Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

What is Youth Ministry?

Posted: September 28, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

It has been a long discourse, bumpy roads, and yes, to grow a ministry that actually disciples an individual into a deeper communion with the Holy, and an firmer understanding is what they believe and why they believe it, and by extension create belonging. Some may be shocked that I say individual and not “youth”. This is because part of the discipleship, is the growing faith for those who provided pastoral care and spiritual direction to the group. These individuals may be paid or unpaid, but should not come with canned responses, should interact the community the youth exist in and how the faith responds and grows within.

Why this topic? Almost becoming a rant? Simple, as my family begins to dream one googles for what is out there for the calls on their heart and then you roll across posts ala this one out of St. George’s in Calgary (read post), a small parish wrestling with how to interact and shepherd youth. I get it. Creating ways to engage youth with the life of the congregation and through an understandable standard ala Scouts makes sense. It is a good path possibly if it works for those who are attached to the congregation. Yet it is in defending that paid youth ministry does not need to happen and stating things like “entertainment” or “babysitting” is saddening and angering. This is why youth have walked out on the church. They want depth, they want to be able to ask questions, investment in who they are.

It is a dodge used by churches who do not feel a youth pastor with worthy of pay. I have heard it many times, or they produce such a low pittance that the investment of time by the pastor breaks down to less than 2 bucks an hour, so when you re-frame it as an honourarium then the congregations balk saying “no we pay you!”… when what is needed is investment in the person and their family who are called, whether it is financial, honouring gifts, and belonging themselves. I am not zeroing in on this congregation specifically, as I had a good time with them as their youth pastor and we had impact on our community, and growth in the faith of youth, but it is a good time to reflect on this concept and what discipleship means?

This is not just an Anglican issue with youth ministry. Across the Christianities I have seen this concept. Only put out dogma, no questions allowed. What can we do this week to compete with (fill in the latest craze or social media blank)…totally missing the point that it is about allowing the youth to question. It is not simply a mind/brain issue, but an emotional/spiritual question, a connecting of the two so a person begins to belong in who they are and how they are created (the Imageo Dei), and then how they fit into the Body of Christ, and the Missio Dei (Mission of God) regardless of age—what are they called to do? What gifts do they have? How are they meant to use them to make the parish better– and the parish is not just the four walls where the group meets or church happens, rather the parish is the broader community they exist in, and the circles of influence they are a part of.

It is investment in time, dsipling on the role of faith, exploring the doctrinal documents of the faith, spiritual practices, and the things they want to know how their faith interacts with. It is truly creating a courageous safe space to be where no question is out of bounds for exploration. Where you crack open the liturgy and the Holy Scriptures for discussion, and debate.

Why does this matter for me?

I am aware of 3 congregations within blocks of each other, at the heart of the Properties Communities’ of North East Calgary. Within the circle of the Village Square Leisure Centre either exploring, on life support or growing youth ministries. Yet, in a community that is seeing a rise in rough campers, pan handlers, economic mental health effects, highly multi-cultural, religiously diverse, socio-economically diverse, sexual identity diverse, the drug and sex traffickers (predators) using the parking lots of these sacred spaces…

And brands (denominationalism) in my heart is stopping them from actually answering the call to respond to the needs of their parish. The Missio Dei literally at the heart of the parish, within their congregations, and at the door step (parking lot stall).  One has to wonder, if ego can be placed aside, and the almost 12 congregations meeting within these 5 buildings can get together and realize that an in-reach and out-reach to the youth of the community, creating that courageous safe space, can actually transform things for the better. Be the light house into the darkness, confusing it, challenging it, and dispersing it– not through fear, but through HOPE.

This is the prayer for my neighbourhood, but all too often when raised to the clerics and boards the answer is fear of the other church, that closes the door.

 


P-N-E-S.

What is it?

Simply put, it is an acronym that stands for Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures. It is 25% of the seizure cases that the Calgary Epilepsy Program sees. It can go un(mis)diagnosed (meaning you are being treated for Epilepsy) on average between 7-20 years. It is essentially what comes with Epilepsy without the Epileptic electrical brain activity. It is a convergence disorder, that 90% of the time is associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a freedom, and a fear in knowing what it is, the freedom is that you do not need the harsh anti-convulsion or anti-epileptic medications (unless it is co-occuring with Epilepsy), the fear is that treatment is a journey within your own self.

