DEAR HARRIETTE: In the past few weeks, there's been a major shake-up in the leadership at my place of worship, resulting in discord with the church members. I've heard that some of the members are planning to leave the church to worship somewhere else. I would like to know what I can do to keep morale up while we are going through our transition. -- Tough Times, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR TOUGH TIMES: When there is significant difficulty in a church community, particularly when it involves the leadership, it is natural that some parishioners will choose to leave.
For you, what's most important is to decide how you feel about the shake-up that has occurred. Do you believe your institution can weather this storm in a way that will make you still feel welcome? Do you want to stay? Is there another house of worship you want to consider attending? Who can you talk to in your church to figure out what's really going on?
Since you want to help boost morale, it sounds like you want to step into a leadership role yourself. If so, you need to know where things stand now throughout the organization's leadership. Then be clear on your spiritual principles. If you believe in the power of prayer, for example, you might suggest that the congregation begin a special prayer circle where you pray and talk about the challenges the congregation is facing.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When average people eat breakfast, they usually drink a beverage that's associated with the first meal of the day, i.e., fruit juice, water, tea or coffee. Not my best friend. He is the exception to the rule. My friend drinks beer, with a bagel and cream cheese on the side. He claims it's a breakfast of champions.
I love my best friend, but I think he is insane. Can you offer some insight to this problem? -- Friend to the End, Queens, N.Y.
DEAR FRIEND TO THE END: Your friend is living in a fantasy world. He knows that beer is not a breakfast drink.
Do you think your best friend is unhappy? I ask, because if someone chooses to get intoxicated shortly after waking up, there's a good chance he isn't content. Indeed, it could mean that he is intent on escaping his life.
If you think he's unhappy, you could -- as his best friend -- start talking to him about what's going on with him. Ultimately, he has to wake up to the reality of his life. You cannot do that for him. You can only nudge him.
You also could invite him to breakfast and tell him you are making him a healthy morning meal. Ask him to indulge you and enjoy it. Will you convince him to change his ways? Doubtful. You may be able to get him to eat well once in a while.