My Editorial for the Tecumseh Tribune this week….
If you are a sports fan, this is a great time of year. The Baseball season is about to begin. Who does not like going to the park for the first time of the year and hearing the crack of a bat, smell the fresh cut grass, and biting into that ballpark frank, and perhaps imbibing on an appropriate beverage? Hope springs eternal for the Tigers. If you are a Jays fan, well I guess hope really springs eternal! I look forward to a trip to Comerica Park to see our Tigers hopefully get off to a wonderful start.
If baseball is not to your liking, fret not. The NHL playoffs are about to begin. With half a dozen games left for most teams, the final playoff positions are still up for grabs making for a playoff atmosphere for the last games of the season. If you are a Leafs fan – I am sorry! Again, hope springs eternal. At the time of writing, there is still an outside chance, but I will go out on a limb and declare that the Leafs golf season will begin on the same day that the regular season ends. If you are a Wings fan, you may have been hopeful, until Jimmy Howard went down with an injury. Perhaps that good Cape Breton boy Joey MacDonald will backstop Lidstrom and his gang to the Stanley Cup Final. If you are a Habs fan, join me in a collective groan. We have watched our team besieged by injury do well most of the year to go a stretch of three games this past week without a goal at all. I am not sure I will be singing ‘Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole’ much in the weeks ahead, but as I said hope springs eternal!
Not a hockey fan?…or a baseball fan? You like blood sports better you say? Good news then – The band of bombasts and belligerents who are known as Members of Parliament in Ottawa have cast us into an election campaign. I know, I know! You are so excited you can barely contain yourself, but please try if you can. In the 30 or so days that remain we are no doubt going to be treated to a barrage of attack ads from all sides and a litany of promises of what might happen one day if they are elected. In this game, I am afraid that I feel that hope does NOT spring eternal. The differences between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff are negligible. They are both policy wonks and neither really connect with the people. The one national leader who does resonate with Canadians is leader of the NDP. Most pundits agree that Jack Layton is the best leader on the campaign trail, yet most of the country will not give the NDP a mandate to lead. (I hasten to add here that we have a strong NDP MP in Joe Comartin who works hard for his constituents). Gilles Duceppe is the most interesting and funniest leader the campaign trail and he is a separatist. Ms Elizabeth May is the greenest leader and she is still trying to win one seat – need I say more? Hope does NOT spring eternal as May 2 approaches.
All that said, if you are like me you will have remote in hand and you will be ready to channel surf from the ball game, to the NHL playoffs, to Survivor Ottawa. There will not likely be much blood at the ballpark. We should see some blood on the trip to the Stanley Cup, but for sure there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the race toward government on May 02. So if you want rough, knock em down and drag ‘em out sports – Hope does spring eternal. In the meantime, if you expect much change and a government that will address the issues facing Canadians – it may be hopeless.There is a real bankruptcy of leadership. I miss the days of dynamic federal leaders. Forget the political stripe I just miss strong and dynamic leaders. I am remembering names like Lester B. Pearson, John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield, Ed Broadbent, Tommy Douglas, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and even Brian Mulroney and wishing for days gone by. As we follow the three sports of hockey, baseball and politics we know that predictions are tricky business. But I will go out on a limb again and suggest that the Leafs have a better chance at winning a cup this spring than the country has of a having a strong leader as Prime Minister come May 02.
Colin Powell said
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
Some dreams seem very attainable and others are farther away and indeed take more work, and more determination. I have been absent from writing now for a month. In no small way it is because I have been praying about how I can make dreams a reality. Some dreams are big and some are small.
I, for instance, am dreaming of making it through Lent without French fries. So I need the determination and will power to stick to my guns and avoid that evil little fried potato. But it is all relative….
Conquering the French fry is small in comparison to the larger goal of losing significant weight so I might be healthier. To make that dream a reality, it will again need determination, sweat and loads of hard work. But it is all relative…
The dream of losing weight seems to demand less than the dream of completing my thesis for my doctoral work. As I am working currently on my ‘final thesis proposal’ and I am keenly aware of how much determination and hard work is needed to get through this process. But it is all relative…
The subject of my writing is the call to embrace our baptismal promise to strive for peace and unity for all people and to respect the dignity of every human being. Specifically, I am suggesting that a faithful expression of that baptismal covenant demands that we engage conversation and not conversion with the world’s religions. This is a dream that needs the hard work and determination of all the people of God. This takes some real hard work, and determination. Peace and unity will not happen by some stroke of magic. We must get to know one another better. Some might suggest that we have no need to converse with people of different faiths, that it serves no purpose…that sort of discourse is an obstacle that we must overcome. Resistance is a part of the hard work I would suggest. We need to be heartened by the words of the Dalai Lama who reminds us that this work may well be an exercise in getting to know ourselves better.
“If we are each to contribute to religious harmony and a more peaceful world, followers of different religions must be true to what they believe. When you discover the deeper value of your own tradition through actual practice, you will come to recognize the value of other traditions as well.”
The dream of peace and unity for all people is closer to us when we realize that we can best achieve it by being true to what we believe. The deep value of our own tradition is that we are called to be a people who go beyond tolerating others to loving others. Our tradition calls us not just to love the neighbour but also to love and welcome the stranger.
Gustav Niebuhr in his book Beyond Tolerance writes:
“Dialogue is an activity that represents a state of relations going well beyond tolerance…You can coexist with people without ever having to speak meaningfully with them. What holds society together is not just people who will tolerate others, but people who will actually go beyond that, to provide the glue that nourishes social relationships.”
That glue that he refers to is knowledge and understanding and my hope is that our work as a parish might bring more people together toward dialogue, conversation and understanding. This is not an easy task. We are up against people like Terry Jones who burned a Qur’an last week. He intends to visit Dearborn in April to protest outside the Islamic Center there. With ‘Christians’ who behave this way, dialogue can be difficult. There is much to do, there are dreams to work toward…But it is all relative.
On a side note, I have been dreaming of getting back to blogging – with some determination, that dream has been achieved….and I am French fry free now for 21 days…I dream on….