“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, September 30, 2015


Nobuyuki Tsujii
I have written before about how music can express the heart where words fail. Below is a composition by the young blind Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii: It is called "Elegy for the Victims of the Tsunami of March 11th 2011 in Japan." The music expresses Tsujii's sorrow -- and he and his piano were weeping throughout the performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqoV4ZW7xTA 4:52

Monday, September 28, 2015


I have a memory of  the day my grandfather died in 1962. My
My father and me
(c. 1965)
father came home from the hospital where my grandfather was being treated for what we thought was a relatively minor ailment but he unexpectedly died. 

I was waiting at my grandfather's house with other family members when my dad came in the door. In his typical WASP way he told us that Granddad died then went to the basement of the house. We were stunned!

I sneaked downstairs and heard my father moving about in a small bedroom at the back of the basement. Slowly I opened the door and said, "Dad? Are you okay?" Looking away to hide his face, he absently fidgeted with something on the top of a dresser. He cleared his throat then replied "I'm okay son."  The air was thick with emotion. I dared not speak for fear of crying. Finally I was able to muster the words "I'm going to miss him, Dad." My father turned and looked at me; his eyes were brimming with tears, his lips trembling under his mustache. He whispered "Me too," then completely broke down and started weeping. I ran to him. We hugged and cried. He wept for his father (and I wept for him) but mostly I wept for my dad in a grief I could not assuage, but could only try to comfort him in as much as was possible for a boy of nine. 

Something heartrendingly beautiful happened in that room. Our father-son soul-bond deepened. In an embrace of a few moments we experienced a sovereign unity of two broken hearts beating as one. It was as close to divine love as I have experienced before or since. Eight years later my father would die but there would be no unity of hearts. One ceased to beat.   

In 1994, I watched the movie Shadowlands, a love story about C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman who died of cancer in 1960. C.S. Lewis was brilliantly portrayed by Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger as Joy Davidman. There is a scene near the end of the film where Lewis and Joy's son Douglas are in the attic of Lewis' home shortly after Joy's death. When I saw the scene it reminded me of my own experience I described above. There are obvious differences, of course, but the point where grief breaks through into sobs of sorrow (2:44 in the clip below from the movie) opened my little grey memory cells of thirty-two years earlier with my father.   

What's my point? Do not fight it when it's your turn to grieve. Grief is universal to the human experience. It will touch us all.  Granted, it is excruciatingly painful but is also as natural as air after a major loss. Tears are constructive and necessary. Suppressing or avoiding grief can result in destructive behaviors and acting out (as it did to me after my father died).  

We must enter our own river of grief and venture across to the opposite shore in search of acceptance and hopefully a dawning of recovery that subdues the stabbing pain of grief.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_QDoHsdSTg for the grief scene from the 1993 movie Shadowlands.]

*The title of this post is a take-off on C.S, Lewis book A Grief Observed, his eloquent journal chronicling his inconsolable grief journey after his wife's death.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


My last blog post dealt Christian advocacy and addressed, in part,
my challenge of government policy denying me an electric wheelchair because of advanced multiple sclerosis (MS).  At the bottom of that previous post was a link to a television news story about my situation. A newspaper columnist for the Edmonton Sun, Cam Tait, also wrote about it, See 


Edmonton is fortunate to have someone in the media like Cam Tait who understands disabilities issues. All cities should have such a media presence.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Recently I was denied an electric wheelchair by the provincial
government in the province where I have lived all my life (Alberta, Canada). This denial came after years of supporting my need for an electric wheelchair. The denial was eventually reversed after a barrage of emails from my Facebook friends and other people of good will deluged the Premier's office.[1] (It shows the power of new media to effect change.)

While the change of decision is good for me, it raises a larger issue: What about those people with disabilities who can not speak for themselves and don't have a thousand Facebook friends or a community to rally behind them? Who will advocate for them?

This is a legitimate ministry for Christians and churches. Look for people who need an advocate. Make good things happen for people with disabilities through effective representation for them to government agencies, insurance companies or other avenues that can assist them to live not just exist.

