Posts Tagged ‘New Thought’


With each new passing or announcement of retirement from the progressive theological movements I share with my wife, we ask, who will take up the torch?  And no, Rob Bell is not the answer or the Emergent Church movement. Yes, they are doing good things in pushing boundaries in their traditions, but compared to where Labour Church, Social Gospel, Creation Spirituality, Progressive Christianity, Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology, Queer Theology, Truth and Reconciliation resonances, Human Rights, Social Justice, New Thought, Metaphysics, Jesus Seminar, Philosophy, history, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, science and ecumenical dialogues (to name but a few) have brought us, they are reinventing the foundation stones, instead of adding new floors to the towers already standing tall and strong.

I have been trying lately due to some health challenges of the holistic being to reclaim the towers, and not have to reinvent the foundation stones (I am stubborn that way). After the first night of decent rest in months it hit me, that part of continuing to build the towers is to go to your own spiritual roots.  Within myself, and my family those roots are the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Testament. I will be the first to admit, the Hebrew Bible can at first blush appear to contain stories of hate, genocide, blood lust and horror. They are foundation myths and legends of their time speaking to the people then and what they had gone through. The challenge for us is not to take a 21st century lens back to the historical story, but rather bring the story into a 21st century lens.

Huh?

A 21st century lens pushes these stories to obscurity, or that which should not be spoken about.

Yet bringing the story into a 21st century lens allows us to see what we have missed and continued to repeat due to our literal, fundamentalist or non-reading of the text.

This is one of the things that struck me as I sipped on my fourth cup of morning coffee. It pertains to the horrid collection of laws found in the Third book of the Torah (or Pentateuch for those Greek types), Leviticus.

Really these are laws about how to keep yourself alive, don’t spark wars with your neighbours and by bringing the story into the 21st century lens that abuse shall not happen without consequence (as seen with the hard passages around abuse of women in Leviticus 19:29:

c“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.

(English Standard Version)

            For me speaks directly to the abolishment of the Sex Trade. All of us are either children of someone’s daughter, or have a daughter, and forcing anyone to do what they choose not to do, or to make profit from the dehumanization of another is reprehensible evil.

This method also brings a different reading into those infamous few of Leviticus 18:22-23:

22 hYou shall notlie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 i And you shall not lie with anyanimal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to ananimal to lie with it: it is jperversion.

(English Standard Version)

 

These texts have nothing today with the LGBTTQ2+ community. They are a direct redaction into what is legendarily believed to be the writings of Moses post exile from Babylon. In Babylon, the free and slave were forced into sexual predatory worship within the temple. It was led by the Clerics and to show worship after providing the usual animals and money forced participation for absolution was found in sexual penetration through varied orifices of animals, and/or human beings by the worshipper or with the Cleric (yes historical anthropological context can be disturbing).

But wait…removing the literal sentiment, what type of warning does this sound like for the people?

That your worth as you are created matters.

Do not let one in authority force you to that which you do not want to do.

When one in power forces you under the auspices of atonement, absolution, because God said, because you will make first line, I will ensure you get an A, you will get the role only if you….

Hidden in a text we have argued over a literal understanding of, we have missed a millenniums long warning of metaphor and allegory going:

Children,

You were abused in captivity, and were not allowed to flourish healthily into the true you. Do not repeat this pattern of abuse. Be the ones that shatter the cycle, know that you are loved, equal, and belong together in loving communities, loving relationships with whomever you choose.

BUT (and this one is important) you must choose the path of new and love, not the path of known hurt and abuse.

I implore you as you lick the wounds of leaving slavery and abuse, PLEASE, speak the truth, then CHOOSE to move forward as a healthy community by throwing off the monsters and casting them out.

Choose L-I-F-E.

Choose L-O-V-E.

Amazing what happens when you contemplate deeply into the Holy Mystery and attempt to answer the WTF as to why this passage exists.

So as community in the Christianities, are we going to answer the Levitical warning and:

           Choose L-I-F-E?

           Choose L-O-V-E?


