Posts Tagged ‘Flash’


See the source imageHoly Saturday. The day of awaiting. The day of the unknown in Holy Week. When the gospels tell us the men huddled in fear, the women planned how to honour their friend, possible husband, and son through the cultural norms. The day of silence, of unknowing. The day when the Empire and the Oppressors were searching for those who were seen as “co-conspirators” with the messianic rebel Jesus of Nazareth.

The three days in real time, that those who were called friends at a dinner in an upper room, were grieving, experiencing anger, fear, anxiety— trauma of the crucifixion, as the powers to be tried to destroy (and appeared as they had succeeded) in snuffing out hope for being and belonging for all.

In Peter and Mary Magdalene’s mind and hearts I can only imagine the racing, of their love, and calling others into the life had now placed them at risk. Risk of torture, risk of death, and how far would the ripples extend? Would it just be to those that were part of the followers? Those that celebrated on Palm Sunday at the Triumphal Entry? Or would all connected to them made to be an example for the Empire on why you did not think outside the box? Or challenge the norms? Would all be lost simply by a choice they had made to be different? To be heroic in their own time?

These are themes that echo as I read the follow up companion to the Heroes in Crisis mini-series that touched my journey during my own struggles with PTSD. For those who may not know, Heroes in Crisis was a 9 part series about what happens when super heroes need help, the journey of Sanctuary, PTSD, and psychotic break, followed by murder mystery in the realm of healing for those that have answered the call to be heroes. It is now available as a trade paper back and I encourage you to read it.

The second volume, touches on the ripple effects out of that series, much like Holy Saturday. It is the follow up to the deaths. The follow up to the impact on the heroes left behind. Sound familiar in our own world? As we struggle in a pandemic? Watching those who continue to serve, and knowing the dangers, those that will fall ill and may not recover. Just like the journey of mental illness and health, physical health is the same, intertwined together and should, as our Indigenous brothers and sisters keep reminding us, be viewed through the heart lens of Wellness (ala the Medicine Wheel) for all pieces need to come out the other end together).

The same thoughts in the grieving process I can imagine Peter and Mary Magdalene, probably Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’ Mummy reflecting on, I too have held in my own journey and through the darkness to healing into the light anew. Knowing the pain and heart ache that can, and sometime does happen is it right to equip, encourage and prepare others to serve?

This is where we are in Heroes in Crisis: The Price. Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow reacting in anger towards the Justice League for failing his friend who has died. Wrestling with no matter the money he had, he was unable to save his friend. Think of our own responses in loss? How many times does Oliver’s sentiments echo in our own soul? Change out money with other skills, talents, privileges and resilience we have that came to naught when death finally came. Some may say why bring up these hard discussions, can you not read the room with what the world is going through right now?

Yes, I can, and that is why we should be talking about wellness. It is important, especially now. Understanding the cycle storms of grieving and change is important (google U Theory or Kubler-Ross’, also previous writings of mine show these) to know that normal things happen during these times of transition.

For Holy Saturday it is usually a day of contemplative prayer and practiced silence for hearing the Holy Mystery speak to us, as they did nearly 2,000 years ago to those hiding then.

The story unfolds more into the tale of Batman and Flash. Those who raise the question through the story of Gotham and Gotham Girl, about the appropriateness of encouraging and equipping others for the life. The life that can cost so much, that the meta-myth is that they choose to be heroes to protect their loved ones, yet it is their loved ones that continue suffering as a result of the choice.

“I’ve dealt with too many unsolved cases in my life. You and I have so many mysteries as it is…I can’t afford your lies anymore.”

-Barry Allen, The Flash

In the ruins of the Flash museum, still grieving the loss of his nephew and returned friend, Wally West, from Heroes in Crisis, Barry confronts Batman. It echoes the truth in human services, the many times we are left with the unknown, the incomplete, the loss and we create our own narratives to push us through. To be able to continue to function, the ideas “we can’t save them all” or “it’s their choice” or (insert your favourite here). All are truthie, yet all remove the humanity from the equation in the journey, the connection, the intimacy of the journey of healing, and the most importantly that to do the work well, one must see each person as having value for simply being human. Inherent and intrinsic value and worth.

When things are left a mystery, when we are unable to have healthy closure, or when we experience loss of life-

It takes a toll.

And this is the challenge for as the heroes left behind continue answering crisis after crisis, while trying to solve the death of their friends the truth of the situation echoes out. The work never stops, and neither does one’s own life and challenges running parallel. Yet in our own world of service we continually hear the false mantra of efficiency from neo-liberal governance “DO MORE WITH LESS” and we are left broken, for the impossibility and implausibility of it all.

Like Green Arrow’s question in anger at his friend’s funeral to the Justice League, “Where’s Batman and Flash, did he not matter enough?”

The truth was, he mattered, and the work was to find the killer. In the work, they could not let themselves pause, to feel the pain of loss.

Subsumed.

Unable to be with their own humanity.

As we await the new, in the darkness and the uncertain. We are in the house, like the first Holy Saturday, what world do we want to emerge in to? What are you hearing from the Holy Mystery?

Are we going to affirm our value in simply being?

Affirm and live into our collective value of being humanity?

Flash-Trauma

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

The last few days I have received my daily meditations from the Henri Nouwen Society, and they have been centered on community. It is a unique time of reflection as my life opens up for the new vocational call (I have pasted the 2 meditations at the end of the post for your own contemplation), as my family prepares for the Advent practice of reading the Gospel of Luke. I have read in my own contemplation the other two synoptic gospels (Matthew & Mark), which compliment into Luke’s take– all three focused on building the Kingdom here. That is stepping through the thin space, and making it a reality in the here and now. That is the summation of the Laws & Prophets that Brother Jesus lived, see… he created Holy Community by removing the falsely imposed barriers of society dictated by labels.

Yet, it was only possible in the realm of choice. It is complimented by two other experiences this week. One is David Mack’s (2017) Star Trek Titan  Fortune of War that touched on how the Dominion War had affected Federation officers and citizens. The obviousness of the struggle of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder still existing in the 24th Century makes sense. See, trauma is our body’s systems response to what happens in the flight-fight-freeze and where our resilience takes us. Are we stuck in any one frame when stress arises? It can be caused by one event, or a series of events, can be suppressed from early years, or triggered by another health emergency that resets or breaks our self-care resilience regime up to that point and cause the entirety of the past to come back.

“it was like being in…prison, only locked up in your own mind with all the terrors”

-Barry Allen, The Flash (The Last Temptation of the Flash Part 1 now streaming on NetFlix).

Which was brought home by this week’s Flash episode, heading towards the Crisis cross over (google it, it’s a live action take on an epic 80’s maxi-series). This is the moment when Flash, knowing he is doomed to die in the Crisis (sorry dudes not a spoiler, ending is like established 35 years ago). The story leading up is what is going to happen, how he is handling it. The villain Bloodwork, is infesting him and tempting him turn to evil to save everyone. The Speed Force, that which gives him his power encouraging him to stay the course, and his family/community holding him to be who he is meant to be and supporting them.

What a powerful metaphor for the struggle of PTSD. Whether you have taken it in through anxiety-depression and it can be debilitating, or through a conversion disorder, that is debilitating. You have become like Barry, trapped in his own mind, fever rising, on the med bed needing to make a choice. Where do you go? What do you choose?