If your church or parish hasn't yet established a community advocacy ministry, start one. Let the community where you live know it exists. Go to bat for those who are most vulnerable with the same tenacity as if that person was Christ himself. It's a great evangelism tool and an effective way to show the greater community God's love through your actions.

Below is a link to a news story about my case. Remember the media can be an effective partner for change. Cultivate relationships -- with organization but most importantly, with people. 


[1] In Canada. a provincial Premier is similar to a state Governor in the U.S..

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The greatest human need is the need to be loved. This includes people with disabilities. The greatest poverty in the world today is the lack of love and so many people with disabilities are impoverished when it comes to love.

Dare to be generous with love; dare to be vulnerable with your heart; dare to love those who feel unloved. Love is the only thing that ultimately matters. We discover this crucial truth the closer we draw to Christ and other human beings. 

Love is the only risk that can pay dividends in this world and the next. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgaTQ5-XfMM , ThePianoGuys, A thousand Years, 4:35]

Monday, September 14, 2015


Every abortion in Canada is paid for with our tax dollars (without our consent or any public consensus). It is a moral outrage!

Then in late July 2015, the abortion pill RU-486 was quietly approved by Health Canada. Although women will need a prescription to obtain it, a whole new phase of early abortion is about to begin in 2016. It will be secret killing, under the radar so to speak. Canadians will not have the slightest clue how many little lives will be deliberately snuffed out in utero. The intentional taking of human life won’t end there.

Earlier this year Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down the law prohibiting assisted suicide.  The suicidal sick, disabled or depressed are likely to be helped to kill themselves beginning in 2016. Canada truly has become a culture of death. O Canada! Where did we go wrong?

I think I have a vague idea of our societal error. Throughout the twentieth century, Canada experienced a gradual cultural drift from its Christian foundations.  Others have chronicled the drift more adeptly and thoroughly than I could possibly do, but let me tell you generally where I think we went off course from truth.

Much of society ceased to believe or care that the real presence of Christ was possible in their lives ― or the Blessed Sacrament for
that matter. With it came a loss of holiness and a sense of wonder for the sacred. C.S Lewis wrote: “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” 

That is a simple, profound truth yet vast portions of our culture became blind to the concept of holiness and the transforming sense of wonder that it brings to life. Just as the real presence of Christ is what makes the Sacrament blessed, it is the image of God that gives sanctity to all humanity. 

Hearts that are indifferent to the things of God can make any atrocity possible ― like digging out a developing unborn child from its womb or helping a suicidal disabled or sick person kill himself. As Christians we must never become indifferent to abortion or the euthanizing of people. 

Pope Benedict XVI said:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not... with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

Personal autonomy elevated to the highest ideal at the expense of
community concern and the common good is treacherous indeed. It does not enhance our humanity; it takes away from our humanity and leaves society poorer, much poorer. It is the tyranny of self that excludes consideration for the good of others. Unaccountable personal autonomy inevitably hurts the most vulnerable and those with the least power. 

Again, Pope Benedict said elsewhere: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

Our culture is infected with the deadly combination of the eyeless ‘I’ of narcissism, and the moral corruption of nihilism which rejects long-held beliefs and morals of a previous Judeo-Christian culture.

Have we come to a point of nihilism where each person is his own judge and jury and his personal convictions of self-interest are
infallible? Is every person is his own god? Have we come to a point where Frederic Neitzsche’s terrible predictions have come true? He said: “Nihilism is standing at the door. A triumph of nihilism is evitable.” 

Has nihilism crossed the threshold and overcome our previous tried and true Christian culture? Will those faithful to the gospel and commandments of Jesus Christ and his Church acquiesce to such a perilous the unproven future?  We must not.

Everything Christians should hold dear – like the sanctity of human life – is at stake. I do not want you to take this lightly. The lives of the powerless as well as the hearts and souls of the powerful hang in the sway!

Jesus Christ commanded us to take the Good News to the world which includes our neighborhoods. The Gospel message has changed and transformed individuals and entire societies before in history. I pray it can happen again. Countless lives depend on the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If you and I do not take news of the internal transformation that a personal encounter with Christ can bring, who will?

