Posts Tagged ‘Hate’

Ecclectica Ruminations

Posted: March 13, 2021 by Ty in Current Events, Spirituality
Tags: , , ,

Up until my early 20’s I would go to the barbershop to remove what was left of my hair, and when the shift happened that it was no longer a simple $5 shave, but due to the popularity had moved into the $20 range, well…it was time to shift praxis. Which brought it in line as a moment of mindfulness in my life, a time of pausing, focusing on the simple act of shaving, release (recently the rapidly graying). Practice learned in my Buddhist days, but as Franciscan, as the joke went I was follically ill-equipped for a tonsure (not sure if I was missing the ton or the sure).

See the source image
The Franciscan Tonsure, a sign of vocation and entering into a new relgiious life. Though in my tenure as the Youth Friar at one Anglican church, the fundraiser to end the child sex trade in Calgary did have me with a fuscia goattee for a while.

It is the moment, of being able to pause, and gives a time of mulling, ruminating, and sometimes epiphany moments (or perhaps I am overthinking and over spiritualizing you decide).

For tonight though, it is looking at almost a year (362 days) I have some odds & sods outside of work to accomplish next week around checking on applying for school funding, when spring textbooks will be ready, oh and those fun things called taxes, but there are other thoughts. As the polarization of political and religious life begins to bleed into everyday life. Leaving the secularized or uninitiated to disengage, become apathetic, or wonder aloud why nothing changes or look for the lurking bogey monster– which all is what we have put out into the world to be responded to, or that which at least social media, main stream media and alternative media share. What is missing is the local community stories of hope.

Where do those come from though? From the bystanders not accepting the status quo. From the bysander not defaulting to the loudest mob voice in the crowd. From the bystander wanting honesty, transparency, accountability, and the courageous safe space. From the bystander not accepting the narrative that perpetuates the polarized bully pulpits of the public squares. From the bystanders (which they are far more of) removing the sound system and podiums, and amplifying their stories. For the Dr. Seuss being cancelled story, no, a published decide to not re-invest in non-selling properties to correct issues with them, like many other forms of printed works there circulations ended. Pepe Le Pew? C’mon, he was the bathroom/snack break cartoon in Looney Tunes, what sadly will be missed is what sounded like an amazing teaching moment for the younger and family audiences on consent in the film, for the Potatoe Heads? It is an imaginative building toy with many disguises, one should be more angered by the fact that most come with only one or two sets for looks that fit in the butt of the toy, not the bucket of pieces it used to come with. Some recent examples of what happens when the polarized rhetoric is stripped away… but I digress.

Stories of Hope, that show divergent core values can actually come to the same services, and community provisions because a better world is what is wanted. Stories of Hope, that show discourse/dialogue creating healing space, and changing the systems that perpetuated the old harms and isms, because in the courageous safe space of discourse, where the hard conversations happen, the intrinsic value of the human can be affirmed, all wanting a better community to live in, can be affirmed, and explored…beyond that, plans can be struck and action begun.

But it takes the bully being silenced.

Aiding the bullied, and the bystander finding their voice (thanks to Barbare Colorossa’s book on the Bully, Bullied and Bystander that everyone in public life should read to understand what the term do better actually entails). Why have we lost so much traction on ending bullying in our schools? It can be due to a misapplication of Trauma informed work that some can point to as a removal of accountability. But that is short sighted, as understanding has grown, what is happening is healthier communites designed around restoration and healing measures.

No, it is more insidious, it is about the deep root of individualism, and the belief that what one says or does, cannot affect another. Also, couched in the polarized self-righteous belief systems that it is impossible to be a bully if you are within your ideology for you are truly in the right. Our children see this, the parents take this into our schools. This is the systematic thought that needs to be broken to bring about the proper bridging of the chasm to end a toxic practice. A system that is more boldy perpetuated through our alternative media, the shift to 24-7 mainstream news into newsfotainment (as true journalism is slow and not really designed for a 24-7 cycle) of talking heads, and behaviours on social media that creates echo chambers where how many likes negative behaviours get are seen as “holy home runs” within movements. As well, we have lost the understanding that extremism in any vein creates a perfect circle (I learned this in graded public school social studies). The extreme on the right politically goes into authoritarian/fascism/Naziism, on the left goes into dictatorship/Stalinism which behaviours, genocides and hatreds overlap. In religion, doesn’t matter which is put before extremists/terrorists the outcomes of intolerance/hate/supremacy are the same and usually deadly. For all those in the giant swath of the middle though, you can still be toxic, even standing on attempting to do right and end harm.