WTF? Okay, as I watched the US election results roll in this colloquialism went through my mind, and we all know what it stands for. For me though it would’ve happened with Hillary winning as well, for I was rooting for a change-shift in the USA mindset around body politic and looking at the mainstream ticket disaster a choice of 3rd party or right in.

That did not happen, and the waves of fear and hate have become revealed in the North American continent.

But as I have learned short had at the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living (Thanks Dr. Pat), it gave new terms for probing questions used in spiritual direction, and that is What’s the Fear? (WTF)…the fear is seeing the old world reasserting itself, the fear is seeing how someone can use the fear that exists within the starving masses used to go back in time, the fear is realizing that a party that brought their country the emancipation proclamation; Abraham Lincoln, in just over 100 years had moved to this.

But then the question needs to be asked, why do the voters that do not show up, allow for this? Their is responsibility around. Yet with this vote, there is shift happening as the Republicans that control the Senate and Congress are speaking up for their constituents and not stating they will blindly follow their technical party leader, so is their something deeper in the law of cause and effect at play?

Which brings us to “Where’s the Faith?”. Now as a Canadian I have to admit a reality, even our most conservative movements fall just left of the USA’s Democratic Party, so yes the political spectrum down south does not even touch our spectrum, but within that over the last 25 years we have experienced provincially and federally overly fanatical leadership in Klein-Harris “Common Sense Revolutions” (Alberta and Ontario in the `90’s) and most recently Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government.

Yet, the out come short and long is citizens choosing hope, whoever thought Conservative Alberta would send Liberals to Ottawa Federally, but also…elect an NDP government.

I stand here as a pragmatist, but in the Canadian context being on the spectrum between Red Tory/Red Grit to Communist, and yes I have ridden through these waves of attempted regression, and can say to our neighbours to the south, it is survivable, but as a democracy you must choose to move forward in Hope, and hold those who have been elected out of the shadow accountable. It is time to be active participants in your life.

So where is the faith? (WTF) for me it is in the promise out of the story of Genesis 3 from the ancient Jewish tradition. Yahweh lets Adam and Eve leave home, promising that the earth is theirs to now care for, they have entered adolescents and young adult hood. The story that progresses from that moment of Blessing is one filled with pain, mistakes and hurt, but what emerges from that is the Christ-Love that transforms the story.

So we are a world in the midst of change, in the midst of our young adult hood…are we going to hold it together and live out of the love. Hold to the simple truth of life, that no matter what, when a core group of good people comes together, Love Wins.

WTF.


Ian Rankin (2016) Rather be the Devil was the latest delight of the Calgary Public Library hold shelf at their Village Square Location (and yes I have been around this community long enough that I remember the original library van when I was a kid). But why does this percolate a post even before I have cracked the cover on the newest Inspector John Rebus mystery. The roustabout musicphile of Scotland who is no longer an inspector in the last few outings.

You read that right, he was retired a few novels ago but brought back in a consulting role. Whether or not this was Rankin’s intent with a character he created back during his doctoral days or not is truly not the point of this reflection. For it is something that tickled my mind, coupled with a lasting image from a few nights ago when we popped over by the Community of Temple Fire Hall (okay it was the 7-11 for slurpees as a family, but still).

Next to the Fire Hall used to stand an Anglican Church, St. George’s, a parish that has roots going back almost 50 years in this area as well, but it did not start out as a building. It started out as a parish without walls in local Catholic School gymnasiums. How do I know that? I was the fist babe Christened on the baptismal roles in said gynnasium (even down to the pic with the priest and shamrock backboard behind the head).

Now it is simply an empty field (though the Altar Guild at my farewell gave me a banner of the Saint and Dragon as a reminder that still is displayed in my home), the building had become condemned, the amphitheater I used to host outside concerts and road hockey tourneys for the community just over a decade ago back filled in. The sign with pithy sayings to attract new comers–gone. Just the wild grass taking hold and rumours of one day it being the site of seniors housing, but so far no sign of ground breaking.

It was my last paid post in ministry, there was two other church postings to follow that were tent making for myself as I was paid to be apart of another. But it was that baptism in a school gym that shaped my spiritual DNA of the irrelevancy of labels, walls and barriers we tend to create in the world. Anglicans and Catholics working together. Then in pre-school, at an Alliance Church with the diversity that makes up NE Calgary (loved singing those kids hymns with my Sikh and Hindu neighbours), and a Presbyterian Vacation Bible School (that my own daughter still attends).

