Posts Tagged ‘Kindness’

Be Kind to You

Posted: April 19, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
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Miracles are all around us

Just need to take the time

to breathe in deeply of the awe

and exhale the wonder

as we live and exist

in the Holy Mystery

It can be lost at this time

when we are all

out of field

grieivng

loss of life

whetehr biological

or vocational

or educational

or simply

physical space of belonging,

it is a time to rise up

to thrive

to survive

to abide,

for it is a time

of the new

temporary

and to grow out of

as we emerge

from the tunnel

into the broad and bright

day light

of what is gestating

in the seeds

germinating

in the fire

during this time…

as you realize

keeping up with the Jonesing

or coveting what your neighbour has

that you do not

is futile,

for it is in hope,

peace,

joy, faith,

light

and love

that true self-compassion grows,

and we answer the resounding call of our essence

to love ourselves, as the holy that breathed life into us, love us,

as Brother Jesus loved us

as we are to love one another,

and we are the starting one…

but breathe deeply

for the fresh air

without the rush of falsity

is the breathe of hope…

be kind to you

on the journey

to the new destination!


Missio Dei should be our response to Imageo Dei. Dei being Latin for God, with Imageo being Image (hence, what we are created in) and Missio being mission, that is what we are to do as God-bearers. Lately one would assume the mission is to be an asshat. Sadly, when one’s core values/beliefs are judged by actions in the media, in regards to the Religious Right, the apologetics (another Christian term, for defense of the faith) around USA President Donald Trump, and some of the actions of the recently elected UCP government in the province of Alberta, that description may be apt. Another could be pedophile or rapist or genocider with the stories out of the Residential Schools, Roman Catholicism, Southern Baptists, Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek mega-Church, Jehovah Witness’, Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, truly one can insert any denomination or Christian movement and scratch the surface to find atrocities. Such actors need to be exposed, ex-communicated and turned over to the authorities.

But that is not the Missio Dei, see that is what the political power we have been handed, financial power, and power over others has corrupted in us. Paul of Tarsus (St. Paul to many) warned of the love of money being the root of evil, Shakespeare in Hamlet I believe, stated that power corrupts, and Green Arrow in Zero Hour stated of his friend Hal Jordan who had become the evil Parallax, absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is time to regain our soul.

To that the church, and each who professes the faith needs to actually ensure is that we are listening to the mightily still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. For, as we were chasing plug and play programs, looking to corporate North America for strategic ways to do church, planning our next stewardship or giving financial campaign…well…the Missio came to our doorsteps.

In the positive within Canada, we have the opportunity to sponsor refugee families and aid them in coming to our country, supporting them to grow new homes. Not only from Syria, but there is the Annuyak tribe from Ethiopia that has been displaced into camps in Kenya (and I am sure in our mutli-cultural churches many family stories of those we can help). Our leaders can aid in support of immigration efforts for family members, and of securing permanent residence and/or citizenship as well.

Locally, sadly, due to economics and over reliance on one stream of financial income for our province, we have many families and neighbours in need. Whether it is aid with the still unknown school and busing fees, school supplies, aid in paying rent/mortgage, utilities, finding securing work, getting to and from appointments or food banks… Know where this is going? A familiar passage I have shared in my speaking, writing and teaching, the Great Commandments:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

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

-Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)

It may be big things as listed above, or simply being with a person and listening over a cuppa. Yet as we look further into the political in our lives, we are also needing to look at local action.

It is churches having youth programs, not just for church members but open to youth of the community. Creating a safe space for kids to be, especially as many cities think short term to save money and cut the things that are free for kids. The ripple effect is that then the more nefarious places of belonging find recruiting grounds. It can simply be stopped, I have been a part of many amazing things like this in the past. If only the old guard in church concerned with monies, could get out of their own way and allow love and hope to grow in the blessed buildings they are so concerned about preserving. Amazing how investment within others, and showing they matter, helping them become who they are created to be, makes our communities better, or as Jesus stated:

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

Nope, this isn’t about sinner prayers or conversion. This is about aiding someone as noted above, investing in them, so they can become who they are meant to be. Being with them in the ups and the downs, the celebrations and the mourning. Walking with them in love, and helping them find the hope. For some youth, it was the early morning traditional old English service at a church, not because they could give a flip about the old school Liturgy, or the home made biscuits or tea at the end… it was the seniors (elders) they finally had grandparents that spent time with them, listening to them about their week, their dreams.

