Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


Ah Star Trek. My Dad was a Trekkie, through repeats on the CBC he introduced us to the series and the complex discussions that were brought up in some of the episodes. As a little kid it was great because it was one night a week that I could stay up past my bedtime. I remember when the pay channels would do their free weekend preview, and we would record Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan off of it, and yes, those literal ear worms still cause my skin to crawl just thinking of it. And the sorrowful death, choosing to save others (being selfless, Mr. Spock, not selfish, what a message for our existence in c-tine). As well, the copy of the movie adaptation comic book of Star Trek III that I read and re-read until it was no more…

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When Star Trek IV came to cinema, it was a fun and memorable Christmas Eve as Dad would take the four of us to the fancy cinema in Downtown Calgary to watch it on the big screen, and I still remember the sight of the whales.

“Captain there be whales here”- Scotty

I also remember being a part of Friday nights viewing of Next Generation, and in Junior High, the discussions on Monday Mornings around what had happened on Friday’s episodes, and the fun with the Unification storyline, and Hugh (the Borg that gets identity, when first teased we thought was going to be an adaptation of the amazing giant novel, Vendetta). This was also in the era of the panned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, though I loved the movie, the journey of discovery of the intangible (God), as with many Star Trek episodes and movies, it is a go to when teaching youth, because it asks many deep questions about how do we know what is truly Holy? What is our own creation? and what about the pain?

Deep Space Nine is a series that resonated from the metaphysical “Emissary” to the closing episode when I worked in electronics assembly. The journey motif, the depth of character development and change. The commentary on war, terrorism, refugees, religion in building hope and as a tool of oppression, mental health, grieving, what is family, belonging, and sexual identity to name but a few. There was many topics, and it didn’t connect well with Trekkies I knew, but Sisko and company, held my attention on Sundays.

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Voyager in its first run, was not on the radar, could be due to work and social life it was just hard to catch. Though as I moved through my time of healing, rediscovering the journey home on Netflix, was an apt metaphor as I walked through the healing process. The Animated Series (I am sure you can still find some of those reflections on this site) being watched were fun, and connecting back to the core principles of IDIC (more to come on that). Though there was a Star Trek, that rooted deeper. At first, I thought it would be Deep Space Nine, as the long walk to the bookstore when my brain was stabilizing a little for a read, it was a Deep Space Nine novel I would pick up, and draw me into a new journey of renewal, and hope.

Though, as I began to reflect that this journey would truly be a reboot, a new start, it was Enterprise that we found oursleves watching. Archer and company from beginning to end, disocvering the novels as they became a lynch pin for retraining my mind to read and process.

Simple blessings. Stories that showed the beauty of diversity and what can be accomplished by emrbacing Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC). Also stories, that cause one to think and reflect, skills I was scared of losing through the neurological challenges. Skills that through discussion and reflection, would gain round and stabilize, the re-engagement with Trek Lore was one piece of the process (there was other connecting points as well, but this is about First Contact Day).

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Each time, is like a First Contact, that day in the future, on April 5, when the Vulcans in Trek make contact with humanity. As we entered c-tine, aside from RuPaul, in the early days one of our joys was pacing ourselves through Picard Season One, reconnecting with familiar stories. In the summer, the joy and humour of Lower Decks, recently watching Discovery Season 3 (my youngest a non-Trekkie, who cheers when Adira-Gray are on the screen), other episodes of various Trek, last night the Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind and a few months back, the Nichelle Nichols documentary on her work with NASA- Woman in Motion.

Looking back on the journey of life, stories are what shape us and our understanding of the world. First Contact with Star Trek, began a journey of fun, discovery, and building a better world. Where we are made better by living into the best of us, living into our diversity and creating courageous safe space where all belong and can thrive.

Infinite Diveristy, Infinite Combination

How do you choose to live into IDIC?

P.S. I do hope on this day, you were able to take a moment to re-watch favourite episodes, or movies, or like me at least engaged with some of the fun trailers of what is to come…

Picard Season 2 Trailer (and yes Q)

Star Trek Discovery Season 4 Trailer

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 Trailer


Many moons ago, with a Rosary in my weary end of night shift hand in the sanctuary of a Roman Catholic church awaiting the weekday Mass, the still small voice would whisper to me “build my church”, it was an echo sentiment from years before, in a United Church, where I cam back to church as adult with my Nan, after presiding over the Sunday Service, and greeting faith family afterwards, the still small voice would simply say, “you are called”… To scant months before in my first service, where after singing in pre-sing my Granddad’s favourite hymn, the voice, his voice, would simply say “it’ll be alright”, Each of these instances are a piece of book one of three for my life. The book of laying the foudnations and preparing. Experiencing what it means to build the church. That is simply, to create the courageous safe space of connection, purpose and belonging for the beautiful mosaic that is our neighbourhood (the Imageo Dei)

So many bumps along the road. Stories. Pieces of knowledge, ancient wisdom applied to the modern world, and modern wisdom working on the souls of many. Truly striving and stumbling to live out what home is, and having the true open door that I have been told has blessed many. But at my core, I am a simple story teller. That is the core of my parallel multi-career paths, and the core of the calling as book two opens…for what is the core of blessed community but the story of love and hope at its centre?

