocket of church or business or Member of the Legislative Assembly (alohagate, Anti-Lockdown Caucus to name but a few), need to be held to account. Business and non-profit licenses pulled, the full organizational ticket levied, coupled with those in attendance receiving full charges and tickets for breaking health orders. In regards to the MLA’s that do not comprehend crisis leadership, communal support, and health orders, they need to be expelled from Caucus. FULL STOP.

Yet, we live in a bizzarro world, like an elementary school playground that plays appeasement for the bully, instead of accountability.

For some, they will point to trauma awareness or being trauma informed. Both these lenses are highly important for creating the courageous safe spaces for healthy change and healing of a world on pause. Wondering and readying for re-imergence and knowing what has been shown as smoke and mirrors of our society before. What these lenses do not stop is accountability. They do not let one now have repercussions for actions. They aid us in understanding the actions of the person, and how to support them in the accountability for what they have done. The appropriate applications of these lenses in our public schools would have continued the powerful work of WE Days and Challenge Days in Anti-bullying, creating healthier and safer communities, instead of tying the hands of those responsible for shaping the future of our youngest citizens and leaving the bullied with the bad maxim “snitches get stitches” as they know what they share there will be no aid. A true shift needs to happen, and not just policies and false platitudes, actual resourcing and capacities needed.

Just as we need in our public health system in the prevention to treatment to cure of all that falls under health umbrella for holistic beings (emotional, physical,spiritual and mental)–or as some may see it, a Medicine Wheel, as our Indigenous siblings would guide us away from a quick triage model to an interdependent living and healing model.

Which bounces back to the yo-yo effect of open schools during a pandemic, without proper resourcing. This is not only speaking to PPE, or staffing to lower class numbers to allow for breaks, and proper distancing. It is the rolling effect of quarantine of classes after exposure (reactive measures), the lie of resilience being put forward on our children. Yes, they can be, but true resilience, well watch the brains….

See? Understand? We are creating the space for perpetuation of a complex trauma due to our desire for Twitter byte driven policy and practice decisions as adults. Instead of actual robust discussions, and reality of what is needed to ensure health and true resilience within our youth, and the adults that support and facilitate their learning. The key reason I hold, is this drive of grieving where we are lost in this tantrum like a toddler, of “my rights” instead of “our community responsbilities to one another”…

The fatigue is showing, and so is the strain, and the ripple effects. Most notably with my boy, I do not blame his school, he was on recovery day from some of his neurological conditions with barometric pressure changes and missed school. On that day he missed, his very secure cohort for medically complex kiddos was exposed. His support crew in the cohort, and the larger school are exhausted (we know and feel this). We were not called as he was not there that day. In the actual protocols this was appropriate. In a system with proper capacity (seeing the actual human supports necessary for thriving, not the false argument on human services as a debit on the lie of debit-credit household budget banksheet budgetting for governance that our Conservative populist governments try to push), there would have been enough fresh eyes to make the call to those that were not there. For those that were not there, still had a choice, to understand it was safe for their child to come, but that they would have 1 aide, and be by themselves in the classroom connected to the others via video conference. The call was not made, my son went to school, he came home, and the first thing stated to me was “they all died” and then later “I don’t want any more dead buddies”. See, in my son’s lived experience, when his chums go missing for a few days from school, he has learned at his young age, and about 16-18 times, they are now at the Tea Party in Paradise (our analogy for death, and the afterlife, our tradition calls Heaven, we created when our kiddos experienced the loss of their Granny at 5 & 6 years old).

See where proper interdependence creates robust health? Creates space for calmness? For healing? Space, where trauma is minimized, and healthy choices can be made. In the case of my son, it could have been proactive discussions on what school was to be like, or to keep him home and function with the rest of his class online. Instead we are now in a fear and grieving cycle that disrupted his learning and kept him home for the 2 days before the Teachers Convention break, and we have made the choice he will return to class when the class does.

There is no malice. We as a community are in uncharted territory, and mistakes happen. The difference between a mistake and harm, is the intent.