I am not going to get into my spiritual journey in Junior and Senior high school, or shaping in Indigenous, Pagan, Mystery or Eastern Traditions or digress into evangelical theological formation in Bible College and Seminary; while serving and practicing in mainline churches, or monastic formation with Anglican, Catholic and Ecumenical Franciscans. Some would say, that I have removed myself from the Progressive Christendom voice by act of, well, leaving the physical church buildings and to be honest becoming tired with the mundanity that Christianity has created for itself in its fear of becoming irrelevant.

Yet.

As I look upon this character who in retirement from his life passion is still pursuing truth and justice, and I look at the reclaiming by nature of the former site of the parish that sparked my journey.

I no longer wonder, I know.

A voice is only not relevant when it is not used.

An act of kindness is only not relevant when it is left undone.

A kingdom act is only not a kingdom act when the source is not the love that opens one soul to the Cosmic Christ, and out of that soul lives in unity with all that is.

The question is not whether or not I am Christian, Progressive, New Thought, Science of Mind, New Age (and yes the litany of the pieces that feed my spiritual piece of the medicine wheel, and by proxy my whole self can go on and on)…the question is whether or not is founded and lived out of Love?

And the name for this love for me is the Cosmic Christ, whose example is the Master Teacher, Brother Jesus, and that flowed from the Loving Creator.

So…all that remains to ask as a life is lived is simply:

What Would Love Do?

 

 


It is true, to find a place where you can truly be the true you, takes time, and effort. Sometimes one falls effortlessly into a spot, other times the journey builds up a lot of open wounds, bruises and scar tissue to truly find respite and belonging.

My journey has been an in between, sadly some placed we thought availed of spiritual belonging attacked the youngest of us (still a certain Lutheran Church sadly my son cannot go by the parking lot of without having a meltdown) or a certain non-denom cult that the humour of being kicked out for a bible study invite still stays with the wifey…yet there is a spiritual home for everyone….it is just about finding the right hole to fit your peg, the right puzzle piece that connects…

And yes even with diverse family units such as ours there is a puzzle that can fit all our pieces. Currently I feel we are in such a place. One where the kids can grow, we can grow, and it is not necessarily because of what happens with each Sunday, or even all the courses/workshops offered at the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living, although they help the curious learners within…

Nope, it is the type of puzzle that allows your mosaic to thrive, so not just fitting into an ideology or dogma, but a place where you can think and grow as you are meant to within the Spirit and the Spirit within. A place that allows for questions, diversity and evolution of the self and the whole. A holistic communion if you will.

For our family, it is that place to belong, for we can still be curious, we can still journey outside of the metaphoric four walls of the Centre and sample other things, grow in other ways (Nods to you Unity of Calgary and UCM Alberta)…and know that no judgment is held when we come home with new ideas to banter about.

It is through authentic belonging, that then authentic purpose can be realized for all within the family and community for there is no falsity in fitting in, or trying to be something or one you are not. Regardless of life lived, or being lived, or who you love, or what path you are one, or ability/differently abled there is always a way to realize where Spirit calls and a community to walk with in realizing that call.

Just thoughts that percolate in the work I do in aiding others in building home and coming to peace in my own self as I truly am at a place of Thy own self be true if you will.


This Sunday was a contemplative time, it started out as any ride to the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living. My daughter off to Funday School, sipping my coffee with wifey and son in the service. Great music and meditation as usual. It has been a reflective time entering into a Foundations course and looking back on our spiritual journey, one ponders what ifs periodically, what if…

Well for someone who has journeyed through many ways of discovering the Holy Mystery that is in everything and everything dwells within, sampled many of the wells from the one river, the talk on agriculture struck a chord.

graft Weaker trees grafted onto a strong root. Think of our own lives, your own life…what is the roots that you grew from, that you grafted on your new beliefs that continued to grow.

