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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Louis Riel and Nicholas Flood Davin

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

            Davin and Riel were perhaps our most famous Western Canadian pioneers.  Louis Riel called for the creation of a new Canadian province. Nicholas Flood Davin called for the hanging of Louis Riel.  “Riel is not a hero,”[1] said Davin. “…If Riel is not hanged, then capital punishment should be abolished.”[2] Both died tragically, Riel on the end of a noose, Davin by his own hands.

            Born in Kilfinane, Ireland, Davin served as a journalist in the Franco-Prussian war, seeing bodies piled six-deep.[3] Reporters in those days were often arrested as spies, being required by the governments to print false information in order to throw off the enemy. This is one of the reasons why reporters in England were not given bylines, so as to protect the freedom of the press.[4]  Davin then became the editor of the new Belfast Times, but was dismissed after being so drunk that he reused his previous article from the Sheffield Times. Davin was so offended that he sued them for wrongful dismissal, demanding 5,000 pounds and being awarded only 50 pounds by the courts.[5]

            Being a keen observer of social interactions, Davin surprisingly commented that ‘the pulpit occupied almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…The Editor has superseded the preacher.”[6]  After being commissioned by Prime Minister John A MacDonald to study the American residential schools, Davin the future federal MP wrote the infamous confidential Davin Report which resulted in our First Nations being subjected to the Residential School tragedy.[7]  The indigenous people already went to day-schools run by various churches, but Davin was not satisfied, racistly saying “The child, again, who goes to a day school learns little, and what little he learns is soon forgotten, while his tastes are fashioned at home, and his inherited aversion to toil is in no way combated.”[8]  Sadly both the Canadian government and the Canadian churches uncritically accepted the Davin Report claim that “it was found that the day-school did not work, because the influence of the wigwam was stronger than the influence of the school. (p. 1)”

By hastily imitating the apparent success of the American native residential schools, great and lasting harm was done. The Davin Report patronizingly said: “The experience of the United States is the same as our own as far as the adult Indian is concerned. Little can be done with him. He can be taught to do a little at farming, and at stock-raising, and to dress in a more civilized manner, but that is all.”[9] The Davin Report is ground zero to the deep wound that we inflicted on the First Nations.  With Prime Minister Harper’s apology two years ago, our First Nations have only begun to recover from decades of residential school-inflicted trauma.[10] The impressive new ‘People of the Inlet’ film by the local Tsleil Waututh First Nation shows what great courage people like the late Chief Dan George showed in rebuilding his devastated people.

           After serving as a reporter in Toronto, Davin became editor in 1883 of the brand-new Regina Leader newspaper.[11] My great-grandmother Mary Anderton McLean, after taking journalism at a  women’s college in Kirkland Ontario, served as one of Davin’s reporters covering the Louis Riel crisis.  My late Uncle Don Allen, who was passionate about history, often told us about this period, noting how sympathetic his grandmother was to Riel’s plight. Davin carried on the British tradition of not listing as a byline the names of the reporters who wrote for the Regina Leader.  This was helpful for my great-grandmother Mary in protecting her from arrest by the RCMP when she snuck in disguised as a Roman Catholic priest confessor to obtain an interview with Louis Riel. Mary McLean quotes Davin “the officer in command of the LEADER (saying) ‘An interview must be had with Riel if you have to outwit the whole police force of the North-West’.”[12]  Because Davin protected her anonymity, some writers like CB Koester and his fellow playwright Ken Mitchell have popularized the myth that Davin himself disguised himself as that priest.[13]  While waiting for my throat operation in May 1982, I spent a week with my late Uncle Don Allen who carefully explained to me about his grandmother’s interview with Louis Riel.  “When I first saw you on the trial, I loved you” was said by Riel to Mary McLean, not to the man Davin who was calling for his hanging.[14]

