“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CAMPAIGN FOR WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VAN

Please help me purchase a wheelchair accessible van. I have had
aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 32 years which has left me completely wheelchair dependent and living on a modest disability. The cost of a new wheelchair accessible van is $77,000. Not only will it enhance my life but assist me to continue to spread take a message of life with dignity for people with disabilities.

Donations can be made to my GoFundMe account at  https://www.gofundme.com/2rnxyktc or send by email transfer to mpickup@shaw.ca 

Thank you for helping me reach this goal.

Mark

Monday, September 26, 2016

PROMISED EMBRYONIC STEM CELL CURES DIDN'T MATERIALIZE

Fifteen years ago I said I would refuse any stem cell therapy for MS that involved embryonic sources. Why? Because it would have involved the destruction of another human being in embryonic form. It was considered bizarre by many people. "Don't you want to walk again?" they would ask. Of course, I would love to be restored to my former self -- to swim, ski, bicycle with grandchildren, to dance with my wife -- but not at the cost of another life. I wrote a number of articles for publications like Canada's National Post newspaper repudiating the moral corruption of embryonic stem cell research or therapies.Radio and television stations called for interviews. Even the Washington Times called. 

That time proved to be a defining point for me. Would I succumb to the temptation of being delivered from a horrible disease that was destroying me if it required killing another human being? Granted, it would have been tempting if a restorative cure had been developed for MS using embryonic sources. Sadly I would have to turn away from it. I could not accept it. Some principles rise above self-interests.


I've spent most of my adult life espousing human rights -- the highest of which is the universal right to life for every human being from conception to natural death. It is a moral absolute that I could not abandon even for my own benefit.


Now, 15 years later, it seems all the promise of treatments and cure for diseases like MS using embryonic sources did not deliver the promise while other stem cells have been developed. I was saved from a diabolical temptation for personal gain at the cost of someone else's life. See article below. Some principles rise above political gain. President Bush was right. 

It's doubtful that mainstream media like the New York Times and CNN, who were so enthusiastic to tout the promises of embryonic stem cell research 15 years ago, will not go back now to report its failure.  



Christopher White, "Bush has been vindicated by stem cell decision", Crux (taking the Catholic pulse)

HUMAN PURPOSE IS FOUND IN 'WE' NOT 'ME'

The engine of survival for any healthy society lies in interdependence not in personal autonomy. (Unfettered person autonomy is highly prized by "progressives".) Personal autonomy feeds abortion clinics and assisted suicide. Personal autonomy is a human poverty disguised as 21st century virtue; we must move away from it and toward an interdependence that embraces human vulnerability and ennobles caregiving. Real human purpose is found in 'we' not 'me', in giving rather than getting. Cherish each other or perish alone.

Friday, September 23, 2016

THE VENERABLE BISHOP FULTON SHEEN SPEAKS ABOUT THE DEVIL

And now, I want to present a video of the Venerable Fulton Sheen's teaching on the Devil (courtesy of Youtube). Bishop Sheen died 37 years ago in 1979, yet his words are poignant today as when they were uttered.  Click on the image below or this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuCw8UT5y6c


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DAVID MAINSE: A GREAT SERVANT OF CHRIST


David Mainse prays with Billy Graham
on 100 Huntley Street (late 1970s?)
David Mainse is a well known Canadian Christian television personality. He is the founder of Crossroads Christian communications with its flag ship television daily Christian talk show 100 Huntley Street. For over 50 years David has brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation. Crossroads has expanded its ministries beyond television and today its work reaches around the Globe.[1]

My association with David goes back to mid-1990s. I appeared a number of times on 100 Huntley Street. Crossroads produced a documentary about my life for their series Stories of Our Becoming. 


Cover for the video
To Be,  Or Not To Be
-- the Human Family"
David Mainse was instrumental in the realization and production of a half hour TV feature about assisted suicide and disability that I wrote and narrated (2001). It was called "To Be, or not to be -- the Human Family: A disabled man's plea". I wrote it because I could see that North America was headed in that direction. We produced a Canadian version and an American version. My daughter was the producer and David was Executive Producer. It was aired across North America numerous times on religious programming with cable networks, Crossroads and EWTN.

