Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’


Related imageFor many the title may sound quite oxymoronic. Star Trek & Spirituality? Star Trek & religion? Is it not the great humanist journey? Yes and no. It is about a wonderful mosaic, learning to co-exist together (yes there’s still dark times and conflict). It is also about exploration, and chasing the soul centered vocational passion you have as you do not have to worry about life giving necessities. It literally shows how a multi-cultural mosaic honours everyone’s beliefs and heritage, but also how beliefs and customs change through sharing space. Creating courageous and safe space to explore.

It has also been on of those shows for me at each different point of my own spiritual questing if you will. During my PTSD-PNES recovery (still ongoing) it was a Star Trek Deep Space Nine novel I picked up in shaky hands to retrain my brain on reading.

The original Star Trek I fell in love with on CBC watching re-runs, I was allowed after all to be up 1 hour past bed time on the nights it was on so it became must see t.v. I wanted to be a space cowboy ala Kirk in my early elementary school years. I was gobsmacked in Wrath of Khan when Spock gave his life (yes I loved Spock as a character)…my wife says in my middle-age years I can come across more as a Dr. McCoy however lol…it showed you can have fun adventuring, and that there is truly a no-win situation. Though for some in my work a day life, it was more Mr. Scott, the Miracle Worker I have become known as.

The Next Generation took a bit to get in too, but it was a group of folks I clicked with in Junior High School. Data, Geordi and Worf were my favs, what can I say, the philosophical questions raised by Data, Worf seeking ways to connect with his religion with his new enlightenment from being raised in the Federation I felt echoed in my own search for Jesus and God. Geordi, well I loved how his mind worked. No, I have never asked anyone who they would see me as in characters, though my daughter has said Picard because we are both bald and drink tea.

Deep Space Nine was the spiritual quest through the Catechism. It was exploring a society rebuilding, religion and spirituality, literally an outsider (Sisko) merging his own beliefs into Bajoran religion. There was sexual identity diversity (Garak); Odo and Quark with their cops/robbers routine, neuro-diversity shown with Rom, PTSD and mental health was tackled, Worf was back. Sisko punched Q (and yes the online quizzes put me as a Sisko in which Star Trek Captain are you). Ethical questions around medically assisted death, capacity and is spiritual wisdom true knowledge. Also dragged you into discussions around torture, occupation, just war theory, what does it mean to fall away or re-enter your faith in a new way. Eugenics. Addictions. Racism was squarely hit. Truth and Reconciliation. These were all but some of the story lines explored over their seven seasons.

I had a passing dalliance during this time with Enterprise and Voyager. Fast forward though to my healing over the past year.

What was Enterprise? It was the first warp 5 ship leaving our solar system to go out and explore. First steps into a new reality. Not understanding what laid ahead, apprehensive, but willing to take a leap of faith. Captain Archer and his crew became the galaxy’s conscience. Working through xenophobias and paranoia’s between Vulcans and Andorians, discovering what it means to fall victim to pirates. T’Pal and Trip’s love. Dr. Phlox showing that in plurality there is different ways to be family. Each character had their own challenges, fears and goals to move through. Sato being the one developing the universal translator as a linguist, Merryweather having been raised on supply ships breaking with his family tradition to join Starfleet. Reed learning what it means to be with family, as he broke his family’s tradition of Naval service. Captain Archer, with his trusted beagle, Porthos, figuring it out as they go day by day.

A book series and t.v. series that helped me wrestle in my core about what it means to start fresh. Whole new life laid out before with new challenges to overcome.

Also the time I revisited Voyager. Two separate factions pulled 75 years away from our quadrant by the Caretaker. The Maquis (freedom fighters or terrorists depending on your point of view) and Starfleet, now on one ship, one crew, Voyager. What does it mean to be lost with no chance of getting back to familiar?

Just let that question rest. One is going into the unfamiliar, knowing home is close, in Enterprise. Voyager is being lost, heading back, but not knowing if you ever will make it. The journey in the Delta Quadrant of Janeway, Chakotay, Torres, Paris, Kim, Seven, Neelix, Doctor and Tuvok to grieve, to release the old, and journey into the new reality before them.

It is a winding life path.

Each series, and individual show, breaks down a fun adventure, but also some deeper questions if you so wish. In my ministry life I have used the shows and movies multiple times to get groups of all ages to think differently about issues before us.

