Posts Tagged ‘Christianities’


When one traces the history of Christianities through the Creeds, statements of faith, liturgical styles, and Biblical Canons what is seen is different communities attempts to assert themselves as “the one true path”. Not realizing the beauty of the forest that was fed by the one river within the community traditions birthed by the life, teachings, death, and new life of Brother Jesus.

The Johannine community writings are such writings. They are the “Gnostic” portion of the Canon decided under Constantine. More likely added because they brought the mystic more fully to the forefront of the Christian Testament, but also because it allowed for the more mystery faith communities to still remain as part of the new Empire Religion, and older mystery religions to easily assimilate.  These writings are Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation.

The Last book of the Christian Testament is one of the most controversial, even from early Canon setting. Revelation (of St. John). Read it, it is like a religious acid trip. No other word to describe it. It has been used to speak of the end of  the world, fueled an understanding that apocalyptic writings meant that, and has been used as a text of control. When in fact, it is a text that has survived many occasions to be exorcised from the Bible by those using religion to control the people. Why does it matter? In the 7 letters to the 7 churches, it is the story of sedition (treason) and shattering the established oppressive Empire that states those that are “persons” and those that are not. The language was apocalyptic and mythological to hide the under current so as not to increase the genocide of Christians and other monotheists of the time by Roman authorities.

Spiritual Practice:  After reading Revelation, spend time writing a revelation letter to your own religious community. What form and images would it take? what changes would be called for?

2 & 3 John are later letters, that illustrate a bit more of a structured church with bishops/presbyters. But still show us a community struggling with concepts of reconciliation and belonging.

1 John is a commentary. Yes you read that right. It is the commentary on the Gospel of John bluntly putting forward what a community of Love and belonging is.

The Gospel of John. As noted, the Gnostic gospel. Written for a very metaphysical audience as noted with the opening lines of creation not speaking of the physical, but of the light being birthed into the darkness. Echoing the creation narrative, but showing the inward light shining outwards. As a community of belonging is laid out through stories, teachings and miracles, it is shown how the darkness will brutally try to shatter authentic belonging through love. The 2003 movie Gospel of John is available free online, a DVD copy has each chapter of the DVD aligned with the Gospel chapters and is quite useful for group exploration and discussion. For scholarly read of the Gospel of John I point you to the Roman Catholic theologian Raymond Brown, no one is better.

The central theme of all of Johannine writings are summed up in the simple new command, better described as a gift:

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

-Gospel of John 13:34, New Living Translation

The great mystery teaching of all time.

L-O-V-E.

Out of that belonging. It is scary enough the world will try to destroy those that live it.

Will you live LOVE today?

 

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Ecclectica a random compilation of thoughts/commentaries on this point in history.

Equalization:

It amazes me how many Albertans hold an opinion on equalization payments, without understanding equalization (including those politicians who supposedly have worked out formulas). Back to basics of poli-sci. First it is not money out of provinces, but money from federal taxes. It is a system designed for balance to aid have not provinces. It is not a screw job on Alberta, in fact for many years before the boom squandered by our then PC Government, we were a “have-not” province receiving more equalization money. So what is someone who used to receive aid, now complaining about someone else in need receiving aid known as?? Inquiring minds want to know. *cough*hypocrites *cough*

Oh and the current formula that was renewed by the Liberal Government was negotiated by our Opposition Leader, Jason Kenney, when he was in Government.

Kids in Camps (and not the good kind):

Trumps’ attempted authoritarianism. His executive order sham. He does not care about kids, he cares about how much strength and stamina is left in the resistance, only reason for the smoke and mirror back pedal. The First Lady’s jacket revealed his true thoughts to the kids in camps. Same as the EO moving it from a simple civil violation, to a criminal one.

Oh, and for Canadians who are supporting Trump and slamming out government. There was a practice from 2012-2015, when it was under the portfolio of United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney (ahem, Alberta). It is abhorrent, and quit slamming the government. Right you MP about it, if it is still happening call the government to stop. If it isn’t but there is still a law it needs to be abolished. This is not a partisan issue, it is a human issue, and needs to be an all party issue.

Single Use Plastic bans:

Yes we need to be good stewards of our environment, yes we need to reduce consumption. We also need to stop dumping the crap in our oceans, and find ways to recycle what we do use, and reclaim what damage has been caused. Before these are phased out, we need viable replacements at same costs. Yes, this is a pointed argument at the ABLEIST environmental movement of the straw-ban (and note it is driven by industry of other types of reusable straws, for there are much more harmful products to target). But for some with disabilities the elimination of the plastic straw is literally a difference between drinking or not:

infographic created by a disability advocate, screen shot from a re-tweet on twitter.

