Posts Tagged ‘metaphysics’

Paul can be metaphysical in his understanding of faith. He is trained not only in Greek philosophy, but Judaic theology principles. He brings these to his writing and teaching, as a tent maker he is not paid for his scholarly-theological teaching, but rather for his trade. There may be a freedom in that, there may not, for if we reflect back on gifts then one should use their gifts. The example is not that teachers-pastors should not be paid, rather when one has a strong vocational call to use their gifts they may have to have another funding source to pursue it.

We enter into the journey of gifts with something that can be confusing to many. Speaking in tongues and trust me you are not alone in your confusion. I remember years (high school perhaps, or tech school) I was involved with a Charismatic Christian lass who invited me to her church. There was a lot of goobly gook coming out of people’s mouths, and then one dropped and started shaking, I called EMS. My bad, I was informed as paramedics interrupted the service it was not a seizure, but rather she had been “slain in the Spirit”. Okaleedokalee. Now, am I bashing this style of experience? No, what it does show is what Paul enters into discussing as 1 Corinthians draws to a close, that you need to understand the experience and ensure those in the gathering understand it as well.

He bridges nicely from the famous love discourse/poem, into the first verse asking that our first pursuit is love. It is a means to fight against legalism, and to remember that we are functioning as a community, a family first:

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 (English Standard Version)

It appears that either questions or reports were coming to Paul, that this young gathering was lost in the show. That so much was happening within their gatherings no one was too clear on what the intent was. Could it be a case of holy rollers desiring to one up one another to show who was the holiest? It is possible, as Paul really works to put the break on by breaking it down.

Speaking in Tongues is fine, but someone needs to translate. This passage has led some to query is there was two gifts of speaking in tongues, for the first in the book of Acts was tongues of fire that came down on the Apostles and as they spoke all gathered understood regardless of their dialect (ala a universal translator like on Star Trek), while here there seems to be a soul language emerging of the Holy Spirit.

The other piece Paul touches on is prophecy. Now, this in itself is misunderstood as future events being seen. But as one reflects on the events of the Hebrew Bible prophets, what is seen is it is justice messages. We need to change course here or else x, y, and z will happen.

Now, brothers,[a] if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider[b] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign[c] not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 14:6-25 (English Standard Version)

It also shows Paul’s Greek philosophical underpinnings as body and soul are separate entities. It is interesting though that he states he needs to pray to interpret so there is a whole experience. One needs to pause and ask is external translators necessary or can one have a moment of tongues, and then be enlightened as to what it means? Is it possible that it is an angelic language as some say? Or is it other dialects and the translation comes from those in attendance that understand it? What becomes a reality is it is the moment when the full self enters into an ecstatic experience? Paul notes that it is important to remember that there is always someone new coming in, and that they will process what is happening.

The touching of prophecy on the heart of the newbie, and oldster alike is about the truth of a just society coming through. The words of John the Baptist, the Apostles, Brother Jesus and other great spiritual teachers in what happens when the world lets love lead.

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 (English Standard Version)

Paul attempts to bring order to a chaotic time together. Order in such a fashion that all can still enjoy their equity and equality within the gathering. He points to the rationale being that they are a religion of peace, not one up manship, that it is about ensuring the heart of the message comes through, not the ego of the messenger be stroked. There is a hint of what has been used for misogyny in our times, the concept of women being silent. This is not an eternal commandment because it appears in the Bible; it is a cultural norm of a societal transfiguration already straining at the seams. Families were whole and together in the gathering not separated, quite a bit of new things were being experienced. Now, this is not forgiving this dullery, for it is not the original intention of the movement either for Jesus ensured all were heard and treated equally, I believe it has more to do with Paul’s comfort levels himself.

The fifteenth discourse transitions from orderly gatherings to the underpinnings of the message to get through. Paul is laying out death, resurrection and life. Pointing out that the world of flesh and blood is not the true be all and end all. It can be a future minded text for some, but let’s drill into a little bit for it is more about the here and now I think than some realize. It is speaking of the life of wholeness. When whatever soul sludge was keeping us back is burnt away. Moments, sometimes daily, we do the work to keep the new us going, and the old us in the grave. For you see, the resurrection is not the old you, the one that is held back by saboteurs-gremlins, it is the true you. The complete you. The whole you. The you that was created and holy breath breathed life into, in love.

