Posts Tagged ‘Grief’


Image result for detective comics #1000For 26 issues it was a crime comic, then in issue #27 the Bat-man created by Bob Kane, who would eventually become Batman. The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, one half of the Dynamic Duo, one half of World’s Finest and 1/3 of DC’s Trinity.

Detective Comics the title that brought us the journey of Bruce Wayne (yes there were many others, but I always liked how Detective Comics kept to a more espionage-mystery feel in their stories).

Today the 1,000th issue came out. A great collection of short stories touching on what is the theme of Batman from great writers past and present.  Paul Dini, Tom King, Scott Snyder, Denny O’Neil, Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis and others (yes I realize it is a visual medium and I focus on writers, but it’s my jam).

Image result for detective comics #1000What are the themes of Batman? A cursory look at the hero that in the past has killed sometimes actively or passively, a solver of mysteries, a beach head against the insanity of Arkham, and the darkness that is Gotham City to Metropolis’ light.

What is the mission of Batman however?

Did he truly lose himself in Crime Alley when his parents’ were murdered before him? Did Bruce Wayne die that night?

The truth is a journey.

A journey to replace, no, renew and discover the new with what you have lost. Post Traumatic growth if you will for the Dark Knight Detective in renewing a new family for him.

To quote Deadpool, the 1000th issue is about the F word—

Family.

Who is your family?

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Judge Cycle 5

Posted: January 14, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As you work your way through the stories in Judges, it can begin to feel like a never ending loop of a bad run of Coronation Street, when the writers ran out of a bit of oomph. I mean, the cycle itself can be rather tedious, and I can hear the reader going, well how does this apply to today for surely we are not that dense or in a theocracy.

Yes and no.

It applies because it begins to tease out a change cycle. Truly, what is the Deuteronic history stories but a story of change and evolution of a collection of tribes. From slavery, to wanderings to establishing norms, to trying to figure out life within family dynamics (as it seems each nation is a cousin’s descendants). In any change cycle fear is a major thing, and that is why I believe there is this cycle issue in Judges (and today) for we do not want to leave what is comfortable for us. We see this in Ambilech’s story (Judges 9-10) where he appeals to the fear in change. Okay, let’s get real, change is a grief cycle, and as such we work through the stages of grief. Whether you are a Kubler-Ross fan, or a Senge, U Theory fan it is a journey:

Image result for kubler ross grief model

Image result for u theory

Throughout the journey of Judges, the message back to the tribes, to the person remains the same. Here are our constants, trust in that. Move forward in what we know is right, and what we know is wrong is to be cast aside whether it is old or new. It becomes a cycle, and yes, we must release the past eventually, but the processes of the past that only serve no purpose (like the old idiom don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater).

I would state that the moments of peace at the end of a Judge Cycle is the nation crystallizing or prototyping yet just not ready to step into performing. They cycle back to try again, it may take several runs, but each time something new is performing, something new is discovered that needs to be let go, as with Jephthah’s cycle of being a judge (Judges 11-12).

What I love is that it shows the challenge of accepting the new, the first line is that he is a son of a prostitute. Now, many in the ancient world or even today will not admit this profession exists due to patriarchy and oppression. But definitely in the ancient times without a man to “own” them, it is the route women were left with. Jephthah’s very birth was casting light on the darkness the tribes refusing to move forward in care and equality was doing to their own brethren.

It lays out the horrors turning away from the Law had wrecked on the tribes. So is this a statement for the need for legalism? No, for what is at the core of the Law, this is what needs to be remembered for even in the Torah it comes down to the Shema, which is boiled down to Love.

Are our actions in society out of love for one another?

Is it rooted in compassion and kindness? Knowing that we all are created with inherent worth, or have we simply commodified ourselves. The challenge of the Judge’s lineage in this story showing that someone had fallen into a societal label game and was cast aside. Do we do that today? With our medical codes? Diagnosis? Territorial-religious-economic stratification? Race? Gender? All become points of those on the in and the out.

What is the truth? Something we have known for thousands of years. We are all in this together, all the same, and it is when we stray from love and create false labels that we are hit with war, famine, and death. When hate overtakes love.

And no, it is not a quick transition or change. For in change as it involves the ickiness of life, and those dastardly emotions. It is about being present, and understanding that things will not be as they have always been amen amen. Rather it is knowing whether in the transition is it healthy or not? Does it honour our shared humanity or not? Are we able to let go, and let in what is being formed?

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

-Judges 12:8-15 (English Standard Version)

And a few more cycles of inquisition, fighting back against the letting in, holding on to that which needs to be let go of. For what is the stories of Judges, but the stories of individuals and groups wrestling with the answer to the hardest question in life:

Who am I (We)?


