Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


Yes that awkward day for all those with a British (or naughty sense of humour), so get the giggles out before we move on to the rolling thoughts of this Sunday, as dusk settles in (or is it possibly more rain?).

Image may contain: text that says "So in retrospect, in 2015, not a single person got the answer right to "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?""The first thoughts wrestling through during this is what grows out of the memories tab at Facebook, a reminder of my own meandering journey over the last 3 years connecting to the satirical meme to the left in regards to the grand concept of life planning/goals of the “5 year plan”. For it is definitely not unfurling like I pictured the last few years would’ve been. Although, I was never one to really plan, just follow the path to live out the mission of making my own corner of the world a little better, one act of kindness at a time.

During C-tine as Alberta’s government and health minister continue to attack our medical community, and the fabric of public-universal health care in my province. It reminds me, that during the time I was down,  as I was going down, and going through PNES-PTSD- the diagnosis, and the phased healing– that the private medical practitioners the insurance company wanted to send me to, to get me off the LTD claim faster, refused to accept the referrals as the complexity of what was happening (the idea that it was not a simple cause and effect solution) led them to decline, while the public system rose to the challenge. Yes, reflecting back on some Facebook memories, there was nervousness, and some trepidation into the unknown once the path and treatments started…but the system supported through to the best outcome, and a year after the feelings of trepidation have me back in the field and now working from home, serving the next generation of practitioners to grow their knowledge base.

It does lead one to pause, and consider the wisdom that guided many, spear header by (Pastor) Tommy Douglas, leader of the then named CCF to take up the struggle for universal health care, the concept that no one should have to choose between money and health…

And it makes one wonder, how any government can look at the history of medicine, and decide that it as a for profit endeavour is ethical, let alone moral.

But as we segue way, the announcement has been made by our illustrious premier that June 1 places of worship (with precautions) can re-open. It did make me wonder what this would look like? Would the mega-churches, or mid to large size churches take the risk? Yes, it is a risk assessment and liability. As one church, Living Spirit United, here in Calgary shared that just before the shut down they were following guidelines about 40 in attendance, and still 24 became ill, and 2 died.

Will this serve as a prophetic warning to places of worship? The very nature of closeness that comes with a “faith family” (regardless of religious stripes), is connection, embracing, how do you stop children from touching? Who will turn away the extra’s that turn up that are not allowed in due to restrictions who will turn them away? Will they listen? Will people wear masks (as we are already seeing the direction from the Federal Chief Medical Officer Doctor Tam going unheeded already).

From my sociological tracking of churches though, it again is creating poverty as a petri-dish. I don’t want to make a blanket generalization, and I won’t. But what I do see is those that will jump back into opening are those that may not fully understand the implications, or are able to leverage “spiritual language” to convince in a populist movement because what is being heard is not, with precautions- but “open as normal”. The other plausibility, is smaller to mid-size congregations who have been struggling financially before this time, and were unable to adapt a method of donation stream during, re-opening and welcoming back the congregation for both donations but also re-connecting with what has created a mass shut in situation. The third point, is the confusion of church/worship with the building, not the spiritual practices and connection with the belief system and members that can happen without the physical building until things are in a safer situation.

But all these musings will fall I do not want to say on deaf ears or hardened hearts, but I would say driven by a fear or better anxiety, of necessity for what worship/ritual is to them and tied to a specific holy space and time.

I am not sure what my church (yes I am switching to my own faith background from the meta) will decide on re-opening. But as a family unit we have looked at who we are, the health needs, and our own connectivity to people and faith. Really it is tracking numbers, that is not only infection/recovered/new, but total daily tests (are Albertans seeking out testing when exposed even asymptomatic, or when feeling ill, or not) to see what is happening over the summer before choosing possibly by late summer or fall to make a choice to return.

Why? Well, the letter from Paul of Tarsus to those in Colossae was touched on today in the service, and the words of what it’s all about hit home (Colossians 1:15-20, The Message):

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

What does it come down to?

Living out the life of love of self, neighbour and God–that the life, death, and resurrection of Brother Jesus laid out as a road map for all of us. So yes, being in a building with others is a wonderful additional experience, but I do not think it is a calling at this time to partake in.

Rather it is a calling for care and kindness of other by distancing, by doing things that encourage corporate health.

Take time, we are still in the precautionary stage, we are easing some restrictions to aid our neighbour…take the lead of that sentiment…choosing actions of kindness and economy that aid others. For we all deserve to be healthy, cared for, and belong.

Sunday Song- Brad Paisley’s Me and Jesus

Hi-Jacked Faith

Posted: April 18, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hope wins

Is the shattering truth of the empty tomb

and the new life,

celebrated a scant few days ago

the blood over doors

the exodus of the persecuted

a false regime propped up on religious eyes

shattered.

Religious oppressors

Empire dehumanizing

2,000 years ago give or take a few years

depending on your historical lens

Constantine’s swords sleighed

bastardizing Brother Jesus’ words of the Kingdom being near

not sword and steel to rule all,

but a transfiguration of the world

true belonging due to simply being created

in the wonderful mosaic image of the Holy

Sacredness breathed in

acknowledged,

blessed

Love wins

We continue to miss the mark

our corporal sin,

bastardizing love with qualifiers

to sink into our own badge of “sinful” forgiveness honours

to create dissent,

exclusion

contrary to the words, and life lived, lost, and resurrected

Still today

horrors cloaked in a faux cross

to pacify the masses, like an opioid

so they will believe they do note

deserve equality, equity, justice

health care, belonging

affirmation of inherent worth

for being human.

