2019.07Jul07

Names in the Sky

Rough Draft:

lots of repetitions and sections needing tightening, deleting, or rewording, the essence is there though.

Still looking though the woods and trees to see the light.

Our Names are Written in Heaven

Skywriting:

Jane came out to the airport as she often did to watch Matt take off for his day’s work, crop dusting. This time Matt seemed to avoid getting off the ground, working around Steve’s plane instead. Then as Steve rolled out on to the grass runway Matt came over to Jane and asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee. He then stood with her, each with a cup of coffee in hand as Steve took off and began to spell out in the sky: S … U … lots of loops and crossing back and for forth for each letter E … M … A … … R … R … As Steve began the Y … Jane turned to Matt, knocking both their cups and spilling coffee freely, and hugged him, with a loud YES, and as Steve finished the … M … and the final E with the added touch of a ?, Matt came up for air from the long kiss he had planted on Jane to see the all 18 employees of the three businesses at the airport come outside to see, first Jane and Matt, then the trailing away letters Steve had written, and then to gather around Matt and Jane clapping. As Steve landed and ran over to join the crowd Matt and Jane were still shaking the hands of the people in line, taking their congratulations and well wishes, and answering they didn’t have solid plans yet but Jane was quick to say the wedding was going to be in their church, and long before it started to snow. Matt agreed, but the honeymoon would have to wait until winter.

With one marvelous flight, after years of joy, tears, and struggles Matt and Jane each knew that this day was wondrous, a dream come true. Everything about their lives was changed that day and again as they said their vows before the altar Jane’s great grandfather had built, covered with paraments made by her great grandmother. Over the previous 4 years, since they had started dating as teenagers, their lives had changed. No longer alone, everything took on a new perspective, the perspective of love.

Through their struggles they had learned that loving each other was wondrous, but also a lot of work, took a lot of patience, required a lot of forgiveness. The coming years would test the limits of their forbearance, their commitment to love and be gracious, and their ability to empathize for each other and other people for things they did not understand.

The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela

18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela stands tall at 80 years old, the first black president of South Africa, not a Black South Africa and not a white country gripped and choked by apartheid, but a country started on the difficult journey to reconciliation. He had spent 27 years in jail, been finally set free, and reunited with his wife Winnie. Time apart and Winnie’s other love drove them to separate and then divorce. Madiba was leader of a nation while still in prison, and then he’d been a leader not elected but negotiated with, and then the elected president tasked with bringing together a country of people separated by hatred and terrible atrocities against each other.

A man filled with love of many kinds he was NOW the most lonely person on planet.

Loss of love is as devastating as love is equipping and empowering to take on all demons

Then Nelson Mandela falls in love again with, Graça Machel, the widow of Mozambican President Samora Machel. He marries her on his 80th birthday! She is a leader in her own right already at 57.

Work of Love

Love is not free: it must be worked at each and every day.

If you work at being the person who behaves ‘in love’ with your spouse, you will love your spouse, as delightfully, marvelously, as colorfully as the first day you fell in love. Not being in love with the person you are married to, or being in married to someone who is unkind, or refuses to work at love is often a living hell. Being alone, for most people, is a great challenge.

When you both work at being in love with each other, Look Out! Being in love with the person to whom you are married makes life simply awesome! The hurts roll off your back. The challenges are met as best they can be. The responsibilities are met as if they were freedoms. And the joys multiply all by themselves through the years. This is how God intended us to experience life!

Extending that love to each other, and then to all the people who your lives touch: that is what the Kingdom of God is about!

What does that mean for us?

Now that the Kingdom of God has come near, what does this mean for us?

Quote from Mother Theresa

Mother Teresa said, “Our work is constant. The problems of the poor continue, so our work continues. Yet everyone can do something beautiful for God by reaching out to the poor. I see only people filled with God’s love, wanting to do works of love. This is the future—this is God’s wish for us—to serve through love in action, and to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to act when called.” Mother Teresa, The Book of Peace: Finding the Spirit in a Busy World (London: Rider, 2002), 74.

The poor bring us past all pretensions and lay bare the necessities of life and the awesome source of life’s great goodness, Grace, Love and Hope. These are the reality of the Kingdom of God.

What does that mean for us? What are we going to do in response?

Now that the Kingdom of God has come near, what does this mean for us?

And what are we going to do in response?

The Gospel for today is clear: share the Good News, Prepare the Way

Our responses are our lives, every minute, every choice, every action or inaction. Today’s Gospel clearly turns us, as Jesus did the 70, to go out into all of creation, to all people, to prepare the way for our Lord, healing and sharing the Good News of God’s Grace for all people.

Responses of bringing the Good News

Some will accept and grow from the nurture of God, like the nurture of a prosperous city, the city of Jerusalem.

Some will reject us and the peace and love of God that we bring. Still the message is the same: the Kingdom of God has come near!

Other lessons, what Good News will we share?:

OT: Always God is there for us:

From our other lessons we hear what Good News we have to bring.

As the people to whom Isaiah writes, as they return from Exile, we can share God’s promise of nurture, comfort, delight, and peace. We can share the comforting image of God as a Mother nursing us, carrying us, dandling us on her knees!

The Jerusalem of the/to day

Isaiah writes to people who had lost the Jerusalem they had known. They have returned, but what they find is not the Jerusalem they knew. It is gone. They mourn it’s loss. What they find is not yet the New Jerusalem that God promises them; it is still to come, a promise of God for the end of time.

Result for us:

Yet even in the Jerusalem of the present, and for us we may say, even in the the city, country, or Land we live in now: Here and now God will make prosperity flow like a river, full and flooding it’s banks distributing silt and soil for all in it’s vicinity.

Our hearts can rejoice. Our bodies shall flourish.

