Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

It can be hard not to feel that way, when you look back on a life of attempting to create belonging. Doomscroll where we are at this societal crossroads today closer to Imperial Star Wars than Star Trek Federation and wonder if, you are not simply irrelevant? These thoughts have been cascading for a while in my mind, it can be hard not to as I battle the great fear of my life as Dad, outliving my child (in the case of both my kiddoes) or my son outliving me (and leaving someone not seen as person, in the care of the system that holds this to be true).

These ideas came stronger, after seeing a simple tweet this morning, something akin to Gen X’ers aren’t okay, as all that we fought against, and created a better forward, has been ripped away with worse returning. It is true, we at a whiney minority vocally level are letting the bullies shape the world. That which we were always taught to stand up to, push back into the beneath the rocks where they existed and were dying under, now allowed back out into the sun, and like the worst garden choking weeds are thriving in the rain pain of the world.

How can a world of belonging be created? Is it still possible?

I have to say yes, not just because I am an eternal optimist, but I was also raised with a firm belief that evil does not win in the end.

Yes I am exhausted. Yes I am tired in a world, where we have to tirelessly advocate for my children to be seen as people, where we continue to exist in the tension of life expectancy for my son. Where systems fail to support staff, and as such, as we explain reality, well damn it, at this moment and time corporation or government I do not feel like being your staff’s counsellor or pastor as they process the reality of my son’s lifespan.

But I digress, for I also worry, looking back at a time in my life of about 2 year where I wrote op-ed pieces for a local paper. Where I spoke out in support for Angels in America, LGBTQ Rights, and marriage equality (that last one almost cost me my life) in the mid-1990’s. Fast forward to 2022, and once again, I worry of the violence or death that may be visited upon my youngest and their friends.

We live in a world where The Orville: New Horizons Seasons 3 episode 5 “Tale of Two Topa’s” should be seen as timely or necessary, but especially for extremists and church, take view, and know, in the world of Klydon and Bortus as parents, be a Bortus. The closing image one of the most powerful of belonging on screen:

See Topa is a Mochlan child, who wants to join the union when he is old enough, yet he knows something is not right. If you have viewed previous season episodes around Bortus and Klydon’s child you know. See Mochlan’s are all male. Or are they? Topa was born female, and underwent a gender reassignment surgery to bring him in line with other Mochlan’s. Even after another female Mochlan would testify it was unnecessary. It never sat fully with Bortus, but for Klydon a true believer (and himself, a surgically altered female shortly after birth) a necessity.

A Tale of Two Topa’s is a story of truth, reconciliation, and being who you were created to be. It also shows how fear and hatred can shatter connection, as Klydon walks away from his child “I wish you were never born”…but the Orville Family, as seen in the image, calls Topa to the bridge, for her to belong.

If you fear authenticity in the image of God, why?

It is a powerful episode, and raises some hope that stories of power can still be told, though like, Deep Space Nine episodes seeming current and timely in the social justice issues they confront, it does become exhausitng. Though as watching, there was another aha moment that clicked for me.

So often when we have pilgrimaged/journeyed to other spiritual centres, some would chastise us, that we should not be leaving when they are not accepting due to this or that of one of our family members. We should stay and fight, for how will change happen? Simple, our spiritual centres are a space for connection, belonging, and renewal. I have no issue educating or equipping, but I am not there to fight, there is sapce for us and we will be there and present. If we are not wanted, that is fine, at some point the segregation, isolation, fear and hate, will runs its course within certain spiritual centres, and they will close (and yes we have outlived a few).

The other show that hit hard this week, was the latest Star Trek Strange New Worlds, and it was around Hemmer, the Aener engineer:

The Magic of Science “Abrakadabra”

Reading an interview with Canadian Actor, Bruce Horak, who plays Hemmer, about the character’s sacrifice in episode 9 (a well plotted horror inspired episode with the Gorn). Where infested his only choice was to end his life, that his character was created for a specific purpose. Hemmer, noted his purpose in the series when talking with Cadet Uhura “I fix broken things”. A foreshadowing statement, for a character created as a mentor for Cadet Uhura on their journey to open up to connection and belonging.

Which, in your own vocational and life formation, opens up two questions for you:

  1. What is your life purpose?
  2. Who are the mentors that helpded you in discovering and entering this purpose?

This has been a rough week or two journey for me. Where the word irrelevant has preyed upon my heart. Making me wonder if it was worthwhile, if I could still do something valid. Especially as it appears that our world is darker than it should be as anger and hate push for control and power.