It is stories that have shaped my life, and still do. Many look at me weirdly in the academic, political and spiritual circles I exist in for the resonance I have to so many of our modern legends and mythologies. Not only the resonance, but how effectively they can be used as points of connection, intersection and discussion… so many ways to meet and understand neighbour. Whether it is the modern super hero stories (I am sure many know of the reflections shared around Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Flash, the list goes on and on) our modern pantheon of gods and demi-gods as found in anceint folklore and mythologies (which I also love). Or the more recent addition of Doctor Who? The Doctor an amazing story of constant curiousity, inspired problem solving, fun and, yes, new life (ah regeneration, since I went through my own health issues, and now into c-tine, it does so feel like a moment of regeneration?). To the inquisitive nature of Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries solved, and the importance of the right partners.

The Arthurian Legends, stories I so wanted to read as a child, and a system said I could not comprehend, and a Dad that said yes he can…and well, the copy of that hardcover from Smithbooks still resides on my bookshelf, never tell a child they can’t when an interest is shown. The wonder, magic and splendour of Camelot. The idea of quest, blessing, calling, and the connection/belonging of the Round Table. To the first movie I ever saw in theatres, Walt Disney’s Robin Hood, and the core truth that all have value, and every role in society is needed for us to be healthy, how easily power can corrupt (and I have seen it happen to far too many good people) for when power becomes the goal like with Prince John– well, the fact it is actually people involved is forgotten for the pursuit of gold (or is it oil?). When a season of life ended, I hope my team at that time understand the blessing of sharing that story book with each of them.

But a core story that has stayed with me throughout my life. From when there was the one night of the week as repeats aired on CBC, Star Trek. A true reflection for me, of what Brother Jesus taught our world was meant to be. Our universe, where all have equity, justice, equality, hope, can pursue who they are meant to be and we affirm the ideal you they are currently and are becoming. Where we aid others. Each of its iterations has brought a new era of story and contemplations into my life. From the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine to Voyager to Enterprise to (Kelvin) Star Trek movies to Discovery to Lower Decks to Picard…each piece introducing new characters, new allegories to our reality now and where we can be, what we can aspire to.

The re-connection to the stories, happened sharply over the last several years as I started to build myself back. As we unearthed, and healed the darkness, smudge and trauma that almost, yes, took my life, though it took me off of one path and opened up an epilogue/prologue upon a new path. A new story. My loving wife and kiddos that have journeyed through much, and we know eyes wide open what has been in all its diverse sorrows to joys, to what we know can be in a hope seen and soon to be lived.

See, for me, as I reflect back on the journey, the long road of getting here. Some may look at the hiccups, the setbacks, the loss, and say, why bother? Or didn’t so and so ruin your life…No they did not. I still remember the day in the early part of my PNES where a congregational cycle of prayer had my son make that statement as I had stepped away a few times from church based ministry to protect him from their heresy & ableism, as with other members of my family at other moments. For me it is about living love, and it is truly about discerning if there is authentic misunderstanding, or simply a desire for a quick apology so one’s own hates are not revealed on the altar for all to see.

But I digress, see there is an understanding that it is not a pollyanic view, especially in our polarized world where many akin the word Christian or Pastor to some device of hatred and exclusion. Or like in Star Trek V when they finally gound “god” and it was revealed to be nothing more than a monster in godcloaking:

Yet, here we are, a long road, some wear and tear, great learnings, lovings, and discoveries.

As was revealed earlier in the movie with the discussion of pain, and the need for the pain to emerge into who we truly are. So it is with each aspect of our life, all the ups and downs, sorrows and joys, losses and wins…they have shaped us…to be with others. To hear the authentic quite voice once more on this journey, one that others have heard.

“it is time to answer hope’s call”

Taking a risk, at this stage of the emegent chapter one of book two, prepared and now stepping in to the uknown. Accepted back to seminary as a student to complete my Master of Divinity. Awaiting the links to open up to apply for funding. To grow my skills, for my writing, community building, and to step back into ministry within the church. And maybe, perhaps, once settled to finish the journey that started with my Psy.D. to finally get my Doctor of Ministry.

To once more, be a pastor.

To aid others in being authentic communities of hope.

To discover honestly, what the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit is whispering to each of us to live out and transform our world for the better.

And yeah, it is one of the scariest steps in my life I have taken.

But also fills me with simply being

content.


Since I was allowed to stay up late on Tuesday nights as a little gapher to watch the re-runs on CBC, Star Trek has been a part of my life. The stories, the social commentary, the inclusivity, the knowing of a better future to come. Watching as the technology I have seen on the screen has slowly and then rapidly become a reality. Think of what our Smart Phones (even flip phones) are like communicators, and sometimes tri-corders (and the body scans we can do now, like their med-beds), during C-tine, our video calls I do feel like asking for hailing frequencies to be open on screen. As each new era of the first book of my life emerged, readers know certain stores have resonated from the original, to the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine (DS9) to Enterprise to Voyager, enjoying Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks (looking forward to Prodigy and Strange New Worlds). Yet it is the underlying theme of all belonging, and freely being able to pursue one’s passion as purpose that resonate at the core of the storylines.

Which is why, as this section moves towards a close, this Reading Week as an instructor has been intriguing for what has come into my feeds. Clicked on Crave to watch the next episode of Season 3 of Discovery, and there was a documentary “Woman in Motion” about Nichelle Nicholls (who originated the character of Uhura) and her work with NASA.

