Posts Tagged ‘Desmond Tutu’


A person is a person, because he recognizes others as persons.

-Desmond Tutu

The risk of belonging is that it is using the space now open to all through physical, linguistic, theological—inclusionary lens and accessible building…to move beyond simple existence. It is recognizing one another as persons, with intrinsic value, worth, goodness and blessedness.

This is a risk, because opening one self up then you cannot create an shouting match of hatred. There is no threat to you because of rules governing public space to allow all to exist, for they all are included. Now it is at the more personal level, to be able to engage one another as simply persons. This is the grand risk.

Why?

Simple.

No longer the other. But neighbour.

Once neighbour there is the risk of becoming friend. Then that runs the risk of becoming chosen family.

All three of these risks carry with it the greatest risk of all:

You or the neighbour will be missed (grieved) when you are no longer there.

Children are a wonderful gift. They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.

-Desmond Tutu

This is why children are so wonderful in seeing beyond our worldly imposed bull shit. They see each other, and everyone already simply as they are.

And you know what happens when we take the risk of stepping outside our own boundaries? What happens when we acknowledge the included as persons? When we acknowledge them as neighbour? Perhaps become friends or chosen family?

We belong.

And it is in belonging…that is the greatest risk.

Are you ready for the greatest risk taken in your community? Home? Self?

Are you ready to open yourself up to belong?

For others to belong?

For with the risk of belonging comes a deeper risk.

The risk of being grieved.

Are you willing to open yourself up to the circle of life?

The circle of belonging?


With each new passing or announcement of retirement from the progressive theological movements I share with my wife, we ask, who will take up the torch?  And no, Rob Bell is not the answer or the Emergent Church movement. Yes, they are doing good things in pushing boundaries in their traditions, but compared to where Labour Church, Social Gospel, Creation Spirituality, Progressive Christianity, Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology, Queer Theology, Truth and Reconciliation resonances, Human Rights, Social Justice, New Thought, Metaphysics, Jesus Seminar, Philosophy, history, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, science and ecumenical dialogues (to name but a few) have brought us, they are reinventing the foundation stones, instead of adding new floors to the towers already standing tall and strong.

I have been trying lately due to some health challenges of the holistic being to reclaim the towers, and not have to reinvent the foundation stones (I am stubborn that way). After the first night of decent rest in months it hit me, that part of continuing to build the towers is to go to your own spiritual roots.  Within myself, and my family those roots are the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Testament. I will be the first to admit, the Hebrew Bible can at first blush appear to contain stories of hate, genocide, blood lust and horror. They are foundation myths and legends of their time speaking to the people then and what they had gone through. The challenge for us is not to take a 21st century lens back to the historical story, but rather bring the story into a 21st century lens.

Huh?

A 21st century lens pushes these stories to obscurity, or that which should not be spoken about.

Yet bringing the story into a 21st century lens allows us to see what we have missed and continued to repeat due to our literal, fundamentalist or non-reading of the text.

This is one of the things that struck me as I sipped on my fourth cup of morning coffee. It pertains to the horrid collection of laws found in the Third book of the Torah (or Pentateuch for those Greek types), Leviticus.

Really these are laws about how to keep yourself alive, don’t spark wars with your neighbours and by bringing the story into the 21st century lens that abuse shall not happen without consequence (as seen with the hard passages around abuse of women in Leviticus 19:29:

c“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.

(English Standard Version)

            For me speaks directly to the abolishment of the Sex Trade. All of us are either children of someone’s daughter, or have a daughter, and forcing anyone to do what they choose not to do, or to make profit from the dehumanization of another is reprehensible evil.

This method also brings a different reading into those infamous few of Leviticus 18:22-23:

22 hYou shall notlie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 i And you shall not lie with anyanimal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to ananimal to lie with it: it is jperversion.

(English Standard Version)

 

These texts have nothing today with the LGBTTQ2+ community. They are a direct redaction into what is legendarily believed to be the writings of Moses post exile from Babylon. In Babylon, the free and slave were forced into sexual predatory worship within the temple. It was led by the Clerics and to show worship after providing the usual animals and money forced participation for absolution was found in sexual penetration through varied orifices of animals, and/or human beings by the worshipper or with the Cleric (yes historical anthropological context can be disturbing).

