Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Love Notes from God - Gibson

I picture you at Christmas. Do you see what I see?


Crazy busy. Perhaps crazy lonely. Wondering how you’re going to fit everything in, or wishing you had something to fit in. Wondering how you’ll survive. Oh, I picture you at Christmas, because I’ve been to some of those places too.

This is my Christmas hope for you:

I pray you a new sense of comfort and joy. One that refreshes and restores all your weary and anxious parts. The ones you hide so well and the ones you can’t hide at all. A sense of Presence that abolishes your fear and embraces you with the deep certainty that you are loved. So loved. An abiding strength that buoys you up to carry on.

My hope is not unrealistic. You can grab it, hold it, count on it. It’s the essence of Christmas. 

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, (which means “God with us”) Matthew 1:23.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah the Lord” Luke 2: 10-12.

“For to us a child is born; to us a Son is given, and the Government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9: 6.

“For God SO loved the World that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him should be saved ” John 3: 16.

Some in the world—no, many in the world—have little or nothing at Christmas. But if they have Jesus Christ, walking alongside, what they have is not only enough to make Christmas worth celebrating—it is everything.

Because celebrating Christmas with Jesus plus all the traditional delights of the season means no more than passing a quiet Christmas with Jesus alone. But celebrating Christmas amidst everything holly, jolly and rich—with no Jesus—is abject poverty.


I picture you at Christmas. I picture how God sees you: loved, invited, affirmed and embraced. I picture you knowing you are never alone. Knowing you can accept his best, all because of the amazing grace offered by Jesus Christ. Immanuel. God with us.  

Do you see what I see? Downy child in a cattle-shed. Babe still sticky with his mother’s blood. Seed of heaven, Abba-blown to a planet infinitesimally small. Colossal king in a newborn frame. Government on his shoulders.

He is all.

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift,” 2 Corinthians 9: 15


Merry Christmas, everyone.


This column  ran the week of Christmas in numerous Western newspapers, and here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eternal Welcome

I was moved to tears this morning.  We were reading Galatians 4:1-7 as recommended by  REJOICE!, our daily devotional magazine. It talks about the laws that the Jewish people followed thinking that could save them.  (We too are apt to follow and try to do those things that we think will earn us points with God. A flash-back reminded me of a time in my life when I was bound by that ritual.)  
“But when the right time came, the time God decided on,” says verse 4, “he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so he could adopt us as his very own sons.”  (My heart leapt in gladness and glowed with warmth at God’s mercy.)

The scripture continues in verse 6, “And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father.”  Wow!  If that isn’t grace, I don’t know what is!  My heart was already full of gratitude, saying “Oh my Father, my dear Father!”

Then I read Leonard Beechy’s comments on the scripture.  He described Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son, which captures the moment the son throws himself on his father’s mercy and is ready to tell him he is no longer worthy to be called his son, but the father is so caught up in finally having his son back, his eyes shut, holding his son closely to his heart. Beechy says the father is “completely absorbed in the embrace of his precious son.”

That moved my heart too, but the next sentence really got to me.  “We too are inclined to approach God with our failings and frailties as though we were slaves ready to scrape, beg, and bargain.” That’s when tears sprang to my eyes and choked me up so I could hardly continue reading. 

Yes, God has asked us to confess our sins to keep our lives clear of debris and to free us to live victorious and able to serve with joy.  How often, though, when I confess a failure in my life, do I remember all those other times I have failed or done wrong, and I wonder if God isn’t tired of hearing me come again, with my dysfunction and yet another confession. I can’t believe that God wouldn’t remember all those times.  But Beechy says, “God will have none of it.  Before we can even begin, God gathers us into loving arms, receiving us completely and joyfully.  Each time we come, God has prepared for the meeting.”

I too often forget that Jesus came, lived, died and rose again so that I can be cleansed from “all unrighteousness.”  My human mind can’t conceive the fact that if I confess my sin, it is wiped away.  God can no longer see it. He sees only the blood-washed me; the cleansed and made pure me.  He sees me only as his beloved child, his heart glad that I’ve come once more into his embrace.  Beechy says, “In the eternal Now of the fullness of time, you come into God’s presence as nothing less than God’s beloved child, eternally welcomed, eternally embraced.” 