In fact, I was at the Crossroads studios in Burlington Ontario for another 100 Huntley Street the day David made his announcement he was going to retire and pass the mantle to his son Ron. The building's chapel was full as we watched David place his hands on Ron and pray his blessing. A new phase of ministry began and I was there to witness the event. 


Norma Jean and David Mainse
celebrate their 58th wedding
anniversary
David is an old man now -- much loved by his wife, family and the nation. He and his wife Norma Jean recently celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary and his son Ron shared a photograph of that occasion. 

Until we are in heaven, we will not know how many thousand upon thousands of people David Mainse led to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ over the years. 

____________________
[1] https://www.crossroads.ca/about

Sunday, September 18, 2016

TO REPENT AND FOLLOW CHRIST

In Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus we read:

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.* The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.* 24He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” 25But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” 27He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” 29Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” 30He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” -- Luke 17.19-30

From Jesus words, three observations come immediately to my mind. Firstly, behaviour on this side of the grave has a direct impact on consequences on the other side of the grave. Secondly, there is a place of torment that involves flames and another place of great peace and joy. Thirdly, and perhaps most revealingly, we are also told that some people will refuse to believe the truth of the Scriptures, or Christ, even in the face of something as dramatic as a resurrection from the dead! This became abundantly clear a short time after Jesus said these words, with his own resurrection. People still refused to believe.

We should also remember that after Jesus raised a different Lazarus from the dead, religious leaders plotted to kill him again (John 12.11-12). Some people are so opposed to the truth of Christ that they will even corrupt evidence instead of accepting and internalizing it. Why is that? 

They will exchange the truth for a lie, self-glorification over glorifying God and love the created more rather than the Creator. (Cf. Romans 1.21-32, Jeremiah 2.5.) Christ offers his free gift of salvation but following him costs something. That something is everything. 

Christ calls a rebellious generation to lay down their rebellion and surrender their whole being to Him. That means to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and their neighbour with as fervent a love as they have for themselves (Matthew 22.37-39, cf. Deuteronomy 6.5, 10.12, 30.6.) For most people it's too much. Perhaps this has something to do with the narrow gate that leads to life and few are on it yet the broad way that leads to destruction has many. (Matthew 7.13-14)


The cost to follow Christ is simply too dear. He calls people from undeveloped spiritual vagueness to become wholly holy ... to emerge squinting from spiritual darkness into Christ's intense light -- revealing and perfecting. Perfecting invariably involves pain.  (See Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 1430-1431.)


To follow Christ requires a change of mind, heart and morals (cf. CCC,368.) It requires a shift from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. People's lifestyles, status, possessions, addictions, or other worldliness may be too important to them. They want a new set of values to accommodate those things.

Venerable Fulton Sheen
(1895-1979)

Fulton Sheen wrote about the human desire to adopt new ethical systems, "...the tailoring of new standards of "morals" to suit our immoral ways of living."  They want a creed that suits their behaviour and deeds and demands little from them.


I am increasing convinced that most people do not have an intellectual problem with God, they have a moral problem with God. It's not that they can't believe in God, their will is stubborn and they won't believe in God. They want God on their terms not His terms. It can't be that way. God is perfect but humanity is deeply flawed and sinful. To ask a perfect God of love (1John 4.8) to be content with humanity's imperfections of evil and not desire their removal, is to ask God not to be God. He was prepared to go to drastic lengths to make provision to reconcile sinful humanity back to himself for eternity (See John 3.16, 1John 2.1-2, 4.8-10. Also CCC, 976-987, 1422-1456)


Perhaps someone will say, "But I want God to accept me just the way I am." He will. That is what Calvary was all about. But that perfect God is the very essence of love and won't leave the imperfections unattended. They must be removed from the beloved to become more Christ-like. That is spiritual pilgrimage. Perhaps someone else will comment, "I just want God to leave me alone." If that's what is really wanted, God will do that too. That's leads to Hell.

