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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Christmas Star Still Shines

By Rev. Ed Hird

Every Christmas, the Star gets our attention year in and year out.  What is it about the Bethlehem Star that never fails to shine?  What is it about the Bethlehem story that captures the imagination of billions of people throughout Canada and the entire globe?

Two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, we are still bearing gifts, following that star.  If it was not for the wise men, none of us would be doing our Christmas shopping.  It is amazing how much energy we can put into Christmas, buying gifts, cooking turkeys, throwing parties.  Sometimes we can in our busyness forget that we are called to follow that star. As that Christmas Carol put it, “O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.”

There is something very moving about perfect light, royal beauty bright light in the midst of a people living in great darkness.  December can be a time of great hopes and great stress.  No wonder that it is the high holiday of many alcoholics.  December is that time when fragmented families try once again to reconnect, however painfully.  Why do so many families watch the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas?  Perhaps it is because this movie captures the darkness and struggle that so many families experience at Christmas, and yet how the Christmas Star can still break in with unimaginable light and hope.

Each of us, as the Carol puts it, may choose to look up and see a star, that to the earth it gives great light.  Each of us can choose to see the Christmas Star, Whose glory shines so far day and night.  Each of us can find great delight in the beauty of the Christmas Star that led the wise men to Jesus’ manger.  How many of us are willing to follow that star wheresover it goes?

Wise men and women even in 2016 still seek him.  As the Christmas Carol put it, “Sages, leave your contemplations, Brighter visions beam afar; Seek the great Desire of nations, Ye have seen his natal star: Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King.”  The Christmas Star causes us to celebrate a very unique birth, a baby boy who has become the Great Desire of Billions among the nations of the earth.  The Christmas Star leads us to come and worship, to come and adore him among the cattle and the sheep in a lowly manger.

This Christmas on Sunday Dec 18th at 10am, there will be a presentation of the Christmas Cantata Behold The Star at 420 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver.  You are invited to come see the Bethlehem Star and let this star touch your life this Christmas.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-An article for the December 2016 Deep Cove Crier

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

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed 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 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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Endorsement of Restoring Health by Signa Bodishbaugh

Reading Restoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit by Ed Hird is a delightful experience of Bible study, history lesson, pep-talk, travelogue, autobiography, and sermon. Paul’s letter to Titus comes alive through Ed’s comparisons of pirates and the characteristics of piracy we tend to bear. As soon as you complete Restoring Health, you will want to jump right into the Bible and re-read Titus with new understanding.

Conlee and Signa Bodishbaugh have been leading The Journey Divine Conversations cover conferences since 1992, in the United States and internationally, including Canada, England, Holland, Germany, Israel, and Rwanda.

In 1972, while living in Fayetteville, AR, they entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who ignited their continuing passion for His ministry of wholeness. Mentored by Leanne Payne, the Bodishbaughs ministered with her in Pastoral Care Ministries conferences in many countries.

Conlee retired as the senior pastor of Christ Anglican Church in Mobile, Alabama, in 2009. Since his retirement, the Bodishbaughs have focused on The Journey ministry and have initiated STEPS, a week-end teaching and ministry experience on various subjects. In 2012 they initiated a 12-week small group study program called “Journey Groups.”  Already successful in several states, “Journey Groups” offers DVD teachings by Conlee and Signa, Leaders’ Guides, and Participants’ Workbooks.

Signa is the author of the devotional book, “The Journey to Wholeness in Christ,”   “Illusions of Intimacy,” and “Divine Conversations.”  All are available at Journeyconferences and by mail order. (See resources).

The Bodishbaughs have been married since 1962, and have three sons and eight grandchildren.  They recently moved from Mobile Bay to Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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Charles Dickens’ 1841 wisdom regarding the 2016 Presidential Election

charles-dickensFamilies and even countries have systemic and generational patterns that need to be understood, in order to become more healthy and even transformative.  Charles Dickens was deeply loved by the American people, then deeply resented when he told them in his 1841 book American Tales what he saw, and finally loved again after the Civil War, when they bought over a million of his book Christmas Carol, saving him from bankruptcy.