Which leads me to share a simple reflection from reading this week of James L. Gorman’s (2017) Among the Early Evangelicals: The Trans-Atlantic Origins of the Stone-Campbell Movement, for those unfamiliar with this version of Christianities it is collectively known as the Restoration Movement (Churches of Christ, Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, and my undergraduate alma mater, Alberta Bible College). The book explores the formation of the founders, and their, what is classed historically as primitive, but read through a 21st century eye…ecunemical. The movements within missionary societies, key traditions/denominations (what corporations would call brands) such as congregationalists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc. coming together on core values to accomplish, in this case evangelizing and building the Kingdom. It also touches on the challenges that began to arise, as the focus narrowed, and it became more about, what kept others out (perceived heresies) rather than what bonded.

See the source image

Made me ponder, as we move through c-tine, and I re-affirm a calling to ministry (and some equipping to come, your prayers are appreciated). Through things such as the Religious Right, Alt-Right, QAnon, other conspiracy theories,Domnionist, anti-masks, anti-vax, anti-lockdown, sadly- white supremacist and Neo-Nazi movements, MAGA that have all become aligned and affiliated with evangelicalism and Christendom (the term for Christianities tied to political power, Empire since Constantine). That is even before we touch on the horrors of Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Roman Catholic and Quiverfull child abuse scandals, Fundamentalist Mormon trafficking across borders of minors, Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation for the heresy of the Doctrine of Discovery and Dominionism., and Churchtoo (ala Willow Creek, RZIM, Southern Baptist Convention, and the list goes on). Obviously some labels and brands are broken beyond recovery.

To paraphrase a teaching of St. Paul, if a name on a building or a label on a baptism certificate causes one to stumble (or a chasm be opened)– perhaps, it is time to let it go (and can you tell Frozen was played a lot in the house). As we move through c-tine, worshipping and connecting at a distance and online what is to be on the other end? Is it things such as Conservative or Orthodox? House? Institutional? Liturgical? High? Low? Primitive? Evangelica? Pentecostal? Baptist? Anna-Baptist? Emergent? Progressive? Creation Spirituality? Anglican? United? Victory? Red Letter? Salvation Army? Monastic? Gnostic? Mystic? Methodist? Alliance? Missionary? Holiness? Lutheran? Restoration? Missing any? (Probably quite a few).

But what if, we take a lesson from those who came to be in Jesus company back in the writings of the Gospels, or as reflected in Gorman’s work, or really the stories of saints and others. It is rarely an independent faith of one modality or formation. Rather it is interdependent community (family, chosen, sometimes biological) to grow in and with.Which brings me back around:

The challenge in church, is the same grieving as with society.

As we move forward, let’s draw the circle wide. Let’s grieve the loss, the change, the Transfiguration and then boldly step into it, not as fractured brands, but as a means together in renewal.

For me, what hit my heart as I thought of what can come as we let go, and prototype, a new term came clearly into view for the church ahead:

The Divergents.

Let’s become a beacon of healing, and doing life differently. Authentically, together in community, in the beautiful rainbow splendor of the Imageo Dei. Be the soul, that we were called to be for and of our world.

This past week, many have hit the c-tine wall. Lockdowns in some areas, restrictions in others, seeing neighbours die, and wondering if something will shift couppled with the sweeping cold of the polar vortex pushing us more into hibernation. One begins to wonder, ponder and mull.

As we rest in c-tine, what is the still quiet voice revealing about your experiences?

What calling is on your heart, and are you ready to step into it?


Today our church took us back to the Exodus (the service video if you wish to contemplate on what was shared there can be viewed here). Anyway, it is the start of a series on overcoming fear, which is pertinent within this moment and time when you are seeing the extremist fear reactions we are seeing. These types of reactions do open one up to being susceptible to conversion (radicalization) with the worst outcomes being seen this past week on Capitol Hill in the United States of America. This post is not about the service this morning, but rather using the story from the Hebrew Bible within some reflective and spiritual practices to aid one in understanding themselves in change.

