Posts Tagged ‘Progressive’

In the course of reading/writing for progressive religious it is sometimes challenging realizing that there is few Canadian authors. Yes, I am aware of Gretta Vosper, but she has gone to the outliers of progressive into spiritual atheism, the question arises what if (or I still hold to be true in faith) a Holy Mystery? This is the background for a belated Christmas present from my daughter’s godfather to me (belated because I think he read it before, which is what happens with us and books).

Image result for j. steiner calgary authorJ.Gregory Steiner, SJ’s (2018, Archway) The Evolution of Belief: A Christian Perspective for the Future takes a look at the evolution of theology and doctrine within his home faith tradition (Catholicism, he was after all a Jesuit) and how science complements and expands upon this understanding. What it means moving forward. It is not an “AHA!” text for anyone who has read other progressives ala the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, or John Shelby Spong, but what it is, is another testimony (yes let’s reclaim that word) of a person sharing how their belief has been shaped by life. How they can see how things do not have to be at war or odds, but are interwoven in a tapestry, and how personal and corporate beliefs evolve and change over time.

I also have a partiality to the book as the writer is a fellow Calgarian, I encourage you to explore it. If you are a deeply read progressive, it is good to be encouraged through the stories of others, if you are just curious, it is an excellent way to begin to bring cohesion to your worlds. Breaking down barriers and allowing flow.

Buy the book here.


There needs to be more of thinking outside of ourselves in our world, and understanding how decisions we make have a ripple that can adversely effect another. Yes, as you read this know that I have and am a life long environmentalist and progressive. Yet we also need to move forward in healing and reconciling with creation by not picking and choosing who can live. Oh and to borrow a colloquialism from Twitterverse, don’t @ me. I am well aware of the many options for other straws, but there is a percentage those are not safe or usable for so shut it.

From Calgary Sun, Letters to the Editor July 7, 2018:

Re: Plastic Straw Ban. A few pictures of turtles and our world wants to ban plastic straws. Something that makes up 1/10 of 1% of plastics in our world. Not looking a the other 99.9% of plastics that may inconvenience those screaming (frappe cups; Keurig one serves, etc.). It has become a “ban challenge” coming out of B.C. What is left out of the discussion is that for some persons with disabilities, the only way they can ingest liquids is through the pliable plastic straws. That is right, we are running a ban that essentially is telling a segment of the population you do not deserve to drink or belong. When this information, and information on the safety concerns (from choking, to burns, to breaking of teeth, etc.) have been brought forward to city councillors, the response is when we debate this it is something to consider. Please let that sink in for where we are in Calgary’s history: something to consider. We will consider at our political level if it is OK if some cannot provide sustenance to themselves or not? Before bandwagoning, take time to explore outside of your own bubble of self absorption and ask, if I was the one in need of something to live others wanted to ban, what would I want societies response to be? I believe in a Calgary where all are welcome, allowed to belong, thrive and live. The plastic straw ban, asks whether or not people with disabilities are allowed.
(Far bigger issues locally and in the world than plastic straws.)

I know most people “review” books, but Tom McMillan‘s (2016, Nimbus) Not My Party: The Rise and Fall of Canadian Tories from Robert Standfield to Stephen Harper is not one for review as much as deep reflection on the course Canadian Politics has gone down. It could easily become a “partisan attack” work, by some in other parties, but they would miss the point of collective and personal self-reflection within their own context this can be used for.

The book itself at around 553 pages before foot notes is an investment, but a worthwhile investment that traces the author’s political career from the Standfield-Symons era up to the merger. He touches on service as an MP, Cabinet minister, consul to Boston, thinker…and whether or no he would accept it I believe an elder political statesman in Canada (much like Mulroney, Chretien, Martin, Broadbent, Clark and Manning amongst others are as well).

The intriguing piece for reflection though is the transformation from collective nation building, bridge building of inclusion, and the dance of holding together a spectrum of beliefs under one tent, to the drive that has happened since 2003-04 to push out those “not like us” or the us and them show down within parties that has bread into our country.

Look back historically, when policy was actually not only well crafted and well thought out, but also could be used to build conversations and dialogues. Upon my own reflections of the past, our parties have always shared the same centre of policy for the collective good in our Just Society and social contract, with flare differences dependent on the source.  Yet that evaporated post merger, and some say it is only a conservative story of the loss of this enlightened-inclusive-collective good drive.

