Posts Tagged ‘Jesu’


The version of the flaming chalice currently u...

The version of the flaming chalice currently used as the logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You tell us fine stories, and there is nothing in what you say that may not be true; but that is good for you who came across the seas. Do you not see that as we inhabit a world so different from yours; there may be another heave for us?

And another road to reach it?

-A Huron to a Jesuit Missionary, circa 1635

 

Church & Buehrens use the expression of One Light, Many windows; Matthew Fox (defrocked Dominican Priest) used the phraseology one river, many wells. But the quintessential answer is the same, there are many ways to access the One Source, the Sacred, the Creator, The Divine, The Love…

What needs to be answered for each of us in this new Global Village is which way do we access it? A traditional religion, a non-religion, a new age, new wave, science, philosophy, politics, just being… this is the core of Universalism, there is nothing wrong in the many manifestations that we see in this world the thrust being as the Dalai Lama has recently phrased his religion to be kindness, compassion, or Desmond Tutu in God is Not a Christian, it being love the foundation.

This is the journey I have been on, a journey that has been many years (decades) in the making. Where I have worn many labels of religiousity, yet each label is only one piece of the story. Much like the Huron to the Jesuit, what makes you think that your Western European Empiricism speaks to my experience of the sacred in daily life?

This is the thrust of the journey that during my sabbatical has taken me away from institutionalized Christianities and into a journey of discovery…at one juncture it actually had me labelled a heretic by a fundamentalist school, but what else can you say…for when one does not believe in Hell, or does not believe in a manmade God of misogyny, bloodlust, hatred and exclusion. Rather a belief shaped in the imminence of paradise here, our role in building it as co-creators with the Divine, much like Jesus of Nazareth. One where every aspect of life is Sacred, and within that is where Creator exists in us, and us in the Creator.

This journey of exploration that has led me to the Unitarian-Universalist Association…more colloquially into the Calgary Unitarian Church as an exploration with the family, to read many works of thought and recently to history works Hewett’s Unitarians in Canada (1975 & 1995) and Wilbur’s A History of Unitarianism Vol. 2 (1945 & 1965) which revealed a church that has organically grown since shortly after the Easter Moment, but became denomiantionalized within Transylvania during the             Reformation. It is a story of a people called out by the Spirit when the church becomes to doctrinally fixate that it divides and excludes, instead of sets the table widely for all of the children of the Holy Mystery. A story of beyond tolerance, to acceptance that individuals and communities experiences of the Holy will be different, and that is okay, in fact it is a wonderful time where these different ways can come together with the grounding focus being transformation. Could this be why UU is the fastest growing liberal church in North America? All the liberal theologians being tired of the doctrinal asinine that no longer or never should have separated us in the first place.

Read no further until you have checked out the short journey at: http://tyragan.blogspot.com

This brings us to the reflection today, on Brock and Parker’s (2008) Saving Paradise which is an alternative history to the church we never knew. It is a challenging work that forces the reader to stare fully into the vacuum of darkness that the “church” has mired on this world.

What exactly are the Hebrew Bible prophecy books? Are they futuristic soothsayers? No, these are a people during a time of crisis simply attempting to process (p. 22). No great infallibility, just a story of survival and faith.  Texts that for the First Century CE believers then showed them ways to allegorically process the Roman Empire (for us today Materialism? Corporate rule?), especially when the rule of the Empire is then reflected back upon the same institutions that we hold “sacred”. For the whore of Babylon in Revelations is not an allegory to the Empire, but to those complicit in the oppressors and degradation of a people…the religious leaders of Israel (p.75), which upon reflection of main stream religion as stories of abuse, wars, genocides, scandals, thefts, lies, etc. in the “name of God” flood the media lines is it not an allegory we can use today?

One that was extended even within the Gospel writers metaphor, John Mark wrote of Jesus’ casting out of the demons of Legion (an Empire Allusion) to the pigs or the defiled depths (p.45) the fact that the Empire Gospel was being interpreted to destroy people, it was time for a new Gospel, one that empowered those without power. That was the Gospel of the peasant out of Nazareth that shook the world. For it is true that Gospels do not kill people (they are merely proclamations), but interpreters do (p.49). If one takes up the Gospel, they must accept that it is a sacred text and with that we must exercise our discernment and wisdom in accepting the power and responsibility that come with wielding words that we say come from the Sacred (p.49). Let us be honest, we have not done well, think of how many have been cast out of this world, destroyed emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically by the predators that have enlisted within “God’s Army”.