Wear your Christianity for all to see and always be prepared to give an account for the hope that is within you. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FExIWex_vc for Celtic Thunder - Heritage, 4:45]

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Kentucky County Clerk
Kim Davis
David Brody, "What's Next for Freed Kentucky Clerk? Her lawyer speaks out," The Daily Signal, 10 September 2015. See link below. 


reductio ad absurdum n. proof of falsity by showing absurd logical consequence

Our culture is a death culture. We uphold the perverse right to kill our wanted preborn children, or the old, sick and disabled should they give up on life and become suicidal. 
(106 BC-46 BC)

Our culture is a throw away culture. We throw away everything including unwanted children. But we must ask, Unwanted by whom? No child deserves to be abandoned to an abortionist or a garbage heap. Cicero's words are as applicable today as the day they were uttered thousands of years ago: "While there's life, there's hope." Our culture would do well to heed his wisdom, whether life is at its beginning or drawing to a close. Never give up of life -- whether your own or another. 

I remember seeing a shocking and sad photograph of a baby thrown out with the refuse: The reductio ad absurdum of  "pro-choice". Someone picked the baby up with arms of love and gave him hope and a future.

"Choose life that you and your descendants may live."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


When I was in college way back in the 1970s, I studied radio and television arts, majoring in television writing. My first job in the television industry was as a commercial writer: To make even the most mundane, unnecessary or questionable products look positive and give them an exciting spin. It was my job to present images and words on the television screen to motivate potential consumers to part with their money. At the risk of sounding boastful, I was rather clever at it. It was fun and creative but lacked a sense of purpose, and often had an undercurrent of deceit. 

Eventually the lure of television subsided and I left that industry to make the remainder of my short career with the Canadian federal civil service, working in areas of community development. 

Television had enormous potential to enlighten and educate but has been reduced to the lowest denominator. Indeed, television is a vast wasteland of inane programming: sitcom blather, one after the other, written by formula requiring laugh tracks to convince viewers they are actually watching something funny. There's a glut of reality shows that do not reflect reality. News programs are so biased viewers can't be sure they are getting all the news, proper information or context.  Now we have alternative new media that may stop the news and entertainment strangle hold of television -- and to a lesser extent radio. A new problem can be overload!

Back to advertising and commercials: Very few things advertised on television are necessary, yet they are presented as though they are important to our lives.  Quite simply, spills were cleaned thoroughly with a rag before Shamwow came along. Five year old cars probably work just fine. We don't need new ones every couple of years.[1] Judging by the ballooning of North America's waistline, we don't need more candy or fast food. What the real estate industry calls a "starter house", my parent's generation called home.  Bigger, better, larger, newer, is not the point of life; our relationship with God and other people is the point: Love. 

The Scriptures tell us not to covet.[2] Be content.

The Apostle Paul said "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living with plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."[3] He's speaking of Christ.  

Elsewhere the Apostle writes:

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."[4]

The writer of Hebrews says: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.""[5] 

Beware of what is presented to your senses that is meant to create envy, make a want seem like a need, alter your perceptions (things may not be as the seem) or divert your thinking from that which is godly and brings you closer to Christ.

Beware of clever words and compelling images that create illusions rather than reinforce reality. Perceptions may not be reality. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YBtspm8j8M for a GENERIC BRAND VIDEO, 2:49]

[1] My 17 year old van is still working great! My wife's car is 10 years old and working like a dream. My son drives a 17 year old Toyota (winter) and a 42 year old Volkswagen Beetle (summer). His wife alternates between a 15 year old Buick in winter and a 36 year old VW van in summer (good for camping with the grandkids). Okay, my family is not vehicle proud. We are odd that way but I think it illustrates that vehicles last much longer than typically people keep them.
[2] Exodus 20.17. Cp. Psalm 10.3; Proverbs 28.16. Also passages about greed: Jeremiah 6:13; Ezekiel 33.31; Micah 2.2-3; Habakkuk 2.9, Luke 12.15; Ephesians 5.3; Colossians 3.5.   
[3] Philippians 4.11b-13.
[4]1Timothy 6.6-10. Read verses 6:11-16. Cp. Ecclesiastes 5.10-20 
[5] Hebrews 13.5, and reference to Deuteronomy 31.6.

