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A Response to Anton Drake from Reverend Ed Hird

http://beforeitsnews.com/christian-news/2013/05/a-response-to-anton-drake-from-reverend-ed-hird-2474814.html

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/a-response-to-anton-drake-from-reverend-ed-hird-252728.htm

A Response to Anton Drake from Reverend Ed Hird

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 23:50

(Before It’s News)

Hollywood, CA — Last week I wrote a press release to promote the new book Atheist Yoga by Anton Drake. As part of that press release, which can be foundhere, I conducted an interview with Mr. Drake, and one of the topics of discussion was a recent article by Reverend Ed Hird that centered on the idea that the practice of yoga is something unsuitable for Christians. Anton had read that particular article, and had several comments about it; Reverend Hird subsequently contacted me and requested a chance to offer a rebuttal, feeling that some of what he had said had been misconstrued.

 

Here is Reverend Hird’s response to the Atheist Yoga press release:

[ Having read Anton Drake’s new book ‘Atheist Yoga’, I am fascinated by the extent to which so many atheists are focused on a God that they ostensibly don’t even believe in; many of them seem to think more about God than most Christians do, and I can’t help thinking that it’s almost as if they are obsessed with this allegedly non-existent God. When I think of God, I see the face of Jesus.  Anton is correct when he said “if someone is an atheist, they lack a belief in God.” This is undebatable. Many people don’t realize that Buddha, as a reformed Hindu, was an atheist who continued to do Hindu yoga; one of the most famous pictures of the Buddha shows him in the yogic lotus position. Buddhist usually call their yoga ‘meditation’, but a rose by any other name is still a rose. Buddhism was founded as an atheistic religion. In this sense Anton Drake is clearly right—there is no incompatibility between Anton being an atheist and doing yoga. Anton, like his fellow atheist Buddha, is clearly involved in a spiritual/religious practice.

 

In an interview released May 9th 2013, Mr. Drake made some comments about my article “Culture Wars: Yoga, More than Meets the Eye” that clearly demonstrate the extent to which he has completely misunderstood the meaning and intent of the article. In the interview, Anton stated that “although I am what you might call a dogmatic atheist, I find the reverend Hird’s ideas on this matter to be quite prejudicial, and even somewhat racial and xenophobic” While I enjoyed reading the interview, I find it unfortunate that Anton will dismiss someone as racist and xenophobic simply because they have reservations about syncretistically mixing two different religions. My hero E. Stanley Jones, who lived for 50 years as a Methodist missionary in India and wrote a book about Gandhi called ‘Portrait of a Friend,’ actually started the United Christian Ashram movement, of which I have served on the international board. My main point here is that I have always had great respect for the East Indian people, just as my friend Stanley Jones did.

 

In the same interview, which was titled “Ed Hird, Encinitas, and the Fear of Yoga, An Interview with Anton Drake Part 2,” Anton mentioned that “Many of the Hindu friends I’ve had through the years have actually kept a picture or a statue of Jesus on their altar or puja, right next to the other pictures of gurus and deities they revered. That always impressed me.” It is a good thing to show respect to other religious traditions; however, because Hinduism allegedly has 330 million gods, adding Jesus to the Hindu pantheon does not really respect the integrity of the Judeo-Christian heritage. To serve two masters, as Jesus cautioned against, is not showing true respect for other religious traditions. I do not question the prerogative of new-agers, atheists, or Hindus to practise yoga. I am asking for some transparency about what yoga really is about, particularly when they package it for Christians. Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism. Nine out of ten Hindus agree that yoga is Hinduism. Without yoga, there is no Hinduism. Without Hinduism, there is no yoga. Many Hindu gurus claim with no evidence that Jesus went to India and became a yoga teacher. They also hold that Jesus as a yogi was teaching reincarnation because he wanted us to be born again. Once again, this does not show respect or understanding for other important religious faiths.

