Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

-Gospel of Luke 15: 4-5 (New International Version)

What is the role of a Shepherd? Brother Jesus shared how the Holy Mystery was with creation through parables, that is story. The imagery was for the time, and in the instance of the shepherd a lost sheep was lost revenue, and if the flock was not owned by the shepherd then punishment to come. The image of the Shepherd retrieving the lost sheep with it draped around his neck is seen as one of love, but truly it is a lamb that has been hobbled by the Shepherd’s staff so it can’t walk and re-learns to be with the flock.This parable has been used to create sheeple within pews, that is, it has created a sense of fear for the lost sheep has been cast as one who has descended into “sin” or “evil” and needs to be forcefully converted back.

A flip side of the coin for the parable is the way it was used in Star Trek Voyager’s Season 6 episode “Good Shepherd”.  Captain Janeway has three members of her crew brought to her attention that have not come into who they are truly meant to be: Mortimer an engineer who would rather be lost in centuries solved physic debates than achieve his own greatness, Celes who cannot even chase her passion because she has convinced herself she is incompetent, and Billy, who has created a wall of hypochondria to protect himself.

Yes, each thing may be seen as a barrier, or just laziness. But the story also illustrates the overcoming and naming of Gremlins by each crew member. The Gremlin, or saboteur, what others may suggest is a Shadow or soul sludge is that which protects us but also keeps us frozen in our here and now. We cannot move forward. It is the heart of the Good Shepherd story, not violence or forceful compliance. It is the journey of discovery for all involved.

First off, the Shepherd discovers the one(s) that has fallen between the cracks, that has let Gremlins take over. The conversation and actions open up to remove the Gremlin.

Secondly, the Sheep must be willing to identify and name the Gremlin, thank the Gremlin for the care it has provided, but still release it to oblivion.

Finally, if not, then the outcome of the Parable is the ultimate fear and that is loss of the Lamb to the wolf.

What it comes down to though for the journey of life is the answer to a simple question deep within our own souls:

Do you trust you to be you?

 

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 What follows below is my speaking notes from this morning, the pdf is just below for the power point slides noted in the bolded brackets throughout.

Men’s Prayer Breakfast, Centennial Presbyterian Church January 26, 2019 

mens prayer breakfast january 2019

Good Morning. We are exploring some aspects this morning of mental health and belonging, as was advertised it is a personal and professional faith journey. In our time this morning we are by no means going to touch upon the entire spectrum of mental health concerns, diagnosis, disorders and spectrums out there. I am going to share a bit about my journey, and the ones that have touched upon me the most. Now I am sure you are probably asking well who is this guy? 

That’s a good question, short answer in my name is Ty, and I have lived in Rundle my whole life, my goal in life is simple to make my own corner of the world a better place. I am currently travelling through the echoes of a life spent fighting back the darkness of our world, and creating safe courageous space for all to belong, but more on that piece later. I am a pilgrim, the ad described me as a monastic-psychologist. It is true, I hold a Doctor of Psychology, I sought it out because I needed to skills to aid folks in healing. I have a Bachelor of Arts from Alberta Bible College, and my Master or Arts is from Canadian Theological Seminary now Ambrose Seminary. Each degree earned with classes that aided me in my goal of making the world a bit better, not for any other reason. I am monastic, because at the core of my journey is a formation in the Franciscan Charism. St. Francis of Assisi founded an order about 800 years ago of the open hand, those that embraced justice, simplicity, and living out the gospel message of love. Many believe it is an anti-educational-intellectual order because of a teaching of Francis that you first must learn the first scripture before going to the next. He was not counselling us to be the frozen chosen, but rather to so live into the scripture that we are living it without even thinking about it, it simply becomes part of our DNA. 

For me, the journey of learning has been centered on the scripture that brought me into organized church and ministry, at 19 years old I was contemplating my 6th attempt at suicide. I had gone through a horrendous time for that time of my life where my then fiancée had decided to abort our child, and re-enter the sex trade to feed her addiction. I was at home, quietly putting things in order, giving/selling things. When I stumbled across the little red Gideon’s New Testament they used to give out in grade 5. It was in the bottom of my closet and the spine was broken open, and these little red letters spoke to me: 

(slide of Great Commandment) 

Something shifted in my depression, and I decided to go see my Nan that weekend, and try out this church thing, and the tumultuous seasons of my ministerial life would begin, as I started to be like the lawyer. 

