Posts Tagged ‘Religion’


3 days.

2 sleeps.

Until vote day.

It has been almost 18 months since Mayor John MacCurtis also known as the super powered adventurer PinBall and Bionic Archer perished under the control of the ancient alien demon known as Thor.

A vote waits for a city to choose a new identity. A new path. Years ago the heroes of old took a stand against the blood thirsty of the new and ended a siege.

Out of that siege a new religion took a foot hold, where a cult of killers were able to get sanctioned by the government and a tax exempt status. A former villain turned hero trainer with a man of Mystery entered the heart of the Church of the Killer Face…only to have the Mystery Man remember his heart of evil.

The church was renewed on its primary mission of control, death and mayhem (plus casino money as a non-profit) with their new “Pope” of the Killer Face—K, ancient Nazi killing Supra reborn into the 21st century at the helm.

As the scrutiny comes closer. As the opioid trade and sex trafficking is further traced back to the church, the youngest members of the Great Crime Fighters (okay 2/3 of the team remaining) were dispatched to keep an eye on the cathedral of doom as the police and RCMP have come to short hand it. Johnny Power pulls his duster around him a bit tighter as the rain continues. Speedster pulls the yellow hood up to cover her flaming red hair.

“Anything?” She asks.

“Worshippers in robes walking in and out. Also, Mrs. Kobwash-Saturn’s chief rival just went in wearing red suit.” Johnny Power said as he floats a bit above the wet ground.

“Red suit. High up on the council then.” Speedster said.

“Yip, Arch-deacon I believe.” Power said.

Speedster was raised a devout Anglo-Cath in the Traditional Anglican Church of Canada. She was excommunicated when she was open about her Polyamorous relationship that did not fit the oppressive structures of control. Despite that there was something about the Liturgical style of worship and study that still filled her soul and on the quietest of times of recharge she could be found tucked away in a high back pew of a Roman Catholic Church at Mass communing with how she understood the Holy Mystery.

She knew Johnny was an atheist due to Post Traumatic Church Stress Disorder (a very fundamentalist sect his parents were, and when the family was rocked by divorce their reaction drove his sister to a suicide). His anger drove him to believe that intrinsic piece of soul that needed to be filled was nothing more than a fairy tale. He could not understand her pondering about how the liturgical churches felt with such a holy terror using their terms of reference/office to structure essentially organized crime, mass murder and serial killings. Though part of her realized religions has always been co-opted throughout history by men and women, monsters in the flesh have used it for horrific agendas that could be classed as genocide (active or passive).

For all the good religion had done in Canada around things such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suffrage movement, shelter systems, settlement of new Canadians, refugee aid, social justice, there was also times it was used as the Devil’s play ground with Eugenics, Sex abuse, misogyny, residential schools to name but a few.

This church Speedster looked at as the true embodiment of the Shadow of the Christianities and Religious/spiritualists of Canada if she was a Jungian. The sad part was how much the government had created mechanism for religions and non-profits to build wealth so rapidly. Wealth that was now being used in overtly predatory ways to claim lives.

“I hear the arch-deacon speaking.” Johnny said. The mayoral replacement since John MacCurtis perished to save the universe, Gordon Lived, had actively worked with council and bureaucracy to roll back police budget to units that actively dealt with sex trafficking and illegal drugs as he chose more to take the ostrich approach than the solution focus approach.

Seeing him in red, it all made sense.

“And?” Speedster said.

“Ever heard the Brother’s Osbourne song.” Johnny said.

Power was a country music fan. It had grown on Speedster in the time they had been together. “It’s not my fault ?”

“You got it.” A lightning strike just in front of the double oak doors. Johnny’s eyes go wide with the golden shimmering armoured form, sword in hand standing before the church. “He’s back?”

Speedster looks at the form. “Shotgun was meeting him toda—”

The voice was like thunder that boomed out of the armoured form. “I have come for my brother!”

To Be continued…

 

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“The very best and utmost of attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in you.”

Meister Eckhart

As we enter another time of contemplation for interior growth lived out exteriorly in love I saw this quote on Rev. Matthew Fox’s Facebook page and thought it appropriate to open with. For it is the work on ourselves, what my other books have dubbed soul work, that is the most important work you will ever do, for it opens yourself up fully to the one-ness with the source of love which already abides.

