Posts Tagged ‘Differently Abled’


It has been a while trying to put together reflections on the Aquarian Gospel or even complete the next installment of Great Crime Fighters Together or even some reflecting I would like to do on last week’s church scripture of salt & light.  Yet it has been a while. The reason? The Universe enjoys curve balls to continue the purging of the past anchors that hold us in port and do not allow us to navigate new waters.

Every so often these curve balls hit from the most unlikely of sources, and at the most unlikely of times. I have written about the struggles of settling back into a UCC congregation as an attendee this past winter-spring, because of the history with the tradition. But comfort comes slowly.

The hard part is not realizing the imprint some of the soul crud has left on my kids. This past Sunday we were celebrating the new ordinations to the Order of Ministry when my son would not focus and was quite emotional. Honestly, unless it is a sad topic, or one around grief/reconciliation this is not his norm for gatherings (and even with the journey of his foot reconstruction, he has been a positive trooper throughout). But I wheeled him into the Narthex (is my Angl0-Cath showing over that one?) to get him to focus on me and his breathing to calm down and see what can be pieced together.

This is when my son broke my heart with what his little soul let out.I ruined your life.” Almost 10 years on in this moment he released that he believed it was his fault I surrendered ordination.

What could I do?

Simply love and tell the truth.

No son, you didn’t.

Hug, kiss the top of his head and hold him.

This is what took me even longer to process through. For I thought I had let it go if you will. But there was a piece of me that rekindled the pain, not from my own path, and a battle of choosing inclusion over titles…no…the pain and hurt was rekindled because in the moment seeing the hurt in my little man’s eyes that he believed he had done harm to my life by being, well, by being him.  And that is not true. For it was time this week to process out the soul sludge of the hypocrisy and the venom that did me in.

Take time to read these words:

Scribes and Pharisees visit Jesus. They censure him for eating with unwashed hands. He defends his acts and teaches a lesson on hypocrisy. Privately explains to the twelve his public teachings.

1. A company of scribes and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to learn wherein the power of Jesus lay.
2. But when they learned that he and his disciples heeded not the custom of the Jews, regarding washing of the hands before they ate, they were amazed.
3. And Jesus said, Hypocrisy is queen among you scribes and Pharisees. Oh you Isaiah wrote:
4. This people honour me with lips; their hearts are far away. In vain they worship me; their doctrines are the dogmas and the creeds of men.
5. You men who pose as men of God, and still reject the laws of God and teach the laws of men,
6. Stand forth and tell when God gave unto the ceremonial laws that you observe; and tell these people how the spirit life is sullied if one washes not before he eats.
7. His critics answered not, and then he said,
8. Hear me, you men of Israel! Defilement is a creature of the heart. The carnal mind lays hold of thought, and makes a monstrous bride; this bride is sin; sin is a creature of the mind.
9. That which defiles a man is not the food he eats.
10. The bread and fish and other things we eat, are simply cups to carry to the cells of flesh material for the building of the human house, and when their work is done as refuse they are cast away.
11. The life of plant and flesh that goes to build the human house is never food for soul. The spirit does not feed upon the carcasses of animal, or plant.
12. God feeds the soul direct from heaven; the bread of life comes from above.
13. The air we breathe is charged with Holy Breath, and he will may take this Holy Breath.
14. The soul discriminates, and he who wants the life of Christ may breathe it in. According to your faith so let it be.
15. Man is not a part of his abiding place; the house is not the man.
16. The lower world builds up the house of flesh, and keeps it in repair; the higher world provides the bread of spirit life.
17. The loveliest lilies grow from stagnant ponds and filthiest muck.
18. The law of flesh demands that one should keep the body clean.
19. The law of spirit call for purity in thought and word and deed.
20. Now, when the evening came and they were in the house, the twelve had many things to say, and many questions to propound.
21. Nathaniel asked, Was what you said about the house of flesh a parable? If so, what does it mean?
22. And Jesus said, Can you not yet discriminate? Do you not yet perceive that what a man takes in his mouth defiles him not?
23. His food goes not into his soul; it is material for flesh and bone and brawn.
24. To spirit everything is clean.
25. That which defiles a man wells up from carnal thoughts; and carnal thoughts spring from the heart, and generate a host of evil things.
26. From out the heart comes murders, thefts and foolishness. All selfish acts and sensual deeds spring from the heart.
27. To eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.
28. And Peter said, Lord, What you said to-day has grievously offended scribe and Pharisee.
29. And Jesus said, These scribes and Pharisees are not the scions of the tree of life; they are not plants of God; they are the plants of men, and every foreign plant shall be plucked up.
30. Let all these men alone; they are blind guides; they lead a multitude of people who are blind.
31. The leaders and the led together walk; together they will fall into the yawning pits.