God there for ALL of us, as the past is gone, the promise of tomorrow not yet

How do we respond to God’s gifts now and the promises for the future? We rejoice, even as we mourn the loss of the old Jerusalem, the way it was in the past. Even as we mourn that our churches are not like they were in the past, brimming Sunday Schoools, bustling with children, abuzz with activities for all ages, providing learning, and sometimes real Gospel and real Grace of God, and real love of God.

Even as we mourn the losses of time passing we look with hope to the new creation!

There are lots of ways to try to create false hope, a false return to the past that is gone, to deny the reality of God’s grace in the present. Sarah and Abraham repeatedly tried to force their claim on God’s promise, and what suffering has arisen from the split of the family between their son Isaac and and Abraham and Hagaar’s son, Ishmael; between Jews or Christians and Muslims.

There is little more foolish, obviously ridiculous than a 70 year old male (think Trump and others), a man of power and corruption, divorcing his wife of his youth, and claiming again and again a yet younger woman, in an effort to remain youthful. This stereotypical man vainly tries to deny his age, tries to mourn what is lost by denying it is GONE, DONE, PASSED. Instead he tries to buy, with wealth gained by corruption, an image of being younger than the actual OLD of his age.

Of course there is the woman, just as foolish who does the same. Or the woman who reaches for wealth and prestige by marrying a man old enough to be her father or grandfather. These self deceptions are equally foolish and destructive to all sorts of people.

More destructive perhaps are all the faithful but untrusting people who look to the past of the church (denying the change of culture around us away from church participation) and expend great energy trying to recapture what is lost, past, or dying; instead of working to be what God makes us able to be today.

We miss out on the opportunities to work in the real world, from the real stories of each other’s lives. Like ostriches, we bury our heads in sand, unable to see the GOODness of creation. And we suffocate there, hiding from reality. God cannot nurture us there: no comforting, no nursing, no dandling on God’s knees.

In spite of us, God, through the prosperity of the City of God, the City of Peace, nurtures, comforts, and provides for us.

For us who have returned home from exile,

For us who have deserted home for better efforts elsewhere

For us who, like the older son of the prodigal father, have remained, worked diligently at home, and are envious of the returnees given free grace, we receive grace even though we have come to rely on ourselves, our works, our merits … though they may be something, they are nothing before God,

We all NEED God’s Grace.

God, through the prosperity of the City of God, the city of peace, nurtures, comforts, provides for ALL of us, just like a Mother provides for all her children.

This is love: God’s Love for us and our delight in God. Responding to God’s love we sing for joy, with praise and adoration, even as we mourn the losses of the past.

The truth of love

The truth of God’s love for us is that it is unconditional. In love with us, each of us, even you, God writes our/your name/s in heaven.

With that God fulfills our dream of all dreams and our hope of all hopes. God makes everything right for us and for God!

God claims, names, and commissions us, sends us into the plentiful harvest.

What does that mean for us? What are we going to do in response?

Confused Paul in Galatians:

In Galatians Paul, as is too often the case provides, in poor koininia Greek, confused words. He writes: bear each other’s burdens, and then all must carry their own loads. If we read carefully we can decipher that he likely meant, as we each sin, the rest of us carry that person with gentleness. Afterall we each will sin, we each will have our turn of needing to be carried by the others.

But as we work in our vocation and as we work to share the Good News with everyone we each should carry our own load, to provide necessities of life, for ourselves and for others.

God comforts, nourishes, and promises us that all will be well. But we still get to work like the dickens to make life good for ourselves and our community, and those in need.

God’s care does not supplant our own labours, but rather God enables us so that our labours can be productive.

There is joy in diligent, hard, directed, purposeful labour. A necessity of life: air, water, food, clothing, shelter, purposeful labour, and love (giving and receiving). As others bring us the Good News we should provide for them so that they can share the Good News without concern for their survival.

As we work: remember God’s promise: most important

As we work we remember God’s promise that our names are written in heaven. This promise is more important than our ability in Christ’s name to heal, to feed, to care for, to love others, to forgive, to be gentle with each other.

Like Jane reading her own name in the sky God has acted, named us, written our names in heaven!

Wondrous miracles to see in this creation. But the greatest miracle is God’s Grace which names us as God’s, claims, names, blesses, and equips us. God nourishes us, comforts us and carries us; and most of all God Loves us as we are and for who we really are!

That our names are written in heaven is not because of a fluke, not because of our work, not because of our correct faith, not because of our hanging on to or our letting go of our histories.

Our names are written in heaven simply because God wants it so, out of love for us.

Seeing the Colours set for our Names to be revealed.

Creator, Creation, Chaos, New-Creation

Transfiguration

Outline

Creator Reality creates blessed reality

Former vice-President Biden praises current Vice-President Pence as a decent guy.

Biden is reminded that Pence is the most anti-GLBTQ elected leader in the US.

So Biden walks back his praise for Pence.

Today’s Gospel reminds us of a reality we have known about since our first conscious thoughts, which we often think we have forgotten about, but which we cannot escape.

While Biden is reminded about the sin of another human, and how it has terrible consequences in our world, today’s Gospel reminds of God’s fantastic goodness and glory, which also has consequences in our daily lives. Those consequences are awe-fully frightening and wonderful. And we are sent to bring those consequences to bear on those who need them the most, the poor, the disenfranchised, the reviled and rejected, and the hungry; and most of all today the Gospel reminds us that Jesus sends us to bring the consequence of whole health to those caught by the demons of our time, not only but also people captive to even the worst mental illnesses.