(slide of Good Samaritan). 

This led me to a life journey involved in many aspects of church ministry, continuing an active writing and activism career that was already in place, building ministries, writing curriculums, entering into service in the homeless sector during the darkest times of our province, as austerity measures created a humanitarian crisis in Calgary where threat to human life was imminent each winter. I would also serve during my time as a chaplain to those with dementia, childrens and youth pastors, pulpit supply, college and university instructor from bachelor to post-graduate courses in a variety of topics, practicum supervisors, mentor for at risk youth and re-integration mentor for youth re-entering society from the young offender’s centre. I would do outreach in many of the cities in Canada for those in need, aiding those camping rough to find safety, and if they could not the next morning aiding authorities in identifying the bodies. Publish a few books. Oh and in the midst, I would find time to run for office and shape many policies for parties at both the Federal and Provincial level, but hey a man needs a hobby. 

Throughout this I began to shape a concept of belonging. That it is about aiding folks in understanding who they truly are, how the experience the world, and how we as community can aid them in achieving wholeness. 

(slide on mental health) 

In my teens and early 20’s like many Albertans I struggled with alcohol. It would not be until later that I would find out about my family’s predilection to alcoholism. But I made a hard decision at that time, after my one birthday where I woke up sore and alone at home, alcohol was not a good thing for me, it made me violent, it needed to end: 

(slide of Dix) 

Addiction comes in many forms.  

(addiction slide)  

It is a form of self-medicating, a numbing agent, a replacement for authentic belonging and authentic self. The challenge in our world, is that so many things that become addictive can be seen as societally acceptable: gambling we use to fundraise for our schools and hospitals and other non-profits, alcohol you are seen as abnormal if you do not drink in social settings- try being politically active and sober? Or a writer; work or fitness or religion- all things that are acceptable, but can also so overtake our lives that we can no longer function. 

(Opioid crisis slide) 

Today we are in a crisis in Canada as a result of our triage and siloed method of dealing with people in health care. We are in what the media and health care have termed an opioid crisis, it is due to the prevalence of Fentanyl. A drug originally designed for end of life pain allevement. Now opioids, when used for pain relief within medicine are not bad, that is the all or nothing view of our world. What is wrong, is those using them to self-medicate their own personal pain. Pain caused by our own inhumanity towards one another. What would change with the crisis if we moved out of isolation and fear mongering, into authentic community? A courageous safe space where we understand pain, we understand the journey of healing, and we are willing to believe and help at a deeper level. We are willing to allow belonging, knowing that the greatest fear in belonging is that when the person is no longer there, we shall mourn.  

That is why we avoid belonging. Whether it is belonging in our own skin (Love yourself) or opening space for belonging for neighbour (love your neighbour as yourself). 

(won’t you be my neighbour slide) 

I have already touched on a bit of my own struggle with depression. Depression is a normal reaction in the grief process of loss, it can also be more than short term however, and that is okay. It is how some experience life 

(Depression Slides) 

It is ironic, as a child I had convulsions, they were so severe in my toddler years I am told there was multiple times I stopped breathing and was blue. In the late 70’s early 80’s the treatment for such a thing was an anti-psychotic- Phenobarbitrol. It is a harsh long-term treatment, but it saved my life and my brain. Many children who were put on it, lost their lives to suicide or addiction in adolescence, or dropped out of life. It is still used in short term cases for stabilization before another anti-epileptic or anti-convulsant will be prescribed. I was on it from roughly age 2 to 9 years old, my convulsions left my brain scarred, and unbeknownst to us at the time, the medication had rewired things significantly. 

As my Mum entered into the journey of Breast Cancer that would eventually take her life; I was the Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries at a church; teaching and writing; working as a vocational coach for persons with disabilities; working on my Master’s oh and just for fun running for office while editing a political journal provincially, and a spiritual journal internationally is when the repercussions of what saved my life would hit. 

(I don’t wanna slide) 

Panic attacks. Tears or anger for no reason. Medication as my brain chemistry was out of balance. 