And yes, regardles if you are the good or the bad or the undecided, your behaviours can still cause harm and be toxic (this where personal reflection factors rather hugely into a healthy life, not only what we are doing wrong, the balance of daily examine, where we look at what is meh, what is going well, what we are learning, and where we need to provide space to heal).

Why have bystanders fallen silent?

It is draining to constantly be the thumb in the dam against the flood while the Hurrican level tropical storm continues pelting you on the other side. Yet as the bystanders, it is time to reclaim the silenced voice, not to demand better from the existing scream-bullies, but rather to shatter that dark mirror and step into what needs to be.

To simply- be and do.

To connect, create space for the courageous discourse, discovery of action tools.

The key, that which the polarized remove though, is to create…

authentic belonging*.

*(Accessibility is being able to get physical access to a space, inclusion is there is a spot for you-note this is where bystanders lose the voice and power, but belonging is the key. Belonging is when you are heard, known, accepted, purposefully part of community, and if you were to no longer be heard or seen, would be missed).


It is something I have pondered throughout my journey. Those younger, the next and now leaders. What are we constantly teaching them? Do we teach them their inherent worth? This is more than simply words spouted towards them, it is the actions of those around us, and what the see. It is not simply do as I say, rather it is they will do as we do. So how do we act? What is the current meta narrative of our world?

In Calgary, AB 2019 a Nine-year old girl was bullied so badly in her Calgary Board of Education public school she took her own life. 2-0-1-9. The Board’s response, we investigated, nothing to see here. Bullocks. Multiple stories that may not have ended with a taken child’s life, but of the board, principals and teachers turning a blind eye. Nothing to see, don’t rock the boat. It is the anti-thesis of the WE Day movement, World Youth Day and Challenge Days. We LET BULLIES WIN!! And when it is called out, our “managers” (we have a leadership/statesperson deficit) do everything to deflect, and cover up.

But why do our children act this way?

This is a time to quote former Premier Jim Prentice:

“Albertans (and all world citizens-my add) need to take a hard look in the mirror.”

Why? We have created a world where anger and hate (white supremacist, Alt-Right, Fascists, Extremists of all stripes) are courted by political parties to gain and hold power. When in the world of social media you are censored for hate speech, it is an infringement on your rights of freedom of speech. Nope, sorry. Non-starter. Hate is hate. I don’t care if the bully has cloaked it in Conservative or Liberal rhetoric, in Sikh, Islam and Christian Theology, it is hate. It needs to be called out and shut down.

In 2019 Alberta on April 16, 2019 we showed our children bullies win. That the ends justify the means. No, this isn’t just heaping on the investigation of voter fraud (Both ongoing with Elections Alberta and the RCMP) with the UCP (United Conservative Party). The proven times of stolen/vandalized signs, the bullying of local citizens at candidate debates, and the attack/smear ads. It is also pointing out that the Government seeking re-election of the New Democratic Party which should have been campaigning on their record and their ideas, launched pre-writ drop on the low road with their own attack ads (yes it was using candidates’ own words and actions, but still negative); on the attack of Jason Kenney, which was a whistle to their own base as those that had issue with these character items of Kenney had already decided not to support him and the UCP based on that.

Both our Governing Party and the Loyal Opposition went low. The conglomerated media and social media allowed and cheered it on. Within the world of algorithms it is infinitely easy to never have to look critically at your own or another’s point of view for your feeds will only ever bring you what you believe. When the other parties attempted to raise policies of vision, and debate they were shut out and belittled (much like the other two were doing with one another). Parties like the Greens, Alberta Liberals and Alberta Party that should have elected MLA’s– the fear and anger machine of entrenched ideology within this historic voter turnout (64% officially, highest turnout since 1982) delivered us the anger machine Legislature.

That is two parties, their roles reversed. Is this peace, order and good governance as our Constitution Act, 1982 promises? Or is it a province within the stages of grieving trapped in the denial and anger phases unwilling to let go of what was, and discover what is to come and live into it, support one another in rebuilding and renewing. A statesperson or leader with a vision would cast it– unfortunately we got angry yelling middle managers quibbling over a budget line and seeing citizens only as a number, not as the person before them. Two parties, unwilling to admit that a province needs to heal, instead they stoke the anger and denial to hold to or win power. They become the bully.

Our children see that bullies win. Those that don’t lose.

It is exacerbated more in the USA under President Trump, and yes I have been around the USA a bit and have seen the divided community. It is one of the things that I am intrigued by Marianne Williamson running for President. Anyone can win in 2020, but someone entering the race to change the tone of discourse is always a good thing. I did pick up her book from our local library, Politics of Love (2019) and once read will post a reflection.

But back to Canada… we also show that there is no need to respect one another, we can belittle. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada, has shown this in Parliament’s Question Period recently where they refuse to refer to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as Prime Minister, instead it is Liberal Party Leader. Sorry gents and ladies, whether you like the outcome of 2015 or not, he is the office holder and as such deserves respect for that. If anyone had done this to PM Harper when he was in Question Period the media would be all over it. Instead the base swells with pride and cheers, wears shirts and waves signs calling for our Prime Minister to be hung for treason (which shows an understanding of Canadian Law at least, for treason and cattle rustling are the only two offences that can still carry the death penalty). But hyperbolic anger theatre is the norm. Denigrating the other from personhood to hated. To a guillotine being brought to an anti-populist Premier Ford rally in Ontario.

If this is free speech, I am glad in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Canada has Freedom of Expression, and it is time the RCMP and local police started enforcing that differential. It is all used to create this atmosphere that you vote against something, not for something. You choose lesser evils, and if you refuse the dichotomous narrative then you are an “idiot”, and will not be able to stop the other.

Any wonder why voter turn outs are so low? Yes, 64% though historic is bloody low. Any wonder why we have an increase in bullying?

Extremism exists across spectrum and theologies. It is disgusting, and needs to be called out. Not covered up, not excused, or at worse accepted. It needs to be called out, and exorcised like a demon in the Exorcist movie-pea soup and all.

But we have glimmers of hope. Thankfully. In a recent Abascus poll on the up coming Federal election, 4000 Canadians were interviewed. Yes, I realize I dislike polls and 4000 is a small sample size, but hey you work with what you got for hope. Of those questioned 40% were in support of the fifth place party in our House of Commons, the Green Party of Canada. Why is this a sign of Hope? It shows that people are thinking beyond the usual dichotomy in the Canadian mind for Federal governance of Liberal-Conservative. It also shows that the usual protest vote of Bloc Quebecois, or conscience vote of New Democrat is not resonating. Could the old parties be being rejected? Could new ones get a kick of the tires and a spin for 4 years in October? Only if conviction is held to vote for what one believes in, not out of fear against stopping something. Nothing has ever been stopped or ended by undermining or selling out one’s own inherent values.

On this too, I have to touch on the Prince Edward Island provincial election. True the projected Green government did not happen. But let’s look at it. In the waning days of the election sadly, a candidate for the Greens and their son lost their lives in a canoeing accident. All the parties ceased campaigning for the remainder of the election. Class. Hope.

On election night, all the leaders were together from what I could see from the media feeds, and hugged after the results (yes older men). It is a minority government, with the Progressive Conservative Party being the government, but the Greens are the official opposition. Hope. Something has changed. Also the PC government not joining the anger train of the mainland populist movements speaking of listening to citizens. Hope.

Listening. Hearing. Acting on behalf of another.

Things that breed hope.

Seeing others, as neighbour, as a person.

And then reflecting, even in opposition life, what matters most in the discourse? What is the ends that is truly supposed to be and do the ends really justify any means possible?

The now and future leaders learn behaviours by how their adults (parents, extended family, neighbours, elders) behave, not by what we say.

What do your actions teach?

Are you creating ripples of hate or HOPE?

