Posts Tagged ‘Christianities’


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The New Community that is and will become.

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

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


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)

Matthew 1:20-23 (New King James Version)

A rather innocuous passage in Matthew is often overlooked, similarly to the passages within Luke in regards to the visitation and questions of Mary. Here, we have Joseph, doing what any man of his era would be doing in finding out his recently betrothed bride to be (she of approximately 13-14 years old) pregnant. Pondering what to do? Shall he declare the crime? Have her taken by the Edlers outside the city gates and stoned to death? Simply cast outside quietly to turn into a beggar? A play thing of the Empire on the road side? Or quietly divorce her and let her family deal with her?

See, Joseph was struggling with pride and reputation. When Holy Love comes into his life, and this is the key moment for him. Do you hear it? That aha moment in the heart? That moment when he realized the power in his wife to be’s YES to the Holy. The “Yes” that shattered the bastardized topsy-turvy world the Empire and Religious oppression had stripped them of. The love, to feel the true awe of…becoming a Daddy (Abba).

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Saint Joseph and Toddler Jesus, according to Roman Catholicism, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Realtors, families, fathers, unborn children, expectant mothers, immigrants, travelers, explorers, pilgrims, house seekers, craftsmen, engineers, and workers. He is the patron saint of many villages, towns, cities, churches, and countries including- Canada, Vietnam, Mexico, Austria, Korea, Americas, China, Croatia, Indonesia and Phillipines.

Now this is where fundgelical praxis theology of the lovey-dovey thoughts hits the snag. See, Joseph became a Daddy with Mary’s pregnancy, Jesus grew up in a loving home, learned the faith from the Matriarchs, and the way of work from the Patriarchs in his family. Having grown up in a trades family, I can guess, he probably had a pretty cool experience with all the building things to play with. Unfortunately, instead of reading the gospel stories of Jesus’ family with the lens of love and belonging in family. Too many take the view of “step” or “adopted”, that is they impose an extra layer of distance the relationship with Joseph and Jesus. The default being, well, Jesus spoke of his Heavenly Father.

Except, the Holy Spirit that came upon Mary is usually in the feminine. Except, in the creation story in the Hebrew Bible, both male and female are created in God’s image. Yet, we do not speak of Mary, as the earthly mother, just as Mum.

So why the differentiation? To allow for a perpetuation of unhealthy dynamics, one that harkens back to the genealogy lists within the scriptures that prove ones “pedigree” (or worth) in society. Yet, what is missed, is that the pedigree of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is of Joseph.

So whose his Daddy?

Is it not time to move beyond this antiquated view of Empire imposed familism?

Do we not yet understand that the point of the birth narrative is to show that the bond of family and belonging is love- FULL STOP- and that Jesus was blessed with an amazing family with both human and divine parentage?

Next time you hear the bad exegesis about Joseph, not being or needing to be his Daddy as Jesus was not his son, simply reply with the theologically best answer I can come up with “bollocks”.

Which is point one of this ecclectica, the other was trying to be politics free on Christmas Day, and only doing spot checks of social media, The United Conservative Party proved my social media musing with the new Covid restrictions/exemptions that had been announced in Alberta a few days before Christmas:

And yes church it was shown once again, for a tweet storm emerged with the UCP sharing of a Christmas greeting:



Found in Revised Common Lectionary Cycle B (found at Vanderbilt University: Year B РChristmas : Revised Common Lectionary (vanderbilt.edu)) 

Now we can argue over which translation of the Holy Bible was used, and whether the term was government or authority, but it is found within the Revised Common Lectionary for the readings. A lectionary is the reading rhythms that within a two year cycles of Sundays the church will hear all the Bible (and/or major themes) read from the pulpit. This is the example of what the Christmas Day readings looked like this year:

For finding scriptures I suggest http://www.biblegateway.com

Now, there are some things of note.

