Posts Tagged ‘healing’


When Phil Jackson coached the LA Lakers he would say if there was a negative player they would be housed on away games in another hotel from the team altogether. Why? That negativity would be infested. It was a corrective action, much like in our own bodies if we break a limb and it is casted, or get a cut and use a band aid (or depending on the severity stitches).

This analogy of body healing came to me as I contemplated these words of St. Paul today and the state of churches in pain:

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.

-1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 (New International Readers Version)

The analogy that Paul uses to explain a church is of a body. In more modern times we use the idea of corporation or family. But let’s reflect on these words in times of conflict. In times when deep holy conversations need to happen. There are points when healing needs to happen– ala truth and reconciliation. Think of this as stitches or a caste.  The scarring of the wound is still there, but we have healed and moved forward as one body.

But then there is deeper pains, these are the hates, the prejudices, the bigotries that emerge as a result of fear of change, formation, or simply, deeply held beliefs. The Anglican Church of Canada bishops recently showed these signs with their vote against belonging for the LGBTTQ2+ community within their own church. On a smaller scale, faith healing congregations show this towards persons with disabilities tying their different Image of God to a lack of faith on the part of the person or their family. It can also be an unwelcome, acting passively aggressively or overtly bullying of a person within pews during worship so your lips say welcome, but your actions clearly say you do not belong here and we will remove the safety of the sanctuary until you get the message.

It is a chronic disease. Most notably a fast acting cancer, like negativity on a basketball team (I mean, Phil Jackson should know what he speaks of he did manage to get Shaq better at free throws).

The response in churches I am most used to, is it is ignored, and the leadership refocuses on what is going well for the damage is only beholden to one small segment, usually those that do not give huge amounts of money or is new, so that loss does not matter.

YET, here are the words’ of Paul speaking of the need for every part of the body, and what role they play. What if this person that creates discomfort for better belonging is the agent breaking the artery clog to stave off a stroke or a heart attack? Is the EMDR-ART to heal the PTSD? The CBT that corrects disassociation?

The radiation or chemotherapy or operation that removes the cancer for longer life.

See the toxicity is usually pacified, because good people are also a small portion of the congregation that do a lot of work and are tired. They are also fearful of conflict in this time of shrinking attendance, and fear the time the congregation’s life cycle is at an end. Though by ignoring the cancer, it goes from something small and quickly treatable to, well, cancer left unchecked becomes terminal.

The question for a church, that is a Body of Christ, are what choice are you making when confronted with what could be a terminal illness? Ignore and let it consume you? Take your own life? OR Treatment and healing.

The question is as personal for each Body of Christ, as it is for each patient.

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Soul Archaelogy

Posted: July 28, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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Some would say a healing journey is a kin to a cozy mystery. Sifting clues, and finding the solution. This may be true on the way to diagnosis in regards to the conditions, but when it comes to the healing one feels more like a paleontologist or an archaeologist. Like Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park or the intrepid Indiana Jones you need to sift the crap and the debris away to get to the core.

This has never been more evident in my own journey than with the lag between Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) sessions, where I am left with the debilitating flashbacks that in some ways and some days lead me to succumb to the feeling of less than, failure, depression, anxiousness and anger. Yet as the tides recede what is left is the soul work-dream work-mindfulness of what lies in the flashback. See for me my flashbacks sometimes come as day or night mares (and I dream in 1930’s Technicolor animation so yes it is a trip), hallucination of sound and-or image, but mostly it comes in flashes like a comic book double splash page. It is in this work I am the archaeologist  beginning with shoveling the big pains/traumas that are surface level raw. These are the items the hot thoughts, CBT, mindfulness, narrative-talk therapy and prayer work well with. These are also the beginning of my mind maps (spider-webs) as these memories trickle out more and more to the core trauma that ART will heal. See, our bodies only release that which we are able to deal with, and as we heal, it hurts more as we go deeper and deeper until the final release. I currently have sifted quite a bit of the clunky debris and sand away, and have moved down the levels into the pyramid corridor towards the burial chamber of pain.

But, as I journey through this, I look at the societal allegory this creates as well. As I have written of before, my province is in a grieving cycle. We do not have leadership equipped to name it. To act as the societal and communal archaeologists to create the space to clear away the debris, and move into the corridors, and the burial chamber. To be able to leverage that which we know, the truth of society and economics, coupled with the acknowledgement and action on the human impact, to make our world better. It would go a ways to create a healthier now, staunch the flow of lies if I may be so bold and blunt from those that only want to hear from their own ideology, and close off hatreds that have been allowed to grow like weeds in the bright light of day once more.