After the often agonizing and endless American election, Dickens’ wise words are well worth pondering, regardless of one’s political preferences.

American Tales, Chapter XVIII, Concluding Remarks

“(Americans) are by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of these later qualities in a most remarkable degree, which renders an educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of friends.  I never was so won upon, as by this class; never yielded up my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to them; never can make again, in half a year, so many friends for whom I seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

These qualities are natural, I implicitly believe, to the whole people. That they are, however, sadly sapped and blighted in their growth among the mass; and that there are influences at work which endanger them still more, and give but little present promise of their healthy restoration, is a truth that ought to be told.

It is an essential part of every national character to pique (i.e. pride) itself mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue or its wisdom from their very exaggeration.  One great blemish in the popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an innumerable brood of evils, is Universal Distrust.  Yet the American citizen plumes (i.e. prides) himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great sagacity and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness and independence.

dickens-at-desk‘You carry,’ says the stranger, ‘this jealousy and distrust into every transaction of public life.  By repelling worthy men from your legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candidates for the suffrage, who, in their very act, disgrace your Institutions and your people’s choice.  It has rendered you so fickle, and so given to change, that your inconstancy has passed into a proverb; for you no sooner set up an idol firmly, than you are sure to pull it down and dash it into fragments: and this, because directly you reward a benefactor, or a public servant, you distrust him, merely because he is rewarded; and immediately apply yourselves to find out, either that you have been too bountiful in your acknowledgments, or be remiss in his deserts.  Any man who attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, although it militates directly against the character and conduct of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed.  You will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions.  Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the governed, among you?’

The answer is invariably the same: ‘There’s freedom of opinion here, you know.  Every man thinks for himself, and we are not to be easily overreached. That’s how our people come to be suspicious.’

Another prominent feature is the love of ‘smart’ dealing: which gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a defalcation (i.e. misappropriation), public and private; and enables many a knave to hold his head up with the best, who well deserves a halter (i.e. noose); though it has not been without its retributive operation, for this smartness had done more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to cripple the public resources, than dull honesty, however rash, could have effected in a century.  The merits of a broken speculation, or a bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not gauged by its or his observance of the golden rule ‘Do unto others as you would be done by,’ but are considered with reference to their smartness.  I recollect, on both occasions of our passing that ill-fated Cairo on the Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such gross deceits must have been when they exploded, in generating a want of confidence abroad, and discouraging foreign investment: but I was given to understand that this was a very smart scheme by which a deal of money was made: and that its smartest feature was that they forgot these things abroad in a very short time, and speculated again as freely as ever.  The following dialogue I have held a hundred times: ‘Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance that such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property by the most infamous and odious means, and not withstanding all the crimes of which he has been guilty, should be tolerated and abetted by your Citizens? He is a public nuisance, is he not?’  ‘Yes, Sir.’  ‘A convicted liar?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’ ‘He has been kicked and cuffed and caned?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’  ‘And he is utterly dishonorable, debased, and profligate?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’  ‘IN the name of wonder, then, what is his merit?’  ‘Well, Sir, he is a smart man.’

charles-dickens-1-728In like manner, all kinds of deficient and impolitic usages are referred to the national love of trade; though oddly enough it would be a weighty charge against a foreigner that he regarded the Americans as a trading people.  The love of trade is assigned as a reason for that comfortless custom, so very prevalent in country towns, of married people living in hotels, having no fireside of their own, and seldom meeting from early morning until late at night, but at the hasty public meals.  The love of trade is a reason why the literature of America is to remain for ever unprotected: ‘For we are a trading people, and don’t care for poetry:’ though we do, by the way, profess to be very proud of our poets: while healthy amusements, cheerful means of recreation, and wholesome fancies, must fade before the stern utilitarian joys of trade.