-Aquarian Gospel 126: 1-31

Take time to reflect on the above words, writing it out from two perspectives:

  1. From a scribe/Pharisee hearing these words. What have you learned about values you hold that may need to be changed?
  2. From one of Jesus’ inner group. What have you learned about values you hold, but may not have been able to put into words as they challenge a status quo?

But also, like Peter in the passage to reflect on to follow, the idea that by taking a stand for equity and justice, that harm could be done to the other, that is the scribes and the Pharisees who saw the most vulnerable in community/faith family as okay to target.  Trust me, I am of thick skin, I ran in 2006 as NDP in Alberta back when it was a washed in Tory-CONS Blue forever and ever Amen, argued restorative justice with my MP Hang `em High Hanger and came out victorious by accounts in the media on that topic.

And yes, I know my challenge and throw down caused “harm” to those who wielded power over the vulnerable for I challenged their existing paradigm. In the moment, some would say I lost.

But to have allowed the status quo that is oppressive to remain in place through my silence for a title. That is not only morally-ethically wrong. It is the true essence of lost.  Never mind how by not standing up for the most vulnerable, how could I have ever looked at myself in the mirror? My wife and kids in the eyes again?

No, taking the stand for what is right, and holding one’s ground is where the victory is held. This I have always held to be true. My life has been built on challenging oppressive status quos, and I wasn’t about to let another one exists that directly impacted my child(ren) and remain silent.

Son, you did not ruin my life.

If anything, each day, each decision, each choice, has been a journey of growth, love, transfiguration and joy into the man you deserve as a Daddy.

What is the heart of faith/religion/spirituality? Making yourself and little corner of the world better for truly loving in at-onement with the Cosmic Christ within.

So are you ready to release your false values of tradition and live into the true (self) ones of love?

Bonus: A song that has been resonating on van rides with the family recently Brad Paisley Me & Jesus Music Video


Chapter 106 (The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ)

The Christines are in Magdala. Jesus heals a man who was blind, dumb and obsessed. He teaches the people. While he speaks his mother, brothers and Miriam come to him. He teaches a lesson on family relationship. He introduces Miriam to the people and she sings her songs of victory.

1. Magdala is beside the sea, and here the teachers taught.
2. A man obsessed, and who was blind and dumb was brought, and Jesus spoke the Word, and lo, the evil spirits went away; the man spoke out, his eyes were opened and he saw.
3. This was the greatest work that men had seen the master do, and they were all amazed.
4. The Pharisees were there, and they were full of jealous rage; they sought a cause whereby they might condemn.
5. They said, Yes, it is true that Jesus does a multitude of mighty works; but men should know that he is leagued with Beelzebul.
6. He is a sorcerer, a black magician of the Simon Cerus type; he works as Jannes and as Jambres did in Moses’ day.
7. For Satan, prince of evil spirits, is his stay by night and day and in the name of Satan he casts the demons out, and in his name he heals the sick and raises up the dead.
8. But Jesus knew their thoughts; he said to them, You men are masters, and you know the law; whatever is arrayed against itself must fall; a house divided cannot stand;
9. A kingdom warring with itself is brought to naught.
10. If Satan casts the devil out, how can his kingdom stand?
11. If I, by Beelzebul, cast devils out, by whom do you cast devils out?
12. But if I, in the holy name of God, cast devils out, and make the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the dumb to speak, has not God’s kingdom come to you?
13. The Pharisees were dumb; they answered not.
14. As Jesus spoke a messenger approached and said to him, Your mother and your brothers wish to speak with you.
15. And Jesus said, Who is my mother? and my brothers, who are they?
16. And then he spoke a word aside unto the foreign masters and the twelve; he said,
17. Behold, men recognise their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers here in flesh; but when the veil is rent and men walk in the realms of soul,
18. The tender lines of love that bind the groups of fleshly kin in families will fade away.
19. Not that the love for anyone will be the less; but men will see in all the motherhood, the fatherhood, the sisterhood, the brotherhood of man.
20. The family groups of earth will all be lost in universal love and fellowship divine.
21. Then to the multitudes he said, Whoever lives the life and does the will of God is child of God and is my mother, father, sister, friend.
22. And then he went aside to speak to mother and his other kindred in the flesh.
23. But he saw more than these. The maiden who once thrilled his very soul with love. a love beyond the love of any fleshly kin;
24. Who was the sorest tempter in the temple Heliopolis beside the Nile, who sung for him the sacred songs, was there.
25. The recognition was of kindred souls, and Jesus said,
26. Behold, for God has brought to us a power men cannot comprehend, a power of purity and love;
27. To make more light the burdens of the hour, to be a balm for wounded souls;
28. To win the multitude to better ways by sacred song and holy life.
29. Behold, for Miriam who stood beside the sea and sung the song of victory when Moses led the way, will sing again.
30. And all the choirs of heaven will join and sing the glad refrain:
31. Peace, peace on earth; good will to men!
32. And Miriam stood before the waiting throngs and sung again the songs of victory, and all the people said, Amen.