How far we have gone from the house that Jesus built, for his father’s house had many rooms. Did you know that the fixation on the Crucifixion did not happen until the 1000’s when the Great Schism ripped the Western church out of the Eastern Mysticism and it became more concerned with power, land, and money instead of mysticism, rebirth, and L-O-V-E. Why? The ancient church had us in one existence with many dimensions (one house, many rooms sound familiar), essentially multiple dimensions all united within The Spirit (p.88).

So if there was no Crucifixion fixation then what were earlier believers “converted into”? It really isn’t that hard to figure out, it was a counterculture movement. Baptism was more than simply a personal choice about one’s beliefs. It was a ritual that incorporated initiates into a community and its source of power. As such, it was inseparable from social and political degrees. (p.41). When one took the step of entering into the waters of baptism, it wasn’t a “out of hell free ticket”, it was entering into solidarity with those Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes, the ones that society has cast out, and choosing to walk alongside and build a healthy community. This is what Jesus’ feeding of the masses was about, as the Emperor would feed the poor and lull them into thinking the only source of sustenance was destroyed when Jesus fed the masses and showed them the true source of all things necessary was not the Emperor, but truly ethical grace within the Holy Mystery (p.30).

Which leads John Crossan to say, “it is in food and drink, offered equally to everyone that the presence of God and Jesus is found” (p.31).

The meal shared (Eucharist) and the Baptism is truly the renunciation of Empire within one’s life, and joins a movement that drew on different well springs: wisdom, word, Torah and Spirit (p.41).  It is to be in the Spirit, to know how to distinguish good and evil required acute attunement to the present and reflection about ethical behaviours discerned through wisdom, live joyfully, enact justice, nonviolence and love (p.88).  If we seize on these values of the ancient tradition we are birthed into through water and Spirit, what comes evident for us is that we must tell the truth of crucifixion, an act of horror designed to shame, humiliate and destroy humanity.

This is the act of violence the Empire brought to bear on the peasant Messiah. It is up to us to tell the truth of this violence. To quit hiding behind theological treatise that make it okay for G-O-D to be a vengeful prick who must have seen his son beaten, bloodied, humiliated, killed for us to be loved (which spirals into its own theology of acceptance of violence and abuse). Brock and Parker on page 53 write:

To break silence whenever violence is used to shame, instill fear,

fragment human community, or suppress those who advocate for

justice is life-giving.

It is the foundation of ethical grace, to live into and out of the worst a community can experience, and speak truth. It is the power of Healing Circles, Truth and Reconciliation commissions, simple healthy community. It is the pragmatic/practical end of Panentheism. For the church is the Holy Mystery’s renewed paradise (p.89).

This is Theosis (communities that embody divine love) was a term used by both men and women, regardless of orientation, ability, gender, or societal labours were equals in all aspects of life to build the church (p.191). A church that experience Eucharist as a training of the whole person (body/soul/mind/strength) to know the world and spirit in it (p.145), “A Feast of Life” for the whole, and would/should include all the foods of the harvest (p.142).

Which is the source of offering that represented the community’s shared resources, its common wealth in the Holy Mystery (p.142).  It was not just a money thing, it was not just an anything, it was sharing of the blessedness of the whole person as a piece of the whole.

This piece of the whole, in an egalitarian world birthed another source of power. For women in a culture with no power, suddenly they discovered the source of power. That’s right, S-E-X. Just as Mary of Nazareth seized power of being-ness with her Yes to the Holy (for more of my research on this I direct you to: https://tyragan.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/theres-something-about-mary-a-liberation-theology-for-the-21st-century-free-e-book/). Yet it is in women in the ancient church first claiming their right to their virginity (bodies) that they are fully empowered (p.194). How we have abused and bastardized this in the church since, with our virgin/whore dichotomy and using both to strip power from women and make them once more nothing more than pawns of men (such an Empire move).

