Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’

It is something I have pondered throughout my journey. Those younger, the next and now leaders. What are we constantly teaching them? Do we teach them their inherent worth? This is more than simply words spouted towards them, it is the actions of those around us, and what the see. It is not simply do as I say, rather it is they will do as we do. So how do we act? What is the current meta narrative of our world?

In Calgary, AB 2019 a Nine-year old girl was bullied so badly in her Calgary Board of Education public school she took her own life. 2-0-1-9. The Board’s response, we investigated, nothing to see here. Bullocks. Multiple stories that may not have ended with a taken child’s life, but of the board, principals and teachers turning a blind eye. Nothing to see, don’t rock the boat. It is the anti-thesis of the WE Day movement, World Youth Day and Challenge Days. We LET BULLIES WIN!! And when it is called out, our “managers” (we have a leadership/statesperson deficit) do everything to deflect, and cover up.

But why do our children act this way?

This is a time to quote former Premier Jim Prentice:

“Albertans (and all world citizens-my add) need to take a hard look in the mirror.”

Why? We have created a world where anger and hate (white supremacist, Alt-Right, Fascists, Extremists of all stripes) are courted by political parties to gain and hold power. When in the world of social media you are censored for hate speech, it is an infringement on your rights of freedom of speech. Nope, sorry. Non-starter. Hate is hate. I don’t care if the bully has cloaked it in Conservative or Liberal rhetoric, in Sikh, Islam and Christian Theology, it is hate. It needs to be called out and shut down.

In 2019 Alberta on April 16, 2019 we showed our children bullies win. That the ends justify the means. No, this isn’t just heaping on the investigation of voter fraud (Both ongoing with Elections Alberta and the RCMP) with the UCP (United Conservative Party). The proven times of stolen/vandalized signs, the bullying of local citizens at candidate debates, and the attack/smear ads. It is also pointing out that the Government seeking re-election of the New Democratic Party which should have been campaigning on their record and their ideas, launched pre-writ drop on the low road with their own attack ads (yes it was using candidates’ own words and actions, but still negative); on the attack of Jason Kenney, which was a whistle to their own base as those that had issue with these character items of Kenney had already decided not to support him and the UCP based on that.

Both our Governing Party and the Loyal Opposition went low. The conglomerated media and social media allowed and cheered it on. Within the world of algorithms it is infinitely easy to never have to look critically at your own or another’s point of view for your feeds will only ever bring you what you believe. When the other parties attempted to raise policies of vision, and debate they were shut out and belittled (much like the other two were doing with one another). Parties like the Greens, Alberta Liberals and Alberta Party that should have elected MLA’s– the fear and anger machine of entrenched ideology within this historic voter turnout (64% officially, highest turnout since 1982) delivered us the anger machine Legislature.

That is two parties, their roles reversed. Is this peace, order and good governance as our Constitution Act, 1982 promises? Or is it a province within the stages of grieving trapped in the denial and anger phases unwilling to let go of what was, and discover what is to come and live into it, support one another in rebuilding and renewing. A statesperson or leader with a vision would cast it– unfortunately we got angry yelling middle managers quibbling over a budget line and seeing citizens only as a number, not as the person before them. Two parties, unwilling to admit that a province needs to heal, instead they stoke the anger and denial to hold to or win power. They become the bully.

Our children see that bullies win. Those that don’t lose.

It is exacerbated more in the USA under President Trump, and yes I have been around the USA a bit and have seen the divided community. It is one of the things that I am intrigued by Marianne Williamson running for President. Anyone can win in 2020, but someone entering the race to change the tone of discourse is always a good thing. I did pick up her book from our local library, Politics of Love (2019) and once read will post a reflection.

But back to Canada… we also show that there is no need to respect one another, we can belittle. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada, has shown this in Parliament’s Question Period recently where they refuse to refer to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as Prime Minister, instead it is Liberal Party Leader. Sorry gents and ladies, whether you like the outcome of 2015 or not, he is the office holder and as such deserves respect for that. If anyone had done this to PM Harper when he was in Question Period the media would be all over it. Instead the base swells with pride and cheers, wears shirts and waves signs calling for our Prime Minister to be hung for treason (which shows an understanding of Canadian Law at least, for treason and cattle rustling are the only two offences that can still carry the death penalty). But hyperbolic anger theatre is the norm. Denigrating the other from personhood to hated. To a guillotine being brought to an anti-populist Premier Ford rally in Ontario.