In my healing journey, the story therapy to has touched upon thinking differently about the journey before me. One day at a time. The good grieving to a new reality.

Want to read more of the Spirituality of Star Trek?

Check out my new book, Soul Ripples, Coming 2019.

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Story of Jonah

Jonah is the story of a minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He is minor because the story is short, not because it is inconsequential. It is the story of a man given a mission that does not want to do it. Many will take the tact of the journey of coming into your own within your chosen vocation. As Jonah is called to take a message of salvation to the non-Israelite city of Nineveh.

But there is another tract of the story, that is rarely mentioned in spiritual circles. Michael A. Martin in his 2011 Star Trek Enterprise Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor’s Wings touched on it. The Jonah curse he would write about, it was what Captain Archer was feeling after a previous encounter that the freighter, Kobayashi Maru and all hands were lost, the Enterprise needing to save themselves turning away and fleeing. It was due to a Romulan control weapon that took over allies ships to do the deed. It was a logical decision, and a hard one. The flood of transfer requests after left the Captain reflecting on Jonah, and the curse that many spacefarers and nautalists too, would focus on. It is in the first chapter, when Jonah first flees the call:

 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Image result for jonah and the whale13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

-Jonah 1:1-16 (New International Version)

A ship in danger. The only way to end it, is to get rid of the cursed one. Fairly clear cut, but why is this so necessary a story in the spiritual journey?

It is an effect we see on dry land many times. The shunning, the avoidance. It can happen when one leaves your spiritual community. It is more prevalent however when one receives a diagnosis in mental health or physical health that can be chronic, long, enduring, or stigmatized this is an effect that takes hold of some. The length of time as family or friends does not matter, for it becomes a subconscious response of distancing.

It is the Jonah Effect as I have decided to dub it. That is a fear that if you continue the relationship with the person afflicted, or whose life is changing, that you will somehow become susceptible to what they have. That you will become associated with the diagnosis. The very act of shunning/distancing/relationship breaking you are employing due to stigma is the fear of it happening to you is what drives it.

The Jonah Effect…


Christopher L. Bennett’s Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code (Pocket Books, 2016) raises the ethical dilemma in a pre-Prime Directive Star Trek Universe. For the non-initiated (or those who live without fun), the Prime Directive is the oft-shrugged away rule of non-interference that the United Federation of Planets abides by in pre-first contact interactions.

As this series has come together, it challenges the early Federation (Earth-Vulcans-Tellarites-Andorians) working together on how to bring their different methods, values and ethics together as they continue to explore the Universe and face challenges. Among them a capitalist AI run amok- The Ware Corporation.

We all try to live according to our principles, but we cannot control whether history will remember us as heroes or villains. Sometimes, those of us who take the boldest actions in support of our beliefs are destined to be remembered as both.

-Samuel A. Kirk, The Forgotten Enterprise (2190)

It is a technology that replaced all sentient species on its home world from the work-exploration forces, and now out in the galaxy to continue its growth requires sentient brains to survive and grow. Hence the dilemma, some stations are quite aggressive in seeking new “fuel” sources. While others are in a forced symbiosis with the Partnership. A collection of pre-warp cultures/worlds that have found a way to not be used up (die) as fuel for the Ware, but find a way to switch volunteers in and out of the system. Thus having their societies benefit from actual technology though living in constant fear of what had come before. It is on the Federation’s Radar with Captains T’Pol and Reed, due to the aggressive nature of the technology and trying to end its spread.

An ethical dilemma for the species in the Partnership would not be where they are technologically without the Ware, yet the Ware had decimated much around them, and as a result of the Partnership, had brought war from neighbouring planets. Ends and Means. Is it worth the price? What if the Federation does not stop its spread?

While the cube squeezes tightly as the Klingon Empire on the brink of civil war due to an augment disease that had created humanesque Klingons (think those from the original t.v. show) who function as privateers of the space-ways but now see their way with the Ware to conquest of their home world.

While the Matriarchal Orion Syndicate squeezes the ethical standard of the Federation more by forcing a possible hand where they must decide in propping up dictators for needed supplies or not.

There are no ideal solution.s here, Jonathan. You should’ve learned that by now. When the galaxy is falling down around you, you have to prioritize whom to save.

