“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, May 25, 2017

THE JESUS PRAYER AND INNER CHRISTIAN LIFE: A presentation by Federica Mathewes-Green

Federica
Matthewes-Green
I first became aware of Federica Matewes-Green in Deerfield, Illinois about 20 years ago, when I was speaking at the Center For Bioethics and Human Dignity (Trinity International University). She interviewed me for a magazine article. about my life and my Christian perspective on degenerative disease, disability and suffering. I liked Federica very much; I met a sister in Christ.

Federica Matthews-Green is an Eastern Orthodox Christian author and speaker. I came across a Youtube video of Federica speaking about The Jesus Prayer, and a deeper application of it in Christian life.  The Jesus Prayer is a part of my own inner Christian discipline.

Below is the video. It is 36 minutes long but time well spent.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

BITTER-SWEET MEMORY OF AN MS REMISSION

There was a time when I was a highly skilled guitarist. Multiple sclerosis stripped my ability to play in 1985.  Although I don't refer to it, there was a brief period during the 1990s when I regained my ability to play the guitar. It was bitter-sweet. 

Throughout most of my pre-multiple sclerosis life, music was my great passion, and I was good at it. Fear that MS would snatch that love away again -- as it had cruelly done before -- kept me guarded. My teenage son asked me to teach him Signe from Eric Clapton's Unplugged album, which I did. 

Not long after that, what I feared happened. I lost my ability to play the guitar again. The experience was more bitter than sweet because once more it broke my heart. My ability has not come back. And so I closed the interior music door so thoroughly that that memory slept for the past twenty years. I put it out of my mind. That is why I don't speak of it. 

This past weekend I was enjoying supper at my now adult son's home. Music softly played in the next room and Eric Clapton's Signe started. My little grey cells holding that memory awoke! I remembered teaching him that song. A vague sadness came over me listening to the pleasant melody again and thinking of the time that has passed. My son has his own family now, and I am a grandfather.

Here then is Eric Clapton's Signe from his Unplugged album (1992). 


FETAL PAIN AND ABORTION DECISIONS

In the 3 March, 2017 edition of Canada's National Post newspaper, an article appeared entitled "Baby's pain can have lifelong impact". Reporter Eva Ferguson began the article by stating:

"On the heels of a debunked myth that preemies aren't developed enough to feel pain, Calgary scientists are now studying the long-term impact of infant distress and how it may be linked to pain problems and mental health issues later in life."

As late as the 1980s, surgery -- even major surgery -- was conducted on days-old babies WITHOUT anaesthetic because medical experts believed that preemies -- and even some newborn babies -- could not feel pain. Well, it appears that not only do these infants feel pain, it may have life-long effects. (another horrible oops!)

Not only do preemies feel pain, babies in utero feel pain. Dr. Kanwaljeet Singh Anand is Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Critical Care) and anesthesiology and pain medicine at Stanford University Medical Care Center. He has stated:

"The position, asserted by some medical experts, that the unborn child is incapable of experiencing pain until a point later in pregnancy than 20 weeks after fertilization predominately rests on the assumption that the ability to experience pain depends on the cerebral cortex and requires nerve connections between the thalamus and the cortex. However, recent medical research and analysis, especially since 2007, provides strong evidence for the conclusion that a functioning cortex is not necessary to experience pain."[1]


Granted, you will find medical authorities who deny fetal pain. They are often abortion proponents, physicians who perform abortions, or professional organizations representing (or favouring) pro-abortion ideology, such as Physicians for Reproductive Health, the American and Canadian Medical Associations.[2]   

[The same website as quoted above with Dr. Anand, answers the pain deniers. See
http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/answering-the-pain-deniers/]

I think that if there are conflicting views, then it is incumbent on civilized people to take the path with the least risk of pain to the unborn child about to die. But that's the problem: When it comes to abortion, our culture is not really civilized at all. Babies in utero are killed by the thousands, day after day, year after year, for no other reason than they are unwanted or inconvenient to their parents. Cultural elites, supported by media, and many secular professional medical organizations support the "right to choose" (the death of one's unborn offspring). It is presented under the euphemism of "reproductive choice". It plays up the autonomy of one party by the death of another. Genuine human rights never suppress one human being's right to life for another person's right to pursue happiness.

