Posts Tagged ‘Legacy’

Those who are in the journey of something new emerging within the death of Christendom. That is the Christianity that has been more about power and control, than the gospel teachings of Jesus, lost a unique wisdom teacher today. It is not unique, that this thought process would emerge out of Anglicanism (or as his tradition would be dubeed, Episcopalian) that seeks to inquire, bringing together the dialogue partners of faith, reason, scripture and tradition together. Especially one, that traversed many ways a secular world wrestled with, and celebrated the diversity of the Imageo Dei (while churchdom lagged behind in some circles).

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG June 16, 1931 Spetember 12, 2021 Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those ofus who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed."

Bishop Spong (his books listed here), journey began with a passionate love of scripture. The stories of the Holy Mystery with their creation (and vice versa), it was the story re-told in his memoir of being gifted a KJV bible that I could resonate with in my own faith journey a few years ago. But it was not my first encounter with the Bishop. I was barely into my time back into churchdom as an adult, stumbling through discovering how to teach Sunday School, being supported by mentors in the church to join the Alberta Mentors Foundation for Youth, that I begam my confirmation journey while a studnet at Mount Royal College. Part of this journey was discussing one of his recent books, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, an intriguing introduction to explore what it meant to be a member of church, to understand a declaration of faith.

What did it mean?

For those who have served with me in ministry (and the various contexts I define being in ministry within my life), it truly was giving permission to be curious. To explore the why behind beliefs, values, supposed morals, visions, missions and mandates. To be able to look behind what groups (sacred or secular) saw as their “sacered cows” or the uniquitous, well that is just how we’ve alwasy done it, and allow the still small voice to inspire… inspire to understanding. Inspire to serve and see the blessing of other as a wonderful creation with full and inherent worth.

Many of this was alreay in place in my life,

but this exploration opened up what many view as static to be alive.

For those who have followed my life story, read Soul Ripples, and the reflective posts that followed, know that the ide of the three phases (I would term books) of life that Bishop Spong shared aided in shaping my health recovery. It was a hard and grateful time of cure, but grieiving of loss of the path I had been on. This simple idea is what came through to begin to unpack that my life is a trilogy, and simply book one had ended, on a cliff hanger, like an old movie serial…

As Bishop Spong’s third book closes, he joins the grand tea party (which he may or may not appreciate the metaphor), my second book is moving from prologue into chapters….

And I simply wonder, where the Spirit will guide next?

Thank you, Bishop, for being apart of the theological dialogue of my life, with my experience, other scholars and practicitoners, coming together to be wrestled with in finding my own Via Media, of belonging for all within what is being birthed anew as institutional church out of empire, out of political and financial power is dying…

What resurrects, is shaped by us as the body of Christ.

To follow more of the thought leaders visit Progressing Spirit

Perhaps, it is time, to find the time to shape a new book…

A Lonely Place

Posted: January 12, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
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A bargain walls in Comic shops bringing cheaper price trade paperbacks into my hands I normally wouldn’t buy. This find was at Phoenix Comics in Calgary, and it was the fifth volume of Rebirth’s Detective Comics: A Lonely Place of Living, the third in what had become an ongoing trilogy that brings me back to my childhood.

Ah the carefree days of 1988. The Olympics in Calgary, Archie even made an appearance. Oh and the vitriol hate on for Robin II (Jason Todd) in Fandom espoused in letter pages and I guess at Conventions (I was 10, I would pick up Batman periodically but he wasn’t my fave, though the New Teen Titans was another story with a grown up Dick Grayson (Robin I) that I had attachment to, because I was Robin when me and the older brother played Batman and Robin as younger tykes). The fuel that led to a four part story arc, A Death in the Family…the carefreeness of 1-900 does Robin live or die phone lines between part 3 and 4, with the Joker laying a beating on the poor child, and an explosion…and… Not so innocent fandom chose to kill the kid (yes fictional, but do I really want to open up the psychology of that?). A year later in 1989 the psychological decline (agonosia) was in full swing. Batman was spending less time as Bruce, was become more risk inclusive and pseudo-suicidal in the pursuit of his mission, darker (if that was possible) and more barbarous.
What was happening?

One can say it was grief over the loss of his second partner and ward at such a young age. Yes this is true, but then in 1989 came a twist in a cross over with my New Teen Titans… A Lonely Place of Dying and the character of Tim Drake. Where Dick, Bruce and Jason came to the mission out of their pain, Tim was attempting to set the balance right. Knowing that one who is in trauma, and recovery is only as good as his social supports and healthy ones aid resiliency. Left in the darkness by ones self it becomes easy to be consumed by the darkness. Tim, was a toddler at the night Dick’s parents were killed at the circus, but throughout his young life he figured out that Bruce was Batman and that–Batman needed a Robin…so comes the story as he tries to get Dick back to be Robin to provide the health and balance and resiliency. Thinking outside the box, though not far enough outside the box.