The closing chapter of this letter is a per functionary business meeting flare to it. Paul writes of a collection being taken up to aid other gatherings in Jerusalem. He gives final greetings from around the plants of Paul and giving his love to this gathering as he signs off one correspondence. This is a closing to a long discourse to allow the gathering to process, and connect back to continue the dialogue. Continue the spiritual formation as leaders and a community in what it means to be a healthy gathering, perhaps not one that makes it to yes on all things, but where all parts can come to maybe in the transformation process from what is normal for their colony.

For is that not what it comes down to in community, a movement to maybe to be able to eventually move forward healthily into the next steps?


Mystic Light Bright 6

Posted: December 18, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Marianne Williamson, Hildegaard de Benign, Meister Eckhart, Francis of Assisi, Eric Butterworth, Ignatius of Lyola, Clare of Assisi, John Shelby Spong, Dorothy Day & Peter Maurin, Thomas Merton, Matthew Fox to name but a few who over time have resonated with the Holy Mystery in a way the disciple, John, did. From monastic to mystic communities to Creation Spirituality, to Unity there is a history that resonates within the Christianities still today. The original writings of John within the canonical Christian Testament show the Gnostic/philosophical/metaphysic under pinning of the community his travels founded. As we know, each disciple post resurrection went forth planting seeds an sprouting different trees within the same forest. Digging new wells for the Holy River to be tasted from.

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

-Epistle of 2 John 1-3 (English Standard Version)

It is these communities John writes to in his shortest letter between 85-95 CE. One led within the Holy Feminine, through a matriarchal leadership lens in his second epistle. But it has a a bedrock in the Love Commandment, that is the Sacrament of Service.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we[a] have worked for, but may win a full reward.Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

-Epistle of 2 John 4-11 (English Standard Version)

What is the source of actions? Does the means and ends resonate in the same harmony? These are considerations for one who abides in Holy Love, would not be wrecking destruction. Would not be leading others into the shadows, or to give into their Gremlins or setting them up for failure. That is the anti-Christs (antithesis of the Cosmic Christ, the opposite)… what is seen in the Empire that controls the world they know.

John is encouraging a steady travel. He knows that many will look to those groups that are growing rapidly, building projects, money coming in as the end that is needed in growing the teaching. It is seen in the flash and glam. Yet, that is not what John is writing about, he is reminding the communities that it is about depth of character, and discovery of true being that is the most important. It is not the “sexiest” of the work, it is not something that brings glory or riches, but it brings the greatest reward.

 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

-Epistle of 2 John 12-13

And the ending in our crazy busy world. Where everyone is constantly connected and on call. Where it can appear technology is replacing everything from community gatherings to social events is an ancient and modern reminder for the reader. There are many things he can easily communicate or teach through writing, but that is not how life is done. John is coming to spend time, break bread, and abide within the community.

When was the last time you slowed life down? Turned off the technological noise, and simply were with your self? Your family? Your neighbours? Your community?

For the Sacred Service of the Love Commandment begins with the simple act of BEING.

For to be, is the beginning of BELONGING.


“We have been so persistently taught that prayer consists in asking God for some human need that we have lost sight of our spiritual identity and have become a race of praying beggars.”

-Charles Fillmore

To some a four letter word. To others an opiate (to paraphrase Karl Marx) to keep the masses appeased and seeing themselves as fallen. Some an introspective/meditative/positive thinking technique that removes any personal or mystical agency for the miraculous. At worst, an intercession to a man in the sky that may deem us worthy or unworthy of aid.

And the stalled litany that removes mystic growth of the soul to true love communion with creation and loving Creator is removed by continuing the piece meal of pablum. Where is the meat? Those growing, become emaciated as they are not allowed out of pre-school, and those in pre-school are never given the challenge of spiritual growth into Kindergarten or Grade One (never mind 2-12 or upper colleges of spirituality) because no one wants to rock the tradition boat. Whether you are from the Abrahamic religions, Eastern spiritualities or meta-physicians.

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]

-Gospel of Matthew 6:5-9 (English Standard Version)

The debate over how we pray. While we miss the point on what is the point of prayer. In her 2011 book, How to Pray Without Talking to God, Unity Minister Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett poses this question:

To what degree does praying in the traditional fashion support or detract from your growing awareness of your divine identity?


