Posts Tagged ‘Ordination’

It has been a while trying to put together reflections on the Aquarian Gospel or even complete the next installment of Great Crime Fighters Together or even some reflecting I would like to do on last week’s church scripture of salt & light.  Yet it has been a while. The reason? The Universe enjoys curve balls to continue the purging of the past anchors that hold us in port and do not allow us to navigate new waters.

Every so often these curve balls hit from the most unlikely of sources, and at the most unlikely of times. I have written about the struggles of settling back into a UCC congregation as an attendee this past winter-spring, because of the history with the tradition. But comfort comes slowly.

The hard part is not realizing the imprint some of the soul crud has left on my kids. This past Sunday we were celebrating the new ordinations to the Order of Ministry when my son would not focus and was quite emotional. Honestly, unless it is a sad topic, or one around grief/reconciliation this is not his norm for gatherings (and even with the journey of his foot reconstruction, he has been a positive trooper throughout). But I wheeled him into the Narthex (is my Angl0-Cath showing over that one?) to get him to focus on me and his breathing to calm down and see what can be pieced together.

This is when my son broke my heart with what his little soul let out.I ruined your life.” Almost 10 years on in this moment he released that he believed it was his fault I surrendered ordination.

What could I do?

Simply love and tell the truth.

No son, you didn’t.

Hug, kiss the top of his head and hold him.

This is what took me even longer to process through. For I thought I had let it go if you will. But there was a piece of me that rekindled the pain, not from my own path, and a battle of choosing inclusion over titles…no…the pain and hurt was rekindled because in the moment seeing the hurt in my little man’s eyes that he believed he had done harm to my life by being, well, by being him.  And that is not true. For it was time this week to process out the soul sludge of the hypocrisy and the venom that did me in.

Take time to read these words:

Scribes and Pharisees visit Jesus. They censure him for eating with unwashed hands. He defends his acts and teaches a lesson on hypocrisy. Privately explains to the twelve his public teachings.

1. A company of scribes and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to learn wherein the power of Jesus lay.
2. But when they learned that he and his disciples heeded not the custom of the Jews, regarding washing of the hands before they ate, they were amazed.
3. And Jesus said, Hypocrisy is queen among you scribes and Pharisees. Oh you Isaiah wrote:
4. This people honour me with lips; their hearts are far away. In vain they worship me; their doctrines are the dogmas and the creeds of men.
5. You men who pose as men of God, and still reject the laws of God and teach the laws of men,
6. Stand forth and tell when God gave unto the ceremonial laws that you observe; and tell these people how the spirit life is sullied if one washes not before he eats.
7. His critics answered not, and then he said,
8. Hear me, you men of Israel! Defilement is a creature of the heart. The carnal mind lays hold of thought, and makes a monstrous bride; this bride is sin; sin is a creature of the mind.
9. That which defiles a man is not the food he eats.
10. The bread and fish and other things we eat, are simply cups to carry to the cells of flesh material for the building of the human house, and when their work is done as refuse they are cast away.
11. The life of plant and flesh that goes to build the human house is never food for soul. The spirit does not feed upon the carcasses of animal, or plant.
12. God feeds the soul direct from heaven; the bread of life comes from above.
13. The air we breathe is charged with Holy Breath, and he will may take this Holy Breath.
14. The soul discriminates, and he who wants the life of Christ may breathe it in. According to your faith so let it be.
15. Man is not a part of his abiding place; the house is not the man.
16. The lower world builds up the house of flesh, and keeps it in repair; the higher world provides the bread of spirit life.
17. The loveliest lilies grow from stagnant ponds and filthiest muck.
18. The law of flesh demands that one should keep the body clean.
19. The law of spirit call for purity in thought and word and deed.
20. Now, when the evening came and they were in the house, the twelve had many things to say, and many questions to propound.
21. Nathaniel asked, Was what you said about the house of flesh a parable? If so, what does it mean?
22. And Jesus said, Can you not yet discriminate? Do you not yet perceive that what a man takes in his mouth defiles him not?
23. His food goes not into his soul; it is material for flesh and bone and brawn.
24. To spirit everything is clean.
25. That which defiles a man wells up from carnal thoughts; and carnal thoughts spring from the heart, and generate a host of evil things.
26. From out the heart comes murders, thefts and foolishness. All selfish acts and sensual deeds spring from the heart.
27. To eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.
28. And Peter said, Lord, What you said to-day has grievously offended scribe and Pharisee.
29. And Jesus said, These scribes and Pharisees are not the scions of the tree of life; they are not plants of God; they are the plants of men, and every foreign plant shall be plucked up.
30. Let all these men alone; they are blind guides; they lead a multitude of people who are blind.
31. The leaders and the led together walk; together they will fall into the yawning pits.

-Aquarian Gospel 126: 1-31

Take time to reflect on the above words, writing it out from two perspectives:

  1. From a scribe/Pharisee hearing these words. What have you learned about values you hold that may need to be changed?
  2. From one of Jesus’ inner group. What have you learned about values you hold, but may not have been able to put into words as they challenge a status quo?

But also, like Peter in the passage to reflect on to follow, the idea that by taking a stand for equity and justice, that harm could be done to the other, that is the scribes and the Pharisees who saw the most vulnerable in community/faith family as okay to target.  Trust me, I am of thick skin, I ran in 2006 as NDP in Alberta back when it was a washed in Tory-CONS Blue forever and ever Amen, argued restorative justice with my MP Hang `em High Hanger and came out victorious by accounts in the media on that topic.

And yes, I know my challenge and throw down caused “harm” to those who wielded power over the vulnerable for I challenged their existing paradigm. In the moment, some would say I lost.