For it was not an old Robin, but a new one. One untouched by trauma to lead them into heroics, a true bright bird to bring Batman out of the darkness: Robin III. The decompensation of Batman would halt, and resiliency would become intuit. For Tim, was bringing a Trauma Informed approach to his heroes way before those terms were en vogue: Safety, transparency, and person centered.

The third Robin was fun, he would face losses and death as his journey in life would continue. He would take up leading his own Titans team, as well as Young Justice, become friends with Superman’s clone, Conner (Superboy), and emerge into Red Robin. That is where we continue to see his out of the box thinking within the pages of the Detective Comics in the Rebirth launch. For Tim is not willing to remain static, or keep doing the same old thing, his mind was seeing down the road and the ripple effects of decisions and why…which led to bringing a family to balance out Bruce, other heroes within Gotham City for the mission, for support, for mutual resiliency.

Creating a tribe focused on health and the mission.

This trilogy got me contemplating my own roles in life. Building teams, looking at programs, systems. The realization that much of what many speak about systems planning and change theory my mind and heart had already processed through so when I do talk it is about the people on the front lines that leaders are there to support, so that the best services and courageous safe spaces possible can be created for true healing and growth into the them they were always meant to be if the trauma had not interrupted the journey.

This is the mind Tim brought to the work, first getting a new Robin online, and then later creating what he called the Belfry, a group of support and empowered to make a change. This is a key piece of leadership. The right systems in place to support safety, health and life long learning so that the right staff (that is the staff with the passion, heart and health for the role) can be equipped to actualize the role. Yes you read that right in my hiring processes it is not always the one with the highest qualifications or lowest dependent on the role I hire, it is the best fit for the organizational values that if we invest in will be there for the long haul, and eventually be taking over the leadership roles.

Hiring as part of succession planning. Knowing that those we invest in today will be leaders on the front lines, and down the line will be the leaders carrying the organization forward.

Do we as leaders understand that?

Or are we blinded by our own insecurities about what we need to do? Like Batman in Lonely Place of Dying, so blinded by the pain and wanting to take it all on, we create a zero-sum game that can lead to our demise and the mission ending?

Or are we like Tim Drake, stepping in to point out truths, resonate with the values, take a risk on someone new (ala himself in the role), and grow into it transforming the way things are done while maintaining the organizations core values?

Thinking out of the box, being values driven in leadership can be a lonely place. Yet, we one understands all the other leadership en vogues are simply tools to actualize the organizational values (which need to align with one’s own core values to be effective) we get healthy leaders, healthy organizations, healthy staff, and a space for healthy individuals to emerge within those we serve.

Are you willing to step into the lonely place?

A cynical writer-pastor would call Zechariah the coat tail or bandwagon prophet. Within 2 months of Haggai’s success (and one month overlapping) he is doing his thing. He is speaking to a people on a roll, but even when things are going well, people become disgruntled, we look back to what was with longing regardless of how bad it actually was. This is seen in addictions, domestic violence, populist political movements, was even part of the story of the people of Israel fleeing Exodus these former slaves looked back on Egypt with longing. As Pastor Dave Sarsons, at Vulcan Church of Christ asked one Sunday morning, “what is your Egypt?”

That is what are we looking back for, misremmebering in longing that is holding us back from moving forward.

This is where Zechariah is, with the slow rebuild, as he creates the image of the re-established Temple. Yet Zechariah is like the Paul of the Hebrew Scriptures. The whole 14 chapters is not by his hand. Rather Chapters 1-8 are Zechariah, while the remaining chapters are his disciples and followers keeping up the work. For the more academic, themes from major prophets (because their books are so long) are “borrowed” or built upon, these prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

What has been lost within pop culture with our reboots, and within society, is the concept of Legacy. That is what Zechariah lends itself to. With the second half building on the first, and then the Gospel writers, ala Matthew, building upon that. It is like the Pre-New52 DC Universe Flash Family, or Doctor Who. One used to be able to say Star Trek, then Kelvin happened.