Much like Brother Jesus in his teaching on prayer. Break the mold of what is taught by rote, without emotion, without self(lessness); without connection to the divinity that is breathed into us, and that is around us (y’know that love source we are from and return to). For it creates a false dichotomy that one method is better than another. There is no false dichotomy. All movements have their ways. Centering and grounding techniques to bring us to peace.


Great new book study with UCM Alberta

A priest mentor gave a sermon on praying for the dead, which would be seen as the ultimate traditional form of prayer. It has been taught to pray your loved ones out of purgatory into paradise (heaven). What I loved is he pointed out that purgatory in its purest form is having whatever has kept us from the Love Source, God, purged away instantaneously upon death. So why pray for the dead? It allows us to get out of our own pain/heads/hearts and speak that which is mired deeply within us.

What is that? It is grief processing? Singly, and when Mass is celebrated for the person, communally. It is healing.

In the metaphysical way taught by such as Ernest Holmes, The Fillmores, and Mary Baker Eddy to name a few, it is about going within to the divine identity that always exists. Much like the Lord’s Prayer Jesus leads into with his words from the Sermon on the Mount, these methods allow us to centre and root.

Image result for lord's prayer

Hey do you notice any metaphysical steps in this?

The Five Steps of Affirmative Prayer (Holmes’ way) are here. While my family prefers the method of this spirituality taught to kids. BINGO: Begin with God; Include yourself; Name your good; Give thanks; Over and Out.


Much like the Lord’s Prayer almost mirrors…

Image result for ACTS prayers

Into the Unity Five Step Process which is simply (from

1. Relax
Close your eyes. Relax, breathe deeply, and let go of outer concerns.
2. Concentrate
Quiet your mind. Begin to focus your thoughts on the spirit of God within you.
3. Meditate
With an open mind and a receptive heart, feel the peace of God’s presence. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 RSV).
4. Embrace the Silence
In the silence of your soul, know that you are one with God. Allow this realization to permeate your being.
5. Give Thanks
So is it talking outside or within yourself?
What is prayer?
It is communing with the love that we are sourced from. Tapping into the cosmic dust that exists within. personalized and cosmoligically. It is coming to an understanding of surrender, presence and love.
This is halted when Chemicalization (psychologically may present as cognitive dissonance) sets in. When we become stuck in the pablum of life not open to the grand cosmic buffet. Martella-Whitsett (2011) defines chemicalization as “a confused state of consciousness when embedded beliefs appear threatened by the introduction of new spiritual ideas.” (p. 41). The protection mechanism of life, as change triggers the grief cycle, and the grief cycles forces us to acknowledge that we are autonomous and interdependent people. It is easier to freeze where we are comfortable than to continue the journey.
That is why prayer is such a dividing line between movements, for it is within how we pray that we can label those who have “levelled up” and those who have not. Missing the point, that in the journey, many ways and means will bring us back to the grounding of understanding and resonance with God.
It may seem unbelievable…but…
Takes many forms as a way to centre the person and community into the true source and identity of who they are. It centres us into seeing each and every person as part of the beautiful rainbow of creation and belonging. Labels define supports, not the intrinsic worth of the person.
Created in love. Meant to return to love. And most importantly, to live out of that love…to as the Christian Testament describes it…bring the Kingdom here.
That is to transform our world through one humble act of compassionate love at a time.
Are you willing to truly enter into prayer?

Captain Sisko: You want to know… you *really* want to know what my problem is? I’ll tell you: Las Vegas 1962, that’s my problem. In 1962, black people weren’t very welcome there. Oh sure, they could be performers or janitors, but customers? Never.
Kasidy Yates: Maybe that’s the way it was in the real Vegas, but that is not the way it is at Vic’s. I have never felt uncomfortable there, and neither has Jake.
Captain Sisko: But don’t you see? That’s the lie. In 1962, the civil rights movement was still in its infancy. It wasn’t an easy time for our people, and I’m not going to pretend that it was.
Kasidy Yates: Baby – I know that Vic’s isn’t a totally accurate representation of the way things were, but… it isn’t meant to be. It shows us the way things could’ve been – the way they should’ve been.
Captain Sisko: We cannot ignore the truth about the past.
Kasidy Yates: Going to Vic’s isn’t going to make us forget who we are or where we came from. What it does is reminds us that we are no longer bound by any limitations – except the ones we impose on ourselves.

