Is it just me, or did the world just spin like a high speed merry-go-round this past week? I’m a little wrung out. It seems like it has been more fraught emotion than usual.

In the midst of that turmoil, I have been asking myself: Is it all random or is there a deeper connection?

I’ll let you be the judge.

LOVE – My Experiment Comes to a Close.
So, again, to bring you up to speed one last time, for the past month I have been on a on a “do one loving thing a day” journey to see if it would make a concrete difference.

So here is are my conclusions as I write this today, knowing full well that they will evolve over time.

The short answer is “YES” – it made a concrete difference – in me and in others.

I found myself better able to connect with others, see their point of view on things as well as having a feeling of being better understood. And as the challenges of the world became clearer (which you will remember at the outset of this was something that I found intimidating and discouraging)I became more comfortable with my own limitations. And I would say that I have been aware of others being self-aware in the same way. Solutions to challenges also became clearer, thanks to collaboration.

Finally, I think that the biggest difference I have seen is the capacity for people to say “I’m sorry” to each other in the most helpful and restorative ways.

Love – when the beauty of the world is a reflection of you and you
reflect the beauty of the world.
NIQAB – The Quebec Situation and the Cynical Quest to Keep Things Veiled.
Ouff. So, so emotional. I actually took a post down on my Face Book wall because the topic spun out of control. It was not long before people were talking about any number of things, including Bill 101 (Quebec’s language bill) – the connection to “religious neutrality” being rather unclear to me – except that it is clear that my home province is really on edge about a lot of things. Maybe we all are, everywhere. And that’s my point.
For me, the Niqab debate (at least in its current form) represents a crisis of leadership that threatens our very own relationships on a greater scale – not one on one so much – as much as on how we live as cities and towns – as potential friends and neighbors – church members and other forms of community volunteers – people wanting a better life for everybody.I mean, here is one of the greatest ironies of the debate. On one hand, you have some very passionate people saying that this is about a woman’s rights: That no one (in this case the government) should have the right to tell a woman that she can’t wear something. On the other hand, you have some equally passionate people saying that it’s about a woman’s rights: That no one (in this case her religion or husband) should have the right to force a woman to wear something.

What I find ironic is that the two positions are not in-congruent. In the right atmosphere, you could see where they could function together to create a freer society – and yet we fight and fight and fight.

If my own daughter came to me in earnest that she wanted to wear a Niqab – most certainly I would be concerned. AND – the most important thing for me to do would be to have a deep, loving and honest discussion with her as to why. Not easy – for sure – but that is what it would take.

Now…. ask yourself this.

In what way are our governments fostering honest discussion?

Well the answer is that they are not. In fact, their silence is deafening because in the vacuum created by their silence, we have been screaming at each other. In my mind, the most cynical thing I have seen is the non-commitment of clarifying simple things (don’t confuse “simple” with “easy”) and allowing things to fester into a perfect storm. There must be elections on the horizon.

The response is simple – continue to demand more of your leaders. But don’t let it stop there. Demand more of yourself also. Clarity always brings the path to light. Seek to understand and build a bridge rather than seek to judge and tear a bridge down.

Until there is dialogue beyond thrust-and-parry exchange – dialogue in search of truth and context there will never be understanding and acceptance. It takes more courage to do this than we may think.
#METOO – Healing Can Get Crowded. Let’s Not Step on Each Other’s Toes.A friend of mine posted an article that intersected with her personal journey. I know her. She is a light to her community. She would never intentionally hurt anybody. She needed to share. She made that clear on her Face Book wall.

But that conversation went off the rails anyway. She too felt the need to shut it down. Too many people pushing others out of the way – shouting at each other from their place of frustration or pain or grief or… you fill in the blank. I got caught in it – trying to referee where I should have prayed instead. It is so hard to not be human sometimes – if you get my meaning. I wrote her privately to apologize.

My point is this: Everybody hurts at some point. And there is never any healing to be found by putting a price on that.

Jesus reminded us that the First Shall be Last and the Last Shall Be First. The Apostle Paul reminded us that in true community, when one suffers, we all suffer and that when one rejoices, we all rejoice.

And I believe that when we reach out to each other in love, things have a way of finding their place, we become connected in greater resolve to overcome our collective hurt – because each of us contributes a part of the bigger story. It’s about making room for each other, not deciding whose suffering merits more attention.

So, if you are out there I would like to add this from myself: I hear you on many levels – and let’s just leave it at that. My ears are always there to listen. My community’s doors are always open. There are many good churches out there for certain. And…..I am proud to say that Carleton Memorial is one of them. You will find a safe place here if you need it.

For healing to happen, one person must be free to deal with their own suffering in their own time and place without being hampered by the suffering of another. In turn, that “other person” must also be free for their healing to take place. And so on. It does not take louder voices or smarter comebacks for this to happen. It takes more time and more space and above all – more steadfastness – not so much to wait people out, but rather to stand with them so that eventually we all stand together.
FAITH – Not Blind Belief in Magic But Steadfast Belief in the Piece of the Divine That Lives in Each of Us.Often I find that there is too much comfort in being only “a little bit afraid”. It’s why people can stay stuck for a very, very long time in a place that over the long term is really not healthy. To be clear, I’m not talking about the really hard cases where people are enslaved in some way – that is a social justice conversation for another time. I’m talking about the first-world stuff – the baggage we carry that damages us enough to keep us stuck but where the damage is not so complete that we are without hope.

Faith, my friends, can be about so many human things. Find beauty wherever you can, in whomever you meet, as best as possible. And by God’s grace, find a way to put that into motion with others around you.

That, and only that, is what will get us all to where we need to go in one piece.

Be blessed. Be a blessing.

Rev. Eric Lukacs

The Apostle Paul said that life boils down to three things –
Faith, Hope and Love. Enough said.