Take time to set a place where you can respite, and listen deeply with your heart. If a candle helps you focus, feel free to light one, or many. Get comfortable in a sitting position. Breathe in peace and exhale love.

Feel the room around you melt away.

Hear the animals sold for sacrifices, the kids and women in segregation within their house of worship.

Listen to the religious oppressors as the mumble amongst themselves, and those deemed unworthy as they feel love for the first time.

Know what it is like to see the neighbour boy. Perhaps you were one of the other village mother’s that changed and cared for him. Perhaps you were one of his friends or bullies in boyhood. Watch in awe and anger as he takes a place of honour as a teaching elder to the community.

A place in which many try to put aside the child born into scandal. Mary’s bastard as some would say. Perhaps the offspring of a Roman, but not Joseph’s.

Be here and now as you hear these words 3 times.

The first hearing:

Chapter 121

The Christines are in Nazareth. Miriam sings a Christine song of praise. Jesus teaches in the synagogue. He heals a dumb man who is obsessed. The people do not believe in him. The Pharisees call him a tool of Beelzebul. The Christines go to Cana.

1. It was a gala day in Nazareth. The people there had met with one accord to celebrate some great event.
2. And Jesus and the foreign masters and the twelve, and Mary, mother of the Lord, and Miriam were there.
3. And when the people were assembled in the great hall of the town, the graceful singer, Miriam, stood and sang a song of praise.
4. But few of all the multitude knew who the singer was; but instantly she won all hearts.
5. For many days she sang the songs of Israel, and then she went her way.
6. The Sabbath came and Jesus went into the synagogue. He took the book of Psalms and read:
7. Blest is the man who puts his trust in God, respecting not the proud nor such as turn aside to lies.
8. O lord, my God, the works that thou hast done for us are wonderful; and many are thy thoughts for us; we cannot count them all,
9. Thou dost not call for sacrifice, nor offerings of blood; burnt offerings and offerings for sin thou dost not want;
10. And lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy law is in my heart,
11. And I have preached the word of righteousness and peace unto the thronging multitudes; I have declared the counsel of my God in full.
12. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and grace.
13. I have not kept thy loving-kindness and thy truth away from men; I have declared them to the multitudes.
14. O Lord, make wide my lips that I may tell thy praise; I do not bring the sacrifice of blood, nor yet burnt offerings for sin.
15. The sacrifices I would bring to thee, O God, are purity in life, a contrite heart, a spirit full of faith and love, and these thou wilt receive.
16. And when he had thus read, he gave the book back to the keeper of the books, and then he said,
17. Upon these ends of earth these messages of God have come.
18. Our people have exalted sacrificial rites and have neglected mercy, justice and the rights of men.
19. You Pharisees, you priests, you scribes, your God surfeited with blood; God does not heed your prayers; you stand before your burning victims; but you stand in vain.
20. Turn you unto the testimonies of the law; reform and turn to God, and you shall live.
21. Let not your altars be accursed again with smoke of innocence.
22. Bring unto God as sacrifice a broken and a contrite heart.
23. Lift from your fellow men the burdens that you have imposed.
24. And if you hearken not, and if you turn not from your evil ways, lo, God will smite this nation with a curse.
25. And when he had thus said he stood aside, and all the people were astonished, and they said,
26. Where did this man get all his knowledge and his power? From whence did all this wisdom come?
27. Is not this Mary’s son, whose home is out on Marmion Way?
28. Are not his brothers, Jude and James and Simon, known among our honoured men? Are not his sisters with us here?
29. But they were all offended by the words he spoke.
30. And Jesus said, A prophet has no honour in his native land; he is not well received among his kin; his foes are in his home.
31. And Jesus wrought not many mighty works in Nazareth, because the people had no faith in him. He did not tarry long.
32. But as he passed from thence two blind men followed him and cried, Thou son of David, hear! Have mercy, Lord, and open up our eyes that we may see.
33. And Jesus said, Do you believe that I can open up your eyes and make you see?
34. They said, Yea, Lord, we know that if you speak the Word then we can see.
35. And Jesus touched their eyes and spoke the Word; he said, According to your faith so will it be.
36. And they were blest; they opened up their eyes and saw.
37. And Jesus said, Tell not this thing to any one.
38. But they went forth and told the news through all the land.
39. As Jesus walked along the way a man who was obsessed, and who was dumb, was brought to him.
40. And Jesus spoke the Word; the unclean spirit came out of the man; his tongue was loosed; he spoke; he said, Praise God.
41. The people were amazed; They said, This is a mighty deed; we never saw that done before.
42. The Pharisees were also much amazed; but they cried out and said,
43. You men of Israel, take heed; this Jesus is a tool of Beelzebul; he heals the sick and casts the spirits out in Satan’s name.
44. But Jesus answered not; he went his way.
45. And with the foreign masters and the twelve he went up to the town where he once turned the water into wine, and tarried certain days.