But to have allowed the status quo that is oppressive to remain in place through my silence for a title. That is not only morally-ethically wrong. It is the true essence of lost.  Never mind how by not standing up for the most vulnerable, how could I have ever looked at myself in the mirror? My wife and kids in the eyes again?

No, taking the stand for what is right, and holding one’s ground is where the victory is held. This I have always held to be true. My life has been built on challenging oppressive status quos, and I wasn’t about to let another one exists that directly impacted my child(ren) and remain silent.

Son, you did not ruin my life.

If anything, each day, each decision, each choice, has been a journey of growth, love, transfiguration and joy into the man you deserve as a Daddy.

What is the heart of faith/religion/spirituality? Making yourself and little corner of the world better for truly loving in at-onement with the Cosmic Christ within.

So are you ready to release your false values of tradition and live into the true (self) ones of love?

Bonus: A song that has been resonating on van rides with the family recently Brad Paisley Me & Jesus Music Video

So I am rounding out 2011 by diving into the book A Church of Her Own by Sarah Sentilles, I am still a few hundred pages from finishing, but it raises some interesting reflection on the state of “organized” or better yet “institutionalized” religion.

See Ms. Sentilles thesis is simple, even in denominations that ordain women, because they will not be “yes ministers” following the same old track, or fit the traditional mold, issues arise, abuses happen, and they wind up exiting ordained ministry. In fact she reminds us that perhaps the church itself has it wrong, why should the preacher need a special ordination?

It is not about ability to achieve a master’s or doctorate in academia (or even an undergrad for that matter) that says whether or not someone can preach the transformational gospel of Christ to the world, or share God’s love, yet this is one burden we place on people.

Another is the simple fact the church does not do mentoring well, we try to xerox ourselves, not aid people in living into their own gifts and calling.

So this has started me to reflect on my own journey, and those of some friends who have not had the easiest ride in trying to become ordained by living out our authentic faith which does not fit traditional modes. The result? We are all pulpitless, yet very involved in community based, international, outreach or all of the above style ministries.

This is where this reflection leads me, see the church in Canada is seeing a reflection (please note I am generalizing, and know there are shining examples not like this), but we are seeing the institutional church emerge (even with members and finances bleeding like you would not believe) and then there is what I will term, the gathering church. The gathering church is something different, it is people who are gathering together for prayer, encouragement, community support, bible study, and things that a family would do together. Yet in this midst church is happening.

If you are in Cochrane, AB I would suggest checking out Hearts on Fire for a style of gathering. In NE Calgary message us about our Communi(on)ty for another form of gathering.

For an institutional style church that is living out life as a gathering I would direct you to Crossroads Community Church in Mayland Heights.

But reflect on where your church is, whatever form it takes? Do people leave under negative conditions? Are members cared for? Is the focus on your church more on what can be done to make the world better through Christ’s love or ensuring budget is met? What tact do the AGM’s or business meetings take? These are the acid tests for what master your church, whether it is institutional or gathering serves?

For the direction the institutional church is going, I can only predict moving into 2012 a higher percentage of churches closing their doors, ministers burning out, and new calls finding fresh ways to realize their hearts. I could be wrong, I pray, as Pope John XXIII did before Vatican II, that the windows and doors of the dusty old institution be opened wide and let God’s refining Holy Spirit blow through all Christendom to transform and renew back to the heart of our Faith.

And that starts with realizing each and everyone of us who is called to Christ, is now an ordained minister of the Gospel commissioned to transform our world.

Happy New Year’s.

In my wanderings there has been many that have said they see a call to “the ministry”.  What does this mean?  For some it means the title “Rev” before one’s name, for others it is the understanding that any of us that worship and try to live out of the heart of the Sacred Mystery, we are all apart of the ministry.

This inner struggle led me to a group called the Universal Life Church Monastery and the Universal Life Church, where I was ordained.  It is a universalist organization that ordains anyone who feels the call.  Essentially it is codifying the call, which each of us has, and then it is up to the individual to take the ordination seriously or not.

Unfortunately within this universalist group, is schism. There is factions that plague the internet airwaves with negativity and attacks in the name of the Holy, sigh, and there has been instances of stalking…essentially regardless of the label placed on the organization the same cancers boil and prosper.

But back to my journey through this, it was the time of questioning for myself and my family about where we belonged, we had found a spiritual home, but were wondering about other arenas.  At this time, a month after my ordination, several individuals had approached me about an alternative to the traditional church structure.

Out of this came the Rainbow Chapel ULC Calgary.  It was a house church designed for Christian Universalists, we wrote our own creed, worshipped with a mix of music, and followed a ELCIC Liturgy.  Unfortunately inspite of the desire, the willingness to commit never fully materialized, but during this experiment something else awakened within us.

The call of the Holy Spirit, to be fully present at our home church, Prince of Faith ELCIC here in Calgary, so as Rainbow Chapel ceased services (yet continues to exist as an online resource at, we realized the community that existed around us.

This was the step of faith, as I have always been leary of the institutional church, I had given up my discernment within the UCC due to negative reactions to my differently abled son, yet here at P of F, we were all accepted, fed, and allowed to explore our spirituality and journey to God individually and communally.  The next step was the offer, the offer to aid the church in ministry as an “associate pastor” which led to my commissioning as a Commissioned/Lay/Pastor/Pastoral assistant/Professional Leader depending on the resource the title changes, and the different style of service we tried to plant in our house, became a contemplative service during the week.

As well as almost two years with an in house bible study, with a potluck brunch, Brunch & Bible, that in two weeks comes to a close.  I am proud of this community group, it served well for a time to explore faith and understanding of where and how scripture works within our faith journeys.

So my journey has been varied, currently I am content, but constantly yearning for a new way to experience the Holy Mystery.