“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, March 25, 2020

SMILE: BETTER DAYS WILL COME

Dear Young people of Italy and Spain: Yes, I have seen the sorrow that permeates your nations as COVID19 ravages all you know and love. Yes, I saw the make-shift morgues and the images of military trucks filled with bodies of your loved-ones driving down streets. Yes, I saw the images and I wish there was something I could do to assuage your overwhelming grief. My heart aches for you. I want to throw my arms around you and try to console what is inconsolable. 

I have known a crushing heartache with the death of a loved-
one—although from different circumstances—I know that your pain may feel it will break you in half. I will not, if you don't let it. Hold on, better days will come.

There will be a reason to smile again. Although you may not believe it now, life is still worthwhile and better days are coming.
Smile* though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you.

The sun is just behind the dark clouds of this pandemic. Its warmth will again shine upon your shoulders. And when it does, let its rays light up your face with gladness. Believe that the joy of life will be yours again. 
The sun sets but it also rises. Better days will come and life is so worthwhile. There will be tomorrows for you to live. Opportunities for love still wait for you.
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
I know the despair of wondering what the future holds when the present seems to be stripped of too many losses. That was the very time when I had to keep trying and believe that life was still worthwhile even though everything around me told me otherwise. I want you to know better days are coming.  
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.  
The dark shadows of this pandemic will fade away in the light of a hopeful new day and this crisis will pass.  Do not lose heart even though your world seems to be falling apart. 
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.
Young people of Italy, Spain and elsewhere, look to the future with hope and smile.
*The word smile means a spirit of optimism.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

WORSHIPPING CHRIST IN THIS PANDEMIC

Christ is with us in this storm
This is the first Sunday when churchES across North America are closed due to the COVID19 pandemic. Thanks to Youtube, Christians can still worship our King. I have provided two links: One IS for Catholic Christians on this 4th Sunday of Lent. It is the first link below. The second is a Pentecostal worship service this morning in Franklin, Tennessee. Don't look at the worship differences, look at the common feature of worshipping Jesus Christ. In this frightening storm of a global pandemic, keep your eyes of Jesus. Come together in Spirit and Truth.

CATHOLIC MASS, 22 March 2020. (The video below starts part way through the Mass. Push the cursor back to the beginning.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFJE7js-4a0


CHRIST COMMUNITY CHURCH, Franklin, Tennessee, (PENTECOSTAL). The video starts part way into the service. Back it up to the beginning. Sorry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZpsIVrg-g4&t=430s






Sunday, March 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS GIVES A CHANCE TO DEFINE & REFINE OUR HUMANITY

The world finds itself in a pandemic. The Coronavirus (COVID 19) is impacting every aspect of life from healthcare to commerce, travel to community life. We do not yet know the full extent of what the COVID beast may morph into and everybody is frightened.  The beast is threatening life as we have come to know it, but it is also going to test the mettle of our character individually and as nations. Have you ever wondered what kind of human being you really are when a test of your humanity comes? Well COVID19 may be that test. What kind of person are you? 

This pandemic gives us the opportunity to come together as communities and support each other, or as early indications are showing, we can adopt the mentality of every man for himself. Do we horde or price-gouge essential supplies such as hand sanitizers household cleaners, toilet paper, face masks and food—all things other people need too? Do we strip grocery store shelves empty so that others not so quick off the mark have nothing? 

I heard of a man from Chattanooga, Tennessee who took a U-Haul across Tennessee and Kentucky snapping up all the hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes from every store. He wanted to make what he called “crazy money,” and jack up the price as high as possible to sell to people in desperate need of them.[1]  Another man near Edmonton, Canada, scooped up all the children’s thermometers at Costco then bragged how much profit he was going to make. 

Really? Are we a community or a jungle of animals feeding off others? This is not right.  Perhaps I should not be surprised how quickly my culture can descend. We embrace personal autonomy. I, me, mine. (Wasn’t there a Beatle song by that name?) For more than forty years we have killed children before birth who were inconvenient to our lifestyles or personal ambitions. Now personal autonomy and self-determination have brought medically assisted suicide to various jurisdictions throughout the world, including my country of Canada.  I have multiple sclerosis. No matter how much I may degenerate I do not have a right to commit suicide or ask someone to help me kill myself.  It would offend the Common Good and put someone else’s eternity at risk.  Euthanasia and assisted suicide crosses a long-held taboo against murder and weakens the foundations of interdependent community.

You can not have interdependent community and personal autonomy.  They are diametrically opposed ideas. You must choose which it shall be.  Unfortunately we have made the wrong choice for over four decades.  But it can change.  Reject personal autonomy and independence and embrace interdependence. 

I believe with all my heart that we are inter-connected and responsible for each others’ well being—for no other reason than every person bears the indelible image of God. Words like familyneighborcommunity and nation attest to our interdependence. I believe this so much that for more than twenty years I took that message across North America. I spoke from Canada’s Yukon to Louisiana and Alabama, From Boston to Los Angeles and countless places between those points.  I took that message to anyone who would listen (and even some people who did not want to listen.) 

