“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
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Saturday, July 30, 2016
This is one of the great gifts of our Christian faith: To know that Christ is greater than even the worst of our difficulties. He is with us in the fire of suffering and will bring us through refined as gold. Like the fourth figure in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the presence of Jesus Christ has been with me throughout more than 32 fiery years of degenerative multiple sclerosis. His presence becomes more real with the passage of time. This has been my blessing in suffering.
This understanding could not have been realized otherwise.
By surrendering ourselves to Christ, and placing our sufferings with Him, our tribulations can really become a treasure to spiritually transform us beyond ourselves and our anguish to become more like Him. Life is a journey.
Suffering presents us with a fork in the road. We can choose one
path and give our suffering to Christ to mature us and make us more fit for heaven; or, we can take the other path which is self-centered autonomy. The first path leads to answers and consolation in Christ and ultimately, peace and joy. The second path leads to questions in self-centredness and ultimately, bitterness or despair.
A day may come when you come to that fork in the road of your life journey. Which path will you take? Remember, the first path may seem lonely because the culture in which we live treasures autonomy and the second path is taken by many. I chose the first path and found Christ walked with me and a great cloud of witnesses who went before me.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and was sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility, from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (Hebrews 12.1-3)
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The pro-life float was delightfully positive and life affirming. It had a cardboard birthday cake with three candles and a banner that said "Everyone deserves a birthday." Do you see something offensive in that? Me neither.
I submit it is an example of how the culture of death has invaded and pervaded every level of Canadian society, down to the smallest town.
Initially, Westlock parade organizers said the pro-Life float was not in keeping with Westlock's 100th anniversary theme. The question arises: Did all the other floats have a 100th anniversary theme? Were any other floats banned and if so, why? The article below from LSN suggests the answer is no. If that is true, then we must conclude there was something parade organizers didn't like? Gee, I wonder what it was?
After hiding behind the not-in-keeping-with-the-anniversary-theme,
|Westlock Alberta Mayor|
One former Westlock resident, Claudelle Key, stated, "The town had an agenda and clearly continued to ramp up its efforts, which included lying (you're not registered, you're not in theme, we're at capacity).
"In the end, these 'gatekeepers' used threats to keep this pro-life float out of the parade. If this had been another group that had been denied entry, this would be in front of the Alberta human rights commission right now." Although we need not identify which groups, Keys is absolutely right.
According to LSN, when Keys wrote a letter to the local newspaper to bring light to what happen, (I presume it was The Westlock News), they refused to publish it.
So what should we make of a community's apparent hostility to unfashionable yet legitimate and deeply held views of a significant minority of its citizens? If we embrace a spirit of pluralism and acceptance such behavior by community leaders must be decried.
If the LSN article is correct, what happened in Westlock was nothing less than the suppression of its citizens' right to expression of conscience and religious beliefs, guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (s-2).
Someone may be thinking, "What's the big deal? It was small town parade in a remote community out in western Canada." Injustice is injustice no matter where it happens. The rights enshrined in Canada's Charter, and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 18 and 19) apply to everyone. The universal human right of conscience and religious belief, and their expression, are universal -- no matter how small or where they are applied.
In 1948, while pondering the new UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt said this about the what and where of human rights:
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. ... Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
It does not matter if suppression of conscience expression occurs on the streets of a dusty prairie town or Canada's largest city of Toronto; the violation is just as wrong and repugnant no matter where it happens. Banning or suppressing people's legitimate opinions from being expressed must be challenged anywhere it is found. According to LSN, it seems Westlock community organizers and local newspaper did that. Shame on them both!
The Pembina Pro-Life group deserves an apology from the Town and a solemn promise not to ban them in future. Westlock's municipal leaders may disagree with what Pembina Pro-Life espouses but they must protect their right to say it publicly. -- Mark
A link to the LSN article can be found here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-town-bans-float-from-parade-over-pro-life-message-pro-lifers-say?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d32159e1a8-LifeSiteNews_com_Canada_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-d32159e1a8-326171814
Saturday, July 16, 2016
|Joni and me at Biola University,|
La Mirada, California, 2009
Joni comments: "I'm so excited about the Beyond Suffering Bible. It's designed to help the reader -- especially those affected by disability -- grasp the goodness of god amidst critically important questions about suffering."