-The Aquarian Gospel

Reflect on a time when you were like a Pharisee in your own life. Yes that is right: Your own life. A moment when you questioned how could you possibly do this? Weren’t you simply (fill in your world’s stereotype for whom you are or where you are from?). Sit with this memory. Do you see the Pharisee falsehood within? Feel the freedom of release of these chains.

Move into the second hearing:

The Aquarian Gospel 121: 1-45

 

Reflect on a moment when you questioned your own achievements. Sit with a particular memory that resonates. That voice of question, that is like the Pharisee seeing the miracle and saying that it is of evil.  When is achievement sourced in love an act of evil? What do you see revealed in the questioning voice within your own achievement? What is the name of your Pharisee? Understand this Pharisee has served you in life, but it is now time, as like Brother Jesus, to walk away and release.  Are you ready to step into the new life and silence the Pharisee within?

Move into the third and final hearing:

The Aquarian Gospel 121: 1-45

 

Miriam living into love and out of her gifting created joy in her world. Rest in a time when using your gifts this happened in your life?

As yourself, what would it take to create a life built upon living into and out of Joy?

Are you able to? Willing to? Take the step into faith and be healed from the Pharisee into the life of Joy and true voice of yours?

Feel your breath return to normal.

Feel the meeting house melt away. Sounds and smells vanish.

Feel your room return around you. Get used to the existing smells and sounds.

Feel your chair form around you.

Relax into the joy you are meant to live.

Feel your true voice strong within you.

Are you ready to speak your true self to the world?

More importantly,

Are you ready to speak your true self to yourself?

 

 


It is a question that is 30 years in the making. Okay not really, but that was a great intro line not to have used it.

But it is 30 years since a type writer first typed out the words “The Adventures of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight.” and history was made in my fiction writing as a whole super hero universe was birthed that in junior high became known as the Tyverse (Raganverse following the Reagan era of politics just seemed to pretentious). It saw a plethora of heroes and villains created with literally tens of thousands of pages written over the past 30 years on pulp adventure yarns. Some greats like the Agency, Street Avenger, Johnny Power, Speedster and the Great Crime Fighters and some not so great like Rock Dude, Tigorr, and the Rubber Guy (hey not all can be winners).

Yet the first was a hodge podge origin creation, the story of a teenage orphan being raised by an elderly foster parent couple, the Harumphs. A blonde girlfriend, Susan Kobwash, with a nerdy best friend from a wealthy family, John MacCurtis. Yes, this was Rick Saturn, the dweeb, the bullied who one night while escaping tormentors would stumble into a dump, and have Gerklyn the wise (Merlin’s crazy cousin) bestow upon him a ring of power.

What can I say, it was the late 1980’s. I was a child of the 6 Million Dollar man made for t.v. movies; a passion for knights in shining armour and the Arthur/Robin Hood legends; loved Spider-Man (n0te the story of the group); and a time of cartoons of the Bionic Six and Visionaries. It all became boiler plate for a teenage hero who with the “magic mantra” of “Bionics On!” was replaced with the golden armoured knight hero of Calgary…the Bionic Knight. Added a few years later to some angst of his back story was that his family was actually organized crime, killed in a rival shoot out.

But I digress. This character’s sidekick was John MacCurtis, who too would get a magic gift and become PinBall, and eventually Bionic Archer. As well as other identities…but Rick Saturn would centre on the B.K. identity throughout his career. At times a teenager, who aged, in other moments the elder statesman role of the superhero set like one would read in the Justice Society comics. But always holding to a code of a simpler time. Do right, no killing, good always wins.

