“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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE ART OF BEING

The desire to express and create is central to being human. It touches on that divine spark that rests in every human being.[1] I believe our creative natures are tied to the Image of God (the Creator) which He implants into all humanity beginning with that beginning of life we often refer to as conception. (Even the profoundest disability calls to the creative capacity of love in others.)

The creation of a new life (the created) is the highest creative achievement because God authors it:[2] Not only is it the genesis of a new human being, it is the genesis of humanity. Thus, we, too, desire to be creative because it is in our spiritual DNA. 


The arts have been crucial in my life journey -- both before and after disability. This is ironic. Multiple sclerosis stripped away my abilities as an artist and musician, but it only made me desire the beauty of the arts more.

The emotive nature of artistic expression often involves communication at primal levels; this expression involves a yearning of one soul to touch another soul with a unity of that which is inexpressible. True artistic expression gives voice to loss and pain, or love and joy -- the various aspects of the human condition. 

Artistic expression can even find beauty and meaning in heartache,
tragedy, pain, or even in mundane affairs of ordinary life. The arts can chronicle them all when exercised with open intelligence, sensibility and the discipline of astutely listening to the essence of being

I want to feature expressive dance of six people with disabilities of the English Foundation for Community Dance.
[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FevlnDRrWSU to see Physically being Me,



______________________________________________
[1] Genesis 1.26-27.
[2] Psalm 139.13-16.

Monday, July 28, 2014

CHRISTIAN CONDEMNED TO ISLAMIC TORTURE AND DEATH IS SAFELY OUT OF SUDAN

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2703975/Sudanese-mother-death-row-marrying-Christian-travels-Rome-guest-Italian-government.html
Leon Watson and Daniel Bates, "The baby born on a prison floor to a mother in shackles is blessed by the Pope: Sudanese woman who was put on death row for marrying a Christian Meets Francis after travelling to Rome", 24 July 2014 Daily Mail Online, United Kingdom.
______________


Meriam Ibrahim, daughter Maya
and Pope Francis in Rome last week
Christian Meriam Ibrahim is finally free, thanks primarily to pressure from Christians around the world, other people of good will, and western governments. Meriam Ibrahim is safely out of Sudan.

The byline for the British Daily Mail article above is quite misleading and, quite frankly, inaccurate. Meriam was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her own Christian faith. She was further sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery (she had sex with her Christian husband). You may recall that I wrote numerous posts about her during late May and June.


Now, l shall be politically incorrect but correct nonetheless: We should see the Meriam Ibrahim case as a clear warning of the brutality and barbarity of Islam and Sharia law. 

A fate similar to what was waiting for Meriam awaits Christian "infidels" everywhere as Islam spreads and becomes the state religion in more places. They are using western pluralistic, multi-culturalists as useful idiots: Islam has no such interests. 

Under Islamic law, Christians who refuse to renounce Christ and become Muslim will suffer and die. If the world becomes Islamic (and that's the Islamic goal) Christian readers of this blog, or future generations of Christians, would eventually face an equally grim fate under Islam as Meriam narrowly escaped. 


In places like Egypt, Syria, Iran and Africa countless Christians are suffering and dying for their faith. It grows each year. Much of the secular western media turn a blind eye to this growing and horrendous Christian persecution. Why? I think it's because that much of western liberal, secular media in vehemently anti-Christian too. 

The Meriam Ibrahim story got coverage because its gross and flagrant violation of fundamental human rights became visible -- to visible to be ignored or suppressed. Millions of other Christians being persecuted fall under the media radar. 

I want to conclude this blog post by congratulating everyone who spoke up for Meriam Ibrihim and her family. You literally helped save her from torture and execution!

Remember, other Christians are suffering and dying for Christ even as I write these words. Please do not forget them in your prayers: They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mark

[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAIplRcxM4E for Aaron Pelsue, "I have Decided"]


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A GENTLE BYGONE TIME AND CLOCKS

I married the girl next door. LaRee lived with her grandparents during her childhood. I think we loved each other even as children. Her grandfather Arnold was born in 1906. He was was a short, bald, happy man of quiet old-world values and cultivation. To me he was always a lovable old man quick to smile and laugh. 

Although he was Canadian to the core, Grandpa Arnold seemed vaguely European. He owned a jewelry and clock shop in our small town. Clocks lined the walls  of Grandpa's shop -- tick-tock, tick-tock, keeping time month after month and year after year. Everything seemed to sparkle. Life was stable: man was man and God in His heaven.  