  1. The meme actually got more air time via progressives attempting to shame, call out, or otherwise put down.
  2. There is some issue with the meme any believer should take, when the Gospel reading of the day is from Luke, the birth of Christ, the scripture should have come from there. Unfortunately, Luke is the gospel written to and for the disenfranchised in society to empower and give voice, it is a rallying cry which with the track record of the government currently would have come across as higher hypocrisy than normal.
  3. The image of the Holy Family used is uber Blonde European. The traditionalist church images used, and not very historic. Some may say minor, some may say major point, but on point for the message.
  4. The use of the government in the quote is to be seen as a nod that the ruling party is there by divine right, yet who is Isaiah? Will share a bit on that.

Isaiah is a major prophet in the Holy Bible, respectfully from the Hebrew Bible portion. His book is 66 chapters in length, which has led some protestants to equate it to the Protestant Bible as an allegory (note I said Protestant as there are many bibles with books in as apocryphal/deutero-canonical or canonical that are beyond the scope of these 66). There was more than likely more than one Isaiah as a writer within the book, through textual historicity, the first writer would be the one who wrote the passage in the meme. Many of the Hebrew Prophets have had moments when their words have been pointed to foretelling the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or more mystically, the Messiah (for if you are Jewish, he has not yet come). Most of the work was probably written during the Babylonian captivity, around 8th century BCE. The prophets were not necessarily future oriented texts, as much as social justice texts.

The prophets were called out of Israel to literally call Israel out. To point out what they were doing contrary to the heart of the Holy. It was framed in contrary to the Law, yet what is at the core of the Law and the Prophets? Love of God/Self/Neighbour. The prophets laid out unabashedly the harm being done under the guise of the name of God, and then what the repercussions were to be (reaping what one sows), in two cases at least the exiles under Babylon and Assyria. Then the inter-testimental period of silence were Rome seized their world. The world that the angels came to both Mary and Joseph to let them know, much like Zechariah and Elizabeth, that they would become parents of blessed children. Blessed children, what Brother Jesus let his followers know was each and every child.

So yes, this is a simple Merry Christmas from a political party. Yes, it is a message of Christendom (the Christianity of Empire) that speaks to a minority seeking to hold power, but lose the gospel, and yes, it is from the actual scriptures.

What is also clearly shows, like the story of Joseph, is a tool that can be of division, scape goating, and used wrongly.

What it leaves us with, is will we take the deeper message of the birth of Christ? The context of the word’s of Isaiah and the prophets knowing that a governing party just did one of the greatest self owns in history by literally turning the finger back on themselves to say- hey guess who isn’t meeting the call of justice? Guess who is willing to enter the exile for power?

Take time, and yes, it is a time when anyone of religious stripes who wants to speak up clearly and honestly. Share your faith, share how it has been used to harm, share how it has helped, and when politicians or religious leaders or fellow congregants attempt to use it to harm, call them out.

For we are all blessed children, loved, with family that embraces and loves us at this time of year, as today we enter the journey of the Magi following the once in hundreds years astronomical event to warn of the impending genocide.

Be the clarion call to end injustice.

Stand in love.

Amen.

Hi-Jacked Faith

Posted: April 18, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hope wins

Is the shattering truth of the empty tomb

and the new life,

celebrated a scant few days ago

the blood over doors

the exodus of the persecuted

a false regime propped up on religious eyes

shattered.

Religious oppressors

Empire dehumanizing

2,000 years ago give or take a few years

depending on your historical lens

Constantine’s swords sleighed

bastardizing Brother Jesus’ words of the Kingdom being near

not sword and steel to rule all,

but a transfiguration of the world

true belonging due to simply being created

in the wonderful mosaic image of the Holy

Sacredness breathed in

acknowledged,

blessed

Love wins

We continue to miss the mark

our corporal sin,

bastardizing love with qualifiers

to sink into our own badge of “sinful” forgiveness honours

to create dissent,

exclusion

contrary to the words, and life lived, lost, and resurrected

Still today

horrors cloaked in a faux cross

to pacify the masses, like an opioid

so they will believe they do note

deserve equality, equity, justice

health care, belonging

affirmation of inherent worth

for being human.

