Posts Tagged ‘God’


The Labyrinth is an ancient path of walking prayer. It is a prayer that includes the whole self, yet the direction is known, and so to the destination. It is much like a pilgrimage, though in a pilgrimage there may be twists or turns let point A and point B are defined. This is the type of space I find my healing labyrinth, and recovery pilgrimage brings me to over the next week. On Sunday July 14, I am blessed to preach at Centennial Prebsyterian Church on “What’s a Samaritan?” a different look  at the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Great Commandments. The Question that has been unpacked in my life of ministry— Who is my Neighbour?

Friday before that on July 12, I am blessed to be co-leaders, in a workshop with Kelly McGregor from Restore Counselling on PTSD-PNES (yes if you are in Calgary space is still available):

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The Book, Soul Ripples, explores stories of my family, and my life that brought me to the brink. It is an explanation of the biographical, spiritual, psychological and physical life that shapes us all. It is a part of this journey piece. For the work does speak to the connecting point of Friday Night and Sunday Morning:

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.

Buy paperback or e-book from Amazon here.

 

This is the next few days as I combine the lectionary for July 7 & 14th to wind the path towards my preaching text– the Good Samaritan. Yet it is not asking who our neighbour is, or what it means to love God or self, rather my question I am posing is “What is a Samaritan?” (if you can’t make in on the 14th, the text and service will be up here by 9 p.m. MST).

Image result for 2 kings 5:1-14So today, we enter into the story of 2 Kings 5:1-14 as a bit of prologue. It is prologue to many things, as the stories of 1 & 2 Kings laid the foundation for the exiles of the Israelites. Their need for a second exodus.

It is  a story of healing. But it is also a text that takes one outside of the comfort zone of the righteous and the religious. For it produces the dichotomy we like to exist today. How many have seen the memes going around about free kits for drug addicts but not paying for diabetic supplies? It is a false dichotomy folks in power want to propagate for it keeps us chasing each other, and bickering about the “righteous to be helped” or the “deserving poor/sick/etc” instead of simply going, NOPE. We are all created in the Image of God (divinity) and as such we demand that it is a both-and solution.

It may appear weird to put this out for discussion. But this is the crux of the healing of King Naaman. A non-Israelite King, who did not even worship the God of Israel. He sought out Elisha due to his servant girl’s advice on healing the Leprosy he had been struck with. Yet, most would look at this as an easy– NOPE. He is the “other”, the “enemy”. In today’s world of America the “illegal” or in Canada “irregular border crosser”. The collective anger and hate being fixated upon the refugee, the Muslim, the non-Nationalistic Christendom Christian (that being Christians that don’t buy into the bullocks of Trump being the anointed of God). It is the dichotomy that allows for a us or them debate in simple things as Health Care, Public Education.

It is not something that Elisha was even entertaining. He laid out a solution to Namaan, go bath in the River Jordan and be healed. Namaan called Fake News on it. But then listened to the facts. He almost succumbed to anti-vaxxer rhetoric he had previously heard if you will. Think about it in this text he argues why can’t he simply use his own nation’s rivers, or for an anti-vaxxer the idea that measles, etc are just character builders, not willing to understand the science. Yet he did not, he listened to reason, and went to the Jordan to be healed.

An ancient story. Ancient wisdom. Cutting into the soul of our modern times.

Stepping beyond labels of the other. Trusting that which is put forward as true fact. Moving forward. It has been a hard journey for my family the last several years, but here I am currently 86 days seizure free from my Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures, it is my conversion disorder to deal with my a-typical PTSD (but truly read Soul Ripples I don’t have time here). It is astounding to my clinicians how quickly I have advanced since treatment started on Valentine’s Day of this year.

Why?

Simple. I was on a path, there was no hope. I sat with a clinician, gave some trust, it was explained what was going to need to be done. Then you know what? I didn’t argue, or complain I am not a text book or I will pray it away or whatever else someone uses to resist psychological treatment due to their own inbred stigmas. I DID. Yes, part of doing outside of the scope of the clinician included friends praying for me, and my own spiritual practice. But the seizures were focused on by the work laid out to be done.