From Grandpa Arnold I developed a love of clocks. His mantle clock now sits in our house. It been in the family for over 85 years ticking away the days, months, years and decades for generations of our family.

The music below is for his memory and a gentle bygone time. It reminds me of Grandpa

Mark 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

MY BLOG REACHES 300,000 HITS

The HumanLifeMatters blog has reached a major numerical milestone: 300,000 hits! The single largest representation comes from the United States. More than a third of readers are American with Canada coming second place. 


When this blog was started a few years ago, I had no idea it would generate this much interest. Tell your friends to visit often at http://humanlifematters.org 

Thank you.

Mark

A LETTER TO A LOST OLD FRIEND

Old friend – I sadly read you’re your words of February 28th. They came as a shock after so many years of not communicating. You wrote


"I am a 64 year old man. I was raised a Christian but no longer believe in any religion. I am a pacificist in a world where many people enjoy fighting. I find that frustrating. I am an advocate of the legalization of the use of marijuana and some other currently illegal substances. Most people seem to need to get high in order to remain sane. I am an advocate of legal assisted suicide. People have a right to die without it having to be a tragedy." 


With the exception of the comment about pacifism, your words saddened me. I knew you as a 34 year old man. We were, at one time, good friends when our children were small. Back then you had a gentle joy of life and a sense of decency rooted in your solid Christian upbringing, or so it seemed. Was I wrong? Why did you abandon it? What happened to my old friend?

I am reminded of Christ’s parable of the seed. He said:

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on the good soil stands for those of noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8.11-15.)

Old friend, I thought you were the seed on the good soil. As a young man, something deep in you seemed to value purity, character and truth that are at the heart of Christianity – because Christ is the truth. He said it elsewhere. I am not talking about believing in a religion: I am talking about believing in the person of Jesus Christ and following Him.

You went your way, and me another way: You to a successful career while I was prematurely put out the pasture by forced medical retirement. Our friendship ended about the time I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

Now I learn that you have become an advocate for legalizing assisted suicide for the incurably ill. What happened old friend? That is not the spirit of pacifism, it is violence against community and the human soul. People like me do not need assistance to commit suicide; we need a reason to live to life’s natural end. And that reason is love and inclusion. It was/is love (both human and divine) that gave me a reason to live despite a horrible disease that ripped so much from me. 

During my darkest days I needed people to lift up my value even when I ceased to value myself. As a backdrop to my family’s love stood the towering love of Christ. It was not religion, rather that personal and daily relationship with Christ that brought hope and sanity to my world in ways that drugs could never do.

Helping people to kill themselves is insanity. It is abandonment of people in their darkest hour of need; it abandons the sense of community in which the Common Good is nurtured and protected and where death is viewed as the last phase of living in which our common bonds of humanity can be strengthened (not severed).


From one Prodigal son to another, come back to the world of
the living old friend. Christ awaits you and so do I.

Mark

[See a Gaelic Blessing by clicking on the image below 

or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObrYXo93QYI ]





Friday, July 18, 2014

THE PROSPECT OF BRITAIN LEGALIZING ASSISTED SUICIDE

Baroness Grey-Thompson
Baroness Grey-Thompson addresses the prospect of Britain legalizing assisted suicide. Her short but compelling message is one that needs to be heard. Her warning is for the sake of people with incurable diseases or disabilities whose lives will eventually be in peril if Britain legalizes assisted suicide. Ultimately the question Britain  decide is whether every life is equally valued and worthy of protection nurture and care even even at the end of life.  

Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db8SPmQAxKc for her message.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

HANDEL: ETERNAL SOURCE OF LIGHT DIVINE

George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)
George Frideric Handel likely wrote Eternal Source of Light Divine, HMV 74, in 1713 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Anne of Britain (1665-1714). This short (3:41) majestic, secular piece has beautiful interplay between the tenor voice, trumpet, and orchestra. Excellent.

[Click on the image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCSQd8Nx4mI ]




MEDIA PROPAGANDA PROMOTING ASSISTED SUICIDE

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/07/how-we-portray-suffering-and-suicide
Wesley J. Smith, "HOW WE PORTRAY SUFFERING AND SUICIDE", 11 July 2014, FIRST THINGS online.