-Shran (p.233)

And yes, Shran and Archer’s ethical conversations continue as to what direction needs to be taken as the galaxy is on the precipice of chaos fueled by hate over hope once more. The galaxy’s struggle brought down to a family microcosm on Denobula, as Dr. Phlox’s daughter is to be wed to her second husband (of three, Denobulans are Polyamorous, in which each wife has 3 husbands, and each husband 3 wives). This daughter has stepped out of the protectionist practices of Denobula and has married a human, and now an Antarran (for the second think of a British Protestant marrying an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland in the mid-20th century). As hate attempts to disrupt wedding with a less enlightened sibling who murders her soon to be father-in-law.

The question left hanging is what is forgiveness, reconciliation and family? Do actions define an individual?

And when the roles become reversed, can mercy be found?

Yes, a few more spoilers than I like in a reflection, but it is to show what diving in to a story can raise question wise. Many outcomes are reached by surrendering what we hold to be true. And the flip is that many outcomes can be lost due to holding what we hold to be true.

For the reader, the ethical dilemma may be a trite soundbite in this day and age, but the adage is more of a reflection for each of us:

Do the ends justify the means?

Or, will the means leave lasting harmful repercussions that even if the result is good, was it worth it?


Star Trek Enterprise is an easily overlooked piece of the Trek-Mythos. It is the adventures of the NX-01 crew setting out in the first warp 5 ship to explore the galaxy. It begins with returning a Klingon home, has temporal cold wars, Xindi, Romulans, Orions, many new adventures and learning. It also sets the stage for the United Federation of Planets of Humans, Andorians, Tellarites and Vulcans to begin with (an atrocious series finale shared this scene, where a beloved main character’s life was tossed away in the dumbest way possible, Trip you deserved better).

“What’s the meaning of this delay, Jon? I’ve been patient. I’ve put up with your refusal to abandon this absurd proposal even after all the revelations. I agreed to go through the whole blasted debate one more time before the Council. I’m not going to stand for anymore delaying. . .” He (Shrand) trailed off, then took a step closer, studying Archer’s face. “Jon, what is it? You look like your best friend just died.”

Bennett (2017) Patterns of Interference p. 349-350.

It is the story of discovering how one belongs within the wider scope of the universe. First by discovering who you truly are, and what intrinsically is you. It is the quirky adventures of many streams of human (and a Vulcan and Denobulan) life coming together to live and learn together. At its core is the story of Captain Jonathan Archer as he learns who he is, and how to navigate the universe, and carry on his father’s legacy who was the driving force of the warp 5 project. As is shared in many shows, and novels, belonging is not about melting into another’s way of being, but respecting who they are, and their culture is and finding the intersections of connectedness for inclusion.

Which brings us to Christopher L. Bennett’s Rise of the Federation series under the Enterprise banner. A series of novels that share how the Federation grew from infancy, to where it is at the beginning of the original series. In Patterns of Interference (2017) we have the kernels of a great Star Trek story. Continuation of the journey of core characters; some drama; some mystery; first contact; intrigue and rooting out of possible evil (don’t want to give too much of the main plot away as I encourage you to read it). But in the sub-narrative there is a story of change, and grieving.

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Porthos, boldly went where no Beagle had gone before.

In the ancient story of Tobit there is a throw away line, and the dog went with. The NX-01 embraced this, as Archer’s puppy, Porthos, the fearless space adventuring beagle and lover of cheese went with (and was part of many first contacts). Fifteen years on Porthos is closing in on 18 years old (though with tech could live longer)… he is no longer able to enjoy his cheese. He enjoys his friend Jon, at the end of the day sitting with him, as the inevitable closes in.

The sub-plot is one of those meta-narratives for our Image result for Star Trek Enterprise Commander Shrantimes. For Archer, now Admiral Archer, struggles with the time he needs to spend with his longest companion at life’s end and the demand of the “work”. Especially at this time as the Council is debating his motion around non-interference. Where Shrand comes near the end. Shrand has been Archer’s frenemy for quite a while, having met and tortured him in a Vulcan-spy-monastery; and many adventures in between. Affectionately dubbing Archer, “Pink Skin”. A tough warrior, without much compassion, but lots of passion for striking first and asking questions later. The inverse of Archer, whose space faring has made him wanting to monitor and ask questions first before acting. Foils of debate.