Another traipsing of us into the Empire’s bed is even our understanding of marriage. Do we realize that until the misogyny of medieval times, a Christian marriage was nothing more than a couple choosing to live together and declaring themselves wed? (p.195). Look at what we have done with something so beautiful in such a short span of time, how many lives we have destroyed, some even driven to the point of suicide over our own destructive use of “marriage” as a means of exclusion.

How do we realize inclusion? That is quite simply as noted earlier, in blessed community, where we are the agents, foster parents, OF LIFE that sustains communities within ethical grace (p.418). This sustaining that is rooted in, as Brock and Parker state of page 419:

The Eros of Beauty calls to us and bids us be fully in the world,

attentive to particularities, emotionally alive, open to grace,

and responsive to justice.

It is not about eroticism, or sex, it is about the actualization of the intimacy we have with the Holy, the beauty of the diversity of what builds creation. It is this love/intimacy that calls us to be within creation as its caretakers, fully active and engaged with our everything for this is how we will engage the Sacred, and the Sacred will dance within us…

This is where Paradise (or whatever term your reference gives) comes alive- –  here and now.

Are you prepared to be within the Eros of Beauty?

 


Holy Spirit painting

Holy Spirit painting (Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble)

Church has become closed in some instances and the challenge is as John XXIII said of Vatican II, the doors may be locked but let’s open the windows and allow the Holy Spirit to blow through and cleanse us of the winter dust.

Is the church international, the Christianities as a whole willing to allow for the Holy Spirit to blow through even if it means losing local congregations, but the result being a healthier body of Christ?

Here are a few quick points that I would challenge any denomination/local congregation to take on and see just how much they trust God and the discipling of their congregations to continue to do God’s work? Do we as believers worship God or Money?

The challenge:

1) Will we follow the teaching of Christ and render onto Caesar that which is Caesar. Will the church surrender their non-profit status within Canada?

2) Will our Clerics become true clerics and not agents of the government. Will we surrender our ability to marry, and move to a more blessing system for civil marriages of faith family members.

3) Will we cease living in deficitis, and take a hard look at what we can afford. Will we use our buildings to transform our socieities.

4) Will we release the Gifts that exist within our congregations, affirm that all work is done out of the love of God and is thus a Holy Vocation.

5) Are we willing as churches as a whole to sit down with one another and stipulate what we as a universal church are going to do to live out life as the Body of Christ regardless of our denominational labels?

6) Quit plug n’ play programming church families to death, and create an honest ministry to grow disciples of the living Cosmic Christ?

Are we up for the challenge? Or are we just happy with the status quo?


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is with great joy we share a story of a little church that can and does live Jesus in Calgary, AB, Canada. The Life Springs Community Church (http://www.lifespringcc.ca/index.html) meets within the Golden Age Club in the East Village. On Christmas Morning this small Faith Family blessed the socks off those who were hungry, either for food, or simply family/community and with the support of the Diner inside loaning their kitchen, created a down home Christmas for 400+ fellow Calgarians… or is that just faith family members we have not met yet.

Thank you Life Springs for a glimmer of Christ here.


CHRIST

CHRIST (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

We didn’t know how to take you
such persistance in wanting our story
in benevolence
others had sought it to harm
to injure
to cast out

Yet you were there.
Too close to the pain of the last attack
unforunate

Not yet healed we were

willing to accept you were

wanting to understand us

How a family

with beliefs so contrary to the church’s

yet so open with home & love and faithfulness in Christ

could find a home— here

Yet we did

but we misunderstood

authentic yearning for inclusion

not experienced

saw it as another form of abuse

mistaken

We are sorry

we will re-enter the doors

we pray a new welcome

home

as we are healing

yet we want family

and to finally rest in Christ,

in a family in fused through the love that is our living

Cosmic Christ…

 


Santa Lucia of Syracuse

Santa Lucia of Syracuse (Photo credit: Paul Lowry)

I will be the first to admit that too often my site can become a critique of the active body of Christ and how we fall short of actually even coming close to living out the Love of Christ, but on retreat here today this little thoughts washed over me…

Too often it is easy to point out what is wrong by those who profess to walk wtih Jesus, while sitting in the oratory room at the FCJ Centre I began to reflect upon what blessings my monasticism in the world has brought me.