We allow too many,

as the quiet revolution speaks from the whispers to the shouts

the empire of the faux cross rattles as the embers burn away the  crucifixion wood

dominion to destruction of creation

like our neighbour

that we were blessed to inherit, to curate, cultivate, care for

to serve and live in cocreation with the Holy.

Willing to succumb to the absolute evil

that the sacred writings of those on the journey spoke of

greed in the lust after money

the lust after the matarial

the lust of defining our worth based on bank accounts, belongings owned, that has always led astray.

Mixing up material belongings and money, with values and belonging.

For the kingdom as Brother Jesus said, is near…

we can touch the thin space.

We simply need to throw off the yoke and shackles of the Empire

The faux cross we clamour to,

and stand in the margins,

with the labourer who taught us through living

that

Hope Wins

Love Wins

Are you willing?

 

 


The shortest work in the Hebrew Scriptures, Obadiah is a scant 21 verses of reality checking rant at the people. As probably part of the remanent left behind in Jerusalem between 587-76 BCE, and a symbolic name that means “servant of the Lord”…Obadiah laid it out for the people:

1 The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
‚ÄúRise up! Let us rise against her for battle!‚ÄĚ
2 Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.[a]
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,[b]
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
¬†¬†¬†¬†‚ÄúWho will bring me down to the ground?‚ÄĚ
4 Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

5 If thieves came to you,
¬†¬†¬†¬†if plunderers came by night‚ÄĒ
¬†¬†¬†¬†how you have been destroyed!‚ÄĒ
    would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
6 How Esau has been pillaged,
    his treasures sought out!
7 All your allies have driven you to your border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
¬†¬†¬†¬†those who eat your bread[c]¬†have set a trap beneath you‚ÄĒ
    you have[d] no understanding.

8 Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
9 And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Edom’s Violence Against Jacob

10 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
do not boast[e]
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

The Day of the Lord Is Near

15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.
17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.

The Kingdom of the Lord

19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21 Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
    to rule Mount Esau,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and¬†the kingdom shall be the¬†Lord‘s.

Yes the whole kit and kaboodle of the book for you to read. What is Edom? It is where Esau went after being screwed out of his birthright by Jacob, who was Jacob? A patriarch of Israel. Why does this matter in the exile? It is showing the long history to the people, it is showing that Edom is reaping what is has sown in unethical practices, and the cancer it has let take root in its nation.

It is a rant…it is showing the people a stark message for where they are now. It is what the Orthodox Church does in theological conversation with other churches, we are going to discuss the problem we have with you, by discussing with this other party, so you move from survival to the point of view as spectator to see what is actually happening. Edom is the stand in for Esau, but both are the stand in’s for Israel and Jacob at this point in history.

It hits home as Wexit (though love how one British commentator misread it as the west was wankit!- if you know British slang and the term wank, you can see where it went). trends post our Federal Election in Canada. It is not heeding the warning that the SoCons that veil themselves in the cross, God and religion wanting back the hey day’s of yesteryear and are stoking Alberta separation do not want the people to hear. Like Premier Jim Prentice in the 2015 election provincially asked Albertans to look in the mirror, to accept accountability for our role. Instead we continue to pass the buck, let our grieving process in the transition of economy and politics stall in anger and denial instead of moving forward into acceptance, and being able to grow and be better.

Image result for 5 stages of griefWe want to hold onto the fairy tale that a landlocked province can up and leave Confederation. We are letting the angry speak for us, and to show that we do not understand simple things:

  1. The Clarity Act
  2. Constitutional Freedom of Movement in Canada
  3. Global Economics and cross country trade
  4. How our own electoral system works.
  5. Though Oil Field jobs are now scarce, there is a huge shortage in tech/IT and skilled trades— hmmm… perhaps there is a solution?

We continue to want to live out of isolationism, no common ground, no common dialogue, no common core values to move forward on. We want to believe wanna be media outlets that think it is okay to stalk at 16 year old girl to her hotel room, and wish harm upon her and her property. We want to believe a Prime Minister and government that bought our province a pipeline is a traitor (really need to understand Canadian Criminal Law and the statutes around treason). We want to believe the same lying wanna be media that if we separated America would take us as the 51st State, when in reality we would became a territory (and look at how they treat Puerto). And how in a privatized health care insurance system would that work for citizens in a province with a ridiculously (some say global leading) levels of Multiple Sclerosis and cancers that we could even be insured for health care, never mind everything you now have is pre-existing and exempt.

