Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’


Now I have gone back and forth on taxing the churches my whole life. For me it comes down do they fulfill what their beliefs say, do no promote hatred, and are community involved is really what should allow them the privilege they have. Yes it is a privilege, and the religious communities need to remember that, it takes quite a bit to get that privilege in Canada.

And, the Roman Catholic Church has held a special part of my faith journey. I have seen welcoming parishes, and parishes that have bent over backwards to ensure belonging of all God’s Children. I love the mystery, and the sacraments, and the depth-breadth of theological and social science discourse that can happen. During my Franciscan formation there was no Ecumenical or Anglican group in the city so I fellow-shipped with the Secular Franciscan Order, have used the FCJ centre for personal retreat, and been in one parishes Lay Ministry of Praise (prayer).

But I do believe it is time for the Canadian Government to take a stand that will rile many, but I believe it is necessary. Those watching current events of the political nature in Canada have noted the fact that due to the structure of the Roman Catholic Church it is easy for the Vatican to duck responsibility on issues and to be held account for abuses. It usually allows the local diocese, and parish to take the hits while avoiding any hint of “official responsibility”. Popes will speak of personal remorse or sorrow around abuse (residential, sexual) that has happened to parishners, residential school survivors (not just Canadian, it was a format they used on other continents). The most lawyerly of answers.

Which is an affront to one of their key 7 Sacraments to stay in true good Communion with the Body of Christ. That is what was once known as the Sacrament of Confession, since Vatican II has become the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In its essence, it is admitting a wrong one has committed and seeking out within one’s whole person to be reconciled new, and to make amends to the party harmed. What are we to do with a group that will not honour their own belief systems? Core beliefs at that? A group that’s inaction has left them from following through on monetary support to residential school survivors, and due to lack of official apology are putting the TRC process in jeopardy for our hurting nation. TRC-Truth and Reconciliation- let that set in for what the church is avoiding.

You will read and hear many reasons and rationales. Some Conservative MP’s would not support the unanimous call to action to get the Pope to Canada. They sited their conscience against a government curtailing a group’s freedom of religion (I have no issue with free votes, as I have noted I dislike and think the whipped vote is unconstitutional)…yet we need to be pragmatic when thinking of freedom of religion as halting this. What else could be avoided judicially and civilly by a religious group hiding behind this? (I think of stories around Jehovah Witness’ cover ups; and other cover ups under this guise).

What is at play is simply will the Pope, head of the Vatican State and spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church truly enter the sacrament of reconciliation with all victims of his church’s practice and cover up. Will the Canadian Bishops allow it on our soil?  Personally, I would love to see it happen from the throne of the Vatican as a declaration made from the infallibility position. Would it be painful for the Vatican, its dioceses, parishes and religious orders? Yes. Would many lands, buildings and monies be lost? Yes.

But here is what happens when a body is held to account and lives out the professed beliefs…think of what healing would happen within the world.

Second best, if games continue to be played…then tax them like any other business.

Further Reading:

Bishops push back

Conservative MP blocks Unanimous Call for Residential School Apology from Pope Francis

 


Progressive spirituality/Christianities within their current context I find tedious.  There is no scholarship building upon what has come before, rather it is a re-treading of old battles already fought. Why is this? I blame the regressive state of Western Culture. The loss of the ability to critically think, coupled with the conglomeration of media and the commodification of the human experience has led us down a rabbit hole. There is also the drowning with knowledge overload, and opinion as fact that has removed the ability to discourse, and discover wisdom.

It is a sad state on my journey as I look upon those writers that have shaped them, death, illness and retirement has stripped away those that have crafted cornerstones we should be building upon. The voice of progress, universal love and inclusion, liberation and social gospel is shrinking. Thinkers such as Marcus Borg, Desmond Tutu, Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day, Agnes MacPhail, Pierre Trudeau, Padre Pio, Leonardo Boff, meta-physicians; Dalai Lama, Pope Francis I, transcendentalists, Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII, Multiple saints & mystics, Mother Teresa, Nikos Kazantzakis, Stuart A. Schlegel, John Dominic Crossan, Matthew Fox, Martin Luther King Jr., Tommy Douglas, J.S. Woodsworth and the list goes on and on. The voices of and for the marginalized have been relegated back to the beginning of a cycle still debating that which human rights and suffragettes should have dealt with.

Yet “Progressive Spirituality” much like “Conservative Theology” got subsumed by “Prosperity Gospels” and “Salvation/Sanctification” (look at a Joel Osteen for the epitome of the lost track of universal love for the progressives). This is why during my time of medical sabbatical I was excited to find out post-stroke Bishop Spong had written a new book, but saddened as I read his preamble to it that this was definitively his last. It is his call for reformation, for the work already done and grow upon it.

He touches on the different times the Christ experience has been mislaid. The Fourth century experience we had codified as “Christendom” which would be as unrecognizable for the original community as it is to us in this day. He also touches on the Reformation, which aside from the land and power grab of the princes/royals to break the state hold of the Vatican. It was possible as well do a shattering transformation of cultural understanding as the plagues had shown that even the “Holy” lost a 1/3. The peasant class was open.

We are in a time like this. Even if traditionalists keep fighting against it. Holding to outdated understandings. Science has revealed much on creation, maybe not the why, but the how. We are in a world where we are taking control over our own destinies. Where we can accept equal marriage, we can accept medicine, accept being able to transplant organs, understand different ways of experiencing life. We can see through new eyes, yet we bring the old eyes leaving our understanding of the intrinsic piece that makes us whole left out in the old patriarchal imperial cycle. And yes, progressive thinkers who are emerging today instead of referencing what came before and building, are trudging up the same mountain again.

This is where Unbelievable (2018) rises. It is still American-centric, but Spong roots his 12 Thesis firmly in what has come before, and lays out a path forward. A new starting point for dialogue and discourse, being able to let go of what is no longer working or that which is harming.

So as we seek to understand the love triangle of My Neighbour, I leave you with excerpts for this work to see if it is something you wish to purchase for your journey, or to explore within your community:

John Shelby Spong (2018) Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today (HarperOne).

“what we must do is find the meaning to which the word “God” points.” P. 31

“Is the denial of theism the same as atheism? Is there no other alternative?” p. 38-39

“That is the universal human experience that our ancestors once called “Original Sin”. The experience was real; the interpretation was false. We are not “fallen sinners”; rather, we are incomplete human beings. Our old theology is dead. The door begins to open on a new way to tell the old, old story.” P. 89

“Every Jew would know that to refer to a grown man in Jewish society as “the son of a woman” was to suggest that his paternity was unknown. … we might infer a covert reference to her being pregnant outside of marriage, for there was no estate more lowly in in first-century Judaism that that of an expectant mother with no male protector.” P.112

Atonement theology, especially in its most bizarre “substitutionary” form, presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. P.153

Bulletins during Lent in many churches look as if they might have been purchased in a local sadomasochism shop. They feature whips and nails, and if they elicit any emotion at all, it is guilt. P.162-163.