 

Mr. Drake also seemed particularly offended by my comment that yoga ‘kills the mind’. This is merely quoting key yogis who see that as one of the key benefits of yoga. Christian meditation is about focusing on God’s Word thoughtfully rather than the elimination of thought. Sensory deprivation and sensory overload, both key aspects of advanced yoga, are proven techniques for the ‘killing of the mind’. Yoga does not require belief to alter the mind. It just requires intensive yogic practice. It is the technique that produces the effect. Yoga asanas appear to the uninitiated as if they are just stretching exercises. The more fully initiated realize that asanas are worship postures to Hindu deities. The Warrior asana, for example, is identified with the worship of Lord Virabhadra who has a thousand arms, three burning eyes, and a garland of skulls. The Cobra asana is about identification with and worship of the Kundalini snake, yogically awakened in the chakras. The yoga insiders all know the real scoop. They also know that North Americans are not quite ready yet for the full truth about the religious identity of yoga.

 

Further into the interview, Anton stated that “Although his [Rev. Hird’s ] article is fairly well written and seems to make some good points on the surface, if one looks a bit closer it reveals itself as absurdly, almost comically xenophobic; simply consider how easy it would be to apply the same arguments he uses to sushi, origami, or Asian forms of dance.” Among other things, I am particularly curious about Anton’s teaser comment “Good points on the surface.” I am hoping that in the future, Anton could perhaps elaborate on this. As for the xenophobic comment, this was clearly not one of Anton’s strongest arguments. To suggest that people who have reservations about yoga must also be against sushi, chai tea, and curry is comical. Anton, who has never met me, keeps saying that I am xenophobic simply because I dare to question yoga. I find Mr. Drake’s comments along this line to be unfortunate and even intolerant. I ask, is there still room within our Western democratic cultures to raise questions without being stereotyped or villified?

 

Anton Drake then goes on to say that schoolchildren should obviously be taught yoga: “Schoolchildren should obviously be allowed to learn yoga; restricting western children from learning yoga on the basis of religion is barbaric, and not just from an atheistic point of view.” The terms ‘should’ and ‘allowed’ go in two different directions. Public schools do not ‘allow’ religious practices, whether Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or New Age, to be mandated for the children. If yoga is in fact inherently religious, this would be violating the Encinita School Board’s own legal parameters. Is it really respectful to mandate yogic Hinduism for children attending the Public School system? What if this violates the faith perspective of the children’s parents? Should they be dismissed as barbaric, to use Mr. Drake’s words? At the core of democracy is the freedom of religion, and the freedom to question. No one will win if yoga ever becomes so culturally entrenched that our schools begin imposing it as part of their everyday curriculum, and thereby elevate it to the status of an unquestioned academic truth or authority.

 

Drake also says, and I quote, that “He [Rev. Hird] of course takes it completely for granted that any spiritual tradition outside of Christianity or western culture is intrinsically evil and antithetical to every form of goodness.” However, where he is wrong is that I am in no way a defender of Western culture as somehow superior to Eastern culture. I find much wisdom and value in all cultures, and in all religions. We need to be respectful to other religious traditions, especially when we do not understand them. I simply ask that Christians be not asked to compromise their religious identity in the midst of a well-packaged yoga marketing strategy. Yoga is a ten-billion dollar industry these days in North America, and we simply cannot overlook our core cultural principles in rushing to spread the indoctrination of yoga into our schools. While Anton Drake “the atheist” spoke a lot about demons and evil, you will notice that I did not, and this was not at all the focus of my article. I simply wish to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ in one’s life. And my contention is that if Jesus is my Lord, then yoga is not. I can live without yoga, while still respecting the right of others who wish to practice it. ]

 

I am scheduled to do another interview with Anton soon, and I will be sure to bring this topic up to him again and ask him some additional questions as well.

 

Media Contact
Karen Anderson
Marketing Director
Puragreen Productions LLC
717 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA, 90024
Email: Karen@puragreen.com
Web: http://puragreen.com

 

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.


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Gurdjieff and the Enigmatic Enneagram

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Note: The following article emerged out of a footnote to a larger investigation into the relationship between Dr. Carl Jung, neo-gnosticism, and the MBTI.