One of the most challenging parts of is the question of healings in the 21st century world of inclusion and acceptance of mental health concerns; disabilities, and life experienced with chronic illness. One of the things I have begun to groove on in Levi’s early 20th century metaphysical-universalist retelling of the Story of Jesus Bar Josephson channeling the Cosmic Christ, is that he gets to the heart of the point.

Where it is easy on the surface to go “healing” crazy. That creates a world where those who are differently abled in some way can be viewed as “less than” in the local religious community. The old trollops and two-bitters of “well if you had more faith” or “if you prayed more” that you would be healed to name a few. But this misses the point.

See the Bible stories were very much of their time with the human writers behind it. And as of their time, like now, the people were held hostage by oppressive forces. Those forces being the Roman Empire in the Christian Testament, that saw the “less than” (that being anyone not Roman Born) as nothing more than property. Yet within that oppressed ranks, the temple authorities of the Sadducees and Pharisees created a hierarchy of belonging, that said who was and who was not in tune with the Holy Mystery based on their outward appearance.

This is the throw down Jesus lays out for these vipers as his cousin John dubbed them. For by doing the healing the hierarchy was shattered and the falsity of the laws created by the oppressive religion for nothing more than power were revealed to the masses. This was the challenge that as 106:13 states the Pharisees were stuck dumb (unable to speak)…they had nothing to stand on now to create any barriers of superiority.

Yet Jesus then goes forward in the throw down. As these ridiculous laws of where special needs, disabilities, illness came from…it was more, as these same rules also spoke to what family was:

  1. As Jesus spoke a messenger approached and said to him, Your mother and your brothers wish to speak with you.
    15. And Jesus said, Who is my mother? and my brothers, who are they?
    16. And then he spoke a word aside unto the foreign masters and the twelve; he said,
    17. Behold, men recognise their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers here in flesh; but when the veil is rent and men walk in the realms of soul,
    18. The tender lines of love that bind the groups of fleshly kin in families will fade away.
    19. Not that the love for anyone will be the less; but men will see in all the motherhood, the fatherhood, the sisterhood, the brotherhood of man.
    20. The family groups of earth will all be lost in universal love and fellowship divine.

    106:14-20

Jesus removes the veil that it is blood/dna/culture/religion/ideology that creates groupings. This was not true. This is what created the social situation where people were literally dying in the gutters of the ancient world. It created have and have nots, it allowed the spiritualization of suffering and superiority. 21. Then to the multitudes he said, Whoever lives the life and does the will of God is child of God and is my mother, father, sister, friend. (106:21).  What binds us? The Holy Mystery. Releasing our own selfishness, and entering into the true communion of family with one another in equality, justice, love and respect is what allows hope to grow. Love to transform.

This is the story of what the healing were getting at. Shoving forward that those who were cast out due to differences, were actually resonating within the Holy Mystery already. The ancient Mayans would hold high in esteem those we would say are “special needs” today, for they had a deeper communion with the Holy and creation.

