“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

Saturday, July 19, 2014


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.


[See a Gaelic Blessing by clicking on the image below 

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

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