But wait…removing the literal sentiment, what type of warning does this sound like for the people?

That your worth as you are created matters.

Do not let one in authority force you to that which you do not want to do.

When one in power forces you under the auspices of atonement, absolution, because God said, because you will make first line, I will ensure you get an A, you will get the role only if you….

Hidden in a text we have argued over a literal understanding of, we have missed a millenniums long warning of metaphor and allegory going:

Children,

You were abused in captivity, and were not allowed to flourish healthily into the true you. Do not repeat this pattern of abuse. Be the ones that shatter the cycle, know that you are loved, equal, and belong together in loving communities, loving relationships with whomever you choose.

BUT (and this one is important) you must choose the path of new and love, not the path of known hurt and abuse.

I implore you as you lick the wounds of leaving slavery and abuse, PLEASE, speak the truth, then CHOOSE to move forward as a healthy community by throwing off the monsters and casting them out.

Choose L-I-F-E.

Choose L-O-V-E.

Amazing what happens when you contemplate deeply into the Holy Mystery and attempt to answer the WTF as to why this passage exists.

So as community in the Christianities, are we going to answer the Levitical warning and:

           Choose L-I-F-E?

           Choose L-O-V-E?


Sacrament:

a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.

For any pilgrim, it is the ceremony that is the outward reflection of our inward journey. Throughout Christendom there has been a sacrament of penance/confession. That is admitting when one has done wrong and seeking unity again with God. But this is a simpler understanding of what it has morphed into, now the sacrament of reconciliation. For this is a deeper understanding of holy relationships that permeate everything. The interconnection of the Holy Mystery in all, with all and through all. For Christians, it is the Holy Spirit, for others the creative force.

This is what ego, greed (pick your word for that which removes you from the flow, and allows “other” to create division) disrupts. It is the time of deep inward reflection, to be able to understand pain we have inflicted, or pain that has been inflicted, wrong done to us, or wrongs we have done to others, the list can go on and on.

Yet the piece of the sacrament that we have learned from our brothers and sisters around the world, is that the story needs to be told. It needs to be out there, and then we need to decide to move forward from that in a new beginning.

            My Father used to say,

Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.

-Desmond Tutu

The moment when you can move from shouting matches, to actual discourse, dialogue, debate and argument is the moment you are no longer seeing one another as other but as equals in discussion…once seen as equals, you can move forward.

This is the sacramental challenge that lays heavy on my heart. For I do much work with folks throughout their lives to speak the truth of their story, and then to reconcile to move forward. Then there are moments when I am too stubborn to do the same.

Yet the Creator knows those moments, and enjoys laughter. It is in these moments that outward acts begin forcing inward change. I do not know where it will lead or what it means. Am I in a hurry to once again become a member? No.

But the last several weeks being back in a United Church of Canada congregation has become a sacramental act of reconciliation for me. My story has been told, it is out there for the universe to know. Now, it is time of contemplative action, letting my kids wonder in Wonder Kids, and rest in a chair during the service with the wife. Am I ready to move forward?

1401836884-desmond-tutu-forgivness-wisdom-quotes

The new beginning has been laid before me.

The soul sludge is burning off.

Moments of laughter.

A social gospel congregation?

Yes, it is easy to rest in the labels of other, but at our core we part of the family of humanity on a journey to make our little corner of this world better.

Sometimes, it is simply easier to release that which may be holding us back on the journey towards the heart of the sacred, and the sacred heart that exists within us.

And yes, sometimes, that which we thought had been put to rest and released, was not and it takes literally stepping across a new threshold to reveal the light that burns off the darkness.

Now the question that remains when reconciliation work is working…

What is next?
What is the new beginning?

For, that is yet to come…

and blessedly undecided…

yet will be chosen with a refreshed heart, mind and soul.


