Posts Tagged ‘Third Order’


Yes, October 4…better known for blessings of the animals for the poverello, the mendicant (both slurs against him and his brothers and sisters)…Francis. For me, it is the day 6 years ago that I laid my Mum to rest in the hardest Funeral Liturgy I ever crafted and presided over, yet back to Francis and how this all fits together. He of the open Image result for feast day of st. francis of assisihand, the one that knew all things flowed from God, and we were but stewards until someone more in need came along to be helped. It was about community, love, and the Gospel Life of Jesus. His orders- Friars, Sisters, and Lay, shook his world of the 1200’s. The Pope confirmed him as leader of a monastic order, more due to a bit of fear of the poor who had embraced his way. His spiritual discipleship, was about living teachings, not just accumulating knowledge. That is, once the lesson is learned in such a way that you are living it, then you move onto the next one.

Francis, was the teachings I stumbled across working at SmithBooks in Sunridge Mall shortly after coming back to the church, when my minister and others couldn’t give much formal guidance on the the prayer and spiritual formation through John Michael Talbot’s book, The Lessons of St. Francis. I would take on more formal formation with the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans for exploration and beginning my postulancy, and then transferring to the Anglican Third Order, Society of St. Francis for completing my postulancy, and almost completing my novitiate.

I say almost, as, there was a hiccup. Yet it was a hiccup of love. Before my life vows, this n/TSSF, had a Nan that needed weekly or more contact as there was worries that she may be getting dementia. Without a thought, I left the Anglican Communion, and re-joined my Nan’s church, to be with her more. The down side was I did not complete my vows, the upside is that my Nan and my family, had blessings of many adventures together weekly, until she went to the Grand Tea Party with Jesus.

Why does this come up now one is asking?  I have been reflective on this journey of mine, and exploring what needs to be completed, or finally released. See, monasticism is something I have always embraced. The simplicity of life, daily spiritual practices and Holy Reading. It is a good life. It is why I hold that Lay/Third/Secular orders took off. A grouping of folks growing, learning and discovering together. In some ways in the church a less rigorous form may be small groups. But with the Orders, there is vows to live out and spiritual direction.

Now there is the old orders in Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Anglican Churches; there is ecumenical orders and now, Neo-Monasticism. What I have always enjoyed about the orders though is there simplicity. Some, take on too much, dictating attire or robes (habits), and heft fees to be a part of. Others it is a simple pin or style of cross for Image result for feast day of st. francis of assisiit is your life that should speak more than finding a clothing way to stand out. Some will stipulate that members should strive to be employed in the non-profit or NGO sector, which I never fully grasped for is this type of life not an active wisdom we need in the public and private sectors as well? Simplicity does not mean not using your gifts to the most.

We live in a time where the entire of human knowledge (if the algorithms will be open) is available to you on a phone, yet we also live in one of the most isolated times of human history I would challenge. This is the blessing an order may add to your life or not (there are also Non-Christian orders as well one can join and explore). For me, the time has come to formalize this structure in my journey once more, and I am prayerfully exploring where to associate.

Where do you find community that feeds you?

How do you live wisdom?


Did you know in Franciscanism there is no historic Reformation?

Just a community constantly called to invention, reformation, restoration and reconciliation.

spong3I am monastically formed. I have done my Curseillo. The wife and I were blessed to be apart of a formation/discernment process for Companions in Mission with the FCJ Sisters that renewed a call to expansive-cosmic Christianity. I would also work alongside the formation materials of the Order of St. Luke the Physician in healing ministries. I continued to learn from the ancient writers, and their orders ala Ignatius of Loyola.

Before that though, I was and still hold to Franciscan formation. It began with a book, John Michael Talbot’s The Lessons of St. Francis when I was trying to understand Christian prayer in 1998-1999 upon returning to church.

From there the journey opened a world of formation and community. For my writing opened the ability to write for and be an editor on an international journal; write for another national religious publication, be a writer/editor for a local publication and locally aided in provided great spiritual formation for youth who had never even heard of Christianity, and created a dialogue within the political realm federally of our nation when I ran. It saw me go through and be mentored by members of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans; Third Order, Society of St. Francis; and as both the OEF and TSSF had no Calgary chapter, but community of Franciscans transcended denominationalism, I could fellowship, journey and learn with the Roman Catholic Order of Secular Franciscans. All these orders were what is dubbed, Third, or as Francis told his fellow Friar when the brother received the call of love…go forth, marry and carry on living the life, for without new families and communities growing the work of the other orders dies away (just ask the Shakers).