It also allows for open, pragmatic conversation on the state of community. As I reflect on my own political journey as a religious man. It has been weird within the “progressive” circles how unwelcoming one can be made if they admit their beliefs start with a Higher Power/creator. Unwelcome is the nice term, there has been derogatory attacks, name calling, and hatchet jobs. Talking with others that would be seen as religiously liberal-progressive-pragmatic that have chosen to exist within the Conservative political ideology as I have not, I asked why. Simply because these movements allow for the extremist-fundamentalist form of religion to be given a clarion bullhorn of media so that it becomes the only view of a belief system. The answer? Space is allowed where these core beliefs are not belittled, and it creates superficial belonging. So, if they are allowed to be themselves EVEN though other parties are 70-99% more inline with their social justice and faith understandings of what we are to do on this earth.

So let that settle, as we clear debris at the macro societal level. Anger and hatred exists in all ideological camps. A whipping post has become religion, yet within religious circles, the same political spectrum that exists in your neighborhood exists within your local spiritual centre. Yet, at political active levels that is not usually seen, because either, like many, there is disengagement, OR false belonging because you cannot check a core belief or are weary of taking the slings and arrows for a million things you never did or believe.

Just like being an archaeologist of your own soul. Communities and groups need to do the same on their own soul. They need to authentically understand diversity, accessibility, inclusion and what belonging is. Key point- it does not mean a collection of automatons behind a leader, that is the Galactic Empire. It actually is more like the United Federation of Planets…which gives me a good allegory for the archaeology work on the healing journey whether at the macro, micro or personal level, take two hours, and watch Star Trek V:The Final Frontier…

What are you going to do with your pain?

What are you going to do with your path?

Cobwebs

Posted: May 28, 2019 by Ty in Soul Psalms
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Accelerated Resolution Therapy

roll the dice

spin the roulette wheel,

what is the most traumatic event?

Can’t say?

We’ll start with the earliest.

48 hours away.

A week to mull it over.

The energy crackles in the mind’s eye

the heart sings a song of sorrow

as the spider web comes alive

no more musty cobwebs

on the interconnections

of the past and present

to be scourged away

to open the soul

to the future.

Countdown

Posted: May 16, 2019 by Ty in Soul Psalms
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6 months

180 days

Seizure free

is what they state means remission

Day 36 ticks on by

Countdown is on…

144 days to go…

long days of harder worker

Now no longer numb,

Deep dive begins

to root out the cause

of the PTSD…

the numbness that caused

the PNES

One day at a time

one hour

one minute

one second

one thought

one emotion

one memory

144 to go…

_____________________________________________

coverA stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.

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It is weird. I have been called the nihilistic or pessimistic Christian for quite a while. Okay, since I came back to church for sociologically and anthropologically I would look at the institutional church in Canada, regardless of the denomination (or in social media speak hashtag) and see that it was dying. Either butts in the pews or depth of spiritual formation. I mean heck for me to get spiritual formation that was not offered at the local congregation level I pursued degrees from a Bible College, Seminary, and formation in a third order monastic tradition.

It was a topic of a sermon at a Youth Conference years ago I gave, Emerge, where I spoke about the life support system of the Christendom (the Christian Empire since Constantine “converted”). As there is growth within the 2/3 world, and decline in the Western World (Quebec in the 1930’s and 1940’s had their Quiet Revolution to remove the Roman Catholic Church control, this is what is happening in the rest of the Western World, and why the Church has established bulkheads ala Religious Right that fight fog issues such as Abortion and Marriage Equality instead of living the Great Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, but that is an article for another time).

It is a time in the life of Church, where we are struggling to decide what church is? What do we offer differently from an intramural sports league, community association, book club, political party or service organization? These waters were even more muddied by the “seeker sensitive” approach of the mega-churches that became plug and play for many smaller churches. A space where we stripped away what made church different, and how to disciple for a space that was open. It created a space of accessibility and inclusion (there was a seat), but it did not create belonging for as huge numbers ebbed and flowed, none were missed. There was no roots grown.

This is the era we now sit in. See, there is a yearning for the good ol’ days, when churches were brimming full. It was the inverse of the seeker culture of the late 1990’s early 2000’s…or is it? There was a compulsion to be a part of a church and active for social and economic acceptance not because of actual belief within the tenants of faith. Both Christendom and Seeker Sensitive created a breadth with no depth, and we are still sitting on life support. As Christendom dies, and as many mega churches collapse under their own numerical success and corruptions we are left to ponder what is to be?