In regards to plastic bags. Companies (ala Wal-Mart) charging 5 cents a bag does not discourage use, your tills are not designed for me to pack my own. Also, it is a serious socio-economic question I have. Many food banks use plastic bags for their hampers (and yes these are also hampers given to children in public school to ensure they get food). What is the plan? What is the replacement? What costs of donation does this take from the bottom line of aiding those in need?

Like the straws, this comes from a place of upper-class wealth and pushing new products. All for new products. All for environmental care (hell I am formed as a Franciscan). BUT– Ableism and socio-economics need to be taken into account with any change, and that includes these ones. How are we going to ensure belonging and care of neighbour without adding extra-burdens to fixed or poverty/working class incomes?

CBE Lisa Davis

I am going to admit to being pissed about CBE Trustee Lisa Davis exploring a UCP run and possibly leaving the CBE Trustees. Why? She was an ALLY for kids with disabilities, and aided us in getting our voice out during a busing mess that put kids lives at risk last summer. A mess that CBE administration and then sitting trustees blamed on our community, and as parents we should be happy with what we got BECAUSE WE CHOSE TO HAVE THESE KIDS.

Trustee Hrdlicka’s twitter responses quoting CBE policy just illuminated the board is not there for students or families.

Though it does give a microcosm of the NDP/UCP Dichotomy.

By-Elections

Two by-elections in Alberta are set for July 12, 2018 provincially. There has been a number since the 2015 change of governments that saw the 44 year PC dynasty end. Most notably election night when Jim Prentice who won his seat, but lost his government resigned.

By-elections have become “accepted”. It has become acceptable to not fulfill your elected obligation, and walk out on your citizens. I would love a political scientist to do an accounting on how much these cost us each term, and which parties have cost us the most (my hunch this time is they have all come from one source- UCP “PC/WRP legacy”).

There obviously is some things that cannot be foreseen. The unforeseen and sad death of MLA Bhullar. A massive health crisis. As with any vocation this cannot be foreseen, and as such a penalty for the by-election should not be imposed.

Otherwise, there needs to be a penalty. By-elections are expensive.

Some thoughts are a penalty paid by the elected official. Monetary may work. Not being eligible anymore for any type of pension is another. An inability to run for any office for a set length of time (5-10 years to encompass most levels of governance).

But there also needs to be a penalty by the party so they do not seek to trigger the by-election by bullying or shunning a member out. That penalty is simple, they cannot run a candidate in the by-election, and any one who wins and crosses the floor to joint he party triggering the election forfeits their seat, and the party loses the ability to run a candidate in that riding for two election cycles.

Another option is the party causing the by-election must pay for it out of party coffers.

But by-elections should not be something we are comfortable with, for it says we are okay with elected officials opting out of the oath they sign when they run.

Eugenics History

Has anyone else noted that the thrust for eugenics (purifying of the race; forced sterilization of those with disabilities; experimentation on those with disabilities/mental health concerns; forced institutionalization) grew out of a biblical concept of less than for the person who was not seen as whole or typical. Yet governments and churches have not apologized as with other groups? They do not seek truth and reconciliation?

Where is the words of repentance from the Salvation Army? Evangelicals? Anglicans? Catholics? United Church? Presbyterians? Jehovah Witnesses? All the Christianities who have supported teachings such as this?

It is quite simple, I love the social gospel movement. It has brought many beautiful and positive changes in our world– feminism, human rights, labour rights, birthed other movements. But within that heritage one also has to wrestle with eugenics (which has stayed around passively as Ableism)… is the church willing? Or is this the last group that can be ignored/shuffled to the corner with impunity?

2019 and 2020 elections

Just your friendly PSA that Canada is not a locked 2 party voting system. We have multiplicity provincially and federally. Please look at your local candidates, and their parties closely to what aligns with your core.

ALSO VOTE. The only vote that does not count, is the vote not cast. Ontario has a PC Government, but 48% of eligible Ontarian did not vote. So yes technically 60% of the 52% did vote non-PC, but you still do not have a true encapsulation of what all eligible voters would be.

VOTING

When the government consults on voting, ensure you take time to speak for those accessing homeless shelters, who may be in hospital, long term care, lodges, hospice and any other facility they may not have mobility to get to a polling station to have the polling station brought to them.

Also remember constitutionally to vote in Canada (and run for office) you have to be in the country for 6 months and over 18 years old.