Through my writing the ability to use the power of story to share the radical inclusion the Cosmic Christ, our big brother, Jesus of Nazareth wants for the human family (shucking all the labels we want to use to build division), in the beautiful rainbow we are (I am after all honoured in the shamanic tradition to be known as a Wisdom Keeper, the keep of the peoples story).

Through politics (not such a dirty word) meeting my neighbours, learning their joys and trials. Learning how to love into the situation they lay out which can be as simple as listening, to actually connecting them to a transformative resource if able to, speaking out for social justice, human rights, living wages, affordable housing, ending poverty, public utilities, public education, and socialized health-care.

As a children & youth pastor being able to open Christ up for those who do not know. Using our grand ancient liturgical tradition and the stories of the now an those who have come before and the Holy Communion we share to bring even the most troubled or isolated youth to knew there is a place they are loved. Then to witness the trickle up effect into their families learning the same and entering into community. Watching the youngest give their allowance to feed the hungry.

A boy blessed with severe Autism, shocking his Mum, by leaving his stemming behaviours and safety of a corner far away from us, and moving to our circle to sing along with “Jesus Loves Me”.

My outreach to the poor during historic and sacred pilgrimages from Alberta to Quebec, and Arizona. Where I got blessed to share with a transgendered runaway under a bridge in the frigid cold that God love him, and the gates of heaven are awaiting to welcome him home, and the next morning identifying the body with the coroners office.

Moving a shelter from an institution to a home.

Taking what was once a regimented transitional programmed rooming floors, and transforming them into a self-sustaining community of permanent supportive housing (homes) and aiding a light to shine into affordable housing apartments.

My family opening our home and lives to whomever wants to learn, share or discover the Holy Mystery (Our Rainbow Chapel).

My two children choosing baptism and declaring that they love Jesus who loves them. Then living this love each day in their communities.

My ability and time spent, providing vocational support to those blessed to experience the world differently.

To be able to give last rites to my loved ones, gather our families together to celebrate life and how to continue on the renewed journey.

To support young adults in celebrating single parent families in our community.

To watch and be apart of former enforcers, murderers, pedophiles,victims, sexual offenders, addicts and the severely ill enter the miracle of healing that brings them to peace of life.

To be a part of former street youth, addicts, and sex trade workers choosing to change the path of their journey from death to life and become amazing parents.

To have literally been apart of rescuing Calgary‘s Chidlren from the sex slave industry (and some of them blessed me with the gift of my Superman tattoo).

To have marched for peace, challenged world leaders and held them accountable, been a voice that helped free the wrongfully imprisoned or persecuted, to challenge and hold my local governments accountable…

Prayed with Popes, business & political leaders, civic leaders, provincial leaders, national leaders, sisters, Lamas, monks, friars, Imams, Rabbis, gurus, shamans and neighbour.

To have always stood for justice, no matter the cost personally.

To have simply walked with another in life, free of judgment and full of love.

To have my soulmate, the one who is complimentary enough to fit, contrary enough to complete me, and to have been blessed with our beautiful family our two youngest, Leland and Justina, and our fun loving eternal teenager in our basement, Rick.

Thank you God,

For the Blessings I have received

and the blessings I will receive.


Unicorn Golf & Games

A.C.A. Electric Ltd.

Chuck E. Cheese, Calgary Co-op, August Electronics Inc.

Smithbooks/Coles

United Church of Canada‘s congregations of Foothills, Symons Valley, Campbell-Stone

St. George’s Anglican Church (also where I was the first wee babe baptized on the parish role in 1978)

The Mustard Seed Society (formerly Street Ministry)

Hull Child & Family Services, Calgary Sun, Presbyterian Record,

Spiritual Directions, University of Calgary Continuing Education

Eisner Institute for Professional Studies


A Faith Family.

Yip, last night I declared we are leaving protestantism…but what it should have read is we are leaving the tired ol’ bull shit of church politics, hierarchy, exclusion, and drive for power.

We are seeking a place where labels are irrelevant, where we acknowledge our faith heritage for sure because that is what has shaped us, but a place where one and all are embraced, diversity and gifts are celebrated. Like the ancient church we can pray together, break bread together, and discover God in the beautiful diversity that is the rainbow of God’s children.