I encourage viewing for everyone, but I also encourage discussion and dreming after viewing. The documentary shares the story of Ms. Nicholls, whose Dad never believed in the word, can’t. She shared of being a teenager, and singer with Count Bassie’s orchestra. How the lead singer, a sultry siren, was no longer there, and she got the nod to take the lead imitating her predecessor during the set. At the end, Bassie came to her, and bluntly asked what she was doing? As well, to knock it off, she had actual talent, so sing. Could you imagine the same advice being given to a young woman in the music industry today?

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The story of her beginning to work with Rodenberry with a role on one episode of his show, “The Lieutenant” around racism, that was so controversial it has never aired. What began that day though was a friendship of deep discussions on importnat issues of justice. Rodenberry promising he would have something for her. What was that? In a show idea known as “Wagon Train to the Stars” that would become Star Trek. The character? One Ms. Nicholls would help name, Uhura, and create. For the command crew of the Enterprise, represented the mosaic of humanity plus a Vulcan. Though during the first season she would see her role continue to shrink to a simple catch phrase “hailing frequencies open” to the point of resigning. It was during this time, at an event, a fan wanted to meet her. She was tired, and did not want to, but the hosts kept pushing, The Fan- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the message, you can’t resign. The retort, who are you to tell me how to run my career. The rationale by Dr. King, it is the only show he allows his children to watch, that he makes time to watch with his children. She stayed, an African American Lieutenant, the commander of communications.

The story shifts to the convention era, where she met a person from NASA, as they were moving from the Apollo era to the shuttle era, and Ms. Nicholls, once again challenged the norm, for she pointed out she could not see herself in the astronauts. A visit to NASA revealed the rainbow that made space flight possible, but the actual astronauts had a selection bias, and there was 4 months left to go in recruiting for the program…and Ms. Nicholls was hired, one caveat, she did not want to be a mascot. She took in astronaut training so she knew what she spoke about, she also did not have NASA folks with her when she went on her recruiting talks, filmed her PSA’s for television and radio. 4 month, criss crossing the country, receiving threats of harm when she spoke out, challenging the military recruiting process, as she recruited civilians (and those in the military overlooked) to thousands of applicants to the first 35, adn the friendships she cultivated in there to the Challenger in 1986…\

But her message was simple, she saw something that wasn’t right, and wanted to make it right.

An underpinning of Star Trek, in spite of the Prime Directive. Striving for IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), a true courageous space for inclusivity. To move beyond the societal “isms” that were explored in Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode “Beyond the Stars” where Sisko, is back in time as a writer in the 1900s:

Sisko was the writer Benny Russell, who the readers believed was white. The world was very much polarized by colour, at least in the powerful money hands. This is the world that the bridge of Uhura challenged. This is the world that Star Trek in its IDIC continues to challenge, while cultivating critical and ethical thought processes.The shared extended metaphor of Bajoran-Cardassians, in the age of Reconciliaiont, of Settlers-Indigenous. And inspiring folks to discover their passions and pursue them. This is how I shaped the episodes and movies to be used in my teaching with youth and young adults, from exploration nights in youth groups, youth centres, young adult studies, discussion nights, oh and one fun confirmation cycle. It was a pleasure on Friday February 19, 2021 during a video conference out of Costa Rica linking the world (very Trekkie) to be able to thank one of the actors, who states she is a storyteller, Nana Visitor (played Major Kira Nerys in DS9) for the stories that inspired and have been used to inspire so many.

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A friend and former colleauge in journeying with those in life recovery and exiting homelessness to home, is now at home in Costa Rica cultivating his own passions around space exploration and community building as a teacher. This was a conference part of TEC. The exciting news that kicked off was Costa Rica adopting their own Space Agency (after a long history of working with NASA, and some excellent books co-authored by my friend, Bruce Callow). Their initiatives around education and STEM that has seen them in schools outside of Costa Rica (including Calgary), and having cameos with the books at the last Vul-Con before c-tine (and as rumours/bills from the Town Council of Vulcan the last focused event such as that).

We then shifted to an incredible and inspiring talk by our storyteller. Ms. Visitor shared about those great moments of entering The Flow. That is that moment when everything aligns, and it no longer feels like struggle or work, just going and what amazing things happen within a team when that moment is realized by a team. I have had the pleasure of experiencing those moments in my own writing and teaching, but also in community builidng and spiritual direction with the teams and communities we were a part of, an dyes it is powerful. The challenges thrown out that the way work is done needs to change, understanding work as a person with nothing outside the work is unhealthy and wrong. We need to cultivate a world that allows for healthy balance with work and life, and watch the miracles roll out, just think we have gotten this far with the broken system, how much farther could we go with an unbroken system?

Of course, there was talk of the power of representation within Star Trek, Ms. Visitor sharing when she first read the character of Kira, she thought it was a man, because rolls like that did not exist in the early 90’s for women. And when she found out it wasn’t, she wanted it. She shared on her Women of Trek project, interviewing the actresses who have played the powerful roles. The hope of Ms. Nicholls health holding so after c-tine she will be able to interview her in person for the book/documentary. This was one of the greatest moments, as there was the allusion that inclusivity also involves mental health and disabilities for pursuit of passions. As the character of Tilly in Discovery was brought up, for she is brilliant, yet can be crippled by anxiety, and she is important to show, that we can still be who we are in experiencing the world, and chase our passions.

Which leads us into a reflection for this first weekend of Lent,

If inclusivity was the norm

If you could live your dreams/passions

Who would you be?

*Guess what– that’s who Creator made you to be.