I was always and still am open about my own journey, if those who seek to facilitate healing cannot be open, how do we expect those seeking help to be open. There was a backlash, churches skittered away from me, as I transitioned back into a leadership role in the homeless sector I was abruptly informed that I was a weak leader for sharing my mental health with my team. That self-care and mental health care were not up to leaders to mentor staff in, it was their job to deal with the challenges of the job. 

Stigma. 

But through medication, self-care, what I termed soul work through spiritual direction and life coaching I emerged through that time on medication for a few years and things had improved.  It was also during this time that I lost my ordination by taking a stand that yes children with disabilities belong in God’s kingdom (but our journey of that is a tale for another time). 

As Shawna, my wife, is always proud to say, I taught many how to care for themselves, while caring for neighbour. Soul care, ensuring you can love yourself and are being the true you, while helping others become the true them. We did not expect what was to begin in 2016, but there are 4 scary letters out there that we need to remove the fear from: 

(PTSD Slides) 

Whether personally or professionally we as a family had created safe spaces for belonging, whether they found me through work, or showed up on our door step. Literally meals can be added to, coffee or tea can go on, kids can play, and life can happen as we just are: 

(Quote slide) 

I am going to share with you an article I wrote about what is happening in the now, it is the outcome of years of journeying in the darkness as the light, and taking a beating for views of belonging. A lifetime, as we spoke of before in a Franciscan way of learning how to live out the Great Commandments, and answer the question, Who is my neighbour? 

(PTSD-PNES Slide) 

613 is my number, what is yours? 

It is amazing the conversations one has as a parent, and then the journey it causes you to reflect upon. Before May 2016 sitting in an ER I never thought I would be here. See, growing up and throughout my life I admit to being socially awkward (to be kind), but there was something that always was wonderful, my mind. When it came to numbers it was something like Charlie on Numbers that the solution would come to me, but has no real idea what took me from problem to solution. My everyday mind would be able to focus on 3 or 4 tasks in front of me, while crunching solutions and dreams/plans for multitudes of other things (one of the main reasons I never took up this thing called driving). 

It is the blessing of this mind, with my heart for changing the world that allowed the drive in school (and the multiple degrees earned and given honourary); building programs; running for office; editing and writing; book publishing; teaching; outreach work; mentoring; life coaching; spiritual direction; public speaking; pulpit supply; and the list can go on in my short life I had packed in multiple life times. Standing in the darkness and walking with those in the midst so they could come into their light. Discover who they truly were; teaching and facilitating others in discovering their passions and ways to make a living at it. I believe my life showed that you can chase dreams, and still hold true to your core values, not having to surrender who you are to make a difference in this world. At one point I looked back on my time in ministry and realized I had the opportunity to speak into nearly 1,000 young lives for the better. 

But it started to shift in May and then October 2016 in the ER with weird brain activity, memory loss, chest pains and left-hand tremors. But I was told I was normal and fine, so carry on at discharge, after a day or two at home back at it. Back at the work of walking with folks to create home and community. 

In the later part of 2017 as summer approached, professional and personal griefs/stressors were there. Waying on one’s spirit. I felt tired, and my brain was foggy. Like I had taught so many though, back to the daily practice, self-care, seeking out those who can aid you in debrief and carry forward, keep yourself healthy. And why wouldn’t I be tired? It was a phase, been there done that. My vocabulary, and understanding of some basic concepts began to fail me. Again, I looked back on what was happening with those in personal and professional life passing away, assumed it was a grief cycle (my son’s friends were passing away, always hard). 

But then my birthday hit and the game changed. 

Seizures (Grand Mal and absent), multiple in rapid succession. Lost memory and time. Not only in the now, but lost memories, I could not recall things. It kept happening, I became the ER’s daily flier if you will…and oh so cold, my body had gone hypothermic, in retrospect to protect my heart. Medical science couldn’t answer the question. Weird things being vomited out. Tests were toss ups. 

But when the seizures hit, and I would come back so would the pain. The life of being a light in the darkness, but only the darkness would come back. Decades of being in the pain, looking back and having my mind lie to me saying that I was a failure, had not made a difference. My memories that would reboot, it was like an old DOS computer with dust on the floppy, the self-care wouldn’t come with it. My healing and growing of scar tissue were gone, it was rapid succession of the pain that cut to the very core of who I was. I tried to work through, my agency was wonderful in their support. 