See, faith and God play a role in it. It is a bedrock of existence on what makes you you (and yes there can be bedrocks of values and faith that can carry one through that aren’t in this vein, but for me it is). The faith is represented by the Speed Force (who has taken the form of Barry’s departed Mum–quite a Marian theology reference if there ever was one).

This is the thing, there are many things that are placebo out there. That one can choose not to deal with their trauma by doing. Addiction. Hiding. Manipulation of trauma informed care, so that how we are becomes normal and acceptable, but we don’t have to follow the healing path laid out. Anger. Violence. Crying. Debilitation. Accepting suffering as normal for some deep spiritual rebirth experience. Using pseudo-science and other spiritual practices to absolve us of doing the actual work. Accepting that we will not have deep relationships, or that people simply leave. There is a bajillion reasons to not stare the trauma in the face.

Trust me.

I have stood in the darkness unable to see the light.

It is the crossroads of choice.

Our last temptation.

See speaking openly and boldly about the struggle of mental health carries huge stigma still.

Do we let the gremlin voice of stigma freeze us?

Do we let the loss of toxic community cause us to take flight?

Or do we decide we are worth it, because we are created very good and blessed, and it is time to fight through the suffocating darkness?

It is time to enter the cocoon. That point in time where we are dissolved to our primordial selves, and rebuilt into something completely new. Healing is not about becoming who you were, because who you were was shaped by the trauma and toxic. Healing is about new creation. New you.

Like the gospel story of Transfiguration.

It is done by the hard work. Work with PhD. psychologists equipped to walk with us through things like ART & EMDR to rewrite our minds, so our souls and hearts can be unburdened.

So in the Holy Waiting. The Sacred Journey. The Pilgrimage to the new centre of you.

“It was what made him deserving of the name, “Hero”.”

-Iris West-Allen (The Last Temptation of the Flash Part 1)

Standing in the heart of who you are, and knowing you deserve the calling of wholeness. Of Love.

And answering it.

For are we not, the hero, of our own sacred story?

Appendix: The Community Reflections:

DAILY MEDITATION | NOVEMBER 26, 2019
Community Makes God Visible
Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other as a gesture of hope.
In community we say: “Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs—but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care.”
Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant. One piece is bright red, another cold blue or dull green, another warm purple, another sharp yellow, another shining gold. Some look precious, others ordinary. Some look valuable, others worthless. Some look gaudy, others delicate. We can do little with them as individual stones except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic, portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? If one of them, even the least spectacular one, is missing, the face is incomplete. Together in the one mosaic, each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
DAILY MEDITATION | NOVEMBER 27, 2019
Waiting in Community
Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us. In this way we can live with courage, trusting that there is a spiritual power in us when we are together that allows us to live in this world without surrendering to the powerful forces constantly seducing us toward despair. That is how we dare to say that God is a God of love even when we see hatred all around us. That is why we can claim that God is a God of life even when we see death and destruction and agony all around us. We say it together. We affirm it in each other. Waiting together, nurturing what has already begun, expecting its fulfillment—that is the meaning of marriage, friendship, community, and the Christian life.
Henri J. M. Nouwen

A cynical writer-pastor would call Zechariah the coat tail or bandwagon prophet. Within 2 months of Haggai’s success (and one month overlapping) he is doing his thing. He is speaking to a people on a roll, but even when things are going well, people become disgruntled, we look back to what was with longing regardless of how bad it actually was. This is seen in addictions, domestic violence, populist political movements, was even part of the story of the people of Israel fleeing Exodus these former slaves looked back on Egypt with longing. As Pastor Dave Sarsons, at Vulcan Church of Christ asked one Sunday morning, “what is your Egypt?”

That is what are we looking back for, misremmebering in longing that is holding us back from moving forward.

This is where Zechariah is, with the slow rebuild, as he creates the image of the re-established Temple. Yet Zechariah is like the Paul of the Hebrew Scriptures. The whole 14 chapters is not by his hand. Rather Chapters 1-8 are Zechariah, while the remaining chapters are his disciples and followers keeping up the work. For the more academic, themes from major prophets (because their books are so long) are “borrowed” or built upon, these prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

What has been lost within pop culture with our reboots, and within society, is the concept of Legacy. That is what Zechariah lends itself to. With the second half building on the first, and then the Gospel writers, ala Matthew, building upon that. It is like the Pre-New52 DC Universe Flash Family, or Doctor Who. One used to be able to say Star Trek, then Kelvin happened.

But, off the rabbit trail, the bridging thoughts are this:

Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

-Zechariah 8:3-5 (English Standard Version)

It is unique the image that is thrown down to keep the momentum is one of what the people deserve- peace, security, happiness– the things that can trigger a relapse in individuals out of either fear of failure, or more aptly, fear of success or contentment. Is it possible that the momentum was slowing after Haggai, simply because the people had no grounding in what it meant to actually live and thrive, after years and generations of being objects and in survival mode? Zechariah, and his followers had to exorcise a communal trauma from the people and heal a shared complex PTSD.

The disciples of Zechariah, show what happens, what is this they had once been yearning for. The non-romanticized past. Anyone who studies history currently knows a black and white lens for historical reflection and learning is a failed lens. To understand and convert historic knowledge to current wisdom, one must get the full scope story– warts, atrocities and all…this is what the disciples were doing in 11:13:

13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.

Potter, also translated as treasury.  See the 30 shekels (silver) is the price for a slave. It was also used within the Gospel of Matthew for the sell-out price of Jesus from Judas. An allusion was built upon this concept from Zechariah, when the religious oppressors use it to buy a burial ground for the outcast called potter’s field.

See, what is being said? The disciples are reminding the people that they are blessed, they Belong.

It is time to turn away from “Egypt” or “Babylon” or “Yesteryear” it is time to come HOME.

Zechariah is the continuing encouragement of a people re-settling, and as the onion of trauma is peeled, each past that they wanted back, was challenged and shown to be false. They were, as a people, rebuilt to the holy-sacred beings and community they are:

20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader[a] in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.

-Zechariah 14:20-21 (ESV)

It closes with a strong reminder– everything is sacred, for everything is within God, and God is within everything.

Time to move forward.

Time to belong.

Time to be home.


Image result for heroes in crisis 9Murder. Losing control. Pain. Trauma. What do our super heroes go through in the course of being universe savers? These are questions that the Heroes in Crisis mini-series have forced upon the reader for nine issues. The under current is a murder mystery, at the place of healing Sanctuary. It is also a subplot as the secrets of Sanctuary at the healing of PTSD and other mental-emotional scars of gods on Earth were leaked out for the world to see. It struck chords of de-stigmatization, and a look in the mirror effect for the reader for our world today. That is how we need to look at the healthy parts of our lives.

For anyone who has ever been front lines for anything, or present at the loss of a loved one. As Wally West echoes to his future self– it is always one more thing…one more moment you shove it down to do this or that, help this person or that. Not always having the perfect situation or even the basics, but pulling one more miracle out of your back pocket…

Then boom.

Crisis.

It’s not just a comic book series, like any good story it is a metaphor for our own life and holistic growth.

How are you kind to you?

(And yes it is very hard to write of this awesome series without spoilers)

Image result for heroes in crisis 9

_________________________________________________________

coverA 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.