Yet today, we are falling into the same fallacy. Allowing labels to rend us apart as community, neigh, rend us apart as family that is what the collective of humanity is. This is what Brother Jesus spoke/taught/lived against, and yes, even lost his life for this message on what we dub Good Friday (to happen tomorrow in Christendom the world over). A life taken speaking truth of love and inclusion. Challenging societal labelling norms of oppression and destruction. Sound familiar? Are we ready to be the voice seen/heard 2000 years ago?

To hit the home run, Jesus reminded the Pharisees the true equality of their world. Back to the Exodus, which ties back to the original blessing of creation, it was not Moses who sung the victory song, but another priest:

M-I-R-I-AM

  1. To make more light the burdens of the hour, to be a balm for wounded souls;
    28. To win the multitude to better ways by sacred song and holy life.
    29. Behold, for Miriam who stood beside the sea and sung the song of victory when Moses led the way, will sing again.
    30. And all the choirs of heaven will join and sing the glad refrain:
    31. Peace, peace on earth; good will to men!
    32. And Miriam stood before the waiting throngs and sung again the songs of victory, and all the people said, Amen.

This Maundy Thursday, as we sup one last time, wash feet, serve one another as Brother Jesus showed us love in action before the betrayal…

Are we ready to live out the love in action and transform our family?

For the ultimate healing is not to make everyone the same. The ultimate healing is drawing the circle wide to include the beautiful rainbow that is the creation of the Holy Mystery so all have a place in the family. All have a seat at the family table to break bread and celebrate, sing, dance and laugh together.

The true transfiguration into a new world. Truly answering the question, What Would Love Do?

So are you ready to find your answer.

Are you ready to Transfigure our world?


Susan’s finger tapped the front page of the paper. A clear helmet cam shot of the potato sack covered head and the headline clear as day “Bionic is Back!” I admit I dropped the secondary name to go for the more Stan Lee style flare, but a by-line with a freelance cheque goes nicely for a start to the sabbatical. A fuzzier picture pulled from someone’s twitter feed of me blasting back off into the air.

“I thought you were on sabbatical?” Not sure if she was implying the super hero shenanigans or from the journalist perspective. Her dirty blonde hair was highlighted by white hairs, some from being a mother, some from being a caregiver to her aging parents in the first steps of dementia, but mostly she credits to me and the vocations that chose me.

The paper was on the kitchen table, kids were already on their buses to school (both our children were differently-abled, which sadly meant in Alberta Education and the Calgary Board of Education we could not choose our schools, they were designated for them. Upside great support in the school, downside because of ablest parents out there bitching had to pay for busing because it wasn’t fair that parents that chose to send their kids to school not their designated had to pay—end soapbox).  Took a sip of my morning coffee. Her green eyes would be flaming if she had magic to go with her medium-ship. Yes my beautiful wife can easily feel and converse with the energies of the other realms. She was the silent third partner in John and I’s duo.

Which with where the weird adventures Gerklyn then Merlin took us through, was a good thing to have someone like her on our side. It was one of the earliest adventures that gave her the permanent blue flame hair streak down the middle. “You said sabbatical to sort things out, I mean since your supposed death there has been no clear `evidence’ if you will that the Knight was active again.” A loud snore from Pen on the counter followed by two short puffs of smoke rings.

Another sip, she is geared up this morning and not much I can say about having saved a life is going to save my hide from a night on the sofa. But truly, a Killer Face resurfacing is a sign of something. Not sure how it fits in with the maybe spirit of John that visited me in the graveyard.  “I am sorting things out.” Wonder if I should tell her about John, it would peak her curiosity, just like in the old days, and especially since his final exorcism and death she is still shocked he has not come to say hi, not even to our twin daughters that share their mother’s gifting.

“By playing underwear outside your clothes again? You said full well after nearly dying to end the darkness, that was it. A few favours for John and that’s…” She pauses, damn it I can’t hide much in my cow eyes from my soul mate, my lightning rod, and after John’s name tumbled from her lips bingo. “that’s what this is about, putting John to rest finally?”

I gulp what’s left of my coffee. She is going to kill me. “Partly. Putting him to rest, and finally discovering what wielding this magic realm here and now is all about.”