           The November 19th 1885 edition of the Regina Leader could not be clearer  that Davin himself was not the reporter who was disguised as a Roman Catholic priest. Instead Davin is described several times by the reporter as the proprietor and the editor in chief, both terms prominently displayed by Davin’s name in editions of the Regina Leader.[15]  Mary McLean also writes in the article about another female reporter (code-named Saphronica) who earlier failed to get entrance, most likely referring to Kate Simpson-Hayes, Davin’s mistress.[16]

           This confusing of Mary McLean’s Riel interview with Davin forced CB Koester to ‘contort himself into knots’ suggesting that for Davin, there was two Riels, one the rebel who Davin wanted to hang, and another Riel to whom Davin was compassionate.[17]  Such verbal gymnastics were entirely unnecessary if one simply acknowledge that it was the female reporter, not the male editor-in-chief/proprietor, who did Riel’s final interview.

           After having two children with Davin, his mistress Kate Simpson-Hayes gave the children away and became a reporter in Winnipeg.[18]  When Davin then married Eliza Reid, he brought his six-year-old son Henry to live with him as a ‘nephew’, but was unable to locate his daughter.[19]  In Davin and Kate’s final argument over the daughter, Kate said to him: “You go your way. I’ll go mine”, symbolically pointing to the Winnipeg Free Press building.[20]  Davin was so crushed that he bought a gun and shot himself on Oct 18th 1901 at the Winnipeg Clarendon Hotel.[21]

           The tragic ending to the lives of both Riel and Davin reminds us that our Canadian history has much pain and trauma which can only be resolved through reconciliation and forgiveness.  May the Prince of Peace bring deep restoration to the painful wounds left by Canada’s residential school tragedy.

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

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

-Award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada (which includes five pages on Louis Riel and Mary MacFadyen McLean).

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.


[1] CB Koester, Mr Davin, M.P.: a Biography of Nicholas Flood Davin, Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1980, p. 64

[2] Koester, p. 65, quoting the Daily Regina Leader, “Riel Agitation”, August 15th 1885

[3] Koester, p. 2, p.13

[4] Koester, p.11 “Neither of these appointments (by Davin to the Irish Times and the London Standard) can be substantiated by external evidence…it was the accepted practice for the newspapers to preserve their correspondents in dignified anonymity.”

[5] Koester, p. 16, Davin sued them for wrongful dismissal and settled for six weeks salary…He vented his anger in a letter to the News-Letter editor.  Clarke, Davin’s former boss, brought a libel suit against Henderson of the News-Letter for 5000 pounds, given 50 pounds by court. Davin left unemployed at almost age 33, with his pride severely wounded.

[6] Koester, p. 31 Davin comments “No one can read the sermons of Chrysostom or Hugh Latimer, or follow the life and times of John Knox, without seeing that each of these divines was the journalist of his day.  The pulpit occupied, in addition to its legitmate sphere, almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…All business of life was the preacher’s domain.”

[7] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “Davin also authored the invidious (and confidential) Davin Report of 1879, a study of the way in which Americans socialized young Natives in residential schools ( see http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm and http://www.irsr-rqpi.gc.ca/english/) . The study paved the way for Canada’s scandalously racist policies towards Native youth and their mistreatment in the Canadian Residential School system, which effectively destroyed familial relations by virtually kidnapping children to be socialized into so-called civil society, a policy that led to generations of cultural damage to First Nations peoples throughout Canada.” To read first-hand the tragic Davin Report, click on The Davin Report .

[8] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “The report, archived in its entirety in the CASP Essays and Documents section, takes note of the American policy of “aggressive civilization” towards its indigenous populations, a policy implemented by the hypocritically named “Peace Commission” (after a law passed by Congress in 1869), which sought to abolish “tribal relation[s]” and to do away with communal lands while consolidating Native populations “on few reservations.”