 


Okay so it finally happened. Pardon me while I fan-boy more than a little. Growing up one of my fav titles was Justice League International (then Justice League America and Justice League Europe); aside from G’nort, the cat, General Glory, Martian Manhunter and his Oreos to name but a few. What was remembered most fondly, and hardest to capture since was the camaraderie and fun of Blue & Gold (Blue Beetle & Booster Gold).

Then we enter into the fourth crisis issue, where friendship emerges, and Ted Kord is back in the blue (and alive). As we continue to go deep into who is the murderer?

Who has succumbed to the darkness?

What is happening with the coping of PTSD like symptoms, and with the Puddler source, what will the world think of their heroes humanized? Will mental health stigma still reign?

And Harley Quinn gets a partner in truth discovery, from an unlikely source in the damaged by Joker department.

TImage result for heroes in crisis #4o the hardest hits being what happens when a young hero who has grown older discovers that he has lost his friends. One that he just recently discovered he had regained- Garth (Tempest, Aqualad) does what many will do with pain instead of seeking aid. Crawl into a mind altering substance, for this swimmer the choice was into a bottle.

And Donna Troy (Wonder Girl) playing designated carry home.

But the most gut wrenching scene being Green Arrow and Black Canary in a very Ollie and Dinah scene honouring the life of Roy.

The human touches. Asking the deeper questions… what happens when the only way that a hero can find help is taken from them? What will happen with the fall of Sanctuary and the revelation that it was not anonymous– what effect will this have on the health of the holistic health of the heroes, the Trinity and the Justice League.

As Blue Beetle would say, for him it was having the one person you knew you could call and they would answer. Do you have that one person?

Who is your person?


Created with Kryptonian Crystal technology; Batman ingenuity and Wonder Woman’s compassion it is Sanctuary. A place where heroes can come to heal from the unseen wounds inflicted on them in the life. The grief, the traumas, the vicarious traumas or the simple processing of the WTF moments. It is a place that gives you what you need most and to be where you need to be most to hopefully become whole once more.

Until something goes wrong.

King and Mann’s Heroes in Crisis has been a brilliant series thus far in removing the stigma of human services mental health issues for the workers. Let’s be honest, if Batman and Superman can let down their masks and seek help, then so can we. The murders.

But is it real? One does not know as we go down the murder mystery rabbit hole. But this issue’s real story is Wally West, he was the 3rd Flash in the pre-New 52, Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DCU. Wally was a cocky fortune seeking side kick that grew into a super hero as he took up the mantle of Barry Allen who died to save the universe at the end of the Crisis. Wally was a hero of my generation (and yes he was my flash). It was the story that saw Jay Garrick (Flash One) become a mentor; his future nephew Bart Allen as Impulse; other speedsters- the Zen Speed Master, Max Mercury; and the Quicks (Jesse and Johnny), it was a series that showcased the beauty of the legacy super hero heritage. It also featured the Rogue that became a hero in Pied Piper (and the greatest casual scene ever, way before its time, when Harley comes out to Wally as gay).

But at its core the family became real.

To escape the Speed Force, Wally realized his lightning rod- Linda Park-West, his wife. His soul mate, that which made him better. They would become parents of meta children- Jai and Iris.

Then Reverse Flash and Barry Allen (yeah he finally returned from the dead literally Image result for heroes in crisis #3decades later) created Flashpoint— and the New 52–time was lost– and no more Wally West. Then Rebirth…and Wally is back….

But…

No kids.

No lightning rod.

It appears Wally is a victim of the murderer at Sanctuary. Where he was working through his grief at loss of his whole family. Grief at loss of literally his whole universe. Being in a world that he was not just a man out of time (New 52 removed 5 years of comic time); but literally out of multiverse.

His line is tell:

Image result for heroes in crisis #3

I didn’t want to be alone. The simple refrain of grief. The learning on how to move forward into the new reality before you.


It is a question that is 30 years in the making. Okay not really, but that was a great intro line not to have used it.

But it is 30 years since a type writer first typed out the words “The Adventures of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight.” and history was made in my fiction writing as a whole super hero universe was birthed that in junior high became known as the Tyverse (Raganverse following the Reagan era of politics just seemed to pretentious). It saw a plethora of heroes and villains created with literally tens of thousands of pages written over the past 30 years on pulp adventure yarns. Some greats like the Agency, Street Avenger, Johnny Power, Speedster and the Great Crime Fighters and some not so great like Rock Dude, Tigorr, and the Rubber Guy (hey not all can be winners).

Yet the first was a hodge podge origin creation, the story of a teenage orphan being raised by an elderly foster parent couple, the Harumphs. A blonde girlfriend, Susan Kobwash, with a nerdy best friend from a wealthy family, John MacCurtis. Yes, this was Rick Saturn, the dweeb, the bullied who one night while escaping tormentors would stumble into a dump, and have Gerklyn the wise (Merlin’s crazy cousin) bestow upon him a ring of power.

What can I say, it was the late 1980’s. I was a child of the 6 Million Dollar man made for t.v. movies; a passion for knights in shining armour and the Arthur/Robin Hood legends; loved Spider-Man (n0te the story of the group); and a time of cartoons of the Bionic Six and Visionaries. It all became boiler plate for a teenage hero who with the “magic mantra” of “Bionics On!” was replaced with the golden armoured knight hero of Calgary…the Bionic Knight. Added a few years later to some angst of his back story was that his family was actually organized crime, killed in a rival shoot out.

But I digress. This character’s sidekick was John MacCurtis, who too would get a magic gift and become PinBall, and eventually Bionic Archer. As well as other identities…but Rick Saturn would centre on the B.K. identity throughout his career. At times a teenager, who aged, in other moments the elder statesman role of the superhero set like one would read in the Justice Society comics. But always holding to a code of a simpler time. Do right, no killing, good always wins.

A light in the dark. As bionics lost favour, I would drop it, and Knight would become his code name, later it would evolve into PenDragon, and the idea of Gerklyn would recede, to Merlin being his patron as the lineage tying directly back more to the mystical side of Arthurian legend reincarnated would become stronger.Perhaps it was due to tracing matrilineal lines back to Uther that led to this clarity. Each year, regardless of other writing there would be a Saturn story produced.

Which is unique, because in the creative process it was MacCurtis I tended to resonate with more. The sidekick, probably as a younger brother. Even to a time when MacCurtis on the page would act as a Tulpa to journey through a spiritual labyrinth.

Yet here I am re-introducing the Bionic Knight to the reader. For you see, part of the journey as well, is to realize that even though the sidekick may assume the helm (think Wally West as the Flash, even Dick Grayson becoming Batman for a time). There is a point in our own journeys, when it is no longer the younger or the sidekick that our life role identifies with.

There comes a time, when where we are in playing mentor to others we realize, we are not Wally (West, Kid Flash, Flash III) or even Barry (Allan, Flash II) but have become in our own journey Jay (Garrick, Flash I) and perhaps are a sidestep away from being Max Mercury (a sage not affiliated with role).

So this year, 30 years on, I begin to plot a new adventure of an old friend. The hair a little thinner and grayer, with a wife not a girlfriend, a family, mourning the loss of a close friend as seen in the last Speare adventure…

So it is time not for a rebirth or reborn moment for a hero. But a grail quest moment.

Watch closely over the next little bit, for it may not be an old manual type writer pecking away at keys, it may be a netbook onto a blog.

But soon…

the question of Who is the Bionic Knight? will be answered, here…when…

The Quest of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight debuts.


