“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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

IMPORTANCE OF QUIET MOMENTS WITH GOD

Throughout more than 30 years with chronic degenerative multiple
sclerosis, I have spent long periods of time convalescing. It was in the solitude and stillness of my sickroom that God's voice became evident in that enforced quiet. Is that a blessing? Yes, it believe it has been. I have drawn closer to my Redeemer despite and even because of my illness and vulnerability. 

I think a tool of Satan has been business, frenetic activity and noise in people's lives to block out the voice God. Quietude is sacred. Sometimes achieving it must be deliberately sought  by people.

In the 15th Century Christian classic book The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) he wrote:

"I will listen to what the Lord God will say to me.[1] Blessed is the soul that listens when the Lord speaks to it [2] and receives  consoling words from His lips."

"Blessed are the ears that are attuned to God's quiet whisper [3] and ignore the world's raucous sounds. Blessed, indeed, are the ears that disregard the noises outside and  wholly attend to the voice teaching truth within."

Thomas a Kempis
(1380-1471)
"Blessed are the eyes that are closed to the outer world and are fixed on interior things. Blessed are they who discover these inward realities and try to prepare themselves by daily prayerful exercises to better understand the secrets of heaven. Blessed are they who are wholly occupied with God and have shaken off the manacles of the world."

God says in the Psalms to "Be still, and know that I am God."[4] Jesus went into solitude of the wilderness to pray and spend time with the God the Father. 

Quietude is an important aspect to the Christians prayer life. And as Thomas a Kempis alluded to we must guard what comes in to us by our eyes and ears that may corrupt our interior spiritual life or divert our attention to God. 

Guard your quiet moments with God and purity of heart.

MDP
_____________________
[1] Psalm 85.9.
[2] 1 Samuel 3.9.
[3] 1 Kings  19.12.
[4] Psalm 46.10.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MY LETTER TO CANADA'S SUPREME COURT REGARDING ASSISTED SUICIDE

Canada's Supreme Court is considering the matter of assisted suicide. Will they strike down the nation's laws against it, just like they struck down Canada's law on abortion in 1988? I fear they may but pray they will not. On October 16th 2014 I wrote an urgent letter to the Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin pleading with the high court not to strike down Canada's laws pertaining to assisted suicide. Below is the text of that letter.
____________________


Dear Chief Justice McLachlin:

Canada’s Supreme Court is considering the case of Kay Carter and physician assisted suicide. As a Canadian who has been incurably ill and disabled for more than 30 years with degenerative multiple sclerosis (MS), I implore the Supreme Court not to strike down Canada’s laws prohibiting assisted suicide. The laws are there to protect vulnerable people when they are at their lowest point of life and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Let me illustrate:  

I was diagnosed with MS in 1984. At about the 2-3 year point in my downhill slide with MS, my grief was so profound and unimaginable, my sorrow so deep, my heartache so sharp, that my judgment was clouded (although I did not know that at the time). If assisted suicide had been available in the mid-1980s, and if I not had surrounded by people who held up my value even when I doubted it, I may have taken my life at a low point. I am so glad now that did not happen. I needed to safely grieve and not be helped with a death wish I might have expressed at my lowest point. Back then, I could not see past my darkness. I had no idea that the future would eventually grace my life with five beautiful grandchildren to love and new avenues for joy and new reasons to live despite my chronic, incurable, degenerate disease and serious disability.

You will hear much about unbearable pain and suffering. Such arguments are suitable to the 1970s not the 21st Century. Pain management has become so advanced it can eliminate all physical pain. Ottawa’s Dr. John Scott is a world renowned palliative care and pain management specialist. He wrote:

“The World Health Organization has demonstrated that access to pain-relieving drugs, along with a simple education program, can achieve relief in the vast majority of patients. Specialists in various parts of the world estimate that these basic approaches can control 85-98 percent of cases. The remaining cases require more careful attention and the use of multiple drugs and therapies to achieve complete relief.” [Emphasis mine.]

 Those words were written back in 1995. How much more has the wonderful science of pain relief progressed in these intervening 19 years?! If someone is suffering great pain in 2014, they do not need suicide, they need a new doctor! For a civilized society, the answer to suffering is never to kill the sufferer rather to protect and care for them within state-of-the-art palliation which does not, and must not, include suicide or euthanasia.                                                                                                               
AUTONOMY VERSUS COMMUNITY

I want to conclude with this thought: Many people hold up personal autonomy and independence as the highest right. But if you value community they are not the highest right. The idea of independent personal autonomy is diametrically opposed to the concept of interdependent community.  One person’s actions don’t affect just them. They never do. If I choose assisted suicide it will affect my wife, my children and my grandchildren. It will affect my doctor because I will ask her to stop being a healer and become my killer. My suicide will affect my community and, in a small way, it will affect my nation by helping to entrench the notion there is such a thing as a life unworthy to be lived.

No Madam Chief Justice, no one has a right to assisted suicide and that includes the incurably ill and disabled, like me. It will not just affect me – it will help to put in peril vulnerable people who will come after me. No matter how sick I become I still have a responsibility to the Common Good of society and posterity. I have a right to expect the best palliative care available and those things that foster life with dignity, even at its end.

Believe me,
dear Chief Justice,
Yours sincerely.