But, off the rabbit trail, the bridging thoughts are this:

Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

-Zechariah 8:3-5 (English Standard Version)

It is unique the image that is thrown down to keep the momentum is one of what the people deserve- peace, security, happiness– the things that can trigger a relapse in individuals out of either fear of failure, or more aptly, fear of success or contentment. Is it possible that the momentum was slowing after Haggai, simply because the people had no grounding in what it meant to actually live and thrive, after years and generations of being objects and in survival mode? Zechariah, and his followers had to exorcise a communal trauma from the people and heal a shared complex PTSD.

The disciples of Zechariah, show what happens, what is this they had once been yearning for. The non-romanticized past. Anyone who studies history currently knows a black and white lens for historical reflection and learning is a failed lens. To understand and convert historic knowledge to current wisdom, one must get the full scope story– warts, atrocities and all…this is what the disciples were doing in 11:13:

13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.

Potter, also translated as treasury.  See the 30 shekels (silver) is the price for a slave. It was also used within the Gospel of Matthew for the sell-out price of Jesus from Judas. An allusion was built upon this concept from Zechariah, when the religious oppressors use it to buy a burial ground for the outcast called potter’s field.

See, what is being said? The disciples are reminding the people that they are blessed, they Belong.

It is time to turn away from “Egypt” or “Babylon” or “Yesteryear” it is time to come HOME.

Zechariah is the continuing encouragement of a people re-settling, and as the onion of trauma is peeled, each past that they wanted back, was challenged and shown to be false. They were, as a people, rebuilt to the holy-sacred beings and community they are:

20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader[a] in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.

-Zechariah 14:20-21 (ESV)

It closes with a strong reminder– everything is sacred, for everything is within God, and God is within everything.

Time to move forward.

Time to belong.

Time to be home.

Legacy Cloaks

Posted: July 2, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

-2 Kings 2:13 (English Standard Version)

When Wally West took up being the Flash after Barry Allen vanished in Crisis on Infinite Earths it was a big deal. When Superman died, four rose up to wear the “S” and carry on the Legacy. Marvel Comics is now just at the age of the legacy character with others taking up the mantle (as the NRSV would translate cloak from the above verse), but it has been in DC’s wheel house since the original multi-verse, and post-Crisis in 1984, one of the main reasons the New 52 did not capture the heart of the old fans for it gutted the legacy.

This is what this story in 2 Kings begins to lay out for the hearer. It is a legacy story, of Elijah and Elisha. It is the story of ascendance for Elijah, the come rest faithful servant. It is the moments of questioning by Elisha if he will have the chops to continue the work. He pesters Elijah to ensure his power is double what Elijah had, and Elijah shares a riddle with him about keeping his eyes focused on what is about to happen.

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

-2 Kings 2:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Elijah’s journey is changing, as he is about to ascend alive into the full presence of God. He is going to vanish from the earthly world, and the side kick, is about to rend his old uniform, and take up the new. Left questioning if he is ready and able…the answer is found at the banks of the Jordan River.

For those who are rooted in the Christian Testament, the Jordan is the baptism of Jesus’ spot, the place where John the Baptist formed community to meet his kid cousin. Yet it is a barrier for a nation moving forward at this time in defining who they are meant to be. Elijah had laid a path, could it continue? Even with taking up the mantle was Elisha worthy?

Are these not questions that go through our own hearts and minds at moments of succession? Moments of life change? Are we equipped? Are we ready? Did I get it? What other questions hold us back from fully stepping out into who we are called to be?

Image result for Elisha parts the JordanElisha struggled with questions, and this story in the last verse gives the first sign to him he was on the right path. It is a now and historic event. By parting the Jordan River, those present are reminded of the nations flight out of oppression and slavery–Moses parted the Sea of Reeds, or more familiarly, the Red Sea to aid in the journey into the complete presence of the Holy.

And what is the first sign after his mentor ascends? A parting of the Jordan River to continue the journey.

Many times, what holds us back into stepping into the new call…is our own negative sound track. It is that soundtrack we must challenge, name, call out and affirm the truth of…that is that we are in the love of the Holy Mystery, and as such, the path is open, the river is parted. We just need to take that first step…

Stories are a slice of life. A set time span in the character’s existence. That is why characters can exist for so long with minor or major aging all dependent on when the writer wants them to exist. As I have shared previously, my Bionic Knight character was the first super hero character I created circa 8 years old. 31 years on he still is starring in pulpy hero adventures.

Recently over the past 6-7 months the story has been laid out of his struggle through health issues, and PTSD symptomology caused by his exposure to environments, stimuli and circumstances in his life in religion, journalism, outreach, and super heroics. It has led to him being “shelved” as another hero took up the mantle. In the lingo of super heroics, a legacy character stepped in.