A light in the dark. As bionics lost favour, I would drop it, and Knight would become his code name, later it would evolve into PenDragon, and the idea of Gerklyn would recede, to Merlin being his patron as the lineage tying directly back more to the mystical side of Arthurian legend reincarnated would become stronger.Perhaps it was due to tracing matrilineal lines back to Uther that led to this clarity. Each year, regardless of other writing there would be a Saturn story produced.

Which is unique, because in the creative process it was MacCurtis I tended to resonate with more. The sidekick, probably as a younger brother. Even to a time when MacCurtis on the page would act as a Tulpa to journey through a spiritual labyrinth.

Yet here I am re-introducing the Bionic Knight to the reader. For you see, part of the journey as well, is to realize that even though the sidekick may assume the helm (think Wally West as the Flash, even Dick Grayson becoming Batman for a time). There is a point in our own journeys, when it is no longer the younger or the sidekick that our life role identifies with.

There comes a time, when where we are in playing mentor to others we realize, we are not Wally (West, Kid Flash, Flash III) or even Barry (Allan, Flash II) but have become in our own journey Jay (Garrick, Flash I) and perhaps are a sidestep away from being Max Mercury (a sage not affiliated with role).

So this year, 30 years on, I begin to plot a new adventure of an old friend. The hair a little thinner and grayer, with a wife not a girlfriend, a family, mourning the loss of a close friend as seen in the last Speare adventure…

So it is time not for a rebirth or reborn moment for a hero. But a grail quest moment.

Watch closely over the next little bit, for it may not be an old manual type writer pecking away at keys, it may be a netbook onto a blog.

But soon…

the question of Who is the Bionic Knight? will be answered, here…when…

The Quest of Rick Saturn: The Bionic Knight debuts.


2016

 year of endings.

Globally some say,

hope died.

The fight for hope in spite of fear is rekindled

Many scholars, poets, actors and fools crossed over

from the global world.

Down home…

it was a time of professional loss

In community served

the little deaths and ends

as lockers packed

apartments packed up

doors locked

lives locked away

to be unlocked by a new.

Personally

S-H-A-T-T-E-R-E-D

Matriarch no more

—Pain

the littlest of us getting their wings

empty school room hooks

tears of a son,

hugs of a mum.

Not knowing how to fix as a simple Dad

what is shattered within.

Empty seats of what was thought as sanctuary

ripped out like stuffing from a neglected teddy bear

YET…

in the midst of the death

the loss

the endings…

a New beginning awaits

Not just the close of a chapter

or a year

but a book

for a new one will appear

as I hold the death card in my hand,

I choose not to reflect or live into the end that has been

but embrace the beginning that is to come…

for at the end of every dark hallway

a light can be switched on

it is the light I choose

to live into

out of

and through.

to a new year

a New Hope

is lit.

The Death card is about endings, and that includes the ending of a life. What everyone seems to forget, however, is that the Death card is not exclusively about the end of a human life. In fact, it’s far more likely that the card is telling you that a goldfish or a houseplant will die. Death can mean the “end” of anything: The end of an era, the end of a trip, the closing of a restaurant, the breaking up of a band, the conclusion of a very rough week.

From: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/death.shtml

 


Okay in the big debate that comes up around census time, and the “nones” or spiritual, but not religious quotient rises I must admit that I see it as a false dichotomy.

-Waiting for the gasps to subside-

It is yet another thing we use to create Us/Them waves. Instead of looking beyond the label we choose (Religious, Spiritual, Atheist, Political, Philosopher, Ethics, Humanist—do I need to digress into the different ways we label ourselves as children of the creator?). It is a system we use individually and collectively to feed the intangible piece of our whole. Some call it Spirit, others soul, some the Cosmic Christ…you can fill in the Holy Mystery term for that piece of you, but we all know it is there. It is the piece that binds the whole physical, mental and emotional together. It is the piece that drives our purpose and belonging.

Now, this is the time, when someone will look at me and go, you are an intelligent person, you trust science. How can you buy into this? Sometimes nicer, sometimes more vulgar.