Mark Davis Pickup

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HLM BLOG EXCEEDS 320,000 HITS

This HumanLifeMatters blog has exceeded 320,000 hits from a growing international readership. Tell your friends to visit http://HumanLifeMatters.org often for a Christian perspective on critical Life issues, end-of-life issues as well as faith and family. If you would like to contribute articles or post events of a state, provincial, national or international nature, write to HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca with articles or posters embedded in the body of your email. 

To contribute financially to HumanLifeMatters' work publishing Christian messages regarding euthanasia, assisted suicide, end-of-life-issues, suffering, faith and family, use the donate button on the right side of the blog. 

CANADA'S SUPREME COURT AND ASSISTED SUICIDE


Tomorrow (October 15th) Canada's Supreme Court is expected to
deliberate on the Kay Carter case with respect to assisted suicide.[1] In anticipation of this momentous decision that may change the character  of how Canadians with incurable conditions serious disabilities are treated, Canada's Euthanasia Prevention commented:

"The Supreme Court is hearing the euthanasia case from British Columbia on October 15.This case is based on the June 2012 decision by Justice Smith in the Carter case. Smith decided that Canada's law protecting people from assisted suicide was unconstitutional because it denied equality for people who are physically incapacitated of killing themselves. Smith also decided that Canada needed to legalize euthanasia for similar cases."

"Smith was wrong. There is no right to suicide and Canada's laws were designed to equally protect all Canadians from euthanasia and assisted suicide." [2]

Indeed there is no right to suicide in Canada. In fact in October 2012, Canada's Parliament gave UNANIMOUS support to the idea of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. It should be noted that the Liberal Party later went back on that support by supporting a party resolution stating they would change the law to legalize assisted suicide for the sick and disabled. We are left to conclude that a Liberal government would still provide the healthy population of Canada the benefit of suicide prevention counselling and care. 

So what will Canada's Supreme Court decide in the Carter case?
Although I hope I'm wrong, I'm not hopeful. The Supreme Court of Canada has a long history of morally corrupt decisions when it comes to fundamental human dignity dating back over a 100 years. Until 1929, the Supreme Court of Canada held that women were not legal persons. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion law leaving Canada's unborn children with no protection whatsoever. As one Canadian organization noted:

"Canada is the only Western nation without restrictions on when a woman can request and receive  an abortion. In fact, to the best of our knowledge we possess this dubious distinction with only one other country in the world: North Korea." [3] 

Canada's Supreme Court consistently maintains that personhood begins at birth despite the fact that biology proved long ago human life begins at conception. Canada's Supreme Court maintains its legal fiction in defiance of the principal of universal human rights. The word universal means everyone. It is my opinion that the Supreme Court of Canada, led by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, is driven more by ideology that justice. And that's why I fear what they will decide about assisted suicide.

If Canada's Supreme Court decides in favour of assisted suicide, it will deny equality and protection of the law for Canada's incurably ill and severely disabled. It will remove the disabled from the embrace of universal human rights, of which the first a highest right is the right to life.[4] 

The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not declare a right to death. Death is an eventually that will visit us all, but to impose it is murder, isn't it? The immorality of suicide (assisted or otherwise) it does change regardless of what Beverley McLachlin and Canada's Supreme Court says. 

Does Canada believe in suicide prevention or assisted suicide? Do Canada's incurably ill and disabled deserve the same protections as the healthy population? I need to know! My equality depends on it. I am incurably ill and disabled. -- MDP

_____________________________
Notes

[1] See http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/sum-som-eng.aspx?cas=35591
[2] See Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition October 2014 Newsletter at http://www.epcc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/155-October-2014-RGB.pdf
[3] http://www.weneedalaw.ca/resources/international-law
[4] See the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Monday, October 6, 2014

"ISN'T SHE LOVELY": A million grandfathers say.

In 1976 my daughter was born. I was head-over-heels in love with
her. At the time I was a commercial writer for a television station; I remember clicking away on my manual typewriter in time with a new tune by Stevie Wonder: "Isn't She Lovely". To me (and a million other new fathers) that song title did not end with a question mark, rather an exclamation point!

We watched our daughters grow through infancy to toddlers, from little girls to teenagers, from high school to college. And then they were young women leaving home and we wondered where the time went? Stevie probably wondered too.

I remember one day my daughter called home to say she was engaged. A little later I struggled to walked her down the isle. (It was one of the last times I walked.) When my wife and I arrived home after her wedding, the sound of our mantle-clock that quietly ticked away the years now thundered in my ears declaring that time marches on. I went down the hallway and entered what had been my daughter's bedroom. 


There were no sheets on the bed and the pillow that once held her head had no pillowcase.  The closet was open and empty except for a forlorn Cabbage Patch doll sitting on an upper shelf.  All that remained were four walls and an echo in the room. I took the doll from the shelf and laid it on the bed. Looking down at it brought back a flood of memories. My heart broke. I fell upon the bed and buried my head in her pillow and wept.

A chapter of my life closed but it would not be too long before
another chapter began: Being a grandfather. Today, three granddaughters grace my world. When I am with any one of them I say once again, "Isn't she lovely" -- just like a million other grandfathers. 

Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP7XaIy3pxI . Other grandfathers play "Isn't She Lovely"


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CHANGE


Pray those things change you for good
and make you a person able to
know and serve God better.