But I was not me. My beautiful gift, my mind, was failing. Things that I knew by rote, and was simple neurological muscle memory were gone, fog was constant, stabbing pains, tremoring arm, in ability to sleep, hypothermic and I won’t share how when I went down finally for health reasons the days of weird chemicals I had been exposed to expelling from my body (oh and the constant daily seizures, at one point almost 40 a day). Tests of the blood, body and brain, but the flashbacks persisted. 

It wasn’t something that was expected. I had learned to take care of myself, to rely on supports, to keep healthy, to use vacation time and to chase passions. This was against the narrative. But it persisted. Advancing from basic neurology to complex, in hospital observational stays, and all the epileptoligists/neurologists looking at my brain scans and medical files to reach a decision on what was happening. Finally, in the last month or two having confirmed diagnosis, PTSD-PNES, and now due to the Third Way boondoggle that was Klein’s legacy, I wait for the aid to cure and move forward. In the mean time the seizures are not epileptic but bring all the fears of those types of seizures with them everything from falls to sudden death, with no medications that can be prescribed to control them. 

With each seizure my number reminds me of where I have walked. 613 that is 613 in my life of family, friends, children, parishners, and clients I was unable to do more than journey with to the final transition to the next life. Most I was present for last rites or the passing or performed the celebration of life, if not all of it. In the travels I continue to use that which some may say is fruitless. Yet I persist. I pay the price for the persistence to keep going, I am not as good as I used to be, not even close…but I keep trying, working on myself while I wait. 

This time I feel like Alice having stepped through the looking glass, or Kirk into the Mirror Universe. I have seen what the darkness unchecked has done to my soul. I know what the light is. I struggle to believe in myself once more for with each reboot I still have to work through the lies my heart tells me that I am a failure, for even if it is a simple spark I need to hold to it…that I make a difference simply by being. 

What is your number? 

 (Authentic you slide) 

The Great Commandment lays out a challenge for us. It is about realizing that we are created in God’s image. As such we cannot say we love God with our everything, if we do not love ourselves. To love ourselves speaks of belonging in our own skin, having our purpose, it is not about jobs, it is about knowing why we are here and having a means to live it out. It is also understanding we need to love our neighbour who is also the image of God. Creating the courageous safe space for belonging so they can discover themselves. Within that space journeying with one another in the same vein. 

People constantly ask me what’s next? I honestly do not know, step one is to get the healing work done, then look at a return to work. What will that look like? I do not know. In the mean time I have purpose, I write, I teach when I can, I do some research and writing for my Dad and his wife’s project, Countess Country Musuem. I am beginning to work on a family memoir on the topic of mental health and belonging to remove the stigma. Most importantly though in this time of healing, I am a husband and a Dad in an amazing loving family. 

I leave you with a question to mull, 

What’s next for you? 

(Christian Counsellors slide) 

mens prayer breakfast ad

 


Much of the conversion drive is using points of Romans to prove that it is necessary to convert as noted previously. What is missed though is Paul’s beautiful discourse that echoes in many ways the wisdom teacher of Ecclesiastes. He is writing to the gathering of Rome, a diverse community struggling to understand a way forward in unity. Each has their own understanding of culture, norms, law, prophets and yet here they all are together. What is one to do?

Paul moves into the second chapter (Romans 2) presenting a very young type of God with creation. That is one that is wrathful, but proxies the wrath though and the mercy dependent on how the individual carries their whole being. Do they carry these judgments, hatreds and doubts? If so what is being done to help them move forward healthily, and be complete. Paul points out that it is how we live our life is what we will reap, will we need to be purged completely to enter the afterlife, or sail seamlessly from this to the next?

Works grow out of faith. Many try to create the false dichotomy between Paul and James, but as Paul had pointed out in Corinth he was involved in Jerusalem. He was aware of the teachings and the living of the life. It is the life lived that had transformed Paul that allowed Paul into the leadership circle of the Way. It was not position, but character transfigured that shone through. This is a very Franciscan principle. Many view the Franciscans as anti-learning as it is not the major pursuit as say with the Jesuits. But what Francis of Assisi had stated was simple, once you are living the first lesson then move to the next.

