Posts Tagged ‘Renewal’


Are we always a pinkie toe may seem like a ludicrous spiritual question, yet in the world of allegory of the body one knows how relevant a pinkie toe can be in the dark and finding the coffee table? ¬†A moment of instant discernment via pain, which is a unique contemplation as I sit reflecting on my journey over the last 2 ¬Ĺ years that due to health saw me lose my helping vocation, or did it?

See, my discernment was about making my own corner of the world a little bit better as I attempted to live the Great Commandments:

34¬†But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced¬†the Sadducees, they gathered together.¬†35¬†And one of them,¬†a lawyer, asked him a question¬†to test him.¬†36¬†‚ÄúTeacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?‚Ä̬†37¬†And he said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.¬†38¬†This is the great and first commandment.¬†39¬†And¬†a second is like it:¬†You shall love your neighbor as yourself.¬†40¬†On these two commandments depend¬†all the Law and the Prophets.‚ÄĚ

-Matthew 22:34-40 (English Standard Version)

It was the discovery of these red letters in a broken open red Gideon’s New Testament that brought me back into formal church, and unpacking the understanding, inspiration and living of it that led me for over 20 years into various fields of helping whether it was persons with disabilities, youth, young adults, seniors, patients with dementia, the homeless sector, politics, writing to name but a few…

Then it all came crashing down through unknown illness. There was no nice neat package bow of change…like a pinkie toe breaking against the coffee table one dark night the body was going to be changed for a time. And there was no telling what would be after healing. For St. Paul writes to the church in Corinth this about the body:

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[e] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[f]

14¬†Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.¬†15¬†If the foot says, ‚ÄúI am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,‚ÄĚ that does not make it any less a part of the body.¬†16¬†And if the ear says, ‚ÄúI am not part of the body because I am not an eye,‚ÄĚ would that make it any less a part of the body?¬†17¬†If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18¬†But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.¬†19¬†How strange a body would be if it had only one part!¬†20¬†Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.¬†21¬†The eye can never say to the hand, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt need you.‚ÄĚ The head can‚Äôt say to the feet, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt need you.‚ÄĚ

-1 Corinthians 12:12-21 (New Living Translation)

We can tend to use the concept of being in the body and our gifts to create parts of the body. We may declare we are heart, liver, pancreas, toes, fingers, etc‚Ķ but it can easily be that once discernment has happened that we limit God. Yes you read that right, we so become in tune with our purpose, what we will dub ‚Äúour calling‚ÄĚ (or vocation) that we do not know how to respond when that purpose ends‚ÄĒeither positively or negatively. What happens to us? Our identity in Christ? Our holy belonging in the Body of Christ? For if we were this important piece of the body, and now no longer fill that function‚ÄĒsomeone else will. So what of us?

This is the quandary on emerging from a dark night of the soul, and looking into the new dawn; an apt metaphor this Lenten Season leading into Easter tide of the Empty Tomb, and the new Sonrise of Easter Sunday. Is our heart open to the new journey? To understanding that even though our function (body part) may have changed, that we are still blessed? We are still an Imageo Dei as was laid out for us in the Hebrew Creation Poem in Genesis 1, specifically day 6 (v. 26-27):

26¬†Then God said, ‚ÄúLet us make humankind[a]¬†in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[b]¬†and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.‚ÄĚ

27 So God created humankind[c] in his image,
in the image of God he created them;[d]
male and female he created them.

 

For that is our creation, interdependent in the Holy ‚Äúour‚ÄĚ. The Trinity if you will, and this is how we interweave into the Body of Christ, our Community, with our calling-vocation-purpose, and when we are left with seismic shift it can leave one feeling a what if, or distraught. Yet, in the essence we are drawn closer into the Mystery of Faith. In this mystery we can begin to discern our new calling or redefinition of existing calling. Not in a vacuum but through looking at skills, encouragements from trusted friends, family and mentors. This also allows for us to change the way we belong in the Body of Christ as our gifts may shift, change and evolve with our new vocational calling.

 

As my pinkie toe healed, but I had perhaps, moved up the foot or toe spectrum. For I may not be in the field, but there was a shift for a time. It was a shift to equipping and teaching the next wave of servants for this season of life. This rests well…is it a permanent shift? Long-Term? Who knows, what is known is for this time and place this is where I am and meant to be.