We allow too many,

as the quiet revolution speaks from the whispers to the shouts

the empire of the faux cross rattles as the embers burn away the  crucifixion wood

dominion to destruction of creation

like our neighbour

that we were blessed to inherit, to curate, cultivate, care for

to serve and live in cocreation with the Holy.

Willing to succumb to the absolute evil

that the sacred writings of those on the journey spoke of

greed in the lust after money

the lust after the matarial

the lust of defining our worth based on bank accounts, belongings owned, that has always led astray.

Mixing up material belongings and money, with values and belonging.

For the kingdom as Brother Jesus said, is near…

we can touch the thin space.

We simply need to throw off the yoke and shackles of the Empire

The faux cross we clamour to,

and stand in the margins,

with the labourer who taught us through living

that

Hope Wins

Love Wins

Are you willing?

 

 


No photo description available.

From DC Comics Facebook Page Captain Carrot

Ah the joy of Easter, my children even in their tweens and teens waking up to see what the Easter Bunny has left. Many decry us for “commercializing” Easter, but really it is the joy of the new, the love of discovery and mystery, and as my Mum always said, as long as you believe they will come (whether it was Santa or the Easter Bunny), and much like the early church, our family functioned and had its soul because of our Matriarchs.

We are entering into the unknown, we are living the unknown, as I have been sharing during this Holy Week. Our current times of social distancing, the anxieties, and fears some or all of us may be feeling at different moments is exactly how the friends of Brother Jesus were feeling up until the morning. The morning the women would go to show their love for their friend, son, (possibly) husband, and teacher. The one who showed them the way of radical love in shattering the principalities, the oppressors, those that put land and money ahead of people. They believed, they lived, the finally belonged affirmed in being a full person.

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning,[a] just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.

-Gospel of Mark 16:1-4 (New Living Translation)

No photo description available.Then they were crushed by defeat. Are you hearing or seeing parallels in your own journey of life? Belonging? Love wins? Shattering glass ceilings? Affirming human rights? Decolonizing your country, and your own soul? Renewing, rebuilding, reconnecting, resurrecting a new and healthy self and community?

For all this was rolled into the women heading to the tomb. They were honouring the loss, grieving. Thinking that they had been defeated, was it all for nought? The same question can echo through our whole being during times of dissonance, times of disconnect, times when we feel defeated, those 1 step forward 2 steps back time…yet…

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,[b] who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened

-Gospel of Mark 16:5-8 (New Living Translation)

See the source imageThe Universe, the Infinite Holy Mystery that all is in, and is in all, shook the status quo even furtherr than Brother Jesus. For they said… NO! To his death. NO! to the oppressors winning! NO! to the normalcy that society allows and builds rationales around for why all are not equal, all are not taken care of, all are not valued.

Easter Sunday, the Empty Tomb is the beloved Creator shaking the world and whole universe, all of creation with their:

NO!

And fear is a response in the grief cycle. It shook the women to realize that they had prepared themselves to mourn, to honour, and what were they handed?

LOVE WINS!

We are walking towards the empty tomb during this pandemic, we are expecting and desiring a return to the old status quo when we emerge. Just leave this time in the tomb. Same as the Empire and their apologists desired when they killed Jesus of Nazareth. And the resounding answer that this story would end, was simply, No.

Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen 

-Gospel of Mark 16:8 (New Living Translation, shorter ending)

They moved through the fear stage, and continue co-creating a new way of life. One that included everyone, brought everyone along, where resources were shared equitably, and when a need was heard of, it was filled. Where purpose and belonging were not tied to monetary means or whether or not one was a “citizen” of the Empire. More so, it was tied to one’s own inherent worth, gifts and talents being shared.

You belong because you are.

Let that settle in, as this morning Pope Francis used Easter Sunday to launch a new resurrection in the world, a clarion call that echoes these sentiments– #popeforubi. UBI is Universal Basic Income, yes my Trekkie brethren, we are one step closer to the Utopia of Star Trek.

To recap, for the simplicity of message as we find in the writings of John-Mark (in the Gospel of Mark), whose family owned the Upper Room, discipled by Peter and Paul, who recorded the stories of Peter for his gospel as tradition told us, written for an Empire audience of the Romans, yet simply what are we seeking today? My reflection Facebook after Resurrection Sunday service online:

Almost 2,000 years ago (just shy 12 yrs give or take) the empty tomb gave the friends a choice to radically continue the journey of love to transform their world. To throw of the chains of Empire, persecution, colonization, dehumanization cloaked and hidden in the name of God…the message was clear, whether they believed with word, seeing, or touching, Brother Jesus was alive, and the command of the whole heart was clear, love as he loved (and loves) us.
Will you be a part of the resurrection, co-creating the world today, and forward from this time in the tomb to the new resurrection day? Will you live out love? Allow for authentic belonging because we all have value for simply being?
Will you step out of fear into hope? And love as if each moment of each day is Easter Sunday?