If this is free speech, I am glad in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Canada has Freedom of Expression, and it is time the RCMP and local police started enforcing that differential. It is all used to create this atmosphere that you vote against something, not for something. You choose lesser evils, and if you refuse the dichotomous narrative then you are an “idiot”, and will not be able to stop the other.

Any wonder why voter turn outs are so low? Yes, 64% though historic is bloody low. Any wonder why we have an increase in bullying?

Extremism exists across spectrum and theologies. It is disgusting, and needs to be called out. Not covered up, not excused, or at worse accepted. It needs to be called out, and exorcised like a demon in the Exorcist movie-pea soup and all.

But we have glimmers of hope. Thankfully. In a recent Abascus poll on the up coming Federal election, 4000 Canadians were interviewed. Yes, I realize I dislike polls and 4000 is a small sample size, but hey you work with what you got for hope. Of those questioned 40% were in support of the fifth place party in our House of Commons, the Green Party of Canada. Why is this a sign of Hope? It shows that people are thinking beyond the usual dichotomy in the Canadian mind for Federal governance of Liberal-Conservative. It also shows that the usual protest vote of Bloc Quebecois, or conscience vote of New Democrat is not resonating. Could the old parties be being rejected? Could new ones get a kick of the tires and a spin for 4 years in October? Only if conviction is held to vote for what one believes in, not out of fear against stopping something. Nothing has ever been stopped or ended by undermining or selling out one’s own inherent values.

On this too, I have to touch on the Prince Edward Island provincial election. True the projected Green government did not happen. But let’s look at it. In the waning days of the election sadly, a candidate for the Greens and their son lost their lives in a canoeing accident. All the parties ceased campaigning for the remainder of the election. Class. Hope.

On election night, all the leaders were together from what I could see from the media feeds, and hugged after the results (yes older men). It is a minority government, with the Progressive Conservative Party being the government, but the Greens are the official opposition. Hope. Something has changed. Also the PC government not joining the anger train of the mainland populist movements speaking of listening to citizens. Hope.

Listening. Hearing. Acting on behalf of another.

Things that breed hope.

Seeing others, as neighbour, as a person.

And then reflecting, even in opposition life, what matters most in the discourse? What is the ends that is truly supposed to be and do the ends really justify any means possible?

The now and future leaders learn behaviours by how their adults (parents, extended family, neighbours, elders) behave, not by what we say.

What do your actions teach?

Are you creating ripples of hate or HOPE?

New King James Version:

Genesis 18          Genesis 19

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the ancient legends of Genesis has been one of the texts of hate and destruction for too long. It is used in the us/them dichotomy of hate spun on one extreme against homosexuality. On the other extreme it is reduced to an argument about hospitality.

The point of this ancient story has been missed. In the modern times of Truth & Reconciliation; #MEtoo, #Timesup, #Riseup, #Resistance, and the knowledge of inter-generational trauma it astounds that the resonance is not noted.

Before I share my thoughts, enter into the text freshly as a hearer. Inwardly set aside what you have learned before.  Get comfortable, breath in deeply, enter your contemplative breath cycle:

  • Upon the first hearing focus on this question: What emotions come through? Let you rest with those emotions.
  • Upon the second hearing focus on this question: What memories come through? Stay with the one that is the most vibrant.
  • Upon the third and last hearing, focus on this question: What is the soul learning that you have discovered?

Now here is what I have heard when contemplating this ancient story.

It opens with Abraham bartering with God (Genesis 18:16-33) to spare these cities. He focuses on the many holy, and some say in the “God in the sky/Zeus in the throne” imagery of YHWH that Abraham did not need to barter but just appeal to God’s divine essence to spare his creation. I challenge that, it is the Holy Mystery moving and challenging Abraham’s conscience that change needs to happen for the destructive actions unchecked. The abuse of power seen through many means of molestation, rape and other forms of violence. The living out of Us seen as full people over those people seen as property to do with as we please (anything resonating yet with current life?).