This was the metaphor that spurred Dr. Pat Campbell’s talk on Sunday. Yet the talk resonated deeper in myself as I thought about my spiritual journey and what truly was my root. Family heritage would scream Christendom in the vein of Anglican or United Church of Canada…personal Christendom journey would run the gambit of evangelical to mainline…monastic to cleric…to stints in learning within Judaism, Bahai, Islam, Earth and Indigenous spiritualities….Druidery…Wicca…some occult…Eastern Philosophies…Ancient Philosophies…Conspiracy Theories…Paleo-SETI…and the list goes on to universalist…energy healing…Unitarian…New Thought…New Age…Paranormal…Ancient Mythologies…

And then it struck me, as I went deeper down the rabbit hole…foundation beliefs found in ancient stories that still resonate in Fables and Fairy Tales, but there was more. For current legends and stories resonate with truth for me.

Like walking out of a fog to claim what I have always stated is true to me. The story. It is what I hold onto, it is how lessons and truth are communicated, it is how I learn, grow, change and work towards transformation.

All other things had been grafted onto this great driving belief in me. The vocation of story teller…or as the Munay-Ki called it for me, Wisdom Keeper.

My root is the story of the cosmic oneness, my rising is how all is grafted onto the one, and that is how all my beliefs–stories sync into the one root.

CSL4


What a whirlwind it was leading up to the vacation time, which was a staycation to truly rediscover time with the family. A whirlwind for anyone who serves the public knows that if you do not keep a beat on your own soul it is easy to flame out. As the soulmate would say, something is off. Yet it was most summed up early on this vacation week.

See since the summer when we packed up my Mum’s belongings for a final time, I had her Tibetan prayer beads I wore around my wrist. In an attempt to keep the neighbour’s cat from using my backyard as their litter box (it drives our dog a bit barmy). I felt the beads leave my wrist and heard them hit what I thought was leaves. Went back to look, only to discover that the bracelet was no longer in tact, and that little black beads vanish into leaf piles quite quickly.

Yes it is a loss.

Yet it is also a time for reflection for me, yes it was a sad time, as it was something from my Mum, but it was also just a thing. Yet in the essence of the spiritual journey it was a representation of something else. Something that my wife touched upon in our Sacred Circle time. Yes they were Buddhist prayer beads, which for some raised Christian spoke volumes to the way my family believed (all one God just different ways of knowing)…yet as they vanished, it was also a door closing for me as I realized that the spiritual journey of practice and equipping to be a pulpit pastor closed off and vanished.

The fitting of the square peg into the round hole, ended…but wholeness was left.

It has been a month of reflecting trying to struggle through pain that for many years has been put aside as I served as the glue to hold others together, until the glue itself was drying out, but was it too late? Had a hurdle been reached that one would not be able to turn back from?

See, my life has always been about chasing a passion and discovering how to make a living at it. A life lived completing dreams, and passions, and now as a family man, arriving at where I feel professionally I believe I fit, personally loving my life, yet in those moments an ache of missing for the family that are not here to journey with anymore.

Living in the family home, with the ghosts of the past constantly present. Creating memories in the present, and talking of what the future holds.

Yet…

Are there new dreams? New passions to ignite? What is the next wall to tear down? The next circle to dance?

As the beads hit the leaves it was a feeling of loss, but it was a loss that was more like a release of what was before, and making a conscious choice that in that moment, yes it is sad, but it opens up a new future.

The question is how to be present in the now so the future reveals?


Yup, rolled out tonight playing around musically with the kids, sung to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”

Spirit loves me this I know for my heart tells me so.

We belong to a great source, the universe is always ours.

Yes Spirit loves me, yes Spirit loves me. Yes spirit loves me the universe has spoke.


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


A new spiritual work…this is a draft of a chapter thought I would share:

For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 1:8

Ah the first step in understanding the Cosmic Christ you are, that’s right the star stuff we are created from, that is the Cosmic Christ within, the divine you in unity with the human you in the here and now. The first step in this reality is living a life of compassion. These are simple lessons of life shown not told. It is in the way that you observed your family behaving, how others were treated. Perhaps it was stories told after the fact, or those that became family legend.