In Jewish worship, however, the lamb was a symbol, not of a sacrifice that an angry God required, but of a human yearning to achieve the fullness of human potential. P. 165

The Easter experience in the new Testament, contrary to what we have traditionally been taught over the year, is not about bodies walking out of graves. It is far more profound than that. It is about God being seen in human life. By “God” I do not mean a supernatural, invasive God, who violates the laws of nature in order to enter time and space. I mean a transcendent dimension of life into which all can enter, an experience in which life is expanded, love is unlimited and being is enhanced. P. 188

The ascension story is both powerful and real, but it is not, and was never intended to be, literally true. P.196

Before prayer can be made real, our understanding of God, coupled with our understanding of how the world works, must be newly defined. P. 249.

I have no use for life after death as a tool or method of behaviour control. P.258

We are called by this new faith into radial connectedness. P. 270

When I contemplate the meaning of Jesus I come back again and again to his image as the ultimate boundary-breaker, in whom what it means to be human is constantly being expanded. P.278


It has been a unique and stressful last 6 months in my family. We have taken a journey that happens with children with special needs, and understanding what is linked to Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy, worst case scenarios for neurosurgery or SUDEP, to have the Universe bless us at the light at the end of the tunnel for the spells to not be seizures, but rather Attention Deficit that there was 3 options for treating: do nothing, Ritalin, or a mild natural stimulant (coffee, a cuppa in the morning to re-align the brain properly) until he outgrows.

This leads me to ponder more into our world, and my specialty of holistic psychology, and health. Think about it. We are a new world in the 21st century that due to technology has removed activity of the conscious and subconscious mind. We are without routine, that allows for times of activity, times of relaxation and a structured day. This is a recent development, even when I was a kid I remember coffee and/or tea time depending on the family that we were with. I remember playing outside, reading and watching television, a structures school day, where we learned structured sports, rules, and how to be a participant in society as a healthy citizen.

yes I was part of the generation on the cusp of mass attention issues and drugging, yet it has exploded as a cottage industry for Big Pharma, that in a majority (not saying all, as sometimes pharmaceuticals are needed) could be corrected by a different paced life style that allows for proper activity, rest, and yes natural stimulants.

End Rumination 1.

Rumination 2

begins with the Dying with Dignity laws, and rumours coming out of Ottawa. I can understand why they are looking at the person seeking this needs to be an adult deemed competent. Unfortunately this removes dying with dignity from a section of the adult population who will be ravaged by dementia and Alzheimer’s. Makes me wonder what role Personal Directives will take prior to these diagnosis to ensure legally wishes can be respected.

End Rumination 2.

Rumination 3

ties into Pope Francis’ address on family, birth control and same-sex unions. The “well-duh” moment if you will for Catholics in that the clerics are basically said be like Christ, and the faithful are told to follow their conscience and what they have been taught. For the ultra-conservative Catholics though the Irony of believing the Pope Infallible, yet that the Pope is wrong on this.

End Rumination 3.

Rumination 4

Tom Mulcair as the NDP leader, and his review starting up this weekend at the convention in Edmonton. The cracks in the party are showing with the Alberta Governing NDP and membership up in arms over the Federal wing’s stance on fossil fuels, and a major driving point of Alberta’s economy (oil) now in recession. Will it shatter the “solidarity” of the party that one membership encompasses both federal and provincial parties? Or is it just good sound bit media to aid a government under attack by the Right?

Also will Mulcair the man who decided to play safe, and fight for the centre instead of going for broke in Canada’s historic socialism thus loosing the “Official Opposition” position, and possibly the Federal Government to be reduced once more to the “Conscience of Parliament” survive his leadership review?  As a former candidate and member I for one would love for the ravenous socialists with economic sense to once more be running the party.

End Rumination 4

Rumination 5

Through the practice of simplicity every so often I give away things. This year’s spring cleaning saw some comic books/graphic novels go to an affordable housing program we support. It was great to see how people of all ages and backgrounds were brought back to a safe memory time by picking up comics and spending time reading.

There is much to be said, and Joseph Campbell has written a lot about meta-narratives; and Carl Jung on archetypes, but truly the comic book is this for the 20th-21st century, a bonding story much like the gods and heroes of mythology in the ancient world.

End Rumination 5.

Rumination 6

How much of an overproduction marketing machine is Disney when much of their graphic novels and toys from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars winds up a Dollarama. Not complaining as it has been great to pick up graphic novels for cheaper than a monthly comic ($3 each) whoo hoo.

End Rumination 6.

So yes just some time to exhale, decompress, let the stress leave the body and monitor how this bundle of energy affected one throughout the time with down days of sickness for no reason, but even in the glow of a blessing how it still takes time for the mind, body, and soul to recover fully when you leave the heightened state.

-30-


The following posts for the archives are part of the site consolidation for simplicity, they come from Recycled Franciscan that was at yycfranciscan.wordpress.com (now deleted). Enjoy as these were part of the family daliance with Roman Catholicism before my Mum’s passing.

Transitions…

Hey Fearless Reader,

So I have taken back to the keyboard, and am finding a challenge keeping up with 2 blog sites, so I invite you back to one of my better known ventures A Robin Hood’s Musings. Join the adventure!

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Revisiting the Parables of Jesus: A Review

A the uniqueness of social media, in which former co-workers and friends can find you, when at other times of human history the connection would be lost. Through Facebook messages Lisa Lopez Smith who I served with years ago on Street Level at the Mustard Seed contacted me about her new book.

What a blessing this work was, Revisiting the Parables of Jesus: Ancient Stories, Contemporary Audience or found on her site as well as other ponderings, www.lisalopezsmith.com. Dear readers, let us encourage this new writer by purchasing copies.

Here are my simple thoughts on this good resource for personal and group reflection, that comes with reflective statements and a simple resource guide:

Lisa Lopez Smith writes as she served the homeless of Calgary, with passion, integrity, curiosity and authenticity. I had the privilege to work alongside her on the streets and witness these traits as she was called in that time to live Christ for others, her keyboard know brings her journey it would seem into the stories of Christ that inspire.

Lopez Smith lays open a true depth of spiritual understanding of the stories within the Gospels. She raises discussion, debate, storytelling, open interpretation…mysticism if you will mixed with rabbinical flare. These ancient stories of Jesus rediscovered for today’s western “enlightened” mind, but Lopez Smith’s work reawakens a truly enlightened approach to well heard, if not well known stories. I have been pondering recently who would be picking up the torch for a new generation of progressive/community/justice orientated Christian writers, and this is one of those new lights.