These three characteristics are strongly represented at every turn, full in the stranger’s view. But the foul growth of America has a more tangled root than this; and it strikes its fibres, deep into its licentious Press.

Schools may be erected, East, West, North and South; pupils may be taught, and masters reared, by scores upon scores of thousands; colleges may thrive, churches may be crammed, temperance may be diffused, and advancing knowledge in all other forms walk through the land with giant strides: but while the newspaper press of America is in, or near, its present abject state, high moral improvement in that country is hopeless.  Year by year, it must and will go back; year by year, the tone of public feeling must sink lower down; year by year, the Congress and the Senate must become of less account before all decent men; and year by year, the memory of the Great Fathers of the Revolution must be outraged more and more, in the bad life of their degenerate child.

Among the herd of journals that are published in the States, there are some, the reader scarcely needs be told, of character and credit.  From personal intercourse with accomplished gentlemen connected with publications of this class, I have derived both pleasure and profit.  But the name of these is Few, and of the others Legion; and the influence of the good, is powerless to counteract the moral poison of the bad.

Among the gentry of America; among the well-informed and moderate: in the learned professions; at the bar and on the bench: there is, as there can be, but one opinion, in reference to the vicious character of these infamous journals.  It is sometimes contended — I will not say strangely, for it is natural to seek excuses for such a disgrace — that their influence is not so great as a visitor would suppose.  I must be pardoned for saying there is no warrant for this plea, and that every fact and circumstance tends directly to the opposite conclusion.

When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, without first groveling down upon the earth, and bending the knee before this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is safe from its attacks; when any social confidence is left unbroken by it, or any tie of social decency and confidence is held in the least regard; when any man in that free country has freedom of opinion, and presumes fmimg8302753006214740978to think for himself, and speak for himself, without humble reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance and base dishonesty, he utterly loathes and despises in his heart; when those who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it casts upon the nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare to set their heels upon, and  crush it openly, in the sight of all men:  then, I will believe that its influence is lessening, and men  are returning to their manly senses. But while that Press has its evil eye in every house, and its black hand in every appointment in the state, from a president to a postman; while, with ribald slander for its only stock in trade, it is the standard literature of an enormous class, who must find their reading in a newspaper, or they will not read at all; so long must its odium be upon the country’s head, and so long must the evil it works, be plainly visible in the Republic.”

https://www.amazon.com/American-Notes-Charles-Dickens/dp/1847188729


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Rev. Alex Angioli a registered clinical counsellor

I commend to you my good friend the Rev. Alex Angioli a registered clinical counsellor at http://www.alexangioli.com/

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety refer to a wide variety of unpleasant experiences. Often they are closely connected in real life, and may emanate from the same cluster of negative thoughts or experiences. Talk therapy known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBT is  effective in addressing the complex roots of depression or anxiety.

Depression is a set of experiences which include a loss of meaning, feeling hopeless, sleeplessness or sleeping too much, loss of appetite or overeating, inability to focus or to sustain purposeful activity. Clinical depression describes intense and sustained symptoms. Manic-depressive disorder or Bipolar disorder are conditions which share some characteristics with simple depression, but which are pervasive and persistent.

Anxiety is both an unpleasant experience which most people can recognize, and a way of talking about emotions for which people seek therapeutic help. It includes a sense of tightness in the chest or throat, fear about the future, specific fears of situations or people, physical discomfort including nausea and other transient symptoms. Anxiety is sometimes accompanied by depression, described above. Psychologically addressing the thoughts and behaviors underlying your anxious experience can change the entire pattern.

Family, Parenting and Children

Family relations can seem complicated, and people often want to understand how things got the way they are. Sometimes parents have difficulty with children or teenagers, and feel at the end of their rope. Nothing has worked, and things are not getting better. Perhaps there are difficulties with school or what appear to be learning disabilities. Others are caught in the stress of aging parents on one hand and needs of children on the other.