Image result for psychogenic nonepileptic seizures by myersLorna Myers Ph.D (2014) Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures: A Guide is an exploration of the basics. It aptly points out that in one point and time in history these were known as pseudo or hysterical seizures (and even demonic possession), which is a misnomer as they are not false but the physiology of the person experiencing them they are real. Though I must admit watching a serial killer documentary with the wife when the Cannibal stated that it was pseudo-seizures, did cause me to almost do a spit take. I digress however.

I was a lucky one, it only took about 2ish years to diagnosis, and this was after finally getting the gold standard of testing, the observed EEG in hospital with audio and video. That was in September 2018, and in February 2019 I entered into the psycho-therapeutic treatment. It is two pronged, as there is also going to be in depth intervention for PTSD later. Myers does allude that PTSD treatment should come before PNES treatment. I wrestle with that, because if one cannot control or mitigate the dissociative and/or convergent episodes, how are they going to root out the memory ingrained pain to heal appropriately. To each their own, but this inversed path appears to be working.

Myers text for the laity (or patient) walks you through treatment options. That range from Talk to CBT to DBT to exposure therapy, each step of the way pointing out the need for this to be happening with an appropriately trained mental health practitioner in PNES. She points out the role a psychiatrist, psychologist (Ph.D.) and possibly, social worker would play in each role.

In a typical American based fashion she gives a nod to continue working with adjustments while working through the PNES treatment (if possible is a side note). What is needed though, in my opinion, is a grasp on something that gives meaning. Myers notes if one cannot work (as in my case due to the PTSD being linked to the work) then to find meaning in life elsewhere…for me it has been my family, my writing, and a renewal in my reading, and a safe zone in our home church.

The walk will also take you through the role Anger, Depression and Anxiety play in exacerbating the PNES, but also that in the case of Anxiety there can be other psychogenic effects to your system as a whole. It was a good notation, as the wife and I had noticed an increase in frustration and anger over this time. In the complementary treatment section it explores the pros-cons on one’s health of herbal and health supplements, touches on spiritual practice, yoga and Tai-Chi as being beneficial to centering, grounding, and releasing of stress tensions. Basics around healthy diet, good sleep hygiene, hydration as well in the healthy body section. Myers shares some online resources she has created as well.

It is a beginning point of a journey, that encourages self-exploration. Not everything everyone will suggest will work for you. Part of the journey of understanding the triggers and precursors to events, working to interrupt and cessate the events, is discovering what works for you.

It is introspective work. It goes deep, because like Gremlins and Saboteurs in life coaching, the episodes have a benefit to your system. For me it is about efficiency is a word that keeps coming through. I strove so hard to protect my friends and family from vicarious trauma of the work I did, it became so internalized that when something went awry, the efficient way for my body to expel the crud is through convulsion.

There is a fear of what lurks beneath, but also a fear that is created within myself and my family as a result of the episodes. In a way, the efficiency my biological system created to protect me, has created a system that can traumatize, doing the direct counter of what I was seeking to avoid.

Even though it may feel on the journey like there was a freedom, it was a false freedom, for instead of integrating and processing the pain. As the glue that held teams together, that ensured everyone was taken care of, in the moments when other crisis would arise I would compartmentalize to come back later, something was missed within my own soul.

The true freedom, is going to come by confronting the fear, to have an new release. A new lease on life. It is easy to jump ahead to what comes after, but in the jumping ahead excitement and endorphins can continue to mask the sorrow, can continue to suppress and compress the pain. It is being present in the journey, wrestling with the pain, integrating it into the pilgrimage of my whole self…

For the new-best me, awaits on the other end for my soulmate, and kids…and for me.


In Islamic mysticism, Jihad is the battle within between good and evil. Ancient Tibetan Buddhists wrote of the angel and demon. The Christianities write and teach of free will from the Original Blessing of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.. And ancient Indigenous parable speaks of the two wolves at war within, and the one you feed is the one that will emerge as the authentic you. Today we speak of the constant logged on/wired in… the 24/7 to keep up with the “Jones'”, for he/she who dies with the most toys– wins.