Namaan could’ve chosen another river, but he’d still have Leprosy after. I could’ve chosen to not fully engage with my treatment.

Neither of us would’ve been pleased with the outcomes.

How is your own ego and/or fear keeping you from wholeness?

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It is said Canada is a secular state. What does this mean? It probably began during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec in the early to mid-20th Century which was the assertion of the end of Christendom. What is Christendom? The one force of political religion. That is politics being draped in religious language, much like what Marx wrote out against. It brought Christianity from being a movement of those on the margins of society to the throne of the Empire, when Constantine won the throne under the cross. It held through the schism that created Orthodox and Roman Catholicism, and then the Protestant Reformation where monarchs took the power of the church for themselves from the Pope.

The Quiet Revolution in Quebec stripped political power from the church. During this time, movements like Social Credit grew out of fundamentalist Christendom, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was birthed out of progressive fundamentalists and activists…and by the 1960’s with the rise of Trudeaumania, a moderate-Jesuit style Catholicism was back on the scene with Pierre Trudeau as Justice Minister modernizing our laws, then as Prime Minister working towards repatriating the Constitution and moving the Bill of Rights to something governments could play with to enshrining them in the Constitution as a Charter of Rights and Freedoms (he also wanted a Social Charter that the Alberta Government killed in the need for signatories, the social charter would’ve dealt with many of the issues we are facing today). The final authority for the Charter and Constitution was no longer the Monarch, but rather the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Charter was fleshed out in consultations with churches, stake holders, citizens, First Nations and Metis. Trudeau in his philosophical ways, understood there was something intangible that bound us all, and as such this is the opening line:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Our neighbours to the South have an enshrined separation of Church and State. In Canada we have no such thing, our social safety net more often than not begun in a church hall over coffee or tea whether it was suffrage movements, labour rights, government entitlements, public education or public health care (and remember it was a devout Roman Catholic Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who led his government to legalize marriage equality). Yes, there is atrocities within the church that came from the Christendom style movement such atrocities as Conversion Therapy; Residential Schools, by proxy the MMWIG; Lack of Women’s rights (yes, both came from the same source, but different understandings).

Yet, in the death throes of Christendom, we got the Constitution Act, 1982

Recently, the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition gave a speech listing his values due to the Supremacy of God, and watch the Twitter eruption of how dare he. I have not heard the whole speech, many know my feeling on the corruption within the Conservative Party of Canada that goes back to the anti-members wishes merger under McKay-Harper, but moving on.

What does this mean?

If one has authentic religious beliefs, they drive and shape their life. They cannot compartmentalize them, and nor should they. We have a history in our nation of those across the religious and political spectrum working for the best for the people of Canada. It comes from a community understanding, that our individual rights come with corporate responsibility.  All on the political spectrum are guilty or religious demonetization.

One should understand where one’s values come from. In 2006 when I ran at the Candidate’s debate we were squarely asked about our religious-philosophical beliefs and how it related to the social issues of the time- marriage equality was the big one. To be cleared to be a candidate to run for the NDP I was asked to explain my standing on abortion, and explained why I was pro-choice, and what society’s responsibility was around that. The party did not like the well thought out explanation and had a hard time signing off, yet it was the answer that tied in well with my faith and politics.

Too often discourse publicly or personally of politics and religion are shunned. We want to yell our beliefs in a vacuum. We want pithy answers when asked why. We have lost the ability to debate, to craft healthy arguments and philosophical or legal discourse around issues that arise. We prefer social media yelling matches, and holier than thou stances for and against the way people come to their decisions. We also stand on this idea, that if you default to I believe this because of x,y, or z religious stance then I cannot be challenged. That too is wrong. If you raise it as a point of support, it is debatable, but we need to enter these conversations civilly. We also need to enter these conversations with the understanding the religious are grieving.

What? They are, they are in the anger and denial phase of grieving not willing to let go of the past and understanding that their voice is still valid. It is part of the same choir that has already existed, what has changed is that there is no forced vocabulary because due to social and economic pressure not everyone is in a pew. This is what creates the reactionary anger, and then allows for those to hide within their own echo chambers. Instead of reacting to the language, look what is being spoke of and if the value supported lines up.