“Your employers actions will show how they value you, more than their words”


in these moments, a question from so long ago, on a night shift in a Calgary shelter, as I spoke with a guest rings in my soul:

“How do I ger hope?”


A simple four letter word.

Can we regain it? Where do you feel it?

Can we emerge into the light? And see one’s simple intrinsic value in the beautiful diverse mosaic that we are created in the image of? Are we, even more powerfully, able to look in the mirror, and see that in ourselves?

“I wonder if Alberta Separatists wishing your Happy Canada Day, hear the hypocrisy?”


Written before a neurology appointment 4 years in the making.

Nervous for the day. The appointment. Ability to articulate, to advocate so the child is seen as whole, not a collection of diagnosis. What is the possible outcome? Ignored for so long. I don’t want my son, to die. Respond No, as he asks for permission to leave this life. I am not a strong enough Daddy, to give one who loves life, to simply close his eyes and drift off to eternal respite. May the light, hidden under the pain of the losses, that many say he cannot comprehend, shine bright again.


It is the Holy Saturday in Holy Week. What does this mean? Is it a Liturgical blank day we have attempted to fill with something? Like has happened recently with the Monday-Wednesday days from Palm Sunday? Possibly, but it is more. It is that time we are to enter into the unknown. It is why concepts like Passion Sunday (instead of Palm Sunday) leave a bad taste in my mouth. It is the idea that all of Holy Week is truncated down to one Sunday Service, and brings you to the empty tomb so you are good to go for Easter Sunday.

It is also, why I love Tony Campollo’s writings, the quip many evangelicals rest on of, it’s Friday but Sunday’s coming annoys the ever lovin’ heck out of me. It removes us from the moment. It removes us from being in the feelings, the mystery. It is like the reader that gets the new mystery novel and reads chapter one, then skips to the end for the solution, or skips to the end of the Murder, She Wrote episode. This is what happens when we skip the day to day mundanity. We miss being in the “now”. It is in that now that many theologians calls us to discover our true selves Rev. Matthew Fox, The Fillmores,  Dorothy Day, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Eric Butterworth, Norman Vincent Peale, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, to name but a few. It is in the now we realize and actualize our interdependence and connectivity with one another, and within, through and being with the Holy Mystery.

See the source imageThis is why, Holy Saturday, matters. For it is the day of vigil. Waiting. For those in the story nearly 2,000 years ago it was a time of anxiety, fear, mystery, apprehension…wondering what was to happen next. Wait? Where are we in the pandemic now?

But, the question has always arisen in my ministry and practice-that children and youth are incapable of vigil, that those who are exceptionally abled are in able–that they as well cannot simply be, because they are extroverts and it is for introverts (truly, us 25% of the population that are introverted have rocked the spiritual world the best but it is for everyone). Sorry it does not wash. It is called a spiritual practice, because it takes practice, but it is also like self-care. Not every practice is for everyone, it is discovering the practices that rejuvenate, refresh, renew and re-connect you to the intrinsic self, and the Holy Mystery. Which is part of the journey, not always the destination, but the journey of discovery on what works for you.

Some ideas regular readers will have already seen in my writings. I do suggest using movies and television shows as exploration and contemplations, whether independently in journaling unpacking the questions and your responses or in group (see the balance). Sacred scripture such as the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, or Christian Testament, daily, with sitting with it and seeing what emerges.

This can be done through a Lectio Divino where you hear the words 3 times, and each time spend in silence seeing what images, memories, and calls come through. Breath prayer/mindfulness, where you breathe in on a count, and breathe out a mantra (such as peace, or hope). You can do this with a count up and count down, 10 is a good number to begin with. Search the internet and use a body scan to reconnect with your physical self. I also suggest journaling, this is not simply writing, it is doodling, poetry, prose, reflective thoughts, drawing, painting, colouring…the key with starting is deciding a time length, say 3 minutes, set a timer, and do not let your journaling stop until the buzzer, keep the pen to paper for the full length, once you start to realize that is not enough time, increase the limit.