It is as Paul was laying out, faith becomes second nature, there is times when we are first entering and growing into our new life where we may need to pause and practice but eventually it becomes second nature. Like remembering to take your medications or practicing mindfulness (or DBT/CBT) or other forms of Soul Work. It takes practice, but eventually they become a part of who you are (Romans 3). That is that you have awoke the holy love that created you, you are becoming and have become whole, this is where you are living out of now. Not out of fear, or out of desire to be acknowledged, but simply because it is the right heart to be in (Romans 4). Like Abraham and Sarah learned, the means justify the ends, and the ends need to be achieved through a moral way, not through things that tear down, but that build up.

In the darkness we knew hope. Think about that. Anyone that has ever stepped out of themselves and sought aid, whether a spiritual director, a mentor, a life coach, a therapist, a doctor, a friend…in that moment we acknowledge we cannot do it alone (Romans 5). In that moment a courageous safe space is created. We know the cycle we are on is destroying us. It can be literal or we just know we are in the wrong groove and need to shift paths. We may need to stop a destructive behaviour, or end a toxic relationship or employment. Perhaps it is something good dangling before us but our inner quiet voice is a saboteur, or as the ancients would say a demon? That voice that keeps us frozen to keep us in what we believe is safe. But safety also has a price to pay for we are truly not who we are meant to be.

This is the step of faith. The step of opening ourselves up in hope to connect with another’s love to carry us through into our own soul-self actualized. That is right, a true whole person. It is what Jesus spoke of in the Great Commandments, the Love Commandment, connecting self-neighbour-Holy Mystery.

The bedrock of true community.

Living out of faith,

In love.

 

 


Want to know why faith matters?

Because life and death aren’t fair.

Is it really that bold of a statement? No. We as a species have tried many caste systems under many different names to hide this fact. The cultural norms of us and them, or this and that or whataboutism, what is all comes down to though is not willing to accept that life is life, death is death, and there is no reason or logic behind.

What matters is what we do with the time we have. We can either be jerks or saints. That is focus on accumulating the meaningless, or living into the meaningful (Hebrews 11:1-4).

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

-Epistle of Hebrews 11:5-6 (New International Version)

Enoch’s deutero-canonical-apocryphal texts have created a basis for belief in Ancient Alien Theology. The concept of his ascension into the space ship to the Elohim. Enoch was a Jesus like figure who presided over 300 years of peace (Haze, 2018, p.143). Think of that? 300 years of peace in the history of humanity? How is that even possible? The writer of Hebrews points to faith, and that is understandable, for in faith you may not worry about retribution, but simply justice. You may look to only right and wrong, and be open to guidance from sources that are looking out for the best of us. Faith, also leads one as a ruler to understand that you cannot worry about fairness in life, or death, what matters is what you do with it.

The rest of the faithful written of in Hebrews 11:7-40 is a journey through the patriarchs and matriarchs of the old Covenant. The agreement of blessing, protection and growth and survival that brought the people into Egypt, then out of Egypt to the Promised Land that saw even more alien technology used to bring walls down, to protect the household of Rahab who hid the spies. It is an ancient style of writing seen in the Torah and other points of the Hebrew Bible to commemorate a new beginning whether it was in the Wilderness, The Promised Land, return from Exile in Babylon or Assyria (Ezra-Nehemiah, Deuteronomy) the story and covenant are retold to remind the people of the Elohim with them.

This is the practice the writer is reminding those in Jerusalem of. The new Covenant is a new beginning, it replaces the old. Let us honour the old, acknowledge what has been, what has been good, what has been hard, what will be lost.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

-Epistle of Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version)

The new Covenant is scary. It changes everything. It shatters the earthly patriarchal order and rebuilds it on the Covenant of Love. It is a scary time, but do not lose faith in the journey. Remember Jesus who went for broke, and risked it all as he believed in the new Covenant. Will you do the same?

