“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

Friday, July 30, 2021


Sustainability and self-sufficiency are most often the keys to raising people out of poverty. Personal initiatives, small businesses, and responsible farming must be encouraged. I think of the oft quoted pearl of wisdom: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 


In the years after the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010,

many appeals were made to the world for essential things like clothing; clothes were given. The pleas kept coming; so in 2013, my wife, LaRee, packed 5 sewing machines on a plane and flew to a Haitian orphanage. She taught the older children to sew and left the sewing machines there. (My wife is a maternalistic sort of woman with an immensely practical orientation.) LaRee ascribes to the view that giving people a hand up is better than just giving them a handout. LaRee is a grandmother with an older school of thought rooted in practicality and resourcefulness. Decades before it was fashionable, she repaired and patched clothing, and reused fabric in what might be called “re-purposing” or “retro” today. She simply calls it frugality, and not being wasteful. 


[Give a child a garment and you’ve clothed him until he grows out of it. Teach him to make his clothes and you have clothed him for a lifetime. Teach him how to mend and alter clothing and you’ve given him a profession.]


That’s my LaRee. Practical. Hands-on. Never mind all the highfalutin hoity-toity international declarations. proclamations and promises of aid. As Larry the cable guy says just “Git-er-done!”


Before anything meaningful can be done for sustainability, Haiti’s chaos, rampant violence and societal disintegration must be brought under control and stopped. Haiti needs the expertise and assistance of businesspeople and their “know how.” Haiti needs community development from the ground up. Farmers need to be supported, Their farming techniques must be updated and modernized. That will take the form of on-the-ground agricultural expertise to help farmers and farm families. Corporate investments must play a role in Haiti’s economy. The UN, other nations, international and private foundations and philanthropists have a role to play. 


This has been done before in other places. Twenty-five years

ago, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown took a delegation of business executives to former Yugoslavia to explore possible business opportunities that might re-build the war-torn region and make a meaningful difference in the Balkans. Unfortunately, the delegation of 34 died in a plane crash in Dubrovnick, Croatia. But it did not stop the rebuilding and America played a significant role.


Throughout his presidency, I corresponded with Bill Clinton on a number of occasions, usually about disability issues and public policy supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a much wider context, I also encouraged the president’s administration in its efforts to rebuild the Balkans and create an economy where free enterprise could flourish and people thrive.  (I believe that the sanctity of human life and being pro-life is also concerned with how people live to reach their full potential.) After his Secretary Brown’s untimely death, I sent a letter of condolence to the President. He responded by saying, in part:


“Dear Mark: Thank you for your heartfelt message of condolence on the death of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the 34 people who accompanied him on his mission in support of peace. … Ron Brown knew the meaning of the American Dream and, as a member of my Cabinet, fought to secure it for everyone willing to work for it and believe in themselves. He and his colleagues lost their lives in their quest to bring the benefits of economic renewal to the Balkans and to strengthen the peace. …”


We can take the sentiments expressed by Bill Clinton and apply them to Haiti. Haiti needs someone to ignite a spark of a Haitian Dream that brings hope to Haiti’s people. They need to believe they can succeed. They need to embrace a vision that they can honestly achieve their dreams of prosperity, and better their communities, if they only believe in themselves. 

There is a Biblical proverb that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”[2] It is not a vision seen with the eyes, rather the heart—that internal place where dreams are born. Remember the words of the fox to the Little Prince: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”[3] 


I believe that Haiti’s primary problem is that they are a people

without hope. They have no vision. That needs to change. It can
change! Creating an environment that is conducive to economy renewal, encourages investment, restores law and order, supports local businesses and farming, and, most importantly, brings Christian hope to the people that only Jesus Christ offers. 


Imagine that dreams really can come true, then make it happen. Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe and you’re half the way there.” 


Mark Davis Pickup 

[1] Cindy Wooden, “To feed the world, start with family, pope says” Our Sunday Visitor, 26 July 2021. https://www.osvnews.com/2021/07/26/to-feed-the-world-start-with-family-farms-pope-says/


[2] Proverbs 29.18.