I also recommend Jon Kabbat-Zinn’s (1990) Full Catastrophe Living as a comprehensive starters guide to mindfulness practice that can be adapted to any or no spiritual frame work. For those who claim extroversion as their rationale against reflection, Nancy Reeves (2008) Spirituality for Extroverts and those who love them. If you need some structure to begin a day to day practice, I would recommend exploring the Anglican Churches’ Book of Common Prayer or Book of Alternative Services for access to liturgical prayers and lectionary.

The simplest way to start, is presence. Turning off other notifications, setting time to check e-mails and social media, to be present with those you interact with. Turn off the other calls on your time to be in that moment. As Mr. Rogers would do daily then take time to reflect on those you have interacted with, and lift up their name in your form of prayer, for the best for them to come into their authentic selves.

Types of contemplation and prayer on a day like this can also be singing, dancing, yoga and tai chi are some examples. Things that move the body, connecting your holistic self. Ceremony as smudging as well. Immerse into stories as was noted before to see what truths and questions emerge for you to wrestle through to clarify your own thoughts on topics you may be struggling with, or may have never encountered before but now you are beginning to understand.

As the early friends of Jesus huddled in hiding, trying to sort out what it all meant in the darkness. What the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed’s would frame around the descent to the dead (hell). This scourging happens when we enter into extended times of vigil, fasting from food, technology, luxuriousness, anything that clouds our ability to clearly hear the still small voice within ourselves for our true authentic beings to become relevant, heard, and whole.

There are many resources and books across religions, philosophies, and spiritualities that offer insight into discovering ways to renew your whole being. As one spiritual director would remind me, learn from many and varied traditions, it does not invalidate your own. Rather it opens up the opportunity to see what works for you, to include in your own tool kit and adapt. For what is the history of any religious movement, but rather adaptation and inclusion of varied practices that then are adapted into their own?

This time of Holy Saturday, do not let the idea of vigil scare you. Rather accept it as a day to re-affirm that which works for you to refresh, renew, rejuvenate and reconnect with your own soul, and the Holy Mystery. But also take it as a challenge to try something new in those realms.

For we await in the mystery of the darkness and the uncertainty today, and each day of this pandemic we take moment by moment and day by day,

but we ask ourselves,

what is the journey today, to a piece of hope?

See the source image

It is funny as my church’s minister starts a series on the Lord’s Prayer, and we celebrated new life in community through Communion that these thoughts tumble through my heart.

That’s life as the old song goes. It creates this idea around mental health to suck it up or buck up and carry on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it malingers and tears you down. In spiritual circles we shift to the pray/meditate about it. This idea that it only exists because we are somehow not holy enough or lack faith. It is the heresy of our times.

Life is a journey. We truly do not have much control over what happens to us, but we have control over response, and when we do not, as in the case of mental health, we have the decision to seek aid or not. The title of this post is a take off on two things that hit me this week, one was a Brad Paisley song, Noand the other was a find in the Red Deer Scott’s Parables. We had gone up to Red Deer for my son’s 13th b-day to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and stopped by the shop for him to get some Veggie Tales, that he oh so loves. On the racks I found Kerri Rawson’s (daughter of the BTK Killer) memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Sotry of Hope, Love and Overcoming. 

The song speaks of prayer. Whether you are one to mull, contemplate, meditate, pray in the traditional or the affirmative sense the song rings with truth. It is that all prayers are answered, even when it is no. It walks through a young man’s loss of his grandfather and other prayers that got the big N-O and what the outcome of that was. It is a reminder, that there are times when we have yet to grow into our journey. For any answer, is an answer in the journey of life.

This song wrung in my ears as I read Rawson’s memoir. Her prayer for her adult life was a calm normal life. Then on February 25, 2005 it all changed when the FBI arrived at her front door saying they had arrested her father, Dennis Rader for the BTK serial murders. BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. The killer had terrorized and taunted Wichita, Kansas for over three decades, with her father’s confessions he was found guilty of 10 murders (8 adults, 2 children), 7 families of victims. The memoir is a journey through the 8th family of victims. His own. He was a eccentric, sometimes abusive in the home, but he was a loving and caring father. He was the president of their church, and a Scout Leader. The journey is Rawson’s of faith, and transformation as she understands what the No to the prayer of her life was bringing her into and through. The shedding of the old skin, the family life growing up her Dad had been quoted as calling social contacts and pawns in his game; into her new life as wife and mother, and healing(ed) daughter.

