Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Eyes to See…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Recently my eye surgeon Dr. Kerkur had me lie face down for three days.  I had just had laser eye surgery for a microscopic macular hole.  This condition was not noticeable until I was out at UBC reading tiny 19th century print.

Upon going to an eye specialist, I discovered that I did not have either  lense correction, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment or macular degeneration.  Over time, the gel or vitreous in our eyes shrink and detaches from the retina.  In rare cases, it sticks and causes a microscopic hole.  Before 1970, they could not do anything about this.  After laser surgery, the surgeon filled my right eye with gas which temporarily held everything in place.  In order for the gas to do its job, I had to be vertical for 90% of the time.  Fortunately I was able to rent a massage desk and full-body massage pillow.  Sleeping facedown for four nights was a brand new experience for me.   My wife Janice said that I didn’t snore at all.  I never hear myself snore.

Lying face down prohibited me from watching TV or checking my computer.  Because our North Vancouver Library system has a large assortment of talking books, I was able listen to John Grisham, Louis Lamour, and Elie Wiesel.  All three authors were passionate about justice.  Grisham sought justice in the court room.  Lamour sought justice at the end of a gun.  Elie Wiesel sought justice from God and neighbour.

Lying on my face enabled me to listen to Elie Wiesel’s trilogy: Night, Dawn, and Day. Each of the trilogy was deeply moving and disturbing.  Like my successful laser surgery, Elie’s trilogy gave me eyes to see what I had been previously somewhat blinded to.  As a holocaust survivor, Wiesel has written over 50 books interpreting the meaning of the Holocaust for our modern age.  Wiesel miraculously survived the Concentration camps when so many of his family and friends ended in Hitler’s ovens.  In his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, they said of Wiesel: “From the abyss of the death camps, he has come as a messenger to humanity – not with a message of hate and revenge but with one of brotherhood and atonement.”

Too many people in our culture have either never heard of or hardened their hearts to the message of the Holocaust.  It seems to some like water under the bridge, as ancient history.  Wiesel’s book help us to enter into the story of the Holocaust as if for the first time.  As a vivid story teller, Wiesel makes you feel that you were right there in the midst of the great tragedy.  Would it be possible for Wiesel’s books to be included in our school systems as a way of reducing hatred and anti-Semitism?  It could give our young people new eyes to see what it is liked to be bullied and rejected.

It is too easy to scapegoat other people and blame them for the problems in our lives.  Racism seems to be deep in many of our cultures.  It dies a hard death.  Without regular self-examination and repentance, racism can easily slip back into our hearts.  Anti-Semitism has proven in the past century to be one of the deadliest forms of racism.  Jewish people have suffered deeply again and again through pogroms, inquisitions, and job discrimination.  When conflict arises in the world, anti-Semitism and racism seem to spike.  What would it take for us to truly forgive and love those who offend us, those who are different?

bookChronic and acute anxiety push us in the direction of requiring that everyone act and smell just like us.  Elie Wiesel’s writings encourage us to celebrate differences and uniquenesses of other neighbours.  Jesus quoted Leviticus in commanding us to love our neighbour as ourselves.  Love is always the answer.  Love gives us eyes to see when we are blind.  Love is an expression of amazing grace, where I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.  My prayer for those reading this article is that God will give us eyes to see that other neighbours are just as human, as valuable and as sacred as we are.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

http://stsimonschurch.ca

-an article for the October 2014 Deep Cove Crier

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback andebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

-In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book

‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘ED HIRD’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPALusing the e-mailed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

 


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My most read articles

WordPress.com has a great app for measuring how many people have viewed one’s articles either daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and from the beginning of one’s blog.  Here are my top blog articles (read by 1,000+) which you can read by just clicking on the left-hand side blue titles.  While my yoga critique article is the most read in the last year (23,934), Florence Nightingale and the Motherhood article are still double that readership over the longer term.  Feel free to comment about your favorite ones of these articles.