Every generation is confronted with the most ancient question: “Am I my brother’s keeper.”[2] Your answer to that question will govern how you behave toward others. 

If you ascribe to the principle Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, then you ascribe to the Golden Rule, the principle of mutual interdependence.[3] And that brings me back to the current situation confronting the world with COVID 19. 

We must rise to our better selves: If you are sick or symptomatic, isolate yourself for the required two weeks. Buy only those items that your family needs and don’t horde essential items everybody needs. Help those who can not get out to acquire what they need in terms of basic essential items. Heed public health directions in a rapidly evolving pandemic.

No matter how desperate things may become remember that God is with us. Answer Yes to Cain’s question. We are our brother’s keeper. Let us use COVID as an opportunity to show our children and grandchildren this life principle for now and the future. 

Mark 
A Prayer of Saint Patrick
Collegium Iuvenum Stuttgart



[1] Nick Nicas, “He Has 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer and Nowhere To Sell Them,” New York Times, 14 March 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/technology/coronavirus-purell-wipes-amazon-sellers.html

[2] Genesis 4.9.
[3] See Matthew 7.12.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

ULTIMATE REALITY JUST BEYOND THE DOOR OF TEMPORAL REALITY

As we approach Lent, I am struck by one of the great problems I have faced throughout my Christian walk. It is impossible for me to begin to grasp the enormity of God’s love. Quite simply, I can not internalize or understand the immense love that lies behind and beyond the Cross. For Christ to willingly suffer and die to save someone such as me is too much for my puny mind to comprehend. I must simply accept that it is true, but it is a confounding mystery!

Easter breaks my heart. How can I possibly repay Christ for what he has done for me? It is impossible! All I can do in response is surrender to Christ’s perfect love and try to love him in return. That brings me to a second problem: My love is so poor, so shabby and so fickle that it’s not even worth having – and yet Christ accepts it. It makes me think of a loving father accepting the shaky and indistinct scribbles on a piece of paper drawn by his small child and pretending it is a masterpiece of art.  But this simple analogy quickly breaks down. The small child’s drawing is the best he can do ― it was produced in the purity of innocence. The love I offer back to God has been jaded by ego, tarnished by life, and is not pure. (On the matter of love, small children are better than me.)

That is when I catch an inkling of the extent of my spiritual poverty: All I have to offer God is not worth having. Even my pitiful and wretched version of love requires Christ’s generous love to be accepted by God. The transforming love of the Cross is what will change my understanding of the true nature of love and will draw me closer to truly loving God and my neighbour.  

In the seventeenth chapter of John we find Christ’s great high priestly prayer just as His Passion was about to begin. Christ prayed for his disciples and those who believe in Him through their word (verse 20). Jesus prayed that believers would be brought to perfection through him and be with him in heaven and see his eternal glory and know God’s perfect love (see verses 23-26). Throughout his prayer, Christ made clear that although spiritual perfection is our future state with him, the transformation begins in this world.

We do not know what this perfected transformation will be like. Saint John said, “...what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed  we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3.2.) Saint Paul told us that Christians can be transformed into the “same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.” That image is Christ.

This transformation of spiritual character is still a mystery that often involves pain here on earth. Paul told us that if we share in the sufferings of Christ we share in his glory. He said that our sufferings here on earth are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us. This transformation begins to occur when we unite our sufferings with the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. 

And when we do this a strange and wonderful spiritual transformation begins. Our spiritual poverty is absorbed into the glory of Christ’s sacrifice. Our pain united with His pain begins to produce in us a “weight of glory” to use St. Paul’s words, that will only be fully realized in eternity. He said that “although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 

Surrendered pain in union with Christ is a refining instrument, if the sufferer allows it to be. God will raise us up (just as Christ was raised) and place us with him. 

For me, decades of suffering intensified my spiritual longing to be with Christ and see him as he is in heaven. This yearning is for the ultimate reality that lies just beyond the door of temporal reality. I am reminded of my Lord’s words to the thief as they were dying on their crosses: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

My longing is not so distant at all. The mystery behind Easter is the key to satisfying my deepest desire; God put eternity in my heart ― and yours too (see Ecclesiastes 3.11.)

Mark

Friday, February 14, 2020

PIED PIPERS FOR MEDICAL MURDER

In 2016, Canada legalized medically assisted suicide for physically sick and disabled people whose deaths are "reasonably foreseeable."  That was not good enough for death advocates. Immediately the reasonably foreseeable portion of Canada's "Medical Assistance In Dying" law was targeted as well as the requirement to be over 18 years of age. And why just the physically disabled? Canada's liberal progressives howled, "What about the mentally ill who want help killing themselves?! Discrimination!" 

Remember that death advocates originally promoted medical assisted suicide for dying people who were in uncontrollable physical pain, and wanted to end their suffering. That was the sales pitch—but it was not all they had in mind. In 2016 assisted suicide advocates got their way after decades of advocacy. Canada legalized euthanasia under the euphemism "medical assistance in dying."

Of the thousands of people who have received "medical assistance in dying" since 2016, only six were self-administered assisted suicides as was sold to the nation by the death with dignity crowd. What Canada actually has is lethal injections. That's not medical assistance in dying, that's medical murder. Don't you just love those slippery slopes progressive liberals deny? Don't you just love the syrupy sweet euphemisms they use to disguise the bitter poison of monstrous acts!