It is the journey of discovery and challenge for me in the last few years. No, my father was not a serial killer. But in the healing process it is the No answer to many methods and spiritual practices that I had used to keep myself healthy in the journey. In the work of helping. When Mr. Roger’s would say in the dark times look for those who are the helpers, and you will see hope. I had the honour of being one, and serving with many. That crashed down in 2017 after months of mystery from 2016.

It is a journey of discovering the new-true you on the other end. Shedding the old damaged skin, and knowing what lies ahead. Denying the No’s from prayer, because that was obviously not meant to be so why hold fast to it. Stepping into and affirming the maybe’s and the yes’s. It is about resting. Resting in the silence of the Holy Mystery’s love.

Sometimes, the hardest part is admitting one needs help. The second hardest will be the patience to wait for that help to materialize. It is a journey, there is a shimmer of light, now what one has to ask is simply,

what new book of life awaits?


Indecisiveness. That is why there is reflections on the Pastoral Epistles and the Peters happening right now. Yet in some weird way they tend to compliment one another. But I digress. The Pastoral Epistles were never my favourite, it could go back to the lowest mark I ever got in Bible College or Seminary– due to an abysmal performance on a scripture chapter memorization- write out and recitation. I also thank those who have noted my writing output recently, I know it may not be my strongest work but it is part of renewing and rebuilding a daily practice. This is how I am laying the foundations in a new mind mansion/interior castle as I continue to work through the now twin diagnosed neurological realities in healing (and wait lists).

I wonder at times as I read the Pseudo-Paul voice within the Pastoral Epistles, if this isn’t a moment of renewal within leadership. A move to more structures within the Pauline strain of the Christianities. Managing change. Managing transformation. Attempting to maintain the familiar. Again we are entering into passages that have been weaponized in misogyny and it is time to look with upon them with a fresh heart.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

-Epistle of 1 Timothy 2:1-7 (English Standard Version)

A preacher is obviously someone who presents publicly the message. An Apostle is a duty of going into new territories and breaking ground with new or reinvigorated ideas outside the norm. Finally, a teacher, well they are there to walk with the community as they go deeper in knowledge, and application of that knowledge becomes wisdom. (Yes, astutely noting we are working the text backwards).

These are positions that spun out of what Brother Jesus normally called disciples. Those on the journey of stripping away the darkness, letting the light out, burning away the gunk for the true resonance with the Holy Mystery within, through and throughout. It happens then that through seeing the other with the Holy Spark they are not aware of yet. The starting point is authentic prayer/discernment.

This is not the catch phrase of “thoughts and prayers”.  But authentically taking on the practice of prayer for one to come to who they truly are. Raise their awareness. Within to come to the same core resonance. As Brother Jesus would have noted in the gospels written before this epistle, it is not a show for the world, but an authentic practice that brings about change in how you see and interact with your world.

Creating that ripple in the pond. Which creates the next passage as jarring:

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

-Epistle of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 (ESV)

First the opening few lines speak of not doing how others do community. Not worrying about things. The fact they lean them into a sexist dichotomy is why these writings are seen from the Pauline school, but not of Paul who was seen as more an equalist. Now as we move into the “learn quietly and submissively” what needs to be remembered first is, up until now within monotheistic faiths (pre-J.C.) there was divisions within the gatherings– the holy; then men; then women; then gentiles…now they were all together, so one thought can be this is an improvement. Since families had never been together in worship and learning there was many questions being asked and to be processed.

Yet, it goes more to a preaching setting and not a teaching setting. This is important for the first part of the passage to take effect, the authentic growth. A new way of doing must grow slowly and rapidly. The key to me is showing their faith through actions (good works), and I do not see the need for the gender specifier here, except that the writer goes down a rabbit hole of old school religious oppression.

Pointing out that women shall not have authority to teach which we have already seen from history up to this point as bullocks. Could it be contextually specific in that this is more new believers that usual so wanting to ensure proper practice? Or is it more wanting to blend in with the more acceptable monotheistic practice in the Empire of Judaism and avoid persecution? Or leaning more heavily on that tradition, as they touch point to Adam and Eve and try the old, Eve was taken for a ride not Adam (which the great Adam gave in as well). When the first creation touch point has humanity created as equals (Genesis 1); another school of thought brings in Genesis 2 and the sub-creation concept. Since the original Paul would point out there is no labels, and all are equal one can surmise that the Pseudo-Paul voice here was an adherent/student within Pauline Christianity, but still retained strong roots in his own religious upbringing. As it also misses the point that in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are BLESSED with the world to go forth and explore, grow and learn in. As they enter adolescence as a species they note their differences, Eve becomes aware of childbearing, and that pain will be apart of the process, and Adam becomes aware of work to bring forth food. Lifespan development of the ancient world (social psychology).