It was a formation that some would understand as putting works above faith, yet that is wrong. It is a formation that shows faith and works as so woven together it would be like pulling apart your own DNA strands.

Preach the Gospel everywhere you go, if you must use words.

-St. Francis of Assisi

spong5spong4

The most important part of the formation the drive for mystic wisdom. Understanding it is easy to accumulate knowledge (anyone who has a smart phone knows knowledge is at our fingertips). Within Franciscan teaching it is the application that matters. I am a student of life, psychology, sociology, anthropology, culture, religion, spirituality, politics, history, story—the list can go on. Learning is the first step, but it is not moving from the learning until it is so applied it becomes second nature. Francis discipled his followers not to move onto the next teaching of Jesus until they were living the first one this way. The underpinning to be learned was the Great Commandments for out of that flows everything.

The question asked by the lawyer of Jesus in the market after Jesus shared the Great Commandments, the commandments that had me decide to go back to church when I read them in a broken and discarded Gideon’s New Testament in the bottom of my closet…the question that led to another shaking of the institutional foundations:

Who is my Neighbour?

spongUpcoming: Watch for my review on John Shelby Spong’s last call to reformation Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith today (2018) as he enters retirement following a stroke, here he stands once more.

 


Ty Ragan

http://www.tssf.org/2006FTSummer.pdf p.1-3

My personal rule talks of my being a voice for the

 

voiceless. It is a simple line to attempt to describe a

 

life long call God has placed on my heart throughout

 

my journeys: from a high school student standing

 

up against hatred in my community, to a writer who

 

battled governments to protect the arts, to a simple

 

letter writer for Amnesty International to a street pastor

 

petitioning the provincial government of Alberta not to

 

close a desperately needed homeless shelter that was

 

seeing God’s miracles pour out.

 

It was these actions that led to this line being written in

 

my rule, and to my becoming more active within my

 

country of birth, speaking out to protect the social programs

 

church leaders helped to build (social services,

 

disability, public health care). It culminated on January

 

23, 2006 when Canada held a Federal Election, after

 

eight weeks of an offi cial campaign that I participated

 

in as a candidate.

 

My nomination was secured with Canada’s New

 

Democratic Party on May 5, 2005, and my campaign

 

began minutes after. Some would ask:

 

why would I take this step as a youth

 

pastor, and a member of the Third Order,

 

Society of St. Francis? There were

 

other ways. For me it was a unique

 

way to reach out to the community I

 

live in and get down past the surface

 

issues to raise awareness across a city

 

about the amazing agencies, organizations

 

and people that are trying to stop

 

the bleeding of the pain of poverty and

 

devastation we are wreaking on our

 

environment.

 

As a candidate door knocking I found

 

that what was needed was a listening

 

ear, and someone willing to help direct

people to the parts of government they could talk to, in

some cases someone to act as advocate to those government

or non-profi t agencies on behalf of the person.

The most shocking thing that I found after listening

to individuals that said “having a strong faith would

hamper you in public life” is how many people were

comforted when I said I would pray for them. After

speaking those words as well, many people asked for

me to simply pray with them there on their doorstep,

or after a debate, or at a bus stop.

Campaigning for a political party is hard for someone

with strong beliefs and principles because it is not simply

yourself being put forward, you have to support a

platform. I look at the core values of the institution and

decide if they fi t within the context of my rule of ministry.

I have found, at least in the Canadian Parliamentary

system, that specifi c policy points become harder

to impose even if your party achieves power because

you are always succeeding a previous government, and

there are always economic limitations. I found it easier

to be able to step away from the platform and open up

a dialogue with the people of my community; I took a

pastoral outlook and realized winning was irrelevant.

This unique calling for this season (eight months) had

given me the opportunity to reach out to those that

were hurting and in pain, those that may never darken

the doorways of a church or know where to go for help.

There was also the winter election conundrum, because

traditionally during an election the candidate do

massive fundraising for their campaign to be able to

purchase signs (which are once used and then disposed

of to landfi lls never to decompose) and brochures, and

go around in thousand dollar suits making promises

they cannot keep.