For the learning on recovery it is about being open to the possibility of the new. As I phrased it to friends, I felt like I was in the seventh season of a television show and one opportunity before me felt like a spin off was going to begin, and then a teaching opportunity felt like a season 8 renewal to reframe a closure or something else, as we know once a show reaches that longevity there is usually a status quo shake up to keep viewers coming back. It was the renewal I received.

Or as noted in my journey of learning to live the Great Commandments, shifting from one body part to another in creating radical belonging for the diverse and blessed Imageo Dei’s of our world.

Today, contemplate in your vocational life…

Are you always a pinkie toe?

Advertisement

Sleep Hygiene

Posted: April 6, 2019 by Ty in Soul Psalms, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sleep Hygiene is the term used for how to get a restful and renewing night’s sleep. It is supposed to be a simple checklist and how to guide, but as with any checklist for humans we are not automatons so discovering what aids you in making your bedroom the rightful sanctuary of sleep and sex.

Keep the bed sacred

only for sex and sleep you say

it will keep the demons away

and the Gremlins at bay

for a time

No t.v.

no caffeine,

no work,

no reading,

no food,

no radio

a fan for white noise if you must

I agree crumbs in bed suck

and a t.v. can cause a lack of rest

as found when mine finally shut down

Creating space to unplug from the world

screens and bings

apps and stats

is what is needed

but what if the white noise

triggers the demons

and unleashes the hounds of hell

that your Gremlins astride?

Then perhaps,

it is about knowing thine own soul

that the melodious radio

lulls you into the deep abide

of peace

and soul newness,

Cleaning the subconscious

so that the conscious

may thrive

and LIVE.

Image result for sleep hygiene


Peter is writing during a dangerous time to be different. It can mean one’s own death, economic exclusion, poverty. An existence on a lower rung than property. He writes to the church of Rome, the epicentre of the hunt to encourage. Encourage those that this is something that is new, that the way through the pain is not to surrender to old ways, and join that which is familiar, but rather to be together encouraging one another to maintain the course.

I read these words and I ponder those that enter into time of crisis, time of health concerns. Is it possibly to look at someone struggling for a new life in addiction, but to heal means confronting that which created the symptom of addiction. The hard work, not only to heal, but to find those that do not encourage you to the old path. One can use words and deeds to argue harm reduction versus harm acceptance versus abstinence, but like the words of Peter it is a discussion in missing the point.

It is the person.

In pain.

Needing love of community and self.

One word:

B-E-L-O-N-G-I-N-G.

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

7¬†The end of all things is at hand; therefore¬†be self-controlled and sober-minded¬†for the sake of your prayers.¬†8¬†Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since¬†love covers a multitude of sins.¬†9¬†Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.¬†10¬†As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,¬†as good stewards of God’s varied grace:¬†11¬†whoever speaks, as one who speaks¬†oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves¬†by the strength that God supplies‚ÄĒin order that in everything¬†God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.¬†To him belong glory and¬†dominion forever and ever. Amen.

-Epistle of 1 Peter 4:1-11 (English Standard Version)

Be the community that allows for healthy change and for healing. Yet it goes deeper as it speaks to a proselytizing of the dead. Our brothers and sisters in Mormonism use this as a root of genealogy science, and proxy baptism to ensure everyone gets it. Yet it means more, and has been a missed point for the Mental Health of the community, and the person. I believe it speaks to the peace found in paradise whether one has succumbed to the old life, or taken their life. It is Peter reminding the church in crisis that we are here to love, and honour one another. That God’s love through Christ’s life embraces all.

It is also a reminder that everything in life comes from the same source of the Holy Mystery. In the journey of healing to trust in science, to know when it comes to mental health sometimes it is spiritual direction; psychology-psychiatry and/or medication– but it all works towards wholeness. In that wholeness you resonate with the authentic you. Those that preach-teach otherwise are missing the mark, and creating a community of harm, not love.