For example, my son has the gift of preaching, my wife is a prophet, my daughter is a gifted worship insiter, and I have been told I have a gift for teaching, and apostolic leadership (being the first one to break new ground in a new Godly direction)…

So yes, we are walking away from the crap, letting the spiritual gunk slowly (as it moves slower than molasses in winter) shed from our souls as we heal and prepare to discover a true home.

 


Introduction

Church language tends to complicate matters. In spite of the anonymous Epistle to Hebrews stating that we are a priesthood of all believers, still we like to make distinctions on who is the priest, minister, pastor, deacon, laity, missionary, etc. missing the point that these are duties one may perform but we are all workers within God. Murray may have been writing 111 years ago one has to ask can these words still bear fruit today. The advent of technology has allowed for many books, papers, and tracts to survive long past their best before date is Working for God among them, or should it still be available?

That is the question as a summary of the work is presented and then the work itself is but to the test of discernment on whether or not the priesthood of all believers can learn and grow from these century plus old words. There is a self-discernment movement afoot within the modern church that states we wait upon God’s call to act, but is this simply not a means to do nothing or to act prematurely out of what we want to present as God’s call but is truly only our desires?

The Reign worker needs to identify what is of them, what is of God, and work out of that which is of God (Murray, 2).

Summary

Failure! It is an ugly word, made uglier by the exclamation point. Yet it is this word that can cause many to become the frozen chosen within the pews.  For Murray failure begins not with an action, but with a desire to complain, or to complain instead of working out of God’s work (2) and it is our role to help those within this failure discover what the cause is (2). As St. James said previously, and Murray paraphrases on page 2 that “those who do nothing with their faith are missing the key characteristic of the divine life”.

The thrust of Murray’s writings is not that we are to be constantly doing for it is in waiting that builds up the strength to work for God (4), but it is not to use the waiting to avoid work, or vice-versa for as with everything in creation there is symmetry (4). It is out of this symmetry that Christ’s disciples are to shine their light into the darkness through our good works (Murray, 5).

Murray leans on scripture as a devotional source for the worker. It is through dwelling in the scriptures that one can grow in God dwelling within them (Murray, 12).  From this indwelling the divine life becomes evident as they are given out of the divine light (you) that truly gives power to good works (Murray, 5).

The essence of Murray’s Working for God is just that. We as believers are called to dwell in God, God to dwell in us and from that dwelling work to work out into the world as an act of salvation. Salvation is our being God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Murray, 15). Faith and works together not compartmentalized as the modern mind likes things.

Interpretation

Murray’s writings can have the feel of speaking with an Aboriginal Shaman. Now before the torches and pitchforks come out, stay with this idea. For in Aboriginal cultures, ones spirituality (faith) is not simply compartmentalized to a title or day of the week or place, rather it is lived out completely within creation for all is sacred. Murray has thrown down the gauntlet, not necessarily with these words, but with the words of his time for it is out of God’s work that we work (Murray, 2) or the idea of divine life (Murray, 5). These ideas lend on the idea of all is sacred, not just a building, or a person, or an act (sacrament). There is a connectedness between God’s love (grace) and the good works we are to do.

One of the biggest debates dividing believers (aside from hymns versus contemporary music, or bible translations, etc) is Grace versus Good Works, what is the route of salvation? Murray provides an answer that can still resonate today, salvation is because we are God made, yet it is also our good works because we are Christ-bearers (Murray, 15). Pause and think on that for a minute, we are saved because God made us, but also because of the good works we do to show Christ within us.

That is quite powerful, 111 years on, and it can still resonate by confounding. There is also more to realize with what Murray writes, for he points out the symmetry in waiting and working (Murray, 2-5). It is within this symmetry that one does not act within isolation. For this believer it is a confirmation that self-discernment can be a falsity, for it is within community (localized Body of Christ) that our role within the work is discerned, and then that we are empowered to work. This work then is complimentary to the other discerned vocations within the localized whole to ensure all aspects are cared for.

