“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

Monday, October 31, 2022



My wife LaRee and I are closing in on 70-years-of-age. Lately,
we find ourselves thinking more about our mortality and the terrible prospect of one of us being widowed. We have loved each other for more than 50 years. We are one in marriage. In speaking of marriage, Jesus said that from the beginning of humanity God “’made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”


Even now, after half a century, my heart still thrills when LaRee enters the room, or I hear her voice, or she smiles at me. The thought of having to carry on without her and go through the motions of life alone—ending each day lying on our bed where she once slept—would be so terribly lonesome, it would be like cutting me in half. Would I lose my joy for life, or the will to live without LaRee? I don’t know. I hope not. Life is a gift from God, every breath I take is from Him. She would be with Christ. But I know my heart would be waiting to see my Lord, and LaRee again. 


For years I have written daily love letters in journals to LaRee. She has a drawer filled with them. Although they are private, I will share part of a recent letter I wrote to her:


“Dear LaRee:

What goes on in your mind? What are your thoughts? Sometimes when I see you gazing into space daydreaming, I think that I'd love to be inside your head to share that interior moment with you. That desire is rooted in a wish to know my LaRee in your entirety—the woman I have loved all my life. Since childhood, I have never loved anyone else but you. The inexpressible love we have for each other is completed in God’s inexpressible love. One day there will be no need for me to search for words to express my love. You will be able to see what is unseeable now. I love you so much. — M” 


Jesus said this about marriage:


“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.  But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” He is not the God of the dead but of the living.[1]



[NB: Jesus did not say we be angels, He said we will be like angels. What are angels like? They are eternal and are always in the presence of God and are filled with His love.]


Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven? My heart cries out, “Nooo! Please Lord! I want to always love LaRee and be loved by her! Our marriage is all I know.” 


I can try to build a case why our marriage will continue in some transfigured way, but that flies in the face of what Jesus plainly said. I know it. I must accept it. I have only the life I have lived. I know nothing else. That life has been blessed by romance. I must not succumb to making our marriage my idol. 


But that’s exactly what I have done! I am guilty of idolatry! As I type these words, I realize it. My perspective is so confined and small. Marriage must not become the entire focus of my heart, or my love for LaRee, which surpasses my ability to express in words. I must not allow human romance of the heart to overwhelm the greater romance of the soul: It is a divine Romance from which God wooed me into a relationship with Him through the sacrificial love of Christ. He is the author of love—from which romance springs of a man for his wife, and vice versa. Christ must not fit into my marriage; He must be the center of it. My love for Him must be my first love on earth. 


Lord, forgive me! I have adored too much the charm of human romantic love. 


And yet I know from personal experience, that immense divine Romance of God—primordial and timeless—that has so often overwhelmed and astonished me. 


The Bible tells us there will come a time when all things will be made known. Every small act of kindness made in private, every act of love or hatred, every desire or yearning, that either blessed or broke our hearts, will be laid bare. Everyone will see how unworthy I am to have received the forgiveness Christ gave me. So too, my love for LaRee will also be laid bare. She will finally see the inexpressible depths of my love for her that words have always failed to express. Love and the ability to love will be complete in the joy of His love. 


The book of Revelation gives a revelation to those who have wept inconsolably in this life. We are told that God Himself will wipe away every tear we have ever shed.[2] There will be no more crying, sickness, disease, or death. Restraints of time will dissolve. We will enter the timeless.[3] We will have shed the material and temporal for the immortal and eternal. We will be given new bodies, (and I can kick this decrepit one to the curb).

LaRee’s and my earthly marriage will be dissolved and we will enter the marriage of the Lamb. 


“How will we know each other? I think our new bodies will resemble the perfect LaRee and Mark originally intended for us before the Fall in Eden that brought sin into the world—not only Original Sin, but our own sins that marred us.” 


I have often wondered what I could have achieved without the MS and disability? It won’t matter because there will be a new world—a new heaven and a new earth[4]— too marvellous for us to comprehend in our present state. The words I wrote at the beginning of this letter won’t matter. They will be irrelevant because we will know just as we are known in our redeemed state.[5]

There may be some theological problems in what I have written, but you must forgive me. I’m just a romantic old fool.



[1] Matthew 22:30-32.

[2] Revelation 21:4.

[3] Cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11a.

[4] Revelation 21.1. cf. 2 Peter 3:13

[5] Isaiah 65:17,

Friday, October 14, 2022




(A Journey Toward Love)
Mark Davis Pickup

TRANSCEND is a fictionalized screenplay inspired by the true events of my life. 

Logline: TRANSCEND spans 50 years and follows the lives of Mark and LaRee Fraser from teenage lovers through the heartbreak of
abortion and the trials of their marriage after Mark develops aggressive multiple sclerosis and catastrophic disability.  Their story involves sin, brokenness, forgiveness, adversity, and learning to trust God when the stakes are horribly high. 

Genre: Christian romance

This film would appeal to audiences who enjoyed Miracles From Heaven and The Notebook.