The Luke account:

8 days,

Mountain,

Three speak,

God from Cloud

Healing

Followed by exorcism, or demonic healing

The natural, or willful, consequences of transfiguration are Healing, whole life healing

Consequences

      We are different

      Sinners also saints

      Assured children of God, we enter challenges differently, confidently as bring God’s blessings, even to the worse experiences, the worst human behavior.

We behave so as to bring blessings, healing, health to all whom we encounter, even the most unfigured, chaotic, chaos creating people.

The extraordinary Transfiguration

Figuration- Three are present, Jesus, Moses, Elijah

      One from the present, two from the past,

God’s will is known by two who come from being in God’s presence, God’s will is given a figure or concrete vision for disciples to see.

Disfiguration

Jesus, the one of this world, our daily reality, encountering E and M is disfigured, changed to dazzling white. Bedazzling might be the better description.

Unfiguration – Peter coming to full alertness/consciousness from dozing, tries to give meaning to what he sees, simple booths, temples, shelters, from the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles, housing of God’s presence in this world.

Peter misses, so simple it is not, and the figures with Jesus dissolve into the cloud.

Transfiguration

Jesus shines bedazzlingly so and God’s voice speaks directly, to whom this is: this is God’s son in whom God is pleased.

And the transfiguration changes all present:

They are different.

2016 Working Preacher: Cláudio Carvalhaes, Associate Profesor of Worship, Union Theological Seminary NY, NY

Consequences in mundane world

Invictus

Mandela, against abuse of white guards, of white racism in apartheid, of degradation in prison for 25 years: not revenge, not anti-apartheid;

Mutual respect, reconciliation processes

Chaos, Creation, Corruption-Chaos, Recreation as Blessed

Consequences for Jesus

Heals the boy, drives out the demons

Consequences for Peter

Still denies Jesus,

But eventually comes to be leader of the church of Jesus’ Way.

For us

We go out to encounter all we can, to bring blessing and healing and order/creation – and awareness of God,

Imagination of literature

Speaks reality, makes part of reality available to us not previously available before

Like Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Augustine, Luther, Star Wars, Star Trek, Invictus, West Wing,

we bring the gift of imagination of reality which reflects God as creator, Jesus as his son, the Holy Spirit as our guide, comforter and empowerer;

Our imaginations recognize God’s real blessings in us, in our lives, in our being,

Imagination of literature (fiction) helps us know reality

Star Wars:

force be with you: HS, dark side: evil

Like Girard

We learn to see mimetic truths

That message of Jesus was more so: no more scapegoating, sacrificing others, Only forgiveness

Mysteries of faith

We proclaim that Christ is present in the Bread and Wine, n our hearts, in our lives,

Curing illnesses

Healing People

Creating blessed life

Creating saints out of sinners who remain always sinners.

West Wing,

for example, one of the most awarded TV programs ever, presented a reality that ought to have been, a caring, vulnerable, brilliant and wise president, not without limits, so real

But really capable of leading and being the leader of the free world, addressing illnesses, and making possible the rising to succeed him, a Latino president. Not presented in any widely consumed media, the brilliant wisdom and the example of a Latino president, paved the path for the first actual non-white president to be elected: Barak Obama.

What does this mean for us?

Us sinners made Saints only by God’s grace?

Everyday God present,

Whether we feel it, know it, recognize it

We can trust it

We can dare to bring healing to most chaotic situations and people

Even love our enemies

Yet, We are not in control

Not Jedi controlling the Force

Not wizards with wands controlling the elements of magical world

Not writers of reality, like a screen writer, controlling other people

Not God, nor gods, not controllers of god’s will

We are reflectors, conduits, instruments of Christ’s light, Christ’s healing presence, the Holy Spirit’s empowering sinners to be saints.

We are not in control; we surrender control to God’s will

We are not people who impose our wills on others, or each other

We are listeners, we are earthen vessels of wisdom, a wisdom that we cannot control or fully contain, restrain, or realize.

We are beggars, waiting, praying, hoping, acting out blessings, sharing what is entrusted to us.

We are those who watch for, notice and point others to see the power of God transfiguring us, all of us,

We are transfigured to be what God intended us to be, that sin has stolen from us, bound us away from, blinded us to seeing and being,

This process is unending; we never arrive or are done.

We always learn more, anew, how God intends us to be blessings for each other, for the poor, hungry, enslaved, the ridiculed … especially our enemies.

To see the figure of God, to watch it be disfigured, and then un-figured, and then transfigured is a frightening experience,

A daily experience if we do not shut ourselves out of Gods’ creation.

And Christ comes and calls us, do not be frightened.

Instead surrender to the new creation that Christ brings, be bold, even bold enough to sin in our incomplete efforts to be blessings to others.

Here is Christ’s body. Here is Christ’s blood.

Eat and Drink, for we are the body of Christ, we bring his life force, his blood, to the world, to heal it of all its ills and ailments.

Progress ?

Progress    ?

 

What is progress?

 

I do not mean just what is the definition of progress

But what is it to actually make some progress towards what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life?

 

So the question begs first the other question: what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life, and then what can one do to move towards that goal or purpose?

 

Better stated: how does one live, so that life is good?

Or

To use Julian of Norwich’s words:

How does one live, so that

All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,

even when there is no evidence that anything is well at all?

 

There are so many considerations for all of that, which today I am not even going to try to approach yet alone address, or, maybe not.

But I saw

Progress

Right before my eyes.

 

First,

the natural progress,

comprssd over just a few days,

 

 

 

from snow free on the first,

with water free to canoe across

 

 

 

To lightly dusted

showing only on the cleared areas and pathways

 

 

 

To fully snow covered

ready for skiing

and open water waving nicely at the wind.

 

 

 

To obscured by the condensation on the window in the early hours

 

 

 

To a clear view of ice

Hanging on the reeds

 

 

 

To the ice covering the lake

The ice formed all across the rest of the lake all at once.