Are you willing to be like Enoch and reign in peace (Hebrews 12:4-17)?  Faith is like Enoch, who accepted guidance, discipleship and discipline from the Elohim . What happened? Flourishment of peace. Reflect on that, what needs to be stripped from your life in positive or negative ways so that you can rest in contented peace? Do not be like Esau, who was the first born and was to be the path through which the kingdom was built. He surrendered to bitterness, materialism, and short term gratification:

16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 

-Epistle of Hebrews 12:16 (New International Version)

Warning against succumbing to the old ways or for those in recovery, turning back to the addiction that is the symptom that masked the cause of the illness. Esau blamed his hunger on surrendering his birth right, but really what was at play was the thought of only the now. The moment of gratification, of pain to end and not to think longer term from that split second. For it comes down to deciding to embrace fear or joy?

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[e] 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

-Epistle of Hebrews 12:18-28 (New International Version)

Change is scary. One can succumb to the fear of the unknown. The writer knew this, and was pointing out that even Moses was lost with fear in the presence of the Elohim. Yet, the Elohim, with the life of Jesus have shown that fear is a barrier we create for ourselves. We let fear lead us into destruction as we succumb to interior gremlins-saboteurs and demons. Unable to silence them then fear wins.

Joy can become the intoxicant of life, realizing that if the change is good, like the new Covenant laid out, it takes us out of the comfortable but into a new blessing.

Joy abounds when rooted in…

Love

(Hebrews 13)

Live Love in 2019

And

Joy will reign.

 

 

 


New covenants making the old obsolete. In a way one can say it is like starting a new job, you leave one set of rules and emerge into another one. Or when a government changes, yet both fall a bit flat. For you see each has a tie to the old. In Canada, there is a Just Society clause of social aid we expect that no ideology can supplant, in the workplace there is standards, laws and rules that apply to each. In some ways it is a situation as the writer brings us to here:

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the [a]sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Limitations of the Earthly Service

Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committedin ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various [b]washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation

-Epistle of Hebrews 9:1-10 (New King James Version)

Rote rules, that even as roles, or titles changed there was still an expectation. In the Empire there was shifts of rulers due to civil war, but still an undercurrent of expectation. No, what was being crafted by the Elohim through the lived life and death of Jesus of Nazareth was something completely new. A baby with the bathwater scenario of change, for it was not symbolism but like with like. The creator and the created had become one (Hebrews 9:11-28). The walking through of the sacrifice of Jesus being shown to be the living embodiment of the symbolism of an entire system and that now, it was not symbolic caste separation, but true equity in communion with the Elohim (Hebrews 10:1-25).

Believing you are worthy. It takes a step of faith:

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[g]says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days in which, after you were [h]illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on [i]me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your [j]goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves [k]in heaven. 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For yet a little while,
And He[l] who is coming will come and will not [m]tarry.
38 Now the[n] just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who draw back to [o]perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

-Epistle of Hebrews 10:26-39 (New King James Version)

Misery loves company. It is an old adage in life recovery. The concept being that the social connections you had in the darkness will pull you back when you enter into the light. The writer is reminding the gathering that ease appears by turning back (much like those in the Wilderness, wanted to return to Egypt). The easy choice though may stop the pain short term, but increases it long term for those that say you are your friends that want to drag you back are not.

It is a hard act of faith to not fall back into the trap. It is also a hard act of faith to release a survivor or dodge a bullet guilt. At different moments in my own journey I have been slammed with this. It is hard to process, from a young man in high school realizing a dating partner was actually a recruiter for sex trafficking and realizing that I had dodged it through a confidence not rooted in popularity. To addictions that claimed other friends, or succumbing to family pressures of perfection in academics-career, defining self by only one thing and when that are gone feeling the life slip away. Friends that were sucked into the drug trade or sex trade and couldn’t get out, to those that did. Family and friends that passed from illnesses that I easily could have contracted but didn’t. Bullets that literally missed, or threats to life I escaped. Watching time ravage others through their choices to dull pain.

Sitting, watching as the journey of ministry or helping destroyed the soul of others. Wonder as I sit now with my health if I had not escaped the same. Others surviving or succumbing to domestic violence. Victims of murder. Succeeding in suicides. Abused sexually as children.  Bitterness being the outcome for some, as short sojourns in fields they were not meant to be. Succumbing or chasing what “society deemed usual” in contexts, not being fully me, but watching as others crashed and burned as well.