A struggle for those under occupation that would sell themselves out to the Empire, to those that would change their belief systems to exist within the Religious stop gap. Brother James’ spoke, wrote and lived from occupation to occupation to rumblings of annihilation. He, as his mother and father before him, and his older brother, and probably many other ancestors…saw the destruction that was to come by pursuing that which was not true to them. The pursuit of power and money. St. Paul would write before James’ that the root of all evil is the love of money. St. Francis of Assisi after would speak out about the need for poverty (simplicity) to become an authentic neighbour.

James brings us these words in chapter 4 (1-12, English Standard Version):

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.[d] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Now this passage to has been weaponized and bastardized to do harm. It is easy for the casual reader to see how. It speaks out against being lost to the world. Which is easily taught as abstaining from things of the world. Do you already see the thou shalt not list being broken out? How about an inability to speak out against someone doing wrong, because you are judging? Or pointing out someone may need help because see the previous point. Or challenge authority, as you may be seen as seeking their role, their power…in security can turn this into a passage of control and subservience.

That is not the point of the words. It is calling out the b.s. of the world. That which corrupts because you are pursuing through love of power, money, stuff, etc. and those become the important things of your soul. It breaks down everyone else that is to be seen in Oneness, and loved as neighbour/self to nothing more than a code, a number and/or a commodity. The political climate loves to use the term tax payer (instead of citizen or person) as it panders to the lowest common denominator within the person and society.

And what drives this fear into the askew? For fear creates false verbosity and hype. It creates a space where group think will sit in. And where immoral behaviours and actions become acceptable norms as “just the way it is.”

The reason, in a very rabbinical style flare Bishop James lays out for us in 4:13-17 (ESV):

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—

14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 

15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Anxiety. Panic. Fear. of loss, inability to pay bills, to have home, to lose hope…these are what drives the fear that leads to pursuit of love of power, money, etc…and eventually destruction. This is the touchstone for James as he points out it is not about hyping ourselves, but it is about living out the Great Commandment. We cannot fear for tomorrow, for we have no idea if tomorrow is even coming. We need to be present here and now in L-O-V-E.

That is the challenge at this point laid out to the gathering.

That is your question:

What changes if you give up fear for L-O-V-E?

 


43 The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. 44 All the believers were together and shared everything. 45 They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. 47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.

-Acts 2: 43-47 (New Century Version)

Pentecost is celebrated as the birthday of the Christianities. The time when the Holy Spirit (Ghost/Breath) swept through the people. It was the moment that even those who had journeyed, worked and served with Brother Jesus truly felt the Holy Mystery come alive in them. That piece of cosmic dust, intrinsic soul self aflame.

When they heard this noise, a crowd came together. They were all surprised, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were completely amazed at this. They said, “Look! Aren’t all these people that we hear speaking from Galilee? Then how is it possible that we each hear them in our own languages? We are from different places

-Acts 2:6-8 (NCV)

The time when a middle-class fisherman from Galilee and his brethren stood in metropolitan and mutli-cultural town square. Where those that feared inclusion, and belonging still rattled the chains on segregation and fear. What came through though in the first act of this mysterious Spirit?

Understanding.

Profound act of kindness, love and belonging. Dropping one’s walls. In this story, the most dramatic way possible, the shattering of linguistic walls so the story of all encompassing love and hope could be heard. The idea of what Empire had been built upon- personal wealth, personal power, certain individuals seen as people and others as property—Empire values, where everything is a commodity, and the only value is the one of your own independent self, and corporate responsibilities and rights were not a priority.

          Think of how badly the Christianities have inverted the Pentecost message?

Acts of Apostles 2, New Century Version

The act of understanding allows for something more profound in the counter movement to power. The power, that the religious and political authorities clung to and tried to discredit.

Belonging

We belong because the labels that separate us are not real. They are arbitrarily given based on politics, geography, socio-economics, culture, religion, etc. Some may be helpful to find ways to fully include us in society (i.e. supports for those with disabilities), but only if they are used to discover inclusion and belonging. Sadly, we function too much like the religious and political authorities of 2000 years ago and since. The labels are used to build fear and segregation, active/passive eugenics. The inevitable outcome is hatred. Or to be the anti-thesis of the Jesus community four letters: H-A-T-E.