-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 7 episode 15 “Badda-bing, Badda-bang” (1999)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is another overlooked gem. It lasted seven seasons and tackled many relevant issues during the 1990’s. If you remember the 90’s there was the challenges of marriage equality (yes it began then); the repercussions of the end of the Cold War; Gulf War I, and the rise of the Serbian-Bosnian war that almost created a draft in Canada, and yes sadly, the Rwandan Genocide, to Albertans being confronted by our Eugenics history of forced sterilizations of persons with disabilities and mental illness, to name but a few historic events. It also began the repercussion of revelation of the church sexual abuse of children within Canada. There was hope, but also healing needed, and evil rooted out.
This is the world that Deep Space Nine premiered into. The first Star Trek not on a space ship exploring, but a Cardassian space station taken over by Bajor and the United Federation of Planets, by a wormhole to another quadrant. Bajor is a former planet that was occupied by the Cardassian, who finally surrendered. Sisko’s journey to lead is about losing his wife in a battle with the Borg. A Borg led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Locutus, ST:TNG Best of Both Worlds), whose ship brings him and his son to the station. A journey where he begins to wrestle with forgiveness and reconciliation with the man who under control of the Borg executed many of his friends, and his beloved.
The meta-narratives of the series looked at movement from resistance to governance; role of spirituality-religion in sustaining through occupation and healing/reconciling after. The Wormhole to the Federation, was the Celestial Temple to the Bajorans, one saw wormhole aliens, the other Prophets of their religion. It was a show that used time travel, and alternate reality shows to challenge perceptions. Commander (then Captain) Benjamin Sisko’s role as leader of the station, but also Emissary of the Celestial Temple (he also punched Q). It explored commerce and the black market, inter-species relationships; eugenics, horrific treatment of persons who are different (those that were augmented that could pass and function in society, and those that cannot). As the series continued, the Dominion War storytelling caused many Trekkies’ to balk because war as part of Star Trek. A bi-sexual Cardassian former assassin, Garak, and his hiding of open affections for Dr. Bashir, and a Ferengi engineer, Rom, that if you watch him, is neuro-a-typical and the life he lives while belonging (Best episode is in Season 7, take me out to the Holo-Suite!).
Yet the war story line allowed for other explorations. Exploitation of any belief system for violent gains. The world of PTSD, what young soldiers go through who go off to war to “prove themselves”, but do not live completely or die, but return injured and the healing process. It also showed what life meant. Through the character of Vic Fontaine, a holosuite program singer, from Las Vegas, Earth 1962. A program that became conscious. A program that helped Ensign Nog (first Ferengi in Starfleet) heal from his PTSD of losing his leg on the front lines.
This is the program Sisko and his new partner are discussing in the opening quote.

Nog: The news just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
Captain Sisko: What news?
Colonel Kira: Oh… nothing, sir, we’re, uh, talking about a holosuite program.
Doctor Bashir: Vic Fontaine’s hotel’s just been bought by… gangsters.
Captain Sisko: I see. When do you plan on going back to work?

-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 7 episode 15 “Badda-bing, Badda-bang” (1999)

It is a take on an old Star Trek story, Piece of the Action (Original Series), but pays homage to the Rat Pack’s Ocean’s 11 (sorry Clooney Gang, nothing beats the original). As the leadership crew understands this constantly running lounge’s importance to the crew’s mental health, Sisko wrestles with what happens if we forget the past?

Chief O’Brien: Robbing casinos isn’t part of any Starfleet job description I’ve ever read.

-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 7 episode 15 ”Badda-bing, Badda-bang” (1999)

A Jack In The Box program has allowed gangsters to take over, and change the program, the only way that technically can be found is to reboot. Reboot erases Vic back to factory settings. What makes a person? Is it flesh and blood? Or the sum of our experiences?
The other way? Beat the intruders.
They fail to beat the intruders, gangsters shoot Vic. He dies in the program, he vanishes completely.
What an option. Now the question asked is, is Vic a person? Does he deserve a chance to continue to live and thrive even if the outside world sees him as only a hologram?
Are we cursed to not be able to move from our past history?
Can we move beyond, reconcile, and if we do, and present it as anything less than it was, are we forgetting?
What about critical thought?
Same as the balance of spirituality-science throughout the series. The balance of subtlety of belonging for each of the characters and their stories. It is a series I encourage one to watch, and reflect on. It makes a great discussion night for different episodes over meals for all ages. I have used episodes with youth to tackle tough topics such as dying with dignity, belief systems, war, and belonging.
And ask yourself in your journey what this statement means:

“Going to Vic’s isn’t going to make us forget who we are or where we came from. What it does is reminds us that we are no longer bound by any limitations – except the ones we impose on ourselves.”