The following posts for the archives are part of the site consolidation for simplicity, they come from Recycled Franciscan that was at yycfranciscan.wordpress.com (now deleted). Enjoy as these were part of the family daliance with Roman Catholicism before my Mum’s passing.

Transitions…

Hey Fearless Reader,

So I have taken back to the keyboard, and am finding a challenge keeping up with 2 blog sites, so I invite you back to one of my better known ventures A Robin Hood’s Musings. Join the adventure!

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Revisiting the Parables of Jesus: A Review

A the uniqueness of social media, in which former co-workers and friends can find you, when at other times of human history the connection would be lost. Through Facebook messages Lisa Lopez Smith who I served with years ago on Street Level at the Mustard Seed contacted me about her new book.

What a blessing this work was, Revisiting the Parables of Jesus: Ancient Stories, Contemporary Audience or found on her site as well as other ponderings, www.lisalopezsmith.com. Dear readers, let us encourage this new writer by purchasing copies.

Here are my simple thoughts on this good resource for personal and group reflection, that comes with reflective statements and a simple resource guide:

Lisa Lopez Smith writes as she served the homeless of Calgary, with passion, integrity, curiosity and authenticity. I had the privilege to work alongside her on the streets and witness these traits as she was called in that time to live Christ for others, her keyboard know brings her journey it would seem into the stories of Christ that inspire.

Lopez Smith lays open a true depth of spiritual understanding of the stories within the Gospels. She raises discussion, debate, storytelling, open interpretation…mysticism if you will mixed with rabbinical flare. These ancient stories of Jesus rediscovered for today’s western “enlightened” mind, but Lopez Smith’s work reawakens a truly enlightened approach to well heard, if not well known stories. I have been pondering recently who would be picking up the torch for a new generation of progressive/community/justice orientated Christian writers, and this is one of those new lights.

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Aboriginal Lord’s Prayer

Just thought I would share this prayer, so simple:

Aboriginal Lord’s Prayer,

You are our Father,

You live in heaven,

We talk to You, Father,

You are good.

We believe Your Word,

Father, We Your children,

give us bread today

Others have done wrong to us

And we are sorry for them,

Father, today

We have done wrong,

we are sorry,

Teach us Father,

not to sin again

You are our Father,

You live in heaven

We talk to You,

Father You are good .

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Playin’ 4 Keeps 2014 Rolling in Support of Children`s Wish

That’s right  the 2nd Annual Playhouse Community Tour officially kicked into high gear today at Tilley, AB…watch your local parades and fair grounds for the cabinsales.ca converted play house/piggy bank for donations and a chance to WIN!!!

Here is last year’s recap for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation: Playin4keeps2013

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Whose voice should be heard?

“Well what do you expect of our world since we took God out of the classroom”, or some variation, is becoming a Christian refrain to remove oneself from the world around them, and true horrors that media is reporting. It has become the 21st century equivalent of the shrug. Whether it is incessant online bullying leading to suicides; gang rapes; child pornography or sports coaches/teachers abusing those in their charge (note how Church Inc. Turns a blind eye in these statements to their participation in Indigenous persons genocide; and the ongoing rapes/abuses of charges by clerics as we know these roles of power are sought by the monsters, but I digress).

Statistically our world is less violent per capita than at any other point in recorded human history; per capita there are no more sexual predators about than there was in the early to mid-twentieth century. What has changed? Something that God has been trying to get through to us since the stories of the Hebrew Bible were actual current events.

The opening refrain feeds our reading of the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament, when we look at scriptures of horror like David & Bathsheba as a story of weekend sexual moral, and adultery…instead of the story of power; rape and murder that it truly is. Then we try to clean it up more, by pointing to the repentance of David after confronted by Nathaniel and stipulating, see a contrite heart makes him one after God’s own heart. BUT this is not the point of the tale, for I reflect the point was lost on ancient Israel and us today. How do I know? Simple, in the post-exile sanitized versions of the histories (1&2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings) known as 1 & 2 Chronicles these things do not appear. For they are not of God’s heart!!!

In fact, I am emboldened to say that the message behind this horror story is what truly happens when a V-I-C-T-I-M loses their voice to tell their story. Bathsheba fades into the background; vanishes if you will. It is recorded that the child created by the rape died; some scholars and writers postulate in a fit of insanity David commits infanticide to clean up the last reminder of his unkingly acts; some may think that Bathsheba did to remove the reminder; but she enters into the household of the king as yet another conquest, left silent to whatever whim David wants, for within the time she is nothing more now than damaged property. The union produces Solomon, who obviously understood the atrocities visited upon his mother, the cover ups of the king wrapping it in a very fundamentalist understanding of YHWH and leveraging spiritual and temporal authority to keep it all quiet. How do I know this? Simple, reflect on Solomon’s reign he sought many other roads to the Holy Mystery and only a part of it was the Temple he built for God, there was also other imaginings and reflections, Solomon was not comfortable with his father’s understanding or use of God and was trying to shake the bondage off.

This Hebrew Bible narrative shows us what happens when the victim is stripped of justice and voice, where the assailant is stripped of ability to be properly healed and held accountable.

This is where our world is at, we as a society are no longer David and his court with heads in the sand protecting the abused. We may not fully have proper justice, and healing for all parties involved, but be thankful to media forums (social, traditional, and grapevine if you will) that the victim’s voice is finding ground, and we are moving beyond the blame the victim mentality. Are we as a world there yet? NO! Why? Simple, old school religious understandings like the naive understanding of the David and Bathsheba story as adultery with equal partners strips the horror story of its power to address true societal justice issues, strips it of the power for the hearer and reader to ask, what if David was held accountable and Bathsheba was allowed to tell her tale? Would things be different?

What if in our world today we finally moved beyond the Patriarchal oppression that protects abusers, or downplays the trauma throughout generations their actions create, and actually move to a holistic approach of justice. One that restores the victim to full being and empowered but also does the same to the abuser to shatter the cycle and heal our world.

We like to say our world is horrible because we removed God from public piety, yet it was never public piety God wanted, Jesus warned us not to be like the show, but rather to let the Holy Spark shape our inner most beings so that our world be transformed into the world of equality, justice and health that we are called to live in.

Horrors still happen because as religious we are choosing the side of David as holy, instead of walking alongside Bathsheba and simply being.

Which side do you want to walk along?

Whose voice will you allow to be raised up, heard and believed?

How will you break the cycle today? Tomorrow? Ongoing?

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Official Prayer of Pope St. John XXIII

Prayer to St. John XXIII

Dear Pope John,

Your simplicity and meekness carried the scent of God and sparked in people’s hearts the desire for goodness. You spoke often of the beauty of the family gathered around the table to share bread and faith: pray for us that once again true families would live in our homes.

Without outstretched hands you sowed hope, and you taught us to listen for God’s footsteps as he prepares a new humanity: help us have a healthy optimism of defeating evil with good.

You loved the world with its light and darkness, and you believed that peace is possible: help us be instruments of peace at home and in our communities.

With paternal gentleness you gave all children a caress: you moved the world and reminded us that hands have been given to us not for striking, but for embracing and drying tears.