 

 

 


See the source imageHoly Saturday. The day of awaiting. The day of the unknown in Holy Week. When the gospels tell us the men huddled in fear, the women planned how to honour their friend, possible husband, and son through the cultural norms. The day of silence, of unknowing. The day when the Empire and the Oppressors were searching for those who were seen as “co-conspirators” with the messianic rebel Jesus of Nazareth.

The three days in real time, that those who were called friends at a dinner in an upper room, were grieving, experiencing anger, fear, anxiety— trauma of the crucifixion, as the powers to be tried to destroy (and appeared as they had succeeded) in snuffing out hope for being and belonging for all.

In Peter and Mary Magdalene’s mind and hearts I can only imagine the racing, of their love, and calling others into the life had now placed them at risk. Risk of torture, risk of death, and how far would the ripples extend? Would it just be to those that were part of the followers? Those that celebrated on Palm Sunday at the Triumphal Entry? Or would all connected to them made to be an example for the Empire on why you did not think outside the box? Or challenge the norms? Would all be lost simply by a choice they had made to be different? To be heroic in their own time?

These are themes that echo as I read the follow up companion to the Heroes in Crisis mini-series that touched my journey during my own struggles with PTSD. For those who may not know, Heroes in Crisis was a 9 part series about what happens when super heroes need help, the journey of Sanctuary, PTSD, and psychotic break, followed by murder mystery in the realm of healing for those that have answered the call to be heroes. It is now available as a trade paper back and I encourage you to read it.

The second volume, touches on the ripple effects out of that series, much like Holy Saturday. It is the follow up to the deaths. The follow up to the impact on the heroes left behind. Sound familiar in our own world? As we struggle in a pandemic? Watching those who continue to serve, and knowing the dangers, those that will fall ill and may not recover. Just like the journey of mental illness and health, physical health is the same, intertwined together and should, as our Indigenous brothers and sisters keep reminding us, be viewed through the heart lens of Wellness (ala the Medicine Wheel) for all pieces need to come out the other end together).

The same thoughts in the grieving process I can imagine Peter and Mary Magdalene, probably Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’ Mummy reflecting on, I too have held in my own journey and through the darkness to healing into the light anew. Knowing the pain and heart ache that can, and sometime does happen is it right to equip, encourage and prepare others to serve?

This is where we are in Heroes in Crisis: The Price. Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow reacting in anger towards the Justice League for failing his friend who has died. Wrestling with no matter the money he had, he was unable to save his friend. Think of our own responses in loss? How many times does Oliver’s sentiments echo in our own soul? Change out money with other skills, talents, privileges and resilience we have that came to naught when death finally came. Some may say why bring up these hard discussions, can you not read the room with what the world is going through right now?

Yes, I can, and that is why we should be talking about wellness. It is important, especially now. Understanding the cycle storms of grieving and change is important (google U Theory or Kubler-Ross’, also previous writings of mine show these) to know that normal things happen during these times of transition.

For Holy Saturday it is usually a day of contemplative prayer and practiced silence for hearing the Holy Mystery speak to us, as they did nearly 2,000 years ago to those hiding then.

The story unfolds more into the tale of Batman and Flash. Those who raise the question through the story of Gotham and Gotham Girl, about the appropriateness of encouraging and equipping others for the life. The life that can cost so much, that the meta-myth is that they choose to be heroes to protect their loved ones, yet it is their loved ones that continue suffering as a result of the choice.

“I’ve dealt with too many unsolved cases in my life. You and I have so many mysteries as it is…I can’t afford your lies anymore.”

-Barry Allen, The Flash

In the ruins of the Flash museum, still grieving the loss of his nephew and returned friend, Wally West, from Heroes in Crisis, Barry confronts Batman. It echoes the truth in human services, the many times we are left with the unknown, the incomplete, the loss and we create our own narratives to push us through. To be able to continue to function, the ideas “we can’t save them all” or “it’s their choice” or (insert your favourite here). All are truthie, yet all remove the humanity from the equation in the journey, the connection, the intimacy of the journey of healing, and the most importantly that to do the work well, one must see each person as having value for simply being human. Inherent and intrinsic value and worth.

When things are left a mystery, when we are unable to have healthy closure, or when we experience loss of life-

It takes a toll.

And this is the challenge for as the heroes left behind continue answering crisis after crisis, while trying to solve the death of their friends the truth of the situation echoes out. The work never stops, and neither does one’s own life and challenges running parallel. Yet in our own world of service we continually hear the false mantra of efficiency from neo-liberal governance “DO MORE WITH LESS” and we are left broken, for the impossibility and implausibility of it all.

Like Green Arrow’s question in anger at his friend’s funeral to the Justice League, “Where’s Batman and Flash, did he not matter enough?”

The truth was, he mattered, and the work was to find the killer. In the work, they could not let themselves pause, to feel the pain of loss.

Subsumed.

Unable to be with their own humanity.

As we await the new, in the darkness and the uncertain. We are in the house, like the first Holy Saturday, what world do we want to emerge in to? What are you hearing from the Holy Mystery?

Are we going to affirm our value in simply being?

Affirm and live into our collective value of being humanity?


What did you learn from that?