At this time of year, when we remember Jesus’ coming to earth as a babe in a lowly manger, if we stop in our busy, frantic rush,  we can see all that he gave up to live as a human among humans.  We need to remember the purpose for which he came.  To forget that, is like ignoring a precious gift someone has given us—forgetting to open it, or opening it and setting it aside, never thanking the giver.  It’s an open affront to a gracious giver.

Rather, let us bring joy to a loving Father, coming into his open arms and leaning against his breast.  Let us come home to that eternal welcome--embrace and soak up the love he’s so ready to give us.  

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lessons of the year 2013—Carolyn R. Wilker

Like others in my circle of friends and acquaintances, I could write a gratitude post—which could also be a blessing post— and that would be alright, for the year is ending on a stronger note, business-wise, and it’s a good thing to be looking ahead. Instead I will write about what I’ve learned this year.

I’ve learned:
·        Using some of that time when business was slow, I did more writing which was also a good thing, because engaging the creative brain is a stimulus to new ideas. It also allowed time to redecorate the living room in our home, and while the upheaval is challenging, the putting back together in a new way is rather enjoyable.

·        Networking pays off, if we keep at it. New leads have come for work and speaking. We most want to work with those we know and trust. It's something people have known long before the Internet became a hive for social media.

·         Unexpected blessings come our way, new friendships and reconnecting with those we haven’t seen or spent time with in years. There have been new opportunities I had not thought possible only a few years before. A business owner in my networking group produced business cards, bookmarks and even Christmas cards for me, and the benefit of working with her was getting to know her much better and learning that her values and beliefs are much like mine.

·        Books I’ve read over the years have been a great asset in my editing work. Some of those projects have also stretched my thinking so that I am always learning new things each time I work with a writer.

·        As long as we are willing to try new things and engage in new activities and meet new people, we are the richer for it.

·        The more we work together, the better we do. I knew that before, but each year brings reminders and new situations in which we help our “brother and sister.” It comes in helping neighbours, friends and family.

·         Spending time with my grandchildren means looking at life through their eyes and makes me feel young, that is, if I’m not too tired after helping with their care.

·        And another thing I often need reminders of is God’s care: how he blesses us and works through others around us when we need prayer, work, and their friendship.

May the peace of the Lord be with you all as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s gift to us.

You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:12b

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Power of Perseverance -HIRD

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird


Many people around Christmas hit walls and feel like giving up. This season of joy can be a very blue time, sometimes even or especially for writers who often feel things very deeply.  For the past few months, I have been unable to access this blog to post articles on the TWG writers' rosters.  It was been very frustrating.  I was tempted to give up trying. Finally I dialed into rather than and I could immediately post on this TWG blog.  What a miracle. I am so glad that I did not give up. 

Winston Churchill is famous for his advice during the Battle of Britain: “Never, ever, ever give up. Never give up. Never give up.”  It is so easy to let setbacks set us back, to let disappointments discourage us.  We can lose our first love, our original passion, our vision and focus.

Perseverance is the key to breakthrough in our lives, our marriages, our families and our work.  Without perseverance, we don’t finish well, we don’t fight the good fight, we don’t keep the faith.  The Good Shepherd once told a story in Luke 18:1-8 about a widow who was being exploited by a corrupt judge.  Widows have historically been some of the most powerless people, lacking protection and financial resources.  In some countries around the world, widows were even burned alive (Sati) on their husband’s funeral pyre.   This widow had no bribe to pay off the judge, so instead she wore him out with her pleading.

JesusThe Good Shepherd Jesus commended this persevering widow, and encouraged us to be persevering, especially in our prayer lives, never giving up.  Why are many people tempted to give up in their prayer lives? Sometimes the answers to our prayers often seem to take too long. Sometimes God says slow, or grow, or even no.   When there is great grief in our lives, our prayer lives can take a hit.  Our experience of tragedy can embitter us, and rob us of hope.  Jesus commended the persevering widow as a model for all of us.  God wants us to persevere.

