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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Angus Reid: 85% of Canadians Still Pray

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Does prayer still have a future in Canada?  At the 50th BC Leadership Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Angus Reid the keynote speaker gave us the latest Angus Reid Institute results from polling 1500 Canadians on prayer.  Held at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency, dignitaries like our former Premier Christie Clark and former Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson brought greetings to over 1,000 BC leaders.  Angus Reid, a well-known Canadian pollster, informed us that while weekly church attendance has dropped from 56% in 1966 to 15%, 85% of Canadians still pray, at least occasionally.  Reid found that weekly prayer by 40% of Canadians (12 million people) has remained relatively constant over the past century.  70% of Canadians who pray frequently say that their prayers are answered always or often, in contrast to just 25% of Canadians who pray infrequently.  Frequent pray-ers, said Reid, focus more on thanksgiving than in just asking for help.  Contrary to some snobbish stereotypes, he also found that university-educated Canadians (33%) are more likely to pray daily than high school dropouts (26%).  Reid’s data showed that new immigrants are twice as likely to be frequently prayers as native-born Canadians. This confirms my experience that new immigrants are much more open to the gospel and attending church than often jaded Canadians who come from a Christian heritage. It is no wonder that, according to Jonathan Bird of the Vancouver Consultation, one third of Vancouver churches conduct their worship in languages other than English.

Of particular interest was Reid’s discovery that childhood prayer greatly shapes one’s likeliness for praying as an adult: “If you prayed frequently as a child, the chance that you would be a non-prayer today is 7 percent (i.e 93% would be praying adults). If you didn’t pray as a child, the odds that you would be a frequent prayer today is 6 percent (i.e. 94% would be non-praying adults).   This reminds me as to how faith survived in Russia during the seventy years of atheistic communism.  The key was grandparents who taught their grandchildren how to pray even when their children were officially forbidden to attend Sunday School.  Many Canadian parents have bought into the tragic idea that it is better to not expose children to religion or church until they are adults, when they can ‘make up their own mind’.

Even though I did not meet Jesus until age 17, I was blessed to be taught to pray as a child by my mom, as well as in Sunday School.  Prayer was something that I linked with remembering one’s family before going to sleep, and in saying grace at the dining room table when my nana came to visit.  Imagine how we might shape the future of Canada if we invested in helping the new generation learn how to pray.  If we will prayerfully strengthen the new generation, then prayer will have a Canadian future.   Lord, teach us to pray.

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

-an article 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.  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 


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‘Been Like a Mother to Me’

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My late mother never forgot the time that she opened up her Mother’s Day card and read the words: ‘You’ve Been Like a Mother To Me’.  “But I am your real mother!”, she said.  “Exactly”, I responded.  “That’s why I chose the card.  It’s wonderful that you were not only my birth-mother but also have been so genuinely motherly to me’.

I have been so blessed to have a mother who has been so full of care and compassion through the good times and the bad.  But not everyone has been so fortunate.  Some people have been raised by their birth-mothers who were so wounded that they were unable to express love and nurture during the formative years.  This can leave people with a big hole in their hearts and a sense of loneliness that is hard to express.

Drs. Dennis Cloud & John Townsend, best-selling authors of ‘Boundaries’ and ‘The Mother Factor’, believe that ‘mothering is the most significant, demanding and underpaid profession around.’  When they interviewed people about their definitions of true mothering, certain words came up again and again:  nurture, care, bondedness, cookies, and trust.  Drs. Cloud and Townsend were able to name five basic needs that must be met by a mother, in order for us to be healthy and secure:

Safety

Nurture

Basic Trust

Belonging and Invitation

Someone to Love.

 

Safety, says Cloud & Townsend, comes in the form of a person who is predictable, stable, and danger-free.  Without this person, the child remains in a state of panic or anxiety, unable to love or learn.  I give thanks for my mother who gave me this gift of personal safety.  I always knew intuitively that whether I was a success or a failure, obedient or rebellious, my mother would always be there for me.