The root though, is the discomfort and fear of the unknown. This is precepted by change, I encourage you to look at the U Theory diagram and see where you are in the process of the change our world is currently undergoing, or to simply hold onto this diagram (and explore it more through resources like Senge’s Presence), as well look at it now and become cursory familiar with the concepts, for it will flow into the next steps:

See the source image

Now we are going to take up a text that is illustrative of the struggle within change, that is Exodus 14:1-31 (The Message), we will be reading this 3 times, but there will be times of reflection between each reading. Take a moment and sit comfortably, as straight up as possible, close your eyes and take deep diaphragmic breaths. Counting up slowly to 10, then back down to 0, do this as many cycles as it takes for you to feel relaxed and disconnected from the cacophony of the household, social media, and world around you. Know that we are in the Exodus story of the Hebrew Bible (you may be familiar with it through such movies as the 10 Commandments, Prince of Egypt, even Veggie Tales). It is a time of slavery, when a person with a disability is called forth by God to go into Egypt and set the people free from an oppressive Empire of the Pharaoh, after many back and forths, 10 plagues, they are free and on the run. Much like a bully who has been confronted though or a leader not knowing when time is up, Pharaoh decides to pursue. The Israelites are now surrounded on two sides by mountains, to move forward is to drown in the Red Sea, and to go back is to either be slaughtered or once more into slavery depending on the ruler’s whimsy. Ever felt like this when a challenge of change arises? Or when a change of life is forced upon us either through enforced retirement? Health (mental or physical) crisis? Layoffs? Loss of life? Or Covid-19 restrictions to keep ourselves and neighbour safe? The fight-flight-freeze response, what emotions are driving this within ourselves? Sometimes we can pinpoint core or raw emotions (i.e. sadness, anger) but there is usually more at play. This is where we are in change as we enter the three hearing cycles and space for contemplation, have paper and pencil/pen/crayons/pencil crayons before you:

First Reading/hearing (if you’re in a household of more than one, take time to have someone read aloud, if not read aloud on your own or use a speaker phone or video call) Exodus 14:1-31, The Message:

1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.

3-4 “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

And that’s what happened.

5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.

8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.

10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!

They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

14 God will fight the battle for you.
    And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.

22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.

The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”

26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”

27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.

29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.

This is the time in the quiet, to feel what is bubbling up for you in this moment of change in your life, what emotions are raw and under the surface or at the boiling point? Take time to draw, scribble, colour, write out what you are feeling. Use the emotion wheel below then to find the emotions that come up, and see what others are connected to them, anything else to add to/discern about your feelings, once we know what our heart/soul song is, we can work forward:

Take the most present and precise emotion forward with you as you enter back into the story, taking a rotation count of deep diaphragmic breaths counting up to 10, then back down to 0 as you are an Israelite in the moment on the shore.

This is the moment in time we are in, on the banks wondering what is going to happen? Where will we be? Are we ready to step forward? As the Red Sea parts, and it becomes like an aquarium for the lie thriving within, you have a choice to step into the passage, stay on the shore, or turn back to Egypt (what is known). Reading/Hearing #2 Exodus 14:1-31 the Message:

As you slowly come out with the emotion you took with you, reflect on the U Theory and where you are within it at this point and time in your personal story.

See the source image

Take time to reflect and write-draw-scribble-colour why you are where you are on the U? What is holding you there? What past story is holding you in place, what story will move you forward? Is there a new emotion present you would like to take with you into the third hearing?

As we prepare for the final hearing/reading, take a moment to re-centre yourself. Take the deep diaphragmic breathing count up to 10, then back down to 0. This time take into the story where you are on the U, what you are feeling. As you hear the third hearing, focus on the collapsing waters on the old way, the washing out of the pursuers, that which calls you back to “how it has always been done”, or puts qualifiers on love of neighbour. As we enter:

Third reading/hearing Exodus 14:1-31 as the waters crash behind you as you fearlessly take the step into the unknown…what is being washed away?

Take a moment to draw and write these out. This is what is holding you back now, take a moment to reflect on these “guardians” that have carried you through your life to this point. Honestly thank them, then destroy them as a moment of release.

For crossing through the Red Sea, is about releasing that which enslaved. Now the question arises, what is the below and above surface work you need to accomplish to be in the Promised Land? For it is about the journey….


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)

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.