-Kasidy Yates

ac2For the non-comic geek, today is the 1000 issue of Action Comics. Now the rest of you know what I am writing on. Superman. Action Comics #1 in 1938 introduced something new to the world– a super hero. Yes there had been pulp heroes before, and adventure men (Doc Savage, the Shadow), but Superman was something new and different.

There has been a plethora since. How do I know this is momentous? I grew up in public schools from 1984-1996, and comics were verboten.  Could only find them on convenience store spin racks, or comic shops. Yet now they are in book stores, premium shops, public libraries, and yes, my daughter’s school library. We have begun to realize what I always talked about growing up. Pop culture ala comics, graphic novels, sci-fi are rapidly becoming our new meta-narrative. Much like ancient legends and play wrights we studied in school before hand.  It was through the world of comics, that I discovered the myths and legends, classics, a deeper passion for current events, and simple kindness changing the world.

acAnd it began with the most memorable and imprintable– Superman (there are others, Batman, Spider-Man, since the advent of MCU and DCEU many more have come into consciousness), but I digress. Superman is more than simply the 1000 issues of Action Comics. He has been on every medium: Radio shows, television, movies, video games, multiple comic series, book series, toys, models, trading cards, and other collectibles. The S-shield is a symbol. When it is seen, people have an understanding of heroics. Much like others would when they would see a marshall star, or here a Robin Hood story. That is what Superman grew into as the 20th century carried forward. He fought racism, fascism, poverty, injustice and pure villainy whether it was from within or without.

As much as the Christianities have attempted to co-opt it as an allegory of Christ, the roots are in the Hebrew Bible stories of Moses and Judges. Yet has grown beyond the tribal underpinnings to a universal story. It is why the last two films, Man of Steel and Superman v. Batman were panned. For it was not Superman.

The light in the darkness. The one that seeks justice, but does not use the methods of those he battles. The emblem of truth and hope. A throwback to a simpler time perhaps, but in the complexity we have created in the world, the simplicity is still needed. For in Superman what is stripped away is the convolution, and the mask that is Superman drops to the core of the character:

Clark Kent.

Sent to earth, raised by Jonathan and Martha, humble farmers. Whether you were part of the story where the died, or lived until senior years. It was the simplicity of new life, and light, and kindness… helping neighbour that rung true. The humanity, not the superhero that made the story. A reporter, seeking the truth behind the glitz, glamour and show. His love growing and changing in life. A character through ideations we have seen as child, teenager, elseworlds/multi-verses, young adult, adult, married (Finally! to Lois Lane!) and now a father.

Clark Kent lived life. Yes he had powers, yes he had a mask, Superman, that he wore to use his exceptional gifts. But when the world met Superman, the mask was only the awe that stopped them from seeing Clark…for they truly met Clark.

That is the hope of Superman you see. It is about doing whatever you can to make the world better, and have the life you are meant to live. It is about being the authentic you, regardless of the situation.

Superman, neigh, Clark Kent truly answers the question, Who is My neighbour? For it is his simple and complex actions seeking the best for those that is what matters.

Here is to the narrative continuing…and inspiring new generations.

And yes…Clark…inspired me at one point to want to write…

I have always enjoyed reading the practical current events spiritual magazines/newspapers published in Canada. Most are denominationally specific. Among my top 3 were: United Church Observer, Anglican Sower and Presbyterian Record. The last two I also had the privilege to write for and share thoughts, unfortunately they are also no longer publishing (the fact they carried my works has nothing to do with the ceasing of publication I believe). One can also trace in my spiritual journey, denominations or religious traditions have not been high, I have drank and do drink from the many wells the one river feeds, yet it is the one river that I thirst for.

As I wrote a few days ago after a cascade of flashbacks triggered by a denominational prayer cycle (Read post here) it is unique that the latest issue of the United Church Observer in their Question Box column, Spiritual Solidarity, touched upon clerical unionization.