Guess what that creates? Collaboration, which then one can say we have this core value as a nation regardless of how you came to the journey to come there. We honour our neighbours completely.

The example that this type of approach can be used with is in Alberta where the Alberta Government has stopped land acknowledgments. This comes most probably out of the heretical Doctrine of Discovery from the era of Christendom. Instead of being able to point out this is a Confession. It is pointing out we all share the land, but we know who our first neighbours were and are working towards reconciliation and a common future. The strong words there resonate with a Christian vocabulary- Confession, Reconciliation. These are concepts that are understood. It shows community.

Is Canada a secular state? Why do we need to label it. We are a multi-cultural mosaic. That includes religious beliefs. The beauty of where we are as a nation, is that religious beliefs, like any beliefs, are not static. They evolve and change over time. We help our neighbour through their anger and grief, we can get to healthier future. We answer anger with anger, hate with hate, it is like fighting a house fire with fire. It does not work. First you provide safety for the affected, then begin the suppression of the blaze. That is creating space for healthy discussion on shared values, and what brought each of us to that point.

Honouring that, and moving forward.

It is the roots of the grand tree that is Canada.

We just need to prune out the dead wood.

Yes this came out of a question I responded to on Twitter as to where all the moderate Christians are, and I pointed out tired of being yelled at by secularists and extremists, when interviewed by media not allowed voice because it is not infotainment enough.

 


Captain Jonathan Archer These people you’re fighting – what makes them heretics?

Yarrick We believe the Makers created the Chosen Realm in nine days. They believe it took ten.

Captain Jonathan Archer [scoffs]  For that you’ve been at war for over a century?

 -(Star Trek Enterprise “Broken Realm” Episode, 2004)

It is funny, not ha ha, but sad irony that the Christianities have spent so many centuries rooting out heretics and executing them. I state this from the obvious, even with what was kept in “canon” is the story of a movement that included many who did not belong, and had different views expressed within (tax collectors; cortezans; labourers; zealots; persons with disabilities; Samaritans—in the ancient world quite a motley crew). The crew brought their own understanding, language and beliefs into the movement of transfigurement.

Even that moment had Jesus inner circle upon seeing Moses and Elijah respond with making shrines, not seeing what should have been seen in the moment. Falling back upon the familiar. From Jesus’ execution, to the grand nu-uh to the Imperial-religious powers, to the breathe that shattered false barriers to bring belonging…a new wave had begun. One that for its first almost 300 years was quite diverse in understandings, in what was brought into, and in standing its ground when religious authorities made the call to cast them out of the Synagogues. That is when two monotheist religions stared at each other, and one was told to conform to what was “traditionally acceptable” and what was not. How did the early adopters respond? Some thought of giving in, but truly they realized what was at stake, the ability to grow, change and adapt to what they experienced.

Thomas Cranmer almost 1200 years after Constantine brought the same idea forward during the Reformation, and the creation of the Book of Common Prayer. It was the Reformation that brought the stories of God and her people to the language of the people, but also brought creation where both the cleric and people’s words of worship could now be known by all. His intent was not for a static unmoving, unchanging liturgy (Latin for work of the people) but a dynamic creation that would shift and change with the communities and people, and how they came to understand the Holy Mystery that had created. The teachings of Brother Jesus, and the cosmic love that bound it all together.

Now some may say this sounds highly Catholic or Anglican. Yet, I challenge you, does your spiritual gathering have a rhythm for prayer or service? That is a liturgy. Plain and simple. From the Reformation until the early 21st century struggles around this happened through many movements, as the traditionalist/fundamentalist wanted to keep it static because of tradition and that God did not change; while the progressive/fundamentalist (a fundamentalist can understand things both ways depending where they place the emphasis) pushed boundaries, let movement in, different music, open up of prayers, social movements, challenging powers and principalities, and language- how beautiful and transformative was the language changes as structures were broken down and we began to understand what our genesis was from.