It is the connecting web of life that is the local church separated by denominations at the microcosm level, for each church has its speciality, yet each church attempts to be everything for everyone. If we truly held to the fact that God created us all, with a vocational call to work (priesthood of all believers) yet each to their own gifting, then each church can craft their speciality regardless of the brand on the building, and the community itself will be cared for out of our salvation the way God intended through the image of Christ.  Divine service and Divine Life through the divine light that is each of us to turn a phrase from Murray’s writing.

These are the missing pieces within our focus of ministry. Today in Canada, more locally to the context of Calgary, Alberta where the entity that is church just wants to hire a pastor to lead them, do the work and grow the congregation. This totally ignores the Biblical precedence for a priesthood of all believers (Epistle of Hebrews):

                                                19 pTherefore, brothers,3 since we have confidence to enter qthe holy places by    the blood of Jesus, 20 by rthe new and living way that he opened for us     through sthe curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have ta great priest           over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of   faith, with our hearts usprinkled clean vfrom an evil conscience and our             bodies wwashed with pure water. 23 xLet us hold fast the confession of our hope   without wavering, for yhe who promised is faithful. 24 And zlet us consider how to   stir up one another to love and good works, 25 anot neglecting to meet     together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and ball the more      as you see cthe Day drawing near.

 

(Hebrews 10: 19-25, English Standard Version)

While it is the writing of St. Peter that clearly labels the priesthood of all believers, it is most notably this one passage with Christ becoming the temple that reveals we all have a role to play in the ministry of the world.

The Body of Christ (First Epistle to the Corinthians):

12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form            one body, so it is with Christ. 13 By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.        Whether we are Jewish or Greek, slave or free, God gave all of us one Spirit to    drink.

                14 As you know, the human body is not made up of only one part, but of many      parts. 15 Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, so I’m not part of the body!” Would         that mean it’s no longer part of the body? 16 Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an     eye, so I’m not a part of the body!” Would that mean it’s no longer 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 So God put each and every part of the body    together as he wanted it. 19 How could it be a body if it only had one part? 20 So       there are many parts but one body.

                21 An eye can’t say to a hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 The opposite is true. The parts of the body that we       think are weaker are the ones we really need. 23 The parts of the body that we       think are less honorable are the ones we give special honor. So our           unpresentable parts are made more presentable. 24 However, our presentable             parts don’t need this kind of treatment. God has put the body together and given             special honor to the part that doesn’t have it. 25 God’s purpose was that the body   should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern           for each other. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its          suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.

                27 You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it. 28 In the church          God has appointed first apostles, next prophets, third teachers, then those who        perform miracles, then those who have the gift of healing, then those who help       others, those who are managers, and those who can speak in a number of languages. 29 Not all believers are apostles, are they? Are all of them prophets?      Do all of them teach? Do all of them perform miracles 30 or have gifts of healing?             Can all of them speak in other languages or interpret languages?

                31 You only want the better gifts, but I will show you the best thing to do.[a]

(12:12-31, God’s Word Translation)

Faith without works is dead (Epistle of James):

                14 My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do       nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? 15 Imagine a     brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. 16 What if one     of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you        don’t actually give them what their body needs? 17 In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.

                18 Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see    your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into   practice in faithful action. 19 It’s good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even         the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear. 20 Are you so slow? Do you   need to be shown that faith without actions has no value at all? 21 What about    Abraham, our father? Wasn’t he shown to be righteous through his actions when             he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 See, his faith was at work along with his             actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. 23 So the    scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and God regarded him   as righteous.[c] What is more, Abraham was called God’s friend. 24 So you see            that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through          faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute shown to be    righteous when she received the messengers as her guests and then sent them      on by another road? 26 As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead.

(2:14-26, Common English Bible)

And from the words of Jesus of Nazareth at his Ascension to sit at the right hand of God in the Gospel according to St. Matthew:

                18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth.

                19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the            Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,

                20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And   lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen.

(28:18-20, 21st Century King James Version).

It is not a singular or independent enterprise to build the Reign of God here on earth. It is not this style of enterprise either to be a worker for God.  Rather it is a communal

Conclusion

Two questions opened this paper:

  1. The advent of technology has allowed for many books, papers, and tracts to survive long past their best before date is Working for God among them, or should it still be available?
  2. There is a self-discernment movement afoot within the modern church that states we wait upon God’s call to act, but is this simply not a means to do nothing or to act prematurely out of what we want to present as God’s call but is truly only our desires?