12¬†Beloved, do not be surprised at¬†the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.¬†13¬†But rejoice¬†insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad¬†when his glory is revealed.¬†14¬†If you are insulted¬†for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b]¬†and of God rests upon you.¬†15¬†But¬†let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or¬†as a meddler.¬†16¬†Yet¬†if anyone suffers as a¬†Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God¬†in that name.¬†17¬†For it is time for judgment¬†to begin at the household of God; and¬†if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who¬†do not obey the gospel of God?¬†18¬†And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
¬†¬†¬†¬†what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?‚ÄĚ[c]

19¬†Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will¬†entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

-1 Peter 4:12-19 (ESV)

Peter is writing at a time of physical harm, and looming death for himself and many that had chosen a different than acceptable path. These words could be taken literally on the page, or one can dive deeper into the now of the world and see where religion creates oppression. It is in a system that says “if your faith were only stronger…” not realizing the harm that is done in creating the us-them dichotomy. For Peter shared the teachings of his friend, Jesus, and it was about living the authentic you. Trusting that what it took to heal and function properly was of the Holy. Moving beyond the pain and death to the true you.

It was about knowing the pain life, trauma and inter-generational trauma could create. The pain different human secular and religious systems could create. Standing steadfast in the knowledge of your holistic self in love.

It is pulling not only the person but the community back from missing the point.

It is the person.

In pain.

Needing love of community and self.

One word:

B-E-L-O-N-G-I-N-G.


In John Shelby Spong’s 2009 book¬†Eternal Life: A New Vision¬†the former Bishop of Newark tackles the thoughts of lifespan development and afterlife. Within he breaks down the lifespan into approximately thirds. The first 30 years being the building; the next 30 years being and then the elder years. When you think of the Anglo-Catholic tradition this would flow out of older concepts of Christening (birth); First Eucharist; First Reconciliation(Confession); Confirmation around the ages of Bar/Bat Mitzvah;

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, text

My wife’s Facebook e-collage with some of my favourite things for turning 40 yesterday.

Sacrament of Marriage; Anointing of the Sick and Last Rites.

Colloquially, we have our own secular time tables. Pre-School (4 yrs old); K-6; then ages of culpability (12 years and up). That at 18 years old in Canada you become an adult Federally (19 years old in B.C.; Saskatchewan and Ontario for drinking). That is at 18 you can vote and serve in the military; smoke (cigarettes, and this fall Marijuana); and partake in gambling and alcohol. Psychologically and socially they have extended adolescence to around 24-30 years old (Biblically Jesus would have just left his childhood behind when he started his ministry). Then at 40 years old you are judged to be at midlife; and 65 years old is looked upon time of retirement and golden years.

In Spong’s theory. The time at 60 and beyond is looked upon for the new work, that which rejuvenates the soul and keeps one going. It is intriguing these thoughts come upon me. As usual our family is pilgrimaging, and listening to the still quiet voice of the Holy Mystery.¬† Especially as we continue the journey of discovery on my neuro-a-typicalness and what it means. As we await the new chapter in the new book.

This past Sunday, a sermon actually caused me to pause and contemplate. It has been a few years since this has happened (okay more than a few). And it must have been a good reflection because my son stayed tuned in, and did not heckle (yes he heckles when he dislikes preachers, it is quite a good barometer–yes I have been heckled by him).

The passages were wrapping up what the lectionary (a set up of reading through the whole Hebrew Bible-Christian Testament in church on Sundays over 2 or 3 years) has brought through the life of David. David is not a favourite of mine, but it was an intriguing message grown out of these two passages:

29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop[a];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

-2 Samuel 22:29-30 (New International Version)

and from Acts 12:17-23 & 36:

17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct[a] in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

‚ÄúAfter this, God gave them judges¬†until the time of Samuel the prophet.¬†21¬†Then the people asked for a king,¬†and he gave them Saul¬†son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin,¬†who ruled forty years.¬†22¬†After removing Saul,¬†he made David their king.¬†God testified concerning him: ‚ÄėI have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;¬†he will do everything I want him to do.‚Äô

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.

-Acts 13:17-23 (New International Version)

David’s celebration of his life. His victories, his sorrows, his atrocities (rape, murder, infanticide) and jumping to the book of Acts, Paul speaking of the history of what one has been brought forth through.

What struck was Acts 13: 36:

36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. (New International Version).

For this is what was zeroed in on. The end of life, as this man of horror and holy was dying. He had fulfilled a purpose in the then and now.

The question put forward to us, was to move forward from the past, and live into the generation we are now. The stark reminder that even though we continue to attempt to label our generations as a barrier (Greatest, Baby Boom, X, Millenial, Z) we are all here in this generation.

Why?

Whether you are in the first third, mid-third or last third, or reached beyond…

There is a reason.

There is a purpose.