John and Dianne Rehm
The link above is to a recent article written by Wesley J. Smith, one of America's top bioethical thinkers. He was responding to the promotion of assisted suicide by NPR's megastar Dianne Rehm. Rehm's husband John had Parkinson's disease and starved himself to death in what euthanasia advocates call "voluntary stop eating and drinking" (VSED). 

Wesley took NBC television to task for profiling Rehm in an interview, in which they focused exclusively on the pro assisted suicide perspective. He wrote: 
Wesley J. Smith

"It is a profound disservice to the gravity of this issue that the media give scandalously short shrift to the many stories of people who find meaning and hope even as they grapple with the anguish of profound disabilities." 

Wesley then went on to profile ALS sufferer Robert Salamanca, and me. I have noticed that the secular media has become a mouthpiece for the euthanasia/assisted suicide lobby, just as they were for abortion advocates. It should not come as any surprise. My experience with the media is that they are superficial liberals who do not generally take the time to really analyse issues before reporting. 

The fact remains that most people with disabilities do not support euthanasia or assisted suicide. We know we are the targets. Granted there are individuals like John Rehm who chose suicide, but most of us want the hope of life with dignity not the abandonment of assisted death. The death with dignity crowd disguise hostility toward people like me behind a facade of compassion and choice. Some compassion -- some choice!

Mark





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THERE IS JUST ONE THING THAT MATTERS

'If God seems slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for His greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart.' - St. Augustine

This piece of wisdom from St. Augustine is important to consider
when people suffer from protected illness, disability or chronic disease. I have suffered from incurable illness and disability (aggressive MS) for over 30 years. 


In the end, when its all been said and done, my anguish will only matter in as much as it drew me closer to God's love, or drove me from Him in bitterness. Will I have lived for Truth and glory of Jesus Christ or the lie of self glory and self interest? 

I want to rest in the fullness of Christ's love when my life is done. God is preparing a better gift than the best this life can offer. As the song below says, "All my treasures will mean nothing, only what I've done for Love's reward, will stand the test of time" -- and the timeless too. Whether my legs worked in this life will mean nothing for I will be like Him[1] and I will finally see him as He is.[2] I will shed the mortal for the immortal.[3] 


The trials of this life will have proven as a refiner's fire;[4] the tears shed here will be part of the joy there. Christ's love and heaven will be my true reward when its all been said and done; we will stand face to face.  My wheelchair will be a distant memory. God is not slow to respond to my pleas, He is using my pain as a refiner's fire.

Fellow Christian sufferer, do not waste your anguish. Give it to God to use for your good.[5]

[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1llIIhBMCjU for Robin Mark, "When It's All Been Said And Done."]



[1] See Romans 8.29, 2Corinthians 3.18,
[2] See Job 19.25-27, 1John 3.2,
[3] Philippians 3.21.
[4] Cp. Isaiah 48.10, 1Peter 1.7.
[5] Romans 8.17-18, 28.

CHECKBOOK CANCER CARE

http://nypost.com/2014/07/13/the-cancer-death-panel-app/
Richhard Goldberg, "The cancer death panel app", 13 June 2014, New York Post

I received an email from Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The email had a link (above) to an article that appeared in the New York Post. Apparently the American Society for Clinical Oncology is developing an app to ration new drugs for Cancer treatment. The app would judge the coarse of treatment by cost effectiveness more than benefit to the patient.

We knew this sort of thing was coming, dating back to the 1980s when Oregon had a scale for treating various diseases and conditions. It was not too long before they legalized assisted suicide. The diseased and disabled (like me) noticed that societal discussions of euthanasia and assisted suicide started in earnest about the same time state, provincial and national concerns began about health care costs.

According to the New York Post article, some insurers are ready to play the game of cost-benefit in deciding patient care. One insurer apparently "gives oncologists $350-per-month payments for each patient they limit to drugs the company has specified." The article further states that another insurer "has also endorsed bonuses for prescribing “cost-effective” treatments — which would discourage the use of innovations ... ." What if the innovations they discourage could save, prolong and improve quality of life for patients?

Have we forfeited the sanctity of human life for the sanctity of the almighty dollar? It is an inevitable step from denial of expensive treatments to assisted death. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are cheap compassion.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

PEACE OF GOD PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING

We read in Isaiah:

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

There seems to be a longing deep within the human heart for universal peace. But 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 all human understanding (see Philippians 4. 6-7). That peace has a transforming quality that can change even devilish people in into saints.  History is replete with examples.