-Dr. Finn, The Orville Season 1, Ep. 2 “Command Performance”

See the source imageThe episode Command Performance, finds the second officer brooding an egg (a single gender species reproductive practice-do not ask I do not want to digress right now); and the Captain and first officer trapped away from ship, leaving Lt. Kitan Alara, the Security Chief in command for the first time. Her first actions lead to a disastrous explosion that harms the ship and crew.

The quote is a rebuff by the ship’s doctor when she attempts to get out of command based on the error. It opened up thoughts on this blustery Good Friday in Calgary as we continue the cycle of non-spring weather with another snow flurry (and parts of Southern Alberta awaiting or receiving upwards to 20 cms). It is a weekend in North America where a hashtag to end the shut down is beginning to pick up moment (dumb asses, as Red from That `70’s show would say); where some mega churches have been pushing for congregating together to celebrate for “the blood of Jesus” will protect you if you have the faith (dumb ass), the Yellow Vesters movement in Alberta is planning a gathering this weekend to promote the “fake news” of the pandemic not being real (may they all receive the $1,200 fine a piece and hopefully 6 months a piece in remand if they amp up the aggression issue), see my thoughts echoing Red on the first point of the hash tag. Now, some may say the fines aren’t a reality, but they are and I am proud of the Calgary Police Service for the news of two handed out this week (read here), for one being symptomatic and breaking the health order of quarantine, the other to the nefarious Street Church in Calgary that uses the offering of free food for those in need as a way to peddle a toxic gospel message, verbally and emotionally abuse individuals and waste our courts and politicians time in faux outrage of non-existent oppression. Yes, I have had my run ins with them and their hatred formula, and on this Good Friday as we reflect on the different stories of Jesus, Pilate, Caiaphas, Peter and Judas, I would say the “preacher” of this movement falls into the category of the religious oppressors out to kill hope, peace, joy, faith and love.

I akin it in Canada to a unified Team Canada across 9 provinces, 3 territories and our Federal Government in working together to accomplish the impossible of flattening the curve, and ending the pandemic–then you come to my home province where our Premier’s insecurity is on display with him taking over the Chief Medical Officer addresses, where nearly 1/4 of lay offs during the pandemic were executed by a Saturday press release/tweet of public school staff and education assistants (for those most vulnerable of our exceptional children); a health minister that is breaking privacy rules to personally bully doctors and health professionals, cancelling agreements that is driving doctors out of our rural areas, an authoritarian power grab by-passing the elected Legislative Assembly by the Premier…and the list goes on as ideology outstrips common sense and compassion for fellow neighbours and citizens.

Yet it is driven and some faithful are having the scales fall away from their eyes like Paul in Damascus, but others are doubling down in the creation of a assertive eugenics movement that can see the least of these not make it through the pandemic not because of natural virus progression but rather advert government interference to strip the supports necessary for life to continue. This attack on the elements of kindness, hope, peace, joy, faith and love at the heart of the Holy Week journey.

For it is the drive to kill these key elements of human spirit that is the crux of the Good Friday story. It may be missed, and lost within the drive to maintain the normal, the hierarchy, the patriarchy, the institutionalization, the colonialism, the system that exists, the empire, the capitalism… Yet what is missed within the story is that the oppressive powers truly were afraid of what happens when the people understand kindness, their inherent worth in simply being (Imageo Dei) and belonging, here these words anew with that lens:

John 18:1-19:42 (The Message):

18 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
7 Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)
10 Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.
11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
12-14 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “No, I’m not.”
18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
The Interrogation
19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, “Not me.”
26 One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
27 Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed.
The King of the Jews
28-29 They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. “What charge do you bring against this man?”
30 They said, “If he hadn’t been doing something evil, do you think we’d be here bothering you?”
31-32 Pilate said, “You take him. Judge him by your law.”
The Jews said, “We’re not allowed to kill anyone.” (This would confirm Jesus’ word indicating the way he would die.)
33 Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?”
35 Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?”
36 “My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.”
37 Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”
Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”
38-39 Pilate said, “What is truth?”
Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

The new hope being born through these times, if we let the old oppressive regimes die, and the awaiting resurrection– new birth– is being seen in the assertion of public education, universal health care (including mental health, dentistry, optometry and pharma care a truly holistic approach) and a guaranteed universal/basic income are the policy pieces. At the community level we are realizing the true value in simply being, understanding that every role in our society matters and should be able to have a living-thriving wage.

Wow, true belonging.

Currently though as you can see, the globe is in the struggle of Good Friday. The fake trial, the assertion of the old that destroyed and continues to destroy so many, and the new standing there, scourged, beaten, crucified as the old cheers wins or so it seems. But how much longer can it limp along, using catch phrases, and tweet politics/religion to stop the blessing of the gifts?

In our Good Friday where are we choosing to stand?

With the old– or

with the gift of being, belonging, hope, peace, faith, joy, and the most precious, LOVE?

You are the jury of the soul for yourself and community,

how do you cast your vote?