[3] Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince.


Monday, July 26, 2021


I remember when the cultural madness became apparent to me, at least to my boy's mind. It was the early 1960s. My vague early memory of the 1950s was a world still deeply influenced by western Christian civilization with its morals, culture and mores. Life made sense and had order. 


Not everyone was Christian or even attended church. But you would have been hard-pressed, for instance, to find someone who did not know the ten commandments. They may not have followed them, but they knew they ought to. I remember when people were not afraid to walk alone at night on city streets, when people did not lock the doors of their houses or cars. More people told the truth than lied. I remember people whose word was their bond, and a handshake was as binding as any written contract. It’s hard to believe things were that way but they were. I remember it.


At a personal level, I was surrounded scholarly, ordered conservative men of manly good natures, like my father and grandfather. My grandfather's world was made up of music, tweed, a living room with overstuffed brocade chairs and sofa, and an ancient faded Persian rug.  A mantle clock sat on his fireplace. Its gentle steady ticking marked the hours, days, months, years, and decades dating back the early 20th century. His house smelled of coffee, old books, and pipe tobacco.  I loved being there.


In today’s world of the 21st century, men like my father and grandfather would be reviled and scorned as patriarchy.  It must have rubbed off on me—recently I was called “a patriarchal piece of S...t.” (I rather like the title.) The word ‘patriarchy’ is a dirty word now, but not to me. It evokes dear memories of security, family, Christian moral order, honesty, and decency. 


My father encouraged young people of both genders to rise to their full potential.  In fact, after his death in 1970, a Junior high school was named in his honour because of his love for education. But none of that fits into the mentality of 21st century moderns, the woke crowd, cancel culture, or ideologues of alternate gender fiction. (I’ve lost count of how many genders we are supposed to believe exist.) They cancel the memory of such men.  After all, men like my father were white straight men. They had “white privilege” despite being raised in the Great Depression of 1930-1940, then fighting a world war that claimed between 22-30 million military lives—and the same estimated number of civilian deaths.[1] 

They defeated the Nazis! Some white privilege! If my father’s and grandfather's generations were still alive, moderns would call them Nazis—but then the vocabulary moderns tends to be limited. They call anyone they disagree with a Nazi. Of course those who level the white privilege and Nazi accusations didn’t experience any of that history. They prefer to alter and rewrite history to suit their own agendas and worldviews. 


My father lived just long enough to see the beginnings of the 60s liberal church take root and abandon absolute truth for relative truth. They renounced the ancient tried-and-true Christian moral code for an experiment in social reconstruction of society. The stupidly audacious 1960s. My dad was a member of the United Church of Canada. It was, at one time, the largest Canadian Protestant denomination (or so they claimed). The 1960s saw a falling away from sound doctrine and Biblical truth. The early shifts were small—so small my father felt petty even mentioning them. But as surely as night follows day, one slight deviation after another, the falling away from Biblical truth became more and more apparent until: The Virgin birth was denied, the miracles denied, the validity and authority of the Bible was questioned, even the bodily resurrection of our Lord was denied with attempts to explain it away (remember the ridiculous 'swoon theory'?). By the time my father challenged the falling away, it was too late. A few years before he died, he said that one morning he woke up to realize he had nothing in common with his church anymore. When he challenged the church leadership’s direction, they invited him to leave (a fine display of liberal tolerance and accommodation). My father spent the last few years of his life at a local Anglican church that had an evangelical vicar.


Today the United Church of Canada is dead—a hollow shell of its former self. The local United Church where my father was a member—and was invited to leave in 1966—is now permanently closed. It died a slow death one empty pew after another until the last task of the minister was to turn out the lights and turn off the power. The closed church stands as a dismal monument to the failure of liberal compromise and accommodation of the culture. 

Liberal Christianity is just secularism cloaked in religious vestments.  

When denominations succumb to liberalism’s superficial allure, or "progressive Christianity," their people become starved of Biblical truth and the moving of the Holy spirit. Pews begin to empty. 