Imagine… actual care… and time to simply be, not overly programmed.

What about hungry kids?

School nutrition programs-breakfast, snacks and lunch. Some are privately sponsored, some are government sponsored. The official Opposition says these are on the chopping block with the UCP driven “austerity”, the UCP Government states they will be funded from 2019-2020, yet there is no budget yet to prove this to be a fact. The floated balloon showed the ignorance of many around this program in that they blamed parents for having kids.

Yet, there is something more needed than simply the food. I would say it is not meant to just single out the students in need, rather it should be these three meals provided at each school across the province. Why? Simple, let our kids all eat together, the older serving the younger, discovering care for one another, equality, and that it is important to care for neighbour.
The unknown becomes an opportunity for the church. Whether individual congregations or working together. Figure out how to financially sponsor a meal program for a local school for the school year, in fact, remove the burden of lunch room fees from the parents and provide the volunteers to provide the meals. See it is about investing in our kids, not just with the food, but with those who can give the time to be present in the children’s lives in positive ways. That invested time goes a long way.

I would take the challenge a step further, and then have a network of churches in a community work to provide rotating nightly community meals- work with the community association if needed, so that there is always a social place to go and break bread. For those who celebrate Communion (Eucharist) we speak of the mysticism within the elements, yet it is the gathering and seeking to understand and care for one another.

Generations being together.

Nations being together.

Simply starting as neighbours, then becoming friends, and possibly, over time, the family we choose.

As you discuss where God is calling, simply look to your neighbourhood, and ask, why here and now God?

Quite a few times, it is already on our door step and we are simply blinded by ourselves to see it.


But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19: 14 New American Standard Bible

My Mum and Nan’s favourite bible stories were the ones where Brother Jesus was with the little children. Where he upbraided his followers for trying to stop the kids from being kids and being with him. These matriarchal Anglican wisdom teachers had their own complexities of life as all humans do, but they understood something about children. Something we can tend to lose as we age, and was the point of the wisdom teaching.  That kids got the point of life– ALL BELONG. I have shared much about the exuberant love for all my son has in his blessed life with his super powers (what others would call disabilities), but there is more to the story. He is the elder brother. The teacher of a younger sister.

She has been blessed to grow up in a world where truly there was no labels, or concepts of can’t or being “normal” in growth and development. Where whoever you are is celebrated as a beautiful wonderful thing. Yes some will say as a sibling of a child with a disability she should be in a support group or counselling for what she has lost, but that is the grieving model. The medical model of focus on “can’t” instead of “DO”. By focusing on do, we celebrate both in their wonder and achievements, personality and interests. It can be tense because one is a scholarly introvert and the other a bombastic knowledge-experience seeking extrovert.

But what is cool is watching how my little princess has grown. By not focusing on “loss”, but living in celebratory love she has friends that cross the cultures, religions, and abilities. The cool thing is she does not see their differences, she sees her “besties”. She experiences life with them. Those that would say a friend is “confined to a wheel chair” or “walker” she sees someone with wheels to race with. Someone classed as non-verbal, she plays games to get their eyes to dance. As friends worry their daughter new to Canada who does not speak English, my daughter sees the language of play with a new friend. She loves art, science, learning about her aboriginal heritage and from the Elders, she has a passion for mythology and magic, story telling and current events. She helps the little kids learn to be kind, and to read. She helps in the library at her school, and when helping out with a group getting resources she takes into account everyone’s ability and interests not just her own.