Yet look to your own ideology, what matters more? The ideology (party loyalty) or a good policy/law/practice?

This is the beauty of McMillan’s journey and sharing. The core question to emerge, are we in our wonderful mosaic and diversity truly unified under one banner as Canadian?

Historically this has always been the story, continual building on what has come before, and for the last 10 years that halted. It is time to get back on track, but to get back on track, it is embracing the conversation, embracing the research-qualitative, quantitative, anecdotal and pragmatic–

and more importantly surrendering of labels of this is conservative, liberal or socialist— the key question that needs to be asked by the citizens:

is it good for all Canadians?

Parties are currently seeking identity through renewal, new ways to get members, new policy and leader conventions at all levels. They are seeking candidates to run..if you are on nominating committees seek a candidate that may be a bit different than the homogenized norm, to get the progressive/thoughtful flare to percolate conversation in your ranks. If you are feeling called to run, perhaps it is time to start reading those you normally don’t agree with on ideology to begin to understand the other, is still someone you are called to represent and what that needs to look like?

In Canada, we have freedom of thought and expression, but it is curbed by a responsibility to hold the collective health in that we speak (do no harm)…it is a cornerstone in building towards peace, order and good governance.

This is the reflection that struck me as a former policy wonk/writer, candidate, volunteer and activist on the political hustings. Renewal is through understanding, accountability, and seeking best for ourselves and our neighbour…

For truly someone, including yourself, is someone’s neighbour.

Zealot: A Reflection

Posted: January 23, 2015 by Ty in Musings
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On the advice of an acquaintance that had read Reza Aslan’s (2013, Random House) Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth I ordered a copy from my local public library and dove in. I freely admit that when I began reading I did not know of the controversy and scandal that surrounded this title, and too be quite honest I do not think it is deserved.

This is a historical journey looking at the context and the reality that surrounded the life of Jesus Bar Joseph. Or as Aslan points out that Jesus was never mentioned to be Joseph’s son in the Gospel texts, but referred to as Mary’s son. Which ties into ancient wonderings if Jesus was actually the offspring of a rape of Mary by a roman soldier? The overlay of the mystic/mystery aspects of Jesus’ life finds itself in the mystery religions of the time, and Aslan deftly points out that the Gospels’ written decades after Jesus’ execution, and after the razing of Jerusalem, are finding away to appease the Empire. That is cast Pontius Pilate in a good light, and the Jews in a negative light so as not to have the destructive fervour turned towards them. This is how the stories in the Gospel that did not seem congruent with Jewish practice of trials came to be grafted in to the narrative as well.

It is also interesting to point out the struggles historically to distance themselves from Judaism that Jesus did not find in needing, but Paul did (I have personally always maintained that current Christendom is more Paulist than Jesus). Also pointing out though that Jesus was not from upper classes, If he was a skilled tradesman then he would have been travelling quite a bit, but more than possibly he was a general day labourer, much like many experiencing poverty and homelessness in North America going through a cash corner or temp agency. His message was about overthrowing the Temple, which had become a corrupt and oppressive system that lost out on its true purpose of community.

Stop and think of that, outside of the Roman powers that Jesus was calling out for oppression, what led to his execution was calling out the religious institution of his heritage and world. This led to the all leaders executing a rabble rouser, messiah claimant for sedition. He was executed along with many other want to be messiahs of the time. What was different was his teachings and such did change the world. For the 21st Century it does raise the question for the religious institution that bears his title, what would Jesus say/challenge? What needs to change? What tables in our Temples need to be overturned and stripped? What messages need to emerge? Which ones silenced?

Zealot may be a work that turned up turmoil and scandal in the religious world, but what I discovered in the pages was an academic confirmation of a lifetime of beliefs. Beliefs I had been beaten down in traditional church circles about, and attempts to silence with a call out for churches to get back to being the safest places on earth, a place where community happens, and a light shines out to transform communities for the healthier and better ways. A place where all are welcome and the guiding question of What Would Jesus Do, resonates with the true meaning, What Would Love Do?

But these are questions, comments and ways that scare Christendom and in many ways those that raise them have been silenced, marginalized or for their own spiritual health have, much like Elvis, metaphorically left the “building”.