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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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William Wilberforce: Erring on the Side of Graciousness

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird William Wilberforce had two main goals: the abolition of slavery and the reform of morals.

 

Abraham Lincoln once said that every school child should know about William Wilberforce.[i]  Preston Manning, former Parliamentary Opposition Leader, recently gave a talk in Abbotsford on the gracious political persistence of Wilberforce.  For twenty long years from 1787 to 1807, Wilberforce campaigned relentlessly for the abolition of the slave trade.  It was incredibly painful and often deeply discouraging.  What kept him from giving up as he faced defeat after defeat?  Wilberforce had previously lived a self-indulgent life as a very wealthy upper class Englishman.  What motivated him to stopped wasting his life in drinking, gambling and endless parties?  Wilberforce was a popular Member of Parliament who wowed crowds with his remarkable singing and wit.  Prime Minister William Pitt said that Wilberforce had the greatest natural eloquence of all the men he had ever known.[ii]  What caused Wilberforce to choose the unpopular path of putting principle above politics, and conscience over ambition?

With the death of Wilberforce’s father at just age 40, William’s comfortable world was radically shaken.  At only eight, after his mother’s serious illness, he was shipped off to his Uncle William and Aunt Hannah in Wimbledon.  Unbeknownst to his mother, he became exposed to a deep faith, even becoming mentored by Rev. John Newton, the former slave-ship captain and author of the song Amazing Grace.  Some trace Wilberforce’s hatred of slavery back to this earliest encounter.  When Wilberforce’s wealthy grandfather got wind of his new spirituality, he threatened to disinherit him.  So Wilberforce’s mother promptly rescued him and did her best to cure him through endless parties and upper class distractions.  For a while, the cure was effective.  After his grandfather’s death, Wilberforce inherited the family fortune which funded his election as a very young English MP.  His good friend William Pitt Jr, at the age of only 24, became the youngest prime minister in English history.

While spending the winter at the fashionable French and Italian Rivieras, he was suddenly called back to London in support of William Pitt’s Parliamentary Reform Bill. While crossing the Swiss Alps, Wilberforce read The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul by Philip Doddridge.  Both Doddridge and John Wesley were instrumental in reintroducing the forgotten teachings of Richard Baxter about self-examination, solitude, devotions, and diligence.[iii]  In discussing Doddridge’s book with his former tutor Isaac Milner, Wilberforce’s life was never the same.  He rediscovered his childhood faith at an adult level.  Wilberforce, with Milner’s assistance, began reading the bible in the original Greek.  He wanted to find out for himself what the Christian faith was actually about.  He discovered that it was not about a system of gloomy prohibitions.  True faith is about peace and hope and joy.  The Amazing Grace movie, which Preston Manning often shows to young leaders, vividly portrays that when Wilberforce fell in love with Jesus, he also fell in love with God’s creation.  As a 18th-century flower child, he saw flowers as the smiles of God’s goodness.[iv]

Rather than drop out of politics as he was tempted to do, Wilberforce turned his new-found faith into practical action.  Prime Minister Pitt wrote him, saying: “Surely the principles as well as the practice of Christianity are simple, and lead not to meditation only but to action.”  We are called by Jesus to be salt and light in the public arena.  Reconnecting with his old mentor John Newton, Wilberforce realized that God could use him to end the slave trade: “God almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the Slave Trade and the reformation of manners.”  Eighteenth-century England was rife with epidemic alcohol abuse, child prostitution, child labour, and animal exploitation.  There were over 14,000 slaves in England alone, but hundreds of thousands more in the rich Caribbean colonies where it was out of sight and out of mind.[v]  The future King of England George IV was famous for his immorality and gambling debts, keeping lockets of hair from all 7,000 women that he had seduced.[vi]  He and his brothers dismissed abolitionists like Wilberforce as fanatics and hypocrites.[vii]

Preston Manning has for years encouraged Christians who want to make a difference in society to follow the example of William Wilberforce.Preston Manning, President and CEO for the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, told me that Wilberforce, in abolishing slavery, conducted a classic campaign integrating moral, economic and political issues.  As a committed Christian, Wilberforce followed Jesus’ teaching to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  He was careful how he introduced this taboo subject of abolition.  Rather than politically discrediting others, said Manning, it is better like Wilberforce to err on the side of graciousness.  Because England was the foremost slave-trading nation on earth, it was initially unthinkable to give it up, let alone discuss it.[viii]  Such moral reform appeared to many like commercial suicide.  One merchant accurately put it, the African slave trade was “the foundation of our commerce,…the life of our navigation, and first cause of our national industry and riches.”[ix]  Eighty per cent of overseas British income came from the Caribbean slave plantations.[x]  In Bristol, after the initial defeat of Wilberforce’s bill, bells were rung, a bonfire was lit, and a half-day holiday was awarded to sailors and workers.[xi]  The passion for slave-produced sugar had killed their conscience.  Trinidadian Prime Minister Eric Williams said that it was strange that an article like sugar, so sweet and necessary to human existence, should have occasioned such crimes and bloodshed![xii]