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Aboriginal Lord’s Prayer

Just thought I would share this prayer, so simple:

Aboriginal Lord’s Prayer,

You are our Father,

You live in heaven,

We talk to You, Father,

You are good.

We believe Your Word,

Father, We Your children,

give us bread today

Others have done wrong to us

And we are sorry for them,

Father, today

We have done wrong,

we are sorry,

Teach us Father,

not to sin again

You are our Father,

You live in heaven

We talk to You,

Father You are good .

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Playin’ 4 Keeps 2014 Rolling in Support of Children`s Wish

That’s right  the 2nd Annual Playhouse Community Tour officially kicked into high gear today at Tilley, AB…watch your local parades and fair grounds for the cabinsales.ca converted play house/piggy bank for donations and a chance to WIN!!!

Here is last year’s recap for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation: Playin4keeps2013

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Whose voice should be heard?

“Well what do you expect of our world since we took God out of the classroom”, or some variation, is becoming a Christian refrain to remove oneself from the world around them, and true horrors that media is reporting. It has become the 21st century equivalent of the shrug. Whether it is incessant online bullying leading to suicides; gang rapes; child pornography or sports coaches/teachers abusing those in their charge (note how Church Inc. Turns a blind eye in these statements to their participation in Indigenous persons genocide; and the ongoing rapes/abuses of charges by clerics as we know these roles of power are sought by the monsters, but I digress).

Statistically our world is less violent per capita than at any other point in recorded human history; per capita there are no more sexual predators about than there was in the early to mid-twentieth century. What has changed? Something that God has been trying to get through to us since the stories of the Hebrew Bible were actual current events.

The opening refrain feeds our reading of the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament, when we look at scriptures of horror like David & Bathsheba as a story of weekend sexual moral, and adultery…instead of the story of power; rape and murder that it truly is. Then we try to clean it up more, by pointing to the repentance of David after confronted by Nathaniel and stipulating, see a contrite heart makes him one after God’s own heart. BUT this is not the point of the tale, for I reflect the point was lost on ancient Israel and us today. How do I know? Simple, in the post-exile sanitized versions of the histories (1&2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings) known as 1 & 2 Chronicles these things do not appear. For they are not of God’s heart!!!

In fact, I am emboldened to say that the message behind this horror story is what truly happens when a V-I-C-T-I-M loses their voice to tell their story. Bathsheba fades into the background; vanishes if you will. It is recorded that the child created by the rape died; some scholars and writers postulate in a fit of insanity David commits infanticide to clean up the last reminder of his unkingly acts; some may think that Bathsheba did to remove the reminder; but she enters into the household of the king as yet another conquest, left silent to whatever whim David wants, for within the time she is nothing more now than damaged property. The union produces Solomon, who obviously understood the atrocities visited upon his mother, the cover ups of the king wrapping it in a very fundamentalist understanding of YHWH and leveraging spiritual and temporal authority to keep it all quiet. How do I know this? Simple, reflect on Solomon’s reign he sought many other roads to the Holy Mystery and only a part of it was the Temple he built for God, there was also other imaginings and reflections, Solomon was not comfortable with his father’s understanding or use of God and was trying to shake the bondage off.

This Hebrew Bible narrative shows us what happens when the victim is stripped of justice and voice, where the assailant is stripped of ability to be properly healed and held accountable.

This is where our world is at, we as a society are no longer David and his court with heads in the sand protecting the abused. We may not fully have proper justice, and healing for all parties involved, but be thankful to media forums (social, traditional, and grapevine if you will) that the victim’s voice is finding ground, and we are moving beyond the blame the victim mentality. Are we as a world there yet? NO! Why? Simple, old school religious understandings like the naive understanding of the David and Bathsheba story as adultery with equal partners strips the horror story of its power to address true societal justice issues, strips it of the power for the hearer and reader to ask, what if David was held accountable and Bathsheba was allowed to tell her tale? Would things be different?

What if in our world today we finally moved beyond the Patriarchal oppression that protects abusers, or downplays the trauma throughout generations their actions create, and actually move to a holistic approach of justice. One that restores the victim to full being and empowered but also does the same to the abuser to shatter the cycle and heal our world.

We like to say our world is horrible because we removed God from public piety, yet it was never public piety God wanted, Jesus warned us not to be like the show, but rather to let the Holy Spark shape our inner most beings so that our world be transformed into the world of equality, justice and health that we are called to live in.

Horrors still happen because as religious we are choosing the side of David as holy, instead of walking alongside Bathsheba and simply being.

Which side do you want to walk along?

Whose voice will you allow to be raised up, heard and believed?

How will you break the cycle today? Tomorrow? Ongoing?

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Official Prayer of Pope St. John XXIII

Prayer to St. John XXIII

Dear Pope John,

Your simplicity and meekness carried the scent of God and sparked in people’s hearts the desire for goodness. You spoke often of the beauty of the family gathered around the table to share bread and faith: pray for us that once again true families would live in our homes.

Without outstretched hands you sowed hope, and you taught us to listen for God’s footsteps as he prepares a new humanity: help us have a healthy optimism of defeating evil with good.

You loved the world with its light and darkness, and you believed that peace is possible: help us be instruments of peace at home and in our communities.

With paternal gentleness you gave all children a caress: you moved the world and reminded us that hands have been given to us not for striking, but for embracing and drying tears.

Pray for us so that we do not limit ourselves to cursing the darkness but that we bring the light, bringing Jesus everywhere and always praying to Mary. Amen.

john23

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Churches Need to Call a “Gang Truce” in Order to Reach Youth | Romal Tune | Red Letter Christians

Sharing this article not as a…hey look how messed up our American cousins are that they let labels get in the way of living Christ’s love of neighbour, but as a call to Canadian churches that we do the same. We sit in churches 1/3 to 1/2 full surrounded by other churches of similar holy huddles and bicker over how to afford to keep our lights on and pay utilities rather than reaching out to one anther to be able to help the communities around us. Youth crime rises because they are seeking a place of belonging and being able to be who the world thinks they are. When done right, church (as I have seen in my years doing youth outreach), can create a place of belonging for youth where they can discover who they are meant to be. But we as the generation involved need to surrender our ego, and our label and truly seek the guiding of the Spirit in what we are called to be for our neighbour in love.

Churches Need to Call a “Gang Truce” in Order to Reach Youth | Romal Tune | Red Letter Christians.

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The Story continues…

a productive vacation night of writing…

Prologue

10 years ago.

            A scorched prairie farm land was where the shots first rung out. The team had come in to rescue a diplomat’s child. Shotgun’s teeth clenched tightly around the stub of his cheap cigar, in each hand a sawed off 12 gauge. His short cut crew cut was starting to show a little gray around the temples, as through gritted teeth he barked.

