Surely Christ will not Despise

Edward Ahenakew Cree Anglican Priest, 1885 – 1961

Why should we take the path they tread
And leave our own approach to God
Exchanging our own humble way,
For that along with bloody sod?

Oh! Surely Christ will not despise
The winding trail our fathers trod
With simple steps and faithful hearts
With loyal minds to reach their God?

Can we not then in “heathen” rites,
As ritual, serve the Crucified?
Mayn’t He in dances, reverent, pure,
As truly then, be glorified?

Why ape the race whose stated creed
Seems not to lie plumb with their deeds,
Why follow that which is not ours,
Nor which doth satisfy our needs?

Ah! Spirit that o’er Indian lands
Would’st fain reclaim thine olden sway,
Thy children are up herded sheep
Pushed north by those who pray!

A portion of Reverend Ahenakew’s untitled poem.


There are more questions about spiritual “first contact” and the subsequent years when First Nations suffered at the hands of those charged with ministering the love and care of Christ. Here Reverend Ahenakew speaks to the incongruity of western Christianity and the native approach to God – both needing redemption/reformation.

We have an opportunity now to share freely and without power, the grace and character of God in Christ. “Oh surely Christ will not despise…”

Today as National Aboriginal Day, let us pray for our First Nations, and for truth & reconciliation.


“Edward Ahenakew, Anglican clergyman of Cree ancestry (born 11 June 1885 at Sandy Lake Indian Reserve [now the Ahtahkakoop First Nation] in central Saskatchewan; died 12 July 1961 in Dauphin, Manitoba). Edward Ahenakew, Anglican clergyman of Cree ancestry (born 11 June 1885 at Sandy Lake Indian Reserve [now the Ahtahkakoop First Nation] in central Saskatchewan; died 12 July 1961 in Dauphin, Manitoba).

Proud of his heritage and a firm believer in the Christian faith, Ahenakew dedicated his life to missionary work on reserves, promoting the Cree language and bettering education on reserves.”

For a good summary of Ahenakew’s life and influence, see page 35ff of “Dispossessed Indigeneity“, by Natalie Knight.

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Listening to Understand

David Augsburger writes a wonderful little book titled, “Caring Enough to Confront.”  We don’t always put these two words together, but Augsburger recognizes the paradox of love: it is caring and it is confronting.

Augsburger offers this simple poem to illustrates the “both-and” quality needed in listening to understand:

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Digital Sabbatical

We are beginning to recognize the effects of the intrusive and unending pings from our electronic devices. It is as if the emotional and spiritual ecosystem has been supplanted by an invasive species.  Perhaps more than ever we need to hear Jesus’ words over the digital din,

Come to me all you are weary and you will find rest for your souls.”

Thus there has been more reflection on what we can do – indeed – what we must do. Klaus Crow of “simplifyyourday.com” observes,

“You wake up on the alarm of your mobile phone, you walk downstairs and while your having breakfast you’re checking your emails on either your phone, iPad or computer.

Then you start checking Facebook and look for other ways to connect online, allowing you to ignore the real life in the present moment.

A lot of hours during the day you will work online in front of a screen. After work you will check your phone again for more emails, texting, news, Facebook, Youtube and other types of entertainment. And in the evening you’ll relax in front of another (TV) screen.

It goes on and on and on and it adds up tremendously. It has become so normal for us, most people don’t even realize the insanity of it anymore. And if they do, they ignore it and tell themselves, “It just the way things are nowadays. It’s progress”.

But is it really?”

He goes on write about “The Huge Benefits of the Digital Sabbatical.

What is a digital sabbatical?

Tammy Strobel, author & photographer, answers:

“Dedicating one day a week or even a whole month away from the internet, email, twitter, and other online activities.

Taking an extended sabbatical is appealing to me. It would be one way to solely focus on writing my next ebook and to recharge my creative juices. Until I can take an extended break from the web, I’m planning on unplugging every weekend.

So that means my weekend plans will not include:

    • Surfing the web.
    • Checking email.
    • Updating twitter or facebook.
    • Moderating blog comments.

My weekend retreat plans include:

Being online less and outside more. A few of my top priorities include taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather, spending time with friends and family, focusing on writing amazing content, and reducing insecurity work.

So consider this guide as a reminder to go outside and enjoy the summer.

As you go through the tips below remember to:

    • Choose activities that look interesting.
    • Experiment and have fun.That’s the whole point right? Taking time off from the internet and social networks should free up plenty of time to engage in creative pursuits.
    • And don’t do everything at once!

She goes on to identify 21 Digital Sabbatical Ideas in “Everything you need to know about a Digital Sabbatical.”


Let me know how you’re doing with digital boundaries and sabbaticals.

For more on Sabbath rest see, “The Soul Needs Rest“, or “In Praise of the Sabbath.”

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Somewhere at the edges of night

I

Somewhere, out at the edges, the night

is turning and the waves of darkness

Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.

The heavy dark falls back to earth

And the freed air goes wild with light,

The heart fills with fresh, bright breath

And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.