Two hours before this photo taken at 12:26 noon

The lake was still waving to the wind.

I thought it was hello but it was a good bye!

 

So far, besides the sudden full lake freeze

This is just the progress of a fall in Canada.

 

 

 

 

Until sunset, when the forces of expansion,

Ever present as water gives way to ice,

Break the one piece surface.

The cracks show the lake’s breaking points

In vivid tracks.

 

 

Now comes the challenge,

a bit of photography,

A bit of philosophy

A bit of Grace

And a lot of Hope:

How to capture the scene in front of me that sings so wonderfully

Across my eyes and through my fingers to my brain?

 

Because, just trying to capture that teasingly intriguing ‘S’ of a crack

The natural tendency, especially framed by the bushes on either side of

this narrow canoe landing,

oops

this ski entrance on to the lake, –

the natural tendency is to put the ‘S’ in the middle of the frame

 

And as marvelous as it was in-person here the above photo kind of dies

A quick death as the eye stops with the ‘S’ and moves no further.

 

 

So it takes some moving and trying, and seeing:

 

S Right

So the photos above and below are an effort to move the ‘S’ off the center

to invite one’s eye to dance around the photo.

 

 

 

 

S Left

Somehow they just still sit under the wonder, somehow flat.

 

 

So the idea is to look around in a different direction to see something more.

 

 

And with that effort  still missing the wonder of the view

I tried getting more,

literally more of what was in front of me:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The panorama of the whole view out the canoe, opps, ski access point.

It’s all there and still that wondrously difficult and intriguing ‘S’ falls dead compared to the reality in front of me.

 

So …

 

 

 

 

 

I tried for a little less of everything

Which becomes intriguing

with the clear focus on the near, iced shore,

a view of the ‘S’

heading off to the sunset

leaving us at the far shore

catching a ride back to the near shore,

broken by – well it’s

still not quite right with the small branch breaking in on the left,

A ‘merge’ that distracts the eye out of the essentials to the big ooppps.

 

But it is -20° C

That’s minus 20° Celsius

I’m using voice activation to start the photos,

Which does not work for panoramas

so off come the gloves to shoot.

And my bared fingers are crying SOS

(which always gives way to them splitting more painful cracks at the tips in protest, which take days to heal),

So I did not get that even normally simple merge corrected,

a small step of progress towards good,

That I normally would not pass up on.

 

 

Still the sun rises again the next morning, gorgeously red and promising …

 

Promising of more snow

Which comes in spades

Or inches

Or millimeters.

But it fills the skies after 10:00 until dark and beyond,

The land gets a new cover, perfect for skiing.

 

The furnace has developed a hole in the combustion chamber, pumping C0 into the cabin,

And I have to turn it off through the nights, and only when I can get by without it’s heat does my head clear enough to deal with all the challenges which a furnace-less camper presents.

 

I move from flowing water, even heated water,

to ‘running’ water:

I run,

to get water,

then I have running water.

 

 

 

 

Progress.

Do

You

See

What is progress?

 

The progress that is inevitable

And the progress which is the result of

the labour of hope and photography

Which catches and communicates the wonders of creation

To demonstrate

Pure

Beauty.

 

God’s beautiful world.

 

What progress have you made lately?

Not just getting through each inevitable day,

But moving each day a step sideways and deeper

Toward those things that

Are worth living

For

And

From?

 

 

Well,

Will

all be well,

Not just in words,

But in the soul of your life?

In the soul of this creation?

In the face of challenges and temptations that open the door

To evil and sin allowing them to prevail?

 

Or are you a Saint, by grace, giving witness to God’s presence everywhere, always.

 

Do you love your neighbours as your self, and your enemies,

and the LORD your God, with all your soul and your might?

 

Only by Grace,

is real progress possible.

Solipsism and Perception is Reality

Solipsism and Perception is Reality
Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders -> Chaos
OR Beauty

Solipsism is a way of defining how it is that reality can be known, and it limits that knowing to only the individual.
Everything else is at most something that the individual mind makes up or knows.
So interesting
So interestingly subjectively hopeless.

Defined per Wikipedia solipsism is “is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.”

I am not patience enough to list the foolhardy problems that arise from such a position. There is a mound of evidence to contraindicate taking such a position, if one thinks or feels at all. But then this idea is to deny all that one thinks exists or feels outside of one’s own mind.

Nonetheless this manner of approaching the world is very alive and active as is reflected in many people’s behaviour.

Take the two truck crews that showed up for a weekend of drinking hard ice tea, a fire and lots of smoking. One truck had a camper in the bed, the other brought in … well what passes for firewood if one thinks the world does not exist outside of one’s own mind:
This is after a few snowfalls covered the worst of it and the cans and garbage were already cleaned up.
Any intelligent being will recognize that these pallets are a number of pieces of wood (which burns) assembled using many nails (which do not burn, adaaah.)
And that partially burned pallet sits on the ashes of at least one and likely a number of other pallets.
No effort was made to clean up the nails after the fire went out …
Or the cigarette butts, packages, broken cigarettes, all the aluminum hard ice tea cans or other garbage left strewn around the previously well kept campsite.
The real stupidity is that there is a fire ring just a foot further to the right in the photo from where the pallets were burned. There at least the nails would be contained with others through the years left behind and only partially cleaned up, not for lack of trying by myself and others. But we just do not have a strong enough magnet to make the work plausibly possible.