[9] In rushing into starting native residential schools, Davin disregarded advice not only from the local Catholic hierarchy, but also from the Anglican Bishops and Metis elders. They also said ‘no’.  Davin’s exploration in the USA of the allegedly successful American Carlisle School with Carl Shurz and Pratt lasted less than 72 hours before he went back by train to Winnipeg.  http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm

[10] 39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 110, CONTENTS, Wednesday, June 11, 2008  http://bit.ly/hK0C4T ; http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/rqpi/apo/pmsh-eng.asp (video of apology)

[11] Koester, p. 55; p. 58 “On  September 24th 1885, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and on January 11th 1886, he became an advocate of the North-West Territories.”

[12] Mary MacFadyen McLean, Louis Riel’s Parting Messages to Humanity, “INTERVIEW WITH RIEL” Regina Leader Newspaper, Saskatchewan, Nov 19th 1885 ), http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; Rev. Ed Hird, Battle for the Soul of Canada, 2006, p. 106; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Leader-Post

“(…)The Leader merged with another paper, the Regina Evening Post, and continued to publish daily editions of both before consolidating them under the title The Leader-Post. Other newspapers absorbed in due course by the L-P include the Regina Daily Star and The Province.” (note from Ed: Mary appeared to have also worked for the Regina Star before it was absorbed by the Regina Leader-Post); The interview published in the Nov 19th 1885 Regina Leader took place some time during the week preceding Riel’s execution on Monday, Nov 16th 1885.  In ‘Execution of Riel’, Saskatchewan Herald (Battleford), Nov 23rd 1885, it is reported that the Nov 19th Regina Leader interview was held two days before the execution. (This corresponds with Louis Riel’s death on Nov 14th 1885)

[13] Koester, p. 65, p. 215; Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton,1979, p. 7 “After smuggling himself into the condemned man’s cell dressed as a priest – a most enterprising journalistic exercise – Davin wrote of Riel as a man of ‘genius manque’ who, had he been gifted with a finer sense of judgement, might have done much for his people and for the West.  On the other hand, Davin had no sympathy whatsoever with those who advocated the commutation of Riel’s sentence…” (note: CB Koester wrote this foreword to the play); Mitchell, p. 37 (excerpt from the play) “Davin puts on a dark black coat and a cross. He holds up a Bible to Saunders. Davin: Je suis Pere Andrew. L’ancien confesseur. Oui?  “If I do return, we will have the interview of the century.”; Mitchell, p. 38-39 (another excerpt from the play): “Davin appears in the robe and hat, but with the addition of a false beard and a large silver crucifix…Riel: (clasping his hand): Your name is Davin!”;  Mitchell, p. 42 (excerpt from the play: the final imaginary conversation as if Davin the proprietor/editor-in-chief had been the disguised ‘priest’) “Kate (to Davin): ‘The whole town can talk of nothing but your interview. The Mounties are probably on their way to arrest you.’  Davin: Let ‘em come!”

[14] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy

[15] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; In the March 31st 1885 Regina Leader Newspaper, the heading is ‘The Leader, then below it NICHOLAS FLOOD DAVIN, Editor-in-Chief’. http://bit.ly/eUhMU3  In the heading of the Thursday August 6th 1885 Leader newspaper (and every other date of which I have a zeroxed copy), it says “Nicholas Flood Davin, Proprietor and Editor”.  http://bit.ly/gZvuBp The evidence is clear that Nicholas Flood Davin, being the proprietor, editor, and Editor-in-Chief, could not be the very reporter whom he commissioned to get the interview.

[16] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; As to why Kate Simpson-Hayes (a.k.a Mary Markwell) was code-named as Saphronica, it is quite likely a reflection of both Kate and Davin’s common involvement in plays like those by Shakespeare.

[17] Koester, p. 66 “Yet for Davin there were two Riels: the one, the rebel, the cause of death and anguish to white and Metis alike, he had condemned in the strongest language; for the other, the strange man who was the victim of his own undisciplined imagination, he felt compassion.”  (quoting the Nov 18th interview as if it was done by Davin).

