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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Lessons from Gandhi

By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My wife, being a prolific reader of novels, is always going with me to return books to the local library.  At the very front of libraries is a section for recommended new books.  While there, I was pleased to find a brand new book Gandhi Before India.  It was news to me that Gandhi was excommunicated by his own Bania caste from daring to go to England to become a lawyer: “For his transgression, the boy would be treated as an outcaste; anyone who spoke to him or went to see him off would be fined.”[1]  Gandhi’s family sacrificed greatly to send him to England, even pawning the family jewels.    While in England, Gandhi for the first time read the Bible, finding the New Testament compelling, especially the Sermon on the Mount. [2]  As Gandhi commented,  it ‘went straight to my heart’.   The lines about offering one’s cloak to the man who had taken away one’s coat touched him greatly.[3]  Gandhi demonstrated that the  Sermon  on the Mount will radically change one’s life and one’s society if put into practice.

After completing his law degree in England, Gandhi returned to India for a short while before moving to South Africa.  While there are numerous books on Gandhi, many skip over Gandhi’s foundational twenty-one years in South Africa.  Even the excellent Gandhi movie by Richard Attenborough doesn’t do justice to the prolonged complexity to Gandhi’s time in South Africa.  Dr. E Stanley Jones commented that South Africa provided the rehearsal for the real drama of India: “He might have floundered had he tried India straight off.”[4]  Sadly in South Africa when Gandhi was most interested in the Gospel, he encountered the greatest restrictions: “To allow Gandhi to sit along white worshippers was impossible.  The vicar’s wife, out of solidarity and sympathy, offered to sit with him in the vestibule, from where they heard the service.”[5]  One of the people who had the greatest impact on Gandhi was Leo Tolstoy, especially his book The Kingdom of God is within You: “he was ‘overwhelmed by the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness of this book.”[6]  Gandhi purchased and gave out even to his jailers countless copies of Tolstoy’s ground-breaking book on peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount.[7]

Upon returning to India, Gandhi was initially rejected by other Indians who feared that they might become ritually polluted by even offering a cup of water to someone of the wrong caste.[8]  When Gandhi successfully stood up for their rights, he became hailed as a hero and liberator.  Gandhi campaigned nonviolently for the independence of India for numerous decades, spending 2,089 days in Indian jails (almost six years).[9]

Dr. E Stanley Jones described Gandhi as the architect of the new India.[10] In many ways, Gandhi was like an Abraham Lincoln bringing freedom to hundreds of millions of his fellow citizens.  Louis Fischer compared Gandhi to David standing up to the Goliath of racial discrimination.[11]  Gandhi went from being an initial supporter of caste discrimination to being a campaigner against its divisiveness. Jones commented:

…in his life, (Gandhi) breaks all the rules of caste, transcends them, adopts an outcaste as his daughter, and in the end does more to break down the system of caste than any other man, living or dead.”[12]

Jones held that “in Gandhi the word of freedom became flesh. When he spoke, freedom spoke. Gandhi was India.”[13]  Most people believe in democratic freedom.  Not many are willing to sacrifice over many decades to obtain such goals.  Before Gandhi, it was mostly the Indian intelligentsia campaigning for democracy.  Because Gandhi humbled himself and unselfishly served the poor and untouchables, both rich and poor awoke to the vision of an independent India.[14]  Gandhi made room for all regardless of race, religion and wealth.  Albert Einstein said regarding Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”[15]  In reading Jones’ book Gandhi: Portrayal of a Friend, Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired to launch the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement.[16]

Jones described the complexity of Gandhi’s personality as like Mount Everest:

Gandhi was simple and yet very complex amid that simplicity. You thought that you knew him and then you didn’t.  It was intriguing. There was always something there that eluded your grasp, that baffled you. And yet out of that many-sidedness which amounted to complexity, there arose simplicity, a unified character, simple and compelling.[17]

In an India full of racial, religious and economic division, Gandhi brought people together, giving them a vision for an independent democratic India.  Gandhi , whose favorite hymn was ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’, chose the costly way of the cross, of sacrificial love even for his enemies.[18]  On the wall of his mud hut was a black and white picture of Jesus Christ under which was written ‘He is our peace’.[19]  Gandhi was a peace-maker who chose to forgive those who despised him and rejected him.   Every day he would read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, motivating Gandhi to peacefully love his adversaries.   Jones, who had been a friend of Gandhi in India for many years, said once to him: ‘You understand the principles. Do you know the person?’  Gandhi was very drawn to the person of Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may embrace both the principles and person of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

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

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

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 

[1] Ramachanadra Guha, Gandhi Before India (Random House Canada, Toronto, 2014), p. 34-35.