I sit an type. Keeper of the stories. Holder of the pain. Releasing it once more. 613 can be too few or too many, but the journey of grief never changes. It is a path of faith in understanding that there is a light on the other side. A new chapter to start. Some days you stall.

Other days you can turn the page.

Chapter Next…

a step of faith…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It is interesting to take a different perspective to ancient stories and writings. Those who have read my fiction now I have dabbled in the concepts of Ancient Alien Theology and the idea of alien possession or hiding in human form. It is a concept that is not foreign to many religions and spiritualities. That is the concept of ghosts, demons and other supernatural beings, I myself have been involved in a few clearings of places and at least four remembered exorcisms. It is intriguing to reflect upon this, and wonder what if… what if these forces were not extra-natural, but extra-terrestrial?

It is what happens as we move into the fifth discourse of Hebrews in the superiority of Jesus of Nazareth. The writer challenges the notion that the High Priest of the temple systems is the most powerful, and most holy (Hebrews 5:1-4) as appointed by others. A line of succession if the Torah is to be followed through the line of Aaron or the Tribes of Levites, and to be in the presence of the Elohim, there is ritual of protections taken. Just take a read through the texts around priestly attire and you have to wonder what these ancient materials were designed to protect against, the metals used, perhaps it was not a Glory of God, but a protection from cosmic radiation? The idea of tying a rope to pull a protected body out if they dropped dead as a means to protect the others from what killed.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus[a] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

-Epistle of Hebrews 5:5-10 (English Standard Version)

A super high priest selected by the Elohim, not bound by the customs of protection and rites of priestly duties. Is it because he was half-Elohim? That is a half-breed, half human/half-alien (a Mr. Spock of the ancient world?). Drawing close to show this, the writer brings us back to the blessing of Abram by the Highest earthly priest, Melchizedek, who was the King of Salem (Hebrews 7), and how did he bless? Wine and bread. Sound familiar? The blessing for Abram to come into full relationship with the Elohim was through wine and bread, the full new community of equality being brought about on Earth, an attempt of transfiguration by the Elohim is through a Halfling that uses bread and wine to remember.

Remember what?

 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

-Epistle of Hebrews 5:11-14 (English Standard Version)

Remember that you have been on this journey awhile. It is not meant to continue at the level of pablum and breast milk like an unweaned babe, rather you are to move onto solid foods. Connect with the tough questions, the roots. Remember what the story is. Move forward in a way that challenges the norm, that shakes the foundations of oppression. Challenge what the usual is.

Be not ususal (Hebrews 6). Live the journey that is strange, can be hard, but in the end do what is right, just. Seek justice. Seek equity and equality. Love freely. Spread hope. Embrace joy. Know peace. Deep dive into faith.

Become one with the new high priest, of the new covenant. Know that you are loved, you are unique and you are special.

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent[a] that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ[b] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:[c]

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

-Epistle of Hebrews 8:1-12 (English Standard Version)

A Gospel is a political declaration; in the Commonwealth nation such as Canada think of it as a speech from the Throne that opens our Parliament or Legislature, laying out the course ahead for the nation. Jesus of Nazareth’s followers had a gospel that was completely contrary to the Roman Emperor’s, in fact it was an act of treason to share and speak it.

Now, the writer was pointing to the promise of a new Covenant of equality between Most High and the people. Covenant is a bond, promise, indenturing if you will between two parties. The Most High is pledging a new way in the life span development of the genetic experiment if you will. No longer an authoritarian parent was attempting to beat submission, or through parlour tricks winning approval. Rather, one of equity, justice and equality bonded in the transcendent love that Jesus of Nazareth’s birth, life, teachings, death, and return as a hologram guide (if we follow Ancient Alien Theology on this one- think the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager).

No longer a parent-child relationship that exists into late adolescence, but a more maturing of lifespan development where the parent becomes mentor-friend to the adult child in a health loving family unit.

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

-Epistle of Hebrews 8:13 (English Standard Version)

What is the new Covenant you are hearing in your heart?

 

 

 

 

 

Apostle Shuffle 1

Posted: December 1, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Ah Simon, whom Jesus named Peter. Which can be translated in two ways- as rock or little pebble. I like the concept of little pebble, for if that is what community is to be built upon it works so well within the Gospel proclamation that a seed as small as a Mustard Seed will grow a huge tree to house all the birds. Peter, eventually came to lead the gathering in Rome.