Pray for us so that we do not limit ourselves to cursing the darkness but that we bring the light, bringing Jesus everywhere and always praying to Mary. Amen.

john23

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Churches Need to Call a “Gang Truce” in Order to Reach Youth | Romal Tune | Red Letter Christians

Sharing this article not as a…hey look how messed up our American cousins are that they let labels get in the way of living Christ’s love of neighbour, but as a call to Canadian churches that we do the same. We sit in churches 1/3 to 1/2 full surrounded by other churches of similar holy huddles and bicker over how to afford to keep our lights on and pay utilities rather than reaching out to one anther to be able to help the communities around us. Youth crime rises because they are seeking a place of belonging and being able to be who the world thinks they are. When done right, church (as I have seen in my years doing youth outreach), can create a place of belonging for youth where they can discover who they are meant to be. But we as the generation involved need to surrender our ego, and our label and truly seek the guiding of the Spirit in what we are called to be for our neighbour in love.

Churches Need to Call a “Gang Truce” in Order to Reach Youth | Romal Tune | Red Letter Christians.

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The Story continues…

a productive vacation night of writing…

Prologue

10 years ago.

            A scorched prairie farm land was where the shots first rung out. The team had come in to rescue a diplomat’s child. Shotgun’s teeth clenched tightly around the stub of his cheap cigar, in each hand a sawed off 12 gauge. His short cut crew cut was starting to show a little gray around the temples, as through gritted teeth he barked.

            “Slick, kid’s in the quansahut!” Jake “Shades” Slick dive rolled out of the Gator’s passenger seat that Kyler Storm was driving. As slick rolled up to a  crouch and started crab running towards the hut, through his black Ray Bans, the Gloc slipped into his hand. Three quick shots and the man with the rifle behind the fencepost wrapped with barb wire is no longer an issue.

            Slick’s ponytail whips around as he motions Kyler to keep driving. The young goth kid was the newest in the unit, his ear piece unit squawks from the chopper command centre. “Slick what’s the scoop?”

            “One Neo-FLQ taken out, cover fire being laid down. We’ll need extraction in 10 minutes C.D.” speaking of young whipper snappers, ten years before C.D. was the first of teens to emerge as hackers into the agency system, it was Louis that brought him in. French-Canadian Asian lady, part phantom/part ninja some would say. Slick watched as Shotgun made his way behind the work shed. They had made a triangle around the quansa, and on the roof climbing was Louis Regis.

            C.D. squawks that Omega Squad was coming in via F-150.  The roar of the truck engine.

There are probably eight gunmen in black bala clavas whose attention moves to the incoming truck. Daemon’s crew, old scarred face (his mother lit him on fire in her death scene free basting). Reesa, a lovely raven haired woman, Malcolm the token Albino hanging out the box with the heavy artillery. One the running board is Grizz, literally a man the size of a bear and enough hair to be mistaken as one.

            Kyler is bringing the Gator straight up the middle to the two doors of the Quansa. Louis slices through the roof and drops in as the Gator bursts through and he starts firing. Shotgun pops up and lays down buck shot, as Slick opens up and six gun men go down quick.

            Gun fire in the back.

Reesa’s eyes lock on the diesel tank. She aims through the sniper scope and fires. The explosion blows heat and debris across the field as the cover fire from the truck takes down the last of the shooters on their way to the Quansa.

            The Gator inside the Quansa flips. Kyler rolls out, and rises with his old six shot. Two gun men left, one holding the kid by the throat gun to the head.

            Shotgun and Slick step through the twisted metal doors. A quick shot and the second gun men’s chest explodes. The one with the kid steps back as Louis rises up behind him out of a straw stack, her long knives slip lightly across his throat spraying blood as he crumples to the ground.

            The sound of the chopper extraction coming in, Slick taps his earpiece. “We got the package C.D.”

            The screech of truck tires as the four and the kid walk out of the Quansa. The chopper touches down behind the truck, C.D., a 6’2” bald man that maybe weighed 150 lbs soaking wet in a completely black suit walks towards the Quansa, his eyes surveying the bodies and carnage around the farm in Manitoba where this alleged Francophone separatist terrorist group had taken the Prime Minister’s son. Through black sun glasses that wrap around his head C.D. looks at Slick.

            He lightly tugs on the black gloves as he motions for Kyler to bring the child to him. C.D. and Kyler walk back to the chopper, load the kid in. C.D. turns, smiles.

            Malcolm from the back of the F-150 aims and fires.

Kyler’s brains splatter the prairie soil.

            Slick goes to shoot at C.D. as he steps into the chopper and it launches. “Damn terrorists infiltrated us.” Was the last thing C.D. said as the chopper flew away.

            Daemon steps out of the truck with his black trench coat billowing in the breeze looking at Louis, Slick and Shotgun. “There are two ways this can go down.”

            Shotgun smirked, took his cigar in two fingers, walked up to the youngster and pinged it off his forehead. “Yea, my boot goes up your ass, or my gun.”

            Daemon goes to draw. Slick smiles, grouped together in a truck, young and dumb and him with one bullet left. The old F-150 given by the agencies ran on propane. He fires quick and true. The bullet ruptures the tank.

            Daemon turns as Shotgun’s right hand levels him towards the explosion that sends his men careening in the field.

            Slick’s eyes fall on a Dodge Caravan back by the farm house. Louis laughs as he taps his ear piece one more time. “This isn’t over C.D.”

Chapter One

            The rain had soaked into the alley of Gothic City, just off their Electric Avenue party district. The rain was cleansing. It made the usual aromas and stains of the alley vanish. The Gothic Gargoyles were in the run for Lord Stanley’s Cup, just first round, but the party was loud, the women’s breasts were flashing and things were happening under the street lights the police had long since given up trying to keep a lid on.

Malcolm’s body still ached from ten years previous in a farmer’s field in Manitoba when they were supposed to be heroes. Instead the agency had written them off. He had barely found work as a bouncer at a club back home in Gothic City, AB. Which was good, because how much work would there be for a one legged spy adventurer. Yes his resume got to read that he was part of a covert operation team that rescued the Prime Minister’s son from a group of home grown terrorists, if he was allowed to even speak of it. But it had been their handler’s time to change the guard as C.D. had phrased it. If they wanted to be Alpha Squad, they would need to deal with the old guard.

It was to be their moment of glory, yet Grizz had miscounted the damn shots from Slick’s gun. They thought he had fired nine, nope had been eight, and the ninth found the propane fuel tank. So sure, he had sniped Kyler and put the protégé in a grave, but the explosion had claimed his leg, given Daemon more scars and a stay in Panoka, no one had seen Grizz’s body as he had vanished, and it had placed Reesa in a coma.

Bunch of great heroes, taken out by a crew of over the hills. That was his legacy, and now he was trying to keep pandemonium at bay. It had been the girl’s scream that had brought him from his bar’s door way next to the alley into the alley way. It had sounded through the rancorous party noise and actually sounded like someone in dire need. Yet in the dark and dank of the alley, there was nothing to be seen.

Malcolm turns on his prosthetic leg to exit when he heard what sounded like a tape measure unfurling. He feels the jerk on his stump as his prosthetic flies off. He attempts to keep his balance as a low whistle signals a throwing knife through the water finding his jugular spraying walls and ground red, making an eerie Kool-aid to run out of the alley into the streets as he grips at the knife and feels his life run out of him.