The Holy Mystery was attempting to see if Abraham could comprehend reform, Abraham was wrestling with the concept of “whistle blower” the ones brave enough to stand up against the wall of destruction, devaluation of life. But were any to be found?

Then becomes the destructive visitation, as Messengers (Angels) visit and a rape gang descends upon Lot’s house (Genesis 19:1-11) demanding that the visitors be turned over to them. Rape was used as a right of passage in many armies for fellow soldiers, but is was also used to show superiority of one’s self and deity over an invader. Forced sodomization/forced sexual intercourse not wanted, against one’s created nature (wherever they fall on the spectrum, if it is not consensual, it is not within one’s nature). This is what the mob delivered to Lot’s house that night, NOT rampant homosexuality as some would claim; but power abuse and rape anger.

Lot defends the visitor’s but then shows the anti-Holy Mystery vein of creation at this point where he offers up his daughters. For even he sees them as nothing more than vessels with no consent in them. Lot’s own depravity is revealed. Some would defend this saying he was showing hospitality to the visitors by defending them. That the sin here is in-hospitality.

Nope. It is against Day 6. The Holy Mystery breathed into both male and female creating them both. Equal partners, in Genesis 3 blessed and sent out into the world in the throes of adolescent discovery to care for it and one another. On the doorstep, Lot is showing this is not the case, his defense is destructive actions of his daughters.

This is what the messengers saw and heard. Why then was Lot’s family spared destruction? For the story resonates more truths to be seen.

Genesis 19:12-29 is when destruction rains down, and Lot’s family flees, warned not to look back for the destruction will consume. Think of someone in trauma recovery and the cycle it creates the impetus of one little blink of the past drawing them into a flashback that freezes one, almost like a pillar of salt (Lot’s wife, 19:26). A traumatized victim of society, unable to move forward because the healing path was not laid out, they saw no different way or way out. Well, there is a way, ending the pain once and for all…. The story of Lot’s wife, is the story of an abuse survivor who can only imagine the pain ending with their life and so for all eternity the story was laid out for us.

Hiding in a cave the cover up continues. Are you beginning to see the futility of Abraham bartering with the Holy Mystery within? Locked into the trauma-abuse-other paradigm was this ancient world that he could not see that sometimes an institution needed to be burned down. Sadly, these stories do have quite a bit of blood letting when it comes to purifying, but one does know when culture shifts there is old ways and old powers that are shunted out to allow for the growth. Or as Brother Jesus talked about pruning the vine.

Yet the patriarchal control system was not done. To continue to hide the meaning of this ancient story those who are without voice, standing or power in their own world are now presented as the perpetrators of violence and gang rape. The discrediting of the victim is not a new tool. For the story in 19:30-38 presents Lot’s daughters fearful of not fulfilling their trained duty as property of producing children scheming to get their father drunk and have children with him.

Yet I challenge this reading. Think of how many times the rapist will say, I was drunk or they seduced me. I believe and hear this as a generational abuse story, where Lot abused his daughters. How do I stand on this reading? For the children that came from the rape were those that would need to be cleansed from the Promised Land for the fresh start promised the Children of Israel after the Exodus. Even in the story, clues were laid that the presentation was skewed to a Patriarchal power-abuse structure, and if read literally will still produce that. We have seen that pain as it has been used as a text of hate for our LGBTTQ2+ family members, or reduced so simply to a hospitality question it makes the Holy Mystery look like a blood lust monster (which then can be used to fulfill the call for the blood of his child to make things right later).

Yet, I stand here to point to another understanding. An ancient text that spoke out about abuse of all kinds, the trauma caused, the inter-generational trauma continuing beyond, victim grooming, and the dangers of the us-them dichotomy. The story that shows turning the ship around is not always possible, sometimes the ship needs to be scuttled and something new built.

As you are in your country, city, community, church or organization when there is darkness—will you be the light that burns it away? Or the bushel that snuffs out the light?