Posts Tagged ‘Holy Mystery’


Lent. It’s a liturgical church thing, but also a deep rooted spiritual practice that has mainstreamed as well.

Lent begins on Ash WednesdayImage result for ash wednesdaywith a solemn service of mourning (technically with Mardi Gras of Fat (Shrove) Tuesday where we celebrate and clear out the larder). Image result for shrove tuesday

What is it?

Image result for LentFor some, they keep it pretty basic the fast from something (i.e. coffee, sex, social media, candy, etc.) and that may be part of it for the praxis of Lent comes from the Wilderness stories in the Christian Testament (if we want to you can create the allegory to the Exodus that Jesus time in the Wilderness was supposed to echo). It is a practice of making space to fully come into Communion with the Holy Mystery.

40 Days (Sundays do not count) from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (the betrayal night). Do not rush ahead for Sunday morning, be in the seeking and imbibing of Communion. Let the dust of the wilderness get your feet dirty.

Pause and reflect.

Image result for jesus in the wildernessThe Holy Mystery, our loving Creator God. This time in the wilderness is when Jesus drew nearest to his loving Creator, for he was able to walk and-or turn away from the temptations of the materialism and power. He was ministered to in Community to heal. It was a living example of two things:

  1. The Holy Eucharist (also known as Lord’s Supper, Communion) that which Jesus eucharist-3214782_1920shared on the last night. Bread and juice. Some say the body and blood, I prefer and think in the wilderness it resonates more…bread of life, cup of promise. For who are we in the Holy but blessed and very good, with our vocational life path of choices ahead like a buffet.
  2. The Greatest Commandments:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Gospel of Matthew 22: 37-40

Everything of their faith was not about laws, wars, or prophecy it came down to the greatest gift of all:

L-O-V-E

God + Self +Neighbour

Rest in that during the time in the wilderness. Lent. Do you feel it? More than simply giving something up, though that is not a bad thing. The key is if you are surrendering something it is to make more space for God. To know God is to live the Commandments, that is loving of Self and Neighbour which are mutually inclusive (you cannot love one without the other) and that is loving God.

Which brings us back to making space.

There are secular practices such as the place an item a day for 40 days to donate (excellent) can be food for the local food bank, books for the local free library, or items for the local shelter (some get into the groove it becomes a bag a day to many different organizations to share blessings). This is more than spring cleaning, it is about creating space in your physical environment, it also is about helping others (and yes we have been dropping off loads of donations to the Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre Donations and Recycling Centre to help our new neighbours exiting homelessness get good starts).

Then there is the adopting a new practice. That is either Yoga, Tai Chi, a sport, a Martial Art, a Fine Art, setting up regular time for sacred reading, meditation or prayer. These are good as they help to centre yourself, and grow your spirit. Excellent soul work, and a better you is better able to see the good in your neighbour.

One area though not talked about is electronic. Yes, one can note fasting from social media or Netflix (or cable) or video games…but I am talking about creating space, not just stopping something to dive back in.  When was the last time you really scoured out your e-mail? Old e-mails, e-mails not dealt with, the plethora of e-letters we get subscribed to? Just went through this practice, being mindful of what spoke to me, and brought positivity to my life. The simple act of getting a cleaner e-mail experience allows a daily practice of being more present while checking e-mail as to not be just responding to get to the next one. That is you can spend time seeking to understand, instead of reading or forwarding to respond.

The other is our social media experiences. Last night, I purged 1,400+ twitter accounts I was following…wow what a different experience this morning on Twitter. Actually interacting with folks that had followed me, as I followed them. The few key media or political or religious outlets I value as well. The dissonant noise of distraction cleared away (and during a drag in the mud Alberta Votes 2019, it was a fresh take on a day)…I encourage the same practice with all your social media. I have slowly and with presence started working through pages liked, groups and friends on Facebook as well.