This is the first of a series of reflections coming from a book study that we are involved in with the Universal Church of the Master Alberta. It is an exploration of the 1908 metaphysical text The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

 

  1. That naught can make them one but Love; that God so loved the world that he has clothed his son in flesh that man may comprehend.
    21.The only Saviour of the world is love, and Jesus, son of Mary, comes to manifest that love to men.

                                                -Aquarian Gospel 7:20-21

There is a golden cord that resonates throughout this Gospel, that ties through the sacred texts of eternity, and for long time readers of this site will recognize the word as a basis for my faith: L-O-V-E.

Please ignore the term “men” or “man” it is not about only one gender being saved or mattering, it is the terminology of 1908, and we cannot let that hold us up for these terms were used universally for all humanity (and this is a universal teaching).

It is true in each cycle of life on this planet there is a prophet/apostle/teacher that emerges to lead the way back to the one true source of life, that being love. Think of the ancient mystics, the shamans, the medicine people, clerics, heroes of lore, and current spiritual masters… which ones can you name and why?

Mother Teresa. Clare & Francis of Assisi. Dalai Lama. Martin Luther King Jr. Louis Riel. Desmond Tutu. To name but a few.

This was laying out that within this cycle of teachers came Jesus and his Mum. I say Mary, as mentioned in earlier e-books and talks, Mary since her ascension, has had many appearances that shatter ideological and divisive ways of the name Jesus, to point people back to the true source of Love. This cumulative work that shows a take on the life of Jesus—a story, allegory, metaphor, that ties everything together in love points us to what the Gospels were saying in the New Testament and Gnostics, not to mention other texts. Strip away the cultural laws, to the core message and that is the core message that works, not necessarily the literal black and white words on the page.

So with this golden cord, what are you choosing today?

What is love lived in you going to look like?


Location: Kitchen of the Rainbow Chapel.

Presider: Friar Ty

Altar dressed with Communion elements; four Advent Candles, Christ Candle, Gingerbread house made for Jesus, Mary & Joseph to return to from Egypt by the Children; statue of Our Lady of Mount St. Carmel, statue of St. Francis of Assisi

Opening Prayer:

From Mother Theresa:

Jesus in my heart,The Altar of Gift-Mass, celebrating the five gifts Mary's saying yes birthed into this world.

Increase my faith,

Strengthen my faith,

Let me live this faith

Through living

humble oberdience.

Amen.

Gathering Psalm: Psalm 150

Candle one:

Gift: Peace

Story: Desmond Tutu‘s story of the Noses

Song: Let there be Peace on Earth

Candle of Peace is lit.

Candle Two:

Gift: Hope

Story: Mother Teresa’s wedding gifting story

Song: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Candle of Hope is lit.

Candle Three:

Gift: Faith

Story: Francis and the Lepers

Song: Peace Like a River (with actions)

Candle of Faith is lit

Candle Four:

Gift: Joy

Song: Joy in my Heart

Story: Mary Said Yes, Mary visits Elizabeth Luke 1:26-56

Song: Jingle Bells

Candle of Joy is Lit

Christ Candle

Gift: Love

Story: Here come the Shepherds (Luke 2:1-21)

Song: Jesus loves me

Prayers of thanksgiving from the gathered family

Eucharist:

Story of Friends, where Jesus calls us his beloved friends which for today means we are family.

The Bread of Life Given for you

The Cup of Promise poured out for you

Alleluia.

Closing Prayer:

Our Lady of the Yukon

Arise- go! Sell all you possess…give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me – going to the poor- being poor- being one with them- one with Me.

Little- be always little…simple-poor- childlike,

Preach the Gospel with your life- without compromise – listen to the Spirit – He will lead you.

Do little things exceedingly weel for love of Me.

Love-love-love, never counting the cost.

Go into the market place and stay with Me … pray … fast … pray always… fast

Be hidden – be alight to your neighbour’s feet. Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts . .. I shall be with you.

Pray always. I will be your rest.

Amen.

 
The Altar of Gift-Mass, celebrating the five gifts Mary’s saying yes birthed into this world.

From the Children, joining hands around the altar, singing “Let their be peace on Earth”