Ah, it is always humourous to me how the Christian church in the death throes of Christendom and the spinning out of the Christianities, in their last gasp of Empire fail to realize that in the story of Holy Week, they have become the Roman Empire and the Religious Oppressors that Brother Jesus lived his life of Hope and Love out against. Just looking to the neighbours to the South and the screams of “religious oppression” and the lie of “We can gather, God will heal and protect us” (and yes, I have heard on a remotely minor scale some of this echoed in Canada just not covered–though Calgary’s Street Church—ARGH!!!!–but that is a rant, not the point of this message). The control, and herd mentality that can lead to the end is sad. See being asked to distance, and do things differently is not oppression, it is saying still connect, still worship, still be community, but do it safely and differently.

I mean, read the story of Paul in the Christian Testament pre-conversation for oppression, read the histories of the early church in the Didache…then reflect, and turn back to what is actually being asked not twitter sound bites.

But I digress with my opening, for we are in hope. I have been tracking moments of hope in the world currently, of world’s collaborating, of those times idiocy is overcome, of the calling out of that which many would’ve remained silent on within their own movements. Seeing the affirmation of the person at this time as we discuss how best to move forward as a society, seeing what is wrong with some aide plans rolled out, and providing constructive feedback to leaders to improve. For those that would like to continue to reach out to government officials in Canada I guide you to the Reboot Alberta community, and their short teaching around written engagement (and yes Alberta, with our doctors walking out due to our Government’s continued and sustained attack against the medical profession at this time, this is pertinent, for their continued and sustained attack against our exceptional children in education, and for their dehumanizing attack against our most vulnerable in shelters, it is necessary), please read Ken Chapman’s post in Reboot Alberta here. As in ancient times, the personal connection to the issues raise the words importance, and hopefully during this time of isolating where contemplation can open up a heart and mind, we will see even the most ideologically entrenched break and realizing people are not numbers on  balance sheet.

But again, do I digress, or is this real world application for the time of Palm Sunday. A time of celebration in my own family, as both our children chose to engage in God’s love on this day many years ago- a year a part. In our own family tradition, it was not specific denominations that stepped up to offer God Parents, but rather across the Christianities and without label, just a focus on the “love as I have loved you” command Jesus gave in the Gospel of John. The Johannine community as I have written of earlier, was a community of collaboration, interdependence, and focus of service to affirm, lift up and create belonging for all the blessedly diverse Imageo Dei’s of their world.

This is a resounding message within Palm Sunday. Calling for change, living counter to the authoritarian regimes’, helping one another, holding them to account. And then on the day we lift up today, Empire flexed its muscles and held a military parade on one end of the city, while Jesus, humbly entered (John 12:12-19):

12The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15″Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

The gathering of the cast outside of society, those that the actions of government said did not matter. The ultimate demonstration of love, belonging and hope to move forward with. Yes, the powers to be continued to conspire, as we see with some mega churches refusing distancing orders, and some governments Canada thought were friends, banning exports of desperately needed supplies so they can appear in control and in power, but the light is shinning through the shadow cracks, revealing their true character and what truly matters to them—it may look like an S, but it’s not for hope from Krypton it is $$$$$.

Yet the world as a whole pushes back and our story continues.

Will this parade of new way of being together continue?

Will we continue to crack the oppressive darkness and anger that has regressed our change?

We as a world, are at our collective Palm Sunday and ready for what emerges as new birth, when our physical distancing ends and our world has an opportunity to enjoy our Rebirth…

Like a DC Comics hero, what is our core story and values that will be on the table for us to move forward together with?


It has always been a weird situation when folks try to make out you’re some kind of super hero or special person for being a parent of an exceptional child. Really? I think all parents that engage with their kids to support them in becoming who they are meant to be are quite amazing regardless of the labels society places on the child. See, the only real trash parent I see are the ones that decide a coping or discipline method is to beat a child or spouse or sexually, emotionally and mentally abuse them (which is why I cheer the Canadian Government’s $7.5 million investment in kid’s help phone during this time of social distancing, perhaps silence will break and we can rescue more from the darkness, but I digress).

I’m a parent of a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Any labels through medical or societal are not their to define my children, rather they are their for communities and society to know what my child needs to thrive, discover, belong and be the most awesome them, they can be. Full stop. Being a parent is hard. Each of us has our own strengths, areas of growth, challenges, and then we are given mini-mes that become a ramped up mirror of our best and worst traits (hey, I knew I was a sarcastic so-so, but trust me when my kids riff on me its really obvious lol). So why do we need to sub-divide?

Within the exceptional child community, why do we sub-divide further? With comments such as, you can’t possibly know because your child can do x-y-z-… we are conditioned to constantly be in apology mode for a spasm, a sound, a spasticity, a stem or a tick…yet…

The world around us, can be as assertively a-holey (to borrow on of my daughter’s favourites of skirting swearing) it wants towards us. Religious can say we did something so our child is being punished for sin, that they need prayer for healing. In religious settings many have heard of our family’s journeys where the elders, long timers, and money givers feel it is their right to make an issue of the “different”, not understanding truly what an imageo dei is an how a diverse mosaic our Holy truly is in human form… yet it is left to us to take the slings and arrows, and to make apologies, up to us to mea culpa, and share the medical history to “educate”. Yet at no point does someone hold the bullier accountable, and threaten to cast them out, instead the surface issues are touched upon, and one does not want to deep dive to the “isms” below the surface. Truly live healing and reconciliation at a community level as the gospel teaches, so instead we leave. Before the social distancing began I was sharing ideas with some non-profits to offer up this spiritual space for families seeking it an not yet ready to traverse the choppy waters. Also knowing that the last 2 places my family has been and is, are safe zones, some may say courageously, but rather I would use the term they came to meet my son with Jesus’ heart.