While fighting the slave trade, Wilberforce also invested in improving the life of England’s poor, giving one quarter of his income, representing the equivalent of $300,000 away each year.  He started cancer hospitals, eye clinics and many faith-based schools for the poor.[xiii]  One civic leader begged them to not bring ‘any religion into the country, it was the worst thing in the world for the poor, for it made them lazy and useless.’[xiv]  Wilberforce knew that without prayer, all his anti-slavery work would be in vain: “Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.”[xv]

While the slave trade was abolished in 1807, the slaves were not liberated until just before Wilberforce’s death.  800,000 Afro-Caribbeans were set free on July 31st 1834. Some abandoned slavery because of changes in the industrial free market.  Wilberforce however opposed slavery for godly, humanitarian reasons.  While moving a motion for abolition, Wilberforce said “Africa! Africa! Your sufferings have been the theme that has arrested and engages my heart – your sufferings no tongue can express; no language impart.”[xvi]

Sadly there are still today twenty-seven million people trapped in slavery and human trafficking.  May Wilberforce’s godly example cause us to choose to make a lasting global difference.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, D.Min

-published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News, the Light Magazine, Academia.edu, and Church for Vancouver

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, 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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


[i] Ted Baehr, Susan Wales and Ken Wales, The Amazing Grace of Freedom: the Inspiring Faith of William Wilberforce. (New Leaf Press, Green Forest, AR, 2007), p. 23.

[ii] Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2007), p. 41.

[iii] William Hague, William Wilberforce: the Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner,(HarperCollins Publishers, London, UK, 2007), p. 74.

[iv] Hague, p. 205.

[v] Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2007), p. 94.

[vi] Metaxas, p. 72.

[vii] Metaxas, p. 158

[viii] Eric Williams, Slavery and Capitalism, (Andre Deutsch Limited, London, UK, 1964), p. 34.

[ix] Hague, p. 119.

[x] Hague, p. 119.

[xi] Hague, p. 225.

[xii] Williams, p. 27.

[xiii] Hague, p. 221.

[xiv] Hague, p. 213.

[xv] Baehr, Wales, and Wales, p. 110.

[xvi] Metaxas, p. 151.


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Back to the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdImage

When the weather is warm and sunny, I love to swim outdoors.   As a teenager, I was involved three days a week with the YMCA Flying Sharks, a junior life-saving team.  My late uncle Don Allen was a career Navy deep sea diver, sometimes finding lost Caribbean treasure.  When I first tried learning to swim at the UBC outdoor pool, it was so cold that I felt frozen stiff.  It was only when I went to the warm Okanagan Lake that my swimming breakthrough came.  I know that summer is coming to a close when outdoor swimming comes to an end.

During the summer, most gyms and weight rooms are missing many regular participants.  September is the ‘Back to the Gym’ time,  ‘Back to School’ time, ‘Back to Church’ time.  September is the time when our life rhythms reconnect.  We all need times away, times of refreshing, time of letting go.  We also need times of reconnecting, of gathering, of pressing in.  Sometimes in the summer, we can relax and feast too much.  Back to the Gym helps us refocus, restart and recalibrate our lives.

My wife Janice encouraged me to start going to the gym in 1999 after I was a passenger in a rear-end car accident.  I naively thought that I would become physically fit and healthy almost overnight.  Instead restoring my health has been a gradual process.  When I have striven and pushed too hard, the result has been injury and setback.  God has been teaching me that I need to be more patient with myself and my weight room renewal.  There is no quick fix.  My exercise plans often suffer from good intentions.  So many weight room friends start with the best intentions, but give in to frustration and disappointment.  It takes too long to become healthy! Before you know it, they disappear and slip back into their old patterns of inactivity.

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      My encouragement this September for those reading this article is to not give up when you go back to the gym.  Your health is worth it.  Your life is worth it.  You are worth it.  By your regularly working out, you will see gradual benefits that initially elude you.  Anything worth doing is worth fighting for.  Your health matters, not only to yourself, but to your spouse, your children, and your friends.  When you invest in your health, you open doors to your future.  When you invest in your health, your knees will thank you, your back will thank you, your neck will thank you.  Excessive sitting is one of the greatest curses of our post-modern culture.  What will it take this September to get back to the gym? What is holding us back in doing the right thing? Why are we often our own worst enemies when it comes to our health?  Overeating, oversitting, and overdrinking are too often eating us alive.

 God wants us to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.  He wants us to be physically fit, emotionally fit and spiritually fit.  Worship is meant to be a stretching experience where we encounter God with our whole person, all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Why am I passionate about both worship and calisthenics?  Because both are about being healthy, both are about making a difference, both are about investing in one’s future.  I invite you to go back to the gym, for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.  Make an investment that will pay lasting dividends.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse

-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, 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, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Colonel Moody and The Port Next Door

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Have you ever given thanks for Colonel Richard Moody and the Royal Engineers who defended us in BC’s first war? Have you ever even heard of BC’s first war?