This is what went through my mind, as the grief cycle of Churchdom is stuck in U theory on the letting go phase, so what is to come cannot gain full traction. It was a great service of what happens when one as community lives the Great Commandments, yet the first hymn stuck in my throat and I could not sing. It was a hymn of Christendom, one that spoke of what started the cycle of falsity, and muddied the waters, and relegated key pieces of the Trinity to the sidelines. Jesus was a focal point, but only as we worshipped literally the stories of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament, yet the shift was more to power and money with these as mere illusions. It is where one ponders if God is alive, and as many scholars have begun to write, we have sidelined the Holy Spirit. That’s right, whether you are charismatic or not within the Western Context, we have confined the Holy Breath to check boxes of what is “appropriate”, we no longer live into the Holy Mystery and blessing of creation.

So what hymn stuck and struck? Onward Christian Soldiers it is a war hymn, and as music is used to teach throughout the years concepts. It teaches the concept of Christendom, that we are meant to conquer and control, be a new Empire. Not be subversive, healing, and transfiguring of a world. It is one example, the chorus culture has created pop light love songs that do not allow believers to actually feel a full gambit of emotions, both cultures have created a Learned Helplessness for church goers and members.

What does that mean? If you do not believe Christendom should reign, and tack on to all the lightning button fog issues then you are not a believer. For the seeker culture, if you are not continuously happy and blessing seeing you lack faith, for it is the little faith that leaves you with other emotions. It removes the assertive voice of the created one blessed by the Holy Mystery. Both remove the blessing of the fully created soul and person in the Imageo Dei. To be included, you must adhere to the decrees of the church and if you do not function within that realm of belief, then you are truly not saved.

Let that sit for a minute, and then I ask you,

Why is the church dying?

It is because we have truly lost our path, corrupted by the things of Caesar as Brother Jesus would say, and then corrupted by not following through on living life together. We chase simple plug and play solutions that treats humanity like a computer code. That is we function as an institution, and when it does not work we are at a loss.

When being a belonging community for all, is a messy endeavour.

How today, are you being messy and creating belonging?

3 questions

Posted: April 28, 2019 by Ty in Soul Psalms
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On the healing journey, it is like peeling an onion, never able to be constantly positive, and fresh eyes for one’s own history…the journey continues.

It first started asking

how many times have you hit your head?

To morphing along the path,

once narrowed to healing,

to a simple query of…

“how are you still alive?”

Renewing feelings long shut out

becoming complete of heart

soul, mind, and body

in touch

and exploring

deep diving into the memories

the body deems safe to explore

covering horrors most will never speak of…

simple things in ministry, writing and helping others

“Do the thing you do”

“Just one more miracle”

A miracle worker

some dubbed Cain, like an old television show

creating space

assertive advocate

speaking many times into the void

left to twist in the wind

no money for it

no cause for more staff

they do not fit our ideology-belief not allowed

want one more qualified

code for we want someone that will work for

pennies, and do what we say

not what those served strive for

removal of the advocates voice

heart and passion

learned to be helpless

assertiveness can become screaming

into the void

Finally,

the body and soul

say no more

and a life almost lost…

the long road back…

who is coming back?

What is left behind?

The question ringing in the soul,

Did they honestly think I was Superman?

 

 

 


Further reflections on a Leadership Summit within the Stone-Campbell movement, and understanding the Spirit within.

Always pondered

why I felt unmoved or

a round peg breaking into a triangle hole

Not understanding

the self-selection of religious groups

Spiritual not religious types perpetuate

their own exclusionary criterion

One risk taken

to attend a summit centered on being Shaken by the Spirit

C. Leonard Allen speaks of grammar of the Spirit

the piece of the Trinity forgotten not the right word

rather locked away in Sola Scriptura

only active within old old stories

or new charismatics tied to literal understandings

Missing the point or the mark

For it is within the Spirit,

that Church is family

that community is birthed

anew

In the Spirit

when people matter more than money

programs are secondary

to an open

welcoming table

for all…

The Spirit

living in and out of Love

I always wondered why

I felt on the outside of the religion

I loved so much…

and the answer was simpler,

than I ever believed…

I let the Spirit break through my present

and future

to shape my heart.