On the other hand, the absence of Christ’s peace can turn gentle souls into cynical, stone-hearted people. The world’s cruelty can sear individual and even collective human conscience.  We see this in such things as abortion, child and elder abuse, euthanasia, assisted suicide and pornography.

And yet in the midst of human violence Christ offers his peace to all who come to know Him. This peace that passes human understanding was made evident to me in that even in the storms of life and the terrors of degenerative disability, I found peace. 

The darker my physical reality became, the more evident the light of Christ became. There were times when my disease threatened to engulf me; my prayerful cries were met with a deep peace overtaking the fear. I can not explain it logically. The inaudible but real message of assurance “Be not afraid, I am with you” descended upon me to over-take the raging flames of a terrible disease.


There is nothing that can happen to me in this world that can rob me of the eternal hope that is within me. - Mark

Friday, July 11, 2014

SACRED EXPERIENCES OF THE SMALL AND THE WEAK

A few years ago, I entered my room to discover my little grandson looking up at a large crucifix on the wall above my bed.  He turned and asked if that really happen?”  “Yes it did.” I replied.

“Did Jesus die?” he asked, turning back to look at the crucifix.
“Yes, he did. But that’s not the end of it. He rose from the grave and that gives hope to everyone who believes in Jesus.”
“Why?”
“Because it showed us that death is not the end. It only begins a new life.” My little fellow looked intently again at the crucifix. I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’ comment in his book The PROBLEM OF PAIN:

“From our own childhood we remember that before our elders thought us capable of ‘understanding’ anything, we already had spiritual experiences as pure and momentous as any we have undergone since, ... . From Christianity itself we learn that there is a level ― in the long  run the only level of importance ― on which the learned and the adult have no advantage over the simple and the child.”

Was my little grandson having such an experience? I don’t know but I dared not speak or stir in case he was. Only he and God knew. My little guy turned around to face me with a happy little smile (as though he had somehow been blessed) and climbed on my lap. We slowly left the bedroom and went down the hallway in my electric wheelchair to the kitchen for “wunch”. (He pronounces the letter “L” as “W”.)

What am I saying? There are sacred moments that surprise us all; they come without warning or prompting; they simply visit then vanish, leaving us with peaceful joy or bliss that is beyond our ability to express or describe. These experiences are more frequent in early childhood then become rarer as we age and cynicism or doubts jades us and separate us from what is divine. Do you know what I am talking about?

My experience with degenerative disability unexpectedly opened a door again to such experiences. It only began to happen after I stopped fighting disease and surrendered to Christ. It was a long journey from the initial bitterness of becoming chronically ill and disabled to a watershed point of finally being able to truly pray our Lord’s words, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22.42, cf, Matthew 26.39, and Mark 14.36).

After all the clever Christian apologetics are stated and doctrinal positions clearly delineated, we must still bow in humble repentance, surrender and submit our lives to God through the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. It is something even children are capable of doing.

Long ago I ceased to discount the prayers of children.  Before I converted to Catholicism I attended an evangelical church. One day I was approached by a leader of the youth ministry. He shared with me that the Friday night teen group was having a “problem” with a member who had mild Down’s syndrome. She insisted on coming to the youth group and in devotional time would pray long, long prayers that bothered the rest of the teens.  

They were uncomfortable with her attendance and her praying. He asked me what could be done?  I don’t think he liked my answer. “Has it occurred to you that her prayers may be more intense and her communion with God more Paradisal than any prayers the rest of us pray?” I reminded the youth leader that the Disciples tried to turn away children but Jesus welcomed and blessed them. I reminded him that Jesus said that whatever we do to “the least of these” we do to Him. He sheepishly looked at his shoes then responded, “I hadn’t thought about it like that. Perhaps the problem is with us not her.”

We must hold up the simple and the child as indispensible members of church life. 

Saint Paul spoke about this in 1 Corinthians 12.18-27 when he spoke of the Church being many members of one body: “Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety.”

Why are the weaker members more necessary and the parts less honorable deserving greater honor? I think it’s partly because the weak call the strong to a higher standard of love and care. The less honorable members need understanding and acceptance from the more honorable.

God works through human weakness and brings strength to his people. -- Mark


[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwDRZMoJtkk for Libera, "You Were There"].


Thursday, July 10, 2014

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: A DOCUMENTARY

Sergei Rachmaninoff
(1873-1943)
I want to feature a documentary about Sergei Rachmaninoff called Harvest of Sorrow. Rachmaninoff was our Christian brother of the ancient  eastern Orthodox Church, and extraordinary composer, conductor and performer. At just over 1 hour and 40 minutes in length, I suggest you earmark it for viewing on a stormy night.