 

 

 

 


It is true I am hard on the religious of our world. This far into so many contacts with the Holy Mystery and we still regress back into our pack is stronger than your pack b.s. (either the old standard meaning or belief systems, whichever resonates). We create banners/credos/terms for inclusion of certain segments, set aside others, but when it comes down to it and what is truly worshiped—money—comes to the front one will quickly see where beliefs lie. As well, when the edge of the comfort bubble is nudged just that new millimetre watch the retro-grade-a-thon.  But I also continually challenge myself and my own b.s. Look deeper, try new things, see what it truly means to draw the circle wide, not just to include but to belong.

Mostly due to an understanding of human development and history. Knowing when we get it right it goes exceptionally well for everyone, but when we get it wrong it is bloodfest worse than any 1980’s slasher movie.

That is why I decided to dive into the exploration of the Sermons on (insert place word here) by exploring the Gospel of Luke.  Luke was the disaffected travelling partner of Paul (Saul) of Tarsus. He was a physician by tradition, and set out to write an orderly history of the early movement which is seen in two works, the synoptic Gospel of (St.) Luke and the Book of Acts (of the Apostles). What is notable in a quick short hand overview is that both works focus highly on breaking down the religious and empire based cast systems, reaching out to the disenfranchised, and making a declarative statement that all belong on an equal basis. This is after all the story that begins by the Creator asking the non-person (read girl), Mary, if she would consent to having a child. And it steam rolls from there.

Leading up to this we see healings (as I addressed the point of in a post here); the scandal of calling a tax collector (the one seen as a “race traitor” for openly serving the Roman Empire, and stealing from their own people) to already breaking religious traditions around fasting by pointing out why would you do this when you could commune so deeply with true belonging. In other words, we have chattered the ladder, made a circle, an all are welcome within and belong, so quit imposing your holier than thou b.s. on us. Quit forcing us to live in fear of the big bad evil bearded bastard in the sky that is out to smite us if we do not do what you say.

Which brings us to:

17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

-Luke 6:17-19 (English Standard Version, ESV)

The flat plains. Not being above the people, but within the people, sharing power and belonging. Which is the non-caste system world the laws, prophets, judges and other ancient stories tried to build but were always screwed over for power. It was the idea of the fields the poor could gather food upon after the harvest so they could stay at subsistence levels, instead of using the goods of the whole people to care for the whole people.

Not the bloody overthrow the Zealots (and other Messianic cults of the time were pursuing) or the segregation of the Essenes, or the status quo of the Pharisees/Sadducees/Herodians… but something so radical it was scary.

From within the circle, he would share from a place of belonging and new life.

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

-Luke 6:20-23 (ESV)

What the heck? It appears at first reading Jesus is re-enforcing the caste system, and that one should gladly accept their lot in life because it makes them holy.

WRONG!!!

What is being pointed out in blessings is simple. You have lived so outside the normalized oppressive system as untouchable, non-humans that a new world can be created. There is no benchmark of normal, there is no typical. There is no better than or less than or living in fear.

For he goes on to remind them in this poetic psalm by pointing out those that are within the caste/touchable, the fear they live within:

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

-Luke 6:24-26 (ESV)

It sounds like being smacked for having the good life. Nope. It is being smacked for letting things like wealth, self-gratification, and oppression of others to achieve these things being what drive you. Think of those that have created systems that traumatize and re-traumatize humans… those are the woes. We are created to be interconnected and interdependent. We are in woe, when we do not see neighbour, but other. When we cannot aid another in living the life they are meant to live with all the supports they need to thrive.

I can just imagine the conversations and questions that were coming from the gathered families during this discussion. Yes you read that right, discussion. It was not lecture, a drop a heavy message and scoot out the backdoor. Jesus was in the midst, eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and answering questions. I remember in bible college being accused of a drop and run of a heavy teaching, and it wasn’t an accusation. I did. It was a message I needed to hear to be able to change how I bring sermons or lectures and ensure there is time for interaction, and a structured after time to answer questions some may be unable to bring up in a gathering.

This is how I could see this topic ringing out, what are we to do with those that tell us we are not good enough:

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[a] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

-Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)

Oh what can hang up some many in bad teaching. The genesis of love the sinner hate the sin b.s.; or hug a Nazi in progressive circles (do I really need to hug a Neo-Nazi? NO!)  or lip-service to inclusion or… Jesus was throwing down ways to actually stay safe, non-violently resist, and to see that even the most vile has the cosmic spark within them. There is value in the life of the abuser/oppressor, but we need to stay safe. Turn the other cheek is non-violent resistance for it allows an escape route. For those who understand ancient/passive martial arts/defenses it allows the person to move and escape without escalating the situation. To understand that taxes and force are used to demean by stripping one of their possessions, when you take that power away by giving more it confuses and confounds. Especially because in the Beatitudes here tie into the blessings of being the outside caste (aside), know that the community will uplift and care for you and your family as we resist to shatter the oppressive authority of Empire, hatred and religious oppression…as the light shines into the darkness and replaces fear with hope, hate with love.