But I digress. For the fight before these moments was cemented in something deeper. As alluded to. You fight against the passive systematic eugenics for your child to be allowed life. Then you battle the assertive systematic eugenics for them to keep their life. You lift the life up to the Holy Mystery thankful for the love and blessing of parenthood for however long they will be with you, knowing that it truly is a blessing.

Yet as noted, different groups you try to be apart of use “tradition” or “money” as reasons they cannot alter physical spaces for accessibility (making a physical space able to be used by all). Never mind if they are willing to even extend the interpersonal space to allow the different to exist (noting any similarities with any other marginalized group). To the challenge of belonging- this is being known by many, missed when not their, supported in finding and fulfilling purpose– it challenges the concept of the abled, the idea that disability is catching, or that the wrong thing may be said, or what do you do when the child dies? So many things race through minds to create barriers, instead of simply meeting the person before you as… a person.

The other challenge is fighting with other systems that tell you, like the CBE, that you chose to have it, and should be happy with the scraps thrown your way. Our current education minister that believes scrapping aides is a cost saver for the rest of the school year that will be done by home, not understanding the roles fulfilled. The governmental policy not seeing the child as a full person, just as a nuisance that can be spun as the rationale for why other students can’t have things (and yes has been done many times). When tragedy strikes, knowing your child will not receive the same level of support as other children would, because it is too costly to figure out how to aid them in grieving.

To a disability community fractured because everyone chases the funding needed for our children to excel, so instead of exceptional kids and adults, we hear about specific disabilities, and others are left outside. Sadly, as I noted earlier, some families’ take this approach in trying to support one another in the idea of-well your child can– so you don’t get it (or in the struggles to keep plastic straws). A selfish inability to see beyond our own situation, and to understand that we can advocate for something beneficial to other families’ even if it is not directly beneficial to our child because it’s the right thing to do.

The system, politics,  communities, religion, try to beat down upon you that your child or loved one is not a full person. That you should mourn because they may never (fill in the `traditional’ coming of age mile stone) and as such you are missing out.

And ya know what my pastoral response is to it all?

BULLOCKS!!!

Being a parent, uncle, aunt, grandparent, god parent, is a pretty awesome thing. The child before you, that is now in your life regardless of diagnosis or labels is– a friggin’ blessing folks and is looking to us to love them, mentor them, and support them into becoming the most awesome them they can be.

What does that mean? It means celebrating when things happen that are awesome, crying when things change or loss happens, chatting and sharing with the child like you would any child. Doing life together as a family, and standing your ground as a strong advocate when something is unjust, or educate when necessary, but also, regardless of time affiliated with a group, person or family member, when they don’t get it and it becomes detrimental to your mental health or that of your child- END IT!

See my son is 14 years old. 14 amazing years of having a son. Some say how did you raise a son with___. Honestly, I raised a son, this is my son, and truly the only one I know how to raise.  We have had many laughs, tickles, wrestles, experiments, times in hospital, tears when little buddies and grandparents went to the tea party in heaven, his heart convinced me a non-dog person to get a dog…and we cried when our mumma house hippo joined the Jesus Tea Party. Waiting for the next blessing. He has ministered with me, cheered in hockey games, been out in multiple parades collecting donations to help other kids, the first to hug a new friend that he just met, and deeply feel rejection from those that should know better. He chose to be baptized in pre-school, we celebrated his elementary school graduation, and are looking forward to high school. Do we know what the future holds?

No.

But he’s a kid. Kids discover, learn, and define who they are in life. Parents help them cultivate that so that they can become the who they are meant to be.

That is what we are doing. We live each day with gratitude, even those days he’s a weiner because he’s a 14 year old boy and does what 14 year old boys do, and those days when he shows wisdom and compassion through the simplest actions beyond his years.

Society tells you to grieve. I thought it was important to share, that grieving is about making society feel better for their innate fear and hatred of that which does not conform to their “ideals”. The labels and diagnosis are there not to define your child’s boundaries of life, but rather to state what the world needs to do to ensure they belong, grow and thrive into the citizen they are becoming.

Rather live in celebration, push the envelope, learn, discover, laugh, cry, and be the parent you were meant to be with the kids you have.

Shift from grieving to gratitude.

Practice each day, writing out 3 things you are grateful for. Plan your own family milestone celebrations that fit the family you are and are becoming due to who your child is.

Be in the moment. Let hope grow, and love abound.


It is interesting as I do like to spend time just enjoying the themes and events of Advent, that is the time surrounding and leading up to the birth of Jesus. I find too often in our insta-world when you enter a Liturgical season, the minister tries to speed up the story so that those who may be in seasonal attendance get the full pitch from birth to death to resurrection, so they “don’t miss a chance” but in so doing there is something lost to those who regularly attend upon the journey. That is a long-winded intro to share that my reflection comes out of Luke 20, and y’all are clutching pearls on the hypocrisy of my earlier statement cause that chapter is so close to the end of the Gospel am I not fast forwarding?