Contact: Mark Davis Pickup
Email: markdpickup@icloud.com
Tel: 780-929-9230
Cell: 780-232-4954

"My friend Mark Davis Pickup has written a remarkable screenplay which echoes his own story in a warm and personal way. Mark and his wife LaRee have overcome insurmountable odds to discover a rich and abiding love ... . In a broken world where many marriages are crumbling under pressure and disappointment, there is ample room for stories like theirs." — Joni Eareckson Tada,

Thursday, October 13, 2022



In March 2023, Canada will legalize assisted suicide for the mentally ill. It’s part of the horrible legacy of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

If we are going to do something so horrible, March is the right month to do it. It's a lonesome month; neither winter nor summer; it is a month when bare trees, devoid of leaves, reach starkly toward grey skies and sway in cold winds. 

Broken windows and empty hallways 
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today. 

Progressive liberals are about to do what my father’s generation—the generation Tom Brokaw called the greatest generation—would be appalled to learn. He and his countrymen were prepared to die for their nation to stop the Nazis: Their atrocities included killing the physically and mentally ill. They had little use for the disabled. Judging by how Canada treats its disabled, apparently, we feel the same way. 

Those with severe mental illness are usually at the bottom of society, impoverished, isolated and excluded, under-employed or unemployed. Many see only their future as a barren landscape of "aloneness" and loneliness.  Many are driven to give up on a life in which they feel unwelcome. The cold and coarse regime of Justin Trudeau will offer them so-called death with dignity instead of searching for a life with dignity. Why would many mentally ill Canadians not take it? Death may be preferable when life has been so unkind. 

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles 
With frozen smiles to chase love away 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today 

The scarecrow in a white coat who holds the syringe that injects the poison into the mentally ill person has a frozen smile. It’s the same icy smile they've seen all their lives. 

They have always sung off-key with society’s latest tunes. A sea of loneliness can overwhelm a broken spirit.  The last thing the defeated mentally ill person sees in this world—before they succumb to lethal injection—is that familiar frozen smile that tells them they were never welcome.

Lonely, lonely Tin can at my feet 
Think I'll kick it down the street 
That's the way to treat a friend. 

The mentally ill are not really friends with the new Canada. Inclusive rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. So many are alone in their anguish. Behind the progressives’ smiles lies a hostility that would just as soon dispense of the physically and mentally ill—people who don’t fit in with the liberal progressive world they want exclusively for themselves and those who ascribe to their progressive ideology. 

Depending on the severity of a person’s disability, their presence offends progressive sensibilities. Progressive liberals of Justin Trudeau’s regime won’t admit it—but they’re not above legalizing lethal injections they euphemistically call 'Medical Assistance in Dying.' Death is the ultimate exclusion!

Like Justin Trudeau, euphemisms are dishonest. They are designed to disguise something wrong, or too unpleasant to mention in the company of polite progressives.   

Death with Dignity is a myth. Dignity is not achieved with a lethal injection when someone is at their lowest point, or helping someone kill themselves. Death with dignity is not an event, it is a process—the natural conclusion of having lived with dignity. 

Right before me 
the signs implore me 
To help the needy and show them the way 
Human kindness is overflowing 
And I think it's going to rain today. [1] 

These are the lyrics to a song written by Randy Newman in 1968 called I Think It's Going To Rain Today. He is an atheist but his lyrics touch on the despair and defeat experienced by so many people suffering from mental illnesses. What are people of faith and goodwill to do in such a Brave New World? The answer is right before us. The signs are before us. They implore us to help the needy and show them the way. If the mentally ill are not the amongst the neediest, who is? We must embrace them in their neediness, their loneliness, their depression, their confusion. Inclusion. We journey with them, seeking a way for a life that changes their pale death moons and skies streaked with grey into sunlight uplands of hope. Showing people The Way never leads to death. It leads to life with dignity.

* Lyrics from I Think It's Going To Rain Today by Randy Newman in 1968.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Progressive disability from multiple sclerosis forced me to retire far too early in my career with the Canadian civil service. I was thirty-eight, still a young man, and had to live on a modest disability pension. That did not sit well with my Type A personality. I sank into clinical depression as disease kept ravaging my body, forcing me into stillness and eventually, after bitter anguish, contemplation. Days, months and years were spent convalescing. Seasons passed. My children grew up and married. Grandchildren were born and grew up and have begun to marry. My wife’s and my hair turned white. Still, that small voice whispered, “Be open to love as it comes to you for in love you will find God.” To my surprise and delight, I discovered it was true. New revelations about love (both human and divine) came to me in our little, red-roofed house with its yard shrouded from the world by a massive hedge. 

I still sit with my morning coffee and look at successive generations of blue jays coming into the yard. At night, I can stand there contemplating the vastness of the heavens above me. God raised me from the wheelchairs I used for many years.  The creeping paralysis that marred my adult life— beginning as a young man—receded like the tide. I stood and walked again as an old man.