“Fuck you Rick Saturn, you are not allowed to have a mid-life crisis.” Mid-life crisis? This isn’t about a run of the mill mid-life crisis? It is about finding out if my friend is finally at peace at the very least, or at best… “Ah me Ricky, don’t go after the big R on this one.”  But she doesn’t get it. If it was her I would. “We know how purgatory works, and that with his death all that was tormenting him here was finally sheared away.”

“Yada yada yada. So, he is the pure energy-cosmic being as part of the Cosmos, I get it babe. Trust me, enough of my mates have gone to the great beyond and not returned. But there is precedence for the return, and what if?” I leave it dangling, what more can I say.  So many have appeared dead to the world yet returned. So if my friend died due to being possessed/controlled by an alien force masquerading as a demi-god dubbed Thor…then why could he not have survived and just need his corporeal self pulled back together?

Susan’s green flame eyes pierce into mine. One of those rare moments in our lives when I know she is staring deeply into the depths of my soul. She finishes her porridge, and her coffee. Picks up the paper, and walks over to me.

Silence is deafening.

She kisses the top of my head and drops the paper in front of me.

“If you truly believe you can bring him back, then quit pissing about with this bull shit.”

She kisses me again on the cheek and leaves for the day, she is going to be an art therapy volunteer at the kids’ school. She leaves me in the kitchen of our bungalow as she heads out for the day.  Time for a refill on both porridge and coffee. The front page does haunt me as I sit back down. Just the coincidence of starting a sabbatical to discover myself a new, and one of the first villains I faced is there trying to be a ne’er do well.

Cell vibrating. Click open. “Hello?”

“Rick, we need to talk about John. Come to the ashram.” Zed Said.

To Be Continued…


I woke up the morning of December 19 for work with my shirt soaked with tears. It is not a normal occurrence, but my son had a rough night of emotional pain and crawled into bed and couldn’t stop crying. Why you ask?  Well that is an intriguing story that actually started a reminiscence for long time readers.

A few years back when I was editor of socialist paper, I had a column dubbed “View from the Pew” where I would ruminate on the crossroads of the spiritual and political. As those in Canada know (or may need to re-learn) that the progressive movements started over coffee and tea in church basements in trying to build our just society.

A society that a spiritual centre dubs in their Metro paper ads as “inclusive” and my son learned far to devastatingly that this was false on the morning of December 18, which led to the tears overnight.

It was a secondary response from a pulpit that was anything but inclusive, and sadly so different from what he, in his joy, was used to feeling/experiencing.  Our world is not comfortable with those blessed and experiencing the world differently abled, we like to sidebar or over see or exclude. As some may realize, my family is not like that, when we speak of an open door for anyone, and even to loss of spiritual homes we have lived this.

So a few years back, we were attending and about to join the Roman Catholic church (I know shocking with their conservative theology, but bear with me on this)…and my sons joyful noise was addressed from the pulpit during High Mass, and y’know what the Priest came back with?  Hallejuah that there is someone so alive with love and the Spirit here today, that is how we all should be in our faith and living of love.

A faith home, that also had leadership that essentially stated all were welcome, all ages were welcome, and those raising complaints would be dealt with by the leadership for not including all God’s children.

Fast forward a few years and we are a family in a spiritual centre that speaks of inclusion, that never raises any issue with my son’s joyful noise. One time, the av guy had to come speak with us, he was respectful needing us to move from the back to the front so the sounds did not overcome the recording microphone. We got it, and even though the stadium seating stair case at SAIT Orpheus Theatre are not easy for someone with Cerebral Palsy to move down, supported by me, that is not always the strongest of backs, we made it work.

Then as my son in his grief cycle of loss, got to the point he wanted to go back to “church” to hear music, and hear about Santa…we went.  The morning music was about Santa, he was rocking in joy, and excited with pics of his buddy (Santa) up on the screen…when it happened.

The Minister decided it was time to attack as he was taking a moment to gleefully calm down. Asking him to move to the back or not make a noise while she talked. My son said No. He knew there was no option to move to the back, and by asking he was being kicked out.  With the next noise he made in glee…my son and me left. It was a hard walk up, as he did not want to go, but I could not deal with any more spiritual assault from the pulpit to my little boy. Eyes were averted.