            “Slick, kid’s in the quansahut!” Jake “Shades” Slick dive rolled out of the Gator’s passenger seat that Kyler Storm was driving. As slick rolled up to a  crouch and started crab running towards the hut, through his black Ray Bans, the Gloc slipped into his hand. Three quick shots and the man with the rifle behind the fencepost wrapped with barb wire is no longer an issue.

            Slick’s ponytail whips around as he motions Kyler to keep driving. The young goth kid was the newest in the unit, his ear piece unit squawks from the chopper command centre. “Slick what’s the scoop?”

            “One Neo-FLQ taken out, cover fire being laid down. We’ll need extraction in 10 minutes C.D.” speaking of young whipper snappers, ten years before C.D. was the first of teens to emerge as hackers into the agency system, it was Louis that brought him in. French-Canadian Asian lady, part phantom/part ninja some would say. Slick watched as Shotgun made his way behind the work shed. They had made a triangle around the quansa, and on the roof climbing was Louis Regis.

            C.D. squawks that Omega Squad was coming in via F-150.  The roar of the truck engine.

There are probably eight gunmen in black bala clavas whose attention moves to the incoming truck. Daemon’s crew, old scarred face (his mother lit him on fire in her death scene free basting). Reesa, a lovely raven haired woman, Malcolm the token Albino hanging out the box with the heavy artillery. One the running board is Grizz, literally a man the size of a bear and enough hair to be mistaken as one.

            Kyler is bringing the Gator straight up the middle to the two doors of the Quansa. Louis slices through the roof and drops in as the Gator bursts through and he starts firing. Shotgun pops up and lays down buck shot, as Slick opens up and six gun men go down quick.

            Gun fire in the back.

Reesa’s eyes lock on the diesel tank. She aims through the sniper scope and fires. The explosion blows heat and debris across the field as the cover fire from the truck takes down the last of the shooters on their way to the Quansa.

            The Gator inside the Quansa flips. Kyler rolls out, and rises with his old six shot. Two gun men left, one holding the kid by the throat gun to the head.

            Shotgun and Slick step through the twisted metal doors. A quick shot and the second gun men’s chest explodes. The one with the kid steps back as Louis rises up behind him out of a straw stack, her long knives slip lightly across his throat spraying blood as he crumples to the ground.

            The sound of the chopper extraction coming in, Slick taps his earpiece. “We got the package C.D.”

            The screech of truck tires as the four and the kid walk out of the Quansa. The chopper touches down behind the truck, C.D., a 6’2” bald man that maybe weighed 150 lbs soaking wet in a completely black suit walks towards the Quansa, his eyes surveying the bodies and carnage around the farm in Manitoba where this alleged Francophone separatist terrorist group had taken the Prime Minister’s son. Through black sun glasses that wrap around his head C.D. looks at Slick.

            He lightly tugs on the black gloves as he motions for Kyler to bring the child to him. C.D. and Kyler walk back to the chopper, load the kid in. C.D. turns, smiles.

            Malcolm from the back of the F-150 aims and fires.

Kyler’s brains splatter the prairie soil.

            Slick goes to shoot at C.D. as he steps into the chopper and it launches. “Damn terrorists infiltrated us.” Was the last thing C.D. said as the chopper flew away.

            Daemon steps out of the truck with his black trench coat billowing in the breeze looking at Louis, Slick and Shotgun. “There are two ways this can go down.”

            Shotgun smirked, took his cigar in two fingers, walked up to the youngster and pinged it off his forehead. “Yea, my boot goes up your ass, or my gun.”

            Daemon goes to draw. Slick smiles, grouped together in a truck, young and dumb and him with one bullet left. The old F-150 given by the agencies ran on propane. He fires quick and true. The bullet ruptures the tank.

            Daemon turns as Shotgun’s right hand levels him towards the explosion that sends his men careening in the field.

            Slick’s eyes fall on a Dodge Caravan back by the farm house. Louis laughs as he taps his ear piece one more time. “This isn’t over C.D.”

Chapter One

            The rain had soaked into the alley of Gothic City, just off their Electric Avenue party district. The rain was cleansing. It made the usual aromas and stains of the alley vanish. The Gothic Gargoyles were in the run for Lord Stanley’s Cup, just first round, but the party was loud, the women’s breasts were flashing and things were happening under the street lights the police had long since given up trying to keep a lid on.

Malcolm’s body still ached from ten years previous in a farmer’s field in Manitoba when they were supposed to be heroes. Instead the agency had written them off. He had barely found work as a bouncer at a club back home in Gothic City, AB. Which was good, because how much work would there be for a one legged spy adventurer. Yes his resume got to read that he was part of a covert operation team that rescued the Prime Minister’s son from a group of home grown terrorists, if he was allowed to even speak of it. But it had been their handler’s time to change the guard as C.D. had phrased it. If they wanted to be Alpha Squad, they would need to deal with the old guard.

It was to be their moment of glory, yet Grizz had miscounted the damn shots from Slick’s gun. They thought he had fired nine, nope had been eight, and the ninth found the propane fuel tank. So sure, he had sniped Kyler and put the protégé in a grave, but the explosion had claimed his leg, given Daemon more scars and a stay in Panoka, no one had seen Grizz’s body as he had vanished, and it had placed Reesa in a coma.

Bunch of great heroes, taken out by a crew of over the hills. That was his legacy, and now he was trying to keep pandemonium at bay. It had been the girl’s scream that had brought him from his bar’s door way next to the alley into the alley way. It had sounded through the rancorous party noise and actually sounded like someone in dire need. Yet in the dark and dank of the alley, there was nothing to be seen.

Malcolm turns on his prosthetic leg to exit when he heard what sounded like a tape measure unfurling. He feels the jerk on his stump as his prosthetic flies off. He attempts to keep his balance as a low whistle signals a throwing knife through the water finding his jugular spraying walls and ground red, making an eerie Kool-aid to run out of the alley into the streets as he grips at the knife and feels his life run out of him.

Chapter Two

            Whoopee shit about the Gothic Gazette’s headline, Albino bouncer shanked during playoff party. Pond scum is what he was; if I had known he was in Gothic would have done him myself. I shift uneasily in the booth at the Nottingham Pub as I lay the paper down on my table. Pubs are places of comfort, but as a recovered alcoholic, the comfort once found on a scotch double neat needed to be replaced by something else, and today I was not in the mood for a ginger ale so I am torturing myself with pub coffee—black. It is an anthropological study when there is a new waitress who has started at the Nottingham. The one in her mid-thirties that’s been around for years dressed like 50’s glam; the two in their early to mid-twenties all tits and tats hanging out, the newbie whose probably barely twenty trying to fit in, but looking more than uncomfortable in the micro skirt and tank top. Lunch hour is the busy time, comes from the cheap Alberta steak sandwiches.