It was a reminder of the Indigenous groups under the Roman Empire that had converted either by force, or shrewdness (the Norse Chieftains understanding the control that could be given to them under monotheism) …also a reconciliation work for the damage done of further exploration and passive/active genocides.

What also was celebrated was a full encompassing of the stories of God. Understanding the Gospels were not only the four in the canonical bible, but were more, and each person was crafting their own through the life lived out of their beliefs. Also, though a deeper understanding of the words used for understanding the Holy Mystery. Yes, Trinitarian language (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) existed within the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testaments, but it was a belief structure pulled from an allusion to this plausibility. What also existed within the texts was poetic, metaphorical, anthropological, historical, animist, psychological, sociological and many other forms of understanding the Holy.

Language was changing. Liturgies were experimenting. There was a revival happening.

The powers to be were not happy and attempted to clamp down. Sadly, some took the “threats” seriously, and like those in the Christian Testament stories when challenged folded under the pressure. Some took their lumps and spun out continuing growth, and some continue to exist under the guise of language and linguistic gymnastics.

Yet here we are celebrating a Sunday. A liturgical moment. Created by the people, as part of the work of the people. Part of community building. For some, it holds significance, for others being there and saying the words is a hypocrisy. Yet both claim the spirituality of Brother Jesus, and live a life for the better out of their heart held beliefs. The challenge before us is one of true authenticity. Moving beyond the entrapment of language as the beating stick, or as the opening quote reminds us—how much blood has been shed over 9 or 10 days?

In the Christianities how much blood has been shed over who holds the power to speak the right words/proof texts of the Creator?

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

-Matthew 25:31-40 (English Standard Bible)

When actions transcend words, and are what shapes our lives, then what does the Liturgy become? Does 9 or 10 matter? Or the words used to express our relationships of love with Creator, teacher and neighbour?

When love reigns… how are you and your community transfigured?

 

 


Ancient wisdom tradition has the teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes being Solomon. Solomon born out of the forced marriage of David and Bathsheba. The one allowed to build the Temple that God stopped David from due to blood on his hands. Many will read blood on his hands as due to the wars he fought. Yet what is truly blood on your hands? The shattering of the commandments. The use of office power to forcefully rape a woman, plot the murder of her husband through unneeded risk to your own army, then. The image I always loved as the ultimate outcome. The child conceived, in Kyle Baker’s graphic novel about the story of David, shows that the child di not simply not survive birth, rather in the continued rage of power corrupting his soul, David killed the child. Thus, trapping Bathsheba in the ultimate abuse cycle for a woman in a time with no rights.

It is a story played out sadly many times regardless of gender repeatedly throughout the generations. Yet it was Joseph in the line of David that Jesus came through. But think of the Nativity story. Joseph was attempting to be “holy” in his contemplation, much like his line had been about the time. But God was at work to show how things should be in relations between humans. God asked Mary for her consent, her yes for the plan. He then went to Joseph to see if he would be willing to do what is just even though it contravened his societal rules.

This is at the core of the poetry in Ecclesiastes. It is about showing how extremes can strip all of their vocation and voice, leaving us reduced to commodities. Solomon’s empire collapsed because he allowed ideology to take root that was too expansive seeking power, glory and fortune; his father lost his blessing because his took root in black and white.

We missed the brutal warning against misogyny, gentrification and dehumanization milleniums ago. We missed the challenge to embrace a new path 2000 years ago in a Nazareth’s girl yes. Will we continue to miss opportunities to create the world that was breathed into being were all were one and all were equal?

And we are here with the words from 3:1-11, that show the balance of life (and the Birds turned it into a hit song):

1There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8A right time for birth and another for death,

A right time to plant and another to reap,

A right time to kill and another to heal,

A right time to destroy and another to construct,

A right time to cry and another to laugh,

A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to make love and another to abstain,

A right time to embrace and another to part,

A right time to search and another to count your losses,

A right time to hold on and another to let go,

A right time to rip out and another to mend,

A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

A right time to love and another to hate,

A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

The Message, 3:1-13

 Something we have lost if one simply looks at the political landscape, and the life landscape. David’s are finally being exposed by their Bathsheba’s yet we are losing the voices of other victims. We are not seeing the full scope, because we are taking a pendulum swing to the extreme. The church swings to include LGBTTQ2+ but ignores those whom are differently abled…they may embrace women at certain points of clergy or at all points…yet then stumbles on some other sacramental non-sense. Society says all are welcome, then beats their drum for war saying they do not know how to stop radicalization yet the cure is in belonging same as any fringe group from cults to gangs that take in the one left outside.

magi1

There is a time for healing. Our world struggles with catastrophe of addictions and as lives are lost we argue harm reduction versus abstinence, not realizing the answer resonates in the person and can be both.