On top of that a separatist movement destabilizes economies, means we if voted to leave, would get our level of Canada’s debt, plus our own debt, and not have the stable interest rate we currently enjoy as an economic power in a stable nation, rather we would be negotiating and borrowing as the equivalent of a banana republic.

We are Israel, we have reaped what we sowed. We did not want to look in the mirror. We did not want to face reality, we did not want to admit that education was key, or that the oil boom everyone warned us about not being constant, was not constant. Norway with similar population and tax base, took the Heritage Trust Fund idea of Lougheed and the Royalty rate of Manning, and now have over a trillion in savings, Albertans have 18 billion, and you are not saying we have been mismanaged for 41 years?

We have gotten the lack of Peace, Order and Good Governance our constitution declares for us do to our disengagement, apathy, and placing a value on the investor dollar over the citizen.

So yes, dear Alberta, we, like Israel, have reaped what we sowed, and like the Nation in the Minor Prophets need to look in the mirror and choose to implode or heal and go forward…

As the prophets (although minor) have shown us over the last 11 installments, look in the mirror…what would Love do?

For further thoughts on the state on conservatism and Wexit (wankit?) see these sources:

Why Alberta Separation is the dumbest movement in Canada today (National Post)

Charles Adler on his move to the centre (or where Progressive Conservatism used to be)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister (PC Party): “I have no time for that” -also note what he compares Canada to– sound familiar?

Next: Party 12– the belly of a whale….


I have been running a poll to decide where to venture next…into pseudo-Pauline epistles of leadership in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus known colloquially as the Pastoral Epistles. Or into the Petrine line of thought within 1& 2 Peter. These types of reflection are a bit of a comfort zone for me, as I have spent literally decades studying, teaching and preaching from the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament. Yet in this time of renewal, it is also about re-asserting a daily practice. I haven’t fully decided which of them I will open up with but thought I would share broad strokes upon where I would be going.

Image result for st. titusThe Pastoral Epistles were written to young leaders coming into their own in Ephesus (Timothy) and Crete (Titus) respectively. They are seen as having been written at least 8 years after the Acts of the Apostles chapter 28, some will say 1 Timothy was written during Paul’s first imprisonment circa 61 CE but the written dates could come as late as near the end of the First Century. Both Titus and Timothy had journeyed with Paul at different times in his ministry. The Image result for st. timothyauthorship of the epistles comes into dispute because the church appears more highly structured than during Paul’s era, but also there appears to be texts of misogyny which do not fit Paul’s overall writings and teachings post-conversion. Yet it needs to be remembered that using a venerated teacher’s name as a pseudonym was not an act of dishonesty, but rather esteem and honour. It is the writer showing a continuation of lineage within the wisdom tradition.

While the Petrine epistles of 1 & 2 Peter appear to have more authenticity of the author Peter (Simon-Peter, the one whom Jesus of Nazareth gave the keys of the kingdom to in Gospel of Matthew 16:19).  The Gospel of Matthew with this declaration dates from 85-90 CE; and 1 Peter is believed to have been penned by Peter around 60-64 CE as he was martyred under Image result for st. peterEmperor Nero by being crucified upside down in 64 CE.  It is believed that Peter was part of the persecution visited upon the church after Nero burned down most of Rome, hence this letter came from Rome where Peter was serving as Bishop at Image result for st. judethe time. Second Peter has a more gnosticish flare to it, and a heavy leaning on the Epistle of Jude.

