“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

Sunday, March 19, 2023

THE BIG LIE AND TRUTH DENIED

 


“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Attributed to Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Chief of the Nazi Party.

 

People tell small lies. They shouldn’t but they do. They know others are more likely to believe a small “white” lie more than a whopper. What happens when it is necessary to make people believe a wholescale big lie to advance a political, ideological, or sociological goal? As Goebbels said, keep repeating the lie until people accept it. The public mindset must be massaged into mental dullness and general intellectual malaise. The big lie must be introduced in increments, then reinforced by intimidation through name-calling, censure, isolation and even threats of violence against stubborn dissenters. In his autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler addressed the big lie:

 

“… in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.” — Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf 

 

It is a colossal lie that people can change their gender or that there are many genders. There are not. We all know there are two genders. Gender is not assigned at birth. Gender is obvious at birth (and before). Ideology or wishful thinking does not determine sex, genetics does. Men cannot become women or vice versa. One can make themselves appear or seem like the opposite sex with their appearance and hormone manipulation and physical mutilation, but every cell in their bodies identifies them as the sex they have been since their beginning, in utero. Granted, there is a rare condition known as ambiguous genitalia where an infant is born with genitalia not clearly identifiable as male or female. It is a rare disorder that affects 1 in 1,000-4,500 births.[1] It is an anomalous disorder and should not be used to bolster gender ideology. Any reasonable person can and should deduce this.

 

A clear-thinking culture does not embrace or promote the false gender identity social construct. Gender identity is not malleable or fluid; it is a false narrative of social reconstructionists and wishful thinking of a tiny minority who want to rebuild society to their own liking and preferences, not what’s good for the majority. It is intended to confuse the large majority. A woman may say she is a male trapped in a female’s body. I could flippantly respond by saying that was I to, then I was born. But that downplays a psychiatric condition of tormented souls. Her confusion or imagined alternate reality does not need affirmation of her gender identity disorder that can—in its most extreme—result in surgical mutilation. She has a condition that may well have a psychiatric connection.[2] She needs treatment and therapy, not surgery

 

And it is criminal to play into a pubescent or pre-pubescent gender confusion with hormone-blocking drugs that may have long-term risks or physical mutilation with mastectomies and so-called gender reassignment surgery. Doctors who play into this psychiatric disorder should be disciplined or lose their medical licences. 

 

Society still has enough residual morality to be horrified if a doctor amputated a healthy limb on a person suffering from the extremely rare condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder, also known as Amputee Identity Disorder. or apotemnophilia. It is a disturbing mental illness characterized a person’s persistent desire to have a physical disability such a amputation of a healthy limb or paraplegia where a surgeon snips their spinal cord. The patient may believe a limb is not theirs. Any reasonable physician would not acquiesce to such a request from a patient. They would treat the patient for their obvious psychosis. Remember, it was not very long ago that mutilating of genitalia at the request of patient suffering from gender identity disorder was unthinkable. 

 

Although the American Psychiatric Association dropped the word ‘disorder’ from gender identity disorder in the 2013 DSM-5, I don’t think it was because of any empirical evidence. The change to Gender Identity was deference to the hyper-sensitivity of the transexual community and woke pressure. 

 

Now, the transexual lobby demands that the English language be altered to accommodate them, despite the fact they only represent about 4.5% population.[3] Preferred pronouns to not clarify, they confuse! Ninety-four percent of the population must give in to the neurotic demands of a small minority? No! We must understand that LGBTQ have their concerns and be kind. That is different than acquiescence. The majority must now step to the plate and take control of society’s direction for this confused and muddled time, and for posterity. We must return our culture to the tried-and-true Judeo-Christian moral ethos that made Western civilization great. The majority must be kind and take care of minorities, whether they be refugees, people with disabilities, unwanted children, the mentally ill and sexually confused. But not at the expense of the majority of the population. Social policy and community behaviour must reflect this. We live in a democracy where the majority still rules. And transgender ideology must not be promoted because it encourages unnecessary confusion, particularly amongst children. Understand that much of the moral mess we are in can be related back to relativism that resulted from turning away from God. This was necessary for liberal progressives in order to dispel the idea of Objective Truth, in favour of relative truth. That way, anything can be justified, from abortion to euthanasia, to redefining marriage, family, and sex. 