For more on Nana Visitor, read Bruce Callow’s article here.

My Facebook message after the event:


Watching media and social media feeds during this time of c-tine, one can begin to think the entire human race is like Hugh (The Borg) in the Next Generation coming out of the collective for the first time, or the last Dalek in the Ninth Doctor’s only season, unable to process too much information and emotional spectrum choosing destruction instead. We are at a crux as a society, for c-tine has caused a pause from the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality, and removed the excuses of no time to look into things or letting someone else do it. The challenge of the time is that some are still existing in the hard dualism of one side having to be completely evil so you can be completely good, not wanting to be okay with the gray, or compromise or discussion or seeing outside of our own ego-centric personal fable.

And if what you’re hearing is the emergence from adolescence-emergent early adulthood as a species, you would be correct.

Just going to take a walk about into some thoughts as it has been a while since I’ve written, so grab a cuppa and join the thought meanderings.

First we as a society, whether we want to admit it or not, are moving through grief. That is why we are seeing such a ramping up of denial and anger as those that do not want to process through the emotions they are feeling and need social support that is now at a distance, or unwilling to reach out to the professional supports available. Just think over the past 131 days what should have happened– year book signings in schools, graduations, end of year celebrations.

Within our own family it was to be our daughter’s first Pride in Alberta, and due to covid we are unable to be there. Each summer my kids do the small town parade tour both being in (fundraising for kids charities) and watching as activity with their grandparents they were unable to be a part of. My daughter was to be in her second summer at Pine Lake Christian Camp (though thankfully they have thought outside the box and provided a summer of online activities, but still not the same), she was finally a part of a choir and band and the concerts have been cancelled. After my own health journey I was back into a new vocational journey only to have it up ended.

Learning curves, losses, new ways of connecting. All these pieces play a role. They create grieving that we have to acknowledge and process.

Then the world around us has the same pains. Yet some factors attempt to aid, others do not. This moves into thoughts of our political culture.

It always amazes me that the governing party in Alberta and our Premier normalized workplace harrassment and bullying, dehumanizing of the opponent and actually pay online trolls to continue. They laugh openly and mock in the legislature, but hyper fixate when someone outside their party uses the same tactics.

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Though the storm cycle foes show our alien gods, Thor, trying to keep us inside so the world can heal.

Do I agree with this degeneration of behaviour, and the illustration for what is appropriate it gives to the young? No.

Do I feel the frustration of others and lowering themselves to the level of bullying of the ideological conservative in Canada (and yes our last Federal election in Canada showed this as well)? Yes I can, sadly in moments I to may have, but really we need to make “raise the bar of decorum”.

Words are empty without actions.

Truly though, it has to come to a collective good. Which means all those involved cannot be on the path of seeking wealth and power through politics, but see it as a vocational calling for public service to fulfill the constitutional guarantee of peace, order and good governance.

It feeds into the understand of that tax money is a collective of the citizens to be used for the citizens, these investments in society through infrastructure, government entitlements, public services (road crews, utilities, health care, education, etc) create the type of space and health that attracts investments from businesses. It is also understanding that natural resources do not belong to the government or to the corporation but as Premiers Manning Sr. and Lougheed understood and created the roadmap successfully adopted by other jurisdictions, but to the citizens and for their stability.

Can we get back to a collective healthy narrative of belonging and care, that strips populists from the centre stage and relegates the extremists on either end of the spectrum back to the rubbish bin the sentiments belong in?

For my province’s response to Covid, stripping our CMOH of the power to override political lack, and instead places the politician as supreme. It has made a Trump-lite response that is seeing a trending/ramping up to wave 2 that is impacting those under 39 years old the most, and of course to cover up the failing of the plan by not following medical research and best practice to fight the virus, coupled with an ideological drive for American style for profit health care and deciding our medical community and doctors are the enemy during a pandemic. This has led to nearly half of doctors looking to work elsewhere. We finally recovered from the Klein area lunacy and lack of doctors, only to have these extremists start the cycle again.

But to shift the focus (of the daily announcements attacking the way and quality of life of Albertans) the game of destroying public education continues, with the Minister announcing a return to near normal school in the fall with just a deflection that schools and their boards are to figure it out, and false announcements which is re-announcements of pre-pandemic funds that were to be used for off set infrastructure fixes. In Calgary at least our high schools are at or over capacity, yet they are to be expected to physically distance—uhm. The Alberta government aid? PSA posters and videos. The minister has no answers, refuses to release a costed plan, or the full recommendations of the CMOH. This is just in the typical streams, for the complex medical kiddos nothing has been said or even thought of. Makes me wonder if this is just not the continued, passive-aggressive social eugenics at work. Hoping the pandemic eliminates the oldest and most disabled so the cuts goes unnoticed.

And then the recent minister of the crown in Alberta calling police on protesters outside his Edmonton office. The bill tabled to remove the constitutional right of protest that even hate groups have filed court challenges against. It definitely feels for a Canadian that we are living in a bizarro world, and need to listen to our government through a bizarro translator (that is hear the opposite of the words said).

Which brings us to the fun on the Federal stage, the one place that if not for the Federal government my neighbours vocally hate, we would have had no support throughout this time of pandemic and economic disruption. The new entitlements like CERB, that conservative premiers are decrying as a disincentive to work, for a full time 40 hr week the $2000 a month works out to about $12-13 dollars an hour…If your companies are not paying minimum wage, and providing research based safety for employees during a pandemic that is on the marketplace and not on a government entitlement supporting citizens like they should during this time. It is also important to explore what a universal basic income can be, let’s change society during this time.