It is simple, boil down science to what it truly tells us about our origins and we are literally created from stardust. What is more mystical than that?  Seriously…I want to know.

But I digress in what my wife calls my smart ass quotient. It starts there, but it is also knowing what lens to bring to what issue. Science explains the how of the beautiful creation around me and in me, that I am a part. Spirit tells me the why…and that is the rub. For we are created from star dust, to be an interdependent in the web of life on this earth within this solar system and apart of the multiple galaxies.

Yet (there’s always a yet)…we are here for a purpose.

That is the question of the Spirit each of us must answer. Why did the stardust take your form? Why are you here?

So are you brave enough to let go of the dichotomy. Let go of the labels. Exist in the here and now, blessed with the holistic you, and simply discover, why am I here? And live fully into it, and out of it to transform this world for the better in your actualization of love?


It appears as a mundane question, but it is not a broad scope question, but rather to a narrow cultural attache I ask it. It is directed at the Western Christian Empire, that is learning humility through such humblings as the end of colonialism; multi-culturalism; human rights spread out well equally among humans if you will. To name but a few, but there is still the hangar ons, and at least in mass media there is the appearance that the “Religious Right”- those fundamentalist ideologues are easier at replenishing their vocal ranks than the progressive Christian-Historical Jesus-Liberation Theology-Social Gospel-Creation Spirituality-Wisdom school types.

Most notably I could be a prime case example as to why, simply after years of fighting, simply deciding screw this, and moving into a more universalist setting for spiritual growth. Yet, like those who speak of losing their spirituality as inherent to their culture, their is something about us muckety-mucks who harken back to the United Kingdom for our ancestry that has something tied into Christendom.

But as John Dominic Crossan wrote in his 2014 work How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian we are not biblians, rather our name implies a tie to the humble labourer born in scandal and under threat of death, who for his non-violent resistance would be put to death (yes it was non-violent, as in the same work Crossan apptly points out if there was a threat of violence from Jesus’ crew they all would have been crucified).

Their is something about this master teacher that simply resonates in the soul. A Cosmic Christ that connects us all through the Holy Breath (cosmic dust) that gave us all life. Yet with knowing that it is love that we live in and out of, their is a deeper resonance to bring this lens to the stories that are apart of our journey. Those we told around campfires before the expansion of the labourer’s story, and those that are told after, but in the midst is a love of the story of the simple Jewish labourer that radically loved, and shook the empire to its core. So scared the powers that be they attempted to silence it by murdering him. Yet those that no one saw as people, the women, discovered through love the truth, that what made Brother Jesus such a lover of all, existed within us all, and stepping into and out of the tomb the darkness held no power over them to proclaim that love of self, Creator and others, all interconnected.

Or as another progressive voice, who recently suffered a stroke, Bishop John Shelby Spong has relayed that resonates, “I am a believer who knows and loves the Bible deeply. But I also recognize that parts of it have been used to undergird prejudices and to mask violence,”

Yes the story has been abused, power has been co-opted, and the book has blood on its covers. But that is not the story of Brother Jesus and the group, it is not the story of those who truly walk in the wisdom of old.

But the ability to communicate that outwards. The love, the joy, that this story bonds one too…those that know and lives this are aging, and the questions remains…whom shall continue?


The version of the flaming chalice currently u...

The version of the flaming chalice currently used as the logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You tell us fine stories, and there is nothing in what you say that may not be true; but that is good for you who came across the seas. Do you not see that as we inhabit a world so different from yours; there may be another heave for us?

And another road to reach it?

-A Huron to a Jesuit Missionary, circa 1635

 

Church & Buehrens use the expression of One Light, Many windows; Matthew Fox (defrocked Dominican Priest) used the phraseology one river, many wells. But the quintessential answer is the same, there are many ways to access the One Source, the Sacred, the Creator, The Divine, The Love…

What needs to be answered for each of us in this new Global Village is which way do we access it? A traditional religion, a non-religion, a new age, new wave, science, philosophy, politics, just being… this is the core of Universalism, there is nothing wrong in the many manifestations that we see in this world the thrust being as the Dalai Lama has recently phrased his religion to be kindness, compassion, or Desmond Tutu in God is Not a Christian, it being love the foundation.