Chapter Two

            Whoopee shit about the Gothic Gazette’s headline, Albino bouncer shanked during playoff party. Pond scum is what he was; if I had known he was in Gothic would have done him myself. I shift uneasily in the booth at the Nottingham Pub as I lay the paper down on my table. Pubs are places of comfort, but as a recovered alcoholic, the comfort once found on a scotch double neat needed to be replaced by something else, and today I was not in the mood for a ginger ale so I am torturing myself with pub coffee—black. It is an anthropological study when there is a new waitress who has started at the Nottingham. The one in her mid-thirties that’s been around for years dressed like 50’s glam; the two in their early to mid-twenties all tits and tats hanging out, the newbie whose probably barely twenty trying to fit in, but looking more than uncomfortable in the micro skirt and tank top. Lunch hour is the busy time, comes from the cheap Alberta steak sandwiches.

The coffee has a burnt taste that is mixed with weakness because they pulled it out before percolation ended. Thankfully they had just renovated their table and chairs.  The click of old army boots on the old tile floor.  The leather trench coat, with long greying red hair, with the eye patch, so my old friend looked more like a pirate than the killer he used to be. “Jake.”

He nods to me as he sits down ordering the special and a Guinness. “Will.”  The way he said my name means that the type of things we used to do would be coming back. Maybe a time I wish I had not given up alcohol.

Leaning back and steepling my hands, “it has been a while since Calgary.” Jake is not aging well, but these conversations do not go well and usually end up with gun play or me running through a field with him from a mad husband of some sort with a gun.  So I guess it all comes back to gun play a truly un-Canadian endeavour.

“Will we need some focus here, something has happened to…” Okay have to keep remembering that Jake is not a conversationalist. “Louis.”

Ah shit. Louis Regis, she who shalt never be named within our intrepid duo (trio up until 10 years past). Jake’s on-again-off-again-pop on by lover of sorts. Also one of the deadliest knife wielders alive, and surprisingly one of the clumsiest individuals we have ever had the privilege to work with as well, I have a scar on my left butt cheek thanks to her hatchback and a misplaced eagle handed blade.

“Jake seriously, she probably just ran out of gas in Regina again.” Whenever Louis is involved, Jake loses perspective, and then probably, okay more than likely because we are pre-school friends till now I will follow suit, and as noted earlier, gun play will ensue.

Jake slides a tattered piece of lined paper across the table to me. I know I am going to kick myself for doing this, but I pick it up and look at it. Brown stains that do resemble blood. A time and an address, judging from the address it is in the industrial park. Why could there be something go down that didn’t happen in a warehouse? “I think that’s where she’s gone.” Jake said.

Where she’s gone? A scrap of paper covered in blood? How do we know she isn’t dead at this time? The waitress tops up what is passing for coffee and I swear I choke a little when I sip it, it is now that tepid temperature from a pub when they want you to move onto something harder, but that was years ago when I would do that. “So what do you want?” I glance at the time on the paper, and at my watch, forty-five minutes until whatever is to happen there.

Jake with the crow’s feet around his eyes, the greying red hair, and his one un-patched eye gets that twinkle, and his side ways grin. “Saddle up, Will let’s ride one more time.”

Aw damn it, I know I am going to live to regret this, but when it is your best friend and there is bad pub coffee involved, what choice in life is there than the simple ones.  “Let’s go.”

Drop a ten on the table and leave. The upside of life after the agency is that there are no fancy cars involved, for you simply want to blend into the background. Jake still drives a small hatchback. From the trunk of my own P.O.S. sedan I grab my gear bag and hop into his car. One would think after 30 years of misadventures together I would learn to slow things down, ask questions, double check new stories, but no, my friend asks for help and well, I am there. The down side of using his car, is his music, still had not acquired a taste for late seventies-early eighties metal, but to each their own. Not to mention he drives like a distracted Mario Andretti, and I have to remember the name of the Holy I am praying to this week to save my ass as Jake’s passenger.

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2014 the year of my next novel

Yes I wrote many novels as a older adolescent/young adult that revived pulp fiction style writing amongst my generation in the Properties in Calgary, and some of the stories have become epic and legendary (still remember having one award winning one in the CBE banned during “Freedom to Read Week” due to having a bi-sexual character); tackling how the deconstruction of a human being could create a pulp hero, the fun of Canadian espionage, and what actually one does when they finally conquer the world to name but a few. It was a time of re-inventing characters I had been creating and writing on since I was 9 years old in a little thing I dubbed the “Tyverse”… so yes it was also a super hero backdrop with mysticism, magic and some religious overtones as I used my writing as allegory to sort out my own spiritual understandings.

Over the last few years I have concentrated more on my spiritual formation writing and poetry, but that has waned a bit in my life, I had even taken active steps in 2013 to step away from my active speaking and writing schedules. Which left time for the Spirit of Creativity to move within me once more, and to reflect on what made writing fun. What was that you ask?

The adventure.

So this is the year I am hoping to craft a new office space or at least discovering a new coffee shop to write in at the very least as I craft a new fiction… here is something that popped out of the keyboard during Christmas, some long time followers may recognize the older characters:

Pubs are places of comfort, but as a recovered alcoholic, the comfort once found on a scotch double neat needed to be replaced by something else, and today I was not in the mood for a ginger ale so I am torturing myself with pub coffee—black. It is an anthropological study when there is a new waitress who has started at the Nottingham. The one in her mid-thirties that’s been around for years dressed like 50’s glam; the two in their early to mid-twenties all tits and tats hanging out, the newbie whose probably barely twenty trying to fit in, but looking more than uncomfortable in the micro skirt and tank top. Lunch hour is the busy time, comes from the cheap Alberta steak sandwiches.

            The coffee has a burnt taste that is mixed with weakness because they pulled it out before percolation ended. Thankfully they had just renovated their table and chairs.  The click of old army boots on the old tile floor.  The leather trench coat, with long greying red hair, with the eye patch, so my old friend looked more like a pirate than the killer he used to be. “Jake.”

            He nods to me as he sits down ordering the special and a Guinness. “Will.”  The way he said my name means that the type of things we used to do would be coming back. Maybe a time I wish I had not given up alcohol.

            Leaning back and steepling my hands, “it has been a while since Calgary.” Jake is not aging well, but these conversations do not go well and usually end up with gun play or me running through a field with him from a mad husband of some sort with a gun.  So I guess it all comes back to gun play a truly un-Canadian endeavour.

“Will we need some focus here, something has happened to…” Okay have to keep remembering that Jake is not a conversationalist.

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Election Reform

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties...

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is election season in Calgary, we are one week away from voting on Councillor,Mayor and school board trustee. Yet with it now set for every for years, and the second Monday of October for civic elections, a thought entered my mind for electoral reform made simple.

What if each province’s civic election time line became the election time line? That is on that vote day every four years that province voted for school board trustees, councillors, mayor, MLA and MP?

Now you say, what about federal disruption in Parliament? What disruption? It actually makes one’s local MP relevant, and ensures they are more in line with their constituent wishes, and actual Canadians than what the party whip wishes… Another side effect is that the PMO would be forced to be collaborative with all parties for the betterment of Canada (that Constitutional promise of Peace, Order andGood Governance)…how you ask?

Well let’s look at Harper’s current slim majority of 8 seats, if we were voting on MP’sacross Alberta currently, and he lost 8 seats (which current polling suggests is a possibility) he either gets a slimmer majority, or moves into minority territory. It makes all 17 parties and any independents running relevant for the electorate.

