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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Does the Truth Really Set Us Free?

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Many people around us have given up on a search for truth.  It just seems too costly, too frustrating, too ethereal.  Many fear that the truth, if we can ever find it, will trap us with rules and regulations, turning us into slaves.  Many years ago, the world’s most famous human being said: ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’  A radical claim indeed.

The Roman governor Pontius Pilate replied to this claim by cynically saying: ‘What is truth?’  He was probably so used as a politician to lying and being lied to, that truth had become a meaningless commodity.  All of us crave for politicians that will tell us the truth and stop lying to us.  It is so easy to dismiss such yearnings as naïve fantasies.  Yet if no one can be trusted in our society, then the foundations of our democratic culture are indeed fragile.

True democracy is based on the gift of freedom, and the gift of freedom comes from the knowledge of truth.  “You shall know the truth” means that truth is attainable, truth is knowledge, truth matters.  “The truth shall set you free” means that truth is not abstract and irrelevant, but powerful and liberating.  Truth changes everything.  Lies kill everything.

The ‘Big Book’ in Alcoholics Anonymous says that anyone can get well if they are willing to be totally honest and truthful with themselves, God, and others.  I deeply admire the radical honesty and vulnerability of AA folk.  They have a lot to teach many people in church.  One of my relatives, who is a professional counsellor, has a poster at his office that says:  ‘The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable’.  The truth really does hurt, but when the truth is spoken in love rather than in judgement, there is amazing healing that can take place.

Jesus said;  ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life’.  He claimed to embody the essence of truth and meaning in his very person.  To Pontius Pilate, he provocatively said: ‘Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’.  Many people want to patronize Jesus and say nice things about him.  But how many of us really want to listen deeply to him and let his words impact the core of our personalities?

The problem with the truth is that it is most often deeply inconvenient, morally inconvenient, socially inconvenient, financially inconvenient, politically inconvenient.  I remember how Mark Twain once said that it is not the parts of the Bible which he doesn’t understand that trouble him, but rather the parts that he does understand.  The truth will set us free, if we are willing to pay the price.  But the cost can be very high indeed.  The gift of democracy has been won again and again because many of our ancestors laid down their lives so that we might be free.

All dictators hate the truth.  Mussolini did, Hitler did, and Stalin did.  But the truly great leaders love truth, because they know that only the truth sets people free.  Only the truth brings growth.  Only the truth brings life, abundant and overflowing.  As Canadians, we need to rediscover our forebears’ passionate commitment to truth and freedom.  Democracy cannot survive without it.  Families cannot survive without it.

Our society desperately needs a fresh infusion of the Spirit of Truth to stir up our consciences, soften our hearts, and enlighten our minds.  As the Good Book puts it, our hearts are deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  We have an amazing ability to fool ourselves and hurt ourselves, yet the Spirit of Truth promises to lead us into all truth.  My prayer for those reading this article is that Jesus the Truth may give to each of us a renewed hunger for truth, truth lived, truth felt, truth embraced.  May each of us know the truth in a deep intimate way, and may the truth radically set each of us free.  May each of us be able to say like Martin Luther King: ‘Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’

 

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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 

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The Gift of Courage Can Be Imparted

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hirdcanadian_money

I remember when I lost my voice for 18 months back in 1980.  I will never forget resigning my job, going on sick leave, driving to the Employment Insurance office only to find out that my company did not have any long-term disability insurance.

In the midst of those devastating experiences, my strongest feeling was that I was disappointing my father.  However my dad was not feeling that way at all.  He was just concerned that I recover my voice and get back on track.  Deep within most of us is this inexpressible desire to please our fathers.

In the early 1980’s, I spent almost five years in Abbotsford, during which time we had our second child.  Each week I went to visit the sick in the local hospital.  While visiting the psychiatric ward, I met a man who had Anglican and Roman Catholic parents.  He said to me that he hadn’t seen a priest in thirty years.  Out of the blue, he told me that he never prayed to God.  ‘God was too angry’, he said. ‘You just couldn’t talk to him.  He would always blow up.’  The man went on to say that he only prayed to the Virgin Mary.  ‘She was kind, loving, gentle, and would always listen’, he said.

virgin-mary1I said to the man, ‘Does God ever remind you of your earthly father?’.  ‘Funny you should say that’, he said. ‘ They are just the same.  They never listen and they always blow up at me.’  I went on to say, ‘What about your own mother? Does she remind you of the Virgin Mary?’  His eyes brightened up, and he said to me, ‘You must know my parents.  My mother is just like the Virgin Mary.  She always listens to me’.

I said to the man, ‘Your problem is not with God.  It is with your earthly father.  If you are willing to deal with the pain of your relationship to your dad, you will find that you will be able to talk to God.’  A week later, a local psychiatrist phoned me up and informed me that this patient had experienced a major breakthrough in his counseling as a result.

In A.A., they say that you are as healthy as your (lack of) secrets.  I would agree, but also add that we are as healthy as our relationship with our fathers.  So many men nowadays are caught in painful ambivalence and confusion, because they have never really felt affirmed and blessed by their own fathers.

The gift of a healthy father is the gift of courage_under_firecourage.  The gift of a healthy father is the gift of being willing to lay down our lives, if necessary, for our families.  In this age of compromise, I give thanks for my own father who has not been afraid to stand up for his family and his convictions.