 

II

I arise today

 

In the name of Silence

Womb of the Word,

In the name of Stillness

Home of Belonging,

In the name of Solitude

Of the Soul and the Earth.

 

I arise today

 

Blessed by all things

Wings of breath,

Delight of eyes,

Wonder of whisper,

Intimacy of touch,

Eternity of soul,

Urgency of thought,

Miracle of health,

Embrace of God.

 

May I live this day

 

Compassionate of heart,

Gentle in word,

Gracious in awareness,

Courageous in thought,

Generous in love.


“Matins” written by John O’Donohue in “Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to be Belong.” (Matins is the service of morning prayer).

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More on the Story of your Life

This excerpt from John O’Donohues book, “Eternal Echoes” is meant to be a companion to the “Practicum of a Soul Friend.”  It is meant as a deeper contemplation on the story of your life:

Regardless of how you look back on your life, you cannot force it out of the order in which it has unfolded. You cannot de-sequence your life. The structure of your life holds together. That is the unnoticed miracle of memory; it is the intimate mirror of the continuity of your experience.

Even the severest and most shocking change insists on its belonging to the moments that preceded it… we attempt to understand the parts of the sequence in a clear and linear way. The difficulty here is our tendency to jump to conclusions about how one theme or thing grows out of another in our lives. When we make the connections too easy for ourselves, we let the mystery, like sand, slip through the openings…

Many of the places in our lives at which our growth has arrested are places where we have carried out negative baptisms. We have put wrong names on many of our most important experiences… We have kept some of our most beautiful longings as prisoners in our hearts, falsely imprisoned simply because of mistaken identity…

Reawaken respect for your inner life

A first step towards reawakening respect for your inner life may be to become aware of the private collage of dead names you have for your inner life… let yourself just slip back into the rhythms of your intimate wildness. You will be surprised at the lost terrains, territories, wells, and mountains that you will rediscover, territories which have been buried under well-meant but dead names. To go beyond confinement is to rediscover yourself…

The Place of Failure in our Story

There is a tendency now in revisionist history to explain the past in terms of movements and trends of the contemporary time. This is inevitably reductionist. The suffering of people is forgotten; they become faceless, mere ciphers of a trend or dynamic of history. To sanitize [your] history is to blaspheme against memory. Equally, to become obsessed with the past is to paralyze the future…

Failure is often the place were suffering has left the most special gifts… [a friend] was surprised and excited on looking back at his life to discover that much of what he had understood as the successes in his life did not hold their substance under more critical reflection… his failures now began to seem ever more interesting and substantial. The places of failure had been real points of change and growth.

Wonder: key to compassion

Wonder never rests on the surface of a fact or situation. It voyages inwards to discover why something is the way it is… if you begin to wonder what made a person become like [they are] you may be more open to the hidden story that has shaped [him].  Wonder can often be the key to compassion.

The sense of wonder can also help you recognize and appreciate the mystery of your own life.

A key to the temple of your life

When you really tell how and who you are, you offer your listener a key to the temple of your life. You allow that person a huge voice in your conversation with yourself. Listening is such an underrated activity. In fact it is hugely subversive. Because when we listen deeply, we take in the voice of the other. The inner world is so tender and personal, and the voices that really enter assume great power.


Thus with great power comes great responsibility – the great trust of listening well – of listening like an auditory mirror of the soul.

For more, go to “Practicum of a Soul Friend.”

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With that Moon Language

With That Moon Language – by Hafiz

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,

“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud;

Otherwise,

Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,

This great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one

Who lives with a full moon in each eye

That is always saying,

With that sweet moon

Language,

What every other eye in this world

Is dying to

Hear.

Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)


Children do this: they come to everyone and bid, “Love me.”

When does that stop; why does it stop?

We all have the impulse in us to ask for love and to give love.

The ancient Sufi poet puts it into words and bids us to “become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye” – like every child of love – and “always saying what every other eye in the world is dying to hear: Love me.”


Persian lyric poet Hafiz (born Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī, circa 1315 – 1390). Though very little is known about his life, he is one of the most celebrated of the Persian poets, and his influence can be felt to this day. As the author of numerous ghazals expressing love, spirituality, and protest, he and his work continue to be important to Iranians, and many of his poems are used as proverbs or sayings.
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A Way into the Universe

Image from University of Cambridge site: cam.ac.uk

There is no other way into the universe except through the body of a woman.

When we see a pregnant woman, we know that some new person is coming here. Everything else remains unknown. Who that person is, and what she will bring to her family, and world, and what kind of life she will have remain unknown to us and even to the mother, the carrier and the labyrinth of this creativity. This is one of the great privileges of women, to be able to give birth.

In and through the mother, empty space is changed into a person. The anonymous water element becomes face, body, soul, life, and inner world.

A bond is being developed from which she will never be released. In a sense, she can never part from the one she has carried under her heart.


Excerpt from John O’Donohue’s “Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong.”


Something to contemplate this Mother’s Day, along with these ancient verses from the prophet Isaiah:

Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name…

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength…

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…

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