Of course there are laws against not packing out all one’s garbage, but apparently only what is in these people’s minds exists, nothing else …
Including punctured tires, feet, and injured children … oh did you all get your tetanus shots lately?
Solipsism … a fool’s excuse for living with no respect for the land and other people … and even for one’s self.
Which leads to some pretty dark experiences in life:

There are other variations of this destructive take on life as if it was all about oneself. High Functioning Borderline Personality Disorder hfBPD sits right there at the top, along with Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPD.
We used to have such respect for the neighbours to the south’s leader, but everyone knows his proclivity to extreme and extremely destructive narcissism. Now it is more than a personality disorder, it’s nationalized and affecting world order/chaos.

The hfBPD is perhaps less well known, and partially therein lies the fact that it is much more disruptive to order, more chaos producing, chaos so severe that those close to the effectively ill person end up trying everything to mollify, contain and then escape the chaos, even going so far as killing themselves.

Spouses, friends, parents, children, no one is exempt who is close.

The destructive force is so severe because the hfBPD person learns very early on in the disease, usually with roots in childhood abuse or trauma, to write a ‘script’ for every situation in their lives. There is no room for self-failure or critique of self. Anyone in the script is absorbed into the person’s life without border or restraint … at first.

But then the craziness starts: control and abuse of every kind overwhelm life with vilification and projection of fault, relentless criticism, isolation, financial control, sexual control, gaslighting …

The hfBPD person uses everything and anything that will manipulate the other into fitting into their part in the script. Everyone in their script must adhere to their role or they are exiled. And exile is brutal: by manipulation to suicide, or ruination of reputation or even charges and convictions before the Courts for what one has not even possibly done.

But the hfBPD person is so adept and convincing and charming and adroit at creating scripts (it’s been a daily requirement since childhood) that the rewrite of one’s ‘history’ to bring ruination is believed by nearly everyone … and the Court’s love it. The false story is so simple, so easy to believe, so naively familiar … and the courts go to all sorts of contortions to convict without any solid evidence, transforming obvious truths to be judged lies, and blatantly obvious lies to be facts.

Truth is lost, as if everyone watching lemming-like agrees that ‘perception is reality’. That’s solipsism in its most recent and destructive form:
It’s true if we perceive it to be.

There are many pieces of life that must be ignored in order to embrace solipsism in any form, and that is true of embracing ‘perception is reality.’
Perception is wonderful. It can, under good circumstances, provide us hosts of information about reality.
But perception does not determine reality, and oh what a spiral out of control into dark chaos it brings when a person starts to behave as were that true and reliable. When one embraces that perception determines reality then all truth is lost in a meaningless competition to make up history from as many falsehoods as one can string together… all so that one comes out on top of the heap of chaos that one creates.

There is reality and we can experience it.

The pink west sky at sunrise is real, a pastel touch of beauty.
Yes, the sun rises in the east and yes, at this moment in the pre-sunrise suspense the western sky is lit up and the east is still dark. That’s just a matter of physics to understand the sunshine of the morning sun hits the western clouds before it shines below on us on the ground observing the sun’s progression, which is actually the earth’s progression in it’s rotation.

The gentleness of the red against the blues and greys on white of winter entice one to marvel.

Looking across the sky the colour paints a small piece of the morning.

It is when one submerses oneself in the place and the moment that one marvels that such beauty follows so dark a day just hours before.

 

And then after the sun rises bright white above the eastern trees the brilliance reflected off the snow is mesmerizing.
Waves of blown snow provide contour and depth perception to the otherwise too simple snow covered ice.

It is here that reality, not perception, touches one’s soul and inspires one to also recognize a corollary truth, similar in words but universes distant from solipsism in all it’s forms:
How we respond to reality, to all that happens to us, determines more of our lives than what happens to us.
Or to say it another way, if you cannot notice beauty, you cannot know it either.

Reality offers perception.

And if you choose to experience reality informed by faith, hope and love then you will know beauty,
And you will be one that contributes to the world by inspiring others to see the world, wrinkles, evil and all, in all the beauty that it can convey.

After all the sunrise, the pastel sky, the brilliant sun on waves of snow … all this or any other day’s experiences are all that more precious and beautiful
when one also does not deny the reality of willful lies and destruction, ugly chaos, and evil.
One can fight that part of reality, or one can choose to forgive it, in order that one can still notice, with faith, hope, and love all the beauty that the world has to offer.
And then one shares the ability to see beauty with others … or not.
Which will you choose to be today?

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

The cold of this past week was unrelenting.

Yes it got to -35°C. Not just once for a few hours but twice, staying below -30°C for long, cold, dark hours. And during that time there was no furnace that would run, taken down by a what, or was it a who? With repairs two nights distant, two deep cold dark nights away.

Yes, there are more than a few people who know some of the truth of what has been done to me xxxx but that I am under threat if I speak the truth (the xxxx indicate phrases I needed to delete). Most people have believed the lies told about me: they think that I am some kind of monster that is portrayed nowadays in film and tv as the ultimate male gone amok  x x x x.

I am nothing of the sort.

I am a person who at great cost to myself has practiced unconditional love for those closest to me  x x x x 

I am a person practiced in bringing others to experience Grace, even in the midst of the brokenness of their lives, often after surviving the death of loved ones, even by suicide.

Yet I am told, repeatedly, that I have done what I have not done, that I am a person I am not and have never been nor would ever allow myself to become.

 X x x x

How is this even possible?

That impossibility become real is the deep dark cold that corrupts and consumes the goodness in life, not just for me and those close to me, but for everyone who encounters this dark cold.  X x x x  Our sense of truth is so assaulted and violated that it will be a miracle  x x x x  if anyone is left capable of receiving and then giving unconditional love.

Grace is such a miracle, and grace requires human hands and hearts to carry it and deliver it, to reflect it as light … to show by example that Grace does exist … unconditionally for us all.

 

Yet in spite of the unrelenting deep cold darkness

I stand, surviving the cold, by faith through grace alone.

Who will stand with me?

Or

Who will continue to stand against me?