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

-Luke 6:39-42

The journey is to become fully equal where we can respect one another’s words of wisdom, consolation, empathy and kindness. Not only words, but words supported by authentic actions. The judgements are those that have already been cast idly and falsely, this is a reminder not to be like that. Not to use others as a scapegoat as you have been made. But to stand in the new life, to know who you authentically are, working on being the best you possible. To speak in wisdom and kindness, as those who have mentored and taught you have.

Actions and words of authenticity rooted in love shatter the hypocritical system of now that the religious who say you are not worthy you exist within.

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[b] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

-Luke 6:43-49

And what happens when you are authentic in your lived life?

What happens when you are authentic in being a life long learner?

What happens when you reach the core of the labyrinth of your soul? Touch the cosmic dust that exists within you? And realize that same dust has connected everything in creation to you and you to them?

What is the new world symbolized by the plain?

Are you ready for your words and actions to resonate HOPE and LOVE?

Pick one simple act, tell a friend when you will do it, go back and tell them the outcome.


There is still one group that folks can dump on, and take out hate on without being called to account each time. I know it may sound shocking, but it is true. How do I know? There has been very few to no apologies for historic atrocities birthed out of religious beliefs that grew into eugenic government policies. Rarely are they mentioned when speaking of the Stalin era and Nazi Holocausts, even though millions were experimented on before the final solution was given to them—backed by both atheists and theists.

History also speaks of forced sterilizations, pushes for aborting (and infanticide). Shame that it is because of sin (personal or family). Abusive institutionalization that if it was war hospitals would have violated the Geneva Convention. Before that, cast outside the city, into the garbage dumps.

Vastly overlooked, very few knew this past week was Accessibility Week, which culminates on Sunday June 3 with Disability Pride.

So misunderstood that the monotheistic faiths spoke of “healing” as a means so they could belong and be welcomed again. Yet, it was Jesus who showed that it was us who had created the false separation:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

-Gospel of John (New International Version) 9:1-7

Many will see this lived teaching of Brother Jesus (amongst his other healing) as a call that there is something deficient within the person, yet that is not what is happening. The people asking the question (as those today) are the blind ones, it was only by the act of removing their neighbours blindness could they see the belonging.

Yet we fixate on the “otherness” and the “not like usness”. We may clean up language, but there is still a world filled with saying you do not belong:

  • R-Word use excuse “yeah but I mean it in the medical way.” FTS—only the most backward practitioner still uses it is a diagnostic with terms such as global delay, developmental delay available. You are the Neanderthal that still assumes other racists-prejudice language is okay and excusable.
  • Environmental push to end the plastic straw and literally attacking the community when they point out the need. You are exclusionary, and laying the plank work for eugenic beliefs of less than to exist—you are the one asking who sinned…
  • The “I am just running in” and taking up the accessible (permit only) parking stall—while ignoring the idling vehicle with the permit…for those who know the show New Girl, this is the type of thing that would get Schmidt to put money in the jar.
  • The School Board Superintendent that states the only reason a parent is stressed over busing is because they chose not to end a pregnancy.
  • The tsking church member at children for making noise, but then excuses the child with Autism (yes treating different is the same thing).
  • Or be the tsking church member stating “they do not belong here.” (or the one in the pulpit kicking them out for making a joyful noise).
  • Or the person that believes they need healing and so will invade personal space without consent to lay hands on for prayer
  • Or refuse to pray when they have an operation, because if they pass it is God’s will.
  • Shaming community/family into always grieving the “should’ve/would’ve/could’ve of a life.
  • Complaining that budgets can’t be made because of “those people with disabilities”
  • Being the City of Calgary and ranking sidewalks, bike paths, public paths, and public cut outs and public transit stops as low priority so mobility device users are left as shut ins during winter.
  • Event planners that have no way for full inclusion.
  • Are the agency that toss a new staff into changing an incontinent client, without taking into account that is a very intimate work and perhaps even if you do not believe the person is cognitively aware, still deserves respect.
  • Argue over what a living wage pension is for someone that cannot work, but finds meaning in volunteering.
  • Strips universal pharma care when they become a senior
  • Share the “short bus” or “window licking” meme jokes on social media and wonder why there is outrage.
  • Speak of vaccines being the cause—when if there is not proper vaccinations lives are at risk.
  • Showing up for support work sick because well, a little cold or flu won’t be harmful to the compromised immune system.
  • Grief and mental health support are not necessary because they don’t understand…
  • Shaming individuals for weakness because of equipment or pharmaceutical needs.