In 1858, Colonel Moody’s troops steamed north along the Fraser River to Yale on the Enterprise.  Ned McGowan had led a vigilante gang to falsely imprison the Yale Justice of the Peace, PB Whannel.  Ned McGowan had great influence with the vigilantes, as he was both a former Philadelphia Police superintendent implicated in a bank robbery and a former California judge acquitted on a murder charge.  Without Moody’s intervention, the fear was that BC would be quickly annexed to the USA by Ned McGowan’s gang.

Upon arriving in Yale, Colonel Moody and his Sappers from Sapperton were unexpectedly received with ‘vociferous cheering and every sign of respect and loyalty’.  No shots were even fired!  Matthew Begbie the so-called ‘Hanging Judge’, in his first-ever BC Court case, fined McGowan a small amount of £5 for assault, after which he sold his gold-rush stake and promptly returned to California.  BC Premier Armor de Cosmos said of ‘Ned McGowan’s War’  that BC had ‘her first war- so cheap- all for nothing…BC must feel pleased with herself.’

Born on Feb 13 1803 in Barbados, Colonel Moody became the second-most important leader in the formation of BC.  Like our first BC Governor James Douglas who was born in British Guyana, Moody brought Caribbean ingenuity and vision to the frontiers of Western Canada.

Moody had entered the army at an early age.  Moody’s father Thomas was also a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. A graduate of the Royal Academy at Woolich, Moody joined the Royal Engineers in 1830 and served in Ireland and the West Indies, as well as a professor in Woolich.  After Moody had been sick twice from yellow fever, he drew plans submitted to Queen Victoria for restoring Edinburgh Castle.

In 1841 he went to the Falkland Islands as Lieutenant Governor, later Governor where he stayed until 1849.  In 1858 Moody was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Lieutenant Governor of the new colony of BC.  Moody was soon sworn in as Deputy to Douglas on the mainland and empowered to take his place, if anything should happen to the Governor.

Moody’s role in the colony was two-fold: to provide military support and to carry out major building projects with the Government considered necessary to keep up with a sudden growth in population and commerce.

Moody’s Sappers were specially trained in surveying, reconnaissance, and constructing roads, bridges, and fortifications.  They represented many trades such as printers, draughtsmen, photographers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and masons.

Colonel Moody and his sappers were sent to BC because of the 1858 BC Goldrush.  On April 25th 1858, 495 gold-rush miners arrived in Victoria.  Governor James Douglas commented that ‘they are represented as being with some exceptions a specimen of the worst of the population of San Francisco – the very dregs in fact of society.’  By the middle of July 1858, the number of American miners exceeded 30,000.  Rev. Lundin Brown held that ‘never in the migration of men had there been seen such a rush, so sudden and so vast.’

Colonel Moody personally chose BC’s first Capital New Westminster, established the Cariboo Wagon Road, and gave us the incalculable gift of Stanley Park.  Moody also named Burnaby Lake (of Burnaby City) after his private secretary Robert Burnaby, and named Port Coquitlam’s 400-foot ‘Mary Hill’ after his dear wife ‘Mary’.

Thanks to Captain George H. Richards who thoroughly surveyed the BC Coast, Colonel Moody’s name has been immortalized in BC history with the city of Port Moody.  The city was established from the end of a trail cut by the Royal Engineers, now known as North Road to connect New Westminster with Burrard Inlet.  Port Moody was developed to defend New Westminster from potential attack from the USA. The town grew rapidly after 1859, following land grants to Moody’s Royal Engineers who then settled there.  All of the officers returned to England, but most of the sappers and their families chose to remain, accepting 150-acre land grants as compensation.  Port Moody was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s original western terminus.

In 1863 Colonel Moody planned to cut a trail from New Westminster to Jericho Beach due west, but Lieutenant Governor Douglas was very much in opposition.  Of this venture, the matter was taken to the Colonial House, London, England, and permission was granted for Colonel Moody to proceed with the trail.  Unfortunately he ran out of money before completion and the trail ended at Burrard Inlet.

Moody’s Royal Engineer detachment was disbanded by Governor James Douglas in 1863.  Only 15 men accompanied Colonel Moody back to England, with the remainder settling in the new colony. These men formed the nucleus of the volunteer soldiers that led to the formation of the BC Regiment twenty years later.

Colonel Moody left his mark not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.  At the conclusion of BC’s ‘Ned McGowan War’, as it was Sunday morning, Colonel Moody invited forty miners to join him at the courthouse for worship.  As no clergy was present, Colonel Moody himself led worship from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

“It was the first time in British Columbia that the Liturgy of our Church was read,” wrote Moody.  “To me God in his mercy granted this privilege.  The room was crowded with Hill’s Bar men…old grey-bearded men, young eager-eyed men, stern middle-aged men of all nations knelt with me before the throne of Grace…”  My prayer for those reading this article is that like Colonel Moody, each of us may leave a lasting impact not only in the physical but also the spiritual.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The 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 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, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– 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’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

 -Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca