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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/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 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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General William Booth: a Giant of a Man

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Everyone nowadays loves the Sally Ann, the Salvation Army.  But such admiration was not always universal.  Violence and bloodshed was the order of the day when General William Booth first reached out to the down-and-out in East London.  Few people today realize that one of the main purposes of the famous Sally Ann Bonnet was to protect the heads of wearers from brickbats and other missiles.  So many people used to buy rotten eggs to throw at the Sally Ann Bonnets that these rancid eggs became renamed in the market place as ‘Salvation Army eggs!’

In 1880,heavy sticks crashed upon the Salvation Army soldiers’ heads, laying them open, and saturating them in blood.  Mrs. Bryan (wife of the Captain) was knocked down and kicked into insensibility not ten yards from the police station, and another sister so injured that she died within a week.  During 1882, it was reported that 669 soldiers and officers had been knocked down, kicked or otherwise brutally assaulted, 251 of them being women and 23 children under 15.  In Hamilton, Ontario, the Salvation Army officers were initially ‘squeezed and mangled, scratched, their clothes torn and almost choked with the dust…’  In Quebec City, 21 soldiers were seriously injured, an officer was stabbed in the head with a knife, and the drummer had his eye gouged out. In Newfoundland, the Salvation Army was attacked with hatchets, knives, scissors and darning needles.  One night a woman-Salvationist in Newfoundland was attacked by a gang of three hundred ruffians, thrown into a ditch and trampled on.  She managed to crawl out only to be thrown in again, as other women were shouting ‘Kill her! Kill her!

Ironically many police initially blamed the Salvation Army for being persecuted.  In numerous parts of England, playing in a Salvation Army Marching Band was punishable with a jail sentence!  During 1884, no fewer than 600 Salvationists had gone to prison in defense of their right to proclaim good news to the people in music and word.  In Canada alone, nearly 350 SA officers and soldiers served terms of imprisonment for spreading the gospel.  Despite the jail sentences and persecution, within three years the Army’s strength more than quadrupled!  The early Salvation Army ‘jailbirds described their handcuffs as heavenly bracelets.  It is little wonder that the Salvation Army eventually developed such a powerful prison ministry.

One of William Booth’s mottoes was  ‘go for souls and go for the worst!’  A local English newspaper The Echo commented that the Salvation Army largely recruited the ranks of the drunkards and wife-beaters and woman home-destroyers.  Many of us remember as children the song: ‘Up and down the City Road, In and Out the Eagle; That’s the way the money goes, Pop goes the weasel’!   Few of us realized that we were singing about the famous Eagle Tavern, just off City Road in London.   ‘Pop goes the weasel’ was cockney slang for the alcoholic who was so desperate for a drink that he would even pawn (pop) his watch (weasel).  Ironically, the Salvation Army bought the Eagle Tavern and turned it into a rehabilitation centre.  The Lion and Key public house in East London became known as ‘The Army Recruiting Shop’.  The landlord said, ‘My trade’s suffering, but you’re making the town a different place, so we can’t grumble.  Go on and prosper!’

William Booth shocked the world by conducting worship with tambourines and fiddles, instead of the traditional church organ.  To make up for the Salvation Army’s lack of church buildings, General Booth bought circus buildings, skating rinks, and theatres.

In response to such bold innovation, one newspaper columnist claimed in 1883 that ‘The Salvation Army is on its last legs, and in three weeks it may be calculated it will come to an end.’  In the beginnings, the Salvation Army was essentially a youth movement, with seventeen-year-olds commanding hundreds of officers and thousands of seekers.  Archbishop Tait of Canterbury was so impressed by this youth movement reaching the poor, that he set up a commission which unsuccessfully tried to adopt the Salvation Army as an Anglican society.

By persevering, the Salvation Army began to earn respect from both the churched and the unchurched, and from all segments of society.  Even Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle sent the following message: ‘Her majesty learns with much satisfaction that you have with other members of your society been successful in your efforts to win many thousands to the ways of temperance, virtue, and religion.’  By their persevering in reaching out to the poor, William Booth and the Salvation Army became known as the champions of the oppressed.    Like no other individual in nineteenth-century England, General Booth dramatized the war against want, poverty and destitution.

It was not by accident that William Booth’s message became linked with ‘soup, soap, and salvation’!  Every Salvation Army soldier was taught from the beginning to see themselves as servants of all, practicing the ‘sacrament’ of the Good Samaritan.  The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, ‘If the Salvation Army were wiped out of London, five thousand extra policemen could not fill the place in the repression of crime and disorder.’ In recognition of his incalculable impact on the poor, William Booth received on June 26th 1907 the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford.

William Booth throughout his life showed remarkable creativity and courage.  He was one of the world’s greatest travelers in his day, visiting nearly every country in the world.  Even at age 78, General Booth was described as‘…a bundle of energy, a keg of dynamite, an example of perpetual motion.’  A keen observer of the international scene, Booth in 1907 prophesied Japan’s technological rise, saying: ‘It is only a question of time when her industries will be tutored with the most expert direction, and packed with the finest machinery taken from all nations of the world, and I do not see what can prevent her producing the finest articles at the cheapest possible price.’

His fellow soldiers saw Booth as a man to follow to their death, if need be.  William Booth was truly a spiritual father to the fatherless.  His son Bramwell held that his Dad’s greatest power lies in his sympathy, for his heart is a bottomless well of compassion.  A Maori woman described William Booth as ‘the great grandfather of us all – the man with a thousand hearts in one!’

 

Mark Twain said,‘I know of no better way of reaching the poor than through the Salvation Army.  They are of the poor, and know how to get to the poor.’

I give thanks for General William Booth, a true giant of a man, and for the Salvation Army who have shown the true Father’s Heart to so many hurting, fatherless people.

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

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

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

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