Monday, September 7, 2015


A few months ago I started a second blog under the title Christian Creative Arts to express my love for the arts. I invite you to visit my arts blog at the link at bottom of this post. 

The Arts remind me there is still sanity and beauty in an insane and
ugly age. Despite living in the darkness of a culture of death -- where children are sacrificed by abortion on the diabolical altar of sexual licence, and defeated sick and disabled people are eliminated by euthanasia -- the Arts speak to me of beauty and express the hope in life of humanity. The Arts have been a constant consoling friend to me throughout more than thirty terrifying years of degeneration from serious neurological disease (multiple sclerosis). Christ often speaks to me through literature, visual arts and music (that still small voice). 

The Arts have great potential to speak of beauty and the human experience. 
Phil Cooke
 The prolific California based writer and television producer, Phil Cooke said, "God chose to introduce Himself to us in the first verses of Genesis as the Creator. And yet so few Christians really understand the power of creativity to influence the culture." He is absolutely right. We do well to reflect on Phil Cooke's insightful words.

I believe that the human desire and need to create has something to
Dr. Francis Schaeffer
do with being created in the image of the Creator. 
The brilliant evangelical Christian theologian and thinker Dr. Francis Schaeffer said this: "Art is a reflection of God's creativity, and evidence that we are made in the image of God." 

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II loved the arts. Commenting on the created process of life, he said: "Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." 

Every human life is created in the image of God and can become an artful masterpiece if only given the chance. When the Arts rise to their pinnacle of possibility, they bear eloquent witness to this immortal reality. 

That recognition and a desire to encourage artistic endeavor are what prompted me to create the blog Christian Creative Arts. See http://www.christiancreativearts.org/


Saturday, September 5, 2015


My blog post for 18 August 2015 was entitled "Consequences of Original Sin". I received an email from a reader. Let me refer to her as J. In her email J wrote:

"I just read your blog Consequences of Original Sin, and although I have heard the same story many times and have discussed it with many people, I still have a nagging question about `The original plan`not including death.   If God is ALL KNOWING, then he must have known how the whole story would unfold before ever creating mankind. I struggle with this thought over Lucifer falling from Heaven as well.  People try to convince me that it is about free will...that`s not what I am stuck on.   GOD MUST HAVE KNOWN....that is my  point.... everything....He knew everything....Evil was no surprise to Him.  Can you clarify this irritating little glitch I have in my thinking for me?"

I gave J's question considerable thought before writing back. I am a layman, not a theologian. With trembling I responded:

Dear J. - It seems that your friends who have been speaking about
free will are right in as far as it goes ... the problem is that I don’t think they took the point far enough. The overarching motif in all of creation is divine love and its corollary of holiness. I think your friends have things reversed. 

We are told in the Scriptures that God is love and the Apostle John wrote extensively about this. The Scriptures also tell us God is perfect, holy, and He desires that we be holy too. It has been this way since the beginning. I have continually misunderstood the depths of God’s love and the lengths He is prepared to go for humanity to bring us toward Him and draw the human race to freely love Him back with as perfect a love as His. He has instilled a desire for perfect love in the human heart. Bishop Fulton Sheen put it this way:

“...the human heart is isolated and in agony: it has more love to give than any earth-bound object can receive – it clamors to be loved more lastingly and comprehendingly than any human lover. But both the longings – to love perfectly, to be loved perfectly – are mere vacuums in man; the most real part of his nature  turns out to be a void.” (Life Up Your Heart)

And so it is. In our current state we are incapable of receiving or giving perfect love. Both require holiness. God has put a desire for eternity in our hearts which we are not able to realize yet (Ecclesiastes 3.11) And I believe this has traces of Eden. I think Sheen’s comment gives us an inkling of what people miss when they talk about free will, and it is the desire to love perfectly and be loved perfectly. But free will must have proper context. 