Yes, it can be a heady  Christian Testament word for some. It is a gospel story of Jesus ascending a mount with his three closest friends, and being brilliantly illuminated through is deep connection with the Holy. Think of the image though, an ascent, a lifetime leading up to that point that included being raised working to poor class under Roman occupation in a town, where everyone knew that he was not Joseph’s son, and that his mother should have been cast out side the town limits or stoned to death, as he grew and re-connected with his cousin and baptized, but also spent time in the wilderness wrestling with traumas, insecurities, demons, spiritual matters, and overcoming the adversary within and without to focus on the journey ahead. One that would so upset the apple cart of societies functioning that political and religious enemies would conspire together to silence him through execution. The story of Lent to Good Friday in a snap shot. Yet, he continued his journey.

It is rather unique for our spirituals selves that the physical distancing of the Covid-19 pandemic comes to us during Lent, as we move towards Easter and Eastertide (and No, I do not believe like US President Trump that is when this should cease, life is too precious). The intent of the season’s is what I write of. The journey of transfiguration, connecting to our true being, both individually, and interdependently as a community–whether local or global.

This is the journey of change. We see glimmers of hope in this change. Calgary had started to use hotels/motels as housing for our neighbours experiencing homelessness, federally we are having real conversations around guaranteed basic incomes (and Scotland took the plunge); Ireland is showing the way in reclaiming public health from private hands at this time. Whether we acknowledge these concepts as Christian or not, is irrelevant, it is the journey of love of self and neighbour over things such as greed that is the driving force. Hope. Where do you see the glimmers of hope in your world?

In this journey though, we are seeing what happens in the stalling out of letting go of the old, and letting the new come to be able to move into prototyping as the U Theory tells us. I would say they are still those trapped in the Kubler-Ross grief spiral in the denial and anger, and that is harming as a whole, but also expected for change is scary, and the anger/denial is driven by fear of the unknown. Sadly, high death rates in pandemics and the status quo are what is known and one would rather stick to– that add to the uncertainty of the time, and leap into the unknown, and let come what may. Though we are at a tipping point for the change I would say into the prototyping of what will emerge out of this temporary new normal.

See the source imageA book, that came into my mailbox as this started was a journalist turned minister, Ellen Debenport (2015), from the Unity movement, Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Doorway. It is a new metaphor of change, whether one is moving through economic, health, mental health, relationship, spiritual, all of the above or maybe others than mentioned. It may imply trauma recovery (from PTSD to Post Traumatic Growth as researchers are discovering, and I am living). It is sharing that in the journey, much like what I started with in the journey to the mount for Brother Jesus’ transfiguration, there is a hallway. It may be short or long, the door may lead us to a different hallway…though it is our willingness to journey in the hallway, to interact, become aware, and have an impact.

The other challenge laid out though is to also have a complete willingness not to accept the hallway as our new normal, but rather keep it temporary, and when the intrinsic Cosmic Christ leads us through the right door way, to be open and ready to enter into the new normal fully. Not to hold back due to our own denials, anxieties and fears. That is our story as community now, are we ready to be present in the current hallway, or if we haven’t already to step into the temporary hallway, to journey through, and and fully embrace the better that can happen.

That is do not yearn for what we stepped away from, but prepare for a better world where what is good from this time, the compassion, empathy, neighbourliness, kindness are held close as ideals and values. These are my prayers as I contemplate, celebrate, weep, feel my full emotions…and am apprehensive for my loved ones.

That glimmer of hope. The ascent of the mountain to the full transfiguration. The moving from death of the old, to the beautiful resurrection of hope, love, faith, peace and joy to come. Not as fixed calendar dates, but as moments, fixed in time and history, to a new world as we navigate the hallway and prepare to throw open the door to a brilliant new day.

Are you ready to open up the light once again?

A Lonely Place

Posted: January 12, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

A bargain walls in Comic shops bringing cheaper price trade paperbacks into my hands I normally wouldn’t buy. This find was at Phoenix Comics in Calgary, and it was the fifth volume of Rebirth’s Detective Comics: A Lonely Place of Living, the third in what had become an ongoing trilogy that brings me back to my childhood.