Pentecost was the celebration of the disenfranchised, marginalized and silenced voice of society speaking out of joy, peace, hope and faith. Speaking out that rattled the bell for justice and shattered bonds. For the intrinsic value of you, heard the intrinsic value in me (and vice-versa). It showed there was a multitude of ways to be community, to be me and to be you. None of these were a threat.

Pentecost if fully embraced, should have shattered the chains that bound the world. Instead we use it as an opiate to pacify the masses tied to a religious traditionalism that fears the true message. This was apparent with how shocked and viral Bishop Curry’s homily at the Royal Wedding was. He spoke like the followers on Pentecost. He was heard. The most offensive four letter word of the human language was once again proclaimed loudly, and was once again debated and attempted to be sidelined.

That word:

L-O-V-E.

So if Pentecost doesn’t begin the dialogue of inclusion, understanding and belonging for all in your community…then the Spirit has not blown through. What has blown through is the rigidity holding the structure of oppression together.

Are you ready for the breath?


There are many Empty Tomb or resurrection narratives found within the Canonical Gospels, never mind the ones in the pseudepigraph (apocrypha-gnostic—the ones Constantine’s Scholars did not want). There is scenes we are familiar with of Doubting St. Thomas putting his fingers in Brother Jesus’ wounds; talking with disciples on the road; eating fish with them.

BUT-

The oldest text ending we have was what is believed by tradition to originally been recited to John Mark (his folks owned the Upper Room, yeah that one, he was there at the arrest and ran away naked, and he journeyed a bit with Paul) by Peter (the one that Jesus called Satan in one moment, and in another was being called the foundation stone of the Christianities, and Brother Jesus entrusting him with the keys if you will).

This was the original “ending-beginning” (original Sonrise):

 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.[a] He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

-Mark 16:1-8 (Common English Bible)

Fear? Seems an apt human response to finding your friend’s body missing. Even with the message, these women had heard the rumblings of the authorities, or of other factions on what to do with the body to break the back of the movement.

Yet the message went to three strong women. It was the true community message time. In ancient world customs took 2 women to equal one man in testimony. Yet here you had a Trinity. Much like a mirror reflection of the Trinity of God (Creator), Jesus (master teacher/way shower) and the promised Holy Spirit (community empowerer). The women were Mary, Mother of James (who was Jesus’ brother)—the co-creator of the life of Jesus; Salome (Herod’s niece who was manipulated in killing John, reborn within the movement, a new child mentored by the women); and Mary Magdalene (once written off as a sex worker in a derogatory manner, now history showing that she was the major sustainer of the community, through her monies keeping things going, and very possibly the wife of Brother Jesus).

An earthly feminist trinity receiving the truth. That even the plans of evil, power, Empire and Religious Controllers were undone. They had heard the message (the Gospel proclaimed of the new Kingdom to come) and they had seen the signs…yet in the midst of the reality. Truly having their society’s meta-narrative shattered, the caste system of religion, economics and colonialism blown away…the fear of change gripped them and they rolled through it as they ran.

Who would do any different in the midst of such drastic change?

With each change in life no matter how minuscule, our emotional intelligence goes through the journey of grief. That is what this group was going through, later accounts tried to alleviate that understanding. This earliest account allows you to enter into it.

Not only enter into it, but after the fear rolls through and you are left with the acknowledgement of what just happened.

Flowing into that moment of new reality. That moment when one realizes nothing can stop radical love. Nobody can stop true belonging. No matter how much “power they have”. For all the powers of the known world attempted to and looked as if they had succeeded in silencing the peasant labourer from Nazareth…and the Holy Mystery and a big Nu-Uh for them as the sun rose on a Sunday.

They may have run in fear…

But what came next is how each of them, and cascading into each member continued to write their own Gospel story.

Empires and religious controllers to come may have tried to set and seal the Christian Testament, but they too missed the moment of fear of the women. For it was in that moment of fear, that they knew the story was no longer about the life lived of Brother Jesus. It was now about the lives living the way of radical love of Brother Jesus and the transformed world to come.