Also I would be remiss if we did not touch upon the WE fiasco. You can google and see the media frenzy around it, as well as posturing from Opposition parties, and the polls. The governing Liberals took a hit in support but it is now rebounding.

What is the crux? From my reading, is that a sole sourced contract was awarded to the WE organization to administer a pay-volunteer program for youth (about $10/hr). Should it have been administered through the already existing government agencies? Yes, but this is a practice of governments to use non-profits to create distance. We see it in Alberta with things such as the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

WE needs a full audit on how monies are used, as any non-profit should have (especially those receiving government monies), there needs to be accounting and rationales for expenditures and subsidiaries. For those who want to hyper fixate on the pay for speaking of members of the Trudeau family, explore closely, look at the locations, and expenses covered. As well, some speakers get paid, some do not. I have been paid by WE many years ago for an event in Calgary.

As for the ethics around PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau, with known ties to the non-profit being in the room when the decision was made. Yes, they should be cited for an ethics violation. When Minister Morneau had pointed out to him the $41,000 that needed to be repaid for travel, he remediated immediately. Does it show our finance minister is wealthy? Yes. Does it show corruption? Possibly, but more chequebook oversight.

Now for the calls for resignation or the opposition parties will trigger an election? Do the opposition parties truly think this will turn out well sending us into an election during a pandemic? The Liberals have brought us through the pandemic, maintained our triple A credit rating, and continue to govern. Andrew Scheer, conservative party leader who resigned but stayed was caught misappropriating funds so where is his ethical stance to lead and govern? Honestly, Government, call the bluff. I would easily vote for a rock ran as a Liberal in my riding (yes I would throw out my normal process) to send a message on politicking over collaboration.

But WE has opened up the idea that we need to follow trails and take audits seriously. We also need to ask what should stay in the realm of government agency ad not be handed off. In Alberta our reminder of this is the safe-consumption site in Lethbridge which was not AHS, but rather the non-profit ARCHES, and the question of $1.7 million. In honesty, they knew the government was not ideological supportive of their approach even though it is evidence based. The onus was on the non-profit to ensure everything was above board, this is a warning to the sector that needs to be heard, and to government that citizens need and want transparency and accountability.

Finally, masking. Sigh.

The fact “Christians” are front and centre against it saddens my pastor soul. Obviously they have missed the love your neighbour piece of the Great Commandments of Brother Jesus. For mask protect our neighbour, everyone wears them that can (our medically complex may not be able to, but if everyone else is should halt spread enough) so, ifyou’re a Christian, sorry it is not a get out of masking card. Want to stand on civil liberties or the “why wasn’t it needed at first?” Uhm… Smoking by-laws, seat belts…

Which is why my heart sang when my local city did what our province refuses (though with a Premier trumpeting “herd immunity” the failed Sweden.UK experiment, and Trump cures, what do you expect):

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Also wanted to do a quick touch base on this concept of “new terrors emerging”. No it is not new, BIPOC have always been needing equity, equality and justice. We expect our police to work outside the scope of their practice far too much, and need to create a system that provides the professional tools and individuals necessary for societal health both on the prevention and intervention. Also it needs to be a system that allows for worker health, not the ideology that is prevalent of “do more with less”.

As well, the concept pedophilia is a growing concern in our world. It has always been a concern. Historically in Canada the Truscott false conviction illustrates the abuse of power to cover up abusers (as well as Graham James, residential schools, religious abuse stories). Ensure what you use to source the fight are true, not nutbar conspiracies. Child sex-trafficking (I still cannot unsmell the Calgary trickpads I did rescues in), recruiters online, in malls, and schools, and child sex tourism (honestly, rape) have existed for centuries, in the 90’s there was attempts to put laws in place that were enforceable. It is not new that pedophiles seek mainstream acceptance by piggy backing onto know entities, whether it is attempts to be accepted into the sexual spectrum (and removed from the diagnostics as a disorder) or to use the ideas of non-profits, unions, or community leagues to normalize. It has been on going, just look at the despicable history of orgs like NAMBLA…which first entered the conscience of mainstream due to Andrew Vacchs Batman novel in the `90’s that opened up the fight against this darkness.

Like with everything, it is being open and honest with the stories, the trauma, the horror, and then saying never again. This time though we need to mean it. We as a soceity need to let authentic truth stand, and then agree to end the darkness by letting our light shine through.

During this time I encourage you to take time to unplug. Be with yourself, and those close to you. It can be a time of reflection, as the concept of Sabbath, there is underlying constant anxiety we may be unaware of, but in the new pause… figure out/discern what the next chapter of your life is meant to be? What are the passions you hold? Interests? Hobbies?

Discover who you are.

Discover your passion.

Now, plot twist time.


IDW’s 2017 collection Star Trek: Waypoint is a collection of one and done short comic stories in the tradition of the Star Trek shows, it was part of the 50th anniversary celebration. Long time readers will remember I have drawn upon these short stories for other reflections.