But let’s touch upon a few of the things that happened before this. Peter could be working class to middle class if economics could be described as such in the occupied Judea. He was married (we know this because Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law). He is recorded as the one that tried to step out of the boat and walk on water, but a shaking of his faith causes him to fall in, to be rescued by Jesus. He is there when Jesus is transfigured and has an adventure in missing the point by wanting to commemorate the moment in the old ways. At one point in the journey of life, Jesus calls his best friend, Satan. Oh, and there was the sword and the cutting of the guard’s ear off in the garden. Let us not forget when Jesus was arrested and lynched, Peter in his fear would deny even knowing him. His closure and new beginning coming when Jesus walks with Peter to re-affirm his conviction of the new path Jesus had laid out. Oh, and for the Roman Catholics, the big shout out that Peter seeing the incarnation for what it truly was, and knowing the Oneness possible in the Holy Breath of creation, Jesus metaphorically let Peter know the keys to the Kingdom were his. Peter was the one that stood at Pentecost with the other Apostles as the Holy Spirit renewed the community; he argued with God about what was clean and unclean. Scholars believe it is his stories that inspired John Mark (the one running naked from the arrest in the Canonical Gospel of Mark) to put quill to parchment and write the Canonical Gospel of Mark circa 70 CE (6 years after Peter’s martyrdom).

This is the man that has Jude or perhaps John Mark act as his scribe to write 1 Peter for encouragement under times of persecution. Let us pause and really understand persecution, it is not when people get offended if you say Merry Christmas, or a world embracing all people so you feel social conservative values are threatened. It is actual execution level persecution. Yes there are Christians that still encounter this in the 21st Century, but there are many groups as well and that needs to be remembered.

Even at the time this letter was written there was some highly active persecution, as recorded in the ancient texts of the Didache. That saw some governors comparing notes of one-up-man-ship in how they executed Christians and other malcontents. Some areas could care less, and just let the small sect exist, for natural distrust by other citizens and residents of the new sect led to exclusion. Others took more of an active role encouraged by the Emperor who needed an enemy to cover up his short comings. As well remember this letter came out around the time of the Epistle of James that saw the religious re-seize Jerusalem from Rome, which created more of an air of suspicion for this small sect whose teachings completely removed followers from being apart of the Emperor Cult.

Which when Nero would burn down Rome in his madness…well… can one say scape goat in 64 CE? That is what happened with Peter, reported crucified upside down, for his beliefs in a hope of eliminating the sect in Rome.

These are the words in 1 Peter that came before that moment.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Epistle of First Peter 1:3-9 (English Standard Version)

The pilgrimage of the soul to the heart of the sacred (I believe I wrote a book called that). It is the journey of the visible and invisible. The teachings of hope, faith, peace, joy and love. In his visit in Acts of the Apostle’s to Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) that all barriers and labels had fallen away. As originally intended, yet our shadow side of humanity had gotten in the way. This is the true salvation, moving into Oneness with the Holy Mystery, letting that Holy Breath (Spirit) connect us each with one another. It is as the Great Commandment had been laid out. No barrier love of the Holy, opened up love of the Image Bearer in the mirror before you, and for the one next to you.

Creates eternal joy as you are the authentic you. Knowing you are created just as you are meant to be. Now you are on the path of the vocation that is truly you.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:10-12 (ESV)

Psychology. Mindfulness. CBT. DBT. These are things that are used secular to draw us back to our true core. Energy Healing and other holistic spirituality are used to draw us back to our core. Centering prayer and meditation are used to draw us back to our core. As is ritual in community and individually used to draw us back to our core.

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[b] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:13-25 (ESV)

Peter relying on what he learned as a child from the stories that would become the Hebrew Bible synthesized through the completion of the Law and the Prophets Jesus of Nazareth extolled in what would become the Christian Testament. How do we know this?

When the lawyer came to trap Brother Jesus about the greatest commandments he rested on Love- God, Self, and Neighbour with your everything– mind, body, soul and emotions (very much a medicine wheel). This is what does not perish when one is gone, the love they lived within this world, and the love in Paradise of the next life to come.

What story does your love create in the world?