Of this great spiritual place that boasts 9 other “deeply trained” practitioners and ministers, none followed, no members of the congregation that always said how they enjoyed my son followed to see if we were okay…sorry check that…one loan lady came running out in tears pleading for us to go back in saying he wasn’t bad, but that’s all my son could repeat:

Santa thinks I’m naughty. I spent time calming him, soothing him, reminding him no he was not naughty, this is the ugliness of prejudice that he is far to young to experience.

A few members came out to use the washroom or get a drink, he would say hi, they would not make eye contact and hustle past completely ignoring him. We were waiting as I did not want my daughter to feel the pain of being cast out to by pulling her out of Funday early.

But as we waited,

I watched the sparkle leave my son’s eye. His joy fade to a pale facade, as each of these “holy” people ran away…

my little boy who a few years earlier when we became members thanked this place for loving him…looked at me and said, “Daddy they no love me.”

Was there an outreach for an apology? A feeble attempt of the, it was handled badly moments…made worse by the centre believing they could post the video unedited of the talk, so that I actually had to contact them to deal with it in a respectful way…because that act in itself tells me you saw nothing wrong with the actions as a community, and do not see him as a full person.

But it was the ringing silence that morning that struck me…one person whose heart is bigger than her, but no one else, and those that did averted like you think we had the plague. That is when it hit me. The progressive spiritual movements were in shock when someone like Trump road a wave of lowest common denominator to the presidency and in shock asked how?

Sunday Morning December 18 when my little boy was asked to leave a spiritual gathering over joy in Santa, and all but one person in a 100+ person gathering remained silent. Sat in silent solidarity with the most vulnerable being cast out…that is how a USA 2016 election result happens, you are now part of the tipping point to the opposite of love and inclusion.

This is my humble view from my pew (or in this case padded seat in an Orpheus Theatre to a wooden bench in the SAIT Student Centre).

-30-

 


It is a funny question, and usually how we identify ourselves in new social settings. “What do you do?” It is not some deep existential question looking for validation of vocational calling, rather it is the question of what one does for work to earn money, and then based on occupation and how many spaces on the pay cheque before the decimal point one can assess if you “fit” their societal grouping.

Also along the lines if you mention an impressive job title are questions around your education.

Then there is the abnormality. I pride myself on being the abnormality, when folks here what I do, and the education I have they get the deer caught in the headlights, evil robot short circuiting eye glaze. It is one of the little joys of life. But isn’t bragging about oneself the point of Linkedin and not conversation of getting to know one another at beyond a superficial level?

My kids tell people I give people homes. Many believe I am in real estate, no that is buying and selling housing. An admirable role, but not mine. I believe in homes for everyone, and that is what I do. I walk alongside and aid my neighbours in becoming part of community and growing themselves a home.

I should say this is something I stumbled into, but really it was a path laid out that I chose from a young age. My parents taught me to speak out for what I believed in, to question and critically analyze societal issues, and to be welcoming to the other. I mean c’mon I grew up a child of `78 and was part of a peace march in elementary school to get Gorbachev’s attention to speak out on ending the Cold War.

I was a teenage journalist and activist challenging politicians and world leaders to understand that policy decisions were not just words on paper but affected people as a whole and individually. Yes I was one of those pains in the butt and even ran for office. I lived what the Creator laid on my soul by building communities of welcome for those we like to segregate by labels: homeless; youth; seniors; young adults; differently abled; mentally ill… think of a few more can you? The drive was a label-less world.

Follow your heart

-My Daughter, Justina, age 8, Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living

Some may read these words and say with a drive like that your home life growing up must have been perfect hell. That’s a nugatory. I had an amazing childhood with loving family, that encouraged my dreams and passions. Let us as children to develop into the adult’s we were meant to be, and to shape beliefs that resonated beyond the surface level. They showed us what a home was, and this is what everyone deserves regardless of situation and with proper supports it can be achieved.

See that is why I do what  I do…because it is part of my created being. I have answered J.S. Woodsworth’s over 100 year old question, who is my neighbour? It is each and every person I connect with in this world.

Discover your passion, then figure out a way to make a living at it.

-My Dad, Wayne Ragan, to me 16 years old in a Marketing Research Project at Lester B. Pearson High School.

So why do I do what I do?

Four little letter everyone desires, deserves, and I have been blessed to know deeply.

H-O-M-E.