Yet, as the quote above notes, Shrand, notes something is off with Jon when he tries to get him to the debate Archer wanted. Yet Archer had just received the news it was time for Porthos to pass. How could he rationalize to the Council not showing up at this time? How could he rationalize as some would say the life of a dog over this important matter?

What/who is important in your life?

Archer discloses this to Shrand. His inner struggle on the unfairness not to go through despite what is happening with Porthos. Shrand’s response on p. 251:

“To hell with the Council, Jon. And to hell with me. Go. Your companion beast should not leave this world alone.”

Archer attempts to protest and Shrand brings him up short again, with Archer’s own heart.

“The fate of the worlds can wait. You have a friend who needs you.”

Image result for Captain ArcherNot hyperbole from the Andorian Admiral, though, we sometimes overemphasize the task before us when emotional time is needed. When a friend is in need. We can have a million to do’s on our list, and easily rationalize not being there. That is when the voice of our true heart needs to ring through. That which we can tend to so easily close off, unless it is from a trusted source or, in this case a surprise source.

“Just go be with Porthos.” Walking with Archer towards the exit, he spoke again, hesitantly. “I don’t suppose. . . that is, I know how hard it can be to say goodbye. If you. . . need me to come with you, lend additional support. . .”

“That. . .would be very much appreciated,” Archer said with a bittersweet smile. “Thank you– my friend.” (p.352).

It is the closing scene of the book, but the one that is the most telling. Two people who have been at odds, worked together. Done things to aid one another. Never truly realizing what they were to one another, until a situation arose that pushed them out of their usual roles. A passing of a companion, made each realize what the world would be like without Porthos, but also at some level without the other.

Being missed. The piece of belonging. The piece of authentic friendship, being there in the dark, not just the light. In the quiet, not just the action. In the tears, not just the cheers.

We can hide from many things in our lives. Create layers of dissonance through keeping ourselves busy, so we never have to look at our true selves, or feel pain. This is true. I wish I could share the full 3 page scene with you, as my wife read it she teared a little at the power but also because as she said, who knew Shrand had a heart.

That is true. Who in life is your Shrand?

How do we know who our friends are?

How do we know what we value in life?

Who/what is important in your life? Does your choice of time use reflect this?

Beyond all labels and values- –

how do you know when you belong?

In your own heart, and the heart of others.

 

 


Many have wondered why Star Trek? It has always been a meta-narrative in my life, from the original series in re-runs on CBC that allowed me to stay up late on Tuesday nights, to the animated series to all the 24th century fun. Lately on Netflix, I have been revisiting the prequel series, Enterprise, as regular readers can see. The reason it holds is the wisdom found in good stories that challenge the status quo meta-narrative, allow for conversation and contemplation, but also just for fun.

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Opening to Bennett’s (2014) Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

This brings us to the newest novel I have picked up. Christopher L. Bennett’s (2014) Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation Tower of Babel which has one of the most profound opening statements on intent, action and outcomes I have read in a while.

It speaks to the fear that stopped us from accomplishing. But fear exists in other quotes of our lives and cliches whether we realize it or not. The fear of the other, the fear that to accomplish our goals, the other must exist, there must always be an enemy. It is the metaphor of Babel on Trek, being the planet where the many once divided came together to become one. To move beyond fear, beyond hate, beyond that which separates.

The ends justify the means.

or

By any means necessary.

Beyond the assumption  that as long as the outcome is in our own good or what we perceive as warranted it does not matter how we go there. The stripping away of fear if you will. But it is not. It shows where true intent lies. Is the intent for own glory and prestige? Is the intent destructive for neighbour (community) and/or the interior castle in the long run? Essentially the how and why of what we want, matter just as much as the achievement.

It is like the myth mentioned here, the intent behind the tower was not communal health. It was about proving power over others (Read the original myth here).

As you enter into any journey, alone or communally. Ask yourself:

What is the intent?

What are the action steps?

Do they maintain the heart of the intent?

What is the primary/true outcome?

Will your tower crumble under fear? Or rise in true interdependent love?

Does it show true concern and positive intent for self, and through self, neighbour?

What is your Babel narrative?


Sub-Commander T’Pol: I have Pa’nar Syndrome. It doesn’t make a difference how I contracted it.

Captain Jonathan Archer: It makes a lot of difference. You’re not a member of this minority. He forced himself on you, you said it yourself.