And yes the list can go on for ever… and I am sure many readers can add their own stories. It is when you remain in the unenlightened, not letting the Mystery churn, that these points are where you live. You completely miss what Jesus meant by the glory revealed. That is, that the they could see what was told about the beauty of God in creation:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind (humanity) in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

-Genesis (NIV) 1:26

The introductory poem to the texts of the Hebrew Bible does not rhyme words as in English. It rhymes ideas, concepts to show the true interconnectedness of the created cosmos. Not to answer the how it happened question, but the WHY? Why did this come together like this? For us to live, and grow and as Day 6 reflects, humanity in all its forms are reflections of the Holy Mystery. We must release the fear/hatred/prejudice that sees difference as less than. Jesus was asked who sinned…No one was his response. The person reflects the beauty of the cosmic spark of life. To truly show that everyone belongs, and that with allowing for authentic belonging, life needs to be done differently. We need to be like the child.

That is open to all as neighbour-friend. No labels. Just knowing what needs to be done to the building, civic design, laws, legislation, policies, governmental money entitlements, universalizing health care and pharmacare. The example laid out in the gospel, that was the 6th day of ancient Hebrew poetry. We are all here for a reason. We take all forms. We are here to support one another, where one has an ability, another has a weakness. We are all different. Really it is the underlying ethos of many belief systems (religious or not) that are put aside. We are neighbours, individuals (and possibly ourselves) who experience life as a person with a disability-differently abled- complex needs- special needs—choose the term the person uses to identify themselves with (as with gender, it is not hard folks).

As the circle is danced wider, we as humans cannot rationalize not having a scapegoat. Sadly, that scapegoat can still be seen as the differently abled (as my son chooses to identify) or myself with a rather unique brain mapping that confounds most outside of my own brain. Yet we can still be looked down upon, still pushed and pointed at.

What is wrong with you?

Is the new sneered question. One asked many times of my son in religious settings. Though he was fully embraced by those I had served who themselves were marginalized, his passion for loving others was encouraged and so was his curiosity.

What is wrong with you? Has the world’s most simple answer:

NOTHING.

If you cannot experience that, then perhaps the question needs to be, what is blocking you from fully being present in community with your neighbour? What is stopping you from being apart, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu phrased it, the rainbow family of God?

We are apart of the beautiful rainbow family that is humanity, with celebrating and living into our diversity we are stronger.


Humboldt- A small trucking company (1 driver, and 1 owner) had one of their 2 trucks accidentally go through a hockey bus on a snow-covered Saskatchewan high way killing many. A nation is in mourning, as in a country the land mass of Canada regardless of your extra-curricular growing up, you have been the child on the bus, and your parents have been the parent awaiting the arrival. Yet the on-set of social media which can do good, and allow connectedness can even twist this to their own gain. Freelance writers with dumb tweets, special interest group memes trying to get their issues back in national focus, alternative media fundraising, and those Nazi fringes spinning conspiracy theories because of the ethnicity of the company owner.  Then there is the backlash SJW’s (the extremists within the political spectrum) threatening violence from fisticuffs to murder to rape against those that were by any moral or ethical compass being uncivilized.

Now, seriously folks, why are we making the dumbass personal gainers the superstars? Why are you sharing their info to “fame-shame”? Therefore, social media has complaint processes, let it die in the dust bin, report, and move on the focus to where it should be. Let the light shine and confuse/destroy the darkness, not let the darkness envelope.

Show some humanity, and keep the focus on those involved and the ripples it has created of grief and mourning as we process through.

Syria- Violence should always be a last resort. This weekend we were shown what making a decision between two bad choices can look like. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Vice President Pence stated it best (my summation) no one wants to see bombing, but something has to be done in this situation. President Trump of the USA was shamed, lets be honest into leading the air strike France and Britain were already planning, and Canada was supporting.

Why? Assad’s chemicalized weapon gassing of his own civilians (Sarin the type used).  For those who feel it should’ve been a UN mission, this would not historically have been possible, because you would not have gotten Russian onside, which is a historic supporter of Syria. The first Cold War created a slew of issues around the world, with Syria being the latest to have a light shone on it.