                “Clergy conflict reflect the ongoing turmoil and anxiety within the wider United Church.”

-Christopher White

Workplace and community conflicts are part of existing together. They are to be expected, what is not to be expected in civilized society is such harassment, haranguing and trauma that individuals leave their employment, or wind up with deep rooted scars. This article triggered flashbacks, part of the work of trying to rise above my flashbacks is acknowledging the pain, but also acknowledging the good I have seen and been apart of.

Obviously, the article is centred on the organic transformation within the United Church on this issue, but I can attest it crosses Christianities tradition and denominational lines. Following is a few thoughts on the good and bad I have been apart of.

“I also believe that more and more…is moving from primarily seeing ministry as a covenanted relationship to seeing it as a contractual one.”

-Christopher White

  1. The small congregation that hired me as a youth leader leaving my first experience, and then a minister. Both with contradicting missions. The congregation responding to the pain their abuse had caused catastrophe with previous ministries, allowing those with the money to run rampant. Online abuse existed before social media it was done via cc and bcc on e-mail as my character and personhood were attacked by those in the church that did not like their children/youth thinking. The harassment also continued through the office of clergy towards me, and some youth with mental health concerns. Meetings were held; then it went up to the Presbytery level to meet with the congregation and even though these meetings concerned me I was not allowed to attend. Eventually they beat you down, and I chose to surrender my ministry—yes the majority wanted to bring me on as minister, but even with mechanisms to sanction the vocal minority bullies—they refused. How did the organization reward this community? With more money, bigger space…message sent to those targeted—you do not matter.
  2. Being a Lay Professional Leader in a congregation doing things such as contemplative worship services, pulpit fill in; leading a bible study. Yet the wealthy in the aging congregation got their tempest in a tea pot over kids at play, noise, and the online attack campaign begun. Unwillingness again to call out a spade as a spade from those higher due to—yup you guessed it—money at play as donors.
  3. Stalked on and harassed via social media by a congregation and their pastor—why? As a family, we attempted to advertise our home bible study and potluck on the church Facebook page. My wife encouraged to distance herself from me and my unChrist-like influence. When she refused, and we chose to leave as a family those that said they were our “friends” shunned us like leaving a cult.
  4. My son’s joyful noise at a Santa Clause service being called out in vehement anger by the minister and called to leave service. Shunned by the supposedly “inclusive” spiritual home. In the moment those who preached standing up for injustice became the bystanders while the bully postured and the bullied was left believing he was on Santa’s naughty list.
  5. In Bible College having a professor point blank tell the class when I answered in favour of inclusion “that is why your church must die”…and being taunted in the halls as the “fag church member” still standing strong and up as best I could, leaving the learning environment to be battered in my “church homes” as I tried to build ministries.
  6. Para-church directors head hunting to fire me for my political and/or theological beliefs not aligning with their personal understanding.
  7. Being the family scape goated by an ill-equipped children’s educational ministry, because we had the “special needs kid” and not looking seriously at the bullying issue by the children of the long term generational members, and having the “r word” used to describe my son.
  8. Hearing during service a priest being called out on the rug because he took a stand for inclusion of God’s children, and love for those who are differently abled.

That is the darkness. Some can see through that a need for the mediating voice, but a union is not just there for the darkness, they are there to create a support network for successes. A place where the story can be shared for what has transformed, what has been overcome, and can create a relationship where clergy can easily move between denominations.