That leaves us seeing that we need to bring a context to our hearts of reflection. We need to understand where we are in the journey, and what it means to come into the words of experience. What we also need to understand is that every writer even though inspired by the Holy brings their own slant to the teachings.

For the building up in the first portion of holistic growth and development could almost be scuttled by the second portions misogyny. That is not the purpose, the purpose is what the first spoke of- authentically you as created.

Who is the authentic you?

And what vocation are you called into?




Daily practice. It has backed many religious/spiritualist movements. Secular mindfulnessIMG_2684 movements. Psychological/holistic healing. Creative arts. The idea that each day to do something that takes you into another space. The thin space that “separates” the creative spark (some call God) and creation…when in fact they resonate well together it is simply us that must pause, and enter into the thin space to truly create.

These are thoughts that have been spinning as I work through my own block. Writer’s block. Very rarely experienced in my life, but lately has been cropping up. It is a block of darkness. Or that is what I see when I take moments to pause and be present. The light is kept out, unable to truly break through. Feel one’s breath is what the experts say to enter into a deeper meditation. It starts with presence. Experiencing what is in the now. The now being a concrete block within my mind’s eye.

bookBut it comes back to each day trying to keep practice. For as Martella-Whitsett (2011) How to Pray without Talking to God brought the book group to this week. We tend to stop our practice to soon. That is we tend to enter into our prayer/contemplation/meditation time of creation/manifestation/denial/affirmation BUT before we truly make a breakthrough the silence scares us.  For it is resting in that silence that the heavy lifting to the “Thin Space” can be done.  Simply, because being with ourselves and truly affirming the divinity we are created in is, well, S-C-A-R-Y. So it is always easier to simply stop at the imaginary line, than spend that extra beat and wait to see if the light shines through.

The light of daily practice. Been a long road back to some semblance of this for myself, yet trying to attempt it. Working into some Wisdom in Ecclesiastes, reminders about the ebbs and flow of life. Silence. Concrete blocks. Reminders in the ancient story of Nehemiah, called to rebuild. On the front lines as a leader in the moment, but taking time away to get above the daily work, the daily battles to be able to see the lay of the land. The higher plain of planning.

That is the extra beat in the silence.

The higher plain, being able to see (wholly) who one is.

From their stepping into the true reality.

Yet, in the moment, one chapter hangs by the precipice. A block of stone blocking that light…just one more beat…in the silence…

Today’s practice.



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

-Charles Fillmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Great new book study with UCM Alberta

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

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

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

Image result for lord's prayer

Hey do you notice any metaphysical steps in this?

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


Much like the Lord’s Prayer almost mirrors…

Image result for ACTS prayers

Into the Unity Five Step Process which is simply (from

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

Ancient laws were fairly simple. Do not wipe out a village for small in fractions. We have an example still today with our Common Laws in Canada, because, well a system of justice makes things orderly. It provides a system that removes vigilantism and revenge. This was the kernel of the writings in the Hebrew Bible book of Genesis around eye for an eye. Jesus was trying to move the world beyond tribalism and revenge when breaking bread on the Mount he spoke:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

-Matthew 5:38-42

The challenge being we hear these words and have taken it to mean that we should be push overs, that we should allow for abuse, and be passive. That was not the case. The assertive measures given were a non-violent method of resistance that kept one safe in the times of the Roman Empire. Yes you read that right.

The cheeks: it was a turn of defense that closed the gap and threw the attacker off balance to allow for escape. Anyone that has studied non-violent crisis intervention, or some of the monastic martial arts ala Aikido know about this. It was not retaliatory in the vein of revenge but protecting one’s own life.

Coat/cloak: The simplicity being taught within Franciscans and other mendicant orders 1200 years on was that we are simply holders so do not be afraid to lose consumer items. The protection in these words being that you were already seen as a not entity, and as such if you do not give up the shirt your life is forfeit, so add insult to the one attacking the untouchable and give your coat. Do the holy action upon the holy person to reveal the hypocrisy.