It was now their Gospel. Their political proclamation of radical love and belonging.

It was their answer to the question, who is my Neighbour?

This Easter Sunday, as the sun rose, and you were confronted with the man in white telling you the tomb was empty…where is your fear taking you?

            What is your Gospel? Your political proclamation of radical love and belonging?

            What is your answer to the question, who is my neighbour?


Scattered. Unsure. Confused. Scared. Not knowing what comes next. Nothing written in stone as to how to act out in the darkness awaiting.

Vigil Saturday is a hard concept for the modern Christianities.

Why?

We already want to move beyond Good Friday and jump right into Easter Sunday and the resurrection. How can we understand the waiting? We speak of the journey, but we hold in our hearts the outcome so it is a false journey.

It is much like the concept of a prequel. How can the viewer/reader truly enter the story, knowing the next step? Take the Star Trek spin-off Enterprise. This was its living conundrum for the writers. How do you present the early days of the Federation when everyone already knows things as laid out by Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway?

Yet it was also the sequel to Star Trek 8: First Contact. For those who have not seen, this movie was a sequel to the Star Trek: The Next Generation cliff hangar, Best of Both Worlds. Where the Borg are tired of attempting to assimilate earth in the 24th century, they travel back in time to before First Contact. That is before Zephram Cochrane took the first warp flight into space and the Vulcans contacted humanity…which spawned the Star Trek Universe.

Enterprise begins after this. As humanity works with the Vulcans who appear to be holding them back. A Klingon turns up in a farmer’s field and needs to be taken home. Captain Archer (and his beagle), Sub-Commander T’Pal, Trip, Yoshi, Reed to name but a few of the characters take the NX-01 Enterprise (this is even before the Federation) into space on a mission of mercy. Once out there, this short lived 4 season series enters the awe of space exploration.

A series where the writers were in tension of what was known, what could be used, what needed to be held off on, how to use time travel, and how to use the idea of lost logs to cover continuity gaps for they needed the familiar, yet the challenge of it being new and would this survive. How do you get from a ship of humans with two other species (a Vulcan, and a Denobulan Doctor (Chief Medical Officer)—never mind the challenge to the idea of human based binary marriage Dr. Phlox’s people brought). Also, what happens with a crew of experts that begin to let themselves be more than simply individuals? As interdependence grows? As community blossoms? As their sense of belonging breaks beyond their own attested to or implied labels to something beyond themselves.

As Captain Archer in one of the early episodes phrased it, and summed up where the series was at in Trek Lore:

One day there may be a prime directive of some kind to follow, but for now all we have is our own compass on what is right.

For the modern Christianities this is what makes Vigil Saturday so hard, much like the Trekkie’s mind during Enterprise. We want to skip to the end of the story. We want to cling to our institutions, our doctrines our creeds and our completed and shiny Bibles…so we cannot understand the fleeing, the hiding…the venturing forth, the open questioning and challenging.

When in the midst of the chaos…there was no hard and fast what was to happen, there was a question on how to belong, and how to act towards each other: Who is my neighbour? But had it truly sunk in as the darkness descended and the awaiting began.  Was it there, when the women took the first steps out in the darkness bravely towards the rising son.

Or as a ship launched on a mission to return a lost soul not knowing what awaited beyond the sun…

Vigil Saturday is about letting go of what we know, and where we are comfortable.

It is sitting in the dark.

Not knowing what will be there if or when the sun rises.

Or our next First Contact?

Or knowing the form our neighbour will take…

Can you wait… and be present?


You’ll have to find out the long way round.

-12th Doctor

What happens when a time lord refuses his first regeneration?

What happens when a time lord rejects his next regeneration?

Why the fear of the new? It is something each of us faces on the journey of life. We know each change/decision will bring a minute to major cycle of grief, yet the catalyst against the change is fear. What is laid out in the next phase? What needs to be said good by to? What needs to be accepted?

The Christmas 1914 Armistice—the miracle of kindness. What it means to be a Doctor of War

Think of what it would be like to meet the who you were when the journey began? How many years/lifetimes have passed since then? Journeys had, adventures met, griefs and sorrows. So easy to focus on the missing pieces, instead of the firm foundation fit, the stepping stones, the cornerstone of the life you are continuing to grow.