For those without a happy family life, perhaps it was the mentors and family you chose to have in your life that laid out the new reality. This is the reality that exists, and that by beginning this new journey you may see again.

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living

entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free

from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who

is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with

determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement

 with Me-he is very dear to Me.

                                                –Bhagavad Gita 12: 13-14

The fruits of the Divine within whether you term it Spirit, God, G(o)od, Vishnu, Krishna, Dharma, Karma—the list can go on, but what is evident is we know the star stuff exists as science says, and from that we live out the compassion that burns brightly. By acknowledging it and listening to it, we move beyond the “Old Laws” like Moses character was used to lay out in the 10 Commandments (and the 617 in Leviticus) that in our infancy story guided us towards a selfless self-love life that drew us closest to the divine.

My family was raised with many living examples of the simplicity that is compassion, as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi there is a compassion within each of us as was witnessed in the life of the Master Teacher Jesus of Nazareth. This is the compassion that if you take time to be present in your own story, and the great story around you will see.

In my own life it was being 16 years old and being at my Granddad’s funeral, having many of the now adults that grew up in the town with my grandparents and them sharing the open door they had in their home for the neighbourhood kids, always having the open listening ear to help them work through life issues to come to a solution.

It was hearing about my Grandma Ragan working in a diner in Canada around the Air Force bases, and refusing to bend to American soldier’s whims not to serve African Canadian Soldiers and welcoming them all in. Her following the life of a friend of my Uncle’s of Japanese descent and celebrating his milestones, even though she should have been of a generation that saw him as “enemy”.

It was the open welcoming door in my own home growing up, where whichever person entered became part of the family. My Mum and Dad always having a helping hand for friend, family, neighbour or stranger whether it was help with child care, food, rides or just a listening ear, and a strong shoulder for tears.

These were not people that trumpeted their simple acts of compassion as anything more than simply what one did in life to help another member of the family that is humanity. It is stepping away from mourning what “we don’t have” or “what we can’t do” to looking at the blessing we are, the purpose we have been given and are doing, to something deeper.

N-A-M-A-S-T-E-

The divine in me sees and recognizes the divine in you.

To one step more…even when you don’t I will see it and respond to it, and interact with you as such to help bring you begin to see you as the truth of divinity you are.

An ancient story was used by Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus in Franciscan teachings, from the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician and a historian who tradition of the church states in his works Luke and Acts of the Apostles set out to write an orderly historical account of the early church. What is also noted as you read these works as one, these are not high faluting theological texts like John (Greek) or Matthew (Jewish) or a Roman Action Flick like Mark, no Luke is like the investigative reports of the ancient world.

It starts with the story of a girl without voice, nothing more than property, that God breaks that culturally established walls of propriety and asks Mary of Nazareth, if she wants to take on the shame, the outcast, the challenge of a lifetime in becoming a living example of compassion to the world. Would she become a mother out of wedlock? Essentially if her betrothed did not choose to follow would lead to her execution by stoning or being cast out the city to become a beggar/child sex trade worker for survivial.

Yet she chose the power of love, hope and compassion. Mary chose her yes.

The rest of Luke’s works are filled with stories that poke the bear if you will of cultural norms and challenges them. I do believe if Luke was writing in the Twenty-First Century about the church he would tear open the idiocy of the debate around full inclusion by sharing power stories of the divine within the lives of Trans folk, LGBTTQ, the single parents, the addicts, the abused, the fallen from grace and those with disabilities in such a way that they would be as fully included as Mary of Nazareth and lives as celebrated.

But I digress. For this is the backdrop of the writer as Brother Jesus is answering questions. And then a powerful story emerges over a question of “who is my neighbour?”

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] “Teacher,” he said, “what must

I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What

do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all

your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your

mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given

the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell

into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving

him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when

he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came

to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while

traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He

went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then

he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The

next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care

of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which

 of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of

the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go

and do likewise.”

-Luke 10: 25-37

At this point it is time to pause and let the story speak to you. This is a mix of breath prayer and Lectio Divina. The Divine Reading as taught by Ignatius of Loyola as a method of study to allow the inner divinity to speak to you through the ancient stories. Read the story three times, if you can find an audio link online then listen to it. With each reading/listening there will be a question to reflect upon.