More importantly there is a passion that continues to spark and renew.

Rejuvenates.

Make new.

What is the passion that drives you today? Right now to seize the new.

This has been my humble Wisdom Keeper contemplation since Sunday, welcome to the journal.

 


Sacrament:

a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.

For any pilgrim, it is the ceremony that is the outward reflection of our inward journey. Throughout Christendom there has been a sacrament of penance/confession. That is admitting when one has done wrong and seeking unity again with God. But this is a simpler understanding of what it has morphed into, now the sacrament of reconciliation. For this is a deeper understanding of holy relationships that permeate everything. The interconnection of the Holy Mystery in all, with all and through all. For Christians, it is the Holy Spirit, for others the creative force.

This is what ego, greed (pick your word for that which removes you from the flow, and allows ‚Äúother‚ÄĚ to create division) disrupts. It is the time of deep inward reflection, to be able to understand pain we have inflicted, or pain that has been inflicted, wrong done to us, or wrongs we have done to others, the list can go on and on.

Yet the piece of the sacrament that we have learned from our brothers and sisters around the world, is that the story needs to be told. It needs to be out there, and then we need to decide to move forward from that in a new beginning.

            My Father used to say,

Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.

-Desmond Tutu

The moment when you can move from shouting matches, to actual discourse, dialogue, debate and argument is the moment you are no longer seeing one another as other but as equals in discussion…once seen as equals, you can move forward.

This is the sacramental challenge that lays heavy on my heart. For I do much work with folks throughout their lives to speak the truth of their story, and then to reconcile to move forward. Then there are moments when I am too stubborn to do the same.

Yet the Creator knows those moments, and enjoys laughter. It is in these moments that outward acts begin forcing inward change. I do not know where it will lead or what it means. Am I in a hurry to once again become a member? No.

But the last several weeks being back in a United Church of Canada congregation has become a sacramental act of reconciliation for me. My story has been told, it is out there for the universe to know. Now, it is time of contemplative action, letting my kids wonder in Wonder Kids, and rest in a chair during the service with the wife. Am I ready to move forward?

1401836884-desmond-tutu-forgivness-wisdom-quotes

The new beginning has been laid before me.

The soul sludge is burning off.

Moments of laughter.

A social gospel congregation?

Yes, it is easy to rest in the labels of other, but at our core we part of the family of humanity on a journey to make our little corner of this world better.

Sometimes, it is simply easier to release that which may be holding us back on the journey towards the heart of the sacred, and the sacred heart that exists within us.

And yes, sometimes, that which we thought had been put to rest and released, was not and it takes literally stepping across a new threshold to reveal the light that burns off the darkness.

Now the question that remains when reconciliation work is working…

What is next?
What is the new beginning?

For, that is yet to come…

and blessedly undecided…

yet will be chosen with a refreshed heart, mind and soul.


It is Passover; it is Pagan Fertility festivals; it is Eastertide…yup it is the time of year when the cold winter ends, the harsh gray is illuminated with new light, the darkness recedes, the snow melts, and new life springs forth.

Anyone who has spent any time in the life recovery movement, or the re-housing movements knows that new life is springing forth daily. It is like a caterpillar emerging from the cocoon as a butterfly. But it is not a simple process to have a new life.

Any change brings grieving over the loss of the old, and the rediscovery of who one is within the new reality, whether minor and short or major and a pilgrimage of the new. Much like the caterpillar digesting itself within the cocoon to truly become goop and reformed into the beautiful butterfly.

This is the season of transformation and change. The season of leaving behind the old that has held you back.
The season of release and renewal.

This is the time of year when our whole beings are focused on new beginnings, new life…it is a time when we can easily choose to release the old and start a fresh.

As the frost of winter melts away.

The grayness of night is illuminated by the light of dawn.

A time, as the ancient Johannine community wrote in their Gospel of the Cosmic Christ, the light shone into the darkness and left it confused (dispersed).

Are we going to recognize the light shining within us to allow the darkness to be shed like an old snake skin for our new radiant souls?

 


What a whirlwind it was leading up to the vacation time, which was a staycation to truly rediscover time with the family. A whirlwind for anyone who serves the public knows that if you do not keep a beat on your own soul it is easy to flame out. As the soulmate would say, something is off. Yet it was most summed up early on this vacation week.