Mostly it is the youngster that take over, as we have noted with new Johnny Power, Speedster and Bionic Knight within the transformation of the Great Crime Fighters. With the “Weird Tales of Rick Saturn, formerly the Bionic Knight” (for this and other arcs enjoy the Bionic Knight Pulps category); two new aliens were introduced. But these five characters are not the thrust of this point in Saturn’s lifespan. It is the interplay between William “Shotgun” MacKay and Rick Saturn.

For it is the closing on one chapter in the book of one’s life journey, and officially opening oneself up to what is possible to come with the new chapter starting. Literally an epilogue to one life, and the chapter one of a new book. For when folks ask why I put this four-part story together that did not have much action, it was simply showing that transition and acceptance can happen. Hope can spring forth.

Or in the observation of Rick at the end of part four:

Shotgun stepped back into the restaurant towards George and Dragon. “Look, we have a need to fill on the team with a few more members. Since you both appear to know of this imminent threat, how would you consider joining the newbies?”

Rick had to grin as he heard his friend extend the “offer”, how often he had those conversations over the years. The best conversation to have with a new or old hero, to find belonging and community. To become part of something bigger than themselves.

The world was in good hands. Rick knew it was about more than simply him, it was about taking his new life. His new book of life, one chapter at a time.

Simply a new chapter, watch for future adventures/mysteries as Rick transitions into who he is meant to be now in his life. Who knows where the stepping stones have led, and where the new chapter…new first word will lead him.





The world of comics has become a world of reboots for the super heroes as publishers’ experiment with legacies not getting to long in the tooth. Characters aging, and living life…or worse yet experimenting with keeping up with other mediums their characters appear in so there can be cross sales. What is left is a product that can become too over controlled from the top that does not allow for creative passion. Which it is the creative drive that creates stories that stand the test of time, and the new meta-narratives of our time. For whether we want to admit it or not, super heroes are the new heroes of ancient myth today.

Why these thoughts enter Rick’s mind as the green flame bursts through the glass and sending the two old fighters flying across the restaurant and breaking the fountain pop machines, slumping into the mess of carbonated water, syrups and ice on the floor. Rick notes that William “Shotgun” MacKay is unconscious. Moments like this as the dagger like stabbing of pain hits his brain a new, he misses having Pen, the little dragon of power with him. Moments like this where he wonders why he left re-watching Star Trek, to meet with George Dragon in the alley.

Rick’s tremoring left hand finds the chunk of space gem, it is glowing. There is something moving through the smoke, alarms are ringing, sprinklers have kicked in. People are screaming and running. One text away from back up, and Rick curses himself. “Silly old bastard.” He had sworn this nuts life off, time to be a Dad and leave saving the world to the younger set. Only problem being that many times those in most need were chronic and would not go to the new faces. They would seek out the old guard for advice and aid regardless of health conditions.

The person looks reptilian. Not trying to hide, if this was a Star Trek episode possibly a Gorn, but truly looked more like a mutated crocodile ala Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Rick’s eyes narrowed as he attempted to breathe through the pain. Now would not be the time to take a seizure, could end very badly for him. This was an intergalactic bounty hunter. George had mentioned him before many years ago. The harbinger, the one that pre-dated those that drove them away. An immortal jerk out for blood.

The croc-hunter steps through the shattered glass and blown apart booths. His eyes narrow and smoke comes from his nostrils.  Was the green flame not from the gun he held in his hand? Could this actually be a…

“Richard? Where for art thou heir to the PenDragon?” The snarl made it hard to be made out, but Rick picked it up. There was also a burst of purple noise blocking out many other electronic forms of hearing. The government would be able to create a cover story for this issue.

Will began stirring. Rick tapped his friend’s shoulder “stay down. I got this.” Will rolled onto his stomach to be able to push up a little. He cursed under his breath for leaving his gun in his truck. Two old fighters, facing some space monster.

Rick stood up from behind the high bench table, why any design team though that was comfort was astounding. “I think you missed a space memo.” He stepped forward walking towards the croc-hunter. “I am no longer the heir, there is someone new.”

The smoke in the thing’s nostrils began to glow, almost a flame. Rick focused on that, the stabbing added to the temples as well as the top of the head. The feed back sound became a white noise which started to trip his brain out.  He froze in place fighting in the void of darkness unable to move. The croc-hunter levelled his weapon at Rick.

“You are a coward to hide behind a child as heir. Good Knight.”

The trigger squeezed…

To Be Continued…