For this time on the Holy Week Pilgrimage, it was appropriate to once again tap this resource, as the ancient friends of Jesus’ journeyed into darkness latching on to hope to decolonize their own whole beings, throw off the colonizers (the Empire) and create something new, so to are we at a crossroads in Canada, and the world from the Inter-generation traumas of this cycle of conquering, dominance, dehumanization, and genocide in its variety of forms. A time where truth needs to be spoken, intrinsic worth and being reclaimed, and moving forward in reconciliation in a new way. Which brings us to the Mother’s Walk story in this collection. Set in the world of Deep Space Nine. The former Cardassian space station being reclaimed by the Bajoran government, and United Federation of Planets.

See the quick version of the back story is the Cardassians conquered Bajor, enslaving the population, strip mining it for resources, and doing what ever they could to destroy the populace’s spirit. Sound familiar from our history books? It is within this emergent new reality that Major Kiera Nerys shares the story of a revelation to Commander Dax now that she is in space and can see the stars. The story of the Mother’s Walk–Shar-D’an. An ancient Bajoran ritual for the women, that was shared in the value of women working together, tied to a sacred story of family. It was a time of the year when the women would gather, embroider names of those they were connected to, walk in and with the Sacred.

It was seen as a point of power, a world of matriarchy, the Cardassians saw it as dangerous. As such, for those caught living their faith and doing this ceremony their embroidered sashes were used to hang them from as an execution warning. See something familiar in the use of Crucifixion in the Easter Story? In the use of violence in colonization across the nations and suppression of religious-spiritual practice? Forcing change on how a society functions stripping away the matriarchy to impose a hierarchy?

Kiera shared her truth with Dax, and that she had no family to do this with now that she could. As this truth spread on the station, those that new and cared for Kiera reached out to do the ceremony with her- O’Brien and his wife Keiko, who Kiera had carried their child by surrogacy, Dax, Quark, Bashir, Odo, Sisko (The Emissary for Bajor’s religion), all had reached out and been denied by Kiera for not being her “family”.

Yet, think of what happened?

The growth in the short story towards, Kiera’s realization of whom her new family had become. For family is not just blood, it is those that come to care, support, see the inherent being of another, connection, belonging, sharing life together, willingness and openness to be a part of the life cycle of another, and the benchmark’s of the sacred.

Who are your family?

Those that share the sacred journey with you.


It has always been a weird situation when folks try to make out you’re some kind of super hero or special person for being a parent of an exceptional child. Really? I think all parents that engage with their kids to support them in becoming who they are meant to be are quite amazing regardless of the labels society places on the child. See, the only real trash parent I see are the ones that decide a coping or discipline method is to beat a child or spouse or sexually, emotionally and mentally abuse them (which is why I cheer the Canadian Government’s $7.5 million investment in kid’s help phone during this time of social distancing, perhaps silence will break and we can rescue more from the darkness, but I digress).

I’m a parent of a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Any labels through medical or societal are not their to define my children, rather they are their for communities and society to know what my child needs to thrive, discover, belong and be the most awesome them, they can be. Full stop. Being a parent is hard. Each of us has our own strengths, areas of growth, challenges, and then we are given mini-mes that become a ramped up mirror of our best and worst traits (hey, I knew I was a sarcastic so-so, but trust me when my kids riff on me its really obvious lol). So why do we need to sub-divide?

Within the exceptional child community, why do we sub-divide further? With comments such as, you can’t possibly know because your child can do x-y-z-… we are conditioned to constantly be in apology mode for a spasm, a sound, a spasticity, a stem or a tick…yet…

The world around us, can be as assertively a-holey (to borrow on of my daughter’s favourites of skirting swearing) it wants towards us. Religious can say we did something so our child is being punished for sin, that they need prayer for healing. In religious settings many have heard of our family’s journeys where the elders, long timers, and money givers feel it is their right to make an issue of the “different”, not understanding truly what an imageo dei is an how a diverse mosaic our Holy truly is in human form… yet it is left to us to take the slings and arrows, and to make apologies, up to us to mea culpa, and share the medical history to “educate”. Yet at no point does someone hold the bullier accountable, and threaten to cast them out, instead the surface issues are touched upon, and one does not want to deep dive to the “isms” below the surface. Truly live healing and reconciliation at a community level as the gospel teaches, so instead we leave. Before the social distancing began I was sharing ideas with some non-profits to offer up this spiritual space for families seeking it an not yet ready to traverse the choppy waters. Also knowing that the last 2 places my family has been and is, are safe zones, some may say courageously, but rather I would use the term they came to meet my son with Jesus’ heart.

But I digress. For the fight before these moments was cemented in something deeper. As alluded to. You fight against the passive systematic eugenics for your child to be allowed life. Then you battle the assertive systematic eugenics for them to keep their life. You lift the life up to the Holy Mystery thankful for the love and blessing of parenthood for however long they will be with you, knowing that it truly is a blessing.

Yet as noted, different groups you try to be apart of use “tradition” or “money” as reasons they cannot alter physical spaces for accessibility (making a physical space able to be used by all). Never mind if they are willing to even extend the interpersonal space to allow the different to exist (noting any similarities with any other marginalized group). To the challenge of belonging- this is being known by many, missed when not their, supported in finding and fulfilling purpose– it challenges the concept of the abled, the idea that disability is catching, or that the wrong thing may be said, or what do you do when the child dies? So many things race through minds to create barriers, instead of simply meeting the person before you as… a person.