An old friend each time she talks to me gets the update, she just got a feather for kindness or her year end award for volunteerism and kindness. My friend chuckles, saying that is quite the journey of community building. Did I forget to mention this is a friend I worked with building community for those who needed homes? And yes my kids were there sharing life too.

We spend far too much time being like the disciples in the story of the children no matter the setting-community, schools, church, work, etc… and not enough time just being the kid. The one that just wants to figure out how their “besties” can BELONG.

So yes, I am proud of my kids and the persons they are growing in to. I am proud my daughter is keeping our proud matriarchal wisdom alive.

The question for you today is:

Can you step into the heart of a child and allow all to belong?

Rub a dub dub

thanks for the Grub.

Amen.

-My Daughter quoting

Great Granddad’s Grace

 


The conversation/debate on what to salt of the past and the present for the future continues. It is no different than debates that rage today. Look at eugenics, there is passive ableism in the ban the plastic straw movement as the “cult of enviro-extremism” above all else. Not led wholly by science, but by whatever MBA has designed for best advertising (that is not a solution of reclamation, and what is causing more harm, how to reduce but support all parties ability to, well, drink)… to active atrocities such as provincial government and school board policies that see those with disabilities as less than, and those that walk the journey with them as not cognizant of having the same supports as others because it is the “life chosen”. Let that settle in as you hear the words that come, and some discourse for the 21st century around them.

It will also be hard to ingest, when you see how clearly the true intent of the teaching had been used even back then, twisted, to literalist laws that created caste systems of “worthy” for aid and esteem and those to be cast aside or “not worthy”. A myth that still perpetuates today. I could just imagine Brother Jesus (or any of the saints) speaking out on the anit-vaxxer campaigns. Debunked science that stated vaccines lead to disability. Or to be more direct “your entire argument is the worst thing in the world is not a horrible death by measles/small pox or being patient zero in such a calamity—but to be neuroatypical.” Try to tell me eugenics is not alive and well. The scary part is the drive within parental choice of health care and refusal of care of children how much is driven out of the Christianities. Pause and think as you read the discourse on what was causing harm to the people of Jesus’ day. Pause and ponder what has been twisted to harm our world today.

Who is the outcast/untouchable of our modern caste system?

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister,[e] you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult[f] a brother or sister,[g] you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell[h] of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister[i] has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,[j] and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court[k] with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

-Matthew 5:21-26

Anger to murder. That literal law is fairly clear. The outcome action of murder was covered in the Hebrew Bible in the eye for an eye, etc (the pro-life explanation of death penalty support). But what if its more? Avoid escalation. Use collaboration. Discuss. Open up the view points, look for common good. Know that when an offense happens, once the debt is paid it is paid, but that does not remove the kernel of what caused the original murder. What started the anger or pain that began the plotting?

What allowed you to see the other as the most vile thing possible in the world? What allows you to see the other as deficient? What allows you to hide behind laws passed that state a caste system of value for the person? It is seen across political spectrums still today, and administrators may say “yes it is needed, but”…apologists for the existing system come in all forms, even from those that may require the system do more. It is beaten in apathy. How do we understand so much about abuser cycles? It happens so much communally, we allow it to be accepted.

The root of anger is the battle for belonging or superiority.

What battle is the one worthy?

What wolf as the ancient teaching goes should we feed?

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.[l] 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.[m]

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

-Matthew 5:27-32

The most abusive texts ever used. The only way to cease a marriage is due to adultery. Failing to realize that it is adultery upon the “property” in the ancient marriage contract-the woman. These are the words challenging the status quo of the day, and are still used within circles to say that the only way to dissolve a religious marriage is due to infidelity.

Really? Or is it the challenge that the only reason the marriage contract existed then was to ensure propagation of breeding rights, and the just payment to family, and insurance shame would not be brought upon the selling family by the woman being cast out? Essentially, it was all about purchasing the one you believed would create the best-off spring for your family legacy. What kind of practice does that sound like?

