The MYSTERY Is LOVE

When I was a kid, my family moved around a lot. All that moving around, and always being the new kid at school, really messed me up. When I was about fifteen years old, I started hanging out with a gang. I haven’t got time to go into the details of my involvement with this gang;

suffice it to say, if I knew what this gang was all about, I would never have gotten involved with them. What I didn’t know when I started hanging out with this gang was that the members of this gang all had one thing in common.  These members of this gang were part of a Lutheran Youth Group. These gang members managed to convince me to run away with them. They were going on something I’ve never heard of before; a retreat, a weekend at a place called Camp Luther. Somehow, I found myself with a gang of young, socially aware, politically astute kids who wanted to change the world. As I figured out who and what this gang was, I thought they might be a cult. It was kind of exciting to flirt with a cult. So, there I was at Camp Luther on the shores of Lake Hatsick.

Pastor Don Johnson was one of the retreat leaders. Don was the father of our National Bishop Susan Johnson, he died just a few months ago. That retreat was where I first met the young woman who would become our National Bishop. The very first exercise that we were assigned was to team up with someone we didn’t know and share our favorite bible passage. This gang was about to discover that I didn’t belong. I didn’t have a favorite bible passage.  I’d only been to church a handful of times in my life, and I hadn’t read very much of the bible. So, I decided to break the rules of the exercise and teamed up with someone I knew slightly and suggested that she go first. Continue reading

The Journey of the Magi never happened and yet it is always happening.

Epiphany-Wise+WomenAn Epiphany Sermon, preached in 2008. I had just read “The First Christmas” by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Our congregation played host to Dom Crossan a month before I wrote this sermon. So, Dom’s insights run through this effort. But the heart of this sermon beats as the result of a sermon preached by Bruce Sanguin a self-proclaimed evolutionary christian who is a United Church Minister (Canadian Memorial Church, Vancouver). I had the privilege of meeting this modern mystic while on sabbatical this summer and his compelling way of unlocking the scriptures using the wealth of the christian tradition together with the insights of modern science and psychology borders upon the poetic. This sermon was anchored by Sanguin’s words (Epiphany 2007). Sermons are a “live” event. So, this manuscript is an approximation of what was actually preached.   

Just five days before Christmas (2008), The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Doctor Rowan Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion started a firestorm.  During a BBC interview, His Grace was quoted to say that the story of the “three wise men is a legend”. The Archbishop was also heard to say that he remained unconvinced that there was indeed a star that led the legendary trio to the birth place of the Christ Child.

If that wasn’t enough to send folks off the deep-end, it has been revealed that the Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church The Most Reverend Doctor Katherine Jefferts Schori, who just happens to be the first woman elected primate in Anglican history, has fanned the flames of the fire-storm by sending out what has been judged by some to be an incendiary Christmas card.

I downloaded a copy of the offensive card, so that you could see for yourself. HerEpiphany-Wise+Women Grace’s choice of card has offended the good deacons of Ft Worth Texas who claim that their Primate’s actions defy explanation. As you can see the wise folks depicted on this image look a lot like women. Can you imagine the nerve of the first woman primate! How could she be so bold as to select such an offensive image? Leave it to straight talking Texans to set things straight: for despite the audacity of the Primate, the Texans have pledged to “stand for the traditional expression of the Faith.” Continue reading

The de Chardin Project: a theatrical triumph!

de chardin projectYesterday, I enjoyed an expansive evening at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille as playwright Adam Seybold’s “The De Chardin Project” brought one of my theological heros to vivid life. Before my very eyes, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin gave new meaning to “forever!” Seybold’s bravery in taking on the complex work of Teilhard is matched by his sensitivity for the life and ideas of the man whose thinking continues to impress those who seek ways of expressing the complicated marriage of theology and science. In ninety short minutes Seybold’s script propelled us to the sun and back over and over again as the talents of Maeve Beaty and Cyrus Lane breathed life in to the divine/human love affair that is life

After years of pouring over Teihard’s work, I can empathize with the challenges of bringing his genius to a wider audience. The combination of talents that have come together in this production to stretch the audience’s perspective beyond the limits of tired arguments has succeeded in creating an experience which far exceeded my expectations. When I entered the theatre, I was sceptical. I wondered what would become of the ideas that I treasure. But it only took a few moments for Seybold’s words to woo me and before I knew it, Cyrus Lane’s tortured and dying Teilhard had me opening myself to a series of transformative moments, the like of which I’ve not enjoyed in the theatre for a long time. With Maev Beaty’s steady hand as our guide, Teihard’s questions took us on an adventure worthy of our deepest wonderings. Beaty’s moving ability to transform herself was aided by the subtle and sometimes startling staging. Director Alan Dilworth managed to not only direct his actors but his audience as well as we transcended the stage up, up, up, to the sun and back again into the deep interior of our being to capture precious grains of sand.