  1. I have been apart of wonderful churches that have had no actual building. Where ministries and retreats for youth were sponsored by church family members (with or without kids) in their own homes.
  2. I have been there when seniors have continued to answer the call to serve our children as they closed in on 100 years old, as we created “Elders Time” where a big comfy chair was created and the Elder could share the story, and then have the youth be their hands and legs for the activity.
  3. I have seen the passion of inclusion, where walls were broken down and churches laughed off the “tradition” of church youth/community youth time tables to have open youth group for all where spiritual formation was encouraged, and critical thought.
  4. I have seen youth and young families forego the “contemporary” service to be apart of the old liturgical service because it is where the seniors were, and allowed those without grandparents to find that role in their life in church.
  5. I have broken bread, shared meals, lifted many families and friends within my own home around simple things as movie discussion nights, bible studies…where life was done for those shunned by churches they did not fit the mold for due to life circumstance, simple acts of kindness and love allowed the journey to continue… and yes, the noise of children is apart of that.
  6. A Children’s Ministry coordinator coming and speaking directly to my son about coming and being part of the group, not asking us, asking him and listening close for his body language and spastic voice if he wanted to come.
  7. Having a priest during High Mass while blessing the host pause, as my son cheers loudly, and state to the congregation overflowing, “May we all have that excitement to be one with Jesus!”
  8. A minister that contacts my son about if he wants to be in the Christmas pageant, and then the congregation learns about inclusionary communication tools.
  9. Simple things, like a free half day Vacation Bible School that I was blessed to be apart of growing up, and then my teacher asking if my daughter would attend as they are re-launching (and yes, this past summer she learned some French!).
  10. Offering scholarships for VBS’s that have a cost so no child is turned away.
  11. Celebrating the diversity in our unity as spiritual beings from who we are to where we are from…whether it is being Affirming or Dancing our Offering to the Altar to everything in between and not even dreamed of yet.
  12. A Priest taking the flack for replacing offering over two weeks of masses to ensure the food cupboard is overflowing with blessing.
  13. A nun that gathers toys to deliver with food hampers to families in need, and when families without homes sleep in the church ensure that even the volunteers have what they need.
  14. A priest that is troubled by persons with mobility issues not being able to get to the dining hall with dignity for church meals, installs and elevator.
  15. A priest that volunteers with homeless families and realizes they do not have the opportunity to shower in the parish before going out for their day. Installs showers, and announces offering from that weekend needs to be generous to pay for it.

For every horror story there is good stories, even great ones. Yet we cannot say the good outweighs the bad. We cannot say “this is church” to allow for the bullying. People are essentially good. We need to be generous in our ability to do what we can to build a better world, one simple act of kindness at a time.

A union for church employees on the surface may be something to be scoffed at, but it creates a mediating body, removes the ability of congregations or higher church authorities to cover up for PR reasons. It creates an environment with standardized codes of care and conduct that cannot be shouted down due to the “wealthy donor” paradigm. It levels the playing field, much like the gospels pointed to.

This is my story, my experience, my opinion. My act of reconciliation as the story stands, the truth told…now it is time to move forward…into a new day, and a hopeful healthier relationship in the congregation we have settled in.

Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth.

-Thomas Fuller

In the journey of spiritual home finding, it was looking like the UCM-Alberta group had floundered–yet–it had not. It is a group of metaphysical-spiritualists on a journey of discovery. Quite unique when you think about it as the wife and I stumbled upon them as they had lost their worship time, and were existing as a spiritual book study at the end of summer 2016.

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ  is the text we are exploring, a universalist take on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Now there are articles and spiritual practices on this blog taken from this work and inspired by the study. Yet, this quote came out during our bi-weekly discussion this past Wednesday night, around our kitchen table that for many years hosted our Rainbow Chapel, and now as the Christ light was lit, hosted UCM.

Anyways I digress, it happens for us writer types. It is a famous quote that opened this post. A quote that we usually only hold to the first part of, as it rings of St. Thomas, the one known as the doubter, who would not accept the resurrection without probing the holes on the body of the risen Jesus. Yet there is a pause, for the 1 that asked for proof, there was 13 whose emotions drove their belief. For it is in the feeling of the 13 that another truth is known. It is that truth that speaks to the Cosmic Christ that resonates within each one of us.

The Holy spark that connects each of us together with all of creation and creator. Not an old man in the sky, but rather a permeating universal energy that binds everything. That’s manifestation is L-O-V-E.

A love light filled their souls, and all the people were amazed.

-Aquarian Gospel 83:26

And what does all this same old, same old matter?  As those who are regular readers will note similar themes of living out of love, channeling that which is pure to make our world a better place.

Some may say it is the reinventing of Christianity, for some it is a new form of spirituality, yet for some it may be getting back to a pre-Constantine or an authentic Gospel life.

Yet it is intriguing this conversation happened after the last 4 weeks of release.

See, four weeks ago…something happened for my family in our journey of finding a spiritual home. We wound up in a local United Church Congregation. There has been emotional struggles over the weeks I will not lie, especially the Sunday we were asked to pray for the church that I forced a choice between vocation and my son.