     Who is George Gurdjieff, and why is he having such a massive indirect impact on our churches today?  Why in particular are ‘post-charismatic’ Roman Catholics, especially well-meaning nuns, becoming caught up in his practices?[1]  The Rev. Dr. Robert Innes, Lecturer in Systematic Theology at St. John’s College: Durham, England, tells us that the man credited with bringing the Enneagram to the West is George Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian from what is now the Republic of Georgia. While still a teen, Gurdjieff became immersed in occultic practices such as astrology, mental telepathy, spiritism, table turning, fortune telling and demon possession. Gurdjieff claimed that  while he was in Afghanistan in 1897, he visited a monastery of the esoteric Sarmouni sect where he learned their mystical Sufi dancing, psychic powers and the Enneagram.[2]

     The massive popularity of the Enneagram in Christian circles, the 2nd most popular personality test after the MBTI[3], makes it well worth assessing what we are actually opening ourselves to.  Advocates like Barbara Metz and John Burchill describe the Enneagram as “a sleeping giant, awakened in our times…”[4]  Fr. Mitchell Pacwa SJ, Professor of Scripture and Hebrew at Loyola University, Chicago, has written a brilliant critique of Gurdjieff and the Enneagram, entitled “Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram”.[5]  Fr. Pacwa’s studies of ancient literature and archeology show that there is no hard evidence for the existence of the Enneagram in any form before Gurdjieff.  Rumours of the Enneagram’s antiquity(e.g.  pre-Muslim Christian influence of Persia, or Pythagorean or Platonic mathematics)[6] serve to give it an air of authority but have no proper historical basis.  Perhaps most incredible is the unsubstantiated claim by Ted Dobson & Kathleen Hurley that there “are indications that several of the New Testament writers were familiar with and used the Enneagram.”[7]

     The heart of Gurdjieff’s Enneagram teaching, which he described as esoteric

Christianity, is numerological divination.  Dividing one by three yields the decimals .3333, .6666, .9999 – the points joined by the triangle in the figure.  Dividing one by seven yields the decimal .142857: a recurring number which contains no multiples of three and the digits of which correspond to the oddly-shaped six pointed figure.  It seems that the Enneagram’s relation to these mystical numbers (three and seven) was held to give it a truly cosmic significance.[8]  Gurdjieff taught that “all things in life work on two laws –3 and 7”.  All psychological laws fall within the law of three — as within Gurdjieff’s three alleged personality centres (path, oth, & kath), and all material things fall within the law of seven.[9] Each human being on earth is claimed to have one, and only one, of the nine Enneagram numbers.[10]

Enneagram teaching holds that God has nine different faces, corresponding to the nine patterns of the Enneagram.[11]  Robert J. Nogosek, C.S.C., wrote a book along this line entitled “Nine Portraits of Jesus: Discovering Jesus Through the Enneagram” (Dimension Books), claiming that Jesus, being sinless, had all nine Enneagram personality types.[12]  Beesing, Nogosek, and O’Leary also teach that each of us has one of nine different totems [Enneagramic animals].  In the ‘christianized’ version of the Enneagram, a #2 “helper” personality can be redeemed from being a cat into becoming an Irish setter, and then receives the Enneagramic colour of Red.[13]

     Gurdjieff’s work led to the formation of the New-Age cult, Arica, founded by his disciple Oscar Ichazo.  It was Ichazo and his colleague Claudio Naranjo (an instructor at the Esalen Institute) who together developed the Enneagram in the 1960’s as an indicator of personality in its current form.[14]  Naranjo merged the Enneagram with 9 of Freud’s 10 personality defense mechanisms.  Fr. Pacwa notes that Ichazo claims to receive instructions from a higher entity called ‘Metatron, the prince of the archangels’.  Ichazo’s students are guided by an interior Master, the Green Qu’Tub.[15]

Ichazo and Naranjo taught the Enneagram in the 1970’s to Fr. Bob Ochs SJ who then taught this ‘secret wisdom’[16] at the Loyola Seminary, from which it spread heavily within the Roman Catholic and Anglican communities.  Gurdjieff’s role in the Enneagram was covered up by Ichazo, saying that he had “been ordered by his source not to reveal the name of the person or being who gave him the Enneagram.”[17]  Moral Theologian, Msgr. William B. Smith commented that “the more you read about it, the more it begins to resemble a college-educated horoscope…As a tool for spiritual direction, it seems to me most deficient, even dangerous.”[18]