Views
Home page / Archives 197,481
Florence Nightingale: Mother of Nursing 58,720
Motherhood and Apple Pie 46,809
Yoga: More than Meets the Eyes?? 23,934
Queen Victoria and Sir James Simpson 20,331
Alexander Graham Bell: Inventing the future 19,090
The Unforgettable Benjamin Franklin 16,484
Winston Churchill the British Bulldog 10,368
Dr. James Naismith: Father of Basketball 9,500
My Fair Lady 8,786
Laura Secord: more than just chocolates 8,514
King of Hearts on Valentine’s Day 8,495
Thomas Edison: Let There Be Light…. 6,551
Sir Alexander Fleming: Countless Millions Saved 6,296
Simon Fraser: Canada’s most successful failure 6,139
Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts: Canadian heroes 6,089
Taekwondo and the Martial Arts: Mere Exercise or Trojan Horse?? 5,844
Jesus Loves me, This I know… 5,589
Carl Jung, Neo-gnosticism, and the MBTI 5,468
Carl Jung and the Gnostic Reconciliation of Gender Opposites 4,840
Walking the Line with Johnny Cash 4,661
Alfred Nobel: Lord of Dynamite, Servant of Peace 3,948
Away in a Manger 3,937
Pain: Useless intrusion or gift of God? 3,779
Sir Alexander Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog 3,198
David Thompson: “Star-Gazer” 2,700
Captain James Cook: World Explorer 2,611
James Watt: Creative Genius 2,542
Lt General Romeo Dallaire: Canada’s Unsung Hero 2,291
Louis Riel: Canadian Patriot? 2,190
CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien: Friends on a Quest 2,111
Don Quixote: Chasing After Marriage’s Windmills 1,986
Good King Wenceslas last looked out… 1,909
Dr Joseph Lister: Medical Revolutionary 1,877
The Birth of the Book 1,842
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Destiny 1,842
When the Saints Come Marching In 1,699
More than Just Chocolate… 1,665
Lord and Lady Baden-Powell: Character Builders 1,653
Lord Stanley’s Famous Cup 1,519
About 1,519
The Gift of Courage Can Be Imparted 1,517
TAPS for 9/11: Life after Death 1,490
General William Booth: a Giant of a Man 1,464
The Old Rugged Cross 1,319
Louis Riel and Nicholas Flood Davin 1,105
What makes John Grisham tick? 1,041
Go, go, go Joseph! 1,006
The Unforgettable Captain Vancouver 1,004
 


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Christmas is Inescapable….

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the most entertaining book/movies about Christmas commercialization is ‘Skipping Christmas/Christmas with the Cranks’ by John Grisham.  As Christmas commercialization will likely always be with us, it is good to have a sense of humour about the silliness that can overtake us.  My favorite scene is Luther Crank trying unsuccessfully to drink his tea after an over-the-top Botox session.

For many years, John Grisham has been one of my favorite living authors.  Born on February 8, 1955, Grisham is a retired attorney, an ex-politician, and a novelist best known for his works of modern legal  drama.  Publishers Weekly described Grisham as “the bestselling novelist of the 90s,” selling 60,742,289 copies. Grisham is one of few authors, including Tom Clancy, who have sold two million copies on a first printing. His novel The Pelican Brief sold over eleven million copies just in North America.  There is no other person who has authored a number one best-selling novel of the year for seven consecutive years (1994-2,000).

Many people do not realize that Grisham is a committed Christian who has spent time in mission service in Brazil. “I started going out in 1993 with a church group from my home church in Oxford, Miss.,” he told USA Today. “We went down there for the purpose of constructing a church in this little town sort of in the outback and it was such a rewarding experience that I’ve done it several times since.”

With over 110 million books sold, John Grisham and his wife, Renee, “measure the success of the year on how much we give away,” Grisham told USA Today. They have set up a foundation to oversee their giving — “the bulk of it goes to church and related activities” — to which “the kids have said, ‘Look, don’t give it all away.'”

Grisham now wishes “I’d joined the Peace Corps … for a couple years out of college.” He added, “As my years go by I think I’ll spend more and more time doing … mission work, probably in Brazil.”

Fittingly, Grisham in his book ‘The Testament’ makes a heroine of an illegitimate daughter Rachel Lane, an unknown missionary in the deepest jungles of Brazil.  Troy Phelan, the 10th-richest man in America, outrages all his greedy family by giving Rachel his $11 billion fortune. Ironically, Rachel leads a simple life and couldn’t care less about money. The interaction between Nate O’Riley the recovering alcoholic lawyer and Rachel Lane reveals the depth of Grisham’s spiritual convictions. “Nate closed his eyes … and called God’s name. God was waiting. … In one glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. He held nothing back. He unloaded enough baggage to crush any three men. … ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered to God. ‘Please help me.’ As quickly as the fever had left his body, he felt the baggage leave his soul. With one gentle brush of the hand, his slate had been wiped clean.”

Grisham explained to USA Today, “Nate tried power and women and booze and drugs and the fast life and all the good things that money can buy. He’s crashed and burned four times in 10 years and it’s obvious he can’t save himself. I wanted to take a guy like that and sort of follow him on a kind of spiritual journey, his quest for a spiritual cure. … I was challenged by the goal of seeing if I could make such a spiritual journey work in a popular novel, in commercial fiction.”

This Christmas, I encourage each of us to make a spiritual journey that goes far beyond Christmas Commercialization.  May this Christmas be an encounter with the humble manger.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Doing Christmas on Purpose

By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

I love Christmas Carols. Even when I feel dead to everything else about Christmas, Christmas Carols seem to wake me up from within.  Music has an amazing way to slip past even the most hardened heart.

Christmas is one of those traditions that won’t go away, and yet so often seems off kilter.  It so often seems to lack purpose and focus.  The John Grisham movie “Christmas with the Kranks” symbolizes the angst of people swallowed by Christmas-related paraphernalia.  Christmas Carols are ideal for helping us regain focus at Christmas.