[2] Guha, p. 45.

[3] Guha, p. 45.

[4] E Stanley Jones, Gandhi: Portrait of a Friend (Abingdon, Nashville, 1948), p. 18.

[5] Guha, p. 83.

[6] Guha, p. 85.

[7] Guha, p.308: “Before he left Volksrust Prison (in 1908), he presented a kindly warder with an inscribed copy of Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is within You.”

[8] Guha, p. 225 “Raj Kumar Shukla took Gandhi to Champaran and Patna the capital of Bihar. …since no one knew their caste, even the servants shunned them. The maids refused to draw from the garden well when Gandhi used it, for fear that even a drop of water from Gandhi’s bucket might pollute them.”

[9] Guha, p. P.160.

[10] E Stanley Jones, Gandhi: Portrait of a Friend (Abingdon, Nashville, 1948), p. 1.

[11] Louis Fischer, Gandhi: his life & message for the world (Signet Classics, New York, NY, 1954, 1982), p. 20.

[12] Jones, p. 6; Arthur Herman, Gandhi and Churchill (Bantam Dell, New York, NY, 2008), p. 120-121 The early Gandhi in 1921 supported caste discrimination: “Prohibition against intermarriage and interdining (between Hindu castes) is essential for the rapid evolution of the soul.” By 1932, he rejected such prohibitions. By 1946, he only permitted inter caste weddings on his premise.

[13] Jones, p. 32.

[14] Jones, p. 22 “…it was Gandhi who aroused (the rural people), made them shed their fears, and made them conscious of their destiny. Before the advent of Gandhi, the nationalist movement was among the intellectuals.”

[15] The Words of Gandhi, selected by Richard Attenborough (Newmarket Press, New York, NY, 1982), p.9.

[16] http://www.estanleyjonesfoundation.com/about-esj/esj-biography  King: “…it was his (Jones’) book that triggered my use of Gandi’s method of nonviolence as a weapon for my own people’s freedom in the United States.” (accessed May 4th 2015)

[17] Jones, p. 5.

[18] Guha, p. 582 “(At the end of his final fast) the girls sang his favorite hymn When I survey the Wondrous Cross.”; Jones, p. 39, p. 141.

[19] Fischer, p. 141.

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

Angus Buchan, a South African farmer, teaches that where there’s love, there’s hope.  His story is so inspiring that the Faith like Potatoes DVD about his life has already sold over half a million copies.  He left a 3,000 acre farm in Zambia in 1976 to start again from scratch in South Africa.  There was no water, no toilet, and no lights.  He couldn’t even speak the native language of Zulu.  Angus was very stubborn and hardworking.  He literally worked night and day seven days a week and made a success of his new farm, paying back his debts.  In the process, Angus went into a deep depression.  He had no peace and no purpose in living.  Anger, fear and destructive choices began to overwhelm his life and his family.

In 1979, he had a spiritual breakthrough and was pulled out of a deep spiritual pit.  Receiving this second chance in life, he had a passion to tell others about what he had discovered.  Angus began by treating his family and co-workers better.  He learned to control his temper and seek inter-racial reconciliation.  Angus now describes himself as a Zulu, saying that he is a white Zulu.  When AIDS/HIV hit South Africa, Angus started an orphanage at Shalom Farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal to care for the children left behind.

Over the years, Angus has seen many miracles, including a maize crop driven to the ground by a hailstorm resurrected itself after three days, and unexpected rain was sent on a cloudless day in the middle of a firestorm.  While speaking at Kings Park Stadium to a gathering of 25,000, he boldly spoke that he would plant potatoes in the midst of the El Niño drought.  The experts had warned the farmers not to plant that season without irrigation.  Many thought that he would lose his farm when the crop failed.

Miraculously large healthy potatoes were harvested, giving rise to the title of the movie Faith like Potatoes.  “We all learned valuable lessons from that crop.”, said Buchan. “The Lord showed us the importance of walking by faith, and not by sight, of trusting him unconditionally and never giving up.” Often like potatoes, faith is just under the surface and cannot be seen until the time of harvesting, the time of testing.

