“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, November 26, 2015


I write this blog entry on the eve of the American Thanksgiving. The United States of America has so much to be thankful for as families get together and share a wonderful meal in homes across the nation.

America is a nation of immigrants and refugees from elsewhere.[1] An ocean of humanity fleeing poverty or war have gazed with hopeful eyes at the Statue of Liberty and made new lives in America. At the foot of that statue of Lady Liberty you will find these words from Emma Lazarus' poem The New Colossus:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

As I write these words, I am left to ponder the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland being torn
apart by war. At this very moment there is a flow of people seeking seeking refuge and safety. Syrian refugees have no home. They are desperate. 

As Christians we must treat others as we would want to be treated if we were in their position. I don't need to cite Scriptural references to back this up. We know it is right to welcome displaced Syrian families. I believe you can feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to act and welcome these huddled masses (to use Emma Lazarus' term) just as I am being prompted and convicted to bid them welcome in my community.  

I believe we are called by God to welcome the stranger, the
homeless, those whose lives are threatened. This emergency unfolding before us provides a wonderful opportunity to be Christ's emissaries for love and to present His Gospel and the way of salvation. Jesus told us to take the Gospel to the world -- well, the world is coming to us. 

We must remember, many of our ancestors fled persecution in other lands and came to North America to seek a new life.  Let us afford others the same opportunity -- in this case Syrian refugees -- and feel the warmth of Christ's love through your actions and witness for Him.

Remember, with the exception of First Nations people, we are all from immigrant stock. Many come from Africa, Europe or Britain. (My own family came from England and Ireland.) Their plights were desperate too.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPvjhzNytdk for "Thousands are sailing."

[1] Although I address American readers of this blog (who make up 2/3 of HumanLifeMatters' readership) my thoughts equally apply to my nation of Canada.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


English writer and broadcaster Claire Rayner (1931-2010) said:
“Only the unloved and unloving escape grief.” That is not entirely true. I will reserve comment about the unloving other than to say if they do not know grief in this world they will certainly know it in the next.

The unloved live in grief of the forsaken or the forgotten. There is nothing more tragic than being unloved. Human beings crave love more deeply and more completely than any other desire. It has, I believe, something to do with bearing the Image of God, because God is love.

People crave love from birth.  In their 2010 book “Born for Love:
Why Empathy is Essential – and Endangered” child psychiatrist Dr.
Bruce D. Perry and science journalist Maia Szalavitz explored the human need for love beginning at birth (I would go even further and assert that every child needs love beginning before birth). Perry and Szalavitz show how the human brain is hardwired for love, empathy, and a deep need to connect with others. Depriving a child of love can have detrimental life-long effects on them and others. 

Indeed, I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking than being unloved, and knowing it. 

The grief of being unloved gnaws at a soul and darkens the landscape of their lonely and monotonous existence. It can drive a person to desperate, destructive behavior. Being unloved (or thinking one is unloved) will cause people to give up on life and can even drive them to suicide.

Although I have known great physical, emotional and spiritual pain associated with neurological disease, I have been spared the horrible agony of being unloved. Love has been the greatest beauty of my life, second only to being forgiven by a merciful God, through Jesus Christ, for a litany of sin. I would rather suffer a thousand stabbing pangs of physical pain than to be unloved. But alas, the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church tell me and you there is no such thing as an unloved person! Do not trust feelings as truth.

You may not know earthly love but you have always been loved by the Author of love: Jesus Christ. We know this because the Bible
and Church tell us so!  Christ has been knocking at the door of your heart waiting for you to open it. He said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3.19) In His immense and unfathomable love Christ has always been calling you. He wants to enter your life and dine with you. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (2011) says that the reference to a meal may be the Lord’s Supper. The presence of Christ and his love is abundantly evident in the Blessed Sacrament. 

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

“It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love which  he loved us ‘to the end.’” (1380.)