[18] Koester, p.122 “Davin was now in his fifties, and Kate was some fifteen years younger….Consequently the daughter (born Jan 11th 1892) was placed with a private nurse and when this proved unsatisfactory, given over to the care of nuns in a Roman Catholic orphanage at Saint Boniface, Manitoba.

[19] Koester, p. 129 “On July 25th 1895, he married Eliza Jane Reid of Ottawa…shortly after the marriage, Mr Davin’s six-year old ‘nephew’ Henry Arthur entered the Davin household.  …Davin’s daughter could not be found.”

[20] Koester, p. 207

[21] Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton, 1979, p. 11


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Down in the Mouth in Deep Cove

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

For the past thirty years, I was a monthly columnist in the Deep Cove Crier.  I was always praying about some topic that people can really get their teeth into.

Sitting in a Deep Cove dental chair gave me time to reflect on my next article. As the dental hygienist was scraping and pulling and prodding, I began to reflect on the significance and priority of our teeth.  Teeth are unforgiving. You either look after them carefully, or they strike back in all kinds of unpleasant ways.  Just talk to your friends who have had a failed root-canal operation.   Even in these days of hi-tech painkillers, toothaches still ache.

I have been literally sitting in Deep Cove dental chairs for thirty years.  Every six months or so, I received the obligatory call from Dr. Mangat’s dental office.  I thank God for a good dental plan!  Dr. Mangat told me that one of the things that attracted him to relocate to the Cove is that ‘village’ sense that still exists in our community.

The term ‘down in the mouth’ means to be low in spirits, downcast, or depressed.  A number of North Shore residents report feeling more depressed during the winter because of all the rain. There is a perception out there that dentists suffer more from depression and even suicide.  In chatting with my dentist Dr. Mangat, he told me that the higher dental suicide issue is likely a myth.  Roger E. Alexander, D.D.S., of the Baylor College of Dentistry, recently examined this stereotype. Alexander found data suggesting that female dentists may be more vulnerable to suicide, but unearthed no evidence that dentists take their own lives with greater frequency than the general population. “What we know about suicide in dentistry is based on weak data from the early 1970s, involving mostly white males” says Alexander, who called for additional research in the Journal of the American Dental Association.  My sense is that there is a lot of pressure on dentists as they not only have to be technically competent, but also very skilled at running small businesses.

For the last sixty-three years of my life, I have been fighting the good fight, dentally speaking. My parents spent thousands of dollars on dental surgery and braces for me. I remember when a bully at Oak Park knocked me off my Peugeot bike and proceeded to stomp on my head with his boots.  Having no idea what he was upset about, I naively said: “Can we talk about this?”  When he grunted “no”, I realized that I was in serious trouble.  I was about to either lose face emotionally or lose face literally, which would mean that my multi-thousand dollar smile was about to disappear.  Being more afraid of my parent’s wrath over my braces than of the bully, I jumped on my Pugeot and rode off. This was one of the wisest dental decisions that I ever made, especially as I heard later that this bully later had his teeth kicked in and a broken beer bottle twisted in his face.

As a teenager, I felt very embarrassed by my braces, and later by my retainer which made it hard to communicate.  My math teacher in Grade 10 actually thought that I was swearing at her when I was only answering a math question while wearing my retainer.  She was not pleased!  You may have notice that teenage peers can be ruthless in their affectionate terms for those who are dentally-challenged: brace face, metal mouth, tinsel teeth, etc.    But three decades late, I am so grateful for the investment my parents made in me. Dentures just don’t compare to one’s own genuine teeth.

I used to hate flossing.  Gradually I began to grudgingly admit the need.  My thought of a helpful compromise was to only floss on the day that I went to the dentist. As I sat in the dentist’s office with bleeding gums, my compromise somehow did not impress them.  I am now a passionate flosser who tries to convert other people to the ‘redemptive’ benefits of removing plaque.  It occurred to me recently that many people view flossing and going to the dentist similarly to the idea of attending church.  They may acknowledge that it might be good for them, but it is certainly not something to which they are looking forward.  There are too many painful memories or alternately fear of the unknown.  Many young people nowadays, unlike the baby-boomers or seniors, have never been to a church service once in their life.