The beauty of social media is how it keeps us all connected. The falsity of social media, is that relationships pre- social media that would naturally run their course and end now can continue on in perpetuity. Much like cyber “stalking” of ex’s and old friends etc. online via their social media accounts.  Part of the Wilderness is not succumbing to that which draws you off the path laid out for you.

All these practices create new wonders. Release old pains and sorrows.

They aid in the wilderness journey that healing can feel like. For it frees one of the past that can be weighing them down. For me it has been a blessing to have a physical-mystical representation of the past almost 3 years of discovery, diagnosis, and now beginning the healing. This is the blessing of Lent.

Each step along the way, being present no matter how bad, good or downright ugly it becomes for there is something better on the other side of the wilderness. To often we want to rush from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday SonRise. We don’t want to be lost in the wilderness, or betrayed, or the old to die…and have to wait in a mystical holding pattern. That is, the story is there to show us the journey of life renewal…

The question is, are you living presently in the journey, or skipping to the end?

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Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 11:1 (English Standard Version)

Mentorship is a hard path to walk. It is hard for the mentor and the protégé, for the mentor should not give easy answers, but use powerful questions to aid the protégé in critical thinking and holistic growth. This is where Paul takes the discourse on head coverings (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). He writers of the misogynistic tradition and beliefs surrounding who came from who (man from God, woman from man) and the dishonouring being covered or uncovered brings, but then he moves to the brilliant bridge portion for this is not the life and teachings of Brother Jesus who welcomed all as equals.

Verse 12 puts out that all things are from God, and verse 13 places the judging within ourselves. Too often passages like this have been used to continue religious misogyny and oppression, by pointing out legalism. When in fact it is a philosophical tool of reflection that is reflect back the question, add some power questions and see what emerges from your own reason. As you walk through this part of the discourse, you see that the argument is missing the point for it does not matter about appearance, or rules. It is about the community being together in unity. An earth shattering norm; where each member has their own decision making autonomy.  Yes it is becoming a catch phrase of these reflections, inherent worth just because that is how they are created.

This was the first walk through, for Paul uncovers the head covering discourse as the false flag question sent to him by the gathering. It is the reports of how they celebrate together that he dives into:

 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[e] 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f]you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.[h] 31 But if we judged[i]ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[j] so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers,[k] when you come together to eat, wait for[l] one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (English Standard Version)

It is not a communion meal, that is a shared meal within the community to ensure all are cared for spiritually and physically. What has it become? A divisive practice where cliques have emerged (think the Junior High Lunch room, where there are just some tables that are no gos). To add to the strife, there are people in the community starving, and no one cares they are letting it happen. This is a meal given to be done in mystical remembrance of Jesus of Nazareth. Communion is the highlight of worship and study together as a community, as the Body.

What it has become is a grudge match. Instead of mysticism Communion has become a tool of exclusion for those that some view as unworthy.  A meal of holiness now used for the people to continue the old ways of meal time; binge drinking and gluttony (remember it was Romans that invented the Vomitorium so they could continue gluttonous feasting). It is about honouring one another, for each is the imageo dei. It is caring for one another, loving of self and neighbour. Not allowing for a backsliding into the old comfortable ways, but living out loud the new path.

Why is it so important to be a healthy community? To not be divided? Paul works into the realm of spiritual gifts, and how each gift works within the community like different aspects of the party. That is right; the community is a living breathing organism because it is made up of living breathing organisms.

Now concerning[a] spiritual gifts,[b] brothers,[c] I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

-1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (English Standard Version)

Some will look upon the lists of spiritual gifts as the be all and end all for gifts. That is bullocks (1 Corinthians 12:12-34). These are but a few examples, for thinking of the multitude of things that are necessary for a society to bloom. Think and reflect on your skills and talents, what passions in you manifest as the best of you. You can tell when you have tapped into the spiritual gifts on your intrinsic being for they energize you to use, even if there may be weariness after use. They are also gifts seen by others, it can be the arts, medicine, science, philosophy, teaching, compassion, social work, child care, elder care, the list can go on and on. What are your gifts?