There are so many people who know a piece or two of the truth which would make obvious the lies told about me. There are a few people who know so much truth about the lies being told about me. If only one or two people came forward with the truth they know, the lies could not continue to ruin lives all around; and the conglomerations of lies are not innocent; they have already brought people to their deaths; they will bring more people to their deaths by their own hands.

 

Who will you be, in the face of the deep, cold, darkness that invades your lives?

Will you be an agent of Grace, or one who impedes others knowing Grace is also for them?

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemoller from Wikipedia

“Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈniːmœlɐ]; 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor.[1][2] He is best known for a widely-paraphrased statement which he made in different versions, one of which is “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist. … Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.” [see above.]

He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[3] but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis’ Aryan Paragraph,[4] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[5] For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.[6][7] He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis.[4] He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.[4] From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters’ International from 1966 to 1972.[8] He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.[9]

Wikipedia about Martin Niemöller

Who are they coming for today, for whom you do not speak out?

 

What do you see around you?

The COLD and the DARK settling in again?

 

 

OR

 

GRACE and BEAUTY of light, the light that brings truth even in the darkness?

 

 

Can you find the path to the light?
The light that rises indomitably even in the deep dark cold.

 

The path is never straight, and often meanders at many crossroads on its way to the light.

 

We can be no more than ones who reflect the light of Grace. And sometimes when we have so little life left in us we can at most point in the deep, dark, cold to where the light is reflected, to others who reflect the light.

 

 

Then, by the reflected light, we can show others the path …
The path that winds its way toward home,
home where the infinite meets our finite lives,
turning everything upside down, inside out
and
warm with the goodness of life,
the indomitable life
given to us all by Grace.

 

And we are left able in the cold to walk on water,

 

for there is no other choice.

 

 

Most every path we tread is covered
with water,
frozen water,
snow and ice.

Miracles of indomitable life often only occur in the face of the deepest, darkest, coldest ….

 X x x x

Go One Step Further

Go One Step Further

From the Movie About Time: In a family wherein the men can travel back in time, in their own lives to make things different, better, hopefully not worse:

Dad toasts at Tim’s wedding:

I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind.

And this, Tim, is a kind man with a good heart.

Dad’s Secret Formula for Happiness:

Part one of the two-part plan, is that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day like anyone else.

Part Two: To live every day a second time,

To live every day, almost exactly the same way, the first time with all the worries and tensions that stop us from noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.

Tim’s Step further than Dad’s formula:

The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.

 

There is much in life that is not even good enough to wonder about.

I watched this movie and in it heard people dear to me chortle at Charlotte’s horrendous treatment of Tim. Then I witnessed the worst thing I have ever seen between a child and a parent; something I’d suspected but now was confirmed.

The Light that shines in through the cracks

But there is the sweet wonder of life each day as the sun rises, even when buried beyond a deep, dark, stormy bank of clouds.

The storm aside, literally just set aside, knowing that every storm provides the light for fabulous photos, I know kindness, and that I am kind.

I know light, and I know I am a child of light.

I know grace, and boy do I know I am a child of grace and grace alone.

I know love so sweet it will heal you, and love so overwhelming it literally will kill you, and love so gracious it unconditionally welcomes you home, and love so pure it is an idea that will fuel peace for generations.

The fuel of days

What will fuel your day?

The Light that brings to light all that was hidden in shame in the darkness?

The light that shines through the cracks of our lives, so that we are not dark inside?

The LIGHT that shines on the fields, waters, trees and farms so that life continues having been fed?

The LighT that guides us out of the darkness, toward the light.

Are you ready to go one step further than others?

Life’s a mixed bag, no matter who you are. Look at Jesus: he was the Son of God, for God’s sake and look how that turned out.

Best Response

Best Response

There are innumerable accounts in written history and in literature (reflecting the truths of life throughout history) … accounts of abuse and bullying ruining lives.

The accounts cover the gamut from horrors of war, to abuse between identifiable groups as often as not closely related to each other, to religious based hatred gone amok, to scapegoating of all kinds including systemic lies created and augmented against an innocent and even admirable person … lies that ruin the innocent in order to allow the larger group experience some cathartic release of dissonance created by their own internal conflict which is too expensive for them to honestly recognize and deal with (see Girard), to conflict between intimate partners where one, often a high functioning borderline personality which is able to charm others to believing the most horrific lies about their partner bringing the innocent and admirable partner to ruin for actions and despicable behaviours that actually belong to the person with borderline personality.

While our (my family and I, and many others including my ex) faith is Lutheran Christian, a particular faith based on mystics’ and sacramental (mundane made holy by God’s Grace alone) theologians through countless generations, and while our Canadian society now identifies bullying as an unacceptable behaviour and focuses on children, youth and young adults, we are doing very little to name, address and eradicate bullying by adults of adults. And we have not ‘cracked that nut’ because our leaders who could call us to account more likely as not have built their careers on bullying others in order to get ahead, to gain the power that they exercise.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.[1] Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.[4]”

Between intimate partners bullying takes on a very personal, psychological devastation of the victim as the very relationship that ought to be based on unfettered trust and ought to provide unconditional love, while the victim engages in the relationship to provide all of that for the abuser (often as not unrecognized as the abuser by the victim until it is too late), the abuser exercises all sorts of control, projects her own failures on to her victim and makes unreal demands of behaviour of the victim who soon enough recognizes the extreme costs to not complying … the costs are devastating loss, often loss of children, financial security, home, and reputation … and in the end always the loss of one’s own life.