My message was simple: I will listen and try to make

things better, for I have hope that a better world is possible

for us all. My attire was simpler—blue jeans and

a hoody, as a youth pastor, not a politician. I did not

feel comfortable in the trappings of the offi ce. Finally

when it came to fundraising I looked out at the hurting

and those in need, saw and toured many organizations

that helped children with developmental disabilities,

abused seniors, and the homeless, and I knew I could

not ask for

money for

a campaign.

Rather I

took the

initiative

of disseminating

the

information

for

people to

direct the

donations

they would

have sent

to me

to these

amazing

non-profi ts

homosexuthat

were producing miracles for God’s children.

When it was all over, and the votes were tallied I was

third of fi ve on the ballot and just felt a peace. Why

you ask? Some would say I failed my calling by losing.

I felt a peace because I was proud of the hard work of

my volunteers. I was amazed at how even with donor

burnout we managed to get agencies monies they

otherwise would not have received this season and

that I had always spoken from my heart and held to

my beliefs. The best and most humbling part was the

Wednesday night after election day being able to face

the youth I minister to and let them know that when

I say one person called by God can make a positive

impact no matter where they are called, it is true


By Tyler Ragan

My personal rule talks of me

being a voice for the voiceless. It

is a simple line to attempt to

describe a life long call God has

placed on my heart throughout

my journeys.

I’ve been a high school student

standing up against hatred in my

community. I’ve lobbied governments

to protect the arts. I’ve

written letters for Amnesty International.

And as a street pastor, I

petitioned the provincial government

of Alberta not to close a

desperately needed homeless

shelter that was seeing God’s miracles

pour out.

It was these actions that led to

this line being written in my rule.

I have been speaking out to

protect the social programs

church leaders helped to build

(social services, disability, public

health care).

It culminated on January 23,

2006 when Canada held a federal

election, and I participated as

a candidate for the New Democratic

Party in Calgary Northeast.

I was nominated May 5, last

year and my campaign began

minutes after. Some might wonder

why I take this step as a youth

pastor, and a member of the

Third Order, Society of St.

Francis.

For me it was a unique way to

reach out to the community I live

in and get down past the surface

issues and to raise awareness

across a city about the agencies,

organizations and people that are

trying to stop the bleeding and

pain of poverty and devastation

we are wreaking on our environment.

As a candidate, I found while

door knocking what was needed

was a listening ear, and someone

willing to help direct people to

the parts of government they

could talk to. In some cases, an

advocate was needed to government

or non-profit agencies.

The most shocking thing is

that while conventional wisdom

says having a strong faith will

hamper you in public life, many

people were comforted when I

said I would pray for them.

After speaking those words as

well, how many people asked for

me to simply pray with them

there on their doorstep, or after

a debate, or at a bus stop.

Campaigning for a political

party as one with strong beliefs

and principles is hard, because

you have to support a platform.

I found it easier to be able to

step away from the platform and

open up a dialogue with the people

of my community. I took a

pastoral outlook and realized

winning was not the important

thing. This unique eight-month

calling had given me the opportunity

to reach out to those

that were hurting and in pain,

those that may never darken the

doorways of a church or know

where to go for help.

My message was simple: I will

listen and try to make things

better, for I have hope that a

better world is possible for us all.

My attire was simpler, blue

jeans and a hoody, as a youth pastor,

not a politician; I did not feel

comfortable in the trappings of

the office.

Finally, when it came to

fundraising – I looked out at the

hurting and those in need. saw

and toured many organizations

that helped children with developmental

disabilities, abused

seniors, and the homeless – I

knew I could not ask for money

for a campaign. I took the initiative

of asking people to direct

the donations they would have

sent to my campaign to these

agencies that were producing

miracles for God’s children.

When it was all over, and the

votes were tallied, I was third of

five on the ballot and felt at

peace.

Why, you might ask? Some

would say I failed my calling by

losing.

But I was proud of the hard

work of my volunteers; I had

always spoken from my heart and

held to my beliefs. The best and

most humbling part was the

Wednesday night after Election

Day being able to face the youth

I minister to and let them know

that one person can make a

positive impact.

Why did I run? To give a voice

to the voiceless and inspire a new

generation to take up the reigns

of care for creation and community

leadership, winning or losing

was irrelevant in this special calling

from God.

Tyler Ragan is a part-time

youth pastor at

St. George’s Anglican

Church, political activist and

secular Franciscan

http://www.calgary.anglican.ca/Sower/SowerMar06.pdf (on pg.9)