The other challenge is fighting with other systems that tell you, like the CBE, that you chose to have it, and should be happy with the scraps thrown your way. Our current education minister that believes scrapping aides is a cost saver for the rest of the school year that will be done by home, not understanding the roles fulfilled. The governmental policy not seeing the child as a full person, just as a nuisance that can be spun as the rationale for why other students can’t have things (and yes has been done many times). When tragedy strikes, knowing your child will not receive the same level of support as other children would, because it is too costly to figure out how to aid them in grieving.

To a disability community fractured because everyone chases the funding needed for our children to excel, so instead of exceptional kids and adults, we hear about specific disabilities, and others are left outside. Sadly, as I noted earlier, some families’ take this approach in trying to support one another in the idea of-well your child can– so you don’t get it (or in the struggles to keep plastic straws). A selfish inability to see beyond our own situation, and to understand that we can advocate for something beneficial to other families’ even if it is not directly beneficial to our child because it’s the right thing to do.

The system, politics,  communities, religion, try to beat down upon you that your child or loved one is not a full person. That you should mourn because they may never (fill in the `traditional’ coming of age mile stone) and as such you are missing out.

And ya know what my pastoral response is to it all?

BULLOCKS!!!

Being a parent, uncle, aunt, grandparent, god parent, is a pretty awesome thing. The child before you, that is now in your life regardless of diagnosis or labels is– a friggin’ blessing folks and is looking to us to love them, mentor them, and support them into becoming the most awesome them they can be.

What does that mean? It means celebrating when things happen that are awesome, crying when things change or loss happens, chatting and sharing with the child like you would any child. Doing life together as a family, and standing your ground as a strong advocate when something is unjust, or educate when necessary, but also, regardless of time affiliated with a group, person or family member, when they don’t get it and it becomes detrimental to your mental health or that of your child- END IT!

See my son is 14 years old. 14 amazing years of having a son. Some say how did you raise a son with___. Honestly, I raised a son, this is my son, and truly the only one I know how to raise.  We have had many laughs, tickles, wrestles, experiments, times in hospital, tears when little buddies and grandparents went to the tea party in heaven, his heart convinced me a non-dog person to get a dog…and we cried when our mumma house hippo joined the Jesus Tea Party. Waiting for the next blessing. He has ministered with me, cheered in hockey games, been out in multiple parades collecting donations to help other kids, the first to hug a new friend that he just met, and deeply feel rejection from those that should know better. He chose to be baptized in pre-school, we celebrated his elementary school graduation, and are looking forward to high school. Do we know what the future holds?

No.

But he’s a kid. Kids discover, learn, and define who they are in life. Parents help them cultivate that so that they can become the who they are meant to be.

That is what we are doing. We live each day with gratitude, even those days he’s a weiner because he’s a 14 year old boy and does what 14 year old boys do, and those days when he shows wisdom and compassion through the simplest actions beyond his years.

Society tells you to grieve. I thought it was important to share, that grieving is about making society feel better for their innate fear and hatred of that which does not conform to their “ideals”. The labels and diagnosis are there not to define your child’s boundaries of life, but rather to state what the world needs to do to ensure they belong, grow and thrive into the citizen they are becoming.

Rather live in celebration, push the envelope, learn, discover, laugh, cry, and be the parent you were meant to be with the kids you have.

Shift from grieving to gratitude.

Practice each day, writing out 3 things you are grateful for. Plan your own family milestone celebrations that fit the family you are and are becoming due to who your child is.

Be in the moment. Let hope grow, and love abound.


It is a story told over two volumes:

A stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.

cover

Buy Soul Ripples here.

Then enter the healing with Soul Ripples Two by clicking link in the caption of the picture:

centennial coffee

Soul Ripples 2

Enjoy the journey, and please share with those you think need to see that healing is possible…and Hope abounds.


There are many four letter words that have come out of my mouth during this journey, and have been applied to my life and the ripple effects with my family. My journey on healing from trauma was supported awesomely though by having family it allowed me the space to heal. Not only heal, but make the connections within my flashbacks to trace core memories of trauma that needed to be rooted out, and healed to create the ripple within my own person.

It did feel like energy and electricity bursting through my body and leaving during the sessions. It was amazing as the weeks between would pass and different emotions of the spectrum would be felt- both positive and negative.

Yet, the work I did between sessions I would not encourage someone without a healthy in home support network to do…for in the isolation it could very easily go from healing to suicidal, it was a trip into the darkness and trusting the light path to bring you out.

Yes I am a person of faith, and that faith whether out there or subtle have played a role in my life. The same with this journey, and I am glad that in my life prayer and action go hand in hand, and the constant dialogue within myself and the Holy Mystery is there. It was amazing as I began healing to see the different opportunities that opened up for me and my family, the different places where we could connect for joy, love and healing. Where our faith would be rewarded, and where we could see communities around us come out of their own struggles into a new dynamic understanding of belonging as happened with our home church in Calgary in regards to the faith challenged laid down by my son to them.

This is the winding road. The ripples like upon a river or lake created by a skipping stone. The soul ripples that answered the question, what happens when the helper needs help?

They discover who their true family is (whether blood or chosen, there are many who journeyed with us, and blessed us communally and individually that I may or may not have mentioned in these two volumes, to you all I say thank you). You also discover your own true self anew.

It was this sense that brought me to the remission appointment at the Foothills Hospital with my PhD. Psychologist where the healing began on February 14, 2019. Here I was entering the office once more on October 31, 2019…

Not knowing what may or may not come of the meeting, but one thing was certain.

Today was the day; I could firmly stand in my faith, in my healing.