Provincially it allows votes to become discerning from the civic leaders they elect, and then who they believe would best work or balance that out. Think of the pre-2000’s when provinces would elect opposite provincial governments to who was in Federally.

Then to cap the elections off period, you put in place a two term limit on anyone running, once they have served their two terms, before running at any level again they must spend one election cycle back in the private sector. It eliminates retirement plans from the table as it truly transforms public office back into a public sector.

As with any reform however it takes the will of the winners under the old dysfunctional system to make it work.

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Remembering My Mum & one of my best friends

Mum’s Online Obituary

Mum’s Memorial October 4, 2013

Centennial Presbyterian Church 2 p.m.

Call to Rememberance:

Mum had a tapestry that hung in her home, and still hangs there that she liked in the simplicity of explaining what we are to do.

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for a short time. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Mum:

Rosemary Ragan was many things within her life, with many beloved names, but what she was first was a compassionate friend living out her beliefs on compassion, and contribution to the community.

She is a beloved wife, friend, Mum, Nana and Nanny to many, and these are just a few of the terms of love used to describe her.

Whether it was the neighbourhood kids she “adopted” as her own, her own kids or grandchildren friends she met and did likewise with. Lifelong friendships she formed at work, volunteering in local schools, for the CNIB, teaching Sunday school as a teenager, or in the altar guild as a young lady, as a babysitter both growing up and for neighbours, helping customers and the seniors as the candy lady at the local Co-op as the candy lady.

Mum would not us to mourn, for by simply looking into the eyes of the lives she’s touched, into their hearts and watching their own actions of compassion her dreams live on.

Readings

BAS p. 599 the words of St. John

Rosemary started dating her beloved Wayne 44 years ago. Just like Cinderella, her favourite Disney movie she shared with her granddaugheters, bipity bopity boo, their love story would stretch into 43 years of happily ever after marriage, 2 children grown to four, 2 sons, Trevor and Tyler and their wives, Carmen & Shawna,  now 2 daughters; with five blessings, Nicholas, Eric, Emilee, Leland and Justina.

44 years of adventures, shenanigans, stories, joys, concerns; happiness, sadness, moments of immense pride, and hiccups of life. Times when she would give one that look whether they were cherbling their candies, or going t.v. shopping without motherly supervision to bicycle jump mishaps and triumphs of education, dale Carnegie diplomas; Trevor’s BMXworls; Nicholas’ youth of distinction awards and having children chase their dreams, and thanks to the loving home built by Wayne and Rosemary their children’s dreams grow.

A home whether in Calgary or on the farm, regardless of what life choices or circumstances one found themselves in, one knew that they would always be accepted with love. For when Mum talked of her 4 kids, and 5 blessings all that radiated was pride and joy.

The work of love that is now commissioned to all of us to continue. The work of love that began in her small Anglican church in Montgomery with her favourite story.

The words from the heart of Jesus Christ that shaped my Mum’s love:

Mark 10:13-16

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Mum welcomed all into her heart and home as this story says, regardless of what was needed, she was there to help and love.

Prayers:

BAS p. 602

BAS 599 continue service.

Benediction:

My Mum was a woman of prayer, she would say how could she not be with me and Trevor as her sons, and she prayed for her family, this she would share with me. A simple blessing as we go forth, to join Rosemary, for she is having high tea with Jesus, and our loved ones who have gone before, we shall go and have high tea and continue to share.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
The Lord bless you!

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Arson unit investigating early morning garage fire in Rundle | CTV Calgary News

Arson unit investigating early morning garage fire in Rundle | CTV Calgary News.

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Playin’ 4 Keeps Family Day! September 28

poster 1poster 

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Whose your lightning rod?

Tanaka Rei from Legends of the DC Universe: Cr...

Tanaka Rei from Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Art by Paul Ryan and Bob McLeod. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a unique question, now some people can journey through life and never discover the “one”; or never want to be with the “one”. Yet our literature ancient and modern is filled with stories of love. From failed lovers in Romeo & Juliet, to Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Lancelot & Guinevere who ended paradise. The greatest mythology shaped in the modern world is the comic book, and in the Post-Crisis (1985-2011) era of DC Comics they took the original super hero’s mythos to the next level with the Superman/Clark Kent/Lois Lane love triangle fully resolved, because simply Superman became the disguise for Clark Kent, and it was Clark that wooed Lois. In the DC New 52, they are borrowing from ancient mythology with their Superman/Wonder Woman romance (sky god/mother earth) yet there is still a root for the hero/heroine.

The clearest form though of defined love actually comes out of The Flash comics. Where the “Speed Force” if a speedster goes fast enough, will merge with them unless they have their own lightning rod to humanity. This was clearly defined in the relationship of Flash III (Wally West) and Linda Park-West, who Wally stated was his one, his lightning rod that would always bring him back home and center him. This concept was then  expanded with Flash I (Jay Garrick) and his wife, Joan… and definitely redefined when after a 23 year absence due to dying to save the universe inCrisis on Infinite Earth Flash II (Barry Allen) left the speed force due to the love he held for Iris.

So why the romantic turn? Well a, I am a huge comic geek, b, I am a huge Robin Hood nerd, but mostly this past week celebrating the greatest life choice with my family. Looking into the eyes of my soul mate, and realizing that the best term is more than just best friend, or even soul mate, she is quite literally, my lightning rod, the one that keeps me sane, centered, and brings me home regardless of how crazy life can become.

Thank you my beloved.

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Spiritual Potluck

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is kind of funny how sermons/homilies months apart can connect. A few months ago we heard a priest speak on theEucharist as spiritual potluck, for every believer comes to the table and brings their own Hodge podge of giftings together in the community joined together through the mystical meal. It is potluck because in no one location can we be completely sure of what gifts or more apt, children of God will be gathered together.

Today’s message was on coming to the table, and how growth of the spiritual community cannot be centered on a formula, ala all in pews need to be homogeneous,  or centered on growth simply to ensure the butts in the pew will increase offerings to meet budget. It has to be deeper, and more centered onChrist, together in the blessed meal (an yea, today was our local Presbyterian minister who brought us this message).

So with this why the post?

Simply think about it. Both were on the same focus, we never know who will be brought together by the Holy Spirit to be family, to live out our faith together to transform our communities into the just world that Jesus called us to build in the Gospels. We do not know a family or individual’s socio-economic, spiritual, cultural, educational, or even personal experience/reality when they come to the table with us.

All we know for sure, is that each and everyone of us (whether we acknowledge it or not) had the divine spark of life breathed into us, and has shaped our moral compass of good works, helping, and justice. The true answering by a church of the gospel clarion is not an altar call; full pews; overflowing offering; or even having the right “thou shalt/shalt nots” espoused… the true answering of the gospel clarion call in my estimation is a community that supports, encourages one another to use our diverse gifts and experiences to transform our world for the better. To end localized oppression & poverty that will create a true trickle out effect into the world.

Simple acts of kindness, not worrying about ever getting paid back for them, simply doing them because there is a baseline of love for our neighbour because we recognize the same divine spark within them that exists within us and know, that it is just to help and support one another.

But will we answer the gospel call of compassion, or will we simply continue to muddle the waters with magic growth formulas and money mongering?

-30-

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Playin’ 4 Keeps

It is quite a simple concept, thanks to Cabinsales.ca in Southern Alberta and other sponsors, a log cabin playhouse has been converted to a giant piggy bank and is going through small towns to collect donations for Alberta Children’s Hospital via parades (our kids have loved riding on the cabin or the 1923 Hehn Fire Truck courtesy of Countess Country Museum), rodeos, and main streets.