For question one, the answer is simply, yes, Murray’s work should still be available but not in the individual isolation as much as it should be used as a discussion starter within local churches and ministerial on the role disciples should play within their own communities.

As for the second question, is there a definitive answer to this question today? Is it God’s will or our own desires? For the disciple it is truly about moving beyond grace in isolation, to grace in good works which then allows us to reveal the divine light that God has lit us with, live out of this into the divine life to truly show others the power of good works to crafting Christ’s reign here on earth.

 

Reference

Murray, A. (1901). Working for God. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company.

 


O Divine Master

We know we are a judgmental people of yours

Always looking for something,

That makes us better than another

Yet you love us

You see us

As your beloved children

O God

Grant us your eyes

To see the world

Your ears

to hear the voices

The cries of our brothers and sisters

O Lord

Grant us your heart

That we may know

All are blessed

Regardless of their sort or condition

For it is in our pride

It is in our searching

For the “Great Sin”

That we lose you

In our own hearts

Restore us Lord.

Dad let us just see

The world that you loved so much

To send us your Son

As you see it

So we can bring

Your kingdom here

On Earth as

You have it in

Heaven.

Alleluia.


Please Note this Preamble appeared only in THAW:

Preamble

I would tell you that you were nuts. That’s right I still cannot believe where I have wound up in life. Anyone who knew me growing up would be thinking the same and laughing hysterically along with me. Honestly, a monk–me?? A MONK!! (and it’s a four letter word even). I will admit it gets a bit confusing here, so let’s back up and I’ll try to explain how this all happened.

See it was 1997; I had just gone through a rough break up. That’s the nice way of calling it when the fiancee looks at you and says she needs the cocaine more than you so get the fuck out. I got out. Got depressed to. Planned out to kill myself (why else would my home town of Calgary have such lovely bridges over the Bow River?). In the midst of cleaning out (always rude to leave clutter for those you are going to leave behind) that I stumbled upon that little red pocket Bible you were given in gade 5 by the Gideon’s.

It was one of those aha moments; see it was snapped open under clutter in a trunk of mine (see I may not have been a Christian, but there’s something about any religions book of scripture that you just can’t throw it out). I looked down and saw red, not I wasn’t mad, and it was one of those Bibles with the words of Christ in red ink. King of eye catching.

Fell on the verses in Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer asked Him a question testing him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and will all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Okay I got a niggle in the back of my mind. Maybe all those summers at Vacation Bible School was kicking in. I figured I had managed to successfully avoid the whole evil hypocrites in the church my whole life, but my life was over, might as well give it a shot for my last day on earth, not like I had anything against God, just his fan club if you will.

So I called my Nanny and made arrangements to go to church with her and a family friend that Sunday. I felt good as we entered the building, looked at the watch and did the mental count down to my last breath.

It was weird, the church started, but didn’t. Fifteen minutes before hand they did a pre-sing, I didn’t last a song. The first hymn up was “Amazing Grace“. It was in the words of a wretch being saved that I saw a man before me in white. He had a simple message for me, “it will be alright, Ty”. A simple message taht shook me to my core, y’see it was what my Granddad had told me when I was 16 years old and now this other guy was saying it.

My plan was forgotten as I took his hand and accepted his offer for sanity for a split second… what a split second because sanity was not to be in the cards for the ride that lay ahead of me. But in that moment I had no clue what cards I was about to turn over.

What follows was in both Franciscan Times and Thaw

http://www.tssf.org/Winter2005.pdf p.14-15

Instruments of peace are a unique prayer coming from

someone with my background. It is a hard thing to

want to pray for…I am a pacifi st by training, not by nature.

Growing up due to bullying and seeing injustice

in the world I tried to solve the problem with my fi sts.

After over three thousand fi ghts only ever losing due

to fi ghting multiples at once (i.e. fi ve on one, ten on

one, being tossed through a plate glass window when I

was at a writer’s retreat in Banff). But did it really ever

solve anything?

In Matthew 5:9 Jesus makes a promise, that blessed are

the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of

God.