It was the day where the four letter word that had carried my family through the darkness was fully lived and embraced. It was a beautiful four letters:

H-O-P-E-

My step into hope of the new dawn of my pilgrimage with Brother Jesus as I once more stepped into the office.


Many will say

There is no place or

Time left to let blame rest

Yet many need to understand the ripples

Their actions,

Words,

Have upon those they are inflicted upon.

In-Laws

Should be outlaws,

Not seeing the harm

They inflict

For they believe their crap

Don’t stink

Holier than thou

Of the non or believer holy rollers

Shattered souls

And lives

Finding respite

Relief,

Leave me

Under pressure

Confronted

Conflicted

Being stared through

With glassed over eyes

That has pain nulled,

Yet not healed or released

The seizures release falsely

Yet the cracks are there

As the pressures of life

And career mount

One glassy eyed stare

And the house of cards

The interior castle

The mind palace

Collapses

The colloquial straw upon the camel’s back

Or the angelic breaking of the back from the verse upon my Mummy’s urn,

A sad sack turn of phrase to appease another’s guilt.

Yet…

In the end…

Treatment awaits…

To heal

Rebirth

Reboot

The soul,

That had been broken,

And the sources,

Will never know

Or more aptly

Give a damn.


God is Dead

Maybe stealing a phrase from Nietzsche, but honestly reflecting on whether or not God is alive in our world? There was a trilogy of Christian movies playing on the title “God’s Not Dead”; which were decent run movies of apologetics though a bit after school special melodramatic with the panic of Christians “losing rights”.  It is not about losing rights, it truly is about other groups, philosophies and religions gaining equality and equity in our society. Secularism allows science to explain the nuts and bolts for us, while our personal religions relate the why.

This entered my head as I awaited the Accelerated Resolution Therapy to start I wanted to push my brain a little. A YouTube channel to dust off my preaching skills and putting out feelers for pulpit supply in the summer for a few Sundays, all part of discernment of what is next for me in my journey and our family life.

The Universe’s humour however was evident. Deciding so I did not end up on a hobby horse soap box circuit of my own design stated I would use the Sunday Lectionary. Those unfamiliar with a Lectionary, it basically is designed that on Sundays in a three year cycle you will hear the whole Bible in Church, for daily ones it is a two year cycle. The essence being the minister cannot avoid any texts. I chuckled when asked to take the pulpit for July14, 2019 at Centennial Presbyterian Church for the lectionary brought me to The Good Samaritan parable:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”[1]

How to love my neighbour, and who is my neighbour are the two bedrock questions of my ministerial journey, and returning to the pulpit of the church I did my Mum’s funeral service in what a topic to be handed. The challenge now is what does it mean?

It means quite a bit. But what hit me hard this time just reflecting on the synchronicity of the event is that at this time in history, God is dead. But the God that is dead is not the God of the Trinity. It is not the Holy Love that created everything. It is not the Holy divinity that made Jesus the Christ, and from whom the Holy Spirit flows through life today.

There is a God that is DEAD. It is a God that should be dead. The God of Christendom. The God that allows for exclusion, the God that empowers hatred and violence based on religion. The God that was crafted by terrorists and governments to perpetuate wars, misogyny, caste systems, and try to control people’s free will of choice. The God that is dead is the one that has sparked such murder in the nominal church that was more comfortable with status quo power and control, much like the living breathing Sanhedrin of Jesus’ day. The God that is dead is that God tied to Nationalism, and Empire.

The God that in Canada was used to mask the atrocities of Colonialism, Residential Schools, Labour, Sex trafficking, eugenics, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, forced institutionalizations and sterilizations, withholding of Human Rights, homophobia, and the list can go on and on. It is the God that said any Imageo Dei[2]was less than a full person.

It is the God that was used as a lens to look out and see through the eyes of fear and paranoia. That was used to pray and convert at the tip of a sword or barrel of a gun or forced compliance/attendance at church for socio-economic survival on a family.

That God is dead.

That was never the God that Jesus pointed people towards in the Christian Testament. It was never the God that the prophets of the Hebrew Bible pointed folks towards either. That was the God of Love and Justice. The God of Peace, Hope, Joy and Faith and…. B-E-L-O-N-G-I-N-G as ALL is the IMAGEO DEI.

That is the core of the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus reminding us it is about love. Love of self, neighbour and God, a perpetuating cycle that all parts must fire for the divine to be alive…that is the Holy Spirit within, without, and through all. When that happens, all labels burn away and what is left is love and belonging, the story was scandalous because one of the excluded was the one that showed mercy. It was not scandalous; it was how creation is meant to be. That is the God that is alive.

Take a walk through a mall, or your community and look around. What a beautiful world. What a beautiful sight as each and every person is made in God’s image. Drop the labels and embrace. For the anti-abortionist, I challenge you to take the walk with the person through the process of abortion, and just be there holding the space in love and silence with them. If you are in a church struggling with the “question”[3] as the Anglican Communion phrases it…go to Pride…Give out Dad and Mum hugs to those that have been excluded.

Find that which you think is “stealing your rights” or others try to create fear of for you. Find that, and experience the Imageo Dei.

Love you Neighbour.

Love yourself by releasing the hatred burning your soul.

And it is the greatest act of love worship of God ever.

 

 

[1] Luke 10:25-37, New International Version

[2] Latin for Image of God

[3] The Question is about full inclusion of the LGBTTQ2+ community in the life and ministry of the Communion.