     Barbara Metz, SND, and John Burchill, OP, recommend the Enneagram as a way of engaging in “kything prayer”.  Kything Prayer can be done with any other person, present or absent, dead or alive, whose Enneagramic reading ‘moves against your numerical arrows’. The key is to “let your center find itself within the person with whom you are kything” and to “Picture yourself within the [other] person.” An alternative form of Enneagramic kything is to “invite the other person’s spirit into themselves.”[19]

One may very well ask how appropriate it is for Christians to be inviting the spirits of the dead into themselves.  Does this not slide into occultic channeling/mediumistic practices that are clearly forbidden by Holy Scripture?[20]  Is it enough for Enneagram advocates like Jim Scully of Pecos Abbey to say “that ‘occult’ and ‘satanic’ are not synonyms?  God told me back in 1979 that the greatest issue facing the Church would be the deception of inter-faith syncretism.

Maybe it is time for us as Anglicans and Christians to truly wake up and repent of our syncretistic mixing of Christ and the occult, of good and evil, of truth and deception, of light and darkness.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-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 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 

[1] (1) Theodore E. Dobson, who was a R.C. charismatic priest well-known for his inner healing books, has co-written an Enneagram book with Kathleen V. Hurley entitled “What’s My Type?”  Dennis, Sheila, & Matt Linn, also well known in the Roman Catholic charismatic sphere for inner healing, strongly endorsed Ted Dobson’s book, saying “This is an encyclopedia of information about the Enneagram. We are a One, a Six, and a Seven.” (Front Inside Cover).  David Geraets, OSB, Abbot of the Pecos R.C. Benedictine Abbey and self-described post-charismatic, comments that Hurley and Dobson “give us fresh and invigorating insight into the Enneagram.” (Front Inside Cover).

[2] Robert Innes, Personality Indicators & the Spiritual Life, Grove Spirituality Series, Cambridge, p. 12; “Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram”, Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J; Christian Research Journal, Fall 1991, p. 14ff;  Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele (The Enneagram Made Easy, Harper Collins,1994, p. 1) say that “The Russian mystical teacher G.I. Gurdjieff introduced it to Europe in the 1920’s …”

[3] Robert Innes describes Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram as “the two indicators most widely used by Christian groups…”(p.3)  Baron & Wagele hold that “Many of the variations within the nine [Enneagram] types can be explained by relating the highly respected Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to the Enneagram.  This will increase accuracy, give greater breadth to the system, and lead to a more finely tuned understanding of ourselves and others. (p. 7, 136-149)  Suzanne Zuercher, author of “Enneagram Spirituality” (Notre Dame:Ave Maria Press, 1992, p. 157) “places the whole of the Enneagram within a basically Jungian framework.” (Robert Innes, op. cit., p. 14)

[4] Barbara Metz, SND, & John Burchill, OP, The Enneagram & Prayer, Dimension Books, p. 11

[5] Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, op. cit., p. 14ff

[6] Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele, The Enneagram Made Easy, Harper Collins, San Francisco,1974, p. 1:   Baron & Wagele claim that “The roots of the Enneagram go back many centuries.  Its exact origins are not known but it is believed to have been taught orally in secret Sufi brotherhood in the Middle East.”  Dobson & Hurley hint that the Magi (Wise Men) who visited the baby Jesus brought the Enneagram, teaching that the Magi were “Wisdom seekers from ancient Persia who were probably the originating or at least the first organized caretakers of the Enneagram.” (p.182)  Dobson & Hurley also allege that Pythagoras, the 6th century B.C. mathematician, “learned the Enneagram in Persia before founding his school…” (p. 183)

[7] Dobson & Hurley, p.3

[8] Robert Innes, Personality Indicators and the Spiritual Life, Grove Spirituality Series, Grove Books Ltd., Cambridge, p. 13

[9] Margaret Anderson, The Unknown Gurdjieff, London: Routledge, p.71-72.

[10] Dobson & Hurley, p. 15: “It is important to remember that each person has one, and only one, Enneagram number.”

[11] op.cit., p. 151.