Angus Buchan commented that “Peter Marshall, the great preacher, once said that we need ‘faith like potatoes’ – plain, simple, real faith that will sustain us in our everyday lives. Whenever I pick up a potato I remember those words. That’s the kind of faith I want. When we have faith and act on it, God will come through for us, no matter what our circumstances.”

Angus Buchan spoke to a sold-old crowd in Nelson BC.  As our resident Film Producer Stuart Spani filmed the conference, you could obtain DVDs of the event by contacting sales@norlynn.ca

Angus Buchan holds that “there is power in prayer. When men work, they work. but when men pray, God works.”  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may prove to have faith like potatoes, that is resilient in the various times of drought and challenge in our lives.

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

-an article 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 


2 Comments

WordPress now tells me which countries my visitors are coming from…

2012-02-09 to Today (350,744 visitors so far)

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3,774

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Gratefully Remembering The Rev. John Lombard

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The Rev. John Lombard helped many people become ready for the final transition of life.  He did not let the difficult disease of Parkinson’s defeat his feisty spirit.  John was ready to go, ready for the final phase of life on earth. John lived a full life, both in sickness and health.

John was a courageous, humorous, thoughtful, and compassionate man.  It was a privilege to get to know John on a personal level.  At his memorial service, many people shared about the deep humility that John displayed.  To know John was to love John.

His dear wife Bev stood faithfully with John ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health’ in their forty-five years of marriage.  During the difficult last phase of John’s life, Bev kept an online blog where she shared daily about her life with John.  Bev has been a great inspiration to many by the way that she has not let John’s chronic illness defeat her.  Her deep faith kept her going, because she knew that she was not alone.

As my honorary assistant priest at St. Simon’s North Vancouver, John was a tremendous help, covering for me when I spoke at various conferences.  In 2004 when I had an opportunity to take a three-month sabbatical, John ‘held the fort’, enabling me to be deeply refreshed and renewed.  Because of John’s covering at St Simon’s NV, I was able to travel to eighteen cities across Canada with 250 francophones and anglophones in a journey of reconciliation called La Danse.

In Nov 2004 our 10:30am contemporary service moved, because of overcrowding, to the Maplewood School.   This was made possible because John covered for me at Maplewood School until I could drive there from Deep Cove after our 9am traditional service.  John’s loyalty was a rare gift to me. I knew that you could depend on John through thick and thin.  John was a man of his word. His yes was yes and his no was no.

John was not a yes-man.  Many times when John saw a way that we could improve, he would freely share with me his insights.  As his voice became weaker because of Parkinson’s, I had to listen very carefully.  His mind remained sharp, even as his body faced serious challenges.  I remember John’s helpful suggestions about how we could improve the quality of reading scripture on Sunday morning.  His ideas resulted in a very informative Saturday morning Readers’ Workshop led by his wife Bev to about twenty of our readers.  There was a remarkable strength in John’s spirit, even in the final days of his being in hospice.  The last time I saw John, he really enjoyed viewing my iphone photos from our recent holiday in Hawaii.

One of my strongest memories of John was at the annual BC Christian Ashram retreats where John would tell funny stories and play harmonica during the talent show.  John was a very gifted harmonica player who with his quirky sense of humour intentionally played the wrong harmonica notes in one song.  John did this with a twinkle in his eye.

Born in Montreal and raised in Windsor Ontario, John spent most of his ordained ministry in southern Ontario.  Instead of merely retiring, John and Bev moved to Greater Vancouver to become missionaries with WEC international.  They served at the Gateway Intercultural Training Centre and led short-term mission trips to Fiji, Guatemala, and South Africa.  After St. Simon’s NV adopted John and Bev as part-time missionaries, John wrote wonderful updates about how God was using them in raising up young leaders around the world. As a member of the national leadership team for the Anglican Mission in Canada, John co-ordinated prayer initiatives for the Coalition, sending out regular prayer updates.  As a leader in VMTC, John prayed deeply for healing of others in body, mind and spirit. He gave and gave and gave.  We miss John deeply. But we are so grateful that he is now with Jesus in his nearer presence.