Dr. Phlox: He’s right, T’Pol, you should tell them.

Sub-Commander T’Pol: He is not right. If I used that as a defense as a way to keep from being taken off Enterprise, I’d be condoning their prejudice, and in the process indicting every member of the minority. I won’t do that.

-Star Trek Enterprise episode “Stigma

Star Trek lore has always been written as part western, part space adventure, with a strong under current of prophetic social commentary. It is a dualistic story, one of an open, loving consensual open-polyamorous marriage with Phlox and one of his wives who wishes to get to know Charles Tucker better, and another that shows what happens when consent from adults is removed over time. That is addressing the imposed stigma a survivor has on their lives through the character of Sub-Commander T’Pol.

In Season 1’s episode “Fusion” the crew encountered a radicalized Vulcan faction using mind-melds to better bring their logic and emotional selves to fruition. But it was not a meld of choice, as T’Pol was attacked and melded with… the repercussions were not a quaint one-off story, but rather stayed with the character throughout the show as it became the allegory of trauma-survivor-healing for someone who has been raped. For her mind, her logic, the essence that made her Vulcan was violated. In fact, her government wanted her to come back to Vulcan for treatment because the after effects had compromised her neurology with an affliction. Imagine, shunning and hiding away the victim?

Dr. Yuris: [referring to T’Pol] The mind meld was performed against her will.

Dr. Oratt: Can you verify this?

Sub-Commander T’Pol: Why? So you can perpetuate your double standard? Condemn the infected when they meld by choice and sympathize with them when they don’t?

-Star Trek: Enterprise “Stigma”

The challenging of one’s culture’s norms is bravery. Too challenge the norm not only for those in your situation, but also because the norm itself is wrong is the height of heroism. We exist in a province where an official opposition refused to shop up to work rather than go officially on the record for their beliefs, that have allowed policies to be openly debated and discussed in regards to vaccinations being child abuse; and outing children. We have persons with disabilities living barely above poverty, unless x to the y to the z is addressed.

Yet we state we are inclusive.

We state we have progressed.

We state we are enlightened.

Captain Jonathan Archer: “You Humans are too… volatile, too irrational, too narrow-minded.” That’s what I heard for years – from every Vulcan I met. But we don’t hold a candle to you when it comes to narrow-minded. We got rid of bigotry nearly a century ago. We’re not afraid of diversity. We don’t persecute it, we embrace it. If you call yourselves enlightened, you have to accept people who are different than you are.

Star Trek: Enterprise “Enigma”

The #metoo #churchtoo #timesup #Pride #Disabilitypride #MMIW #TRC and many other movements of healing and accountability to decent humanity towards one another.

Then cue  rabid response of alt-right; Religious Right, Neo-Nazis; and Incels (and other extremist groups out to exert their power and authority over other people–and yes in religious circles this does include Quiverful and Complementarian ethos).

T’Pol was a character on a television show over a decade ago, and yes there were many characters before, but where the stand was made and the line was drawn in the sand was simple.

You cannot hide away evil. You cannot let darkness win. You cannot let a double standard exist where this behaviour is okay because of “G”. Rather, you must make a stand that says, this is wrong, call it out as such. Call out whatever innuendo or other b.s. is propping it up.

Her story rippled throughout the series.

Why?

When someone takes away your ability to feel safe within your own sacredness it is not an easy fix. The journey takes time. It involves grieving, anger, medical and psychological interventions and aides. Sometimes they work, sometimes they work only sometimes, and other times you have to find another way.

For in the after effects one needs to discover their new truth. Their new centre. It was a journey up to that moment before the abuse, before the trauma, before the harassment, before the rape…before you questioned if you could have stopped it (and what a double standard that the victim would even entertain the question)…

to the now, and the journey that will take time to the new you.

Sub-Commander T’Pol: Maybe this incident will encourage others to speak out.

Captain Jonathan Archer: Let’s hope so.

-Star Trek: Enterprise “Stigma”

Through the support of professional circles of support, eventually overgrown by new and (healthy) enduring circles of support the voice you discovered to speak the truth of what was robbed from you… will emerge to speak who:

The YOU—YOU ARE–Truly are.


Captain Jonathan Archer These people you’re fighting – what makes them heretics?