It is not God's desire that anyone would be lost (cf. Ezekiel 33.11, John 3.16, 1Timothy 2.3-5, 2Peter 3.9.) But God sets the terms of his heaven and salvation. Salvation that leads to God comes exclusively through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14.6, Acts 4.12).


There is someone who rose from the dead: It is Jesus Christ. There are millions of people are here who have encountered him: It is Jesus Christ. There is no need for anyone to live in present or future torment without Him. His Church can help to point the way to love the Lord your God with all our hearts, souls and our minds, and to love others as ourselves.


[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPgKcAAvwSU Video: the parable of the rich man and Lazarus]









Thursday, September 15, 2016

LONGING FOR INTERNAL PEACE


In the 11 th Chapter of Isaiah we read

“The wolf will live with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the kid,
He calf and the lion and fatling together,
And a little child shall lead them.”

The imagery is of a future time of universal peace.

There is an innate longing deep within the human heart for peace and harmony. Until Christ comes again to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, it will not be. But until then, He offers his followers internal peace that passes human understanding (see Philippians 4. 6-7). That peace has a transformative quality that can change even devilish people into saints.  History is replete with examples.

Prior to his ascension into heaven, Jesus told his disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift ― peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give you isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you ― I am going away, but I will come back to you again.” (John 14.27-28.) The same peace is available to you and me. 

Christ’s peace is not a peace given by the world. As Pope Benedict so concisely stated in his book The Infancy Narratives: Jesus of Nazareth (2012): “The peace of Jesus is a peace that the world cannot give. Ultimately the question here is what redemption, liberation and salvation actually mean.”  The world cannot give this peace because it does not understand it; it is a spiritual currency that the broken-hearted and contrite understand. 

Without Christ, the longing for internal peace is either illusive or counterfeit.  Jesus is the author of all we know and all that is unknown (see John 1.1-5 & 12-18). Do not discount this important truth. It is important because even when our world seems to be falling apart we can still have peace in Christ and salvation.  His peace is rooted in forgiveness and deliverance from our sins through his sacrificial offering on the cross (see Colossians 1.12-20).

The absence of Christ’s peace can (and does) turn gentle souls into cynical, stone hearted people. The world’s cruelty can sear individual and even collective human consciences.  We see this in such things as abortion, child and elder abuse, euthanasia, assisted suicide and pornography that is increasingly common as society turns away from Christ and his teachings.
 
Despite this, and in the midst of human violence and spiritual corruption, Christ still offers his peace to all who come to know Him. This peace that passes human understanding was made evident to me, even in the storms of life and the terrors of degenerative disability ― especially during the terrors of degeneration! I have found peace of mind and heart, just as Jesus promised.  The darker my physical reality becomes the more evident and certain the light of Christ becomes.

There have been times when my disease threatened to engulf me; my prayerful cries were met with a deep peace that overtook the fear. I cannot explain it logically. An inaudible but real message of assurance “Be not afraid, I am with you” descended upon me to over-take the raging flames of terror.  I have written about this before.

Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Counselor. The Holy Spirit’s counsel is continually pointing us to the truth of Christ as the way of eternal life. Saint Paul called the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8.9, Galatians 4.6, Philippians 1.19).  It is the spirit of Christ that gives us peace.

Christ ha been the source of peace not only in the here and now but year after year, decade after decade, century after century, throughout the ages. 

The heavenly host that announced the Messiah’s birth said, “Glory be to God in the highest and on earth peace to those whom his favour rests.” Again, Pope Benedict commented on this passage found in the second Chapter of Luke: “”God’s glory” is not something brought about by men (Glory be to God). The “glory” of God is real, God is glorious, and this is truly a reason for joy: there is truth, there is goodness, there is beauty. It is there―in God― indestructibly.” (The Infancy Narratives, p.74.)  The glory of God that angels sung about at Christ’s birth is still available to us.

Christ’s peace is glorious and good and true. It brings joy and hope.  My disease and deteriorating health cannot alter any of this. There is nothing that happens to me in this world that can rob me of the eternal hope that is within me. 

[Click image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJx_Lu4PymE "The Deer's Cry" by Angelina. ]