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Dear Tracey,

Thirty-nine years ago last month I stood up in St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Toronto with eleven other young men and women to do what you are doing this morning – or I suppose by now, have already done.

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There are many disturbing elements in the story of the “man of the city who had demons” in Luke 8:26-39.

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The remaining three reasons John Pavlovitz gave in 2015 for the exodus from church are challenging and important. Below, with my comments are the three final reasons Pavlovitz believes people are leaving church (again please read his version @ https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/244545-dear-church-heres-people-really-leaving.html)

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Acts of mercy, kindness and compassion are an integral part of a mature spiritual life.

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The cross presents a bleak and painful picture. It is tempting to look away in despair in the face of this darkness. But, when I continue to behold the pain, I find light begins to break through.

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After their frightening encounter with Ali Fayattia and his men, the monks of Tibhirine return to their true work. They share the familiar rhythms of the sacred liturgy of Christmas Eve. They embody in their ritual, the reality of this holy night of peace that has been interrupted by the threat of violence.

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Following the reading from the essay by Christian Chessel in “Of Gods And Men”, the monks of Tibhirine, hear a short reading from Carlo Carretto (2 April 1910 – 4 October 1988).

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Clearly, the young woman who asks Brother Luc about love near the beginning of the film “Of Gods And Men” is pondering how she might know in her life the presence of real love in its romantic form.

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The 2010 French film “Of Gods And Men” directed by Xavier Bueavois tells the story of a small community of Trappist monks who lived peacefully among their Arab neighbours in the tiny Cistercian priory of Our Lady of Atlas in the Atlas mountains near Tibhirine in Algeria, in the closing decades of the twentieth century.

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There is no easy way to navigate hard decisions. But there are attitudes and commitments that make it more likely that I will find my way to a better choice:

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You have set my feet in a spacious place ~ Psalm 31:8

Pre-April 2010 posts: http://inaspaciousplace.blogspot.com/

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