We yearn for home. But create barriers for belonging for all. Use our religious texts to lie about poverty being a result of sin or falling short, and not realizing it, like addiction, is a symptom of the roots being shallow and dying.

We love our labels for it can make us feel superior, for we are not them or the other. Yet simply by creating the liberal wherever you say you exist on the spectrum of left-right you have created an us-them paradigm that leads to destruction.

For in each of us a season exists. And where the season leads that is the gift is to the one where the only label that exists is part of the family. For we are, each of us, human. Born of humans. The simplest message God tried to get through the darkness wreaked over generations from David to Joseph with Mary’s simple decision. She upset the world of her tiny village and made the bravest choice possible knowing she could lose all.

Yet her Y-E-S is the season we are in that encompasses the pendulum swings. For it is the eternal gift found in ancient poetry represented by one simple word in English- AND. We abide in the AND by joining Mary’s yes in allowing seasons to exist and realizing communally and individually the answers are not always definitive, but when we are interdependent and without labels our world is better.

magi2

            As we journey as the Magi in this Christmas Season (12 days) what gifts are you bringing to the creche? What season are you bridging and choosing to be in the AND? What YES awaits in your heart?


Anyone who has lived in North America throughout their whole lives, and taken any subtle interest in the social safety nets can attest to one thing over the past 30 years. That one thing: The rise of the narrative of deserving/undeserving poor. It was seen most sharply in Canada during the Ontario Harris’ years and Klein years’ here in Alberta where social services (i.e. welfare, disability support; etc) were designed to be exclusionary, not inclusionary for those needing the services.

Why does this matter?

Simple, it becomes a narrative of understanding when those who are on the lower end of the socio-economic scale vote for wealthy elites who do not hold their voters interest or care at the forefront? In simple terms, why do those who would be seen by the outside as poor vote for the billionaires who only care about supporting their wealthy friends and dismantling the safety net designed to aid them?

Because in the narrative of deserving/undeserving we create a falsity–a lie (of the kind that would get one’s mouth washed out with soap when I was a youngster) that people choose their economic class. That if they just worked harder they could have a better life. That in true independence it is up to each person to always be healthy, never be injured, addiction and disability are a choice; living in shelters or social housing-choice…getting the vibe yet? That’s right, if you are seeking aid of the state then it is because of poor choices on your part, not because of intangibles in life. As such, you should be happy with what ever form and rules the hand out takes, no matter how dehumanizing it can be (think the drug tests for welfare) or to qualify in some cases for social services all assets have to be liquidated so that you can qualify for a below the poverty line monthly amount, in essence the system not being a hand up or a bridge to sustain while the next opportunity comes, but a what can be a punitive measure to create a poverty cycle.

Why does this system issue matter? If you cannot see the simple ethics, for my preponderance today it is how many of these “fiscal conservative” policies (sorry folks, Tommy Douglas was a socialist, and kept balanced books and built a social safety net that included public health care, but I digress) come from a social conservative value set. Not saying it is right or wrong, but with this “Religious Right” they may have missed the point of another narrative.

Now before I take this path and people just set me aside as another non-religious progressive, what I want to point out is both my B.A. and M.A. that equipped me in theology come from conservative bible based schools, and y’know what I learned there?

