Posts Tagged ‘Social Credit’


Beth nods to Moon, a trench coated figure moving in the far back with a ball cap pulled down. Retired Constable Sean James followed the gaze, he knew security was good and would get the individual. Due to the dress looked very androgenous, but they had rounded up many that had decided to cause a ruckus.

Jacobs was in Jacobs form. The Holy Spirit was moving through him, Beth thinks as she continues to scan the crowd. She chuckled at the thought. This old broken down writer turned preacher she knew very little about who looked her in the eye when she was in the Bionic Knight armour and said no to her offer of help. Now today he was holding a parking lot Mass of Hope he called it. The Open Table of Love. It sounded corny as it went through her mind, but the corn bread was real.

Another break out of campfire hymn singing. As it quiets down, Jacobs picks up the bread “On the night he was betrayed, betrayed out of fear and hate for change, for the old ways dying away. For those oppressive powers and control authorities realizing they needed to release and let go and let come the new Holy Love. Jesus took bread and broke it. This is the bread of hope.” As if on cue lunch bags, snacks, you name it started coming out, and a potluck smorg was shared with all. It was St. Jude’s way. Communion was not just a simple piece of bread it was eating, like the feeding of the masses miracle. Jacobs handed the bread to Moon and James who let it out to the crowd, as well as the baskets of sandwiches.

Moon smiled as she watched the bread and food move into the crowd. The other reason St. Jude’s was so relevant and real, as she had begun to understand as the area MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) wasn’t because of some Platonic, Metaphysical or Western-Constantinian Theology…it was simple love through ensuring folks could get to treatment, medical appointments, kids were cared for, and when months were tight in the socio-economically diverse area bills were covered and food was in pantries. She had once asked Jacobs to see a budget sheet, he burst out laughing and said, “Talk to Elder James, he gets heart palpitations at least 8 times a day with how that thing is bent, broken and abused.” When she pushed on how they still survived.

He gave this grin with a chuckle. It wasn’t cockiness. It was a depth of humility. It was the type of look when he locked eyes on you that you truly believed it was all going to be alright and the good would win. “Because we give.” It made no sense to her political mind, or her basic undergrad economics mind, yet here was the result. The more they gave the more…they had in tangible and intangible ways. Almost like there truly is enough for everyone in the world.

He nodded to Beth Venus. The next part. “Then he took the cup, knowing that his blood was about to be spilled. That he was to lose his life for simply sharing the story of Holy Love and belonging. This is the cup of promise. Drink and be at the table together as family.” Beth got volunteers to begin rolling out coolers with juice, pop and water to share.

Sean James admitted Jacobs has driven him batty the entire time he has known him, from his reporter days forward.  James also knew if he did something it was with conviction and belief of actually helping people. His eyes watched the crowd reacting. Lee held that through love you dissolved hate. James thought he was nuts, and said “I told you so.” After St. Jude’s bombing and as the crowd’s gathered today.

It had looked like it was going to snow, but it had held off.

And now what he was seeing.

She noted tears in people’s eyes at the simple acts. Those in hate garb, some let it drop off as they made eye contact for the food. Simple, kindness.

Moon, James, and Venus note the trench coat drop off, the yellow vest, the cap off…

The costume underneath.

She was already vibrating wanting to dodge at super speed towards Jacobs. Beth could hear her words through magic vibration. “this life took my Johnny.” She had known her friend was hurting. But had been improving, and had entered this place of what Venus believed was contentment. Looking at the situation now it was resignation of having a plan on a place to misdirect her anger and denial.

She had promised no powers.

But here was the Speedster flying towards Jacobs ready to tear him to pieces.

An audible…

“johnny”

“Go now in Holy Love of the Creator, the blessing of Brother Jesus, and the Family of the Holy Spirit. Go. Embrace. Simply say, I love you.”

As a yellow vest falls into the crowd and vanishes.

The pop shattered the moment.

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It’s funny when most people think of politicians they picture the bourgeois that needs to be overthrown due to its corruptness. Not a high ranking profession, believe in some instances with recent revelations certain clergy fall into the same distrustful category. But as Lee steps off the bus outside of the small truck stop for my meeting, Lee knows this Member of the Legislative Assembly is different.