It’s funny when most people think of politicians they picture the bourgeois that needs to be overthrown due to its corruptness. Not a high ranking profession, believe in some instances with recent revelations certain clergy fall into the same distrustful category. But as Lee steps off the bus outside of the small truck stop for my meeting, Lee knows this Member of the Legislative Assembly is different.

The servers wear pink scrubs, the walls are a pastel pink, with a model train that goes around the roof. In a corner booth sits my coffee companion. Lee slides in and turn a cup over sending a waitress over with a fill up. Melanie Moon is an abnormality. “Ms. Moon.”

“Please, Lee, call me Mel.” Stated the reluctant politician. She was dressed in a Montreal Canadiens hoody and jeans with her hair in a braid. Wisps of silver was visible in the red, that only highlighted her face freckles to Jacobs and, her dimples which made her appear younger than her years. Jacobs knew in phone contact until they met her, many thought due to her young sounding voice she was quite young.

Please call me, Mel was a by-election candidate in the area after the dynasty ended. She ran as a Social Credit candidate which baffled many. As she spoke to the media on her by-election run, it was due to a Great Uncle she had met at a family reunion when she was a teenager who had spent hours with her teaching her the ins and outs of the political system, but also Social Credit. She signed up then. She won a by-election which then saw a general election 10 months later, and she retained her seat. A party that was supposed to be D.O.A., and here she was. Then travesty hit in her mind as her party changed names to appeal to a very specific so-con movement, becoming the Pro-Life party. Mel had not decided if she was going to run again, definitely not with that party that had drifted from what her values were. She had received permission from the speaker to complete her term as a SoCred, as she wanted to honour her Great Uncle and mentor that way. “Can I guess by stirring the pot it has to do with the C.M. death?” Mel, had attended St. Jude’s since before she ran, she enjoyed Jacobs’ panentheistic-original blessing take on her family faith. It made it come alive to her being able to openly debate, discuss and discover what God was doing for her now, especially with the change looming she was playing cards close to her chest. She also understood that any change was a process and journey of grief, she felt the heart pain for this transition.

Lee sipped his black coffee. It was strong enough to melt a spoon, never mind let it stand up. He ordered a breakfast special- scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and raisin toast. Mel just chuckled as asked for it to be times two. “Who gets to expense this?” Lee joked as he asked for a refill on the coffee.

“I think its your turn.” Mel said. “Now, about stirring the pot?”

Lee chuckled, he scratched the whiskers turning into a beard it had been a bit since his last shave. The salt was over taking the pepper making him just look old not wise. “Decided to take the fight to those that were, up to nefarious deeds.” His crows feet crinkled when he winked at her. Mel was never to sure what to do at breakfast out with a cleric.

“I heard about the drug dealer take down at the park.” Mel said. “I also saw what happened to the church doors.”  Part of the SoCred history was a focus on personal salvation, and Christianity. Sadly, like the Social Gospel movement that gave the country the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (which begat the New Democratic Party) eugenics had been a miserable sin of the ideologies. Mel and Lee had spent time discussing how to exorcise that particular demon from the movement St. Jude’s was trying to renew. “Fuck Nazis.”

Lee chuckled. “Yeah, I miss the days when anti-fascism was the default setting for society, and not a question on a multiple choice test.” Lee had spoken openly from the pulpit about many things the church needed to repent from, including its role in white supremacy. Some of the Elders and parishioners also knew that the Padre’s face that looked like an old boxer’s was not because of boxing but due to years of street fighting with hate movements in Canada. As Jacobs was fond of saying `I wasn’t born a padre’.

“And after cleaning the doors?” Mel asked. Lee told the tale of the alleged assault in the mall bathroom of the sex trafficking recruiter. Noting that the non-uniform uniform was the same as the dealer. “And what do you hope comes from the pot stirring?”

Jacobs’ grins a grin that says `I have no clue, but it’s going to be alright and one heckuva ride.’ “Honestly, it’s like doing theology, just bouncing around the darkness looking for where the light can poke through.”

Melanie Moon laughed. “Ever think you should have been a private eye?”

 


Change management, much like efficiency has become buzzwords around multiple industries from human services to political organizations to spiritual gatherings to corporate board rooms.

But what is change? And why do we only manage it?

Alberta currently can be a case study in drastic change. Change creates friction. Leads to identity politics in some instances where groups entrench to be on the preserve or change sides. Perhaps there is a frozen entrenchment were yelling just happens (hello NDP-UCP Governance)… but the root is missed completely.