Much what Ecclesiastes wrote:

What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

(Ecclesiastes 1:9, New International Version)

For what has been seen, and supported by a certain meta-narrative, has missed the point of the cultural narrative/value set that is clung to in Judeo-Christianity. It is the story of the rise and fall of the Davidic-Solomic Kingdom. Where wealth and greed corrupt the monarchy…that split the kingdom, caused the exile. In fact for real Biblical geeks it is the driving force behind the stories of the Judges— people on track in a just society taking care of all–sin/ego/greed (insert your term here) disrupts causing catasrophe and lack of community-judge inserts gets community back on track. In the prophetic books, it is not about the future, it is messengers bringing this focus of community and justice back to the people, so that crass independence does not supplant communal care.

So…the lie of deserving/undeserving poor is nothing new, back in the day it was much more spiritualized as those blessed/cursed by God…and time and again it was shown that was not the case rather it was a false system designed for the power of a 1%…that is the story of the Hebrew Bible (and taken further in the Christian Testament, but that is a post for another time).

So dear readers, for those of you that espouse the biblical story being a staple of your life, truly embrace what it means to be in loving community with one another, and speak out to end this lie…for all deserve the simple things in life: home, food, belonging, purpose, good health, education…and we as a society can make the choice for that to be our reality.

Which story do you choose? The lie or the one of love and belonging–the one of community?


Ian Rankin (2016) Rather be the Devil was the latest delight of the Calgary Public Library hold shelf at their Village Square Location (and yes I have been around this community long enough that I remember the original library van when I was a kid). But why does this percolate a post even before I have cracked the cover on the newest Inspector John Rebus mystery. The roustabout musicphile of Scotland who is no longer an inspector in the last few outings.

You read that right, he was retired a few novels ago but brought back in a consulting role. Whether or not this was Rankin’s intent with a character he created back during his doctoral days or not is truly not the point of this reflection. For it is something that tickled my mind, coupled with a lasting image from a few nights ago when we popped over by the Community of Temple Fire Hall (okay it was the 7-11 for slurpees as a family, but still).

Next to the Fire Hall used to stand an Anglican Church, St. George’s, a parish that has roots going back almost 50 years in this area as well, but it did not start out as a building. It started out as a parish without walls in local Catholic School gymnasiums. How do I know that? I was the fist babe Christened on the baptismal roles in said gynnasium (even down to the pic with the priest and shamrock backboard behind the head).

Now it is simply an empty field (though the Altar Guild at my farewell gave me a banner of the Saint and Dragon as a reminder that still is displayed in my home), the building had become condemned, the amphitheater I used to host outside concerts and road hockey tourneys for the community just over a decade ago back filled in. The sign with pithy sayings to attract new comers–gone. Just the wild grass taking hold and rumours of one day it being the site of seniors housing, but so far no sign of ground breaking.

It was my last paid post in ministry, there was two other church postings to follow that were tent making for myself as I was paid to be apart of another. But it was that baptism in a school gym that shaped my spiritual DNA of the irrelevancy of labels, walls and barriers we tend to create in the world. Anglicans and Catholics working together. Then in pre-school, at an Alliance Church with the diversity that makes up NE Calgary (loved singing those kids hymns with my Sikh and Hindu neighbours), and a Presbyterian Vacation Bible School (that my own daughter still attends).

I am not going to get into my spiritual journey in Junior and Senior high school, or shaping in Indigenous, Pagan, Mystery or Eastern Traditions or digress into evangelical theological formation in Bible College and Seminary; while serving and practicing in mainline churches, or monastic formation with Anglican, Catholic and Ecumenical Franciscans. Some would say, that I have removed myself from the Progressive Christendom voice by act of, well, leaving the physical church buildings and to be honest becoming tired with the mundanity that Christianity has created for itself in its fear of becoming irrelevant.

Yet.

As I look upon this character who in retirement from his life passion is still pursuing truth and justice, and I look at the reclaiming by nature of the former site of the parish that sparked my journey.

I no longer wonder, I know.

A voice is only not relevant when it is not used.

An act of kindness is only not relevant when it is left undone.

A kingdom act is only not a kingdom act when the source is not the love that opens one soul to the Cosmic Christ, and out of that soul lives in unity with all that is.

The question is not whether or not I am Christian, Progressive, New Thought, Science of Mind, New Age (and yes the litany of the pieces that feed my spiritual piece of the medicine wheel, and by proxy my whole self can go on and on)…the question is whether or not is founded and lived out of Love?

And the name for this love for me is the Cosmic Christ, whose example is the Master Teacher, Brother Jesus, and that flowed from the Loving Creator.

So…all that remains to ask as a life is lived is simply:

What Would Love Do?

 

 


Sin and forgiveness. Brutal sacrifice of animal, self-flagellation, a brutal murder of a son by his loving father for redemption…all ancient stories interpreted into the modern age through a very new reading of texts as literal. What is forgotten is allegory, the art of legend for truth, and the context the story was written in. What was forgotten with Levitical laws is a people once enslaved, debased and abused returning to their homeland and needing to discover themselves, heal from trauma, and re-learn how to connect with their inner core, their Golden Cord, one that Brother Jesus illuminated with his greatest commandments in Matthew 22:34-40 (New Living Translation):

34But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’e 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’f 40The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

What is missed in this core of the ancient law, is what was missed in the recited Shema, and in the Levitical Law and cultic practices of the day—that it comes to the core of the being, the love of self, for in discovering love of yourself that is authentic you have awakened. One who is awakened is resonating at a vibrational level of truly living in awareness of unity within the Holy Mystery and the Holy Mystery within.

John The Baptist, Jesus’ elder cousing by 6 months, he of the hair loin cloth, wild honey and locust eating, an Essenes living in the wilderness, neither shaving (and probably not bathing), calling out the so called religious who are using God’s name in vain, who have placed power and control as the God above Love.  The nest of vipers, revealed by this Harbinger—the one that will lead the way (for those of DC Comic persuasion in the `80’s will remember the Millenium crossover and the Forever People who were leading the call for the evolution of the Meta-Gene…anyway I digress).

For not was much written of this chap outside of his conception, and then the time of Baptizing Jesus, to then his beheading for a child who a Herod lusted after…but what was his back story. The Aquarian Gospel shares some thoughts that may resonate with you on this account, but in the idea of sin and forgiveness, using the language of the early 20th century it rolls out a teaching around Sin/Forgiveness and a challenge to the idea of Murder on the Cross for our Sins (13:11-22):

  1. John was delighted with his visit to Jerusalem. Matheno told him all about the service of the Jews; the meaning of their rites.
    12.John could not understand how sin could be forgiven by killing animals and birds and burning them before the Lord.
    13. Matheno said, The God of heaven and earth does not require sacrifice. This custom with its cruel rites was borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands.
    14. No sin was ever blotted out by sacrifice of animal, of bird, or man.
    15. Sin is the rushing forth of man into fens of wickedness. If one would get away from sin he must retrace his steps, and find his way out of the fens of wickedness.
    16. Return and purify your hearts by love and righteousness and you shall be forgiven.
    17. This is the burden of the message that the harbinger shall bring to men.
    18. What is forgiveness? John inquired.
    19. Matheno said, It is the paying up of debts. A man who wrongs another man can never be forgiven until he rights the wrong.
    20. The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong.
    21. John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?
    22. Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins.

Matheno a wisened elder in Egypt takes the young John under his wing and into the temple for a celebration, where the blood—I mean just imagine the aromas, the death, the burning, the blood, the cries of animals as they know what is to come, the chanting, children and women cast outside not able to bear witness to the horror, but this child does, and asks a deeply profound question: why does God want blood?

Think of that, for it is a question I have always had throughout my journey when I am told that it is death on the cross, shed blood that gave me access to God….

            Why does God want blood?

Or if we take the source of all—

Why does Love demand Death?

Why does Love demand Violence?

Why does Love demand BLOOD?

And John takes the journey, for without blood, and force sacrifice then a group cannot control and exert authority, for if love is all, and it resides in all, through all and with all…then…if love is all there is…

Sin, forgiveness, cannot stand…love wins…

And the blood, death, violence…is not of Love…it is false…it is designed to break the Golden Cord…

So step out, tune in, awaken…and Love will lead. Love will heal.

So are you willing to let Love reign in you, through you and with you?