[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi3MU9JnL7E for documentary about Sergei Rachmaninoff - The Harvest of Sorrow.]


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

HUMANITY OF THE COMATOSE DENIED BY INHUMANITY OF EUTHANASIA

The following was previously published in the Western Catholic Reporter, for the Edmonton Archdiocese.

Pope John Paul II
On March 20, 2004, Pope John Paul II delivered an address to an international congress on "Life-sustaining treatments and vegetative state: Scientific advances and Ethical Dilemmas." The pope dealt directly with the issue of doctors withholding medical treatments and nutrition and hydration (food and water) from comatose patients.
I was happy to see the pontiff address the derogatory nature of the term "vegetative," and "vegetable," and how some people use these words to cast doubts on the value and personal dignity of people in comatose states.
Not a vegetable

The pope rejected this thinking saying, "In opposition to such trends of thought, I feel the duty to reaffirm strongly that the intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being do not change, no matter what the concrete circumstances of his or her own life. A man, even if seriously ill and disabled in the exercise of his highest functions, is and always will be a man, and he will never become a "vegetable" or an "animal."
I was grateful for these words. In a society increasingly hostile to people with serious disabilities, we need to know that our value and humanity is affirmed and embraced. It took on increased significance from the pope who, through his own mounting physical challenges, stood in solidarity with the world's disabled and suffering people.
It was as though John Paul was using his afflictions to challenge western society's superficial preoccupation with youth, beauty and health.
Eleven months later, after throat surgery, the dying pope made a surprise appearance at the window of Gemelli Polyclinic hospital in Rome to convey a prepared message.
"Looking at Christ and following him with patient trust, we succeed in understanding that every human form of pain contains in itself a divine promise of salvation and joy, ...." 
Frail in body but strong in spirit, John Paul II continued: "I would like that this message of comfort and hope reaches everyone, especially those going through difficult moments, and who suffer in body and spirit."
Basic necessities for life
Even the profoundly disabled still deserve food, water, cleanliness and warmth. This is basic minimal care necessary for all life. In his 2004 address to the International Congress on Life-sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State, a year before his death, John Paul II did not mince words. He stated that the administration of food and water, whether taken orally or by artificial means, is a "natural means of preserving life, not a medical act." By saying this, I believe he was countering the view that food and water can be considered medical treatment.

That's not as outlandish as it may seem. I was a member of the Ethics Committee of a major Edmonton hospital for over 10 years; I actually heard nutrition and hydration referred to as a form of medical treatment. (Imagine trying to pay for a Big Mac with your Alberta Health Care or Blue Cross card.)
There are occasions at the end of life, or final stages of disease, that the human body can no longer process or even tolerate nutrition and hydration. That's a different scenario where continuation of them would be a burden to the patient and increases their suffering.
Motive and intent
In terms of withdrawal of medical treatments, there are legitimate contexts for withdrawal of medical procedures – when continuation is considered over zealous – and not able to alter the outcome of impending death. The use of painkillers like barbiturates can be used to alleviate the suffering of a dying patient even though it may shorten their days, as long as hastening inevitable death is not the intent of the action.
It boils down to motive and intentions of those charged with care of the comatose person. Was the motive for withdrawing medical treatment to kill the patient? Was the intention of withdrawing treatment to hasten death? Human motive and intent behind actions or inactions are at the foundation of Christian morality.
It's written on our hearts

We know intuitively that it's a sin to wish or cause the death of another human being, especially those who are weak, vulnerable and can not defend themselves. The late Pope John Paul II was merely confirming what we know in our heart of hearts to be true. God's law is written on our hearts. (See Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:14-15, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Hebrews 8:10, 10:16.). Every human life has inherent value and innate dignity.
That is why there is not social peace with other critical life issues such as abortion - contrary to what a former prime minister said. After decades of abortion on demand, it continues to fester in the nation's conscience and tatter the social fabric of Canada.
No matter how abortion is presented or marketed to the public,
there's still something deeply offensive about it at the most primal human level. The same will be true with euthanasia if we adopt public policy allowing it.
The difference is that with euthanasia the intended target for extermination is visible, they have a history that people remember. The doctor who does the killing may surely operate behind closed doors with the utmost discretion and with efficient, sanitized, compassionate aloofness.
But the victim's body must still be buried or incinerated along with human conscience and decency. A new round of public angst will fester and rot Canada's soul.