The servers wear pink scrubs, the walls are a pastel pink, with a model train that goes around the roof. In a corner booth sits my coffee companion. Lee slides in and turn a cup over sending a waitress over with a fill up. Melanie Moon is an abnormality. “Ms. Moon.”

“Please, Lee, call me Mel.” Stated the reluctant politician. She was dressed in a Montreal Canadiens hoody and jeans with her hair in a braid. Wisps of silver was visible in the red, that only highlighted her face freckles to Jacobs and, her dimples which made her appear younger than her years. Jacobs knew in phone contact until they met her, many thought due to her young sounding voice she was quite young.

Please call me, Mel was a by-election candidate in the area after the dynasty ended. She ran as a Social Credit candidate which baffled many. As she spoke to the media on her by-election run, it was due to a Great Uncle she had met at a family reunion when she was a teenager who had spent hours with her teaching her the ins and outs of the political system, but also Social Credit. She signed up then. She won a by-election which then saw a general election 10 months later, and she retained her seat. A party that was supposed to be D.O.A., and here she was. Then travesty hit in her mind as her party changed names to appeal to a very specific so-con movement, becoming the Pro-Life party. Mel had not decided if she was going to run again, definitely not with that party that had drifted from what her values were. She had received permission from the speaker to complete her term as a SoCred, as she wanted to honour her Great Uncle and mentor that way. “Can I guess by stirring the pot it has to do with the C.M. death?” Mel, had attended St. Jude’s since before she ran, she enjoyed Jacobs’ panentheistic-original blessing take on her family faith. It made it come alive to her being able to openly debate, discuss and discover what God was doing for her now, especially with the change looming she was playing cards close to her chest. She also understood that any change was a process and journey of grief, she felt the heart pain for this transition.

Lee sipped his black coffee. It was strong enough to melt a spoon, never mind let it stand up. He ordered a breakfast special- scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and raisin toast. Mel just chuckled as asked for it to be times two. “Who gets to expense this?” Lee joked as he asked for a refill on the coffee.

“I think its your turn.” Mel said. “Now, about stirring the pot?”

Lee chuckled, he scratched the whiskers turning into a beard it had been a bit since his last shave. The salt was over taking the pepper making him just look old not wise. “Decided to take the fight to those that were, up to nefarious deeds.” His crows feet crinkled when he winked at her. Mel was never to sure what to do at breakfast out with a cleric.

“I heard about the drug dealer take down at the park.” Mel said. “I also saw what happened to the church doors.”  Part of the SoCred history was a focus on personal salvation, and Christianity. Sadly, like the Social Gospel movement that gave the country the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (which begat the New Democratic Party) eugenics had been a miserable sin of the ideologies. Mel and Lee had spent time discussing how to exorcise that particular demon from the movement St. Jude’s was trying to renew. “Fuck Nazis.”

Lee chuckled. “Yeah, I miss the days when anti-fascism was the default setting for society, and not a question on a multiple choice test.” Lee had spoken openly from the pulpit about many things the church needed to repent from, including its role in white supremacy. Some of the Elders and parishioners also knew that the Padre’s face that looked like an old boxer’s was not because of boxing but due to years of street fighting with hate movements in Canada. As Jacobs was fond of saying `I wasn’t born a padre’.

“And after cleaning the doors?” Mel asked. Lee told the tale of the alleged assault in the mall bathroom of the sex trafficking recruiter. Noting that the non-uniform uniform was the same as the dealer. “And what do you hope comes from the pot stirring?”

Jacobs’ grins a grin that says `I have no clue, but it’s going to be alright and one heckuva ride.’ “Honestly, it’s like doing theology, just bouncing around the darkness looking for where the light can poke through.”

Melanie Moon laughed. “Ever think you should have been a private eye?”

 


Faith, Leadership and Public Life

If you were to drop Woodsworth’s Bible it is said to have opened to Luke 10 (Good  Samaritan)….Drop Aberhart’s open to John 3 (Personal Salvation). p.287-288

Some say religion/spirituality and politics should not mix. It is an extreme view. I hold that one’s religious/spiritual beliefs should not be imposed on another due to legislative-political power, but if one truly holds core values within the spiritual realm you cannot set them aside if you are called to pursue a political vocation. It was a question raised in the debates in 2006 when I ran, as a Third Order Franciscan, and answering honestly that my religion would not be left out for it is intrinsically part of me and informs my social conscience, yet that does not mean I cannot and would not represent those within the multi-cultural riding I lived if elected.