Randy Stonehill poignantly sang: “I wonder if this Christmas they’ll begin to understand that the Jesus that they celebrate is much more than a man…”  The first purpose of Christmas is to bring pleasure to God, otherwise called Worship.  That is why at Christmas so many of us love to sing: “O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord”.  For many years, Christmas to me was just about eating turkey and getting presents.  Being dragged to church on Christmas Eve or even worse Christmas morning seemed like a serious intrusion into an otherwise good festival.  As I have refocused on the real meaning of Christmas,  I hear afresh the Christmas Carol singing: “O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, o come ye to Bethehem”.

Year after year, Christmas miraculously brings friends and families back together.  When I was younger, I enjoyed spending Christmas with my grandparents and family, but didn’t fully realize what a wonderful gift this was.  The second purpose of Christmas, I have discovered, is fellowship.  At the heart of lasting fellowship is great food, lots of fun, and deep listening.  God put us here on earth to learn how to love each other.  Christmas is a great time to do that.  Christmas is a time when like shepherds summoned to his cradle, we leave our flocks and then flock together.

I never realized when I was young that Christmas was meant to transform me.  Years later I discovered that all that joy at Christmas had a third purpose: to make me more like Christ, which is Discipleship.  As that great Christmas Carol puts it, “Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Now you need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!”  There is a joy released at Christmas that can radically transform anyone’s life if we will let it.  That is why the Good Book says that the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

Christmas for me as a young person was about getting bigger and better presents.  Years later I have discovered that Christmas is really about giving.  Giving is not just about presents, but mostly about our hearts.  The fourth purpose of Christmas is about serving others, especially the poor.  Good old Scrooge learnt this lesson the hard way at Christmas.  As Good King Wenceslas put it, “Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth and rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”  We may not like the three wise men have gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give, but when we give from our heart, Christmas becomes real to another hurting person.

When I was younger, I thought that Christmas was about me.  In fact, I have discovered that Christmas is about others.  That is why the fifth purpose of Christmas is “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born”.  Christmas is too good to keep it to ourselves.  Christmas is the kind of fun and laughter and joy that everyone needs more of.  Do you know anyone who needs cheering up?  Do you know anyone who has lost direction?  If you do, I encourage you to reach out and bring others this Christmas to a joyful Christmas Eve service near you.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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What makes John Grisham tick?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

For many years, John Grisham has been one of my favorite living authors.  Born on February 8, 1955, Grisham is a retired attorney, an ex-politician, and a novelist best known for his works of modern legal  drama.  Publishers Weekly described Grisham as “the bestselling novelist of the 90s,” selling 60,742,289 copies. Grisham is one of few authors, including Tom Clancy, who have sold two million copies on a first printing. His novel The Pelican Brief sold over eleven million copies just in North America.  There is no other person who has authored a number one best-selling novel of the year for seven consecutive years (1994-2,000).

 

Many people do not realize that Grisham is a committed Christian who has spent time in mission service in Brazil. “I started going out in 1993 with a church group from my home church in Oxford, Mississippi,” he told USA Today. “We went down there for the purpose of constructing a church in this little town sort of in the outback and it was such a rewarding experience that I’ve done it several times since.”

With over 110 million books sold, John Grisham and his wife, Renee, “measure the success of the year on how much we give away,” Grisham told USA Today. They have set up a foundation to oversee their giving — “the bulk of it goes to church and related activities” — to which “the kids have said, ‘Look, don’t give it all away.'”

 

Grisham now wishes “I’d joined the Peace Corps … for a couple years out of college.” He added, “As my years go by, I think I’ll spend more and more time doing … mission work, probably in Brazil.”

 

Fittingly, Grisham in his book ‘The Testament’ makes a heroine of an illegitimate daughter Rachel Lane, an unknown missionary in the deepest jungles of Brazil.  Troy Phelan, the 10th-richest man in America, outrages all his greedy family by giving Rachel his $11 billion fortune. Ironically, Rachel leads a simple life and couldn’t care less about money. The interaction between Nate O’Riley the recovering alcoholic lawyer and Rachel Lane reveals the depth of Grisham’s spiritual convictions.

“Nate closed his eyes … and called God’s name. God was waiting. … In one glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. He held nothing back. He unloaded enough baggage to crush any three men. … ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered to God. ‘Please help me.’ As quickly as the fever had left his body, he felt the baggage leave his soul. With one gentle brush of the hand, his slate had been wiped clean.”

Grisham explained to USA Today:

“Nate tried power and women and booze and drugs and the fast life and all the good things that money can buy. He’s crashed and burned four times in 10 years and it’s obvious he can’t save himself. I wanted to take a guy like that and sort of follow him on a kind of spiritual journey, his quest for a spiritual cure. … I was challenged by the goal of seeing if I could make such a spiritual journey work in a popular novel, in commercial fiction.”

I thank God for John Grisham and other writers who encourage us to think, to stretch, and to explore the meaning of life.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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