 

Upon reading this article, I will, no doubt, be called homophobic, a hater, a Christian fanatic. So be it. Because I disagree with someone, and their agenda or ideology, does not make me a hater or homophobic. It means we have a difference in opinion. At this present time, I still have the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.[4] It’s one of Canada’s four fundamental freedoms identified in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Similar the American Constitution).[5]

 

I ask the majority to stand for what you know deep within your hearts: Marriage is between a man and a woman. There are two genders, just as there have always been throughout history. Every child matters, whether born or unborn. Killing terminally ill and disabled people with euthanasia must not be tolerated. Helping suicidal people kill themselves must not be tolerated and be criminalized again. Children deserve to be children without being exposed to transgender ideology in school curricula or overt exposure such as drag queen storytime. Let us return to sanity and order. 


Here is the Big Lie: There is no God from whom Truth comes, so man can make himself in his own desired image.  It's a whopper!

 

MDP 



[1] Khawar T. Mehmood and Rebecca M. Rentea, Ambiguous Genitalia and Disorder of Sexual Differentiation, National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, 29 August, 2022. Accessed from internet 11 March 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557435/

 

[2] Ravi Philip Rajkumar, “Gender Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia: Neurodevelopmental Disorders with Common Causal Mechanisms?” 04 December 2014, PubMed, accessed from the internet 11 March 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274821/

 

[3] “Some 4.5 percent of U.S. adults identify as LGBT: study.” Reuters, 05 March 2019. Accessed from the internet 13 13 March 2023. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-idUSKCN1QM2L6.

 

[4] CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS, s-2b. Fundamental Freedoms. Accessed from the internet 19 March 2023 https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-12.html

Monday, March 6, 2023

LOVE AT FIRST (AND LAST) SIGHT

 

Can romantic love burn bright even in the face of imminent death? Yes, it can, and it happens all the time. Is there such a thing as love at first sight?  Absolutely! Nowadays there is a general shyness to use the phrase “love at first sight.” One blushes to say it. The world is far too cynical and jaded to embrace the idea that two people can fall in love simply by looking at each other. And yet, despite the risks of romantic love (disappointments, disillusion, and disenchantments), each new generation believes in the possibility of love at first sight. They believe it so much their hearts ache to dream about it. History and literature, art and music are all replete with proclamations of love at first sight. 

 

My wife and I are seventy. More than fifty years ago, we were two young people who experienced love at first sight. That initial spark of love grew into an open flame that has warmed our hearts for over half a century. But we know we are in the last chapter of our love story, and foreboding reminders of living without the other are never far from our minds.

 

If there is love and first sight—a beautiful moment when time stands still—then surely there must be love at last glance before an aged lover looks into his or her spouse’s eyes for the last time—that heartbreaking moment when death descends.

 

The death of a mate does not change the truth that true love lives on in the memories and dreams of the one who is left behind. True romantic love has love for God at its foundations. God is the author of love. He makes romance deepen. He created marriage and raised it to a Sacrament. Love is what gives purpose and meaning to life … and death. We need not fear the future, the Creator of love is there. Christ is with us.

 

“To love or to have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. To love is a consummation.” — Victor Hugo




Wednesday, February 1, 2023

DISABILITY INCLUSION IN TELEVISION AND FILMS


I have advocated for disability inclusion in the media since the 1980s specifically for television in various capacities from behind the scenes to on-air staff, and within dramatic series – in every facet of production, especially casts.

It's still virtually non-existent to see visibly disabled news or current affairs broadcasters. In the 34 years since I was forced to retire, I have, however, been pleased to see more shows and streamed dramatic program series that include characters with disabilities such as HOUSE, and THE GOOD DOCTOR. But they have abled-bodied actors portraying disabled characters. Dr. Gregory House in the series HOUSE is disabled and uses a cane. The role is played by Hugh Laurie who is not disabled and does not use a cane. THE GOOD DOCTOR has its principal autistic character, Dr. Shaun Murphy, portrayed by Freddie Highmore who doesn’t have autism.  Shows usually have able-bodied actors portraying disabled characters. It's reminiscent of the days when black people were portrayed by white actors with painted faces. 

BREAKING BAD was an example where an actor with cerebral palsy (R.J. Mitte) played a character with cerebral palsy. It’s rare to have that. 

MOVIES: Secular movies have numerous films about disabilities portrayed by people without disabilities, dating back to RAIN MAN where Dustin Hoffman played a character with autism.  


THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON was about a character with Down Syndrome and portrayed by an actor with Down syndrome (Zack Gottsagen). The movie was the highest-grossing independent film of 2019!

 

[Nb: It’s divinely ironic to note that a highly successful Oscar award-winning disabled actor has spent his career portraying able-bodied people. Sir Anthony Hopkins has Asperger’s.]

 

Christian movies about disability using actors with disabilities are rare. Two that readily come to mind are TOUCHED BY GRACE (2014) and JONI (1979). 



Monday, January 23, 2023

OUR HOUSE IS A VERY, VERY, FINE HOUSE

 



Musician David Crosby has died. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were a favourite band of mine back in the 1970s. Their harmonies were so tight for the day. Crosby’s personal life was in shambles, but he gave the world some great music. My personal favourite was Our House.

 

When I was diagnosed with aggressive multiple sclerosis in 1984, my wife, LaRee, and I were terrified. I previously worked for the multiple sclerosis association so I knew the terrible places MS could take people. 


LaRee had to watch me start to decline. It broke her heart, but she is a realist. We sold our house and built a wheelchair-accessible home. It was our house where we would live a life we knew was going to be hard, but there would be good times too. 

 

“I’ll light the fire,

You place the flowers In the vase 

that you bought today."

 

Wide-eyed terror of neurological dysfunction took us on a wild rollercoaster ride. The MS attacked my ability to speak, then it would relent. My hearing was affected. My vision was affected. My legs would go spastic and my coordination was impaired. I’d lose the ability to walk or the use of my right arm. All these things would come without warning and no guarantee of remissions. Each remission would return most but not all previous functions—particularly in my legs and arm. A crippling fatigue would overtake me and all I could do was watch life happen just beyond my reach. But LaRee still loved me. 

 

"Staring at the fire for hours for hours and hours,

While I listen to you play your love songs all night long

For me, only me."


At times it seemed as though the two of us and our love was all we had.


"Come to me now,

And rest your head for just five minutes,

Everything is done."



Protracted periods of time were spent convalescing. Months turned into years. Years became decades. Then I developed cancer. Our house became a nest, its rooms filled with sunshine coming through windows. We knew Christ was with us illuminating our way. We transcended our lot in life. 

 

"Such a cozy room,

The windows are illuminated by the evening,

Sunshine through them, fiery gems,

For you, only you."


For more than 35 years we have lived in our house. It is built on love. Its walls have seen tears and laughter, sad times, and good times. Terror and God’s comfort—often at the same time. Our children grew up in our house, and our grandchildren come to visit from time to time. Consolation turned to contentment. 


"Our house is a very, very, very fine house,

With two cats in the yard,

Life used to be so hard,

Now everything is easy cause of you."

 

And then in 2018, something wonderful happened. After so many years paralyzed and in an electric wheelchair with end-stage multiple sclerosis, God raised me out of it to walk again and He returned the use of my right arm. We had expected my next house would be a nursing home.


 

Yes, life used to be hard. But it has also been good. Now everything is easier because of You, my Lord and my God. LaRee and I live in our house, a very, very fine house that You gave to us. We are content to know that Christ is in control. His love and our love fill the rooms.


Now for your listening pleasure, here's Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing Our House.



  


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 



It is a day of reflection. Fifty-three years ago today my father died while he and I were downhill skiing in western Canada. He had a massive heart and died in my arms. He was 52 and I was sixteen. My world crumbled. But as God so often does, He used a tragedy to open new possibilities. 


My grief was so intense that the next few months were just a blur. Then in the early Spring of 1970, a girl I had been sweet on for as long as I could remember, telephoned from Ottawa, Canada, 3 thousand miles away. She expressed her condolences about the loss of my dad. That started a love affair that has lasted to this day. In October we will be 70 and married 50 years. 

Beauty can come out of tragedy. Joy can replace sorrow. Trust God's plan for your life, even if you're not sure what it is. There is one. (The trinket I'm holding in the photo to the right was given to me by my wife the year my father died. It says "Me and you, you and me, that's the way it will always be.")

Sunday, January 15, 2023

HERE I AM LORD

 





In my darker moments, the thought crosses my mind: Are we witnessing the collapse of western civilization as we know it? The pandemic keeps dragging on and the COVID virus keeps mutating—isolating people from each other. Interconnectedness is the glue that bonds and unites communities.  It seems like a lifetime ago since public gatherings were not a public threat. 


Each week, I hear about another school shooting or some lunatic with an automatic weapon spraying bullets into a crowd or shopping mall. The ancient moral code not to kill the most vulnerable amongst us has been breached and trampled and discarded.  Last year there were 44 million abortions in the world. What was an abomination to previous generations throughout the ages is now considered a “reproductive right.” Euthanasia of the sick and the disabled, the mentally ill and people living in poverty is being championed in my own country of Canada. I’ve watched mayhem and destruction in cities across America, while police stand aside or are defunded. Lawlessness abounds. We have heard rumblings of the “nuclear option” in the Russia-Ukraine war. Need I go on?

 

What does all this mean? Are we really facing the end of the western Christian civilization that gave rise to human rights and freedoms never before experienced throughout history? What will replace it? Marxism? Anarchy? A new world order of which the world’s people do not yet understand what its ramifications will be? We’ve been told by new √©lites at the World Economic Forum, like Danish parliamentarian, Ada Auken, that by 2030 we will own nothing, have nothing, every transaction will be monitored right down to the minutia of life, and yet we will be happy—or so she says.[1] Will that include Ada? Will she own nothing? Only time will tell. Methinks not. The new 21 Century √©lites will lord over the unwashed masses (that’s you and me) 

 

If Auken’s 2016 predictions of a Brave New World Order are what is in store for us, how should Christians respond? Apocalyptic survivalists advocate stocking up supplies, arming ourselves to the teeth, and hunkering down in bunkers. But that is not what Jesus told us to do. He told us to 


“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”[2] 


That’s what we are supposed to do regardless of what is happening in the world. Even if our worst fears come to be, we praise the God who saves anyone who believes in His Son Jesus Christ.[3]

 

“It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks." "Lord Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. For through His Pascal[4] mystery He accomplished the marvellous deed by which He freed us from the yoke of sin and death, summoning us to the glory of being now called a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Your possession, to proclaim everywhere your mighty words, for You have called us out of darkness into Your own wonderful light. And so, with angels and archangels, with Thrones and dominions, and all the hosts and powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of Your glory as without end we proclaim: holy, holy, Lord of hosts heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed it is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

 

Do not blush at such lofty proclamations about the redeemed people of God. We were made for glory. We all have a yearning, a longing for the transtemporal. If you look deep within yourself and think of your earliest recollections at the dawn of your memory, you will discover a joy was present that may have contradicted your circumstances. You did not understand it, it was simply there. Before you experienced rejection or callous neglect, verbal or physical abuse, before life’s disappointments and failures, there was a sense of—for lack of a better term—cradle joy. Perhaps you still experience, on very rare occasions, what C.S. Lewis called 'raids of joy'. 


Maybe they are triggered by early morning sunlight shining into a window in a certain way, or the distant sound of somebody's shoes on a linoleum floor, or the smell of freshly cut grass, or a certain piece of music. For me, I may experience a sense of that primordial joy in crisp autumn air and long shadows of late afternoon, if a gust of wind blows through evergreen trees. I believe those flashes of joy are evidence that you were created for the glory of heaven. C.S. Lewis wrote about this in his marvellous essay The Weight of Glory. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so. 

 

Sometimes when I have tried to console an inconsolable infant, (one of my children or grandchildren), I've wondered if she/he was, in a primordial way, yearning to be bathed in the love of God that was present in utero. The baby was not tired, sick, or hungry, nor did he/she need a diaper changed. 

 

God has given us life and wants us to spend eternity with Him through Christ’s cross and resurrection, through faith. we can experience a foretaste of heaven when the Holy Spirit indwells us. 

 

I believe evangelical and faithful Catholic Christians can find unity through the Holy Spirit, not arguing points of doctrinal difference. It will come in knowing Christ and having a personal relationship with Him. Together, perhaps we can stem the tide of a monstrous "great reset" that is being planned. 


The "great reset" of the global economy may soon be thrust on the world. Read the article in the link in footnote No. 1.  I suspect if the world Ada Aukenn envisions comes by 2030, it will be anti-Christian to its core and hostile to all that is holy. We will be expected to replace Christ with a type of animism that worships nature. 


In 2020, Prince Charles—now King Charles—spoke at the annual Davos Summit in conjunction with the World Economic Forum. They put out a slick propaganda video promoting the new world order. His Majesty said, in part:


"We need to evolve our economic model, putting people and the planet at the heart of global value creation. If there is one thing we have to learn from the crisis is we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate."


We do not need to put nature at the heart of how we operate! We need to put the Creator of nature, Jesus Christ at the heart of how we operate. This is central to Christian living. True followers of Christ understand this and will not replace Him at the heart of how we live with some new-age concoction of earth worship. The architects of the new economy at the World Economic Forum may detect, by our behaviour and countenance, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I certainly hope they do. And I suspect that it will ultimately alienate us in the world and separate us from the world. Another word for this is sanctify.  

 

“…to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord both theirs and our grace to you and peace from God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ …” (1 Corinthians 1:2-3)

 

We are united and sanctified in Christ by the Holy Spirit, to take the Good News to the world at all times and in all places:  


“But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God even to those who believe in his name.” (John 1:12)

 

This is how we respond to whatever future is in store. Followers of Christ respond: “Here I am Lord; I come to do Your will.”  

 

Be ready and willing to do what Christ told us to do. It hasn't changed. Go into the world and make faithful disciples for Him everywhere. And when the darkness threatens to overwhelm, remember what He told us:  “… I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”






[1] Ida Auken, “Welcome to 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy, And Life Has Never Been Better”, Forbes Magazine, 10 November 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/worldeconomicforum/2016/11/10/shopping-i-cant-really-remember-what-that-is-or-how-differently-well-live-in-2030/?sh=5fabc94f1735

[2] Matthew 28:19-20.

[3] John 3:16. Cf. Romans 5:8.

[4] Pascal – Of or related to Passover or Easter.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

CONFIDENCE VERSUS OVERCONFIDENCE

 


My wife says I’m over-confident. I know, it runs in the family. My grandfather was that way. During the Great Depression, when he stood in breadlines, he demanded toast. 

 

Confidence is good. Overconfidence is not. A Christian can be confident in the Lord and that He will take care of him/her regardless of circumstances. It’s unbecoming for a Christian to be over-confident. It can lead to undue self-reliance, arrogance, and turning away from dependence on God. Never presume God’s will.

 

There were times, terrible times, when aggressive multiple sclerosis stripped me of basic daily abilities—like dressing myself or cutting my own meat at dinner, or even getting out of bed. And yet Christ’s presence was ever-present. His still small voice whispered, “Be not afraid, I Am with you.”[1] The sicker I became, the more real and profound His presence became. 


I was able to be confident in the Lord and accept what I was going through was serving a spiritual purpose for my own good.  In 2012, I was diagnosed with cancer. Again, that still small voice whispered, "Be not afraid, I Am with you.” A blanket of His peace descended on me so that I could finally say, “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord.” I could finally accept with confidence that nothing happens outside of God’s control. There was a purpose in what was happening to me. Decades of MS terror taught me that. I was content with wherever cancer would take me. Christ’s love would be with me. 

 

As I was waiting to go into surgery, my wife asked, “Are you afraid?” Certainly, there was concern, but I can’t honestly say I felt no fear. A blanket of God’s comfort inexplicably suppressed or extinguished wide-eyed fear. My gurney was wheeled into the operating room. As the anesthesiologist was about to put me to sleep, a well-meaning but annoying new-age nurse was telling me to relax and think of meadows, bunnies and butterflies. It wasn't necessary. I was trying to pray to the Creator of all the meadows, the bunnies and the butterflies—and the Cosmos. Before the oblivion of anesthesia, again those words came to me. “Be not afraid, I Am with you.”

 

God was in control and He placed me in the hands of a skilled surgeon. I’m happy to say that eleven years later I'm cancer free. Not only that, I’m walking again after many years, and no longer wheelchair dependent. 


You see, I can be confident in the Lord regardless of what happens in this life. Yes, I can be confident in the Lord. Overconfidence would be registering for ballroom dance classes. 

MDP



[1] See Isaiah 41.10 & 13, John 6.20., Revelation 1.17. Cf. Matthew 8.26 & 14.26-27, Mark 4.40 & 6.50, Luke 12.7, John 14.27.