It is a challenge, and in Preston Manning’s 2017 book, Faith, Leadership and Public Life: Leadership Lessons from Moses to Jesus that Manning touches upon. Mr. Manning has a strong Evangelical faith that has shaped his political career, and it is a generational call as his father, Ernest, was an Alberta MLA, Premier, and Senator, What is aptly shown in the words and journey of Preston is that faith is not one sided. He writes of the spectrum of Christians (and one can extrapolate to all peoples) that have entered public life. J.S. Woodsworth and Tommy Douglas with the CCF (on the left) and his father, and William Aberhart with Social Credit (on the right), but the same belief structure governing it; if not a different perspective on emphasis.

The book walks through lessons from the life of Jesus of Nazareth; Moses; David; and what Manning terms the Exiles (Jeremiah, Daniel, Esther, Joseph, Ezra and Nehemiah). I may not always have agreed with his perspective– i.e. the Conservative Party Merger; or that David was an adulteror (readers know I list the Bathsheba incident as rape). But there is wisdom in Manning’s writings that if one can step outside the rhetoric of entrenched ideology they can see what is being laid out.

A path of conscience. Yes, Mr. Manning is more socially conservative than I (though some days the wife points out the NDP can be more socially conservative than I); but he lays out for spiritual leadership an authentic path. One that walks much like the mystics and monastics of our ancestors in developing a Spiritual Rule (laid out in my book, Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred): Daily Spiritual practice and examin.

He also writes of humility and humbleness in leadership. Why are we leading? He gives two examples as he shows the intertwining of his faith and politics:

At the end of the day, perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from Moses is that true leadership isn’t about the leader. It’s about serving someone and something greater. (p.179)

and

“It’s like trying to drive a car down the road while looking in the rear-view mirror. The most likely result will be a crash– and that will be your legacy.”

-Ernest Manning

We do what we do as leaders, not because of our legacy, or the esteem/power that comes, but because we are called to serve those we lead and do something to make this world better. The book also carries wisdom on a leader whose hardest battles will not be the attacks from outside, but when one inside your organization/church/party attacks you for who you are. Also areas touching on how to whether storms, look into yourself and remain healthy:

Particularly relevant to anyone in a pressure-packed occupation is the fact that most of us very much need a safe and cathartic outlet for our emotions, especially our fear and anxieties. Otherwise we unhealthily suppress them or vent them at the wrong time, in the wrong way and in the wrong place. (p.223).

A trusted support network. Some that are professionals (counsellors, spiritual directors, coaches, mentors) and a strong personal network. The term network may seem business or techno-centric. When I was working life recovery for those leaving youth corrections they used “Circles of Support” with the balance on the life map being more personal than professional. It means family and friends that are supportive and encouraging more than those that tear you down (and I believe we all know folks like that).

Between the Rule of Life; knowing one’s vocation; having the support; and being a support it may be possible to live as a healthy leader. Manning touches upon the need within religious framework to re-assert the need for reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians; care for creation and charity as other key points.

Manning’s third book was a good read. It challenged in some areas; reaffirmed in others. At some instances I outright disagreed, but there is tied in personal anecdotes with his lay theology. The main question that should arise as one reads through the chapters:

What are the take aways for my journey?

How do I commune with the Holy (what is your spiritual practice)?

 

 


It is official, the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta have a betrothal agreement.  I am going to avoid soap boxing about allusions to the McKay-Harper merger fiasco federally that put centrists out of the party structure and those not wanting the merger unable to vote. Even though under 60% of eligible voters for each party (55-PC; 57ish-WRP) voted to give the 95% YES for both parties (and ignoring the WRP PIN issuing issues).

But the membership that did vote, much like any election the citizens that did vote, carry the mandate and form the government–or in this case the new party.