Depending on your needs, we will do family work with systems theory and therapy, or introduce you to the thinking of STEP, the systematic training for effective parenting that has improved the lives of millions in North America and beyond. As an Adlerian therapist, I will lead you step by step to a new view of parenting, and your role in the family such that the stress goes away, and peace begins to enter. Learn to replace punishment with consequences, the importance of courage and encouragement, and the nature of the four goals of misbehavior – and how to deal with them.

Whether the issue is family, parenting or children, there is a solution.

Cognitive and Behavioral

In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, CBT, we believe that problems lie in mistaken thinking about self, others and life. The roots of CBT go back to the early 1900’s in the work of Alfred Adler, part of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. The term CBT nowadays is often associated with the work of Aaron Beck and the Beck Institute.

The word Cognitive refers to thinking. So the therapist and the patient make an alliance to discover what mistaken thinking is taking place that leads to difficulties. Thinking is nearly always accompanied by behavior. So the CBT approach connects behavioral patterns to mistaken thinking.

For some people, greater emphasis needs to be put on behavior, and for others greater emphasis is needed on the cognitive aspect. A wide variety of therapeutic practices can be applied to bring about beneficial change in thinking and behavior, such that conditions ranging from anxiety and stress related difficulties to depression, learning difficulties, relational issues and many common diagnoses can be addressed.

 


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Saying No to Judgmentalism

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Perhaps the best known and most misunderstood bible saying is ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’ from Matthew 7:1.  Most of us find it painful to be around people, including spouses, who are being very judgmental and negative.   Dr. John Gottman talks about the ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ that can predict with 94% accuracy the likelihood of divorce: 1) criticism 2) contempt 3) defensiveness and 4) stonewalling.[1]  When Jesus famously tells us not to judge, he is not telling us to be undiscerning, but rather not to condemn and reject other people with whom we may disagree.  Yes, there is a place for constructive criticism with our spouses, family, coworkers and friends, but it needs to rooted in an environment of love, acceptance and encouragement.  This is why Dr John Gottman found that in healthy marriages and relationships, people make five positive comments for every negative comment.[2]

Billy Graham, who turned 98 this month, insightfully said this year that being judgmental and constantly criticizing others is wrong in the eyes of God.[3]  It is not one of the gifts of the Spirit, like the gift of encouragement.[4]  Dr. Graham, who has spoken in person to over 260 million people, observed that a judgmental attitude also blinds us to our own faults. (Have you ever noticed that judgmental people almost never criticize themselves?) Jesus said that such judgmentalism is like having a log in our eye while trying to doing eye surgery on someone else’s speck of sawdust.  Judgmental people are often very insecure, and are constantly seeking to build themselves up. One way they do this is by tearing other people down. But in reality, said Dr. Graham, they end up tearing themselves down also, because no one wants to be their friend.  Judgmental people are often the loneliest people on earth.

Jesus gave us a difficult task: to judge or discern nonjudgmentally: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:54) At the heart of judgmentalism is prejudice, which means to pre-judge, to judge too quickly before you have taken time to examine the facts. It is not a sin to have moral convictions about right and wrong, but we need to take the time to carefully listen to other people’s viewpoints and never condemn other people when we disagree with them.  I will always remember my sister advising me about a difficult situation: “Be kind.”  We can all  learn to be more kind like Jesus, gentle like Jesus, humble like Jesus, and nonjudgmental like Jesus.  Even when Jesus challenged people to repent and turn from sin and selfishness, he was always loving, tolerant, and kind.

You can’t reach people for Christ to whom you are being judgmental.  Judgmentalism just drives them away.  With the Festival of Hope coming up this March 3rd to 5th, perhaps we could prepare for it by pulling the log of judgmentalism out of our eyes.  Is there anyone in your life that you need to stop judging?