People don’t need more liberal blather and soft soap. They get enough of that from the media, governments, schools, tenured university professors and the entertainment industry. People do not need comforted consciences, they need conviction. In every heart-of-hearts, people know their own inner darkness; it only grows deeper the further they drift from God’s Truth, holiness, and divine love that has beckoned them since their earliest memory. They need the blazing light of Christ's objective truth, not relative truth. Objective truth convicts human hearts; it is the source of true healing and peace. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6) There are not many ways to God, there is only one way and Jesus Christ is it. Either that or Christ lied. Should I believe Him and His unchanging Truth or the ambient culture of uncertain brutal progressivism and fluid political correctness?

In his penetrating book Mere Christianity, (an important part of my own Christian conversion), C.S. Lewis said, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” 


That is why I became a Christian more than forty years ago. I was a liberal, and ever so progressive. Ultimately, I only found regress in liberal progress. Relative truth that started with comfort and comfortableness eventually broke my heart in despair. 

Christ’s truth gave me comfort despite terrible storms of neurological dysfunction of MS, and then cancer. He has been with me throughout it all. Don’t give me the gooey fat of liberalism. I need the solid meat of Biblical truth to rely upon and the Holy Spirit to guide me. 


[1] History on the Net, How Many People Died In World War 2https://www.historyonthenet.com/how-many-people-died-in-world-war-2


Wednesday, July 7, 2021


The HumanLifeMatters blog has passed a major milestone:

1-MILLION page-views! (See the total page-views at the right.) Readers are primarily American, Canadian and British. I never thought the blog would be so successful. 

Apparently, people are actually interested in what an unlettered, disabled old man—living in his little house out on the hinterland of the Canadian prairies—has to say about suffering and faith, Life and love, ethics and culture. I have nothing to offer except that which the Lord gives me.

Recently, a reader from Texas wrote: 

"I can only marvel at the extent to which Our Lord has taught, and continues, to teach you. Also at the effective communication gifts with which He has endowed you. This blog is so profound, truths learned in circumstances no one would ever invite upon oneself. Another of the blogs you wrote drove my mind back to the accounts of Job."

Retired Canadian Member of Parliament, Ken Epp said this about the HLM blog:

"God has gifted you with amazing communication skills, and even though we may object, it seems that the person that God hones through hardship is really sharpened in the message he has experienced and learned from." 

Their words are kind. I'm grateful to them for highlighting that everything comes from the Lord, not me. Any ideas of substance do not come from my pea-brain. How could they! Christ said we can do nothing without Him.[1] The Apostle Paul said, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God."[2] 

Many blog posts have been forged in the fires of aggressive multiple sclerosis, (and cancer). Christ has been with me in suffering throughout most of my adult life. I learnt to trust him even in the worst of circumstances. He was with me during the terrors of neurological degeneration and happy regeneration with a miracle that delivered me from years in an electric wheelchair.

Everything good I've experienced in life comes from God. I'm dependent upon Him even for my next breath and heartbeat. My trials have kept me dependent on Christ.

Suffering has the capacity of stripping away all things extraneous in life, leaving only that which is essential. Throughout thirty-seven years of MS, I have learnt that it is in a state of spiritual poverty that the voice of the Holy Spirit can be heard more clearly. Discernment becomes sharper. Whole new dimensions of internal richness can open to the sufferer if they unite their suffering with Christ's redemptive suffering. We learn there is no suffering that He has not suffered. There is no pain He does not know, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. 

Someone may ask "How did Christ suffer spiritually?" Read Matthew's account of Christ's agony in Gethsemane (Matthew 26.36-44). He said "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death, ...."[3] Jesus cried from the Cross, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me?"[4] He knew spiritual agony.