Yes, but it is more about a teaching moment, and yes I would love to spend more time unpacking Advent itself, and searching through different topics on my site, and the Marian Theology you will find quite a bit. This however is about when they started to question Jesus’ authority, that is the religious leaders of the day. See as Luke opened up, there was a cousin that was 6 months older than Jesus, who Herod beheaded because John The Baptist called Herod out for probably killing his own brother to steal his wife and niece to be his own wives. I know? And Herod was Israel’s puppet king in place by Rome (mostly due to the shrewd politics of the Herod family that had them play all sides of a conflict to ensure they remained in power at the end, like munitions dealers today).

As we enter into Luke 20, Jesus has been doing his thing. Challenging his authority to teach and heal. See, it wasn’t that the religious “leaders” did not know the love laws of God, it was that they used them much the way many churches use them today. Not as a guide map to widen the kingdom welcome to all and to invest in the blessed mosaic of God’s children, but as a manual for exclusion. Jesus’ ministry was a direct challenge and cracks were appearing (see my writings on Belonging Pyramid). Leading up to our teaching today, Jesus is confronted in Luke 20: 1-8 where the chief priests come to inquire about who gave Jesus authority to do these things. Jesus turns the question on them by asking where John’s baptism was from heaven or human? It freezes them, for they know if they discredit John the Baptist they lose the people, but if they say it is from Heaven, they lose all power. It is a lose lose question for them to answer, so they do not. Then in 20:9-20 Jesus shares about the evil tenants, a story of a man whose vineyard needs help, so he leases to others, but these tenants refuse to follow through on the contract. When the owner sends a slave he is beaten and sent back, same with another, when he finally sends his son, they kill the kid. It is Jesus pointing to the religious leaders and saying this is your story of abusing the name of God to your own ends. The prophets were sent to get your hearts back on track, and you beat them…then you will kill me. It was not a well received parable. Then they try to catch him by asking about taxes, and Jesus points out that you do your duty as a good citizen, you pay your taxes, for it is the graven image of the Emperor so it is not God’s. It is also a backhanded slap against the temple who collected the annual offering to the Emperor to remember who truly their God is, and that they cannot ethically serve two masters (I wonder of the allegory of the tax exempt status of churches, and nation churches in our era around this?)…a building and conclusion outcome from the preceding parable.

That brings us to the teaching to unpack today:

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[b] 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

-Luke 20:27-40 (New International Version)

First a quick recap of major religious groups of the time in Judaism, and that Jesus was simply one of 400 that could’ve been the Messiah to the people. There was the Zealots, a rather militant wing of believers (think the IRA), then the Pharisees, who were literalists but probably the more liberal as they believed in a physical resurrection with the kingdom the Messiah would usher in, the Essene that retreated to the Wilderness, and then the Sadducees, those that were more legalistic than the Pharisees, and did not believe in a resurrection. That’s right, they are asking a question of Jesus that is precept on a foundation they do not believe in.

Then they share the holy practice of keeping when “out of exploitation” according to the religious societal custom of Israel. A woman was only there to have babies, so this bride was in shame not being able to produce an heir when her husband dies. The practice is for the next brother to take the wife in as their own spouse to produce an heir, and this may create a polygamous situation as the goal was for the wife not to be left outside the city as a beggar or to be sex trafficked (for this see the story of Tamar, Genesis 38). Unfortunately she outlived all 7 brothers, and still no heir. Now, the religious were not concerned about what is to happen to her upon the death of her 7th husband, no their concern is around resurrection and who she would be married to.

Jesus throws down at this point. You can almost see the head shake of “have I been talking to myself”. For he points out that the next life, and the life within the Kingdom is completely different than the twisted oppressive system that humans had created. There was not going to be a need for business style covenant marriages to ensure procreation, to treat women as less than and property.

Rather Jesus points out the glory that is God, and that all are created in God’s image. He then points out that the problem at the heart of the question, is that not all are equal so this woman had to enter into 6 other marriages, and no one is sure if she even wanted the first because she had no voice, no person-hood.

That was what astounded the crowds as Jesus as Rabbi. Brother Jesus, laid out that the core of what is needed is to see one another as full persons, and that would change the way society functions, and oppressive predatory practices would die.

The question left festering for those that oppressed though, was would they hear the words of God, or would they continue to serve power at all costs?


My family has been reading through the Gospel of Luke this Advent season. It is a great way to engage with the Jesus story, lots comes at you each night in the one chapter to unpack, and work with our kids so they renew or come to new understanding of passages with where they are at in life. Who are the outcasts of our world that Jesus would have come to? Who would the ones being challenged by John the Baptist and Jesus be today?

How would you feel as Mary, taking all your you and saying “YES” to God? Would you? Was it a step of faith? Hope?  Was Elizabeth wrapped in joy with her late term pregnancy? What implications did this have on the drive of John the Baptist? Could he have been one with Asperger’s (which is now fully wrapped into the Autism Spectrum)? Was Jesus married? Does it increase or decrease your faith if he was?

And the parables. The wonderful stories of what it means to be the light, the sower. That is where our light shines and our seeds fall, how are we to love our friends, family, community, neighbours? How do we shine our light when our friends are locked into a negative thought cycle? How do we love when a friend gets disowned? What does it mean to have a home that lives the core values of Advent? That is a sacred safe space for all?