Yet, when left with the atrocity, the world needed to respond to show evil that it will not go unpunished. Sadly, evil also hides its factories of death (much like the rest of the world) amongst civilians. These people are not collateral damage, they are humans, that need aid. It is a crisis that once again shows the entrenchment of the extremes. From those cheering Trump and his, Mission accomplished tweet, egging on more violence; to the other extreme trying to make comparisons that Syria should bomb the western world for tear gas/pepper spray of protesters, dirty drinking water and/or mandating vaccines.

What would be helpful, is what Pope Francis always states, first you pray (Contemplate) then you act. Acknowledge the horror, acknowledge the hard choice made…then get the money needed to the on the ground aid organizations to aid the innocents trapped in the middle of it whether it be MSF, Red Cross, Red Cresecent or another…do the research and donate if you are able. If not able to get aid there, do something to make your community better, more welcoming of those displaced. Writer your government officials pointing out that we need to help those who are in need and displaced, create spaces of education, understanding, and well, be neighbourly. Actually, act humanely, and if you claim a religious belief and your response is on either of the extremes, I challenge you to truly go into your master teacher/gurus/prophets/saviours teachings and see what they would do.

Calgary Board of Education– During the summer bussing crisis I was on the news with my fairly blunt statement that the CBE (Board and Administration) do not see Complex Learning needs (nee special needs; kids with disabilities) as full persons with the way they are always scape goated; short changed and treated. The waffling on mandatory vaccinations shows this for those with compromised immune systems. The trickling out of audit results showing misappropriation of funds that was blamed on sky rocketing CLN enrollment they were not expecting (despite decades of data showing this trend to hit) to now CLN transitions, having schools post newsletters to websites without the announcement e-mail as usual, as transition planning is up in the air. The CBE is stating a downturn in enrollment within the community, yet just in October was crying crisis… Transition is hard for CLN families, you are trusting an institution completely with your child, who may or may not have the complete ability to communicate in a way that other children can; change can be hard so as you prepare for a transition year (ala grade 6, grade 9) to go into something new, to have it dashed it creates turmoil in a community that thrives in structure.  CBE, I am tired of the lies and coverups…I am tired of my kid and his friends being your emotional puppets…get it together and show you give a damn.

UCP/WRP– Bill 9, the buffer bill was debated in the Alberta Legislature this week. It is for safe zones around abortion clinics to stop the harassment, threats, abuse and assaults on patients and staff from the “Anti-Abortionists” (nothing pro-life about them). The UCP, her majesty’s Loyal Opposition provincially, walked out, would not go on the record one way or the other. Even though Leader Kenney stated votes like this would be left to his MLA’s conscience. Follow up was Kenney posting a video mansplaining what women need in Alberta (what a train wreck).  I am not a fan of the PC/WRP/UCP. I have served and seen the devastation Kleinonomics caused in Alberta infrastructure and those in need, and creating a bursting poverty service industry. I saw parallels in the UCP Movement, with the CPC movement federally, and feel for Red Tories provincially shoved out (I was one of you federally working on policy shoved out). But it does not surprise me. I remember a few provincial elections ago in my riding (honestly I cannot remember which candidate I was supporting NDP/Liberal/Communist), but we came home and the WRP Candidate’s campaign had been by, seeing our sign, they vandalized our yard leaving their literature nailed to trees and house. Phoning the WRP office the response was “what do you want us to do about it, free speech”.  My only hope is in 2020, Albertans vote for the moderation and discussion of ideas, not ideological entrenchment and screaming matches. Check the rage, and get back to the constitutional responsibility of good governance, the opposition is there to propose improvements or alternatives, not simply oppose.

Reproductive Rights– The attestation box has got the religious right in Canada in a bit of a tizzy. It essentially covers that you won’t contravene the Constitution or Charter or reproductive rights. Some of my alma matters have lost out on summer students because they won’t check the box. And as someone who has been a pastor, spiritual leader, and once (and still struggles to be in) the tribe of Christianities. I am tired of it.

  1. If you are going to say it is only about abortion—well then do your work to create a world where every baby conceived is wanted. Do your work to silence those that are the cause of the buffer zone bill.
  2. It is about more than that though. It is about the autonomy and control of one’s own body. As I have written before it is about control over one’s own body and decision whether to breed. It is about deciding if you want to be fixed or not, regardless of your specialists’ religiosity. More than that, it is also an acknowledgement of the Christianities detrimental and harmful behaviour of perpetuating domestic violence and control; of leading the charge of sterilization of whom they viewed as inferior during the eugenics time (which in Alberta was up into the 1980’s) and included persons with disabilities. Before we meme a black and white pity party martyrdom, let us actually sit and listen, and understand what we have done to do harm.