This has been a summer of seeing the love and care of Albertans through our many emergencies, yet there is still care being shown via donations for the hospital at one time or another every family in Southern Alberta ends up coming through.

This coming weekend it will be in the Elnora-Delbourne-Lousanna area, but this great shot came from our time at Strathmore Heritage Days (photo courtesy of Wayne Ragan, 2013):

rcmp playing 4 keeps

So when you see the cabin rolling through help out like the RCMP did 🙂

Oh…and here’s a little secret…September 28, 2013 you could win it for your kids or grandkids…just enter when…yup you got it…see the cabin or donate here.

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After 2000 years…

English: Icon of the Resurrection

English: Icon of the Resurrection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ship may have lost its rudder, when almost 2000 years after the Eastermoment, the church is shocked by a pope, that is dubbed the “slum pope”, and one that finds it necessary to speak out about standing firm against evil.

Even better during Rio’s WYD, a message in regards to “making a mess” in one’s diocese…that is actually moving beyond the sealed churches, schools, institutions of the formal church and getting back into one’s community.

Think about this for a moment? What is the state of the church that for many these are calls of renewal instead of simply a daily lifestyle?

Is it not the call of the faith to step out into the world outside your front door? To love one’s neighbour as themselves? To feed the hungry? To clothe the naked? Care for the sick? Visit the prisoner? Essentially to build a just and healthy world one interaction at a time?

YES! and what is so scandalous and refreshing of the “slum Pope“, that he reminds all believers of the heart and soul of the Gospel and what it means to be in the Body of Christ.

Imagine 2 billion people living these values?

Will we answer?

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Anglican Church enthusiastic about homeless housing project on its Terwillegar land

Anglican Church enthusiastic about homeless housing project on its Terwillegar land. Love it when the Holy Spirit moves a group of people to love freely and share the blessings of treasures they have built with those in need.

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Callings? Answering or hanging up?

It came to pass tonight, we messaged the church office in regards to the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program. Time to take the next step in the exploration process. But it is also a week for reflecting deeper.

Why you ask?

Well, Francis I, this week talked about how it hurt to see priests and nuns driving the newest cars. This tended to confuse some, but let’s think about this for an instance. This is a challenge to those called to humility (in some religious orders, poverty) and to service of the gospel (which is quite clear on its call to serving the poor, the disenfranchised of society).  How can you take vows and state this is your life even vocational calling, yet spend money freely to have a luxurious life. Yes, one can look to the Vatican oppulence, but also to protestant/charismatic faith leaders of today with their own private jets, islands, million dollar pay days. The point in my heart of the car comment, was pointing out the wasting of resource within our world, that if we just distributed fairly, the gospel call of alleviating poverty would be answered.

This reflection was followed by a challenging homily by Father Malcolm at our home parish, the challenge was simple though one that believers need to hear, that if this is our call of faith, then we need to respond. VOLUNTEER is the first step, within and without our church, it should not just be a 10-15% of the same faces, but each and everyone of us should be active, and we should be raising up the young within our communities to be as responsive.

Or simply put the action of every believer was laid out in the Epistle of James (New Revised Standard Version) 2:14-18:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[e] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

Our faith as stated this week in Francis I’s new encyclical (co-written with Benedict XVI) from Lumen Fidei Prologue: 5

The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfilment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us. Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time.

Our faith if the light of love of God, the divine spark is in each and everyone of us. Through our works of transformation, our faith will be alive and known.

The question for us, coming through this week, and the one that led me to a Franciscanvocation in the first place, is:

Are we willing for our lives, what we spend, what we do, to show our gospel life call?

If we are, then let’s take the leap of faith, not into the darkness, but into the light of unbelievable love of a transformed life and let it actually transform us from our competitive western ways, to the collaborative gospel of the living Cosmic Christ.

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#YYC Flood- Love on your neighbour

Who would have thought that just over a week ago our city’s downtown would be darkened and empty? That the Bow & Elbow River‘s would remind us on how fragile our human built civilization is? But it happened.

The cool part during all this, is watching how socio-economic, cultural, religious, pretty much any label one could place has been wiped away as we simply love on one another as we would like to be loved on during this time of emergency.

My hope and prayer coming out of this crisis is simple, that we never lose this sense of comraderie, community and neighbour once the crisis has passed. May the #YYC that rises above the flood waters be truly reborn with that small town communal spirit firmly rooted once more.

And I am sure there are many non-profits looking for donations to help out the victims.. Neighbourlink and the Drop In Centre have been great hubs for this during this time as well. As well, as we have seen in Bowness and Mission the simple act of walk on volunteerism for clean up. Give how you can, and know that any little bit does help renew the city’s spirit at this time.

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Welcome

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

“How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!”
Pope Francis

The new journey has begun. My family has stumbled into enjoying the Mass, and allowing this mystery to speak to us, many have…asked…what the Roman Catholic Church? Surely it’s not because I am oh so “conservative” theologically…no that’s not why…it’s about a Pope calling out the world on actually loving on one another and eradicating this thing we call poverty. Locally, it’s this little parish that welcomes my children as who they are, children, and priests/elders that inspire my soul mate and I with authentic talk of community, of discipleship, embracing the mystery of our faith… and to be honest…there are scrumptious potlucks. Did we see this turn in our faith journey? Nope, but beloved community finds you in the heart of God when you least expect it.

So the journey of endings, but renewed beginnings with new light and love. A new site to discover new calls, new communities, and share new insights that have been bubbling up within my soul as we have walked this path together.

This is different that “A Robin Hood`s Musings“ (tyragan.wordpress.com) or even Soul Pilgrimage (http://tyragan.blogspot.ca/) both good sites with decent writing, but for me at this point and time, I needed something with a fresh canvas to share my gift of writing, and reflection in the way of personal memoiric journey and transformation.

As during this part of our family`s walk we discern, but also within myself as I discern what it means to be a recycled Franciscan, coming back around to the vocational call, and whether or not to take the steps necessary to complete vows anew.

I hope you enjoy these readings, and join in the conversation when something pops up that piques your curiousity and interest.

francis


Excerpt from Introduction:

Leaving Churchdom

My journey is at a crossroads, where I am done fighting the same battle for all to be loved and heard within institutions that are more concerned with money, history, dogmatic and doctrines. This work is not a collection of “ohh you’re so wrong” but rather reflections on what love can do, what can it open up, why I have come here. It is sharing personal anecdotes, gospel stories, and meta-narratives I love to enhance the reflections and let them resonate in your soul. For me leaving churchdom is not a negative connotation within this work, it is as my beloved Shawna would say, stepping out in love, no buts attached. For leaving churchdom is throwing off a burden and simply letting four words and a punctuation mark be a guide in life: What Would Love Do? (WWLD?).

I hope you enjoy this collection of reflections, every so often I raise a challenge for you to do your own personal work and reflection, and I look forward to hearing how this may or may not have helped you. The one thing about the chapel, all types came, all types shared, and all knew that bread would be broken, a cuppa drunk, kids and animals would play, and we would discover the common ground of our diversity of spiritualities that fed us, created a unity of spirit to step back out into our world in love.  Continue Reading the e-book: Rainbow Chapel Unplugged Leaving Churchdom