This is the journey I have been on, a journey that has been many years (decades) in the making. Where I have worn many labels of religiousity, yet each label is only one piece of the story. Much like the Huron to the Jesuit, what makes you think that your Western European Empiricism speaks to my experience of the sacred in daily life?

This is the thrust of the journey that during my sabbatical has taken me away from institutionalized Christianities and into a journey of discovery…at one juncture it actually had me labelled a heretic by a fundamentalist school, but what else can you say…for when one does not believe in Hell, or does not believe in a manmade God of misogyny, bloodlust, hatred and exclusion. Rather a belief shaped in the imminence of paradise here, our role in building it as co-creators with the Divine, much like Jesus of Nazareth. One where every aspect of life is Sacred, and within that is where Creator exists in us, and us in the Creator.

This journey of exploration that has led me to the Unitarian-Universalist Association…more colloquially into the Calgary Unitarian Church as an exploration with the family, to read many works of thought and recently to history works Hewett’s Unitarians in Canada (1975 & 1995) and Wilbur’s A History of Unitarianism Vol. 2 (1945 & 1965) which revealed a church that has organically grown since shortly after the Easter Moment, but became denomiantionalized within Transylvania during the             Reformation. It is a story of a people called out by the Spirit when the church becomes to doctrinally fixate that it divides and excludes, instead of sets the table widely for all of the children of the Holy Mystery. A story of beyond tolerance, to acceptance that individuals and communities experiences of the Holy will be different, and that is okay, in fact it is a wonderful time where these different ways can come together with the grounding focus being transformation. Could this be why UU is the fastest growing liberal church in North America? All the liberal theologians being tired of the doctrinal asinine that no longer or never should have separated us in the first place.

Read no further until you have checked out the short journey at: http://tyragan.blogspot.com

This brings us to the reflection today, on Brock and Parker’s (2008) Saving Paradise which is an alternative history to the church we never knew. It is a challenging work that forces the reader to stare fully into the vacuum of darkness that the “church” has mired on this world.

What exactly are the Hebrew Bible prophecy books? Are they futuristic soothsayers? No, these are a people during a time of crisis simply attempting to process (p. 22). No great infallibility, just a story of survival and faith.  Texts that for the First Century CE believers then showed them ways to allegorically process the Roman Empire (for us today Materialism? Corporate rule?), especially when the rule of the Empire is then reflected back upon the same institutions that we hold “sacred”. For the whore of Babylon in Revelations is not an allegory to the Empire, but to those complicit in the oppressors and degradation of a people…the religious leaders of Israel (p.75), which upon reflection of main stream religion as stories of abuse, wars, genocides, scandals, thefts, lies, etc. in the “name of God” flood the media lines is it not an allegory we can use today?

One that was extended even within the Gospel writers metaphor, John Mark wrote of Jesus’ casting out of the demons of Legion (an Empire Allusion) to the pigs or the defiled depths (p.45) the fact that the Empire Gospel was being interpreted to destroy people, it was time for a new Gospel, one that empowered those without power. That was the Gospel of the peasant out of Nazareth that shook the world. For it is true that Gospels do not kill people (they are merely proclamations), but interpreters do (p.49). If one takes up the Gospel, they must accept that it is a sacred text and with that we must exercise our discernment and wisdom in accepting the power and responsibility that come with wielding words that we say come from the Sacred (p.49). Let us be honest, we have not done well, think of how many have been cast out of this world, destroyed emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically by the predators that have enlisted within “God’s Army”.

How far we have gone from the house that Jesus built, for his father’s house had many rooms. Did you know that the fixation on the Crucifixion did not happen until the 1000’s when the Great Schism ripped the Western church out of the Eastern Mysticism and it became more concerned with power, land, and money instead of mysticism, rebirth, and L-O-V-E. Why? The ancient church had us in one existence with many dimensions (one house, many rooms sound familiar), essentially multiple dimensions all united within The Spirit (p.88).