 

Olympic Bid- With the information the City Council has made available I am firmly against an Olympic bid. I am not in favour of a plebiscite on the issue, what I would like is the city non-partisanly providing the information for Calgarians to then make a decision via contacting their elected official, or online polling much like we do with census. The key is the information. I have a hunch, that the city is yearning for a return to the volunteerism magic of 1988. It was great, I was a kid, the energy was amazing. We were a city coming out of recession, reclaiming glory, and having a good time showing the world our stuff.

I would love to say round 2 would be just as great, yet do we have the substantial volunteer base? Business sponsorship? Many things to be asked, that no one (at least being reported in a transparent way) is willing to get out there.  But much like populist politics to the south migrating north, what we have is a shouting match of buffoonery.  Please just provide info and allow for citizens input or no matter what happens it will become a cluster because the other entrenchment will seek to ensure failure.

IOOFLet’s end with some, did you know trivia. Travelling in Vulcan, Alberta (yes my Trekkie is showing and I am proud). First, having supper with a buddy one night we were talking about the shrinking service organization/fraternal organization/mainline church membership and how shared space may be a solution. Low and behold the wife chuckles as she sees the Lions and Masons sharing a hall, then we loop a corner by Quark’s and see IOOF. The curiousity kicks in. What is that?

A google search at home: Independent Order of Odd Fellows (and Rebekahs) one of them fraternal orders, historically out of 19th century England. A response to the Christianities Empire of only doing good works for praise and paradise. The response was simply to be apart of an organization to do good without praise. Hence they were termed by mainstream society as Odd Fellows. To which my wife laughed and said, “always said you were an odd fellow.”

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Please note: like with other resources I have pointed out the population touched upon can be transitioned to any group seeking belonging, for this article and from my reflections it is persons with disabilities. But it can be the experience of anyone physically or linguistically included, but not belonging.

On March 13, 2018 news broke that Stephen Hawking had passed away. What his passing on the surface revealed is the shallowness of inclusion/affirming culture as the tripe and trout statements for a person with disabilities who had passed were drawn out. “he is finally free of his wheelchair” was one “winning comment”. Showing ableism at its finest. accessibleIt is the type of world where it is okay to still see those who are differently abled as less than; allows the Calgary Board of Education to scape goat children with disabilities for their institutions inability to manage money or tell parents from administrators that there is only stress because you chose to bring THAT life into the world. It is the world where Christianities and other religions easily peddle ideas of “wholeness in heaven” or “if only you believed harder there would be healing”.

These are ideas in inclusive (read—you are welcome, if you do not challenge our notions) and accessible (that is there is adequate close parking, ramps and bars as coded by law) communities. Ones that still allow for the idea that persons with disabilities do not speak; or how wonderful it will be to see them in “heaven/paradise” (pick your form of afterlife) so they will be whole, able to talk, and run freely and really see who they truly are.

This is not belonging. As written about in Risk of Belonging and Risk of Belonging 2 it is about moving beyond these spaces that allow for bullying, allow for entrenchment of us and them. Moving to an understanding that each and everyone of us is different, and as such to fully participate within community as we are called/created to be, means that we need different supports/encouragement/aides. It is belonging by putting value on what the person brings to the community by being there, being apart of, their intrinsic worth and goodness as a person (personhood if you will), and the riskiest of all…that when they are not there…they will be missed.

Missed is the part that creates messiness and awkwardness for human beings. It can be as simple as someone leaving community to join another, moving, or transitioning. When they are an older person struggling with health and a transition to the next life or a new facility happens it is hard, but reconcilable in the lifespan.  Still we are called to allow for humane treatment, and belonging to still exist (something our world needs to work on, check out further thoughts section at the end).

The missing person is grieving the change of their world and what is known, whether our abled world and coding systems state they comprehend or not. The human spirit enters the grief cycle; whichever one your stead fistedly holds to in your theory of change—Kubler-Ross; U Theory, etc. there is a presence on the journey of new and different we have felt the need to quantify. It is hard enough to do when you are adulting. But it becomes even messier when we move into the broader spectrum of family (chosen or blood).

But this is going to hit hard and personal for those families seeking belonging where their child with medical complexities/disabilities/differently-abled is accepted for being a kid. When you have finally found that blessed place. The dramas of driving out the child before belonging because inclusion was enough of a risk… why is belonging riskier? Because you may miss.