[12] Robert Nogosek, Nine Portraits of Jesus, p. v

[13] Maria Beesing OP, Robert Nogosek CSC, & Patrick O’Leary SJ, p. 120.

[14] Innes, op.cit, p. 13

[15] Lilly & Hart, Transpersonal Psychologies,‘The Arica Training’, p. 341

[16] Hurley & Dobson: Again and again they refer to the Enneagram as “secret wisdom” (p. 1, 9, 14, 136, &167).  Claudio Naranjo claims that Fr. Bob Ochs and others promised not to teach others the Enneagram, but that they broke their promise of secrecy. “The Enneagram– Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone”, Audio Tape recorded at the Association of Christian Therapists, Feb. 1990, San Diego;  The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the occult as: kept secret, esoteric…from the Latin word celare: to hide.

[17] “The Enneagram: a Critique”, St. Clair McEvenue, Catholic Insight, July/August

1996, p. 10  Beesing, Nogosek, & O’Leary, authors of “The Enneagram: a Journey of

Self-Discovery” (Dimension Books), claim that Oschar Ichazo was taught “the Enneagram in La Paz, Bolivia, by a man whose name he pledged not to reveal” (p. 1) See also “Psychology Today”, Sam Keen, Vol. 7, No. 2, July 1973, p. 64″.

[18] Msgr. W.B. Smith, The Homiletic & Pastoral Review, March 1993

[19] Metz & Burchill, op. cit., p. 107; p. 109: “The person does not need to be physically present (Barbara was in Kenya when I kythed with her), nor need the person be living.”

[20] See Lev. 19:31, Lev 20:6, Deut 18:10-11, 1 Chron 10:13, Jer 27:9-10, Acts 16:16-24, & Rev 22:15



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Breaking the Power of Shame

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The teenaged Roman Emperor Nero started off in AD 57 as a idealistic reformer, banning capital punishment. He forbade killing in circus contests, emphasizing instead athletics, poetry, and theater. He reduced taxes and permitted slaves to file complaints against unjust masters. But absolute power absolutely corrupted him.

 Nero was born at Antium (Anzio), Italy, on December 15th 37 A.D. His father, who died when Nero was age 3, was a great-grandson of Caesar Augustus – the Roman emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 2:1).

 Nero’s mother Agrippina rescued her son Nero from poverty by marrying her uncle, the emperor Claudius.  Agrippina managed to get Nero adopted not only as a son of Claudius, but the heir to the throne before Claudius’ actual sons. To show her gratitude, she poisoned her husband/uncle with tainted mushrooms. Nero became the emperor of the mighty Roman empire at the age of 17.

 One year after Nero became Emperor, he got tired of his mother’s interfering, and had her removed from the palace.   Four years later she still kept meddling, so Nero rigged her boat to collapse on her.  Being a strong swimmer, Agrippina refused to drown, so Nero had to send soldiers in to finish the job.  There is a famous painting by John William Waterhouse where Nero is lying on his bed feeling remorseful for taking his mother out but any remorse did not slow him down for long.  As murder can be rather addictive, Nero proceeded to present the gift of an ex-wife’s severed head to a future wife, and then kick another wife to death while she was pregnant.

 Nero’s most memorable accomplishment was burning much of Rome to the ground to make room for a new palace. After six days of Rome burning, Nero discovered the value of blaming a small Jewish group called Christians.  Their ringleader, the Apostle Paul, was thrown into a Roman dungeon, to prepare for his imminent beheading.  If these early Christians refused to renounce their faith, Nero had them thrown to the lions, crucified, or set on fire and used as garden-party lighting.

 Christianity looked as if it would be obliterated from the face of the earth.  But Paul from prison wrote a second letter to his chosen successor Timothy, ‘rallying the troops’. He said to Timothy: “Don’t be ashamed to bear witness for the Lord or Paul his prisoner”.  He encouraged the naturally timid Timothy not to be ashamed of Paul’s chains.  Paul, though about to be exterminated, said to Timothy: “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I believe”.