See http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1100-men-abused-by-women-booklet.pdf, http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1401_men-abused-by-women.pdf, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149, and https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/women-abuse-men-often-called-abuse-fiff/:

“The ease with which the genders in the piece can be reversed shows that abusive relationships are about power and control, not specifically male or female behavior, and that women use the same power levers, as well as some of their own (such as withholding affection or sex) to dominate their victims. Additionally, in “genderizing” abuse as a primarily male behavior, we minimize and, in a way, legitimize, women’s abusive behavior.”

So we focus on bullying by children, youth and young adults, projecting our own abhorrent behaviours on them in order to exorcise our own cognitive dissonance about our own behaviours that have netted us our privileges and power. And we focus on abuse by men of women, fully denying the devastation caused by women abusing men, women who are more often than not dominant passive aggressive manipulative controllers who exercise demeaning control over their males partners that way too often leads to suicide as the only escape. For the foundational work on surviving the devastating effects of a loved one with borderline personality disorders see STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger, and the companion THE STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS WORKBOOK, Practical Strategies for Living with Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder.

While our faith calls us to recognize that each person is simultaneously a sinner (dammed mess of a human) and a saint (a perfect example of God’s grace embodied in a human – but not by merit of the person, only by the Grace of God transforming that sinner into a saint), and as recipients of Grace that makes us able and deserving (by grace alone) to even breath air yet alone enjoy the privileges of life Jesus Christ calls us imperfect yet perfect humans to exercise that same grace toward each other … which means we sacrifice our lives (from small bits to our actual mortal lives) to exercise forgiveness and unconditional acceptance of other sinners in order that they also can hear of and experience the transforming power of God’s Grace for them … while we are called to sacrifice in contrast the people of the world around us, and even many of us, including those with borderline personality disorders, systematically and habitually exercise abuse and bullying against all in their path in order to get ahead, and then falsely judge others for supposedly being exactly what they are.

Caught in the devastation of a borderline personality disordered beloved, and the ensuing scapegoating and bullying that threatens to not only ruin my life but likely end it, how does one, living by Grace Alone, respond?

There is only one response: to live with grace, to live as well as one can, to find Grace and Beauty in each moment in each person encountered, and to live with as much joy and gratitude as possible.

For me, as a photographer among many other vocations and skills, that means to use the equipment I have left (one result of abuse was the loss of my some of the best SLR cameras, lenses and lighting equipment, as well as software) to capture and share beauty right in my ‘own backyard.’

Enjoy with me that these photos are possible, even with a cell phone camera. What a marvel compared to my first digital camera that cost more than three times as much!

On the water with my wife’s canoe, the marvelous item that makes our presence literally on the water possible. While others have yachts and houseboats and ski boats and fishing boats and even kayaks, this simple and relatively inexpensive, therefore possible, possession requires our own muscle power to get it into the water and then our own muscle power to move it across the water … but what a view into the marvels of beauty:

The Boat

Shoreline Trees Caught in the Sunset Light

The Loon of Haunting Cries

(Sorry it’s not with a telephoto lens to capture the loon properly!)

Sunset on the Water

A Rare Selfie: Golden Light on a Face Made Ancient by Abuse and Bullying

Relaxing by the New Fire Ring Properly Made (as we clean up yet another trashed random campsite on crown land.) That’s sand on an area without roots likely below, covered with the sand not 10 feet away and clear of trees above, ringed with substantial enough rocks to contain the fire in a ring large enough and a bit oblong to not necessitate wood laid into the fire also laying across the ring of rocks and outside the ring.

 

 

We bask in a night’s rest in the quiet beside the lake, to the lonely cry of the loon … As the sun rises we wake to the white bark of birch against the marvelous sparkling water of the lake.

Life is good, even if some (many) people simply cannot be even decent yet alone grace-filled. As for me and my family (and all my children), we will live Grace and appreciate beauty.

The Dance of Grace

The Dance of Grace

My Beloved,

Dance in the morning as you come to wake and see light again, bright or fuzzy, broken or brilliant, light is not light, but the music that you have in you by Grace provides the rhythm to see far into the present.

Dance in the morning as you begin your day, for the tasks can be overwhelming, the burdens impossible to lift even on ones shoulders, and the debt owed so many can with just one straw of fiction removed come crashing down all around, but the music of Grace plays within you even so and even if so faintly, but it guides your heart at every beat, to remember the steps from birth through to today and beyond as the shadows and darkness of sin (your own and others’) were want to prevail and still your heart beat and beats now still by Grace alone, and the music sustained and sustains you, and the rhythm continually invited and invites you still to dance.

Dance in the mid-day as the bright light burns hot or the skies pound the ground with vicious water or the fog drips from up high, always burning or drowning out the expectation of what might be somehow finally this day … but now simply cannot be, and as hope fades into Jerusalem’s lament, listen to the soft persistent music of Grace which is the element that holds all elements together, the particle that holds all particles together at the fundamental basis of realities’ waves constructed into this universe, listen and if in the din of the day you cannot hear, then simply remember, remember the gentle music of the bearers from generations upon generations of Grace, hear or remember, and hum softly along and silently almost imperceptivity move your feet and fingers, your chin and your knees, your belly button and your hips into the dance, the dance of Grace. For here is life, here alone is life, here alone is all manner of life.

Dance in the evening as the energy of the day gives up and the work is left to another day to be engaged, and the darkness begins to slowly invade the skies pushing the light to the far north’s horizon distant and beckoning, and as you lay yourself down to know none of this at all any more, as the darkness invades your mind and the horrors of past, present and future play free upon unprotected anxieties; Dream, dream and dream all that darkness freely for the beat of the music continues on even then, and dream also the victory of Grace against all that unbridled darkness and evil begat of sin, and dance … dance away … dance with your toes and your synapses freed, for here in this play of the universe of your mind, there also the music continues, continues on, continues on and away, the music of Grace, which frees one from the pervasive power of evil and horrors, and there in that freedom of Grace all powerful even over Evil so freely played, dance … dance on … dance away, a way to embody Grace.