The second need that mothers meet is ‘to nurture’.  Webster’s Dictionary says that to nurture is to ‘feed or nourish’.  When I was troubled at school by bullies or exams, my mother was always there to feed me, with cookies, milk, and a listening ear.  I remember going through deep struggles as a teenager about the meaning of life and career choices.  Mom was always there to listen.  True, I often rejected her advice and was closed to her deep spirituality.  But most important, her nurturing and food were always there when I was struggling.

The third need that mothers meet is ‘basic trust’.  Drs. Cloud & Townsend teach that basic trust is the ability to invest oneself in a relationship.  Healthy people let themselves need and depend on others without fear.  We live in a high-tech disposable age where everything is up for grabs.

There is an enormous fear of commitment and long-term intimacy.  Yet simultaneously many of us ache from the absence of such relational rootedness.  My wife and I have been happily married for 41 years.  I believe that a big part of why I have not self-destructed my own marriage is because of how healthy my mother was.  My mother modeled for me the value of hanging in there through the thick and the thin.  My mother demonstrated a deep faith and trust that good would always come out of even the most tragic situations.  With the help of her favorite comic writer Erma Bombeck, my mother could always find something to smile about, even when life was not ‘a bowl of cherries’.

The fourth need that mothers meet is ‘belonging and invitation’.  All of us, say Drs. Cloud & Townsend, have the need to belong to someone and to something bigger than ourselves.  Belonging and love are at the root of our humanness.  My mother, as a gifted chauffeur, was forever driving me to endless soccer, baseball, hockey, chess, swimming, & skiing lessons.  She knew that I had a deep need to belong and to grow.  My mom also did her best to involve me in Sunday school, confirmation classes, youth groups, and summer camps.  I had no idea how much I really needed the church family to be my ‘spiritual mother’.  Like many in our individualistic age, I figured that I could do any spirituality better on my own.  My mother never forced religion down my throat, but the door was always wide open.  Thank God for my mother introducing me to God’s family.

The fifth need that mothers meet is ‘someone to love’.  There is perhaps no greater wound in a child than having a mother who just can’t love you.  We know intuitively that everything about true motherhood is about love and caring.  Yet some moms have been so damaged that they are what Drs. Cloud & Townsend would call ‘Phantom Moms’: moms who are not really there in any tangible sense.  Others have moms who Drs. Cloud & Townsend call ‘China Doll Moms’: moms who are so fragile and stressed out that no one can get too close for fear of shattering them.  Without a mom who can show us real love, we end up feeling unwanted at a deep level and estranged from our true identity.  Thank you, Mom, that once again you came through for me in a very practical way.  For 62 years, my mom showed me time and time again that I mattered to her, and that she really care.  The love of Christ that I saw in my mom allows me to show that same love to others.

The best news of all is that even if our mothers couldn’t fully meet these five basic needs, God can make up for any love deficit.  As the Good Book puts it, ‘though your father and mother forsake you, I the Lord will receive you.’  My prayer for for those reading this article is that each of us may discover afresh the amazing love of God, especially as seen in the loving arms of our mothers.

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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Jesus Loves me, This I know…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdChristlike

One of the most well-known children’s songs throughout the world is “Jesus loves me, this I know.”  Somehow that song, like “Amazing Grace”, forms part of the spiritual memory banks of most adults.  The vast majority of baby boomers and their ‘builder’ parents have gone as children either to Sunday School or Catechism.  As a result, most older adults, whether or not they currently attend church, have significant core memories connected with those early experiences. This would not necessarily be true with GenXers and Millennials.

 

As a teenager, I found church boring and avoided it by golfing and skiing on Sunday mornings.  But as a child, I remember enjoying Sunday School and looking forward to going.  I’ve always liked to sing, and one of my favorite hymns as a child was “Jesus loves me, this I know”.  Even though I did not know Jesus personally, something touched me as I sang that song in Sunday School.  Years later, I still feel deeply moved by this simple song.