Ah the carefree days of 1988. The Olympics in Calgary, Archie even made an appearance. Oh and the vitriol hate on for Robin II (Jason Todd) in Fandom espoused in letter pages and I guess at Conventions (I was 10, I would pick up Batman periodically but he wasn’t my fave, though the New Teen Titans was another story with a grown up Dick Grayson (Robin I) that I had attachment to, because I was Robin when me and the older brother played Batman and Robin as younger tykes). The fuel that led to a four part story arc, A Death in the Family…the carefreeness of 1-900 does Robin live or die phone lines between part 3 and 4, with the Joker laying a beating on the poor child, and an explosion…and… Not so innocent fandom chose to kill the kid (yes fictional, but do I really want to open up the psychology of that?). A year later in 1989 the psychological decline (agonosia) was in full swing. Batman was spending less time as Bruce, was become more risk inclusive and pseudo-suicidal in the pursuit of his mission, darker (if that was possible) and more barbarous.
What was happening?

One can say it was grief over the loss of his second partner and ward at such a young age. Yes this is true, but then in 1989 came a twist in a cross over with my New Teen Titans… A Lonely Place of Dying and the character of Tim Drake. Where Dick, Bruce and Jason came to the mission out of their pain, Tim was attempting to set the balance right. Knowing that one who is in trauma, and recovery is only as good as his social supports and healthy ones aid resiliency. Left in the darkness by ones self it becomes easy to be consumed by the darkness. Tim, was a toddler at the night Dick’s parents were killed at the circus, but throughout his young life he figured out that Bruce was Batman and that–Batman needed a Robin…so comes the story as he tries to get Dick back to be Robin to provide the health and balance and resiliency. Thinking outside the box, though not far enough outside the box.

For it was not an old Robin, but a new one. One untouched by trauma to lead them into heroics, a true bright bird to bring Batman out of the darkness: Robin III. The decompensation of Batman would halt, and resiliency would become intuit. For Tim, was bringing a Trauma Informed approach to his heroes way before those terms were en vogue: Safety, transparency, and person centered.

The third Robin was fun, he would face losses and death as his journey in life would continue. He would take up leading his own Titans team, as well as Young Justice, become friends with Superman’s clone, Conner (Superboy), and emerge into Red Robin. That is where we continue to see his out of the box thinking within the pages of the Detective Comics in the Rebirth launch. For Tim is not willing to remain static, or keep doing the same old thing, his mind was seeing down the road and the ripple effects of decisions and why…which led to bringing a family to balance out Bruce, other heroes within Gotham City for the mission, for support, for mutual resiliency.

Creating a tribe focused on health and the mission.

This trilogy got me contemplating my own roles in life. Building teams, looking at programs, systems. The realization that much of what many speak about systems planning and change theory my mind and heart had already processed through so when I do talk it is about the people on the front lines that leaders are there to support, so that the best services and courageous safe spaces possible can be created for true healing and growth into the them they were always meant to be if the trauma had not interrupted the journey.

This is the mind Tim brought to the work, first getting a new Robin online, and then later creating what he called the Belfry, a group of support and empowered to make a change. This is a key piece of leadership. The right systems in place to support safety, health and life long learning so that the right staff (that is the staff with the passion, heart and health for the role) can be equipped to actualize the role. Yes you read that right in my hiring processes it is not always the one with the highest qualifications or lowest dependent on the role I hire, it is the best fit for the organizational values that if we invest in will be there for the long haul, and eventually be taking over the leadership roles.

Hiring as part of succession planning. Knowing that those we invest in today will be leaders on the front lines, and down the line will be the leaders carrying the organization forward.

Do we as leaders understand that?

Or are we blinded by our own insecurities about what we need to do? Like Batman in Lonely Place of Dying, so blinded by the pain and wanting to take it all on, we create a zero-sum game that can lead to our demise and the mission ending?

Or are we like Tim Drake, stepping in to point out truths, resonate with the values, take a risk on someone new (ala himself in the role), and grow into it transforming the way things are done while maintaining the organizations core values?

Thinking out of the box, being values driven in leadership can be a lonely place. Yet, we one understands all the other leadership en vogues are simply tools to actualize the organizational values (which need to align with one’s own core values to be effective) we get healthy leaders, healthy organizations, healthy staff, and a space for healthy individuals to emerge within those we serve.