Dentists want to make a difference in other people. Many are inspired by the Golden Rule.  There is spirituality to dentistry that potentially involves the whole person, body, mind and spirit.  My prayer is that we may all show that same love to each other so that none of us will remain down in the mouth.

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 


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Trouble Right Here in River City

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There are few things that thrill me as much as seeing young people pull together and put on a high-quality school musical.  My own ‘Winston Churchill High School’, which I graduated in 1972, was famous for two things: an excellent ‘British Bulldogs’ basketball team and an unforgettable drama/music program by Mrs Norman.  The year I graduated, our school put on a smash-hit version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.  As I had just had a profound spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ that spring, my interest level was high in the school musical.

I remember when my youngest son Andrew had the privilege of playing the part of Professor Harold Hill in his BCCA School’s  The Music Man production  .  If I say so myself as an unbiased parent, he was thoroughly believable.  My favorite song in the production was ‘Trouble Right Here in River City’. What impressed me most in seeing the play was the self-sacrificing attitude of the entire cast.  No one tried to be a prima donna.  No one gave a half-hearted performance.  Everyone, and I mean everyone in the entire cast, poured out their heart, mind and soul night after night at the Evergreen Theatre.  The sense of school spirit and teamwork was palpable and real.  I  particularly enjoyed the performances of Marian Paroo (Ligia Cota), Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Alale Beheshti), and Marcellus Washburn (Robson Liu). But the truth is that everyone in the cast gave it their best.

I have been ordained as an Anglican clergyman now for 38 years.  My undergraduate degree is in Social Work from UBC.  While training in Social Work, I was paid by the North Vancouver Royal Bank to help ‘high-profile young people’ through the North Shore Neighbourhood House.  One of the things I discovered in working at the Neighbourhood House is that teamwork was the key to break-through in the young people’s lives.  Our culture is swallowed by what Dr. Don Faris calls self-regarding individualism.  So often good intentions become neutralized by the ‘unholy trinity’ of ‘I, me, and myself’.  In attending my son’s ‘Music Man’ performance, I was reminded of the wonderful gift of teamwork.  Teamwork brings out the best in all of us. Teamwork reminds us that no one is an island.

The Bible uses the image of a body in which one of us is a foot, another an arm, another an eye.  Everyone needs everyone else in order to become all that we are meant to be.   The leader of my son’s BCCA Fine Arts program, Mrs. Birth, had a passion to call forth the best in every one of their students.  This remarkable instructor led the way in giving and giving and giving until every student wants to also be a giver.  Out of this remarkable dedication was birthed a musical/drama team that literally transformed the lives of its young people.

 Suicide is the biggest killer of teens in our 21st century.  Everyone needs hope for their future to keep going.  Music and drama at its best can be full of hope, full of life, full of new beginnings.  I thank God for teachers like Mrs. Birth who give so generously to raise up teams that actually work. Teamwork is a real solution to ‘trouble right here in River City.’

 

 

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

-previously published in the 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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Breaking the Suicide Addiction

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Did you know that suicide has become the No. 2 killer of teenagers in North America?  Suicide is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about.  It may frighten us; yet it has to be faced.  In North America the suicide rate for male teens aged 15 to 19 has increased to 3 times the 1967 rate (2 ½ times increase for females).

So what can we do about teen suicide?  How can we get the help to teens who really need it?  Well, first of all, we need to know what the causes of suicide are.  Why do people do it?  Experts say that there are five main causes of suicide:

Severe feelings of guilt and hostility towards others

Punishing others through suicide

Emotional illness (35% of suicides involve severe depression and temporary insanity)

Physical illness such as cancer (40% of men who commit suicide and 20% of women)

Losses such as death of loved ones, or financial ruin

Camus, the famous philosopher, once said that there is but one philosophic problem and that is suicide.  It revolves around life’s apparent meaninglessness, despair, and absurdity.