Abortion proponents and their allies say that admitting any possibility of fetal pain to abortion minded women would hurt their feelings and cause them stress. They would rather inflict excruciating physical torture on an unborn child about to be torn apart (under the fiction that it's only a blob of tissue) than possibly cause its mother emotional discomfort in her abortion decision.

Abortion sympathizers and proponents deny the humanity of the youngest and weakest segment of the Human Family and give another segment of the Human Family preposterous power to decide life and death. Abortion sympathizers and proponents deny any compassion to the most powerless and give all their sympathy and powerful who can decide to kill their own children before birth.

This is not right. It is barbaric! There is no sense of proportion or balance. In order to maintain a false right to abortion for any reason (or no reason), our culture has compromised the integrity its own humanity, damaged women's, and destroyed unborn children's. We are poorer on all fronts.

A proper sense of proportion toward an abortion-minded woman is to show compassion to both her and her baby. It involves giving her ALL the information about prenatal life throughout all 9 months of pregnancy (including ultrasound images of her developing unborn child). She needs to know the risks of abortion -- and there are risks.[3] Abortion is not safer than childbirth in North America, that's politically charged rhetoric without scientific basis.

It is condescending and paternalistic to withhold information from women because it might make their abortion decisions more difficult. They need to make informed decisions and they need the facts: All of facts.

A proper sense of proportion ensures women in crisis pregnancies have positive alternatives to abortion.  That's what Crisis Pregnancy Centers across North America do every day. Many are funded by individuals or churches and operate with shoe-string budgets and volunteers. They also deserve federal, state and provincial support. After all, America's largest abortion organization, Planned Parenthood of America and their affiliates, have been receiving half a billion dollars annually for years from federal and state governments. 

If the "choice" to kill one's unwanted offspring before birth is the issue, then provide equal government funding to life-affirming pro-life organizations (such as pro-life community-based Crisis Pregnancy Centers). Even the ground for decision making, or defund Planned Parenthood.

A civilized society does not stack the deck against women to make life-affirming decisions. Level the ground upon which life and death decisions are made. And if abortions are to continue (God forbid!) then at least provide anaesthetic to unborn babies before their deaths by abortion. If these children must die to satisfy their parents, at least eliminate any possibility of fetal pain.

Mark Davis Pickup
____________
[1] http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/fetal-pain-the-evidence/6-documentation/
[2] Canadian Medical Association on abortion (http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/PolicyPDF/PD88-06.pdf). American Medical Association contradicts themselves on Abortion. They have tried, at one point or another, to play the neutrality card, yet as the pro-life blog Live Action illustrates, the AMA is pro-abortion. (http://www.liveaction.org/blog/ama-radically-pro-abortion/)
[3] I have on file a list of 365 America women, most named with their ages at death, who have died by "safe" legal abortions in the U.S..

Sunday, May 14, 2017

QUALITY OF LIFE IS A MOVING TARGET


To book for speaking about euthanasia, assisted suicide or a Christian perspective on suffering and/or disability, send an email to me at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca 

Mark Davis Pickup 

Monday, May 1, 2017

SPEAKING IN CANADA'S YUKON ABOUT LIFE ISSUES

I will be speaking in the Capital City for Canada's Yukon territories, Whitehorse. This will include a community public forum to discuss implications of Canada's barbaric new law allowing assisted-suicide of incurably ill and disabled Canadians (see poster below), talks to elementary, Junior high and high school students about this topic, as well as disability and disability inclusion. I will also address the annual March for Life on May 11th.

I am available for bookings to speak in your area. Contact me by email at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca

Mark