What are the passions that the Holy Mystery has laid on your being?

And it may shock some to read this, but I firmly believe your gifts can shift throughout your lifespan as new situations and experiences shape your being. New gifts and wonders emerge for we are not a static creation like a story on a flannel board. Our life is a dynamic story that encompasses all the genres at any given moment. The ultimate outcome is a beautiful discourse Paul shares in chapter 13. It has been used at weddings, and celebrations of life (just think of these words summing up your life lived). It is how we live that matters, and use the gifts given us in love, shared in love:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 13 (English Standard Version)

Will you live into and out of the greatest gift?

 


Spiraling downwards becomes easy when you take the first step of living into the false you. Jerusalem circa 62-69 CE when James put these words out was a time of uncertainty, but also a time of exclusion. As religiosity took hold over the Empire, but as noted the Empire was waiting for revenge. It was a time of uncertainty for the mostly unknown sect within the synagogues and what it meant for them.

It is where he begins to tie in the mysterious introductory allusion to Job, to be quite direct about it. As the early gatherers struggle, it becomes an affirmation for them as individuals, but more importantly as a community for it shows the interdependence that James’ elder brother, Jesus of Nazareth taught. The echoing of the Great Commandments, love of God (whose Holy Breath created life); love of self as the image bearer, and love of neighbour who is connected to us within and through the Holy Breath.

Be patient, therefore, brothers,[a] until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

-Epistle of James 5:7-12 (English Standard Version)

It is about creating the world that is the Kingdom. For the gospel was about shattering the oppressive world structures, and building a new world. It is why the Nativity story happens at the darkest time of year, overlaying the ancient holiday of the Winter Solstice.

The connection.

The connection by denying the false self, that one that has been corrupted by the pursuit of the love of money, power, etc… to being the person created to be. Affirming the Holy, and living out the vocation we are designed to embrace. Knowing that the journey of life brings challenges, speed bumps if you will. But it is within the challenges that the choice is laid before us, to exist within the false, or step into the true.

As James’ reminds of the Sermon on the Mount, ancient words that he heard, and that he is now imparting to his followers. The ideal of not being the false show that props up oppressive power, but being the authentic self.

What does your no need to be no about?

More importantly, what does your yes need to be yes about to be truly you?


One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves is that normal is a universal precept. It is not. Each and every one of us is normal for our journey of life. We each have experiences, positive and negative, glorious and disastrous, and sometimes awesome or monstrous…yet that is normal for our life journey.

Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.

-Matthew 5:28

bookAs Martella-Whitsett aptly points out in her 2011 How to Pray without Talking to God, the word perfect in the original language is teleios, which is more aptly translated as wholeness (p.129). That is Brother Jesus is pointing out that we are already whole, living in the Divine Life is we choose to accept and live into it. Or we can accept the negative, and not realize that there is something beyond. That is continue to live within the “what ifs” or “what won’t happen” or “woe is me” narrative that becomes so much easier to exist within thus we create the false teaching within the Law of Attraction that you have brought this upon yourself (or in Biblical times, who sinned to create this condition?).

A something wrong consciousness is not a reality but a limited perception. A consciousness of separation is not a truth but a choice. Consciousness is pivotal.

(Martella-Whitsett p. 135)

Image may contain: textConsciousness is what we do with challenges and successes. It is not advocating for the slippery slope in some fundamentalist healing sects/meta-physics that our minds can cure everything or Spirit/God can by using the right incantation of words of “Truth”.

It is standing in your wholeness. Some would call it the image bearer of the divine, others in unity with the divine. Yet that is wholeness, affirming that spark of divinity that is within you, and you are just as you are meant to be.

This has been an important re-affirmation for my family. We have found sometimes within the disabilities community families can be so wrapped in grief for loss of what they believe normal is… they do not experience the beauty, wonder and wholeness that is with them or is them.