I think Camus has a point.  You see, life sometimes can feel very unfair, very abusive, and very cruel.  Life can often destroy your dreams, and make you wish that you’d never been born.  For some people, they never feel any suicide temptation.  Some others feel it very infrequently.  There are others who feel these emotions on a regular basis.  They may have never acted on those feelings, but the feelings still haunt them.

Every time those feelings come, it becomes a major struggle to once again choose life and renounce the powers of death.  The suicide temptation is often an addiction.  Anything becomes an addiction when it controls our lives, when no matter how much we dislike the activity, we seem to return to it again and again.  I believe that Jesus Christ, through counseling and prayer, can break the power of any addiction.  But it’s not easy.  There’s no such thing as a quickie cure.

The root of addiction is none other than fear and guilt.  All addictions, whether to suicide or whatever, are fed by bondage to fear and guilt.  The more fearful we become, the guiltier we become, the greater control the addiction to suicide gets over us.

The cycle may go like this.  Say you’ve had a very depressing week, your teacher flunked you, your parents grounded you, your girlfriend dropped you, your baseball coach cut you, and your car died on you.  In the midst of this depression, you may begin to feel; “What’s the use?  I wish I wasn’t alive”.

Suicide addiction can easily set in at this point.  First of all, you feel guilty that you just felt that way.  Secondly, you may feel fear that those feelings will become worse.  So you just try to avoid these suicide feelings and shut them out of your mind.  But it doesn’t work and you just feel more guilty.  Winning over temptation by mental avoidance never works.

Another thing that increases the suicide addiction is that when we feel guilty about these feelings, we’re too embarrassed to have God around.  We feel too unclean, too unspiritual; so without fully realizing it, we ask God to leave the room and wait outside until the temptation is over.

This, of course, makes us feel even more rejected and guilty.  Then we feel abandoned by God just when we need him.  The old saying, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” is still true.  But we tend to say to ourselves; If God abandons me when I really need him, why bother to fight it.  I’m not worth it.  Why resist it?”

So then we take the other step of self-abandonment.  We abandon ourselves to the hopelessness of wallowing in our suicide feelings, and to an ever-increasing vicious cycle of fear and guilt.

How then does Jesus break the addiction of suicide?  Jesus breaks the addiction by breaking the power of guilt and fear.  By dying on the cross as the forsaken one, as the abandoned one, He exchanges His cleanness for our uncleanness.  He was abandoned and forsaken so that we need never feel abandoned or forsaken.  You may remember that He died on the cross, saying ” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus became grieved and distressed, saying “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death”.  In Gethsemane and on the cross, he took our agony, our guilt, our depression, our fear, so that we don’t have to be stuck with that garbage any more.

The Bible says that Jesus has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  That means that Jesus allowed Himself to feel the awful pull to death and suicide, and then he broke its power on the Cross.  In an allegorical sense, you could say that Jesus “committed suicide” on the cross so that we don’t have to.

As a result you don’t need to punish yourself anymore.  Jesus took your punishment.  You don’t need to condemn yourself anymore. “Now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).  You don’t need to be consumed with fear any more. “Perfect Love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18)

Some of you reading this may be secretly struggling with suicide feelings.  Some of you feel very guilty and fearful about it.  I challenge you to give these feelings to Jesus and accept his offer of forgiveness.

I challenge you to seek professional counseling and really give Christ a chance to do some long-term personal healing. “Choose life that you may live in the love of the Lord.”

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

-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 USD/CDN

-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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Dr Louis Pasteur: Sacrificial Servant of All

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Louis Pasteur

My family and I watched an Academy Award-winning movie which reminded me that every one of us owes an enormous debt to Dr. Louis Pasteur.

Just think of pasteurized milk and honey, making food safe for our families to eat and drink, thanks to Louis Pasteur.