So if there was no Crucifixion fixation then what were earlier believers “converted into”? It really isn’t that hard to figure out, it was a counterculture movement. Baptism was more than simply a personal choice about one’s beliefs. It was a ritual that incorporated initiates into a community and its source of power. As such, it was inseparable from social and political degrees. (p.41). When one took the step of entering into the waters of baptism, it wasn’t a “out of hell free ticket”, it was entering into solidarity with those Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes, the ones that society has cast out, and choosing to walk alongside and build a healthy community. This is what Jesus’ feeding of the masses was about, as the Emperor would feed the poor and lull them into thinking the only source of sustenance was destroyed when Jesus fed the masses and showed them the true source of all things necessary was not the Emperor, but truly ethical grace within the Holy Mystery (p.30).

Which leads John Crossan to say, “it is in food and drink, offered equally to everyone that the presence of God and Jesus is found” (p.31).

The meal shared (Eucharist) and the Baptism is truly the renunciation of Empire within one’s life, and joins a movement that drew on different well springs: wisdom, word, Torah and Spirit (p.41).  It is to be in the Spirit, to know how to distinguish good and evil required acute attunement to the present and reflection about ethical behaviours discerned through wisdom, live joyfully, enact justice, nonviolence and love (p.88).  If we seize on these values of the ancient tradition we are birthed into through water and Spirit, what comes evident for us is that we must tell the truth of crucifixion, an act of horror designed to shame, humiliate and destroy humanity.

This is the act of violence the Empire brought to bear on the peasant Messiah. It is up to us to tell the truth of this violence. To quit hiding behind theological treatise that make it okay for G-O-D to be a vengeful prick who must have seen his son beaten, bloodied, humiliated, killed for us to be loved (which spirals into its own theology of acceptance of violence and abuse). Brock and Parker on page 53 write:

To break silence whenever violence is used to shame, instill fear,

fragment human community, or suppress those who advocate for

justice is life-giving.

It is the foundation of ethical grace, to live into and out of the worst a community can experience, and speak truth. It is the power of Healing Circles, Truth and Reconciliation commissions, simple healthy community. It is the pragmatic/practical end of Panentheism. For the church is the Holy Mystery’s renewed paradise (p.89).

This is Theosis (communities that embody divine love) was a term used by both men and women, regardless of orientation, ability, gender, or societal labours were equals in all aspects of life to build the church (p.191). A church that experience Eucharist as a training of the whole person (body/soul/mind/strength) to know the world and spirit in it (p.145), “A Feast of Life” for the whole, and would/should include all the foods of the harvest (p.142).

Which is the source of offering that represented the community’s shared resources, its common wealth in the Holy Mystery (p.142).  It was not just a money thing, it was not just an anything, it was sharing of the blessedness of the whole person as a piece of the whole.

This piece of the whole, in an egalitarian world birthed another source of power. For women in a culture with no power, suddenly they discovered the source of power. That’s right, S-E-X. Just as Mary of Nazareth seized power of being-ness with her Yes to the Holy (for more of my research on this I direct you to: https://tyragan.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/theres-something-about-mary-a-liberation-theology-for-the-21st-century-free-e-book/). Yet it is in women in the ancient church first claiming their right to their virginity (bodies) that they are fully empowered (p.194). How we have abused and bastardized this in the church since, with our virgin/whore dichotomy and using both to strip power from women and make them once more nothing more than pawns of men (such an Empire move).

Another traipsing of us into the Empire’s bed is even our understanding of marriage. Do we realize that until the misogyny of medieval times, a Christian marriage was nothing more than a couple choosing to live together and declaring themselves wed? (p.195). Look at what we have done with something so beautiful in such a short span of time, how many lives we have destroyed, some even driven to the point of suicide over our own destructive use of “marriage” as a means of exclusion.

How do we realize inclusion? That is quite simply as noted earlier, in blessed community, where we are the agents, foster parents, OF LIFE that sustains communities within ethical grace (p.418). This sustaining that is rooted in, as Brock and Parker state of page 419:

The Eros of Beauty calls to us and bids us be fully in the world,

attentive to particularities, emotionally alive, open to grace,

and responsive to justice.

It is not about eroticism, or sex, it is about the actualization of the intimacy we have with the Holy, the beauty of the diversity of what builds creation. It is this love/intimacy that calls us to be within creation as its caretakers, fully active and engaged with our everything for this is how we will engage the Sacred, and the Sacred will dance within us…

This is where Paradise (or whatever term your reference gives) comes alive- –  here and now.

Are you prepared to be within the Eros of Beauty?