Are you willing to step into the lonely place?


Image result for death of supergirl crisis coverFor comic fans 1984 was a big year. It was the year of the 12 part Crisis on Infinite Earths mini-series from DC Comics, the first ever cross over in a comic universe that shook the foundations and brought the deaths of Supergirl and The Flash (Barry Allen). Flash forward to the CW Arrow-verse and it has been a recurring theme in the Flash t.v. show, Crisis and the Flash’s vanishing, it has shaped his character and actions knowing that it is about preparing his family, friends and team for the time in history when he is no longer there. That’s right, Barry’s identity has been shaped by this momentous martyrdom.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and suitHit 2019 and the Crisis on Infinite Earths cross over hits the airwaves, and the Flash episode is the 3rd part (and since we have Netflix and not cable in my house, sadly the only part we get).

But it was fun. What kind of fun? Two of my favourite dark universe creations, John Constantine Hellblazer goes searching for the soul of Green Arrow in purgatory and on Earth 666, Luci (yes I love Luci as a great foil, and he was in pure splendid Vertigo form).

Aside from these types of team ups…the core story was the time for Barry Allen to Martyr himself. It is like vocation for all of us, we have a career path, what we do in life, whether or not we want it to, it is what defines us  because it is what society asks us to define who we are in our societal caste system. Employment/career/vocation you are what you do.

This is what Flash is in this moment, a hero, a soon to be martyr. Yet to stop the anti-matter wave of destruction he is not the only Flash, there is the Earth-90 Flash (yes the 1 season fun show on CBS) is there as well…and…well a Flash perishes to stop the crisis, and our Flash of Earth-1 is left stripped of the identity that had defined his herodom.

It was glanced over rapidly in the episode obviously his move through the emotional spectrum, but it is something to remind us when friends are unemployed, or something has shifted health wise so that they may not be doing what they used to do. It is a trauma to them. May sound like a powerful word, but it is a word that builds an image I hope, as it is something that cuts to the core of identity that society has shaped us with–it is about our purpose in community. As such, it takes us through the stages of change and grieving whether you use Kubler-Ross, Stages of Change or U-Theory (or a plethora of others) there is the event- the struggle (anger/denial/bartering) acceptance- healing– moving forward…

Too often though we trap ourselves within the microcosm of pain…and lose ourselves in the anger and denial over our current spot in life. What is lost when that happens is that we cannot see through the current darkness to follow the constant light to what awaits. For with each challenge, loss, grief, that we continue to walk through the valley of– a new and better us emerges. Wiser, and more able to be the authentic us, and define who we are through our true core values not a faux litmus test of society. This was what was glanced over in mere minutes of the episode for Barry (Flash), that if it had not been a cross over would’ve made an exceptional story arc of re-establishing who he was as a hero without the identity of self-sacrifice.

As we move through change whether chosen or forced, it is about re-focusing, and re-establishing who we are, stronger in the here and now.

BUT

We must make the journey through the valley, and not freeze at the lowest point, but rise into the light of the new.


The Jonah Effect is an earlier post reflecting on the minor prophet Jonah, and his story. Not just re-sharing that shows to one that you can come back to sacred stories and more than one reflection can grow out of it, as well depending on the time and moment in your life they can speak differently. Same is said of Jonah, and anomaly in that it is a nouwen quotestory of a snap shot in the life of the prophet. A prophet called by God to go to the enemy Assyria’s capital city of Nineveh, and offer them not destruction but a chance to change direction. The same choice that Israel kept getting through the prophetic voices of the 12.

Jonah’s life becomes the prophetic message of transformation and hope. Of not getting lost in one’s own anger and denial, but in hearing clearly what God is whispering to screaming into our heart. Where Nineveh brings up the communal trauma, anger and hatred that the nation lived (1:2); it was Jonah’s refusal to see beyond his own anger and fear (hearing anything, about our own communal and institutional transformations? Changes? Personal and corporate callings?).

He charted a boat to escape, and as noted in the Jonah Effect, the storm so scared the sailors, they cast him over to which:

[a] And the Lord appointed[b] a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
    and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
    and you heard my voice.