This is the essence of the fun of this Christmas special. Being able to see how the Doctor of today, interacts with the Doctor of the culture of old, playing of each other seeing the fun…better yet the Captain and The Doctor (One) faces when Bill Potts’ shares she too has intimate knowledge of the fairer sex…oh how the world has changed on this journey for the better.

dw

hate is always foolish, love is always wise

But as in the journey of life we cannot fast forward through all the pieces, sadly and gladly we must endure the path. As the first Doctor announced:

Doctor-Who-Twice-Upon-a-Time

Here we go the long way round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it is in the new alien species acting in a universe of perceived kindness, giving hope. An act that shows a universe of hope to the Doctor on a journey of kindness and hope, who makes the best of any situation possible.

Which leads to the testimony of Bill Potts when speaking to the Doctor (one), and questions for you to contemplate upon your own journey, and in a group viewing/discussion:

Not what are you running from,

What are you running to?


Why can’t there be a big red button?

-War Doctor

           Like any good science fiction questions around the essence of us (humanity) should be brought forward. This is at the bedrock of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary movie (watch trailer here), Day of the Doctor.  It is the deepest plunging into the hardest thing to  comprehend for any person… ourselves.

As the regeneration who chose themselves undeserving of the name, but asks the question as in the clips above, the Warrior Doctor, “I am looking for the Doctor.” The one who is called to heal, to help to aid…or as Clara will note the thrum of the Tardis is a sound of hope. But this is about that corner of the mind of the Doctor, no, the heart where hope has gone out.

For it was in the 9th regeneration that the fabled time war happened. When Daleks and Time Lords went to war to end all wars. Where the rest of the universes saw the Time Lords just as evil as the Daleks who view anything outside their race as need to be exterminated, which this mini-episode Night of the Doctor expertly portrays as the Doctor must make a choice to not be apart of the war or to be apart of the solution?

The haunting begins.

Much like we make choices within our own lives at any given moment with the information available. Whether it is good, bad, horrible or indifferent. It is what is possible and probably for us at that moment. Much like moments in human history (very hard to bring 21st century morals onto situation 400 years old or 150 years old as we try to erase instead of critically teach history so the cycle can be fully broken. Just ask any abuse survivor, the story and triumph need to be spoken so that it will not be repeated, in all its darkness).

This literally becomes the story. As the device designed to end the Time War by the Doctor is AI with a conscience and brings the Doctor to begin interacting with his decision. The decision? At that moment and time in war as the Daleks are all gathered at Gallifrey—to end it all, Daleks and his people. The haunting ripples this will bring through time.

The decision driven by the motto burned into a wall by him “No More.” The war must end.

The journey forward form that choice showing the grief cycle. The short regeneration shortly after not even there. The true shock.

But the struggle between who are known as the Tenth (David Tenant) and Eleventh (Matt Smith) Doctor’s to forget this period in time. How it shapers personality. One who lives in pained regret and the other who lives to forget, to move forward.

The haunting question answered by 2.41 billion.

But with the Eleventh Doctor being 400 years out…is there another decision that can be seen?

What if that decision can be tried?

What if in your moment of darkness your future selves could stand with you and you would not have to be alone?

What if, you live in acceptance of the choice and find hope in spite of it to move forward in a better life for yourself and others?

This may seem like nothing more than a toss away sci-fi movie from the BBC. Apart of geek culture and nothing more.

Yet we live in a time of reconciliation.

A time when groups who have been oppressed and the former oppressors know that something needs to change.

But how do we get there?

Sometimes a science fiction story can show us the interior and exterior journey in a way that creates conversations that can create the space for critical discussion and active listening, that other venues cannot.

Just think of using this in a religious or political or classroom setting with the Time War as the metaphor for residential schools, Canadian Eugenic practices for those with disabilities, the destructive LGBTTQ2+ laws; the dying with dignity or abortion laws; slavery, the list can go on…

For what questions would haunt our journey where the answer 2.41 billion could just be as haunting.

But even more so.

What is the new life?

What is the regeneration that awaits each one of us?

Where does hope exist?

Do you hear the thrum of the TARDIS? Or are you blocking it out?