The End of Truth

How do we move forward when there is no longer any such thing as truth?

Of course there is such a thing as truth, what I mean is that we no longer accept truth any more in favour of our own unique perspectives and increasingly cemented worldviews.

There is no longer such a thing as fact or proof for in the face of such things people simply say “this has been edited/photoshopped/doctored” and sometimes this is, in fact, true.

And so we can now only act in the moment, reactively, as eyewitnesses. We can no longer be proactive. We can no longer respond if “we were not there” and soon even seeing things with our own eyes will no longer be enough in terms of burden of proof.

Perception is reality the old wisdom goes and today everything is perception.

Apres Moi le Deluge

The floodgates have opened and the waters that have been unleashed are only the beginning of what hopefully will be a movement for empowerment.

A few weeks ago the New York Times and the New Yorker both published significant exposes of alleged sexual abuse by huge Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. At last count more than 40 women have come forward with eerily similar accounts of meetings with the producer and powerful executive.

Since then a similar piece of investigative journalism by the Los Angeles Times spoke with 38 women who accused director James Toback of sexual harassment and assault. Since the article was published more than 200 women have come forward.

Something is happening. Most recently creepy celebrity photographer Terry Richardson has been blacklisted by Conde Nast and others.

For years now former child stars such as Corey Feldman have been warning anyone who would listen that Hollywood was rife with pedophiles preying on young actors and actresses.

How could such a thing, seemingly a public secret, have been allowed to continue for so long? Such is the way of power in the world and the impact that it has on victims.

So why is this exploding to the forefront now?

Well the answer is complex but one significant part of the reason is that courage begets courage. When one person speaks up about abuse and is heard it gives others the courage to step forward and so on until a movement, such as what is rising now, begins.

For uncountable people, especially women, have been subject to the unwelcome sexual advances of people in power (usually men). Sometimes they are subject to outright sexual abuse and assault and then all the baggage that goes with it like shame, fear and guilt.

Sadly what we are seeing is the tiniest tip of an enormous iceberg which is being laid bare by a powerful new movement that includes a social media component with hashtags like #MeToo to ensure people suffering in silence know they are not alone.

I know of what I speak and could tattoo #MeToo on my forehead for the years of sexual abuse I had to suffer at the hands of man in authority over me.

It’s not just a Hollywood problem. It happens everywhere. There are victims suffering in silence everywhere and abusers living lives without consequence. It happens in Canada; it happens in Manitoba; and it happens right here in the Pembina Valley – people in power and authority who have abused and are actively abusing right now – it needs to stop. It needs to be exposed.

I know from personal experience that coming forward and revealing your abuse and the abuser can be the most difficult experience in the world. But I also know from personal experience it can make a difference. In my case it took decades for me to come forward. When I did my abuser was still in positions of authority over the vulnerable. Coming forward put a stop to that. It held the person accountable.

More importantly coming forward can start you on the road of healing – it did for me.

I hope the flood waters continue to rise. I hope those who use power and authority to abuse others are caught in their wake, removed from authority and held accountable for their actions.

If you have been or are being abused contact the police or someone you trust. My only regret is that I never did so sooner.

I am here to tell you it can make a difference.

I am here to tell you it is never too late.

I am here to tell you that you have a voice.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

#MeToo.

“Yo, dude on the bike…”

What a beautiful, bright, crisp morning. The frost had white-tipped the grass and rooftops were already steaming and as I approached work a youthful, vigorous voice came to me from the bushes south of the Access Event Centre and shouted at me:

“Yo! Dude on the bike! FUCK YOU!”

Of course I had to make the obligatory, though half-hearted adult meander toward the offending voice (so unlike what Moses likely heard from his bush) upon which two middle school boys rocketed out of their hiding spot and raced away at speeds I am sure they had yet to achieve in life.

All in all a fun start to the day that brought back memories of my childhood and racing away from various adults and police with my heart pounding in my throat. Good times.

ahead

there is this thing that lies to the fore,
this great gravity/this final shore;
and is it approaches the waves rebound,
push me further from nearing ground;
what a contradiction that I cannot rest,
until i pass this promised, this one last test.

when will gravity let me on my way,
that i might leave, wordless,
having had my say?

without stutter

there are words,
they ring and sound the depths
but they are not mine
these glowing bits of light
that would fall from my lips
and cleanse the oily black
if only these lips could speak
without stutter

and i would stand to the front line
but cannot because i am too willing
but cannot because the call is heard
not spoken

IT

The movie, IT, is a fantastic piece of film-making and not since Stand By Me has a film done so much justice to a Stephen King work and remain so faithful to the source material.