-Jonah 1:17-2:2 (English Standard Version)

Jonah wasn’t getting the hint. The change afoot. God saved him from Sheol, the warehouse of the souls that have gone before regardless of being righteous or unrighteous, simply a place of darkness. Out of this Jonah says God hears him. Out of the darkness of Jonah’s own soul, out of the hatred, fear, anger and denial in his grief cycle-change cycle of his own life? The life of his nation? Understanding more deeply, the Shema?

This time in the belly of the beast is an allegory used for the death time of Jesus in the tomb in the Christian testament. It is a time of rebirth and resurrection, not simply a retreat. The kernels of new life were laid, for the communal understanding. Not just  one man in a fish. Vomited freshly onto dry land.

jonah

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.-Jonah 2:10 (ESV)

But even on dry land he was still struggling with his anger, and change. Jonah was outside the city gates with the tree, and a worm was sent to whither it to get Jonah back on track. Continuing to strip away what Jonah understood as blessing in the new world changing before him. Jonah’s anger has so consumed him again when he let it so consume him that, well…

When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

-Jonah 4:8-11 (ESV)

Think beyond yourself. Think beyond your anger. The bush became a metaphor for what the anger was doing to Jonah’s soul, given time to resurrect, and still he let it consume him. How hard, once released, is it to exorcise the cancer of anger from our souls? The writer, like with good fantasy and science fiction, uses hyperbole, brings elements of the world and creation (political and environmental) into play to create the interior conflict within the lead character, so that by the end, in good rabbi tradition, the transformation is left to the reader to experience with the deep Star Trekkian question, where should our pity lie?

Or to flip it,

Where should our love and hope root and grow?

Are we ready for the journey from fish to heart of the sacred?

Usetacould

Posted: July 20, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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Toby Keith has a song, As Good as I once Wasas it is a country party song about someone reminiscing to their bad old days of barroom fights we miss the wisdom. Yes, there is wisdom in a Toby Keith song for recovery or living with a chronic illness. It is not simply about aging, and how we change. It speaks of simple things, that as we change, we can be stuck in this grief cycle.

Image result for u theoryIt is part of a learning curve, that I think the U Theory speaks to the best in the stages of change. You are different. You are not the same you once were, and yes as a result you need to refocus. Or as the U shows us, let go of what was, and begin to enter into what will be, and trying out the new yous to see what is truly emergent.

This is where recovery can stall out in the grief stages of hate and anger. We see that at a country level in America, but closer to home in Canada, Alberta has a quorum stalled out in anger and hate, because they are unwilling to let go. Let go of the “usetacould’s” or the “shoulds”…instead of looking at what is remaining of the cornerstone and building from there upwards. In my own journey yes there was high levels of frustration, and anger as I had to figure out what my brain was doing to me, there was also the focus on what mattered, and needing to reconfigure, and take the steps necessary to begin to understand who I was now, not grieve for who I was. As I struggled with focus in October 2017 at 80-90 seizures a day, I could have thrown out writing and reading as too much and just stayed in bed or on my couch. Instead I struggle walked (scared the living s-h-i-t outta my wife) up to the bookstore and bought a Star Trek novel, to struggle through to ensure, even though it was painfully long to read now, that I kept at the skills. To see what they would develop in to.

As I work on the sequel to Soul Ripples in real time, I asked some good friends to provide a forward, reflections on what this time was like. One good friend shared how I had never lost hope that I would get through it, and what was to come. In the moment I may not have realized it, but I did know change was happening and unconsciously was working through it. My PNES psychologist was shocked with the way I took to the treatment, it was due to a courageous safe space created by her and her student, but also this knowing of hope and wanting to see what was to emerge. It was relational based, like those who stuck by me and my family during this continuing journey (y’all are now family, not just friends by the way).

On day 101 of seizure free, I do not know what the future holds. I am still with my PTSD treatment in the letting go phase, and letting come of the U, but there is, and always has been, hope.

How different would our world be, if we let go of what we used to be, or the could’ve beens, and presence in the NOW for who we, and our world is? What has to be let go of? What has to let come? What is being prototyped? And what is being crystallized?

What happens when we live in hope?