The coffee has a burnt taste that is mixed with weakness because they pulled it out before percolation ended. Thankfully they had just renovated their table and chairs.  The click of old army boots on the old tile floor.  The leather trench coat, with long greying red hair, with the eye patch, so my old friend looked more like a pirate than the killer he used to be. “Jake.”

He nods to me as he sits down ordering the special and a Guinness. “Will.”  The way he said my name means that the type of things we used to do would be coming back. Maybe a time I wish I had not given up alcohol.

Leaning back and steepling my hands, “it has been a while since Calgary.” Jake is not aging well, but these conversations do not go well and usually end up with gun play or me running through a field with him from a mad husband of some sort with a gun.  So I guess it all comes back to gun play a truly un-Canadian endeavour.

“Will we need some focus here, something has happened to…” Okay have to keep remembering that Jake is not a conversationalist. “Louis.”

Ah shit. Louis Regis, she who shalt never be named within our intrepid duo (trio up until 10 years past). Jake’s on-again-off-again-pop on by lover of sorts. Also one of the deadliest knife wielders alive, and surprisingly one of the clumsiest individuals we have ever had the privilege to work with as well, I have a scar on my left butt cheek thanks to her hatchback and a misplaced eagle handed blade.

“Jake seriously, she probably just ran out of gas in Regina again.” Whenever Louis is involved, Jake loses perspective, and then probably, okay more than likely because we are pre-school friends till now I will follow suit, and as noted earlier, gun play will ensue.

Jake slides a tattered piece of lined paper across the table to me. I know I am going to kick myself for doing this, but I pick it up and look at it. Brown stains that do resemble blood. A time and an address, judging from the address it is in the industrial park. Why could there be something go down that didn’t happen in a warehouse? “I think that’s where she’s gone.” Jake said.

Where she’s gone? A scrap of paper covered in blood? How do we know she isn’t dead at this time? The waitress tops up what is passing for coffee and I swear I choke a little when I sip it, it is now that tepid temperature from a pub when they want you to move onto something harder, but that was years ago when I would do that. “So what do you want?” I glance at the time on the paper, and at my watch, forty-five minutes until whatever is to happen there.

Jake with the crow’s feet around his eyes, the greying red hair, and his one un-patched eye gets that twinkle, and his side ways grin. “Saddle up, Will let’s ride one more time.”

Aw damn it, I know I am going to live to regret this, but when it is your best friend and there is bad pub coffee involved, what choice in life is there than the simple ones.  “Let’s go.”

Drop a ten on the table and leave. The upside of life after the agency is that there are no fancy cars involved, for you simply want to blend into the background. Jake still drives a small hatchback. From the trunk of my own P.O.S. sedan I grab my gear bag and hop into his car. One would think after 30 years of misadventures together I would learn to slow things down, ask questions, double check new stories, but no, my friend asks for help and well, I am there. The down side of using his car, is his music, still had not acquired a taste for late seventies-early eighties metal, but to each their own. Not to mention he drives like a distracted Mario Andretti, and I have to remember the name of the Holy I am praying to this week to save my ass as Jake’s passenger.

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2014 the year of my next novel

Yes I wrote many novels as a older adolescent/young adult that revived pulp fiction style writing amongst my generation in the Properties in Calgary, and some of the stories have become epic and legendary (still remember having one award winning one in the CBE banned during “Freedom to Read Week” due to having a bi-sexual character); tackling how the deconstruction of a human being could create a pulp hero, the fun of Canadian espionage, and what actually one does when they finally conquer the world to name but a few. It was a time of re-inventing characters I had been creating and writing on since I was 9 years old in a little thing I dubbed the “Tyverse”… so yes it was also a super hero backdrop with mysticism, magic and some religious overtones as I used my writing as allegory to sort out my own spiritual understandings.

Over the last few years I have concentrated more on my spiritual formation writing and poetry, but that has waned a bit in my life, I had even taken active steps in 2013 to step away from my active speaking and writing schedules. Which left time for the Spirit of Creativity to move within me once more, and to reflect on what made writing fun. What was that you ask?

The adventure.

So this is the year I am hoping to craft a new office space or at least discovering a new coffee shop to write in at the very least as I craft a new fiction… here is something that popped out of the keyboard during Christmas, some long time followers may recognize the older characters:

Pubs are places of comfort, but as a recovered alcoholic, the comfort once found on a scotch double neat needed to be replaced by something else, and today I was not in the mood for a ginger ale so I am torturing myself with pub coffee—black. It is an anthropological study when there is a new waitress who has started at the Nottingham. The one in her mid-thirties that’s been around for years dressed like 50’s glam; the two in their early to mid-twenties all tits and tats hanging out, the newbie whose probably barely twenty trying to fit in, but looking more than uncomfortable in the micro skirt and tank top. Lunch hour is the busy time, comes from the cheap Alberta steak sandwiches.

            The coffee has a burnt taste that is mixed with weakness because they pulled it out before percolation ended. Thankfully they had just renovated their table and chairs.  The click of old army boots on the old tile floor.  The leather trench coat, with long greying red hair, with the eye patch, so my old friend looked more like a pirate than the killer he used to be. “Jake.”

            He nods to me as he sits down ordering the special and a Guinness. “Will.”  The way he said my name means that the type of things we used to do would be coming back. Maybe a time I wish I had not given up alcohol.

            Leaning back and steepling my hands, “it has been a while since Calgary.” Jake is not aging well, but these conversations do not go well and usually end up with gun play or me running through a field with him from a mad husband of some sort with a gun.  So I guess it all comes back to gun play a truly un-Canadian endeavour.

“Will we need some focus here, something has happened to…” Okay have to keep remembering that Jake is not a conversationalist.

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Election Reform

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties...

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is election season in Calgary, we are one week away from voting on Councillor,Mayor and school board trustee. Yet with it now set for every for years, and the second Monday of October for civic elections, a thought entered my mind for electoral reform made simple.

What if each province’s civic election time line became the election time line? That is on that vote day every four years that province voted for school board trustees, councillors, mayor, MLA and MP?

Now you say, what about federal disruption in Parliament? What disruption? It actually makes one’s local MP relevant, and ensures they are more in line with their constituent wishes, and actual Canadians than what the party whip wishes… Another side effect is that the PMO would be forced to be collaborative with all parties for the betterment of Canada (that Constitutional promise of Peace, Order andGood Governance)…how you ask?

Well let’s look at Harper’s current slim majority of 8 seats, if we were voting on MP’sacross Alberta currently, and he lost 8 seats (which current polling suggests is a possibility) he either gets a slimmer majority, or moves into minority territory. It makes all 17 parties and any independents running relevant for the electorate.

Provincially it allows votes to become discerning from the civic leaders they elect, and then who they believe would best work or balance that out. Think of the pre-2000’s when provinces would elect opposite provincial governments to who was in Federally.