Yarrick We believe the Makers created the Chosen Realm in nine days. They believe it took ten.

Captain Jonathan Archer [scoffs]  For that you’ve been at war for over a century?

 -(Star Trek Enterprise “Broken Realm” Episode, 2004)

It is funny, not ha ha, but sad irony that the Christianities have spent so many centuries rooting out heretics and executing them. I state this from the obvious, even with what was kept in “canon” is the story of a movement that included many who did not belong, and had different views expressed within (tax collectors; cortezans; labourers; zealots; persons with disabilities; Samaritans—in the ancient world quite a motley crew). The crew brought their own understanding, language and beliefs into the movement of transfigurement.

Even that moment had Jesus inner circle upon seeing Moses and Elijah respond with making shrines, not seeing what should have been seen in the moment. Falling back upon the familiar. From Jesus’ execution, to the grand nu-uh to the Imperial-religious powers, to the breathe that shattered false barriers to bring belonging…a new wave had begun. One that for its first almost 300 years was quite diverse in understandings, in what was brought into, and in standing its ground when religious authorities made the call to cast them out of the Synagogues. That is when two monotheist religions stared at each other, and one was told to conform to what was “traditionally acceptable” and what was not. How did the early adopters respond? Some thought of giving in, but truly they realized what was at stake, the ability to grow, change and adapt to what they experienced.

Thomas Cranmer almost 1200 years after Constantine brought the same idea forward during the Reformation, and the creation of the Book of Common Prayer. It was the Reformation that brought the stories of God and her people to the language of the people, but also brought creation where both the cleric and people’s words of worship could now be known by all. His intent was not for a static unmoving, unchanging liturgy (Latin for work of the people) but a dynamic creation that would shift and change with the communities and people, and how they came to understand the Holy Mystery that had created. The teachings of Brother Jesus, and the cosmic love that bound it all together.

Now some may say this sounds highly Catholic or Anglican. Yet, I challenge you, does your spiritual gathering have a rhythm for prayer or service? That is a liturgy. Plain and simple. From the Reformation until the early 21st century struggles around this happened through many movements, as the traditionalist/fundamentalist wanted to keep it static because of tradition and that God did not change; while the progressive/fundamentalist (a fundamentalist can understand things both ways depending where they place the emphasis) pushed boundaries, let movement in, different music, open up of prayers, social movements, challenging powers and principalities, and language- how beautiful and transformative was the language changes as structures were broken down and we began to understand what our genesis was from.

It was a reminder of the Indigenous groups under the Roman Empire that had converted either by force, or shrewdness (the Norse Chieftains understanding the control that could be given to them under monotheism) …also a reconciliation work for the damage done of further exploration and passive/active genocides.

What also was celebrated was a full encompassing of the stories of God. Understanding the Gospels were not only the four in the canonical bible, but were more, and each person was crafting their own through the life lived out of their beliefs. Also, though a deeper understanding of the words used for understanding the Holy Mystery. Yes, Trinitarian language (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) existed within the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testaments, but it was a belief structure pulled from an allusion to this plausibility. What also existed within the texts was poetic, metaphorical, anthropological, historical, animist, psychological, sociological and many other forms of understanding the Holy.

Language was changing. Liturgies were experimenting. There was a revival happening.

The powers to be were not happy and attempted to clamp down. Sadly, some took the “threats” seriously, and like those in the Christian Testament stories when challenged folded under the pressure. Some took their lumps and spun out continuing growth, and some continue to exist under the guise of language and linguistic gymnastics.

Yet here we are celebrating a Sunday. A liturgical moment. Created by the people, as part of the work of the people. Part of community building. For some, it holds significance, for others being there and saying the words is a hypocrisy. Yet both claim the spirituality of Brother Jesus, and live a life for the better out of their heart held beliefs. The challenge before us is one of true authenticity. Moving beyond the entrapment of language as the beating stick, or as the opening quote reminds us—how much blood has been shed over 9 or 10 days?

In the Christianities how much blood has been shed over who holds the power to speak the right words/proof texts of the Creator?

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

-Matthew 25:31-40 (English Standard Bible)

When actions transcend words, and are what shapes our lives, then what does the Liturgy become? Does 9 or 10 matter? Or the words used to express our relationships of love with Creator, teacher and neighbour?

When love reigns… how are you and your community transfigured?