- by Pat McDonough

Ten days ago, I was elected to the Board of Directors for OSHaRE - the Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort. When I told a friend of my decision, she said to me, "You must be crazy. When will you find time for that?" Good question.

It's not really a question of time, though. It's more a question of how to live a good life. From that perspective, I don't see that there's much choice; I can't live a good life unless I'm in life.

What made my decision to join the OSHaRE Board easy was a book that I was reading. The author, an American, was describing the downfall of western society. He was writing about how the gap between those "with" and those "without" was expanding faster than ever before. He gave examples of how governments at every level are under pressure to provide essential social services without the resources to do that effectively. He wrote that when society starts to struggle with these challenges, the ones who suffer most are those who rely on the compassion, generosity and kindness of others. The author wrote that societies will ultimately fail if the level of civic engagement falls below a certain critical point.

In management terms, civic engagement is defined as "the process of helping people become active participants in building and strengthening their communities, whether defined as a place, or a shared identity or interest." In Christian terms, civic engagement is defined more simply; we call it the Golden Rule and it goes like this: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The soup kitchen at OSHaRE is a practical demonstration of the Golden Rule and an opportunity for civic engagement. OSHaRE is a community of sorts, just like our congregation is, just like our neighbourhood is. Of course it will take a bit of time and energy to be a member of the Board there. But, to be honest with you, it's no different than the time I take every day to get some exercise, or to eat healthily. It's all part of living a good life - what else am I to do?

Blessings and peace to all.

Take This Thought Away With You

The longest journey sometimes is between your mind and your heart.
~ Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Native American activist ~