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

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 


4 Comments

Captain James Cook: World Explorer

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sometimes I ask myself: Why is English now spoken by hundreds of millions of people in virtually every country of the world?  Why do most people of English ancestry live anywhere but England?  Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, etc.  Perhaps it is because as seagoing islanders, the British were insatiable searchers for that which was beyond.  From the ranks of such inexhaustible seekers emerged the greatest of the 18th century nautical explorers –Captain James Cook.  James Cook had an unbounded curiosity and a deep interest in everybody and everything with which he came into contact.

Born on October 27th, 1728 in Yorkshire, Cook’s father was an impoverished Scottish farm labourer and his mother a simple Yorkshire village woman.  Cook began his sea life by lugging coal off the treacherous east coast of England.  There he learned how to survive the storms, fogs, hidden shoals, and tricky tides.

In 1758, Cook was master of the Pembroke, a 1,250 ton, 64-gun man-of-war.  In early 1759, the Pembroke joined a blockade of the Saint Lawrence River designed to prevent French ships from carrying supplies to the fortress colony of Quebec.  Cook led patrols up and down the river, charting every hazard, and marking a channel for the warships to follow.  During the British assault on Quebec City, Cook successfully navigated the massive Pembroke up the narrow, twisting, and frequently shallow waterway.  Without the help of Ship’s Master James Cook, it is doubtful whether the British troops could have taken the fortress by surprise.  With only a few years of elementary school education, no one ever expected that a ‘nobody’ like James Cook would one day be chosen as a navy sea captain.  Since the upper class were virtually the only officers, there was little chance of promotion by merit in that caste-bound naval world.  By sure grit and determination, he taught himself mathematics and astronomy, and at age 40, was chosen as captain, an age when most naval officers had passed their peak.

After being appointed captain, Cook went on to complete three global voyages from 1768 to 1779, exploring and accurately mapping more of the earth’s surface than anyone else before or since.  He became the first European to set foot in Australia, the first to fix the position of remote places accurately, the first to establish longitude (one’s position east and west), and the first to have extensive contact with all the various peoples of the Pacific.

It can safely be said that in his time no man knew the world as well as Captain Cook, and no other explorer had such an impact on the global map.  As a result, the name of James Cook is commemorated across the length and breadth of the vast Pacific: Cook Strait and Mount Cook in New Zealand; Cooktown and Cook’s Passage in Australia; The Cook Islands in Polynesia, and Cook Inlet in Alaska.  With Cook’s discoveries and surveys, the geography of the world was nearly complete.  Only Antarctica remained to be discovered.

Upon reaching Hawaii, the islanders worshipped Captain Cook as the god Lono.  Curiously, Lono was envisioned as a white god fated to arrive on a magical floating island during the holiday of Mahahiki.  Cook’s ships’ huge sails therefore were construed to be long staffs bearing Lono’s divine white banners.  When Cook returned to Hawaii from having explored British Columbia, he upset the Hawaiians who had then turned to the season for worshipping the god of war Ku.  Things went from bad to worse, and when Cook attempted to hold the king hostage for the return of a stolen cutter, hundreds of Hawaiians converged on him with deadly effect.  To many of his crew such as the future Captain George Vancouver, losing Captain Cook was like losing their own father.

Captain James Cook as a World Explorer was not afraid to check out uncharted waters. My prayer for those reading this article is that we too as world explorers may be willing to ‘walk in the spiritual feet’ of Captain James Cook.

 

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

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 


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Winston Churchill and Baden-Powell: Unlikely Soulmates

    By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdBaden-powell3

 Over the last number of years, I have written several articles about Baden-Powell, the remarkable founder of the world-wide Scouting and Guiding movements.  Both Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were born on February 22nd, a coincidence which has led to the widespread celebrating of their lives every February with events like Parent-son banquets, church parades, and thinking days.

In thinking about Lord Baden Powell, I was struck by the unexpected similarities between Baden Powell and Winston Churchill.  Both, for example, came into international recognition through their miraculous escapes and bravery in the South African Boer War.  Both were courageous, determined men who inspired millions of others to try their best and to never, never give up.  Admittedly, they had many differences as well.  For example, Churchill lived in the world of politics and power, while Baden-Powell lived in the world of boys and backpacks.  As well, Baden-Powell clearly warned against the dangers of smoking and drinking, while Churchill was famous for his cigar and glass of brandy.