Then to cap the elections off period, you put in place a two term limit on anyone running, once they have served their two terms, before running at any level again they must spend one election cycle back in the private sector. It eliminates retirement plans from the table as it truly transforms public office back into a public sector.

As with any reform however it takes the will of the winners under the old dysfunctional system to make it work.

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Remembering My Mum & one of my best friends

Mum’s Online Obituary

Mum’s Memorial October 4, 2013

Centennial Presbyterian Church 2 p.m.

Call to Rememberance:

Mum had a tapestry that hung in her home, and still hangs there that she liked in the simplicity of explaining what we are to do.

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for a short time. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Mum:

Rosemary Ragan was many things within her life, with many beloved names, but what she was first was a compassionate friend living out her beliefs on compassion, and contribution to the community.

She is a beloved wife, friend, Mum, Nana and Nanny to many, and these are just a few of the terms of love used to describe her.

Whether it was the neighbourhood kids she “adopted” as her own, her own kids or grandchildren friends she met and did likewise with. Lifelong friendships she formed at work, volunteering in local schools, for the CNIB, teaching Sunday school as a teenager, or in the altar guild as a young lady, as a babysitter both growing up and for neighbours, helping customers and the seniors as the candy lady at the local Co-op as the candy lady.

Mum would not us to mourn, for by simply looking into the eyes of the lives she’s touched, into their hearts and watching their own actions of compassion her dreams live on.

Readings

BAS p. 599 the words of St. John

Rosemary started dating her beloved Wayne 44 years ago. Just like Cinderella, her favourite Disney movie she shared with her granddaugheters, bipity bopity boo, their love story would stretch into 43 years of happily ever after marriage, 2 children grown to four, 2 sons, Trevor and Tyler and their wives, Carmen & Shawna,  now 2 daughters; with five blessings, Nicholas, Eric, Emilee, Leland and Justina.

44 years of adventures, shenanigans, stories, joys, concerns; happiness, sadness, moments of immense pride, and hiccups of life. Times when she would give one that look whether they were cherbling their candies, or going t.v. shopping without motherly supervision to bicycle jump mishaps and triumphs of education, dale Carnegie diplomas; Trevor’s BMXworls; Nicholas’ youth of distinction awards and having children chase their dreams, and thanks to the loving home built by Wayne and Rosemary their children’s dreams grow.

A home whether in Calgary or on the farm, regardless of what life choices or circumstances one found themselves in, one knew that they would always be accepted with love. For when Mum talked of her 4 kids, and 5 blessings all that radiated was pride and joy.

The work of love that is now commissioned to all of us to continue. The work of love that began in her small Anglican church in Montgomery with her favourite story.

The words from the heart of Jesus Christ that shaped my Mum’s love:

Mark 10:13-16

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Mum welcomed all into her heart and home as this story says, regardless of what was needed, she was there to help and love.

Prayers:

BAS p. 602

BAS 599 continue service.

Benediction:

My Mum was a woman of prayer, she would say how could she not be with me and Trevor as her sons, and she prayed for her family, this she would share with me. A simple blessing as we go forth, to join Rosemary, for she is having high tea with Jesus, and our loved ones who have gone before, we shall go and have high tea and continue to share.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
The Lord bless you!

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Arson unit investigating early morning garage fire in Rundle | CTV Calgary News

Arson unit investigating early morning garage fire in Rundle | CTV Calgary News.

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Playin’ 4 Keeps Family Day! September 28

poster 1poster 

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Whose your lightning rod?

Tanaka Rei from Legends of the DC Universe: Cr...

Tanaka Rei from Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Art by Paul Ryan and Bob McLeod. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a unique question, now some people can journey through life and never discover the “one”; or never want to be with the “one”. Yet our literature ancient and modern is filled with stories of love. From failed lovers in Romeo & Juliet, to Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Lancelot & Guinevere who ended paradise. The greatest mythology shaped in the modern world is the comic book, and in the Post-Crisis (1985-2011) era of DC Comics they took the original super hero’s mythos to the next level with the Superman/Clark Kent/Lois Lane love triangle fully resolved, because simply Superman became the disguise for Clark Kent, and it was Clark that wooed Lois. In the DC New 52, they are borrowing from ancient mythology with their Superman/Wonder Woman romance (sky god/mother earth) yet there is still a root for the hero/heroine.

The clearest form though of defined love actually comes out of The Flash comics. Where the “Speed Force” if a speedster goes fast enough, will merge with them unless they have their own lightning rod to humanity. This was clearly defined in the relationship of Flash III (Wally West) and Linda Park-West, who Wally stated was his one, his lightning rod that would always bring him back home and center him. This concept was then  expanded with Flash I (Jay Garrick) and his wife, Joan… and definitely redefined when after a 23 year absence due to dying to save the universe inCrisis on Infinite Earth Flash II (Barry Allen) left the speed force due to the love he held for Iris.

So why the romantic turn? Well a, I am a huge comic geek, b, I am a huge Robin Hood nerd, but mostly this past week celebrating the greatest life choice with my family. Looking into the eyes of my soul mate, and realizing that the best term is more than just best friend, or even soul mate, she is quite literally, my lightning rod, the one that keeps me sane, centered, and brings me home regardless of how crazy life can become.

Thank you my beloved.

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Spiritual Potluck

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is kind of funny how sermons/homilies months apart can connect. A few months ago we heard a priest speak on theEucharist as spiritual potluck, for every believer comes to the table and brings their own Hodge podge of giftings together in the community joined together through the mystical meal. It is potluck because in no one location can we be completely sure of what gifts or more apt, children of God will be gathered together.

Today’s message was on coming to the table, and how growth of the spiritual community cannot be centered on a formula, ala all in pews need to be homogeneous,  or centered on growth simply to ensure the butts in the pew will increase offerings to meet budget. It has to be deeper, and more centered onChrist, together in the blessed meal (an yea, today was our local Presbyterian minister who brought us this message).

So with this why the post?

Simply think about it. Both were on the same focus, we never know who will be brought together by the Holy Spirit to be family, to live out our faith together to transform our communities into the just world that Jesus called us to build in the Gospels. We do not know a family or individual’s socio-economic, spiritual, cultural, educational, or even personal experience/reality when they come to the table with us.

All we know for sure, is that each and everyone of us (whether we acknowledge it or not) had the divine spark of life breathed into us, and has shaped our moral compass of good works, helping, and justice. The true answering by a church of the gospel clarion is not an altar call; full pews; overflowing offering; or even having the right “thou shalt/shalt nots” espoused… the true answering of the gospel clarion call in my estimation is a community that supports, encourages one another to use our diverse gifts and experiences to transform our world for the better. To end localized oppression & poverty that will create a true trickle out effect into the world.

Simple acts of kindness, not worrying about ever getting paid back for them, simply doing them because there is a baseline of love for our neighbour because we recognize the same divine spark within them that exists within us and know, that it is just to help and support one another.