The Blessed Sacrament is the Sacrament of love.  
Christ’s love for those without earthly love, the dejected and rejected – those who the world may deem to be ‘the least of these’ – is beyond doubt. His love is perfect and bids them to come near.
Jesus said, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. … I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15.9, 12.) His words are true and faithful; his love exceeds any earth-bound love. All people can know complete joy. It comes from abiding in Christ’s love, which is available to all humanity. This is why there is no such thing as an unloved person,  just people who do not know they are loved. But they must be open to divine love for divine love’s sake and on divine love’s terms – the ‘Yes of Jesus Christ’ to use Pope Benedict’s phrase.

On this point where a chronically ill person like me and the
chronically lonely can stand in unity; all sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. We will yet bask in the warm embrace of Love Himself and finally know as we have always been known. 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves.  If a time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics ever have to suffer under a totalitarian state, which would deny to them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them in Congress, and because they abandoned the spiritual in the realm of the temporal.”  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Today I an remembering my father Howard Pickup. During WW2, 
Howard Pickup
he served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC). He would be horrified to know what western Civilization has descended to in the 70 years since the end of the war. Despite that generation's monumental sacrifice for the "survival of Christian civilization" (to use Churchill's words), we descended "into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science" (again Churchill's words). We have sunk into our own holocaust of abortion, genetic tinkering, and soon assisted suicide on request. God forgive us for squandering the sacrifice and turning liberty into license.

The best way to remember the sacrifice of our father's and grandfathers is through personal and national repentance. Tonight I will pray for our dying western Christian civilization that my father's generation was prepared to lay down their lives to defend.

Rest in peace Dad, rest in peace. You were one who came home. You died 24 years after the war, and I have missed you for 45 years. You loved and were loved. So many others missed out on life itself, but for the short time they were here they too loved and were loved.

[Click below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBeS_fWEun0 for John Burge, Flanders Field Reflections, Loved and Were Loved, 6:10].

Denzel Washington speaks about gratitude

Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington speaks to Pentecostal convention about gratitude.
Denzel Washington


Friday, November 6, 2015


When you're tempted to despair at the state of our western civilization that seems to have rejected the very Christianity that made it great, remember there are still multitudes who pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ.  Shine, Jesus Shine! 

Click on image below orhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4hXJ9ax2FY 

Sunday, November 1, 2015


We are expecting our new grandchild from Haiti. I'm so excited!
I've been sitting here watching Black Gospel music on YouTube. When baby gets to Canada and comes to visit Grandma and Grandpa perhaps we'll worship with our Black brothers and sisters in Christ. You'll know me, I'll be the spastic old white guy with the white hair groovin' across the front of the church in a wheelchair with my wee grandchild on my lap. You'll also be able to pick out the rest of the family, they will be ones who are beet-red. 


[Click on image below orhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhrg4YnpXSQ See Mississippi Mass Choir singing "They Got the Word". 7:19]


Having had aggressive multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years there have been many storms in my life. Episodic loss of physical function has involved much anguish. I have been incurably ill and disabled for half of my life. And yet despite the agony, Christ has  been with me throughout my journey. I have learned that tears of sorrow and tears of joy can flow simultaneously. It's a strange and wonderful mystery. 

In March of 1984, on the day I was diagnosed with MS, I remember lying in the hospital, and praying, “God, why this?”  He replied directly (I could swear it was audible): “You are mine.” I thought, What kind of answer is that?

What I think God was telling me at the very outset of this 30 year
journey with chronic degenerative illness was that I am His child through faith in Christ. Not even disease can strip that from me. Nothing slips by God’s attention. All things work for good for those who trust in God. I was being called to simply trust in Him and trust that this was working for my good.[1]

My journey would take me into a terrible fire of disease, but God would abide with me ― like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego I would not be alone. And as with Job, my flesh is being destroyed but my life has been spared. 

If we surrender our lives to Christ, he will lead us through life's
storms to our eternal home. We must pray, "Thy will be done" and mean it, content to accept whatever that may mean. We must trust that He is leading us toward the Celestial City, nothing slips by God's attention, the trials we face here are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.[2]

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EuIIl7yHfc for David Haas, "You Are Mine", 4:57]

[1]Roman 8.28.
[2]Romans 8.18.