I have been afraid of suffering. Christ was too. Three times Christ asked if it was possible that the cup pass over Him—a bitter cup of drawn out torture, and crucifixion. Crucifixion was a most shameful and excruciatingly painful death. Christ knew it was waiting for Him. But He concluded each prayer of petition by saying not His will but His Father's will be done.[5] 

I experienced the frustration and humiliation of being confined to a wheelchair. For years, my legs were useless. Do you think that Jesus did not know the frustration of being unable to move?  His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, as He hung naked for all to see his agony! That is humiliation! My fear of creeping paralysis pales in comparison. 

I was abandoned and betrayed by friends when I became disabled with MS. So was Christ abandoned and betrayed by His friends. Peter abandoned and betrayed Jesus, so did Judas!

For more than three decades, I often asked God to take away my MS and return me to normal. He did not. I had to come to a point of total resignation and complete surrender of my life and my stubborn will. I had to be able to say and pray, "Thy will be done"—regardless of what that might be entail, and mean it. It was/is necessary for me to understand that whatever suffering God allows is for my ultimate good. 

My prayers began to change to prayers of trusting acceptance. I asked God to reveal Himself in my suffering and give me understanding in my physical degeneration. I stopped asking and began accepting. For years, I no longer asked God for deliverance. and prayed as Jesus gave us example in the garden of Gethsemane and the model prayer He gave us: Thy will be done.

Then one day a few years ago, I felt led to go before the Lord and ask once again if He was willing, could I get out of my electric wheelchair and walk again, even with canes or a walker, even if only for a short time, ... . and I humbly asked that if possible could I dance with my wife again, just once? The answer was Yes. 

Gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, I began to regain physical function. I slowly regained the use of my right arm and hand, and then my legs (but not completely). I did get out of my wheelchair! I did walk again, but not without the use of a cane, canes or a walker. One winter night I was able to put down my canes and slow dance with my wife in our living room to Lionel Richie's Three Times a Lady. Okay, it was more like gentle swaying in time to the music and rotating, but to us it was dancing.

Surprisingly, I even ride a bike! Granted it's a three-wheel bike (my balance is off) and I tire quickly, but hey, I'm riding a bike. The Lord has not returned complete function. It keeps me dependent upon Him.
Remember that God did not take away the thorn in Saint Paul's side. God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."[6] Strength in weakness? Such a paradox. Spiritual truths so often entail paradoxes. 

It is in life that we find death. Jesus told us that in death we find life.[7] In surrender to Him we find freedom and liberty.[8] The first in this life will be last in the next, and the last will be first.[9] It is through spiritual poverty that we gain richness of the kingdom of God.[10] We can be blessed in mourning, and receive God's comfort.[11] The Lord himself will wipe away every tear.[12]

I have personally experienced the Lord's comfort in my grief and mourning. I know Christ's words to be true. It is possible to experience divine joy in the midst of earthly sorrow. How can I keep such a discovery to myself? The HumanLifeMatters blog gives me an avenue to express it. And it's good to know so many people read my posts.

What if I have to return to my wheelchair? I will be thankful for the few years I parked it in the spare room of our house. I will have the memory of slow dancing with my wife. And if I lose the use of my right arm and hand again (or both hands) I will be grateful for LaRee's and my romantic suppers when she did not need to cut my meat.

I will thank God for granting my prayer request, even for a short time, and trust that what He does or allows is for my eternal good. My miracle has actually been a sign—a sign that Christ has heard every cry of anguish, every desperate and terrified prayer throughout the decades. He has been with me throughout it all.

Mark Davis Pickup
Email: HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca

[1] John 15.5.
[2] 1 Corinthians 3.5.
[3] Matthew 26.38a, Mark 14.34. Cf. John 12.27.
[4] Matthew 27.46, Mark 15.34. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 or 42.9.
[5] Matthew 26.39-44.
[6] 2Corinthians 12.9.
[7] John 11.25b, cf. John 14.1-3. Cf. 2Corinthians 5.1.
[8] 2Corinthians 3.17, Galatians 5.1,13.
[9] Matthew 19.30, 20.16.
[10] Matthew 5.3.
[11] Matthew 5.4, 
[12] Revelation 21.4