"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Genesis 22:12
the word "re-alignment" comes to mind. i connect with my daughter Jade in her on-going transformation, into a new world that is filled with hope and love. we have lunch and talk - a healing time. She's 25.
today, we went to church (not something i've done since i was a kid), with her mom (my ex) and Jades cousin Byron who invited us. Saint James Cathedral downtown Toronto (King and Jarvis - ok just a coincidence). "ok - let's go to church". no crowds, very simple. it was wonderful and beautiful, in a broken weather forecast that shed a dry warm late summer ambiance, just at the right times. there came that approaching appreciation settling in by late morning - breath-taking music from a historic church pipe-organ, inspiring words, respectful reflection/resolution with a choir of angels singing in praise of redemption.
church felt really good.
we live in a tangled weave - filled with apocalyptic imagery and we are persistently bombarded with bad news - every day - we feed in the shadows.
the hurricanes, the earthquakes and the tsunamis - the nuclear melt-downs - watcher of the skies - the anticipation ... waiting.
"there - up there - can you see it"? impending doom. "that jet - flying into that building - see it?" on this 10th anniversary of 9/11 ... ah that gentle reminder of what happens to those who don't follow the rules. the punishment. the verdict is IN. "your honour - we the court, find the defendant - guilty". just who's rules should we be following again? i need a reminder refreshment - this is confusing. the word hypocrisy comes up over and over again. who do we believe? i don't trust you anymore.
Surrender - Sweet Salvation
(a shift in contemporary spirituality)
(a shift in contemporary spirituality)
we learn to defend ourselves at an early age. like i put out in my last blog, we men inherit our fathers karma and we proudly carry the torch - in uncertainty - in duty to the cause. we fight for what's right! - even if it's a lie, then we protect our inheritance in a shield of armour - unconscious, even from the ones we love - from the tragedies and injustices of this world - turned inward - mistrust. shame and blame are instilled in us as children (especially us boys), trying to figure out what's wrong and learning to navigate - ongoing, relentless tiring torture - that fear of failure - trying to find our place in this maze of on-going confusion. we develop "weapons of mass destruction", early on - out of necessity, first, in our "terrible two's" - our first outburst of rebellion. just to get through the torment of school a few short years later - teen rebellion, shrouded in dark music and reclusive repugnance. we construct our battle plan, just to get through another day, then later evolving into a tenuous occupation that is fused with strife and despair, late student loan payments and plunging markets - rising costs and divorce statistics.
sometimes we are forced, to make some difficult decisions. choices we don't want to make.
in dealing with the stress of life, sometimes we create hidden agendas - meticulously documented in medical volumes, holy bibles and in science fiction novels (are we vampires or werewolves)? - whatever - and yet what does it matter? our refuge - a place to get away from it all (our secret place), and all propped up with justification mechanisms, deceptive diagnoses - in carnal constructs and doped out denial. ok, sometimes healthy … usually not. there are no road maps into maintaining a sane balance sheet - that ultimate plan on differentiating our profits from our losses - where to constructively place our bet in this game of russian roulette. what works verses what doesn't remains elusive. in the torrential introspection that exists in the masculine massacre, particularly in our interaction with our feminine counterparts on this physical plane - we men (for the most part) remain lost - and yet we must remain - in total control.
welcome to the lie
ok guys, it's not something you down-load off the internet, nor is it an "app" you can get for your iPhone or google the answer to. real redemption requires real work - and embraces surrender - only the right kind of surrender (and not just acting it out). it means getting down and dirty and showing people your shit, in a supportive environment that is open to the idea of that. i myself have become a good preacher and diligent observer, but a hack practitioner in this regard and, i'm in good company - here at Saint James Cathedral - that "saintly" salutation - feels GREAT! beautiful bells ringing from the tower and a new calling ...
church was nice but a somewhat deceptive theatre play - the communion is in sterile cleansing - largely based on the "assumption" that you are a "sinner" and that the participant in observation needs to confess - ok, a righteous presumption and very well positioned - all cloaked in "state of the art" diaper technology and in pristine institutional grandeur. no dirt here. beautiful music - but no "shit".
constructed spiritualism ensconced in a ritualized religious practicum - i like it, (and it's easy on the eyes and ears)!
i saw some things today, going for lunch later - with Jade, Jody and Byron - sitting on rain soaked patio seats and consuming our rewarding organic burgers and hot-dogs after the service. yuM (mystery meat - ok - "organic" mystery meat - no pseudo-religious cross-referenced innuendos intended).
later, i went to an AA meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous) down on Bloor and Spadina with Jody and Jade, and watched a different kind of service unfold. in a hot, badly ventilated room - in yet another church in downtown Toronto but in a worn adjacent hall lit by florescent lighting and hard fold up chairs, bad free coffee and bland packaged cookies - the late summer week-end drawing a different crowd - worshiping the same god, only differently. ok, this is clearly lacking in style girls and boys. My daughters boy friend was receiving his one year medallion. a time to celebrate.
people got up and addressed their unsettled congregation, practicing their new faith, in vulnerability and in total fear - everything is shaking like an earthquake that could topple everything around us any second, in that familiar sweat that drips out of every pore - the familiar discomfort - in the smell of the fermented toxins - years in the making. the tears of joy and a reminder of our fragility - surrendering yet again - in a humble gesture - to find peace.
unlike the impeccably choreographed religious service in an impenetrable protective structure earlier that day, AA openly and humbly acknowledged god's presence (our higher power), without the guilt and without the pretense - inviting participants who wish to change, in support and yet without attachment, without the pomp and the promise - without the insulation. rising to the occasion - is in short supply. no judgement - in a new sanctuary. spirituality and religion are two completely different things and god is real.
inside the mine fields and behind the barbed wire fences, piled up so that they are no longer climbable - there remains that friendly signal - returning again and again - always there and open to us - should we be willing to accept the challenge - a totally new one. real redemption? it's all in surrender.
letting our "guard" down to let some real light in and showing the world who we really are - and yet - finding the courage to stand up for ourselves in a din of the repressive noise pollution? caring for others … takes practice and requires help and spiritual guidance. i'm working on it. i believe in a higher power and i believe in god.
no school-book (or bible) can ultimately teach you what to do or where to go.
faith is multi-dimensional and is contagious - and it doesn't need to be a "religious experience" but maybe ... just maybe appropriate nonetheless.
thank you for reading …
bump this up to 720p (lower right) and turn it up.