Without a father who believes in you, it may be very hard as a teenager to feel that you are going to make it through.  They say that teenagers experience most things far more intensely than many adults.  Their highs are twice as high and their lows are twice as low.  That is why premature sexual intimacy and the usual relational breakups are so deeply devastating for our teenagers.

A courageous father does more than just give a condom to his kid.  He explains to him the real risk of broken hearts and diseased bodies, as well of the benefits of waiting for real commitment.  By our faithfulness to our wives, despite the ups and down of life, we give our children courage to believe that they too can enter faithful lasting relationships.

The concept of future marriage for many teenagers and young adults has become filled with so much fear and uncertainty.  Yet as Dr. Laura put it, ‘Without commitment, there is no future.’  Courageous fathers give to their sons and daughters the courage to commit to the unknown future.

lynncanyon5One of the things I love the most about the North Shore is the beautiful trails that are woven throughout our area.  While out walking in the trails, I asked a neighbour, ‘What is a courageous father?’  He said, ‘Someone who holds down a job and cares for his children’.  Simple words, but very true.

In this age of compromise, in this pressure-cooker world, so many fathers are tempted to run away from it all.  The stress just becomes too much.  I thank God for my own father who never ran from our family during good times and bad, during sickness and health, for better or for worse.  I thank God for being the father of the fatherless, the one who gives me courage to not run from stress, who gives me the courage to stand my ground when everything else is falling apart, to stand for truth when many seem to be compromising.

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

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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 


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Can Anger Help Your Marriage?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to invest in many families in the North Shore area. As both a Social Worker and an Anglican priest, I have been struck by how many North Shore couples are successful in business but challenged in the area of relationships.  It has been our privilege over the years at St. Simon’s NV to help many couples fall back in love and rebuild strong marriages.

Paddy DucklowWhile teaching at the CWIPPThink Conference in San Diego, God rekindled my dream of doing a doctorate in the area of marriage and families.  I heard that Dr Paddy Ducklow, a North Shore Pastor and Counsellor, was being appointed Professor of Marriage and Family Ministries at Carey College out at UBC.  I have known and respected Paddy since attending West Vancouver Baptist’s Salt Circus during the 1970’s Jesus movement.  After much prayer and reflection, I decided to begin a part-time doctorate at Carey designed specifically for full-time clergy.

My first ‘Family Ministry’ doctoral course was taught by Dr. James Ponzetti, a professor in the Departments of Social Work and then Sociology.  I decided to focus on ‘Managing Anger in marital conflict’.   After reading forty books and 150 Social Science articles on marital anger, I was left with the impression that there are a lot of angry people stuck in conflictual marriages.  Researchers note how many men detach from intimacy, leaving their wives very frustrated. Because women are so relational, they are often tempted to suppress their legitimate anger in favour of protecting their marriage. The problem with stuffing our anger is that it leaves us isolated and disconnected.

Dr John Gottman, one of the world’s foremost marriage researchers, suggests that there is a better way forward.  Even healthy long-term marriages will experience marital conflict and anger.  No one is exempt.  We need to rediscover anger as a positive emotion that has its own wisdom if we will stop being so defensive.  Drs John & Julie Gottman, in their best-selling book ‘10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage’, actually recommends that we husbands need to embrace our wife’s anger and learn the meaning behind the emotion.  Brain scans have shown us that we experience anger on the right side of the brain, unlike fear and sadness which is on the left side.  While fear causes us to withdraw, anger can actually stir us to make a difference and bring constructive change.  The challenge is how to harness the power of anger, much like people in BC harness the power of our mighty rivers for electricity.

Dr David Mace compares anger to the squeak in your car’s engine that tells you it’s time for a tune-up. Anger can be your family smoke-alarm.  Research shows that most marital conflicts are about housework, physical intimacy, money, and children. When we become angry, our heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of our energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.  Dr. Gottman actually monitors such levels in his marriage ‘love lab’ in Seattle.   Many couples, when their heart rates goes over one hundred, become overwhelmed or ‘flooded’ by the intensity of their emotions.  Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do if ‘overwhelmed’ while intensely listening to our spouse is to choose to take a short time out and go for a walk so that we can re-regulate our emotions. Gentle humour and affection are other proven keys to reducing emotional intensity. It takes humility to accept influence from our spouses, to become more gentle,  and to make bids for connection when we are tempted to stonewall them.

Much of the 1960’s counselling encouraged people to let it all hang out and dump our anger on the other person. Research has shown that this actually makes things worse.  We need to learn to express our anger gently and respectfully in a way that honours our spouse.  We also need to learn to deeply listen to our spouse’s anger in a way that hears their longing for a healthier future together.  As James put it, we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.  The Good Book teaches in Ephesians 4:26 that it is possible to be angry without being destructive. Even Jesus, who was so full of love, felt angry at people’s insensitivity to handicapped people (Mark 3:5)  It is vital that couples commit to not going to bed angry, because it is far too easy to wake up bitter and resentful. While short-term anger can be a positive force, chronic anger has been shown to increase our risk of heart disease by as much as 500%.

My prayer for each of us reading this article is that we will embrace the gift of anger, and learn to harness it for the good of our marriages and families.

 

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

-author of the award-winning 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