Or in Martella-Whitsett’s words (p.137):

Healing is the activity of recovery, repair and restoration, correcting a consciousness that had veered away from wholeness. In other words, we heal ourselves by cultivating a consciousness of wholeness.

How do you do that?

Martella-Whitsett outlines a practice that is all too familiar. Words may change, but the practice/disciplines are essentially the same. Sacred reading. Time in communion (prayer/meditation); Self-examin (affirmation/denial); community of spirituality; and journalling (words or images)…

Because it is in the moments of pausing from the busyness and noise of life that we can draw deeper into the Holy Mystery. We resonate with the Holy Breath that was breathed into us at creation, and the star dust within activates.

Or as bluntly as the reverend puts it in her book (p. 137):

God does not heal! God is wholeness.

And we re-encounter and renew that wholeness by time spent.

What is your steps into wholeness this week?


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?

 

 


New King James Version:

Genesis 18          Genesis 19

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the ancient legends of Genesis has been one of the texts of hate and destruction for too long. It is used in the us/them dichotomy of hate spun on one extreme against homosexuality. On the other extreme it is reduced to an argument about hospitality.

The point of this ancient story has been missed. In the modern times of Truth & Reconciliation; #MEtoo, #Timesup, #Riseup, #Resistance, and the knowledge of inter-generational trauma it astounds that the resonance is not noted.

Before I share my thoughts, enter into the text freshly as a hearer. Inwardly set aside what you have learned before.  Get comfortable, breath in deeply, enter your contemplative breath cycle:

  • Upon the first hearing focus on this question: What emotions come through? Let you rest with those emotions.
  • Upon the second hearing focus on this question: What memories come through? Stay with the one that is the most vibrant.
  • Upon the third and last hearing, focus on this question: What is the soul learning that you have discovered?

Now here is what I have heard when contemplating this ancient story.

It opens with Abraham bartering with God (Genesis 18:16-33) to spare these cities. He focuses on the many holy, and some say in the “God in the sky/Zeus in the throne” imagery of YHWH that Abraham did not need to barter but just appeal to God’s divine essence to spare his creation. I challenge that, it is the Holy Mystery moving and challenging Abraham’s conscience that change needs to happen for the destructive actions unchecked. The abuse of power seen through many means of molestation, rape and other forms of violence. The living out of Us seen as full people over those people seen as property to do with as we please (anything resonating yet with current life?).

The Holy Mystery was attempting to see if Abraham could comprehend reform, Abraham was wrestling with the concept of “whistle blower” the ones brave enough to stand up against the wall of destruction, devaluation of life. But were any to be found?

Then becomes the destructive visitation, as Messengers (Angels) visit and a rape gang descends upon Lot’s house (Genesis 19:1-11) demanding that the visitors be turned over to them. Rape was used as a right of passage in many armies for fellow soldiers, but is was also used to show superiority of one’s self and deity over an invader. Forced sodomization/forced sexual intercourse not wanted, against one’s created nature (wherever they fall on the spectrum, if it is not consensual, it is not within one’s nature). This is what the mob delivered to Lot’s house that night, NOT rampant homosexuality as some would claim; but power abuse and rape anger.

Lot defends the visitor’s but then shows the anti-Holy Mystery vein of creation at this point where he offers up his daughters. For even he sees them as nothing more than vessels with no consent in them. Lot’s own depravity is revealed. Some would defend this saying he was showing hospitality to the visitors by defending them. That the sin here is in-hospitality.

Nope. It is against Day 6. The Holy Mystery breathed into both male and female creating them both. Equal partners, in Genesis 3 blessed and sent out into the world in the throes of adolescent discovery to care for it and one another. On the doorstep, Lot is showing this is not the case, his defense is destructive actions of his daughters.

This is what the messengers saw and heard. Why then was Lot’s family spared destruction? For the story resonates more truths to be seen.