Liberal progressives laugh at the idea of a slippery slope on moral issues. Their laughter is hollow and unconvincing. All we need to do is look at the liberals' sacred cow of abortion. It was legalized in Canada in 1969—3 years before the infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that opened the path for the systematic murder of over 61,000,000 children before birth. Abortion advocates still repeat the mantra about abortion being safe, legal and rare. Well, it may be legal but abortion in America and Canada but it is neither safe nor rare. The injured and dead bodies of thousands of women attest to that fact.

In 1969, at third reading of the original abortion bill, then Canadian Justice Minister John Turner rose in the House of Commons to reassure a reluctant and uneasy Parliament about his bill:

"The bill has rejected the sociological or criminal offence reasons. The bill limits the possibility for therapeutic abortion to these circumstances: It is to be performed by a medical practitioner who is supported by a therapeutic abortion committee of medical practitioners in a certified or approved hospital, and the abortion is to be performed only where the health or life of the mother is in danger."

The bill passed into law. Was that what happened in practice? Not even close. It was a ruse. The ink was barely dry on the legislation and the law was being flouted. The Justice minister was lying. The first Prime Minister Trudeau (Pierre) smugly clarified that the law meant health to include mental health. Things got so bad in Canada that by 1982, there were more abortions than live births in Canada's largest city of Toronto.  Either the law was being ignored or Canada had the unhealthiest women on the planet! The precedent for accepting medical murder was set.

The law was completely struck down in 1988, by Canada's Supreme Court. From that day until now, there has been no law on abortion in Canada. There is no legal protection for unborn children at any point of pregnancy. A woman can have an abortion for any reason or no reason, completely paid for by the taxpayer. All she needs to do is call up her nearest friendly abortion clinic and make an appointment. She can have as many abortions as she wants and they are all paid for by the government. What was once utterly unacceptable is now a right.

You see, a monstrous idea can never be presented to the public conscience in its full hideousness. It must be skillfully sold in small increments over time. The public conscience must be massaged and lulled to sleep. Take an idea that makes people recoil in disgust an horror and present it gradually, in altruistic scenarios. Create dire situations with extreme cases. Present a lie as truth. Keep telling it with conviction, and eventually what was unthinkable yesterday becomes thinkable today and a human right tomorrow. Coarsening the public conscience takes time and skill to kill.

Abortion did not kill millions of women as we were told during the 1960s. The year prior to Canada legalizing abortion in 1969, there were 367 deaths by illegal abortion. As tragic as those deaths were, they were not thousands or even millions. 

Fifty years later we were told that assisted suicide was needed for people with uncontrollable pain at the end of their lives. But modern pain medication and techniques can completely relieve all physical pain. How do I know this? Dr. John Scott, a Canadian expert in palliative care wrote the following words:


“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 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.”*

Those words were written in 1995. How much more refined has pain management improved in these intervening years?! I posed that question to another end-of-life care specialist, Dr. Margaret Cottle. Not only did she confirm the veracity of Dr. Scott's words, she told me about the marvellous new advances in pain management.  Suffice to say, if you know someone who is suffering in pain in 2020, they don't need a lethal injection, they need a new doctor!
So now, Canada is thinking of legalizing euthanasia for what they euphemistically call "mature minors" and the mentally ill. Don't be placated or fooled by skilled but evil wordsmiths. Let me bluntly clarify the immoral quagmire in which we find ourselves sinking. Canada has legalized killing off its suicidal sick, dying and disabled citizens, and now it is contemplating expanding its terrible euthanasia law to include children and the mentally ill. These are the very people a civilized society should be protecting with the best care available. What we call medical assistance in dying is actually medical murder. Canada has lost the right to call itself a civilized nation. 
Mark
______________________________
* Dr. John Scott, "FEAR AND FALSE PROMISES, The Challenge of Pain in the Terminally Ill" inEUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE: The Current Debate, ed. Ian Gentles (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited, 1995), p. 96.



Tuesday, January 28, 2020

THOUGHTS ABOUT CHRISTIANS RESPONDING TO EUTHANASIA

I was recently interviewed for a Canadian current affairs program called CONTEXT: Beyond the Headlines, with Lorna Dueck. Lorna was examining the Canadian government contemplating expansion of its euthanasia legislation to include the mentally ill and children. During the interview, I was asked how Christians should respond to euthanasia? You can hear my answer by clicking hereLorna Dueck ended the program by giving me the last word.

Join the mailing list of CONTEXT: Beyond the Headlines, for a thoughtful and penetrating Christian perspectives on a broad range of Canada's current affairs topics by clicking here and becoming an Insider

Mark


Saturday, January 25, 2020

THE MOST PRO-LIFE PRESIDENT EVER ADDRESSES THE 2020 MARCH FOR LIFE

President Trump with children to deliver his
historic address to March for Life 2020. 
Listen to President Trump's complete speech to the 47th March For Life 2020, click here. God bless President Trump. God bless America.