Sit comfortably, slow your breathing, focusing on it. Feel the environment you are in fade away. Feel the gritty sand get between your toes, the arid desert air, the sounds of the market place, bleating of live stock, haggling. Take in the aromas of the sacrifices, the fresh food, cooking, children singing and dancing, soldiers moving in and out taking what they want. You find the small group surrounding the labourer who has become a rabbi. How not many know, but they have all heard the legends of this man, the whispers that he is the bastard child of a Roman soldier, yet there is something in his manner, the way he looks upon everyone with tenderness, and compassion regardless of who they are or where they are from, he draws you into the conversation. The lawyer asks the question…who is my neighbour? The priest and the levite are so heavenly minded they will not stray from the rules of holiness to help someone in need, which makes them no earthly good. The Samaritan is part of a race from an exile of ancient Israel that saw them remain in exile and inter-marry with the conquerors, they worship God differently, they are seen as traitor’s to the chosen people, the stereotypical villain of every story.

Hear the story for the first time, during this reading as you walk through as the priest. What times in your life flash back to when you responded as the Priest and Levite? What truth emerges in these memories as you sit with them? Now as you sit write them out, colour them out to cleanse your Chakra energy of this negativity.

Sit looking at the old, are you ready to release this way of being? If so walk it out the garbage bin outside your home, rip it up and throw it in, walk away from this old way of being. If not note why, and come back to it later.

Hear the story for a second time this time as the Samaritan left hurting and bloodied by   bandits on the road side. What comes to you, with those that at first walked past  that you expected aid from and none came as with the Priest and Levite? Write and colour this out in your breathing again to get it out of you. In these moments where did aid come from surprising sources, take this thought and enter it into your journal as a reminder of times when someone else’s divinity came to you.

Are you ready to dispose of the hurt and pain of being left by the roadside by those you believed to be friend or helper? If you are take the walk as before and dispose of, if not place in your journal and note why you are not ready yet?

Hear the story for a third time, this time hear it as the Samaritan. What makes you stop? What times in your life have you lived out this compassion regardless of labels? Not these in your journal to remind yourself of living compassionately, invest these in your heart and sit with them.

Slowly bring your breathing back to normal, the aromas of the market place vanish, the sounds dissipate, the sand and breeze are gone, feel the chair reform around you, hear the sounds of your world, and the new aromas of your world. You are back and have a question to answer? As you interact with your world, others in your community, your workplace, your place of worship, your home and within yourself.

One simple question to answer: 

Who is my neighbour?

 

One simple question to answer:

Who is my neighbour?


It is so weird when we speak of inclusion that there are still the “stigmatized” out there. I remember years ago when I first entered my mental health journey being told, “don’t say anything” or “others will see you as weak if they know” or “leaders don’t speak of their weaknesses.”

Weakness?

That is the wrong term to be used in regards to depression/anxiety, or even disabilities. All misnomers. Our world is made up of many different types of people, who have different abilities, and also mentally/spiritually experience the world differently. By moving towards exclusionary terminology, labels or even worse degradation to less than they are capable of being. For it is in building a world, where each person can excel to their fullest potential that is needed, not one where we place our own ideal of what is “normal” or “civilized” or “healthy” onto everyone else. For it is in trying to bring others up to our desired level that isolation, aloneness and seperatedness from community happens to the point where I believe it creates a huge contributing factor to the rise of addictions of every shape, for it is easier to allow something to overtake your life to the point of not being in touch with the reality around you, than to be a constant disappointment to the reality around you.

Think about it?

Are you willing to provide support for individuals to become full partiicpating members of community in a healthy way?

Are you willing to look beyong labels to who they truly are as a divine being?

Is the community you are a part of willing to open their arms in a welcoming fashion regardless of cultural/societal label and create a courageous and safe space for all?

Hmmm… or are the words of inclusion empty platitudes to make us feel better while we do not need to transform ourselves or our world for the better?

What is inclusion for you?

What does it take to shine the light into the Dark Nights? And allow the rainbows through the bleakness of day?

How much does it cost for everyone to find a true Home?