But will we answer the gospel call of compassion, or will we simply continue to muddle the waters with magic growth formulas and money mongering?

-30-

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Playin’ 4 Keeps

It is quite a simple concept, thanks to Cabinsales.ca in Southern Alberta and other sponsors, a log cabin playhouse has been converted to a giant piggy bank and is going through small towns to collect donations for Alberta Children’s Hospital via parades (our kids have loved riding on the cabin or the 1923 Hehn Fire Truck courtesy of Countess Country Museum), rodeos, and main streets.

This has been a summer of seeing the love and care of Albertans through our many emergencies, yet there is still care being shown via donations for the hospital at one time or another every family in Southern Alberta ends up coming through.

This coming weekend it will be in the Elnora-Delbourne-Lousanna area, but this great shot came from our time at Strathmore Heritage Days (photo courtesy of Wayne Ragan, 2013):

rcmp playing 4 keeps

So when you see the cabin rolling through help out like the RCMP did 🙂

Oh…and here’s a little secret…September 28, 2013 you could win it for your kids or grandkids…just enter when…yup you got it…see the cabin or donate here.

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After 2000 years…

English: Icon of the Resurrection

English: Icon of the Resurrection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ship may have lost its rudder, when almost 2000 years after the Eastermoment, the church is shocked by a pope, that is dubbed the “slum pope”, and one that finds it necessary to speak out about standing firm against evil.

Even better during Rio’s WYD, a message in regards to “making a mess” in one’s diocese…that is actually moving beyond the sealed churches, schools, institutions of the formal church and getting back into one’s community.

Think about this for a moment? What is the state of the church that for many these are calls of renewal instead of simply a daily lifestyle?

Is it not the call of the faith to step out into the world outside your front door? To love one’s neighbour as themselves? To feed the hungry? To clothe the naked? Care for the sick? Visit the prisoner? Essentially to build a just and healthy world one interaction at a time?

YES! and what is so scandalous and refreshing of the “slum Pope“, that he reminds all believers of the heart and soul of the Gospel and what it means to be in the Body of Christ.

Imagine 2 billion people living these values?

Will we answer?

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Anglican Church enthusiastic about homeless housing project on its Terwillegar land

Anglican Church enthusiastic about homeless housing project on its Terwillegar land. Love it when the Holy Spirit moves a group of people to love freely and share the blessings of treasures they have built with those in need.

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Callings? Answering or hanging up?

It came to pass tonight, we messaged the church office in regards to the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program. Time to take the next step in the exploration process. But it is also a week for reflecting deeper.

Why you ask?

Well, Francis I, this week talked about how it hurt to see priests and nuns driving the newest cars. This tended to confuse some, but let’s think about this for an instance. This is a challenge to those called to humility (in some religious orders, poverty) and to service of the gospel (which is quite clear on its call to serving the poor, the disenfranchised of society).  How can you take vows and state this is your life even vocational calling, yet spend money freely to have a luxurious life. Yes, one can look to the Vatican oppulence, but also to protestant/charismatic faith leaders of today with their own private jets, islands, million dollar pay days. The point in my heart of the car comment, was pointing out the wasting of resource within our world, that if we just distributed fairly, the gospel call of alleviating poverty would be answered.

This reflection was followed by a challenging homily by Father Malcolm at our home parish, the challenge was simple though one that believers need to hear, that if this is our call of faith, then we need to respond. VOLUNTEER is the first step, within and without our church, it should not just be a 10-15% of the same faces, but each and everyone of us should be active, and we should be raising up the young within our communities to be as responsive.

Or simply put the action of every believer was laid out in the Epistle of James (New Revised Standard Version) 2:14-18:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[e] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

Our faith as stated this week in Francis I’s new encyclical (co-written with Benedict XVI) from Lumen Fidei Prologue: 5

The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfilment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us. Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time.

Our faith if the light of love of God, the divine spark is in each and everyone of us. Through our works of transformation, our faith will be alive and known.

The question for us, coming through this week, and the one that led me to a Franciscanvocation in the first place, is:

Are we willing for our lives, what we spend, what we do, to show our gospel life call?

If we are, then let’s take the leap of faith, not into the darkness, but into the light of unbelievable love of a transformed life and let it actually transform us from our competitive western ways, to the collaborative gospel of the living Cosmic Christ.

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#YYC Flood- Love on your neighbour

Who would have thought that just over a week ago our city’s downtown would be darkened and empty? That the Bow & Elbow River‘s would remind us on how fragile our human built civilization is? But it happened.

The cool part during all this, is watching how socio-economic, cultural, religious, pretty much any label one could place has been wiped away as we simply love on one another as we would like to be loved on during this time of emergency.

My hope and prayer coming out of this crisis is simple, that we never lose this sense of comraderie, community and neighbour once the crisis has passed. May the #YYC that rises above the flood waters be truly reborn with that small town communal spirit firmly rooted once more.

And I am sure there are many non-profits looking for donations to help out the victims.. Neighbourlink and the Drop In Centre have been great hubs for this during this time as well. As well, as we have seen in Bowness and Mission the simple act of walk on volunteerism for clean up. Give how you can, and know that any little bit does help renew the city’s spirit at this time.

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Welcome

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

“How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!”
Pope Francis

The new journey has begun. My family has stumbled into enjoying the Mass, and allowing this mystery to speak to us, many have…asked…what the Roman Catholic Church? Surely it’s not because I am oh so “conservative” theologically…no that’s not why…it’s about a Pope calling out the world on actually loving on one another and eradicating this thing we call poverty. Locally, it’s this little parish that welcomes my children as who they are, children, and priests/elders that inspire my soul mate and I with authentic talk of community, of discipleship, embracing the mystery of our faith… and to be honest…there are scrumptious potlucks. Did we see this turn in our faith journey? Nope, but beloved community finds you in the heart of God when you least expect it.

So the journey of endings, but renewed beginnings with new light and love. A new site to discover new calls, new communities, and share new insights that have been bubbling up within my soul as we have walked this path together.

This is different that “A Robin Hood`s Musings“ (tyragan.wordpress.com) or even Soul Pilgrimage (http://tyragan.blogspot.ca/) both good sites with decent writing, but for me at this point and time, I needed something with a fresh canvas to share my gift of writing, and reflection in the way of personal memoiric journey and transformation.

As during this part of our family`s walk we discern, but also within myself as I discern what it means to be a recycled Franciscan, coming back around to the vocational call, and whether or not to take the steps necessary to complete vows anew.

I hope you enjoy these readings, and join in the conversation when something pops up that piques your curiousity and interest.

francis


On March 13, 2013 the broader non-Catholic world came into the Charism of St. Francis of Assisi when Pope Francis the First began his pontificate and began slowly chipping away at the Papal Imperial Plan to bring out the gospel way as laid out by Rabbi Jesus. For this Jesuit pope, it was a gospel path laid out by mendicants in the 13th century Italy. That’s right, beggars, the homeless (y’know the ones that he has opened the palace up to for sanctuary).