Breaking the power of shame is absolutely vital to living a free and healthy life.  All of us have at least one Nero in our life who would like to enslave us, entrap us, and fill us with shame.  It may be our relatives, our boss, our ex-spouse, our own personal addictions to fear, guilt, anger.  By breaking the power of shame and self-hatred, we can live fully without regret.  The key, said Paul, to breaking the power of shame, is in ‘knowing whom we believe’.

I would challenge each one reading this article to no longer let our personal Neros cover our faces with shame.  Live free.  Live forgiven.  Live in the healing embrace of the One who gave everything so that you might really live.

 

 

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. 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 Ave, Surrey, BC 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 Ave, 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 $9.99 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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Say No to Fear

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

If you had just a few months to live, what would you most want to say to friends? What would have priority and what would become secondary?  The famous Apostle Paul knew that he was about to have his head chopped off by the crazed Roman Emperor Nero. So he wrote his final letter, known as Second Timothy, to his key assistant, Timothy. Second Timothy was really Paul’s last will and testament.

Paul had been in jail many times for the faith.  It was his favorite place to write letters like his unforgettable letters to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon.  If Paul had not been sent to jail so often, half the New Testament would likely never have been written.  In the past Paul had always been let out of prison. But this time he knew that the only escape was death.

Have you ever lost a key leader and mentor who has helped you reach heights that you never thought you would reach?  To lose such a person can bring deep feelings of loneliness and abandonment.  Bishop Handley Moule of Durham, England, commented that “Timothy stood awfully lonely, yet awfully exposed, in face of a world of thronging sorrows.  Well might he have been shaken to the root of his faith.”

Young Timothy was by nature an insecure, sickly and timid person, but Paul saw potential in Timothy far beyond his outward appearance.  Paul had been closely associated with Timothy ever since he ‘discovered’ him in Lystra, Turkey, some fifteen years before.

 Paul knew that it was time for the changing of the guard, the passing on of the baton of leadership.  Paul was determined that Timothy not drop that baton in the midst of Emperor Nero’s onslaught.

You’ve probably heard the expression: “Rome burned while Nero fiddled”.  Nero set Rome on fire  in AD 64 as an urban renovation project, and blamed the early Christians as convenient scapegoats.  The historian Tacitus commented that the early Christians “were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps. Nero gave his own gardens for this spectacle…”

Christianity was on the verge of extinction, and the dying Paul saw Timothy as the key to its very survival. The famous Dr. John Stott comments, “Greatness was being thrust upon Timothy, and like Moses and Jeremiah and a host of others before and after him, Timothy was exceedingly reluctant to accept it.”

Paul strengthened Timothy by reminding him how much he meant to him, and how often he prayed for him day and night.  He also strengthened Timothy by reminding him of the faithful examples set by his grandma, Lois and his mother, Eunice.  As Dr. John Stott put it, “good biographies never begin with their subject, but with his parents, and probably his grandparents as well.”  Paul was saying to Timothy: “don’t lose touch with your roots”.

What do you know for sure if you see a turtle on a fencepost? The answer is that it didn’t get there itself.  We are who we are, in large part because of people who have believed in us and invested in us.  Many of us as Canadians have forgotten the remarkable spiritual heritage we have been given by our ancestors, our Loises and Eunices.  I think of our Judeo-Christian heritage in Canada as like crabs hidden under the rocks at the seashore.  Only when one uncovers the rocks does one discover the greatest riches of life just below the surface.

The dying Paul knew that Timothy had so much going for him. So he told him to fan into flame the wonderful God-given gift that had been given to him.  It is so easy to let our gifts and abilities lie dormant, when we need to rekindle and stir up the smouldering flame.

Fear can cripple our future.  So Paul said to Timothy: “God has not given you a spirit of timidity but of power and love and a sound mind.”  Timidity, says Douglas Milne, is a chronic fear of people, suffering or responsibilities that paralyzes the will from giving effective leadership.

Paul is saying to Timothy, and to each of us: “Say no to fear. Don’t let anxiety crush your life.  Live life free and unfettered.”  At the heart of every addiction is the bondage to fear.  My prayer for those reading this article is that the Great Physician will set each of us, like Timothy, free from fear, and fill us instead with the Spirit of power and love and a sound mind.

 

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. 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 Ave, Surrey, BC 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 Ave, 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