A Province Grieving

Posted: April 9, 2019 by Ty in Alberta Politics
Tags: , , ,

It is hard to fathom that Alberta is only 107 years old. We have seen a lot of change in that time, and have been the instigators of quite a few. From the Famous Five and the battle for Women’s rights (yes I realize I am short forming, but please forgive as it is a post, feel free to flesh out more in the comments with information) to launching two political movements:

  1. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation which led to the NDP which brought us amazing things such as Universal Health Care, Pastor Tommy Douglas led the charge from Saskatchewan as he believed no one should suffer because of inability to pay.
  2. The Social Credit Movement which brought about some pilots of things to be solidified later. Yes it did, Rev. William Aberhart laid the planking for that. The concept of Social Credit, that is essentially free money to the populace, was a plan out of Britain if I recall, and it brought the SoCreds from a coffee party discussion and radio broadcast to governance beating out the United Farmers of Alberta. Now pause and think, what are monies from governments to aid one to not be in poverty? Alberta Works, AISH, Child Tax Benefit, Carbon & GST Rebate. Plus his protege and successor, Ernest Manning created the citizens royalty plan for our oil so well used and leveraged for economic’s by PC premiers Lougheed and Getty.

In the 1990’s we say a rise of populism as a party essentially campaigned against themselves. The Klein way hit, and hit hard. Reading back on his movements inner circle they admit they had no plan. They had a slogan and started slashing. They moved our resource (oil) from a citizens commodity to a company right, gutting royalties but it was hardly noticed as the price of oil per barrel was insane. Systems of care were shifted to prove need and that you are not (the great WASP myth) abusing it, and things like disability and AB Works (Welfare) became harder to get and at this juncture were not about living (Redford did bring in an AISH raise, but that was almost a full or half-generation later depending on how you count generations). Seniors lost their supports, and what was given back was a pittance. Universal health care was tinkered with under the auspices of the “The Third Way” and hospitals were closed and imploded, the beds not fully replaced. We knew back then that the Baby Boom was the largest looming generation of retirement yet we were not planning to care for these elders to be, instead we placed money over citizens.  It led to incomplete transitions for folks needing full time medical or mental health supports as large institutions closed but they were not fully transitioned into smaller homes, or group homes, many ended up in Homeless shelters.

Public schools under the auspices of parents choice bled students, funding eroded, and drop out rates increased as big oil advertised good work (and yes we knew it was a crisis as many mentoring non-profits popped up attempting to stop the bleeding of Gen X and elder Millenials).

It was also the 1990’s that showed Alberta’s hate proud. We had a KKK Rally and cross burning that made national news (sadly I cannot remember the exact township). Jim Keegstra our public school teacher and Holocaust denier made the news of being in and out of courts. At some point Keegstra was silenced, and the KKK lost their provincial non-profit/charitable status (can’t remember if the government pulled it, or they forgot to file some taxes and it was quietly closed). It was also in the 1990’s that the Government attempted to exert their censorship muscles by creating banned book lists in public schools (published on the first day of Freedom to Read week, oh the irony) and threatened theatre companies funding for putting on plays such as “Angels in America”.

(Neo)-Nazi the term alt-right is en-vogue pointing out that Nazi’s were about white supremacy, yes and no, and only anti-semitic, yes and no. Nazi’s were filled with hate. The co-opted Norse Mythology for their imagery much like other extremist groups have co-opted Christianity or Islam today. The Holocaust not only involved 6 million Jewish folks. The zyklon B gas chambers was tested for efficacy with German citizens who were Roma, LGBTQ2+, Persons with Disabilities, and mental health concerns (about 7 million we know of). Medical experiments were run on folks of multiple births (twins, etc) as they gave a control subject. The prime drive was an enforced tier system of humanity where some were full people and other’s not (also noted in Stalinism’s brutality and murders, take any spectrum full circle and you get extremists and hate nothing more).

Liqour stores privatized and so did registries. They finally ended the tiered minimum wage for workers under 18 and over 18 years old.

In the 2000’s we were advertising we were open for business, but the jobs available that drew folks could not pay the cost of living. Emergencies were declared in homeless shelters in winters. Oh, and parents now could sign off on their 12 year olds working at places such as fast food restaurants.

Premier Stelmach attempted to create royalties on oil focused on the citizens products, not the companies and well he was not premier very long.

And it was deemed good by the small percentage that turned up to vote in the polls. Eventually any governing party runs out of steam, and after 44 years, and 7 premiers the PC Party lost the 2015 election to the New Democratic Party (going from 4 seats to government). They inherited what had happened a generation ago, the austerity cuts that had left huge infrastructure and capacity gaps (literally crumbling schools). To offset this as well, the usual way the Alberta Government and people were comfortable with solving issues, the price of oil had tanked and was not looking like it was going to return. Jobs were lost. The types of jobs that with oil prices regressing big companies realized were not necessary, and could be handled with new technologies.

Like anything, the cycle of change:

Image result for stages of changeWhere do you see yourself in the emerging Alberta? Your neighbours? Our politicians and media? I believe as a province as a whole we are in the pre-contemplation to contemplation stage of change. Which is why it is so easy to be divisive, to use attack ads, to yell sound bytes, to not have actual debates and conversations of issues. Most importantly, to not realize that local action can create ripples that change outwards for the positive.

Being in the first two pieces of the cycle has us reflect on grieving. It became a pragmatic expertise era of working with students as mentor and guide for almost 2 decades from multiple disciplines:

Image result for kubler ross stages of griefWe are living through a province fluctuating between denial, anger and bargaining. Our leaders, are managers trying to keep their bases appeased and not willing to take a risk to speak into the void of pain. To let the silence do the heavy lifting.

Why?

The cycle of depression, before acceptance is scary, and it is where our province as a whole needs to move. Once into acceptance we can move into the stages of change into preparation, action plan and maintenance. But the first step in actual Peace, Order and Good Governance for the citizens.

For a theory that may be more visual to get, I like the U Theory:

Image result for u theoryWe as a whole province are stuck in the downloading arc. We cannot get past the letting go in a collective understanding of who we are and what our vocation is?

April 16 is a big day for Alberta because it is our time to decide to enter authentically into grief, healing and a new dawn. To do that though we must move beyond the rhetoric, the hate, the attack ads. We must demand better of those who want to represent us.

We must let go, and let come the new Alberta.

VOTE HOPE.

Experience grief, and heal.

 


Image result for broken coffee potI am used to diverging theologies and belief systems within the Christianities. I have sat through many a sermon and/or liturgy I do not agree with and discourse about it freely. It is part of being a thinking and feeling believer. It is about knowing that just because words are put forth to be recited in unison, one still needs  reflect on the words and if they believe them before repeating them.

I also am the first to admit when it comes to sermons, I love the sermonette, give me 10 solid minutes of deep thought and application, with good music, extended learning let it happen in a raucus bible-theology study with kids playing, coffee flowing. Unless it is a contemplative service. But that is an aside on taste, showing that we all exist differently for there is the person that loves the extended play sermons as Sunday may be there only time to get to church. But I am rambling.

Part of the Liturgy (work of the people) in Mainline and Catholic-Orthodox churches, is a prayer of confession, most are phrased something like this:

Prayer of Confession

When we recall all that you are for us,

we confess to you who we have been, trusting your grace:

 God of compassion,

we confess that we prefer darkness to light,

and our own plans to your purposes.

We shrink from costly discipleship

and seek cheap grace. 

Forgive our fleeting enthusiasms and shallow commitments.

Guide us always

so that we might live in your glorious presence

and follow the way of your Son now and always.

(From the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s Lent 2 2019 Order of Service).

But we know in liturgy planning when it is not set ala Anglican or Roman Catholic, that those presiding/preaching can craft their own or use other resources. It is part of Protestantism and gives a connection to the people in the pews. It can also lead to moments of awkward silence and fading voices when one decides to be bold or risk with their prayers. It can happen on any end of the theological spectrum, but this past Sunday it was jarring for me, and many of the younger ones in the pews to hear our Elders praying along by rote the two screens of this prayer from 1996, Pastor Joe Wright’s Prayer to the Senate of Kansas. It is a very American centered prayer, and out of the Religious Right. Some will read the words and say it sounds like the one above, but the one above reflects inwardly to our own journey, this one attacks specific groups. As well, in my years of researching hate groups and extremists grounded in religion, it sadly sounds like something out of a Southern Alberta Klan rally of the time. The italics inserted are scriptures of my own rebuttal. The still small voice of the Holy Mystery (Spirit) resonates strongly with me in anger to the words, and to reflect on what the Kingdom means in 2019 during this time of Lent:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. (so far pretty Kosher, could sound like the woes from Gospel of Luke 6’s Sermon on the Plains).
We confess:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism. (I point you to Matthew 23 when Jesus calls out the Scribes and Pharisees. It is not about Sola Scripture, it is about understanding the world we live in. Also as the preacher and believer (which these passages are geared to now) it is about understanding that we need to be true to our faith and not using it for leverage. Pluralism is nothing new, it is what happens in a world of people, within the church there are multitudes or you wind up with lemmings. The spiritual teachings of Jesus were not to develop Lemmings, neither were his disciples’ that came after.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism. (John 4 The Samaritan Woman at the Well, those seen as actual traitors to the nation of Israel under occupation, and yet here is Jesus sitting, conversing, and being with her authentically…oh yeah multi-culturalism oh so evil. The 10 Commandments acknowledge other deities, what it points to is the supremacy of the river that is YHWH that the other wells are fed by).

No photo description available.We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle. (Ah 1996, the year of death threats when I wrote in Calgary, AB in support of equal marriage. The buzz words are all here to attack the LGBTTQ2+ brothers and sisters, or those that shun traditional marriage…but what is traditional marriage in the Bible? We have examples with David of domestic violence, of love of Jonathan, with Jesus we have beliefs ranging from celibacy to marriage, Peter was married, Paul was not, in the Hebrew Bible Abraham had multiple wives…but wait how did Jesus sum up the entire Law and the Prophets: Matthew 22:34-40

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. (Can’t argue this one living in Alberta. We have normalized addictions as a means to support non-profits, schools and hospitals. It goes against what the original Social Gospellers and So-Cons in the CCF and Social Credit stood for in bringing us public education, universal health care, and government entitlements–yes all sides of the theological spectrum can sit down and work together to build a better world, it is a beauty of Multi-culturalism and pluralism).
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. (There is more than 2000 verses in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament about care for and provision for the poor. In Acts of the Apostles everything was kept in common, in the Gospels the women worked so the men could teach, to an outside eye these men appeared lazy. And dang it then there’s the Sermon on the Mount teaching about the speck and log in eyes. Government entitlements and safety nets were designed to support the least of these in times of need, they are there and paid in to by a society that states we value all for their inherent worth. One of those ideals from the teachings of a schmuck out of Nazareth)
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. (I am putting these two around abortion together, in the USA it is a hot button issue because it is a law issue. In the Commonwealth nations it is a medical procedure. Want to point out in one breath you cannot call someone on welfare lazy, and then lambast a woman with no options for abortion if you will not provide for her. A true believer would not be attacking and defending Jesus is with both, they would be building a world where all life is honoured from conception to death. They would also stand with those making hard decisions, and be compassionate to them. They would also believe in gun control, and that taking of any life whether shooting, war or death penalty is wrong. Yes, I am going to cop out and point to the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7 ). 
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. (This bullocks comes from Proverbs 12:34, spare the rod and spoil the child. It also led to such domestic discipline rods as “rule of thumb” you could use any rod to beat wife or child as long as it was not thicker than your thumb. Jesus commanded us to let the children come to him, and to keep that youthful spirit of curiousity. He commanded us to let them be heard. All these things were honouring and nurturing inherent self-worth and self-esteem. Anything else put out there is a heresy (and I have had this word lobbed at me enough to be comfortable lobbing it back).
We have abused power and called it politics. (In an address to a State Legislature this term makes sense. But a more Gospel centric viewpoint that honours how Jesus spoke about Empire and Sanhedrin would be we have abused power and called it leadership, finance, politics and religion…this is skirting one’s own inward introspection, and not rending onto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s).
We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. (Coveting is a Big 10, it is also covered in the Sermon on the Mount by pointing out not storing up treasures on Earth. That is that the intangibles of life are what give it value not the things. Ambition though is not always tied to what your neighbour has and creates a false dichotomy).
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. (I love how he does not attack Freedom of Speech, but rather the Canadian Freedom of Expression. What was the Pastor trying to get at here? Riding a 1990’s hobby horse of My sin is better than yours more than likely. What is missed is a riskier call out against hate, and the need for Love. The core of the Gospel, but that would mean admitting the us-them mentality that already existed in USA politics of the time, and religion (and that which is trying to get a beachhead in Canada).
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. (Which is the Gospel message, and reinforced in the Epistles. The throwing off of the caste systems, the constant asking of why do we do that? How do we draw the circle wider? How do we belong? The affront of the miracles of Jesus was that he forced the community to accept those they had cast out, those they had placed the “I am not as bad as them for x,y,z”. Enlightenment is moving beyond the letter of the rules, to the soul and understanding that we are all created in the Image of the Holy Mystery, and have the spark of cosmic dust and Holy Breath that gave us all life and all of Creation).
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the Name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. (I just question how a nation that extols separation of Church and State has such a statement within their hallowed halls?)
Amen.(Amen means essentially and so it is. I would challenge with any prayer, by rote or repeated, it is on the conscience of each believer for we are thinking and feeling whole beings).

Lent is the journey of drawing nearer and more intimately with the Source of all that is, was and ever will be. It goes beyond just a purge of a sin list, but into a practice of life that allows for a new world to be created based on the greatest gift of all– Love.

It was that teaching that led the Political and Religious authorities to execute Jesus of Nazareth on a Dark Friday, and on a rising sun Sunday for the Universe to say “Nu-uh” to the verdict as new life was born.

Step into the wilderness, journey to the darkness, and await the new light. Be present each step along the way to see what awaits.

Patience will be rewarded.

Your Lenten chuckle, cause laughter heals and teaches:

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

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

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

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

-Acts 2:6-8 (NCV)

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

Understanding.

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

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

Acts of Apostles 2, New Century Version

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

Belonging

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

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

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

That word:

L-O-V-E.

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

Are you ready for the breath?


Judas Goat

A Judas goat is a trained goat used at a slaughterhouse and in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and on to trucks.

-urbandictionary.com

Wild Wild Country (Netflix 2018) the last 3 episodes one begins to ponder as evidence mounts whether Sheela was Osho’s Judas Goat. A role designed as the movement/settlement began to be confronted by vitriol hatred, and violence as noted in the first reflection is what radicalized the movement. Where it was about drawing together, the confrontation and harassment, breaking of the laws of the land to root out that which was different undercut the principles of this new religion growing a city in the heart of farm country.

It is a series that can be used for personal or corporate discussion and reflection. Key questions to come during this time of Pentecost:

  • Welcoming of the stranger at your gates? (a theme out of J.S. Woodsworth’s writings of the social gospel).
  • Who is my neighbour? How do I love my neighbour as myself?
  • How do I respond to that which is different from my norm, but is not harming the disenfranchised?
  • Where do I stand when the wave of hate begins?
  • How does my own grief of loss of what was, shape my reaction to what is becoming?

The series is a winding road, of a 4 year span that has been exorcised from the story of Osho and the Rajneeshis. It is the loss of what was a time of tribulation, and raises questions around who was set up? Who knew what was happening in the darkness? What happens when dark responds to dark? When silence is broken, and it is not the message of love and acceptance that is vocalized, but pain, hatred and jealousy?

It also speaks to what happens to true believers as is seen in two of the members, Sheela and Philip Toelkes (a.k.a Swami Prem Niren; 2nd Mayor of Rajneespuram and lawyer of Osho). Two sides of a coin in their response to the whirlwind around them. Yet clinging to what they had learned on the journey and still living the core of the teaching after the accountability dust settles.

For the question in the early 1980’s Oregon (and before in India that drove the movement International) is what happens when the world responds to love with hate?

It is a microcosmic battle within each of us, in Islamic studies it is the Jihad, within Christianity it is Pentecost…will the Holy Spirit shine through or not in the moment of choice to reside an acknowledge the Holy Mystery? Yet as seen, it also is a macrocosmic struggle when the world interacts.

Judas

An individual whom sells out his/her friends for their own personal benefit

-Urbandictionary.com

It is as the dust settles and the Osho International emerges, a Judas moment if you will, tracking through, you are left to ask the question:

  • Who betrayed the movement?
  • Who was the true Judas of the story?
  • Who held true to Love?

Sometimes the mirror held up to our own movements, institutions and journeys is through viewing and being the third party in a discourse about another’s pilgrimage to the heart of the sacred.