Go the extra mile: Safety- it produces more space, shows you are willing to do more to aid a better society, again opening up the hypocrisy of the bully. No longer being the bullied but taking the reigns and empowering the by standers to come along side which flows into the idea of removing—

Begging/borrowing- truly live in the Jubilee spirit. Give what you give without expecting payment back or out of any other notion than being able to help. What form does helping take in your world today.

What steps of simple kindness can you take that keeps yourself safe, but resists an unjust system? That shines light into a darkness? That shows those who the world still casts aside they are fully persons?

The original eye for an eye law was to reveal we all carry the cosmic dust…these were getting beyond literalism and fundamentalism (and some cases extremism) to remind humanity: we are all in this together. The ripple effect, one little action can change things for the better. Assertive action can create transformation communally.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[o] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

-Matthew 5: 43-48

What does prayer do? That is always a deep question, and one constantly explored. I remember sitting in Mass one morning (weekday masses after night shifts in emergency shelters always seemed to percolate the most thought). It was such this day as the priest spoke of praying for the dead. He stated quite emphatically it was not about praying them into paradise, that was done in the moment of death when all that kept them away from full/deep communion with the Holy Mystery was purged away (purgatory-rather instantaneous).

No, praying for the dead was about your own heart. It was about removing the shackles you have placed upon yourself so that you are able to reconcile a new day with you and the Holy within.

Contemplate that. Praying is about reconciling your whole being to the interconnectedness of itself.

Now, re-hear verses 43-48, three times:

First hearing, spend time with what emotions are drawn up out of your core being. Spend time with them, best way to release them is through some form of colour work whether it be paint, chalk, sidewalk chalk, crayons, pencil crayons.

Second hearing, spend time with the memories that wash over. Which one truly resonates and sticks out for this moment in time. Write it out as a truly F-you letter to the enemy. And place it with the colours.

Third hearing—just spend time with you. Remind yourself God is love. You are love. You are not what your enemy has led you to believe you are.

In the release moment when you are ready—destroy that which came out from the first two hearings. Spend a moment to grieve the ending, knowing you may need to come back to this moment, or you may not…but the prayer was about love of yourself, and releasing…so you may love your neighbour as you truly now love you.

Ready to embrace a true F-You moment of life?

Authentically L-O-V-E— YOU.

Faith without works is dead. That is one of those sentiments that can tend to stick with you. Traditionally it is from one of the most contested epistles within the Christian Testament. That of James, whom tradition teaches was a brother of Jesus of Nazareth, it also shows the matrilineal lineage of the early tribe as an ascent this quickly into leadership and teaching would be via Mother Mary of Nazareth, those whom was adopted by the Beloved Disciple (which is you read the Gospel of John through a mystic lens then it should be us inserted into each instance of the term being used, so it is us that opens our arms to the one society would turn out for being outside).

But I digress, for this does tie into the Aquarian Gospel readings, which seem to be more thematically clumped as the work progresses. Chapters 137-141 create an arc of teaching that would make James proud (and for those that have spent any real time in Marian theology and her call to the world of hope, justice and inclusion, as well).

Yet it starts in Chapter 137 with a teaching on prayer. Where Jesus lays out the Lord’s prayer, as Levi has imagined it into his era (there are many different versions one can find by simply googling, the one’s from the Indigenous perspective are quite good). Yet it is pared with a parable of a wife in need for caring for the traveler:

A housewife was alone at night and, lo, some guests arrived, and they were hungry, having had no food for all the day.
11. The housewife had no bread, and so at midnight she went forth and called a friend and said, Loan me three loaves of bread, for guests have come, and I have naught for them to eat.
12. The friend replied, Why do you trouble me at midnight hour? My door is shut; my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise to give you bread; to-morrow you can be supplied.
13. The housewife asked again, and then again, and then because she pled, and would not be refused, the friend arose and gave her bread.
14. Behold, I say to you, Ask firmly and you shall receive; seek trustingly and you shall find; knock earnestly, the door will open up.

It is much like the petitioning when the masses were hungry, and one step forwarded, a child (again someone without voice in the world) to show the way. From that miracles happened, perhaps it was like this where those who had but were unwilling simply became willing. It is how our world truly runs, we are an interdependent species and as such we need to care for one another to make this world work.

Some would call it justice, some a social contract, some a social gospel or a liberation gospel But what 137 does is line it up that it begins with prayer, and then prayer/meditation leads to action, and action leads to compassion which leads to loving our neighbour as ourselves.