How do I know there is a fear of being missed that stops belonging? Simple. To belong, means that individual will be missed. With someone who may not live past toddler years, pre-school, elementary or adolescences it challenges a community’s concept of justice, rightness. It challenges our entire societies basis of quantity of life over quality. It also challenges the ideal that quality comes from being life everyone else in what is termed “typical”.

Even more in our entrenched world it removes the ability for the community to have “the answer” or “the truth” about what happened. For the Christianism (or other forms there of), “well God needed them more than you.” Is going to be vocally called out as “BULL SHIT” whether it is by the family grieving leaving, or fighting back.

Belonging is messy because we risk missing the person who becomes part of our world. That risk of missing means we must be comfortable with having aspects of our world that cannot be explained. We must be comfortable with understanding persons for persons and labels not as defining personality and personhood but rather explaining how the experience the world and what is needed for a strong quality of life. And the greatest fear for those who are spiritual or religious we are confronted with something that conceptually does not make sense, and no one should be able to provide an answer for.

What is the risk of missing?

It is risking being human. It is risking being able to accept tears heal. It is being able to accept that all will morn the empty space in the community regardless of the missing persons age, because damn it, they were part of us.

      AND IT IS BEING OKAY with being in the pain of the unknown.

To risk belonging is hard, because we must risk missing and being missed by one another.

 

Further thoughts from others:

John Swinton interview with United Church Observer

The Solution is Assisted Life

Sharing a Story about Bullying


My politician’s mind is not yet ready to comment on the gong show of “what the” that was the Ontario PC leader vote (may never, as it did seem like reality television run amuck without the fun of a RuPaul Drag Race challenge). But, there has been some thoughts on new readings and thoughts in the religious world I feel like sharing.

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Bart D. Ehrman’s Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World (2018) is the latest in his scholarly look at the life and times of Jesus, but also the New Testament World, and ancient Christianity. This is the exploration of the long-held claim that the reason Christianity took over the world, was due to the Conversion of Constantine and thus decriminalizing and promoting the religion. It has a good examination of how gods were interacted with back in the ancient world, belief of their daily interventions or causalities of history. Examination of other monotheistic religions that did not make the “cut” if you will.

The idea though of an exclusive monotheistic religion. Yes, there is power in that. But it was also an Emperor interjecting in theological debates. Ideas held that followers were writing cover letters for early apostles’ writings (idea of Pseudo-Paul letters, as covers for the collection of letters of Paul). How many active writings were out there, and what was to be held. What was to be included in the Nicene Creed, even though an Apostle’s Creed predated. There was already rigorous debate, and an exponential growth. How?

Think of the patriarchal/matriarchal dynamic. If a male household head converted, all in the household (including servants and slaves) became part of the religion. If a wife converted it may be slower, but soon would happen as well. It was communal growth, that moved people away from their localized deity to a universal meta-narrative.

Whether you choose to read it for yourself, part of a book group, or like other historical accounts to understand context of where your religion grew from…it is worth the read.

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For those facilitating conversations that are looking for a different way in. I suggest CW’s Black Lightning for an exploration on family, vocation, addiction, and the difference between inclusion and belonging.

I would also highlight Netflix’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones for those above noted, as well as mental health and trauma, what it means to find who you are and where you fit within the world

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Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History (2017) does not bring much new to the table on the idea of the evolution of God as a concept crafted by humanity. If you have followed anthropology, or progressive religious writers the concept is not new. Why this makes my thought pattern is that the brilliant way he presented the journey of Adam & Eve in context within evolution, is worth a discussion group and reading.

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There is an argument fallacy in Christian apologetic and evangelism I wish to address.  It is the idea that the Christianities are not a religion but a “relationship”. This is the basis of the turn-burn movement. It is also the misinterpreted and misunderstood idea of choosing a narrow path in life, a life lived with respect and love for self and others and divinity.

Let’s be honest, people choose to be apart of something that is usually culturally significant or part of their family life. If they move outside that circle of influence, it is because they feel included. But just being included, or having the secret handshake or password is not what keeps them. They authentically must feel that they belong. That is, that if they were not there they are missed. It is the key. It is the missing piece of indoctrination. If one does not know what they believe, why they believe it, how it impacts their life (basics of mentoring in any movement or religion or business) they will not stay the course.

One can find belonging in any religious movement that gives their life meaning, fills the intrinsic piece. Why? Because relationships exist in the divine we meet before us. God is in everything, and everything is in God. It is God who we meet in our neighbour, and God we share to our neighbour through the life we live, and how we belong and aid others in belonging.

Basically, relationship drives every religion, so do rules and rituals…do not lie to yourself otherwise. What grows anything though is: do members feel safe?

Do they authentically belong?