The words of Victor Hugo come to me from his great novel Les Misérables:

“What more was needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, …Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enough to enable him to adore God in His most beautiful as well as his most sublime works? Indeed, is not at all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon. At his feet something to cultivate and to gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon: a few flowers on the earth, and the stars in the sky.”  

The Psalmist wrote: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, the message reaches all the world.”

Yes, it does. 

The meaning of my life did not come in a thunderclap of a potentially successful career that was smothered before it really began. It came in a gentle breeze of the ordinary rhythms of life. The purpose of my life is here with those I love, and within the greater and perfect love of Christ.


Saturday, October 1, 2022


I wrote a column for a Canadian Catholic newspaper, The Western Catholic Reporter from 2004-2016 when the paper folded (a victim of many newspapers to new online media). One of my columns appeared under the title "Christian love gives dying souls peace." It dealt with

my wife's adamant and resolute protection of her mother (who had dementia) from being euthanized. My column appeared on October 28th, 2013. Her Mother died two months later. Less than 3 years later Canada legalized euthanasia under the euphemism "medical assistance in dying" in May of 2016. 

Since that time, more than 30,000 Canadians have been murdered under the new law—the vast majority by lethal injection. The initial criteria of Canada's law have been slowly broadening. In March of 2023, the mentally ill will be eligible for assisted suicide. Evil advances incrementally to coarsen public acceptance for what was once unthinkable. 

See my article below. If you are unable to read, the text is below the article.


My wife, LaRee, and I were asked to address a conference about critical life issues sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey. They wanted us to speak about a Christian perspective on suffering, disability and end-of-life care. It is a timely topic because New Jersey is considering a law to allow assisted suicide. The diocese wanted the dual perspectives of someone with a degenerative and incurable condition like multiple sclerosis (me) ― and the perspective of a loved-one (my wife) watching the deterioration and unable to stop it.  LaRee and I looked forward to going to New Jersey for two reasons. Firstly, we thought we could bring a needed life-affirming Christian story to the debate that is raging in that state, and secondly, we were going to celebrate our 40th anniversary after the conference in the nearby city of New York. It was not to be.

LaRee’s aged mother’s frail physical condition started to take a life-threatening turn in Edmonton. We could not risk being so far away from her. Once again, my wife is giving a profound witness by her actions for Christian care of those who are vulnerable and cannot care for themselves. We cancelled our trip. 

My wife’s active love for others has been illustrated for more than half of her lifetime. 

Her mother lives in a nursing home and has dementia; her confusion makes her frightened and she cries out for LaRee.  As soon as she enters her mother’s room, all is calm again because she knows she is safe with LaRee near. 

It’s unfortunate, but my wife has deep reservations about anything that would put her mother in an acute care hospital setting. The threat of her mother being denied nutrition and hydration (food and water) is very real. LaRee’s grandmother met with that fate ten years ago and died a torturous death.  It happens to vulnerable people all the time. In this new bioethical era, the incurably ill, dying, and severely disabled are increasingly fearful of hospitals where some physicians ― with the full backing of a hospital ethics committee ― may decide providing treatment to them is futile. 

Treatments may be futile but the patient is never futile. Doing anything to hasten the death of a sick or dying person is always wrong and flies in the face of a long tradition of Hippocratic medicine. That’s why I previously wrote that Catholic hospitals must never acquiesce to bioethical trends that do not recognize the innate dignity and worth of every human being regardless of their state or stage in life.

Whether or not physicians working in Catholic hospitals are Catholic, they must adhere to the principles of Catholic teaching. As a person with advanced multiple sclerosis, I want to know I can rest confident that medical decisions about my care follow those teachings. 

The Catechism of the Catholic teaches that euthanasia is morally unacceptable (2277-2279). Any act of omission that causes death (like withholding food and water) is considered as murder and must always be forbidden. “Withdrawal of medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate” If death of a patient is imminent “painkillers to alleviate suffering of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means.” In such cases, death is recognized as inevitable but not hastened. The underlying principle is one of motive and intent. Death must never be the intent of any medical action or inaction.

That is the ethic by which every Catholic hospital must operate its end-of-life care. They must always act in accordance with Catholic teaching on matters of life and death and never give in to trends in bioethics, secular pressures or financial burdens. If people like my mother-in-law (or me and you) cannot rely on Catholic care to always value our lives, where can go to know we will be safely treated? 

I mentioned that my mother-in-law feels safe when LaRee’s is near. Even in her mounting dementia, she seems to know she’s in good hands. LaRee’s Christianity and familial love motivate her to stand in the gap for her vulnerable loved-ones. She recently combed through her mother’s advanced directive from 2009, and updated it to reflect 2013’s reality. She met with her mother’s treating physician to make sure every measure for comfort is met and ordinary care owed to all sick people is not interrupted (just like the Catechism says).  

By caring for her mother in this way, LaRee is giving vivid testimony to a culture of life that treats dying as the last phase of living in which the bonds of humanity are strengthened, not weakened.