 

Dr. Karl Barth was one of the most brilliant and complex intellectuals of the twentieth century.  He wrote volume after massive volume on the meaning of life and faith.  A reporter once asked Dr. Barth if he could summarize what he had said in all those volumes.  Dr. Barth thought for a moment and then said: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

chairman_maoWhen Mao Tse Tung attempted to crush the church in China, things seemed very bleak.  In 1972 however, a message leaked out which simply said: “The this I know people are well”.  The Communist authorities did not understand the message.  But Christians all around the world knew instantly that this referred to the world’s most famous children’s hymn.  Miraculously the Chinese Church, instead of being crushed, has boomed under persecution, growing from 1.5 million believers to over 100 million.

 

The author of this amazing little children’s song was Anna Bartlett Warner, sister to the famous 19th century writer, Susan B. Warner.  Susan’s first novel The Wide Wide World was an instant success, second only to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the most popular 19th century novel written in North America.  Anna published her own novel Dollars and Cenannabartettwarnerts under the pseudonym “Amy Lothrop”.  Anna and Susan collaborated together on fifteen fiction and children’s books.  Neither sister ever married, so they shared a house on Constitution Island right across from the famous West Point Military Academy.

 

The two sisters took a great interest in the Military Academy in which their uncle Thomas Warner was a chaplain and professor.  As a result, they opened their home to the cadets and held Sunday School classes.  Anna outlived her sickly sister by thirty years, and continued to run a very large Sunday School throughout her life.  It was her invariable custom to write for her students a fresh hymn once a month. “Jesus Loves Me” was one of those monthly West Point hymns.  Anna also gave the song to her sister Susan to use in the novel Say and Seal. In Susan’s book, a Sunday School teacher sings ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to a sick pupil.

Great words without a great tune don’t get very far in the musical world.  Fortunately William Batchelder Bradbury stumbled across the “Jesus Loves Me” words, and wrote the now unforgettable tune.  Thirteen years earlier, Bradbury had written the tune for the “Just as I am” hymn, which everyone nowadays associates with Billy Graham Crusades.  In 1862, Bradbury found the “Jesus loves me” words in a best-selling 19th-williambradburycentury book, in which the words were spoken as a comforting poem to a dying child, John Fox.  Along with his tune, Bradbury added his own chorus “Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me…”   Within months, this song raced across the hearts of children throughout North America, and eventually all the continents of the world.

 

Even after 155+ years, “Jesus Loves Me” is still the No. 1 spiritual song in the hearts of children around the world.  Why is this?  I believe that it is because all of us deep down need to know that God loves us.  When I tell unchurched people that Jesus loves them, many of them genuinely thank me.  One lady said: “Great…we can use lots of love”.  A man said: “Thanks…I’m going to need Him some day.”  Whatever situation we are in, all of us need to know that the Lord really loves and cares for each of us.

I loved my Grandpa deeply, even though sometimes he was distant and abrasive.  Grandpa claimed to be an atheist, who had no time for religion.  One day I discovered to my surprise that Grandpa used to be active in a church choir, until his first wife died giving birth to her second child.  Left with two children under age two, he turned bitter and dropped out of church.

 

When Grandpa was in his late 80’s, I was speaking with him about that painful time in his life.  Initially he said that he didn’t want to talk about it, but then he started talking.  First he said that God sure works in mysterious ways.  Then my atheist Grandpa began to sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” to my three year-old son.  My son began to dance in front of Grandpa, and an amazing catharsis happened for my Grandfather.  Shortly after, my ‘atheist’ grandfather began listening to hymns again.  The next time I visited him, Grandpa spontaneously sang: “Up from the grave He arose!”  Within two years, I took my Grandpa’s funeral, confident that Grandpa had rediscovered that Jesus loved him too.

 

 

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

-award-winning author of  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 chapter 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