Genesis 19:12-29 is when destruction rains down, and Lot’s family flees, warned not to look back for the destruction will consume. Think of someone in trauma recovery and the cycle it creates the impetus of one little blink of the past drawing them into a flashback that freezes one, almost like a pillar of salt (Lot’s wife, 19:26). A traumatized victim of society, unable to move forward because the healing path was not laid out, they saw no different way or way out. Well, there is a way, ending the pain once and for all…. The story of Lot’s wife, is the story of an abuse survivor who can only imagine the pain ending with their life and so for all eternity the story was laid out for us.

Hiding in a cave the cover up continues. Are you beginning to see the futility of Abraham bartering with the Holy Mystery within? Locked into the trauma-abuse-other paradigm was this ancient world that he could not see that sometimes an institution needed to be burned down. Sadly, these stories do have quite a bit of blood letting when it comes to purifying, but one does know when culture shifts there is old ways and old powers that are shunted out to allow for the growth. Or as Brother Jesus talked about pruning the vine.

Yet the patriarchal control system was not done. To continue to hide the meaning of this ancient story those who are without voice, standing or power in their own world are now presented as the perpetrators of violence and gang rape. The discrediting of the victim is not a new tool. For the story in 19:30-38 presents Lot’s daughters fearful of not fulfilling their trained duty as property of producing children scheming to get their father drunk and have children with him.

Yet I challenge this reading. Think of how many times the rapist will say, I was drunk or they seduced me. I believe and hear this as a generational abuse story, where Lot abused his daughters. How do I stand on this reading? For the children that came from the rape were those that would need to be cleansed from the Promised Land for the fresh start promised the Children of Israel after the Exodus. Even in the story, clues were laid that the presentation was skewed to a Patriarchal power-abuse structure, and if read literally will still produce that. We have seen that pain as it has been used as a text of hate for our LGBTTQ2+ family members, or reduced so simply to a hospitality question it makes the Holy Mystery look like a blood lust monster (which then can be used to fulfill the call for the blood of his child to make things right later).

Yet, I stand here to point to another understanding. An ancient text that spoke out about abuse of all kinds, the trauma caused, the inter-generational trauma continuing beyond, victim grooming, and the dangers of the us-them dichotomy. The story that shows turning the ship around is not always possible, sometimes the ship needs to be scuttled and something new built.

As you are in your country, city, community, church or organization when there is darkness—will you be the light that burns it away? Or the bushel that snuffs out the light?


Unconsciously I must have known this allegory of me as Bionic Knight (read B.K. pulps here) was needed as 18 months of unknown physiological and neurological symptoms that two previous visits to ER saw everything come back as normal. Mysteries persisted and sick time evaporated, culminated in the ER cluster storm of my 39th b-day forward. A new reality that has seen symptoms evaporate due to attrition of time, not medical intervention while others persist. Yet it is in the writings of the story of a middle-aged hero that was my first super hero creation that I could begin to unpack what was going on within my own mind, heart and soul.

labyrinth

I love writing, as many who know me know… Whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry or plays I just love to share worldviews and percolate thoughts…I dislike recently after a good run the beating my own brain gives me as tonight I feel like I was on the losing end of a boxing match. And left outside in a winter storm. #neurolife (Facebook post from December 4, 2017)

brain-labyrinth

“4 months since 39. 9 weeks since “I can’t”.

and my faith broke.

For it is within the allegory of Super-hero we can honestly look at those that serve those in most need go through, without having to just yet look at our society in a mirror and go: we collectively decided that it was okay for this level of poverty to exist within our society, for our children, youth, young adults, elders, seniors and neighbours to live like this as we worshiped the zero-based budget.

Yet that choice, as with every choice, is like a pebble in a pond or a butterfly flapping their wings. No one can know what those ripples or wings will cause down the line, but know it is a question each of us most be prepared to ask.

It was easily summed up with these for words and punctuation many a time over:

Who is my neighbour?

stepping stones

And today we MUST continue to ask:

And how shall we live justly, safely and healthily together in community?

Where is hope found in my life?

How does my faith heal?

Advent of something new?

heart