Pauline and Petrine Christianity diverged on certain topics, before Constantine’s unification movement in 325 CE. As Peter (or more accurately, his scribe) puts quill to parchment, he leans on the mysticism and prophecy of the Hebrew Bible. Pseudo-Paul (and Paul) will lean on the mystery of Christ. As Peter served as the Bishop of Rome, and noted in the Gospel of Matthew, that the keys to the kingdom were given to him by Jesus of Nazareth, it is how the concept of Apostolic Succession grew within the Vatican. Since as well, the Empire overlaid itself upon the Christianities to make Christendom, it became important for both seats of power to exist in one location. As the Roman Empire collapsed, the church empire would thrive still…yet monastics, mystics and Reformers would keep bringing out the beauty of the mosaic that is the Body of Christ.

As I have written about before, the early movement, like today’s, was not a unified indoctrinated stance. It was a mosaic of beautiful Christianities. We have recently journeyed through James’ Christianity, now these present some Pauline traits, and Petrine. We are in the season of Advent, something new is awaiting to be born into the darkness, a new light into the world. The journey to the new light, takes us through old shadows, and new insights as we pilgrimage to the Creche.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking into the wisdom words of these letters. Either in Apostle’s Shuffle or Pastorally Yours…

What letters are coming to your mailbox…

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

-1 Peter 1:1-2 (English Standard Version)

 Simeon[a] Peter, a servant[b] and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

-2 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, a servant[a]¬†of God and¬†an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and¬†their knowledge of the truth,¬†which accords with godliness,¬†2¬†in hope of eternal life, which God,¬†who never lies,¬†promised¬†before the ages began[b]¬†3¬†and¬†at the proper time manifested in his word[c]¬†through the preaching¬†with which I have been entrusted¬†by the command of God our Savior;

4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

-Titus 1:1-4 (ESV)


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?

 


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‚ÄĒmoney‚ÄĒcomes 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 ‚Äúrace traitor‚ÄĚ 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¬†‚ÄúJudge 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.‚ÄĚ

39¬†He also told them a parable:¬†‚ÄúCan 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, ‚ÄėBrother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,‚Äô 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¬†‚ÄúWhy¬†do you call me ‚ÄėLord, Lord,‚Äô 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.‚ÄĚ

-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‚ÄĒbacked 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 ‚Äúhealing‚ÄĚ 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:

9¬†As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.¬†2¬†His disciples asked him, ‚ÄúRabbi,¬†who sinned,¬†this man¬†or his parents,¬†that he was born blind?‚ÄĚ

3¬†‚ÄúNeither this man nor his parents sinned,‚Ä̬†said Jesus,¬†‚Äúbut this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.¬†4¬†As long as it is day,¬†we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.¬†5¬†While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.‚ÄĚ

6¬†After saying this, he spit¬†on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man‚Äôs eyes.¬†7¬†‚ÄúGo,‚Ä̬†he told him,¬†‚Äúwash in the Pool of Siloam‚Ä̬†(this word means ‚ÄúSent‚ÄĚ). 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 ‚Äúotherness‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äúnot like usness‚ÄĚ. We may clean up language, but there is still a world filled with saying you do not belong:

  • R-Word use excuse ‚Äúyeah but I mean it in the medical way.‚ÄĚ FTS‚ÄĒonly 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‚ÄĒyou are the one asking who sinned‚Ķ
  • The ‚ÄúI am just running in‚ÄĚ and taking up the accessible (permit only) parking stall—while ignoring the idling vehicle with the permit‚Ķfor 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 ‚Äúthey do not belong here.‚ÄĚ (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‚Äôs will.
  • Shaming community/family into always grieving the ‚Äúshould‚Äôve/would‚Äôve/could‚Äôve of a life.
  • Complaining that budgets can‚Äôt be made because of ‚Äúthose people with disabilities‚ÄĚ
  • 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 ‚Äúshort bus‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúwindow licking‚ÄĚ meme jokes on social media and wonder why there is outrage.
  • Speak of vaccines being the cause‚ÄĒwhen if there is not proper vaccinations lives are at risk.
  • Showing up for support work sick because well, a little cold or flu won‚Äôt be harmful to the compromised immune system.
  • Grief and mental health support are not necessary because they don‚Äôt understand‚Ķ
  • 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, ‚ÄúLet 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.‚ÄĚ

-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‚ÄĒchoose 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.