Agree or Disagree: Justin Bieber is being bullied.

Agree or Disagree: This man is being bullied.

You know who this is,

This picture has been all over the internet today. You might have heard that he was arrested for DUI and drag racing charges in Miami.

Now, I went on Twitter and the conversation was quite interesting.

Some felt he was getting what he deserved.

Others wanted to remind us that he is depressed. That he is a victim of some terrible circumstances and he deserves a break. They feel that these attacks are not fair and he deserves your compassion.

What do you think of the treatment of Justin Bieber today?

Agree or Disagree: Society is supportive of those who struggle with substance abuse.


The past week, the world’s eyes have been glued to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.  Ever since Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that they had the now infamous video of Ford smoking crack cocaine. There was the subsequent denial and then admission of Ford smoking crack cocaine. There was another video of him acting inebriated making threatening remarks and swearing.

There have been many jokes made at his expense. Many have had a good laugh over this. And while there has been this laughter, I had to stop and really look at this situation. Not because I like Rob Ford. But because there is a serious situation happening before our eyes.   

It is pretty obvious to all of us watching that Rob Ford has a problem. A very serious substance abuse problem. Whether he admits it or not, he need serious help. The reality is he is not the only one who does. I recently read a CBC report that estimated that 11% of Canadians struggle with substance abuse. That number seems low too me for some reason. However, let me ask some questions? Before I do ask, I’m not asking this to be self-righteous or critical, but bring a perspective I was thinking about.

What if this was your friend and your friend was acting like this?

What if it was your brother and or sister and they were acting like this?

What if it was your spouse and they were acting like this?

What if it was your parent and they were acting like this?

What if it was you?

It seems easy to post a joke, or go to a public protest and demand a resignation of a figure that is “embarrassing your city”. It gets much tougher when we add the element of human being  you know with real problems in the mix. Because, many you know in a personal way how hard it is to go through this. Supporting recovery, or trying to recover yourself. 

What I have been thinking about and what I would like to talk about is how as a society deals with the topic of substance abuse? Is it a place of support? Are we open to the discussion? Or, are we ignoring it? 

My small observation of what we have watched this week might suggest we can improve here.

Agree or Disagree: Our culture deals well with grief and loss

To be honest with you, this post comes with a bit of trepidation.

Generally when I post, I’m quite confident with the discussion we are about to engage in. I’m not concerned what you think of me personally. Or the perception you have of my motivations.

This one I kind of did. I tried to look for something else to fit for tonight.  I couldn’t. Here’s  the reason why.

Last week, I wrote a little bit about learning of a friend of mine passing away last week. You can read that here.

The reason I had some trepidation is there was some thoughts in my head. I was thinking you might be thinking I’m still grieving. Or, that I’m still sad. And maybe some might wonder why he still needs to talk about this.

I knew then that it needed to be discussed. 

Not because I’m not “ok”. But because if I had this kind of concerns, the fact is we as a culture probably do not deal with grief and loss. If I had these concerns, I knew I wasn’t alone. Others might have them. And it’s important to talk about them.

Here’s something interesting to note. On average, employers will give three days of time off work for grieving a loss of a family member.  Notice,I mention family member and not friend. There are places that actually will not give time off if it’s a friend. Many counsellors and psychologists would agree that this is generally not enough. 

Or, in Christian circles, I have observed some interesting reactions. If you lose a loved one, one of the first questions asked is if they are “saved”. If they are, we can rejoice because they are in heaven. If not, we are then sad because they are not. The question of the actual person who has lost someone and how they are doing seem to be far down the list.

Based on these two examples, a trend I have observed is we want to rush through the process. We don’t want people to linger in sadness. If you are the one losing someone, you also don’t want people to think that you are weak. You have to show the ability to move on, and smile. Or, so it feels at times. 

I know this is not a topic we can solve in one night, but perhaps this post can open the door to having better conversations around this topic. 

Unless, you think and have experienced something different. How do you think we as culture deals with grief and loss