My name is the Weary Pilgrim aka Ron Cole, I live on Vancouver Island located of the West Coast of Canada. I work full time as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, my main areas of discipline are hematology, clinical chemistry, and transfusion medicine. Much of my past faith life evolved around the church, I don't think there is any church job I haven't done. Ive cleaned church toilets, taught Sunday School, youth worker, treasurer, teaching on spirituality, some preaching and playing drums and percussion on various worship teams. Now I find myself on the fringe of the church. I do attend occasionally, if I had to pick a community that I associate and resonate with it would be The Place. But on the fringe I find myself much more at home on the streets with CARTS; working at the Rainbow Kitchen; hanging out with the youth on local first nations reserve; or playing with the Rev. Up and the DeadBeat Deacons.
Anyways, here is a bit of the background of the Weary Pilgrim Blog...and my vision for future conversation.
Some 10 years ago, I found myself wandering from the inside out, towards the fringe of the church. A journey of almost thirty years had left with more questions than answers. It was in that liminal space, that I encountered an open table of profound hospitality, grace...and an emerging conversation that was willing to live in the moment of deep questions. It was like a potluck dinner where everyone contributed something to the meal. No matter how small, insignificant the contribution might have seemed, all was graciously accepted. And the beauty was, it added to the flavor, the color and taste. We could all taste and see, " That God is Good." We were content on tasting everything, to digest everything...it always led to deeper questions. Just as small entrees feed a feast...questions feed a conversation.
Another beauty was, at the table there was wise sages, pilgrims, it was multicultural, there were men and women...and there were some just entering, exploring what faith was all about. And, in the midst of it all, there always seemed to be an open chair...all were welcome.
Fritjof Capra, says this about conversations...
“Conversations are the foundation of our social world. Furthermore, they are the means by which we engage in internal dialog and reflection, founding our internal world and our ability to learn. Conversations connect our personal internal world with another reality.. the others around us, and the Other who surrounds us. Conversation founds not only connection, friendship and community, but also prayer.“Consider learning. It could be argued that all learning is founded on conversation, even if that dialog is only internal. Single loop learning becomes double loop learning when it becomes conversation and dialog. Language forms the boundaries of our world, and conversation is the means by which we explore and grow in understanding. “Recently organizational theorists have been paying attention to conversation as the fuel of learning communities and the stuff by which organizations learn, adapt and change through shared knowledge. Since change is the order of the day, and since networks are increasingly important to us as we attempt to understand our world toward influencing change, conversation is inextricably linked to leadership.”
“The most powerful organizational learning and collective knowledge sharing grows through informal relationships and personal networks — via working conversations in communities of practice.” ( Fritjof Capra, Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities )
It is my deepest prayer that this virtual space would be an open table of conversation. That it would be a place where we extend hospitality, and grace. That it would be a place where we explore what it is to have the " mind of Christ." Where we would not be afraid to explore the profound mystery of faith, and humanity with the redemptive imagination of Jesus. That it would be a space in which we sow seeds of encouragement. That rather than sowing seeds of discouragement and condemnation, that in all conversations we might search for that strand of Love, that is Christ...that is in, and of all things, that holds all together...
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.( Colossians 1; Eugene Peterson's The Message )
We live in a profound moment of time. Our hope that science might save us is like the frayed end of a rope to which we've come to the end of. Captivated by fear and a sense of hopelessness, we have lost imagination to reach for anything else.We are content to dangle.
Religion in which we've constructed " our " building blocks of wisdom, teeters precariously back and forth. Pieces of its structure fall to the ground. Our bricks of certitude lack the flexibility to stretch to engage the imagination of humanity, in which hope might be seen.
In the gap of science, and religion as humanity we must accept our blindness, and rediscover, and see the profound reality, and truth of faith. It is in this gap we can redeem, re-imagine...Hope.
Although, my faith is framed, and constructed in the profound mysterious story, and life of Jesus. It is from this profound truth, which is the anchor from which I live and explore all life from. But I also, live in the mystery that we are all created in the image of God, and from the voice of Jesus,that, " God is Love." That all life is interconnected, we are all interconnected to a " God " reality. So in this interconnectedness we explore the deep meaning of faith, beyond our religious beliefs, doctrines and dogmas...to the deepest question of humanity. Life.
So I invite dialog and conversations from others faith. Although we may not all agree with each other, may we honor the sacredness of one another. May we explore deep questions of faith, and humanity together. In all, may we redeem the redemptive imagination of the divine, the God of " all " creation. May we hunger for the imagination, to redeem and restore all the broken spaces of humanity, of redeeming the brokenness of creation. May we again see the creation,in which God looked out on, and said it was " good ".
So let this be a place where we are content with mystery, of questions...may we stretch, and encourage one another.
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. ( Letters to a Young Poet...Rainer Maria Rilke )
More quotes on the mystery, beauty and truth of questions...
“There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.” ( Don Juan deMarco )
“Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.”
“Questions are the creative acts of intelligence”
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” ( Albert Einstein )
“If you spend more time asking appropriate questions rather than giving answers or opinions, your listening skills will increase” ( Brian Koslow )
The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer. ( Alice Wellington Rollins )
A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights. ( Brian Tracy )
There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.( James Nathan Miller )
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ( Dorothy Nevill )
The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it” ( Edward G Bulwer Lytonn )
Although there exist many thousand subjects for elegant conversation, there are persons who cannot meet a cripple without talking about feet. ( Ernest Brahma )