Or truly living into this from the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 25 (3)

To Be Continued as we reflect on Chapter 138



By Tyler Ragan

( on pg.3)

This revolution was not televised,


it was live! It started as an


idea to teach fasting for 30 hours.


Members of Soul Revolution


pledged to go without food to


deepen their relationship with


God (self -transformation) and to


raise awareness that clean-freefresh


water is a human right.


Envelopes for the Primate’s


World Relief and Development


Fund were distributed to the 11


participants and two leaders.


Donations were gathered. The


retreat was on God’s time as


watches and cell phones were


checked in as participants arrived.


Bonding had already started


when Soul Revolution came the


Thursday night before to


help the Altar Guild and junior


choir make 450 palm crosses for


Palm Sunday.


On the Friday night shortly


after arrival, the crew “went” to


the third world in two teams.


Their mission to build, with the


materials you can scrounge, a


well for your village. What was


discovered as water was hoisted


successfully was that the water


was dirty.


It was unsafe to drink. The


group delved into the story of the


Woman at the Well, and what it


meant to come to Jesus and the


unquenchable thirst we have,


and the healing found with the




The tempo for the weekend


was set with time taken to explore


the scripture, pray, write letters to


Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


A prayer walk was taken across


the street to the mailbox outside


a Seven Eleven where the group


stopped. In front of community


members, they prayed before


each youth walked to the box,


saying a silent prayer. They


mailed their letter calling for our


country to take a stand to ensure


everyone had access to drinkable


water, and to stop the commodification


of that which God


created to bring life.


Raising awareness did not stop


with letters to Prime Minister




On Saturday afternoon, the


group of youth, amidst clouds of


chalk dust, decorated the ramps,


stairs and amphitheatre areas of


the church raising awareness of all


in God’s creation needs water,


with simple messages like “H2O


should be Free” and “Jesus Rules”


or “Jesus Rocks”.


The night ended prayer times


when the youth could wrestle


through their own faith, and go


deeper into the Gospel. Lights


out ended our first day of fasting.


As the sun rose on Saturday


morning with an hour to go


before wake-up, the leaders gathered


to say the morning office,


and pray for the coming


impact. After a flurry of wake-ups


with singing, Soul Revolution


donned work gloves and grabbed


garbage bags. Entering their 21st


hour of fasting, they hiked from


the church to Prairie Winds Park


to clean up the community by


clearing the garbage out of the


gutters in our streets, and to


show that clean water starts with


a clean and litter free environment


so our own water cannot be




Five huge bags of garbage left


our area. Stopping in the midst


of the park to pray, and move to


the foot washing at the last




Exploration was tied to personal


prayer time, corporate


prayer time, exploring the stories


in the Bible of Jesus and the


Woman at the Well, writings in


Isaiah, Nicodemus dialogue with


Jesus, writings in Revelation


where God says eternal life will


come from clean water (the


water Jesus promised).


Also in Revelation, there is the


promise that it is possible to bring


God’s kingdom to earth as we


pray each Sunday in Church. It


is not just a dream, or a prayer for


tomorrow but a reality for now


that Soul Revolution came to


believe could happen if we just


cared enough to try.


Our weekend closed exploring


1 Corinthians 13 the love chapter,


and personal reflections and


prayer, before our final step of


gathering for an Agape Meal


(Love Feast), where our priest,


Dean dashed in to discover our


group serving one another.


The hard questions were still


bubbling up about the Cross,


Jesus, Mary, how much does


God truly love us that no matter


what we can be with him.


Our time ended with a reverse


progressive supper in the houses


of church members. And some


brought food to the church:


award-winning death by chocolate


desert to lasagna; homemade


chicken noodle soup and


Caesar salad to appetizers of


jumbo shrimps; little knishes, pigs


in the blanket, tiny pizzas and


other fun hors d’oeuvres.


The final act as a community


that night before pick-up was


group prayer.


The group gathered the next


morning while the money raised


$360 was presented to the church


to be sent to the PWRDF, and to


help with the dramatic Passion




Revolutions are possible, and


it just takes a thought…to change


the world.


Soul revolution is a group of


12-18 year olds at St. George’s


Anglican Church.


Ty Ragan n/TSSF, is Director


of Youth and Children


Ministries at St. George’s


Anglican Church, Calgary