The teaching here is driving home the point the contract is not about this. It is about care, belonging, home, family whether or not children were possible. It is about equity, equality, and justice. Why else would he bring right hand in? The dominant hand used for assault (domestic violence) or the eye (seeing that leads to forcefully taking something else)… and even the legal mechanism being a farce for it leaves one party less than the other.

Are the words burning? The inequity of the world back then? Does it resonate in our world today? What would the words be in these teachings today? What is the literal law of the land that perpetuates violence, hatred and less than-person-hood?

What do you hear from your world?

How does the circle of accountability need to be drawn wider?

How does the circle of healing need to danced?

How does the circle of belonging change for your living room?


Prologue

800 years ago, give or take a few years St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of my Spiritual Charism, cast a new order to go beyond Order of Friars Minor (think Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck) and the Poor Clares (think Nun’s with Feminism dashed in, kind of like Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg if you will)…

Yet. Much better than a but, Y-E-T- as Francis’ mendicants (insult meaning beggar) travelled spreading the gospel message of poverty, charity, love, and justice for all the interconnected of creation many who were married wanted to forsake their vows and join the celibate orders and…

Yup plus an A-N-D- there was some friars and sisters that well, let’s be honest humanity like every species on the planet is designed for procreation. Francis was an astute spiritual guide in that he realized this and blessed those that are called to be together, to make babies, to populate the world for that is the original commission within the Hebrew Scriptures go forth and out of the indwelling love of Spirit populate the world in love.

This is what birthed the Third, Lay or Secular Order. It was a work by one of these Franciscan’s 19 years into my journey of trying to remember paradise, discover the Spirit within, that working in a bookstore I stumbled upon John Michael Talbot’s (1998) The Life Lessons of St. Francis: How to bring Simplicity and Spirituality into your Daily Life. For someone who had journeyed through many Eastern, Celtic, Pagan, Western and Alien spiritual paths finding myself back in the Christian Church as a Sunday School teacher, this little volume showed me how my beliefs around love and inclusion worked together with belief and living out of God’s love, from the divine spark, the star dust that we are created from.

So dear reader, you are probably wondering what this 800 year history lesson has to do with anything? Especially the book you have picked up to read on different centering values to create a fuller you?

Simple, it is part of the formation of the writer of this book, it has influenced my understanding and shaped any bias within the stories to be found within. Also, when in the mid-2000’s I took the Munay-Ki Shamanic Rites, I was blessed to be labelled a Wisdom Keeper, one that holds the truths of the ancient stories for today.

In the Franciscan story there are many truths for today, but the one to remember as we move through these pages is perhaps the simplest lesson of all:

Within Francsicanism there is no historical Reformation (where the Protestant Church split from the Roman Catholic Church) rather it is a moment by moment reformation of one’s own heart, soul, spirit and community that one is called into.

So thank you for stepping into this new journey, it is a collection of values for all ages. To prepare for this spend time cleansing your energy, exhaling out the negative, and opening your heart to seeing things in a new light. There may be terms that are unfamiliar or may not resonate with you, this is due to my family’s Judeo-Christian Heritage, simply as you are reading replace them with terms that resonate with you.

I encourage you to find the best time of day to do the soul work with these values, take along a prepared kit:

Monk’s Bag of Tricks

  1. A simple bag, back pack or attache case
  2. Place within pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, pastels,
  3. A fidget toy (perhaps a koosh, some Lego, a slinky, mystery box figures, something to play with to clear your mind when you get stumped).
  4. A journal
  5. A book of Wisdom teachings that you can read a snippet of each day.

Armed with this bag in your daily life, either identify a place in your community or your home that you can use as a retreat space to commune deeper within yourself.

So are you ready? This will not be your traditional spiritual formation journey, I mean the book is called Left Field, which for any sports metaphor you know it is usually the unusual team members that do not fit anywhere else.

That is us, those that are seeking the personal ongoing moment by moment reformation of St. Francis of Assisi, not only for ourselves but for our community and out world. So the question is now in your hands, close the book and walk away…

Or turn the page, step into left field with gusto and accept the challenge to create a new you.

Left Field