Yet there is much that reflects from Wednesday’s discussion in subtle ways. A Sunday School that affirms those whom are differently abled and my son for the first time in many years feeling safe and welcomed fully enough to participate. Also not only participate, but to shoo parents away and not want us there. Yes it was only one week, but it was a week that spoke of his own heart change.

So the contemplation continues, for there needs to be more release of old pain. Allowing scars to fade some more. Yet seeing a place where my kids are welcomed for the time, is relaxing. As written before it is one of 2 places so far, and if we are to include our book study that is 3.

So what does love light filled souls look like?

It looks like the women at the empty tomb.

The disciples who left the upper room no longer afraid.

It was the moment when Jesus sat by the Samaritan Woman at the well.

The moment the Good Samaritan aided the man beaten by robbers.

When a member of our book group said she enjoys moving between houses to see our children.

Or a Sunday School teacher coming up on a Sunday Morning when I was still ill at ease by re-entering a denomination I had much history with (and not always the most healthy)…to speak directly to my son if he wanted to come to Wonder Kids.

Sometimes the love light that shines through, is in the simplest words or actions of life.

So how are you going to let your soul’s love light shine this week?

There has been many creative arts I have learned in regards to spiritual practice, that Jesus’ travels in India allow for a different perspective in, so the following reflection will actually be some whole chapters interjected with a spiritual practice, I would suggest doing one a day for the next several days to go deeper, some of the practices can be done from more than one perspective.

This is a short series, within my series of reflections on the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ to share some with you.

We start in Chapter 22.

Chapter 22

The friendship of Jesus and Lamaas. Jesus explains to Lamaas the meaning of truth, man, power, understanding, wisdom, salvation and faith. Continue reading here.

Jesus and his friend enter into the illusion before us, and how to go deep into the unity that is the true reality. The perceived separation, the idea of the “Fall” and “Rapture” being covertly spoken out against.

This was a familiar metaphysical writing style in the early 1900’s, and showcased classical philosophy.  But where can we see some “classical philosophy” being put forward in the 21st century? What about Youtube, or a news radio show…

Re-write chapter 22 as one of these that resonate with you, with the roles of Jesus and Lamaas. What modern equivalents would be created or used to explain the truth you have contemplated here.

At the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living there has been a movement to build community outside of the classes and Sunday Gatherings. The first wave has been in the introduction of Friday Night Happy Hour activiies, last night was such a night with a movie night (these are usually monthly, and I have blogged on previous movies). Last Night’s fair was People v. The State of Illusion which centres on the story of Aaron and his daughter, Hope. Aaron is a widow, who is on the cusp of loosing his rat race job, and has a liquid lunch before going to see his daughter perform. One choice to drive while intoxicated and his daughter is ripped away…and Aaron is jail bound.

I don’t want to get to into the ins and outs of the story, but it becomes a guided journey of who Aaron will choose to be?

Will he choose the hell of jail or the freedom of jail? What does it mean to alter reality and perception? This is not the best movie on these topics I have seen, it is like a Crime Stoppers re-enactment interspersed with interviews from experts ala Unsolved Mysteries. There is good discussion points, as well as some good ponderances as it is like an overview course of personal change and growth. It is the type of movie that could easily be done as a movie night that would allow for pausing after certain scenes for broader discussion, with family and friends over pizza and coke.

So, do you want to remove the hell you live in and replace it with the reality of the divine you?

Fundamentalist Christians. Exploding airplanes. A dead fiancee, a declaration that surviving being burned alive leaves one without a God…oh and the hypocracy of the church chasing the multi-million dollar settlement money and the other half stating the flying accident was punishment for the unholiness of going up in the two seater plane with your fiancee sans chaperone so you deserved it…

So begins Paradise a 2013 movie with Russell Brand as a not so chivalrous bar keep in the Las Vegas strip (actually called Paradise) who meets Lamb when she runs away with her millions to discover life free of her home schooled fundamentalist upbringing in small town Montanna. The reality of Las Vegas with her new African American singer friend who is trying to keep her safe, Brand’s character who is realizing who he is as Lamb sees him as he truly is…

and a story of discovery…how does one keep their faith after trauma? Is it the same faith? Does it change? Does it grow? What happens when indoctrinated religion actually becomes unity with the Holy Mystery?

A great movie to watch on your own, or with friends and family over a potluck to discuss the themes of. Again it is also an independent smaller film that shows Brand’s true acting ability.