Mark

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ENCOURAGING OUR DAUGHTERS AND GRANDDAUGHTERS

I saw on my wife's Facebook page a commercial produced by the Always Corporation. A maxim I followed raising our daughter was to teach her she could do anything she wanted in life. As a little girl she believed that but during her teen years that confidence was eroded by others, her public school experience, and the culture in general. 


One day, when she was about 19 years old, she resentfully said to me: "You always said I could do anything I want. Well it's not true!"  I looked at her with sadness and thought, "Why did you listen to the naysayers?" Do you know who hurt her the worst? Other girls. Who knocked the confidence out of them?!

The inspirational Always commercial below is excellent and I applaud them for  it. The one missing element is the most important element: faith. It is important to believe in oneself but that confidence must be cultivated within faith and nurture of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Every human being is put here by God for a purpose. 

Be a positive source of encouragement for your daughters and granddaughters and always point them to Jesus Christ. Through faith in Him they will develop a real faith in what they can do and why they are here. God bless all our children and grandchildren. -- Mark.

[Click on image below orhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs ]


Sunday, July 6, 2014

INCLUDING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES: BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER

Including children with disabilities in community and school activities is often a simple matter of innovating to accommodate the child. In this case (see video below) a deaf girl wants to play basketball at school. We see how barriers can be perceived but easily overcome. 


Not only is looking for innovative ways to accommodate children with disabilities an international human right, it is a cultural imperative to try and include all our children in the collective nurture of community life. Brothers and sister in Christ, work for disability inclusion  in your community and wear Christ on your sleeve in all you do.

Watch the 3 minute video by clicking on the image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN8EbBpxy10 Thanks to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of the Australian government.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

SOME THOUGHTS FOR CHRISTIANS IN THIS ANTI-CHRISTIAN TIME

"I am the way; and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. " -- Jesus Christ (John 14.6)

These emphatic words of our Lord are offensive to a generation that says truth is relative. Relative to what? Objective truth does not cease to exist simply because people reject it or deny it. 

If Jesus Christ is the truth (and He is) then those who follow Him and proclaim His name can expect to be hated, particularly in the new anti-Christian culture of death of North America.  Expect it.  Remember the Apostle John's words:

"Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death." (1John 3.13-14.)

The love to which the Apostle referred is the love of Jesus Christ that abides in God's children through faith in God's Son. Earlier in the chapter John wrote: 

"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."

John tells us a truth about Jesus: "You know that he was revealed
to take away sins, and in him there is no sin." (Verse 5-6) 

This is what is so offensive to our anti-Christian age. They think if the truth of Jesus Christ is denied, then sin can be denied. Christians who remind the culture that there is such a thing as Objective truth and that Truth is found in Jesus Christ will be hated. 

Jesus himself told us to expect the world to hate us: "If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you." (John 15.18.). 

Dear brother and sister in Christ: Do not despair or give in to the world. Christ's love for you is stronger that the world's hatred for you. Remember that our glorious home is elsewhere with Christ. 

Mark
[Click on the image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjR_A2pGPrY for "In Christ Alone" by Travis Cottrel.]






Friday, July 4, 2014

A STRANGER IN THE COUNTRY OF MY BIRTH

I feel like a stranger in the country of my birth: Canada.

We were a Christian nation at the beginning of the 20th Century but
mutated into a secular nation by the beginning of the 21st Century. But that is not the end of the massive societal shift of the nation. Canada is becoming anti-Christian – particularly within the mainstream media and the élite halls of officialdom. The last vestiges of our Christian heritage – the foundation of anything that gave Canada goodness and virtue -- are being systematically removed from public consciousness and recollection. People have such short memories.