Joni knows a thing or two about suffering. She has lived with quadriplegia for nearly 50 years. She has had also had a serious bout cancer. Despite these trials Joni has glorified God not despite disability rather because of it through her international Christian ministry Joni and Friends based out of Agoura Hills, California. Joni Eareckson Tada has risen above profound disability to be a blessing to millions of people.
I highly recommend that evangelical Christians order a copy of the BEYOND SUFFERING BIBLE from the website http://www.beyondsufferingbible.com/
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
In his 2011 book JESUS OF NAZARETH, HOLY WEEK: FROM THE ENTRANCE INTO JERUSALEM TO THE RESURRECTION, the pontiff observed that the early church was made up almost entirely of Jews whose culture strictly observed the Sabbath for centuries. From its beginning, the Christian community gathered for worship on the first day: Sunday (cf. 1 Corinthians 16.2; Acts. 20.7; Revelation 1.10). Pope Benedict noted that Ignatius of Antioch (who died around AD 67) gave clear evidence that for early Christians Sunday had supplanted the Sabbath: Ignatius wrote:
"We have seen how former adherents of the ancient customs have since attained to a new hope; so that they have given up keeping the Sabbath and now order their lives by the Lord's day instead (the day when life first dawned for us, thanks to him and his death." (Ad Magn., 9:1)
Pope Benedict commented:
"If we bear in mind the immense importance attached to the Sabbath in the Old Testament tradition on the basis of the Creation account and the Decalogue, then it is clear that only an event of extraordinary impact could have led to the abandonment of the Sabbath and its replacement by the first day of the week. Only an event that marked souls indelibly could bring about such a profound realignment in the religious culture of the week."
The Pope then said, "For me, the celebration of the Lord's Day,
which was a characteristic part of the Christian community from the outset, is one of the most convincing proofs that something extraordinary happened that day -- the discovery of the empty tomb and the encounter with the risen Lord."
Indeed, and I believe this convincing proof will dawn to a new generation. -- Mark
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Christ rather than renounce or betray Him. This continues to this day with more Christians than ever suffering and dying for their faith.
wholeness and freedom from disease and disability in the world to come but I have found meaning to my present suffering in union with Christ's suffering, and hope in his resurrection.
Like Job, I know my Redeemer lives and I long to see him from my flesh. As the Apostle's Creed proclaims, I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. I shall see the resurrected Jesus Christ face to face in heaven. I will rise. -- Mark
[Click image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlHUKY3jBv0 for "I will rise" by Chris Tomlin, 5:01]
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016
Educational Outreach Coordinator
American Life League
One hundred years ago, a woman named Margaret Sanger opened
Friday, July 1, 2016
|Boston State House|
The senators were stunned that a disabled man from western Canada would travel thousands of miles to Boston to appear before them. Happily, the bill was later defeated and assisted suicide remains illegal in Massachusetts to this day.
|Me addressing a Fall River MA |
conference. Notice sitting beside me
was Bishop Sean O'Malley, later to
become Cardinal and Archbishop of Boston
I am filled with deep sadness. I feel like a stranger in the country where I was born and have lived all my 63 years. A few weeks ago, Canada passed a law sanctioning physician assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled citizens. Canada believes that other Canadians deserve suicide prevention counselling. I know this because in October of 2012, parliament gave unanimous support (including our current Prime Minister) to the idea of a national suicide prevention strategy. Four years later they pass a law for assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled Canadians.
What did that say to me as an incuraly ill and disabled Canadian? It said that the government of Canada and the Supreme Court see healthy and able-bodied citizens as worth more than people like me. Of course the government elites and media would not come right out and say that. After all, Canadians are polite people even though Canada would help me kill myself. I am reminded of Winston Churchill's comment: "After all, when you have kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite."
The self-congratulatory indulgence of the nation today is not for me. I will stay home.
Yesterday, my friend and former parliamentarian David Kilgour posted a link on his Facebook page with a link to an article entitled "Canada ranked as second best country in the world". I commented: "That is, if you are not disabled and suicidal." A woman responded: "What an ignorant comment - not even remotely funny." Actually, madam, what is ignorant is that Canada would sanction assisted suicide, and I was not trying to be funny."
Today I will imagine what could have been not what is: I will imagine a gentle Canada that Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote about before state sanctioned and state funded abortion and medical killing of the depressed sick and disabled.