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, whether you’ve read Teihard or never heard of him before, this play is a must see. The run ends December 14. So don’t delay. After the adventure of The De Chardin Project the expansion of my ideas about reality, like forever, is just beginning as Maev Beaty’s passionate “Yes” echoes throughout my being!

Teilhard Love

Singularity and the Omega Point: Jason Silva

cosmic christAs our understanding of what it means to be human changes, our theologies are changing in ways that embrace reality rather than try to deny the evidence that is revealing a whole new dynamic that is drawing us toward an appreciation of creation that is even more amazing than our ancestors could possibly have imagined. Some Christians are afraid of this ever evolving view of creation, while others of us are compelled to wander beyond the confines of our comfort-zones. My hope is that we will find  ways of staying in relationship with one another.

Christ in Evolution: Ilia Delio

ilia delioDr. Ilia Delio offers an integration of cosmology and theology which opens the way to a re-articulation of the Christ narrative that is lodged within the reality of our unfolding evolution. Her considerable ability to articulate a wholistic theology which has the potential to move Christianity into the twenty-first century is exciting!!! I am currently devouring her mind-blowing book, “Christ in Evolution” in preparation to spend a day soaking up her wisdom when she visits Guelph in April (for details click here). I hope to have the opportunity to read her latest book The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love”, and revisit her earlier book, “The Emergent Christ: Exploring the Meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe” which introduced me to her exceptional mind. Her just published collection of essays, “From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe” awaits I will endeavour to post more about her work in the weeks to come. But for now, the video of her lecture “Christ in Evolution” is an excellent introduction to her work. Dr. Delio is an exciting evolutionary theologian whose brilliance is tempered by her sense of humour and her ability to challenge her listeners to stretch ourselves beyond what we think we can possibly comprehend toward a new appreciation of our roles in the ongoing process of evolution. Splendid stuff!!!!

The Journey of the Magi never happened and yet it is always happening.

Epiphany-Wise+WomenAn Epiphany Sermon, preached in 2008. I had just read “The First Christmas” by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Our congregation played host to Dom Crossan a month before I wrote this sermon. So, Dom’s insights run through this effort. But the heart of this sermon beats as the result of a sermon preached by Bruce Sanguin a self-proclaimed evolutionary christian who is a United Church Minister (Canadian Memorial Church, Vancouver). I had the privilege of meeting this modern mystic while on sabbatical this summer and his compelling way of unlocking the scriptures using the wealth of the christian tradition together with the insights of modern science and psychology borders upon the poetic. This sermon was anchored by Sanguin’s words (Epiphany 2007). Sermons are a “live” event. So, this manuscript is an approximation of what was actually preached.   

Just five days before Christmas (2008), The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Doctor Rowan Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion started a firestorm.  During a BBC interview, His Grace was quoted to say that the story of the “three wise men is a legend”. The Archbishop was also heard to say that he remained unconvinced that there was indeed a star that led the legendary trio to the birth place of the Christ Child.

If that wasn’t enough to send folks off the deep-end, it has been revealed that the Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church The Most Reverend Doctor Katherine Jefferts Schori, who just happens to be the first woman elected primate in Anglican history, has fanned the flames of the fire-storm by sending out what has been judged by some to be an incendiary Christmas card.

I downloaded a copy of the offensive card, so that you could see for yourself. Her Grace’s choice of card has offended the good deacons of Ft Worth Texas who claim that their Primate’s actions defy explanation. As you can see the wise folks depicted on this image look a lot like women. Can you imagine the nerve of the first woman primate! How could she be so bold as to select such an offensive image? Leave it to straight talking Texans to set things straight: for despite the audacity of the Primate, the Texans have pledged to “stand for the traditional expression of the Faith.” Continue reading