Category Archives: Light

Wonder?

As posted in the Vancouver Courier and Victoria Times Colonist…Wonder Woman

My partner and I went to Wonder Woman last night, expecting a reinstitution of Super Hero resolution of human trials and tribulations, (we were not disappointed), in the feminine aspect, we were pleasantly surprised to see the movie lift up the reality of the human condition. Humans are good and evil. The same humans. All at once. Oh, and even heroes are on a journey of understanding.

As the movie asserted, humans can be self-sacrificing, empathetic, caring and filled with passionate, protective love. Yes, we can. Humans can also (as the movie more than verified) be callous, harmful, indescribably terrible and completely absorbed in self. Yes, we can. Humans, each of us, contain seeds of both wonder and destruction. Yes, we do.

In the beginning the movie operates out of the premise that incredible evil can be destroyed if one can aim at the heart of those in charge. I have no problem relating to that. I operated out of a similar premise for much of my life. By the end of the movie another understanding begins to take shape.

All popular entertainments, from the Greek mythology of Homer’s ‘The Illiad and the Odyssey to Shakespeare’s tragedies and Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, or the modern day equivalents, such as  Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are mirrors of our culture. They can also be helpfully informative. The god figures in our entertainments, whether humans in leadership with absolute authority, or gods rising out of mythology, are either flawed, or incapable of supremacy over evil, or both. The main characters, usually, transform from helpless plot devices, to helpful plot shapers.

In the end, they tell us, it is not our leaders or our super human heroes that will destroy us or save us, it is us. Although perhaps that’s truer in the DC Universe than in Marvel. Each of us is on an epic journey, but none of us will be the source of new life unless we are willing to undertake a personal journey of our own. To change what we can change we must begin with ourselves.

For me, that is the essential message of Jesus of Nazareth. The One who calls us into grace-filled being because we are meant to be, because we can, and because all of Creation needs us to be. Now is the time to set aside the weapons of war (metaphoric and literal) and to begin the difficult work of listening ourselves and our relations into an era of blessing and love.

Christianity offers many tools and opportunities for each of us to think, act, do, and become people resurrected in the call to love. So do other faiths. Most faiths have wrinkles, hard parts to get over in doctrine, rite, ritual or holy books. Wrinkles that insist we reflect deeply on how a particular step adds to our ability to respond to the world in love, and to assist the world in creating right relationship. Faith traditions and practices can help us overcome our tendencies to forget about the whole thing, living lives oblivious to our greatest potential while dealing out local and global harm in intentional or thoughtless ways.

In the movie, Wonder Woman undergoes a journey of personal transformation and reintegration of faith and belief in life. It was over two hours and still, much of the work she did on herself must have been left on the cutting room floor. But there is enough there for each of us to catch a glimpse of ourselves, to know we too are on a journey from oblivious support of might to engaged awareness of right relationship. What we do with it is, of course, up to each of us. We can journey into the night, looking for a Super Hero to save us, or into some kind of spiritual practice that brings out a practical, communal application that will re-shape us.

We can be one, or find our way into One. Blessings on your journey, may you find light.

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On My Life, My Unions, My Understanding of Socialist Engagement, and Ministry

A friend in ministry had some thoughts about the current provincial election in BC. So did I. We were sharing them on social media, until my need to be expansive overtook me. So I’ve posted here. For anyone to look at, if they choose.

Hello my friend,

I hope this is useful for you. It has been for me. My ‘editor’ (Laurel) shares my context, and I have little idea of yours (other than that which we share) and, therefore, have no idea if this will translate, or be of service. It’s too long, I know, and I could edit for publication, or sermonizing, but I am trying to communicate something of my understanding, rather than writing to convince or intrigue, and I have a sermon to write too, so I’m leaving it as it is.  A ramble through my life, Canadian political and labour history (as I have experienced it), and some thoughts about where this goes as it informs my ministry. Thank you for instigating.

My life:

I come from a long line of working people, farmers, coal miners, labourers, skilled trades, the odd engineer and teacher and not a few activists. My folk were part of the army of settlers who came here for the land and were part of the army of soldiers who fought and died for empire and against fascism. My ancestors gave their lives in combat for ideals, and in deep dark holes in the ground, mucking coal and other valuables for the folk that our country gave right of ownership to.

I grew up in industry towns, (Kitimat and Flin Flon), and was steeped in the lore of Company versus Union at our dinner table. My dad (a staunch union member and organizer) would talk about Cadomin and the Coal Branch in Alberta, the company towns where his father and his mother’s family earned a living. His dad was a Legion manager, who was gassed at Vimy, and didn’t really have the lungs for other work. I’m told he could sing “Old Rugged Cross” and play a mean Nova Scotia fiddle. Dad’s mom’s dad and her brothers worked underground in places where you can still see the monuments to men killed when methane blew the bottom out of the mine. Those monuments are everywhere, if you have time to look. They’re still making them, less frequent here than in other countries, but you don’t have to go to Central America and Gold Corp to learn about the willingness of mine operators to risk and sometimes sacrifice life for profit. You can find it here too. And not just at Mount Polley. Continue reading On My Life, My Unions, My Understanding of Socialist Engagement, and Ministry

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Observing Walrus Spiritual Speaking

Walrus Talks on Spirituality

(see them for yourself on or before April 15 at http://ucobserver.org/walrustalks)

What did I think?

Initially I had to get over my pique at the Observer partnering with the Walrus. I’ve had issues with the Walrus taking Enbridge money (constant stream of full page ads telling us how committed they are to the environment while doing all they can to convince small communities that big money and fossil fuel transport needs trump traditional values and concern for the environment). For me it would be like the church accepting funds from the armaments or tobacco or pornography industries because there is no relationship between, as the Walrus puts it, editorial and advertising…as if. Anyway, once past that, what did I think? Continue reading Observing Walrus Spiritual Speaking

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From Blindness to Sight

Shalombartimaeus

I sign my letters “Shalom”

Peace, and more than peace. A state and place and time of being. Utopia designed by creation in the light and call of love.

Writing shortly after the birth of a renewed urging of the love that resides in all things another man calling attendance on love, one Paul, formerly of Tarsus, now of Jesus, opened his letters with “The Peace of Christ”.

A radical opening in a time when the peace of Rome wreaked itself upon the people of Europe, Turkey and Northern Africa by means of armed might and crude repression. Continue reading From Blindness to Sight

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Times Colonist Column

Hello folks, I’ve been blogging as President of BC Conference of late, haven’t spent enough time here, I’m afraid. Please follow this link to the Times Colonist On Line, I’ve a few thoughts there about women of faith and how some walk with them, while others use them for their own ends….http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/blogs/spiritually-speaking-1.61091/with-love-comes-dialogue-and-understanding-1.2088435

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Fire’s Burning

Fire’s Burningkootenay lake fire

Draw nearer.

The words of the old campfire song take me back to Camp Koolaree, where I first learned them around a fire, singing with the 7 and 8 year old campers I’d come to be chaplain with, during their three nights and four days at camp.

This year, returning to the week of teen coed camp in early July, they took on a special meaning, as the mountain top above Duhamel and Six Mile sent out clouds of smoke and flame. At night, the trees candled and flared, highlighted against the sky across the lake from the camp, I looked at our cabins filled with young, bright, joyful souls, and wondered about the ironic value system we have unleashed upon them. Continue reading Fire’s Burning

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