See since the summer when we packed up my Mum’s belongings for a final time, I had her Tibetan prayer beads I wore around my wrist. In an attempt to keep the neighbour’s cat from using my backyard as their litter box (it drives our dog a bit barmy). I felt the beads leave my wrist and heard them hit what I thought was leaves. Went back to look, only to discover that the bracelet was no longer in tact, and that little black beads vanish into leaf piles quite quickly.

Yes it is a loss.

Yet it is also a time for reflection for me, yes it was a sad time, as it was something from my Mum, but it was also just a thing. Yet in the essence of the spiritual journey it was a representation of something else. Something that my wife touched upon in our Sacred Circle time. Yes they were Buddhist prayer beads, which for some raised Christian spoke volumes to the way my family believed (all one God just different ways of knowing)…yet as they vanished, it was also a door closing for me as I realized that the spiritual journey of practice and equipping to be a pulpit pastor closed off and vanished.

The fitting of the square peg into the round hole, ended…but wholeness was left.

It has been a month of reflecting trying to struggle through pain that for many years has been put aside as I served as the glue to hold others together, until the glue itself was drying out, but was it too late? Had a hurdle been reached that one would not be able to turn back from?

See, my life has always been about chasing a passion and discovering how to make a living at it. A life lived completing dreams, and passions, and now as a family man, arriving at where I feel professionally I believe I fit, personally loving my life, yet in those moments an ache of missing for the family that are not here to journey with anymore.

Living in the family home, with the ghosts of the past constantly present. Creating memories in the present, and talking of what the future holds.

Yet…

Are there new dreams? New passions to ignite? What is the next wall to tear down? The next circle to dance?

As the beads hit the leaves it was a feeling of loss, but it was a loss that was more like a release of what was before, and making a conscious choice that in that moment, yes it is sad, but it opens up a new future.

The question is how to be present in the now so the future reveals?


Yup, for the past well over a year I had placed the adjective “used to” or “retired” in front of writer. Why? I simply needed to distance myself and rest, to rediscover the glimmer of joy as writing when done at a publishing level can sometimes sap a lot out of an individual (I find especially in smaller markets where money is not enough to live on) and when I let the project not the market shape my work.

Yet, I am slowly moving back into writing and speaking on my own terms, a little as my home church, Centennial Presbyterian, has invited me to take 2 services this summer, but also in part to the Calgary Public Library where I have been on a retro reading kick rediscovering the comics that shaped my fiction writing in my teens.

Currently rediscovering James Robinson and Tony Harris’ Starman run. The story of Jack Knight really aided me in reshaping the super hero universe I had been spinning stories out of for my friends since late elementary school, and became known as “The Verse” in High School where friends would eagerly await each new chapter (and even say a short story banned from publishing as a winner of a short story contest for the CBE due to LGBTQ content–a bi-sexual monk of all things).

Yes, the stories that saw characters that stayed with me well through college years and were a great stress release. ¬†Some rejuvenated and in e-books shared on this sites, others lost to the mists of time. Ah technologies dying and losing saved files, hard copies vanishing there’s only so much one can save when they could write the equivalent of a book a month when one had free time when work was not 40 hours a week, when a term paper could easily be distracted from by pounding out another epic chapter…before the layers of life… for non-fiction writing when A&W still had an excellent and cheap breakfast before the advent of microwave bacon and the doubling of price…when there was space for quietness and reflection.

But life story morphs and as one reflects on building the writer’s space renewed in one’s home, family crisis leads to the space evaporating to aid an individual.

Now though, as I continue down the retro train, and rediscover old interests I ponder a renewal of the work. ¬†Maybe not “The Verse” (for the longtime fan out there know it eventually got dubbed “The TyVerse”; ah the era’s of Johnny Power; Bionic Knight; Street Avenger and Hacker such wonderful times that the stories were told, and as any good story not to be revisited but for a few).

Where will this renewal lead, I do not know, but it is time to first work on discovering/crafting the space to create, to research, to spread out and be…

Thank you my loving wife for supporting the renewal of interest.


Flag of Calgary

Image via Wikipedia

The 2012 National Conference of the Associated Gospel Churches of Canada is coming to Calgary, AB.

Check out these awesome videos and c’mon out!

Pastor Doug Schroeder Invite Video

Tour the Amrose University Campus with Pastor John Estabrooks (location of conference)

Connect 2012 Conference info anyone got an extra$500 for Shawna and me to attend (lol)