It is many verses like this one, I believe, helped St.

Francis of Assisi who was a warrior (he grew up wanting

to be a knight) and the realization that battles are

not won or lost at the point of a sword, or in my case

the end of a fi st, but rather in the heart of the individual

with the hand made into a fi st or holding the sword

(gun for us).

It is in your heart to make the decision that yes you

will feel better if you kill the person who attacked your

family, perhaps raped your daughter/son. You may

feel better to place the person who hit you in intensive

care or simply strike them back. But do these actions

truly make the world a better place?

Where

: Between you and the aggressor.

What

: A restraint of the person to help mollify them.

Why

: Violence will only beget violence, but in years

of street ministry I have learned that sometimes a

situation will escalate where you and those around

you are in imminent danger or harm. Once authorities

have been notifi ed it can become necessary to

restrain the one acting out till proper help arrives.

With proper restraint it is not done out of anger, or for

some fulfi llment of joy within you. In fact, once this

step has been taken it should lead to your own repentance

before God. But yes sometimes it is necessary and

I just wanted to touch on that so one does not think

that I am saying there is never the situation, but it is the

heart you bring to the situation and the reason behind

doing it.

Working through the love commandments in the Gospel

it bespeaks the heart used in our actions, not the

actions themselves, because sadly in the fallen world

one must act but never as an aggressor.

For the sin lies in the aggression for gratifi cation. This

is a lesson I have learned the hard way, as I said I was

a scrapper growing up in over three thousand fi ghts

on the street. It was the hardest addiction in my life to

get release from, because of the rush that fl ew through

my body and one of the things I knew why traditional

anger management would not work with me.

In traditional anger management you treat the triggers

of what causes the violence, but for one addicted

to the fi ght there is no trigger, it is just done to feel a

rush…it literally was an addiction I had to turn over to

my higher power and took many years of prayer and

refl ection to understand pacifi sm and what it means

within a Biblical context.

It all comes down to one’s heart. Blessed are the peacemakers,

but why are you seeking to be a peacemaker?

What method are you using to bring peace? Is your

heart being shaped by God or by coveting?

And honestly ask yourself as you pray this opening

line in your prayer life—Do you want to be a peacemaker?

Sadly to be like Christ means to live what Christ lived,

turning the other cheek. The Golden Rule-treat others,

as you would like to be treated. In the case of taking

another life or capital punishment there is always the

argument that it is best to execute an innocent than to

let many guilty go free. Think about it deeply though.

Are you prepared to be that innocent person executed?

Then what does it mean in the second part of the Great

Commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves?

Does this chunk of God’s word help one to understand

better? It is refocusing your life not on a penal idea of

sin, but truly embracing the words Jesus taught us to

pray to God.

Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin

against us.

To live the forgiving life is part of being a peacemaker.

If as Christ’s ambassador you cannot live out the

forgiveness Christ has given you, how can you hope to

bring peace into your home, community, city, nation or

world?

It is the thought of being a peacemaker. I opened this

chapter pondering if this is something I would want in

my life. What is a peacemaker literally?

For a contemporary example (and a nod to Canadian

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson who founded them)-

United Nations Peace Keepers. They go into a country

ravaged by war that says they want peace. Wearing

bright blue helmets and armed, but unwilling to open

fi re. See the U.N. in a hail of bullets does not bring

peace; showing love, rebuilding and teaching the

people what it means to co-exist together does.

But what do peacekeepers endure? Do a web search

on recent missions such as Bosnia, Rwanda, or Somalia.

Refl ect on what these soldiers endure. They are

called blessed by Christ for being eternally stuck in the

middle of two sides that want to obliterate one another.

Christ called them blessed. Would you consider this a

blessed existence?

But that leads to the thought. Can a peacemaker ever

use force? Or as the Gospel says when struck on the

right cheek we should offer the left cheek. With this

teaching was it Christ’s intention to produce martyrs

and doormats en masse?

No. It is in living out the Gospel you can learn the fi ve

W’s of non-violent intervention in a situation if you

will.

Who

: The one assaulting you.

When

: Methods such as talking and being non-threatening

have failed, and violence is escalating beyond

emotional and verbal to the physical.