See change happens. It is part of human society, and human life. It can be expected (such as boom and bust economic cycles, and the need to diversify). It can be that even though the wealthiest may not be doing as well, the economic shift is changing things. Those are some examples. Others are when belief systems shift, say in a church denomination one is apart of. It can be seemingly as insignificant as a focus on youth or children, as innocuous as leadership-governance structural changes or simply a new cleric. Yet ripples are sent, some stay, some go. Emotional weight hits many, and we yearn for a black and white existence.

Unfortunately the world has never been black and white. It exists in worlds of gray mostly due to the pesky of factors- humanity. As I wrote in the past about ISO systems and such under efficiency, it was the strategic process of an organization mapping out what they did, and what role did what in the process so that anyone could walk in and take the thick binder off the shelf and know what to do.

The mechanics of the work. The how, not the why.

That is the cusp of change management. Reactions to change need to be processed, not managed. You can manage chaos as a manager or director. This can mean continuing to push forward, pull along those who are willing or need survival income, but many will fall off and be lost in the wilderness to different levels of harm. Either financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. In the end though you can claim being proficient in change management as you had mapped out a process, a manual anyone can now pull off the shelf to show the system and that it is implemented. Yet in the push-pull to accomplish, what was missed is the values-morals-ethics that brought one to your organization.

It is not so much about managing change, as processing grief. We are at a time in human history where we know much about grief and trauma. Great knowledge, yet without application there is no wisdom. We seek those who can manage, not those that can lead. Mostly due to the fact that true leadership in the icky field of values, in grief work is not something that comes with fancy title but is the one that others seek out to understand and process with.

It is in the journey of processing. The ritual of acknowledging what has been lost. Celebrating what remains, that one can become open to the new being birthed within their community, organization or institution. The same journey of healing one goes through with a death in their life, or an enforced change of life circumstance due to health. It is a journey. It happens with every life change, we go through a grief cycle it can be brief or long dependent on what is changing, the social and professional supports we have access to, and if the new reality fits within our existing values, or are those values being challenged for growth or change or holding firm to the values and making a different change in life.

When it comes to change it is a harder conversation, and requires and understanding of those who are in the journey. It is not about managing change for the outcome wanted at a strategic level.

It is processing grief for the new direction to be birthed organically.

But it is messy, and requires seeing all pieces of the organization as people, not cogs. Are we willing?

 


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.


I have been blessed in my 21 years of ministry to be involved in many great blessings. From blessing civil weddings; watching equality rights flourish; acceptance and belonging in spots for all people; breaking bread at a potluck; public prayers and laments; fun sing-a-longs; Serving the Eucharist; hearing one’s Truth and Reconciliation journey; anointing; affirming calls…teaching, speaking and preaching on all manner of topics from a holistic perspective, being apart of creating sacred and sanctuary space or more simply, home, for community and individuals… and yes all this across a myriad of spiritualities and philosophies.

Ashes to Ashes

Dust to Dust.

-Anglican BCP Funeral Liturgy excerpt

Yet, one thing is an outlier. Grief and change. We do not want to grieve. For we equate grieving with death.

Yes, grieving is a part of death.

But grieving is also apart of change. Minor or major dependent on the change (transition) within our lived lives. It is why recovery of any can, is challenging, for there is a transitional change and we mourn what is now, and have trepidation for what is to be born.

Much the same, in the 600 journeys I have had the sacramental (sacred) privilege with family, friends, clients, neighbours, and congregants in journeying with to what lies in the next life.

The great unknown.

One thing I have always stood in when it comes to grieving and loss of life in this world, is know what you believe. Be open to learning and discovery. Those two pieces are invaluable before entering into any kind of human service, for they will not teach it in a text book, it is an experiential discovery that has sidelined many a vocation earlier than necessary.

It became a discomfortable expertise, but a comfort in my own belief system and aiding someone in discovering/affirming their own beliefs whether it be in healing from their own grief, or becoming comfortable with their own transition. Also being able to sit in the silence, with the tears that heal, and know that sometimes, there is no pat “holy answer” (despite what every religion, spirituality and philosophy of life tries to peddle to you) and that it beyond acceptable and okay in life. I never knew 21 years ago cracking open an old King James family Bible to teach some Junior high youth that one of my sacramental expertise’s would become the funeral liturgy, and the journey of grief.

What I do know for sure:

I have no clue what comes next from this life, and that is okay.

I do not know why children die, in fact it is kind of a universal dick move.

But I do know the great cosmic story, and the greatest thing is love. From that breath of love is the source of the cosmic dust we share with all of creation. We are birthed into this world…and when we pass away from this world and our physical body returns to the elements…

The soul cosmic born of love, returns to the eternal river that is love.

The journey of life is simple, live the love your were born from.

Some Listening:

Kenny Chesney “Get Along” video here.

Luke Bryan “Most People are Good” video here.


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

BUT-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They may have run in fear…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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