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article adapted for the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier

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

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed 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 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

[1] Dr John Gottman,  Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.gottman.com/about/research/faq/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[2] Ellie Lisitsa, “The Positive Perspective: Dr. Gottman’s Magic Ratio!”, December 5, 2012 https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-positive-perspective-dr-gottmans-magic-ratio/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[3] Billy Graham, Answers, March 17th 2016, https://billygraham.org/answer/show-compassion-toward-those-who-are-critical-and-judgmental (accessed October 8th 2016)

[4] Billy Graham http://www.azquotes.com/quote/954248 (accessed October 8th 2016)


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The Joy of Tolerance

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The late Elie Wiesel, famed writer and holocaust survivor, commented that there is divine beauty in learning, just as there is human beauty in tolerance.  Most of us as Christians believe in the value of tolerance even if we cannot define what it means.  The Concise Oxford Dictionary speaks of tolerance as forbearance which means to completely bear with someone’s failings as you patiently give them time to grow. As Ephesian 4:2 says, we are to be patient, forbearing and bearing with one another in love.  To joyfully tolerate someone doesn’t mean that we need to agree with them. As Dr John Gottman puts it, when you honor and respect each other, you’re usually able to appreciate each other’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.  You don’t need to be a moral relativist winking at sin, in order to be biblically tolerant. The joy of tolerance is the love of neighbour, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Tolerance is also about choosing to forgive.  As Colossians 3:13 puts it, we need to be forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if you have any quarrel against one another.  Sometimes our children and teenagers greatly try our patience, particularly when they may be teasing their siblings.  The joy of tolerance includes setting healthy boundaries while not giving up on painful people, including our family members.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary also speaks of tolerance as recognition of the right of private judgement in religious matters, including the liberty to uphold one’s religious opinions and forms of worship.  Our democratic freedoms, like freedom of thought, speech and assembly, enshrined in our Bill of Rights, are all rooted in the primary freedom, which is freedom of religion.  The British Act of Toleration in 1689 was a huge step forward in advancing the democratic rights of people to freedom of religion.  GK Chesterton commented that tolerance sometimes leads to timidity where people become afraid to even mention their religious views.  True tolerance doesn’t push religion into a closet but welcomes it joyfully in the public square.  Intolerance is often like bad breath and body odor; it is difficult to always notice one’s own intolerance. Sometimes people who pride themselves on being more tolerant than others end up intolerantly looking down on other people.  Dr Timothy Keller commented: “If you’re intolerant of people you think are intolerant, you’re still intolerant. If you are judgmental of people you think are judgmental, you are judgmental.”  Sometimes smokers in our postmodern culture are intolerantly treated like outcasts.  We Christians need to remember to love the smoker even if we cannot tolerate their second-hand smoke.

Recently we visited all 10,000 homes in the Seymour/Deep Cove area, inviting people to the March 3rd to 5th 2017 Festival of Hope at Rogers Arena with Franklin Graham.  We were impressed by the tolerant welcome and hospitality of our neighbours.  Even atheists would kindly engage us in fascinating conversations.  True tolerance does not have to agree in order to love.  As Romans 2:4 says, God himself is tolerant, forbearing, kind and patient, giving us time to change and turn back.  My prayer for the Lower Mainland Christian community is that we would grow in joyful tolerance as we share our common faith in the one Lord Jesus.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article adapted for the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier

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

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed 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 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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G.K. Chesterton and St. Francis

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The late G.K. Chesterton is one of the most significant writers in the past hundred years.[1]  His ‘friendly enemy’ George Bernard Shaw called him a colossal genius.[2] Chesterton wrote many biographies, including those of Robert Louis Stevenson, William Chaucer, St Benedict and St Francis of Assisi.  Chesterton’s biography on St Francis told us as much about Chesterton as about St. Francis. They had remarkable things in common.  Both Chesterton and Francis had a grateful appreciation of the gift of God’s creation.  Rather than exploit nature, they both cared for it as faithful stewards.  Who can forget the classic 1972 movie ‘Brother Sun Sister Moon’, with its message of peace so loved by the hippies of San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis)?[3]  As Chesterton noted, “St Francis was so fiery and even fidgety that the church officials, before he appeared quite suddenly, thought he was a madman.”[4] To renounce his wealthy father’s materialism did not make any initial sense to most people in his home town of Assisi.  Both Francis and Chesterton were radically spontaneously generous to the poor and hurting.  Everything they did for others was out of gratitude for Jesus’ sacrificial love on the cross.