For the sun will rise again, fresh and unsoiled, fully embodied in you … by Grace so that you may dance.

Know by your dance of Grace that you are loved, by God perfectly and so imperfectly by me.

Thank you for your understanding and enjoy your day

A sign went up in an apartment building recently which reads:

Please be reminded

For Building Security, front and side doors on all buildings must remain closed at ALL times.

Please remember to bring your Fobs with you when you leave as we are secured entry buildings.

If you are having visitors, they MUST use the intercom system or meet them in the lobby.

If you notice anyone propping the doors open, please let office know immediately so we can address the issue promptly.

Thank you for your understanding and enjoy your day.

[name] Site Staff

Well, I will enjoy my day regardless, but perhaps a bit more as I point out that it is only a matter of ignorance and apathy by which the inhabitants can follow any of the ‘rules’ imposed on them.

First to be reminded is not something a person can choose to have happen to oneself. It is a passive formulation of reminding, that is someone else does the doing and it just happens to the person reminded.

So to ask a group of people to have something happen to them is to ask them to do something that is quite impossible.

A person could choose to remember. Another person could choose to remind someone else. But no person can choose to be reminded.

Well I suppose one could stretch one’s imagination to something like an alarm clock: and a person could set up an ‘alarm’ to go off that would then remind oneself that one ought to do what follows.

But then I’m quite sure that no one living in an apartment building would ever want to be reminded to follow, yet alone actually follow the ‘rule’ that follows, namely that all the side and front doors must remain closed at ALL times. I guess that could be possible if the buildings had back doors, but they do not. So all the outside doors are to remain closed all the time, not just some of the time, not just whenever, but always … so that means …

everyone, when coming and going from this apartment building, has to use the windows, which are the only other ingress and egress options … because the doors have to remain closed ALL the time. They can never be opened. Not for coming and going or for any other purpose.

The reason given that this must be so is that the staff (the authors) are secured entry buildings. The staff together make up two or more special buildings, called secured entry. Given that no one can come or go through the doors, it must be a bit secure, or rather very insecure, what with all the broken windows, and ladders giving people access to the higher floors’ windows.

And there is something going on here, because the building does not just use fobs to give tenants access (must be through the windows), rather it has perhaps a Plutonic Ideal of a fob, a Fob, or maybe it is something that has been branded and protected when capitalized as opposed to just the normal word. And the same goes for Building Security; but this may be a ministry of the government or some such official agency recognized by capitalizing it’s title.

And any poor guests that arrive have to use the intercom system (since the doors cannot be opened that’s as far as they get when coming to visit … starts to sound a bit like a gaol) or guests have to meet themselves in the lobby. This is a really odd requirement if your are having more than than one guest. It’s worse if you only have one guest: what is a single guest to do, how should one person meet her or himself in the lobby? Perhaps there is a special service for guests to ‘know’ themselves better by meeting themselves in the lobby. It has to be a special lobby. It would be fun to try it sometime.

And then if the tenants or anyone else sees someone propping open the doors, they are to inform office (not someone in the office, or the office, but simply office whoever office is) so they can deal with the issue promptly. It would seem to me that a well written notice may deal with the issue at any time,  now for instance, would be good. But after an individual contravenes the rules, then it is no longer time to deal with the issue, rather it is time to deal with the person breaking the rules that have arisen to deal with the issue fairly and effectively. The issue should be settled long before, otherwise there is no basis for ‘rules’ which were made and enforced. That would be like a police state where one can impromptu try to force people to do what one had no right to make them do. So let the issues be dealt with now . Later the people’s behaviours of breaking the rules, if need be, can be dealt with according to the ‘rules.’ As for the issues, they have been resolved by the creation of rules.

But the line that prompted me to write this blog was the last:

Thank you for your understanding

OK, I think I understood part of the sign, but it was not easy, especially that I had to stretch pretty hard to see past what was written to imagine what probably was intended to have been written or at least hoping to have been written.

And enjoy your day

Okay, I tried to enjoy writing these comments, a bit tongue in cheek.

But honestly, my whole day … that was determined by a completely different set of circumstances, this was only a few moments.

And this writing will be enjoyed if offence is not taken and learning and understanding increase.

 

New Kinosoo Beach

New Kinosoo Beach

Wonders come in good surprises.

Like the improvements to parks and recreational areas.

Like wonderful sunsets at the Marina

The line of sunset visitors is slim, but always comfortable in their own skin.

Riding back the greatest colour took even me back a bit.

I almost passed them up, not to disturb their fun, but with the light so marvelous, and they having so much fun as a group of teens at the beach, I made the request and demonstrated what could be done with the sunrise and even just a cell phone camera.

Teaching photography I repeated often what I heard from a host of other photography instructors: always have a camera on you, and always see the photos that are possible even if you do not stop.

This paid off, and this group of young adults was 1) obviously having a simply good time at the beach, and 2) they were clear enough with themselves to know if they were willing to pose as the silhouettes against the sunset.

The guys were ready and willing, and one of the girls stepped in to make a good demonstration:

 

When they saw how fabulouse the photo could be, and heard that I was asking them to do something to show how much fun they were having at the new beach.

There were a few that we shot, but they made something like this and I kept shooting as fast as the little cell could, and it evolved into this.

All agreed this is the best of the lot.

I didn’t recognize any of the young adults, so I could not give you names or give them anything but anonymous credit.

But anonymous credit is greatly due: look at what this groups of young people thought of with little to no notice!

This is the past, the present, the improvements, the joy of life, and these young people are the future of Canada. We should do all right, in their creative hands, finding solutions and possibilities in the complicated world.