Yes it does alter the landscape politically whether or not one wants to admit it. Much like the fall of the 44 year dynasty (though I stretch that conservative control back further to Ernest Manning’s So-Creds after Aberhart’s transition, but very few historians back my opinion) fell to Rachel Notley’s NDP. We are 2ish years into a 4 year mandate for what could be another dynasty, a transitional pivot, or a course correction for Albertans where we allow our compassion, rationality and pragmatism to enter fully into our voting so we no longer elect dynasties (minority government anyone? Just for a few terms to correct much of the muck that is our money eating bureaucracy?).

But is the UCP the utopia that will accomplish this? One cannot say as they are a vote tally, and a name. What is being seen, much like the federal vote of merger is an exodus by Red Tories seeking a new political home–this federally gave bumps to Greens, Liberals and NDP, but also the formation of smaller parties like the Progressive Canadian Party as these centrists searched for political home.

That is the story of Alberta currently. The Alberta NDP is calling on them to take out a membership, so is the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberal Party (just look at the Centre Together movement that meets in Red Deer).  There is an open call, and a caution. Slow down when seeking the new home, or the first home. Really explore all options on the table. Contemplate, meet your local associations and members (for it is not just policy, but those members in your area you will be a apart of)…and simply see where you fit?  It may surprise you.  Also remember a strong party regardless of size allows members to speak into all aspects, and craft the policies that shape the party.

The landscape is re-shaping in Alberta. It is our time as Albertans to put out there we no longer want decisions made by blind ideology, rather we want solid Peace, Order and Good Governance that has citizens, not PACS-lobbyists or politicians, best interests at heart.

Begin your party search here (for those with websites simply click on the name, otherwise office contact is listed):

Alberta First Party:

Alberta Liberal Party

Alberta New Democratic Party

Alberta Party

Communist Party Alberta

Green Party of Alberta

Pro-Life Alberta Political Association (Formerly Social Credit)

United Conservative Party (UCP-PCAA & UCP-WRP)

Reform Party of Alberta

I also encourage you to keep your ears open for local Independent candidates in your riding that you resonate with to support. For every voice in the legislature matters for crafting the best social contract.

…We’re practical and generous and open and bold. We want responsible and accountable spending. At the same time we’re willing to pay fair value for efficient and effective government services, but we want to know each and every dollar is put to good use…

-Greg Clark, Alberta Party Leader excerpt from Facebook Post July 22, 2017


It’s funny. If you are an Albertan you know we have this tendency to elect governments that overstay their effectiveness, but are populous and then vanish. One of these was the Social Credit Party.

Outside of family discussions, the full introduction to SoCred Ideology was actually at a family reunion where my Great Uncle Ed well into his 90’s actually tried to sell me a party membership at the humble age of 16 years old.

Yet what would inspire such loyalty in a constantly changing political landscape. Some say it was Ernest Manning (no one remembers the 3rd SoCred premier who lost to that guy Peter Lougheed)…yet Manning was the apprentice, and actually moved the SoCred’s to the right.

No, where the movement was inspired and rose to power overturning the United Farmers rule. It goes to a small charismatic baptist preacher (what was with those baptists in the Dirty Thirties? The Great Depression church basement spawned many a preacher trying to change the world, note another gent named Tommy Douglas from Saskatchewan)…this preacher, who also founded the Prophetic Bible Institute, and a radio hour, leveraged tea/coffee times in peoples living rooms to explain a progressive-social ideology to change the world.  His nick name was Bible Bill, and William Aberhart took his young upstart SoCreds into governance as the third party to govern Alberta.

Now under Manning the progressive was forgotten, yet under Aberhart they were so progressive, Aberhart and Douglas came to agreement to stay out of one another’s provinces to allow CCF/SoCred governments to flourish without splitting the vote.

Quite a history lesson on how the progressive voice for change, inclusion and love can make our country better. What sparked this political digression?

On one of my whims of fancy to share the province’s history with my kids, thought hey Westbourne Baptist still exists and has a seniors manor attached and pre-school, should take in a service with the family…only to go on their website and find after 104 years they have moved into a new journey, and from what the internet has shared it looks as if it stalled out after dissolution.

So another piece of history has lived its life cycle, and the question still remains, where will these types of individuals rise up within the spiritual realm to speak into the soul of a country? Province? City? for the simple gift of equality, justice, compassion, peace, and joy. All that comes out of the root of Love.