Winston Churchill 2 PictureAt a deeper level however, their common determination and perseverance has had remarkable impact on the character development of millions.  Churchill once went to a meeting of students, where he stood up and said: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”.  Then he sat down.  In his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill included one whole chapter on Baden Powell.  In describing Baden-Powell’s Scouting movement, Churchill said: “It is difficult to exaggerate the moral and mental health which our nation had derived from this profound and simple conception.”  Churchill described Baden-Powell (B.P.) as one of the three most famous generals he had ever known.

Churchill first met Baden-Powell while B.P. was acting as an Austrian Hussar in an amateur vaudeville entertainment, given for the British Army in India.  Three years later, Churchill interviewed B.P. for a newspaper article about B.P.’s famous 217-day defence of Mafeking in South Africa.  Churchill said of this interview: “…once B.P. got talking, he was magnificent.”  Churchill commented: “In those days, B.P.’s fame as a soldier eclipsed almost all popular reputations.  The other B.P. – the British Public – looked upon him as the outstanding hero of the War.  Even those who disapproved of the War, and derided the triumphs of large, organized armies over the Boer farmers, could not (help but) cheer the long, spirited, tenacious defence of Mafeking by barely eight hundred men against a beleaguering force ten or twelve times their number.”

“No one”, said Churchill, ” had ever believed winston churchill gravethat Mafeking would hold out half as long. A dozen times, as the siege dragged on, the watching nation had emerged from apprehension and despondency into renewed hope, and had been cast down again.”  By the end of the siege, Mafeking had become so famous that it turned into a verb: “to Mafeking meant to celebrate uproariously”.  Churchill noted that “when finally the news of Mafeking’s relief was flashed throughout the world, the streets of London became impassable, and the floods of sterling cockney patriotism was released in such deluge of unbridled, delirious, childish joy as was never witnessed again until Armistice Night in 1918.”

Churchill, too, became an instant hero through his adventures in South Africa.  On May 15th in 1899, Winston Churchill the newspaper journalist was accompanying 150 soldiers on an armoured train, when suddenly it was ambushed and derailed.  Churchill took command in clearing the lines, and took 60 men, many of them wounded, away to safety.  Upon returning to help the other troops, Winston was captured, despite his protest that he was just a journalist.  After 3 weeks in captivity, Churchill escaped over the prison wall, jumped a train, hid in a mine, and finally escaped by train.  In the afterglow of his amazing adventure, Churchill was elected to the British Parliament at the young age of 25.

Lord Baden Powell PictureNeither B.P. nor Churchill were particularly successful in their early school days.  B.P.’s school reports read:

1) Classics: Seems to take very little interest in his work

2) Mathematics: Has to all intent given up the study of mathematics

3) Science: Pays not the slightest attention, except in one week at the beginning of the quarter

4) French: Could do well, but has become very lazy; often sleeps in school.

Churchill was described by one of his teachers as “the naughtiest small boy in the world”.  His father warned him: “I am certain that if you cannot prevent yourself from leading the idle unprofitable life you have had during your school days, you will become a mere social wastrel, one of the hundreds of public school failures, and you will degenerate into a shabby and futile existence.”  Both B.P. and Churchill preferred to learn their lessons from nature than from a classroom.

Baden-Powell once said: “Say your prayers regularly, read that wonderful old book, the Bible, and read that other wonderful old book, the Book of nature, and see and study all that you can of the wonders and beauties that nature provides for your enjoyment.  Then turn your mind to how you can best serve God while you still have the life that He has lent you.”  Churchill loved animals and loved to paint the beauties of nature.  After his crushing election defeat right after V-Day, Churchill went to the Mediterranean where he said: “I paint all day and every day, and have banished care and disillusionment to the shades.”

Despite the many setbacks and defeats in both B.P.’s and Churchill’s life, neither of them ever gave up the struggle to fulfill their visions.  Churchill described B.P. as a “man of character, vision, and enthusiasm.”  Winston described what he saw as the marks of a scout: sturdiness, neighbourliness, practical competence, love of country and , above all in these times, indomitable resolve, daring and enterprise in the face of the enemy.  “BE PREPARED”, said Churchill, ” to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.”

Similarly, Baden-Powell said that it is the stickability of the man that really counts.  Stickability for B.P. was “that mixture of pluck, patience, and strength which we call endurance.”  Stickability “…will pull a person out of many a bad place when everything seems to be going wrong for him.”

As I think of Baden-Powell’s and Churchill’s stickability, I am reminded of the words of wisdom: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  May the God of endurance fill each of us with stickability as we face life’s challenges.

 

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

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

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

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