There was a playful laughter with both Francis and Chesterton that won the hearts of millions.   Both used humorous drama to awaken the world from its cynical slumber.[5]  Chesterton was called the Angelic Jester.[6]  There is in both Chesterton and Francis an endearing childlikeness and innocence that draws people to Christ.  Joseph Pearce, a Chesterton biographer, noted that “…the paradox of innocent wisdom was a fertile ground for Chesterton’s imagination.”[7]  The famous Oxford atheist CS Lewis came to faith after reading Chesterton’s book The Everlasting Man.   It has been said that Chesterton, as one of the deepest thinkers who ever existed, made up for being deep by being witty.[8]  Both Chesterton and Francis not only made you think but also made you laugh.[9] In a very Franciscan way, Chesterton taught that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility.[10]  Only grateful people are humble enough to laugh at themselves.

Both Chesterton and Francis were romantic troubadours of hope calling people away from fashionable despair and cynicism.[11] As self-described jugglers and jesters of God, they passionately romanced our hearts.[12]  At the heart of this romance was the key idea of taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.[13]  Without gratitude, said Chesterton, all we are left with is the emptiness of ‘bread and circuses’.[14] Gratitude to God enables us, with Francis and Chesterton, to enjoy the gifts that are all around us.  Chesterton commented about the joy of seeing a dandelion after temporary blindness, and how true pessimists can’t even notice the sunset.[15]

My prayer for those reading this article is that we like Chesterton and Francis will notice the dandelions and sunsets with new gratitude.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the Sept 2016 Deep Cove Crier and the Light Magazine

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

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed 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 PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. TheBattle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of theBattle 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

 

 

[1] Joseph Pearce, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of GK Chesterton“, (Hodder & Stoughton, London, UK, 1996), vii ‘…one of the giants of 20th Century literature’

[2]  “Orthodoxologist”, Time, 11 October 1943, (Accessed August 4, 2016); Pearce, vii “His wit was a match for that of Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and a host of others.”

[3]  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069824/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG5jVcYA1aM

[4] G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas (Catholic Book Club, London, UK, 1933), 14-15

[5] J. D. Douglas (24 May 1974). “G.K. Chesterton, the Eccentric Prince of Paradox”. Christianity Today. (accessed August 4th 2016)

[6] Fr John O’Connor, Father Brown on Chesterton (Frederick Muller Ltd, London, 1937), 157.

[7] Pearce, 92.

[8] Maisie Ward, Return to Chesterton (London, 1952), 526.

[9] Dale Ahlquist, “Who is this Guy and Why Haven’t I Heard of Him?”, The American Chesterton Society, 2014, http://www.chesterton.org/who-is-this-guy (Chesteron) “doesn’t merely astonish you. He doesn’t just perform the wonder of making you think. He goes beyond that. He makes you laugh.”

[10] G.K. Chesterton, Heretics (Wilder Publication, London, UK, 1909), 131.

[11] Pearce, 161 “…cynicism pollutes and destroys wisdom as much as it pollutes and destroys innocence.”

[12] The Times Literary Supplement, October 3rd 1933, “As the nineteenth century clutched at the Franciscan romance, precisely because it had neglected romance…”; Pearce, 297; Chesterton, Francis of Assisi, 74-77. “The jongleur (of God) was properly a joculator or jester; sometimes he was what we should call a juggler.”

[13] G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography, (Hutchinson, London, UK, 1936) 330.

[14] G.K’s Weekly, December 13th 1934. “The vulgar school of panem et circenses only gives people circuses; it does not even tell them how to enjoy circuses.”

[15] Ward, 10.; Pearce, 70.