An earlier striking and painfully obvious example of Canada’s emerging anti-Christian prejudice occurred 16 years ago after the 1998 SwissAir disaster off the coast of Nova Scotia. There was an official memorial in which various faiths participated. Canadian federal protocol officials prohibited the Christian clergy from mentioning the New Testament or Jesus Christ under threat of being bumped from the memorial program -- in the interests of being “inclusive.” No such restrictions were placed on aboriginal, Jewish or Muslim religious leaders who spoke freely about God and quoted from the Koran and Talmud. Only mention of Jesus and the New Testament were banned. Canadian government officials demanded to see the speaking notes of Catholic priest, Father Duncan MacMaster, and other Christian clergy, before the service and removed any mention of either  from their speeches and sternly warned against speaking of Christ or the New Testament. One member of the Christian clergy protested to then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s office ― where the invitations originated ― to no avail. The clergy were invited but not Jesus Christ.[1] 

Stockwell Day
When Canadian politician and evangelical Christian, Stockwell Day, ran for the leadership of what is now known as the Conservative Party, an orchestrated media campaign was mounted to discredit him. They were successful. The bigoted idea was presented in the pages of newspapers and on the airwaves of television and radio that an evangelical Christian should be disqualified for high public office. Why? Well, liberal pundits asserted that they are “right wing religious fanatics.” To the secular liberal mindset that is as bad as a criminal record, and after all, central Canadian liberal elites concluded, evangelical Christians do not represent Canadian values. How they knew this is beyond me. After all, for decades, we were told by the same liberal mindset that there was no moral consensus among Canadians. (?)

A mischievous observer may have commented that the sort of anti-Christian bias that publicly ponders whether evangelical Christians are unfit for public office, is itself in violation of the pluralism, intolerance and inclusion they espouse in other contexts. Ahh, yes, liberal secularists are tolerant of everything except Christians, their beliefs, morality, or their holy Book.

Another example of the limits of Canadian pluralism, tolerance and inclusion is the fact a 2001 Saskatchewan Human Rights tribunal deemed portions of the Bible were hate literature. That decision was later upheld by a Saskatchewan court in 2003.[2]

The bitter fruit of Canada’s rejection of its previous Christian moral
consensus can be seen in the rejection of the sanctity of human life of those in society who inconvenience others or are unwanted. The evidence is seen in abortion on demand across the land. Over 100,000 unborn children are killed each year.  My wife used to be the Executive Director of Alberta Pro-Life from 2008-2010. An abortion clinic was situated across the street from my wife’s office; 6,000 unborn children were systematically slaughtered each year at that one killing center. 

Henry Morgentaler
Canada's poster boy for abortion was Henry Morgentaler. “Dr.” Morgentaler was given Canada’s highest award, the Order of Canada, for his role in Canada’s holocaust. He had abortuary franchises across Canada churning up the bodies of preborn children in assembly line fashion and turning their mothers out into the street, one-two-three .... Kaching-kaching-kaching!

Imagine! This goes on five days a week, week in-week out in abortion clinics across the land. The bodies of the children disposed of as "medical biowaste". It’s all protected by the state and paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

I wonder if there was code-language in the ancient world for the bodies of children forced through the fire as a sacrifice to the pagan god Molech?[3] I wonder if there were temple guards who protected priests and the child sacrificers.

In Canada, there is no protection at any point of gestation for prenatal life.  Abortions are legal up to, and including the third trimester – although we pretend it doesn’t. The neo-pagan god of "choice" is never satisfied.

Now, the next vulnerable and burdensome group are in the crosshairs of the new secular Canada: Killing off the terminally and chronically ill, and the severely disabled. The stage is being set for euthanasia and assisted suicide. (The code phrase here is choice in dying.) Quebec recently legalized assisted suicide. Again the highest secular ideal of "choice" is being used to peddle death. It's working. 

Seventy-percent of Canadians agree with assisted suicide for the terminally and chronically ill. That’s me. It’s hard to go down any street in Canada and know seven out of ten people who pass me think my life is worthless – so worthless I deserve help killing myself if I become suicidal. There’s no sympathy for assisting physical healthy people to kill themselves – only the country’s sicklings (like me).

What was unthinkable in the 1950s, is contemplatable in 1970s and 80s, acceptable in the 90s, and may become commonplace in the 21st Century. If the past is any indication, people will have the "right" to choose assisted suicide. At first it will be for the terminally ill, then the chronically ill, then the mentally ill, then the depressed. I can not bring myself to think about what may come after that. 

Suffice to say that the right to die with dignity will eventually become the duty to die with dignity or at least with suitable aplomb in deference to the greater community. And that brings me to my last point. A community that kills its unwanted children and old or sick people is not a community at all. It is a jungle.



[1] Stewart Bell. “Jesus Snubbed at N.S. Swissair Service” The National Post, 21 December 1998, A1
[2] Art Bell, “Bible verses regarded as hate literature”, WorldNetDaily,  18 February 2003 (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31080)
[3] Molech: Fire God of the Ammonites. See Jeremiah 32.35