Real love must be given freely. C.S. Lewis wrote in his monumental book Mere Christianity (important in my own conversion): “A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating.” It would be contrary to God’s nature of desiring to give perfect love and receive perfect love. Perfect love can not be demanded; it must be freely given. That is where free will comes in.

But as soon has there is a choice to love, there is also a choice to reject love. This choice for divine love has cosmic proportions and that involved/involves the Creator and the created.  Yes, God knew the objects of His love would reject Him and replace God-love with self-love, but that was/is the risk and the point of love.

I think of it like this: A parent loves her child with all her heart. She would freely lay down her life for her child. From infancy, the mother raises her child to be a decent, loving and moral human being. Unfortunately, beginning at an early age the mother notices the child has a stubborn and rebellious nature. Does the mother stop trying to instill those values into the child? No, her love for her child compels her to try to instill those things and to love. The mother has strong suspicions her child will one  day defy those values that mean the most to the mother. As the child enters her teen years and early adulthood, the mother knows in her heart the child will probably go astray but she still lets go. She must. It’s part of the love package. The parent’s heart is broken to see her child go off the rails, her love always desires her child to return. The porch light is always on. Someone may ask, “Surely you knew your child would reject all you stood for, and even you?” Yes the parent knew yet love drove her on. She always desires that the child will love her as deeply as she loves her child.

Back to the consequences of Eden and Original Sin: The Apostle John tells us Christ was with God in the beginning and that through Christ all things were created. “In Him was life, and the light was the light of men.” (John 1:4)  I think it is within the perfect light of Christ that divine love and holiness abide; spiritual enlightenment opens vistas of holiness. Outside of that light there is neither life nor authentic holiness. 

It was the decision, the choice to step out of the Light, that humanity was plunged itself into spiritual darkness.

My Nelson Christian Dictionary defines holiness as “Moral or spiritual perfection; sinlessness; entire sanctification. Quality of be set apart or consecrated to God.”  By choosing to try to be like God, man tried to become his own god. By choosing something else than the source of life, humanity found itself cut off from life and light (holiness). The natural consequences were death. I use the improper adverb “were” because the consequences were far reaching throughout history both in spiritual death and physical death. Once the cup of innocence was spilled it could not be put back; rebellion had soaked into human character; our spiritual DNA became adulterated. Something other than the embrace of God’s divine love and holiness was chosen.  The colossal ramifications reverberated throughout the ages. 

When I first became a Christian I wondered why God would put the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil” within humanity’s grasp? (Genesis 2.17 It was a necessary ingredient of love. The divine motivation of love was illustrated in the next verse. God said “it is not good for man to be alone.” and created Eve to love: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”. The intimacy of human love, at its best, only mirrored a pale reflection of God’s love.

God desires to be loved too! To willfully obey the divine Lover is part of loving and receiving perfect love. His gift was perfect life and humanity chose something less and it involved death because humanity was cut off from the source of life.

That is where choosing is so important: The desiring and the having. Ultimately every person in every generation of a fallen race must decide what they desire. The primordial spiritual battle is waged in every generation. We face death in this life but life is freely offered in the next. The closer we draw to Christ the more we discover love and holiness – those threads weave throughout history. The choice is continually offered.  

St. Paul told us, "Now we know in part, but then we shall know just as we are known." The curse of death that has plagued humanity since Eden will final be broken. The second Adam sets things right. Paul said,
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorably; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. So too, it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being,” the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not the first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. ...Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also also bear the image of the heavenly one.” (1 Cor.15.42-46, 49.)

Yes, evil was no surprise to God but love and holiness were the intent. Just as evil was no surprise, God made provision from the outset for the world he loves to find the way back to Him, That provision was Christ. 

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnyLWxFNOgI for Kari Jobe, "What Love Is This?" 4:12]

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Wesley J. Smith
I want to refer readers of the HumanLifeMatters blog to an excellent piece written by Wesley J. Smith for the National Review, "Quebec Doctors are Veterinarians Now" See  http://www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/423357/quebec-doctors-are-veterinarians-now