For me it was also a wonderful journey back in time as it was filmed in southern Ontario and is steeped in the summers of my youth. One scene in particular stands out for me as the characters gather at the edge of a cliff preparing to jump in. As the camera pans out I realize it is the very same cliff edge I had jumped from many times at the same age as the characters maybe three years before the movie’s setting of 1989. The scene was filmed at Elora Quarry – a place I would bike the more than 20 kilometers to from Guelph.

The best of Stephen King comes through in the movie – his ability to develop believable childhood characters without any patronizing.

The film was spectacularly acted and directed. The cinematography is brilliant and evocative. Every detail – the writing, the music. It is all near perfect. From the moment the movie starts there is no moment that feels overlong, boring, or extraneous.

A real classic. Not to be missed.

There is no strength in Numbers

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” – John 19:25-27

The earliest expression of church is not after Pentecost but rather with Christ during his lifetime. Christ and the ones called out to him. The ones called out, or ekklesia in Greek which we have since translated as church.

Those he called include the disciples, the crowds who followed him, Israel and others compelled by his teaching and presence.

In what might arguably be called the greatest expression of Christ’s strength, the moment of his crucifixion, Christ is left with four members of his church close to him. Just four. The others – the most faithful are nowhere to be found having abandoned him in fear and hopelessness.

By today’s standards of church Christ would be considered a failure for allowing his flock to dwindle to such a degree. He would have been mocked by the faithful, Christian leadership programs, books, “real men” groups, classes etc. that seek to focus on structures, growth, manliness and womanliness and income as key signs of Godly anointment and success while missing the point entirely put best by God himself in the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12 when he says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” These words from this same Paul often seen as the founder of the modern church.

Many in the church have failed to recognize that faith and humility demand a church that believes Christ can do most when we set aside our human measures and attempts at strength and success.

It is not in our strength that God’s power is made perfect. It is not through odd, Christian men’s cults where real men are defined by there ability to express themselves in as testosterone driven a way as possible and real women through the power of their beauty and homemaking. It is not in these weird, very human ways that seek to build identities focused on self rather than outside of ourselves that God’s power is made perfect – it is through weakness.

God’s strength is made perfect when we let go of our own “strengths” and our measures of strength and admit that these things are simply expressions of a lack of faith and trust that the one who chose to die rather than fight knew what he was doing against all our own instincts.

Now some might point to Acts 2 and the work of the apostle Peter to suggest that numbers and growth are key metrics of success for a church. Specifically Acts 2:41 which states:

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

As well as Acts 2:47b:

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

In these instances it is important to look at the context to understand what was going on.

First I think it important to note that those three thousand referenced were specifically responding to a sermon by Peter on Pentecost.

Also pay attention to Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

There is a devotion to teaching and fellowship which is focused inwardly on the community of faith. They had “all things in common” – something I fear may never occur again. They sold property and possessions – why? To give to the needy. They ate together in their homes and in a state of praise.

The work of the people, the liturgy, has an emphasis on the care and development of the faithful that the faithful may care for those in need. The answer to the question – “how should we most effectively grow our churches?” was “through a devotion to prayer, praise, teaching, and one-another that God might be most visible and evident in their lives and not their programs, their structures, and not event their growth. Growth was through a natural attraction to the things God was working amongst God’s people.

 

 

i’ll write the truth

“there’s no market for this shit…”

“when was it ever about the
damned market?
i thought it was about the art.”

“look it’s just…well you don’t have a hook…
you know…an angle…somethin’ to chew on”

“yeah…maybe…i don’t know. i never wrote
nothin for the sake of anything so i don’t
know why it’s a big deal anyhow.”

“exactly man – now yer gettin’ it.
it ain’t a big deal…i mean if it were up to me…
i’m just the publisher…it’s the panels, the judges,
the patrons and the sometimes even the readers.
you gotta market yourself man…do some readings
and maybe learn to stomp…plus you ain’t getting younger.
if you were uglier or better looking maybe…
but you just kinda blend…your smoke in a dark bar”

“fuck dude…just tell me to go some place else
or make some shit up about missing the deadline…
don’t be so damned harsh is all.”

“you want to know what i think or you want lies?”

“i don’t know anymore…maybe lies…i’ll write truth.”