But who were these mendicants? They were the quirky ones, the ones without place in society, the ones called out by Francis Bernadone the son of a wealthy family of Assisi, who went off to be a Knight in the Crusades in the Holy Land, only his party skills and legend did not translate well onto the battlefield and he spent many a day wounded and jailed. In fact it was on the travel back he found himself in a little falling down chapel in San Damiano.  Where in his delirium, a voice of the Cosmic Christ spoke to him:

san damiano

“Francis rebuild my church”

After three rebuilt chapels, and some mighty fine refurbishments if Francis did say so himself, the vision of the Christ within came to him once more to elucidate the calling more: “Not the buildings, the community.”

Think on that. As the world treats Pope Francis like a rock star and are astounded by his ways, he is emulating the Living Christ within, the one that called to Francis and led Francis to strip himself of worldly wealth, and walk out of a world of prestige and falsity. He would move out with those “outside the norms of society, he would go with the lepers, and create an egalitarian role for women; and to top it off, would even take a pilgrimage to the Vatican to get the Pope’s blessing of his age. But that was not the most scandalous action, as Francis realized as a world we are a village, he would go to the Holy Land and spend time in silence, prayer, feasting and dialogue with Saladin leader of the Muslims he once called enemy attempting to broker a peace between the children of the Holy.

Think it through today.

Why does Francis matter?

Simple:

He lived simplicity.

He understood the inclusivity of community by providing the proper supports for all.

He understood and lived a shared Eco-system.

He showed love and respect for all of creation (very Shamanic, just think of his Feast Day October 4 where animals are blessed around the world).

He did not see labels, but saw brothers and sisters… even deeper he saw the Cosmic Christ within each and every one of us.

He lived for justice.

At the centre of it all, was simply love. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Holy message of the way shower, Brother Jesus of Nazareth.

Prayer for Peace

Posted: July 30, 2014 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: ,


Call to Worship:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is discord, union

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

Where there is sadness, joy

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

Seek to be understood as to understand

Seek to be loved as to love

For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Dancing the Circle Wider (speaking notes, but the spirit does lead)

July 20, 2014 @ Centennial Presbyterian Church (10:30 a.m.)

Ezekial 16:49

Matthew 25: 31-46

quote for sermon 2

And with those two scriptures, and the quote I just shared to open, everyone lets out a groan thinking, oh there goes the poverty worker again preaching on about helping the needy and trying to make those haves feel bad…

Or not. For if you were here last week we discovered our voice through the story of a peasant girl of some note, Mary, Mother of Jesus. So this week, we hear her son’s words.

For you see when I hear these words, I reflect on these stories I truly think about the heart they are speaking too, the spirit of the words, not the letter of the words. Literal reading of holy stories is such a late 19th to 20th century phenomenon; we miss the true mysticism of these words.

Who are the poor? What were the deeper sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who are the least of these?

Jesus said his life fulfilled The Law & The Prophets, Ezekiel’s words challenge the institutional church to actually live their faith, not hide behind words. Jesus’ calls us out of our comfort zone. The true depth wasn’t the “sin of the week” that one can target to make themselves feel good, na, and it wasn’t even speaking about have and have not’s, although that is a part of it. These speak to the heart of community, family, and something that needs to be challenged within our faith, we are not a community hierarchy, and we are a circle with a heart beating in the centre called Jesus. Why a circle? Because it speaks to the equality of all.

Think about it, when you boil Sodom and Gomorrah down, the true sin was inhospitality, brutality, and exertion of power not love. Who have we ever made feel unwelcome? Personally? Communally? Who do we need to open the circle wide to so Ezekiel will not be speaking to our institution?

Yet even more challenging is this teaching of Jesus. Where he points to those that if the community, their family, that which the church says we are with humanity, do not choose to care for then we are not doing our faith. Who are the least of these for us in the 21st century church?

There’s the big meta issues, the Drop-In Centre has a banner on it inviting one inside to meet the other 1%; we can talk of those trafficked into human slavery of all brutalities; former prisoners and addicts. These are the easy ones for a person of faith to name of because, well they are sort of already named on the page. But who are those that truly need an uplifting and loving community to exist?

I could share the experience my family had running the Rainbow Chapel out of our living room in Rundle, where we became a hub of love if you will. Where neighbours say no problem, and some still do, to knock on the door, many times where we would sit down for a meal and be throwing on extras because our door was a rotating experience of who was going to be at family dinner that night. Our kids made many friends and discovered many new aunts and uncles and being loved on from what some would say is the fringes.

But why?

Simple, our circle was drawn wide. As an aside, at my Mum’s funeral I discovered she had opened our home on the block when first built running a free food Hubbard for neighbours in need.

Who should draw your circle wide? Who are you comfortable with coming into your home and being friends with?

Is it a young adult recently out of prison attempting to turn their life around? Widowers? Seniors? A family whose loved one is in prison and needs support? A single teenage mother or father? That couple not married, but living together in a deeper love than most married couples? Differently abled persons? Those so spiritually abused they have no desire to know the loving God, until they come to a family and discover through the lives of others? Someone in the process of transitioning genders? An older gay couple struggling to adopt their first children? An older woman coming into her sexuality and love of women for the first time in her life? Someone throwing off the patriarchal shackles of their Christianity and learning to dance the circle of a loving God? Children gleefully playing and discovering together, teenagers seeking a safe space to be themselves and for many it simply is a place they do not have to be the label their school community has placed on them. New Canadians struggling wit the immigration process, awaiting for years their family members, admitting they left to come here when their child was born and now their child back home is almost school age, sharing joy when word comes of the reunification. Watching language barriers melt away through the youngest members. It is letting the abused in, and not judging or pushing, but just giving a space they can exist and rediscover themselves.  Someone struggling to be seen beyond their previous labels of addict, nerd, sex worker, pimp, criminal and just wanting to be their name for once….

Who are those you feel God calling you to draw the circle wide to include?

(Leave a space of silence for congregation to respond)

A church that draws the circle wide is one, as Pope Francis said, that has gone outside of itself into the streets of its community and taken its lumps to get to know its neighbours. It is one that has celebrated triumphs, wept and grieved with those in crisis, had their hearts fall a little when someone embraced continues a negative choice of life… yet you stand awaiting a possible good outcome or just a shoulder for the tears.

Are we ready to heed Jesus words’ a seek those others may class as least, others may state are “sinner”, others or even ourselves may cast a label on to keep them outside the circle, are we ready to widen the circle and welcome them in?

Will we dance with God today and meet Jesus in each person and welcome them as such into our circle?