Think of our children whose lives are safe from rabies transmitted by ‘mad dogs’, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of our wives and mothers who need not fear death from infection during childbirth, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of the sheep, cattle and chickens that we can safely rely on for our food supply, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  No wonder that Pasteur’s name is better known than any other scientist who has ever lived.

Louis Pasteur is a living reminder that anyone who wants to make a difference in life is bound to face bigotry and opposition.  The most narrow-minded usually turn out to be those who pretend to be the most open-minded and inclusive.  Pasteur was maligned as a murderer and a menace to science.  He was even challenged to a duel by an angry physician.

Dr Louis Pasteur1His ‘criminal’ behaviour was none other than publishing a pamphlet urging doctors to wash their hands before surgery and to sterilize their instruments.  Thirty percent of pregnant women in Paris were needlessly dying from infection during childbirth.  One grief-struck husband, whose wife had just died from childbirth fever, went on a rampage and shot his doctor dead.  Medical doctors rallied against Dr. Pasteur, blaming his pamphlet for the murder and claiming that Pasteur was making the practice of medicine unsafe for physicians and surgeons.  “Who did Pasteur think that he was?” They said. “He isn’t even a medical doctor…just a lowly chemist”.

The Emperor’s wife invited Pasteur to the French Court to explain his radical ideas.  Pasteur had the nerve to tell the Emperor that the hospitals of Paris were death houses, and that there was hardly a doctor who didn’t carry death on his hands.  After accurately predicting the death of the Emperor’s sister-in-law from childbirth infection, Pasteur was condemned as a fraud and banned by the Emperor from ever speaking out publicly again about medicine.

Having been banished into obscurity in the Dr Louis Pasteur2countryside of Arbois, Pasteur spent the next decade researching the causes of anthrax, the black plague ravaging the sheep across France.  Miraculously Pasteur invented an anthrax vaccine, which he gave freely to all farmers’ sheep in Arbois.

When the French government needed more sheep to pay the 5 million francs War indemnity to Germany, they came to Arbois to find out why Pasteur’s sheep were healthy.  Telling them of his vaccine, Pasteur was again mocked as a fool and charlatan by the Academy of Medicine.  Only after a rigorous test where infected Anthrax Blood was injected in 50 sheep, was Pasteur finally vindicated.  To everyone’s amazement, the only sheep that survived were the 25 sheep which Pasteur had injected with his vaccine.

Was Pasteur then accepted by the medical establishment?  Not on your life!  When Pasteur had the nerve to look for a rabies cure, again he was vilified and humiliated without mercy.  Pasteur was such a servant of all humanity that he even risked facing prison or guillotine to save the life of a rabies-infected ten-year old boy, Joseph Meister.  Joseph Meister was later made the caretaker of Pasteur’s tomb at the world-famous Pasteur Institute in Paris.  When the Nazis tried to force him to open Pasteur’s tomb in 1940, Joseph tragically committed suicide rather than defile the grave of his hero.

Dr Louis Pasteur3The ‘great physician’ Jesus once said that if anyone wants to be first, he must become the very last, and the servant of all.  Louis Pasteur was indeed the servant of all, who sacrificed his time, energy, and health so that others might live.  Pasteur selflessly taught that the benefits of science are not for the scientist, but for all of humanity.

Though he has saved millions of lives through his discoveries, Pasteur was unable to save the three out of his four daughters who died from typhoid fever.  In his unceasing striving to cure rabies, he suffered a crippling stroke at age 46.  Yet even that setback did not stop him from successfully finding a rabies cure.

Near the end of his life, Pasteur was finally honoured by the French Academy of Medicine.  He graciously said to them: ‘Doctors and scientists of the future, do not Dr Louis Pasteur4let yourselves be tainted by a barren skepticism nor discouraged by sadness of certain hours that creep over every nation.  Do not become angry at your opponents for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition.’

In so many ways, Pasteur embodied the true meaning of Christ-likeness.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may never let opposition embitter us as we seek to be the servants of all.

 

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

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