These are the stories that come to mind. Then you hit on belonging, and Luke provides.

17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and religion teachers were sitting around. They had come from nearly every village in Galilee and Judea, even as far away as Jerusalem, to be there. The healing power of God was on him.

18-20 Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, “Friend, I forgive your sins.”

21 That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemous talk! God and only God can forgive sins.”

22-26 Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, “Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say ‘I forgive your sins,’ or to say ‘Get up and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: “Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, “We’ve never seen anything like that!”

-Luke 5:17-26 (The Message)

Many hear this story as a passion for these gents to get their friend healed, and what they were willing for that to happen. But that is a superficial, ablest read of the passage. Much like what we bring to many of the disability passages within the Gospels. See, the world of the time, as sadly today, saw folks with disabilities as less than, those to be hidden away, not engaged with, gawked at, the question being what did they or their parents do to be cursed like this.

But that is never how Jesus ends. Jesus challenges assumptions, yet this story starts even before Jesus. He is doing his thing, in a local home, many are going, crowds are growing. These guys hear what is going down, and want to be a part of it. But one of them is missing, the proverbial shut in, or institutionalized or child with disability whose family does not want to deal with the headache and hurt of being in a church. They know it will not be the same without their friend.

Belonging- he is known, he is acknowledged, he is wanted, and he is missed when not there.

They go back and get him, and bring him along.

Yet, as with many holy sites, the house and crowd were not accessible. Folks were unwilling to give up their space to let their friend through. Ever had the– but this is where we sit conversation? Or this is where we park? Or any claiming of sacred space as proprietary? This is what they were hit with.

But they persevered. They took accessibility into their own hands. Could you imagine being there as these gents built their own lift to get their friend to the Holy? Love drove them.

Jesus did not heal first off. First off he affirmed the divinity of the person. He did this by pointing out like everyone else, he had done good and ill (one cannot have sin without the dichotomy), but then said he was cleansed. The shock, was the shock against the religious caste system that tried to place deficiency, and non-personhood upon this man to make themselves, “HOLY”. Jesus was the nullifier of this unholy religiousity. Who are those we try to place non-personhood upon now to make ourselves feel HOLY?

To abate their shock, Jesus heals.

Why?

So the love his friends had for him, could be extended into the whole community.

Today, we do not need this.

We need to get the message of the love of the divine. That all are in the divine image. The Imageo Dei.

The challenge is letting go of the fear of change, the grieving of loss. For what have we lost with belonging?

What has been healed in belonging?

The Holy, Beloved, and Blessed Image of God that each one of us is created in.

What is healed, is the false rifts, separations and castes our fragile human ego (sin) have placed within our world.


It is interesting in the world of business and non-profits (religious included) we float the idea of “Core Values”, yet how often do they just end up as brochure buried on a shelf or bulletin board? How often have we heard, we value all being welcome with dignity– yet accessibility projects are deferred for things such as security systems (or whom holds the power decrees is more important)?

It can be challenging during this time of year not to fall victim to the chimera created by the religious right of the war on Christmas…I have yet to meet anyone who vehemently hates Santa, or the idea of generosity. What is challenging is the man-made hate monger created image of Jesus is challenged–for these are not the core values he professed. It was never about exclusion, in fact most of the challenging teachings were directed at the religious of Jesus’ day for missing the mark– the mark? We can quote Matthew 25 around care for the poor, sick, elderly, widows, the ones society felt were toss away, but we are in the Holy Season of Advent for Christians, and it distills the core values fairly clearly:

Hope*Faith*Joy*Peace*Love

These are the core that come from the common truth, that goes back to the Creation story, and that the Prophet Isaiah reminds us of:

Image result for house of prayer for all nationsA phrase many religious gathering in the faiths of Abraham use. This idea of inclusive, but flexed for exclusion for not fully unpacking the full story:

 “And as for the outsiders who now follow me,

working for me, loving my name,

and wanting to be my servants—

All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,

holding fast to my covenant—

I’ll bring them to my holy mountain

and give them joy in my house of prayer.

They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’

to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.

Oh yes, my house of worship

will be known as a house of prayer for all people. (The Message, Isaiah 56:6-7)

It is laying out clearly, that all are welcome, not only welcome, but are a divine image (Imageo Dei) and authentically belong as one of God’s children blessedly created.

One cannot claim a divine-holy presence, if their presence is not open to all of the divine image, and love of God-Self-Neighbour (the Covenant– the Law & The Prophets summarized and lived out).

What is lost in belonging? What is lost is the bondage of fear, prejudice, bigotry, conflict, hate, constant grieving and greed.

What is gained?

Hope, Peace, Faith, Joy and Love.

Further resources on Inclusion/Belonging:

There was a powerful video shared about this congregation at Shelly Christensen’s speaking at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the JCC Calgary today, unfortunately I was unable to track down the specific link, here are some others though to provoke conversation and thought.

Bet Shalom Congregation: https://disabilitiesinclusion.org/exemplar-congregations/bet-shalom-congregation/

Apirl 2, 2009 Inclusion Video: https://youtu.be/D72NKCZlNNA

Inclusion Innovations: http://inclusioninnovations.com