Andrew Murray, a famous 19th Century South African write, once said “Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need for persevering prayer is one of the greatest.”  A Facebook friend of mine, Matthew Lee Smith, sent me this note: “This Sunday, preach like Jesus is coming Monday! I am praying for you right now my friend!”  I am so encouraged when I know that people are praying for me. People can gossip about you, or they can pray for you.  It is a radical choice.  It is so easy to get discouraged and cut back in our praying for certain people. We may not even want to think about them, let alone pray for them.  It’s too painful.  God wants us to persevere.

Praying Hands pictureJesus was a man of prayer. The closer Jesus came to the cross, the more he prayed. Jesus prayed like no one else did.  He ever got a prayer named after him: The Lord’s Prayer.   This is a challenging time to be a Christian, to attend Church, to be a worshiper. Without prayer, we will get taken out, distracted, knocked off course.  If you are discouraged, pray. If you have lost heart, pray. If you don’t know the way forward, pray.  Prayer is the way forward. God always makes a way when it seems that there is no way forward.

God loves to keep his promises.  He loves to answer prayer.  Prayer is about leaning on the everlasting arms.  It is about trusting that He’s got the whole world in his hands, his faithfulness is great, and all that I have needed his hand has provided.  Prayer is about practicing God’s presence.  Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love.  My prayer for those reading this article  is that we will learn from the persevering widow to never give up, to always persist, and to always keep on praying.  Merry Christmas.  Keep your eyes on the manger.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-an article for the November 2013 Deep Cove Crier

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

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

Monday, December 16, 2013

Materialism in science: Banging our heads against a wall until finally the wall complains - Denyse O'Leary

Last time here, I looked at what materialism has done for science.

What it has done is focus time, energy, and money on nonsense.

We haven’t been to the moon in forty years (back in the days when the astronauts read from Genesis while floating in space). But I have amassed quite a collection of theories from the popular science media about where ET might be hiding:
Moonless planets have been unfairly dismissed and sunless ones could maybe ferry life around the galaxy. Some argue that hardy Earth life forms could have made it to one of Jupiter's moons and survived there. Jupiter's moon Europa looks promising to many. NASA has talked of a "flying-saucer-shaped space boat" to Saturn's moon Titan, some day. And the excitable word about another Saturn moon is, "Enceladus Now Looks Wet, So It May Be ALIVE!"
Exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs at a distance, it is said, may counterintuitively support life. So might exoplanets' moons. Every month, we hear of a planet or moon capable of supporting hype. More.
It gets crazier. Did you know, not only is earth one nice planet among many, but our entire universe is lost in a crowd?:
A large number of hitherto unnoticed universes? No sooner asked than granted: Nima Arkani-Hamed and others have proposed over 10^500 universes because fewer of them would not obviate fine-tuning. Why believe in them?
As a New Scientist writer has explained
But the main reason for believing in an ensemble of universes is that it could explain why the laws governing our Universe appear to be so finely turned for our existence ... This fine-tuning has two possible explanations. Either the Universe was designed specifically for us by a creator or there is a multitude of universes -- a multiverse.
Cosmologists deserve credit for making the choice so clear. In that spirit, Discover Magazine offers the multiverse as "Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator" (2008). And New Scientist's editors promise, in addition, a "multiverse-fuelled knowledge revolution". As David Berlinski puts it, "The Big Fix has by this maneuver been supplanted by the Sure Thing." More.
And… it gets better… in this multiverse, everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion!
Hailed as the "world's smartest man," with cameos to his credit on The Simpsons and Star Trek, Stephen Hawking has blessed the multiverse for popular culture. Denouncing philosophy (and religion) as "outdated and irrelevant", he announced that science dispenses with a designer behind nature because the law of gravity explains how the universe "can and will create itself from nothing."
Sometimes his pronouncements are less clear, though their outlines are discernible. Ian Sample, science writer for Britain's Guardian, asked Hawking in 2011, "What is the value in knowing 'Why are we here?'" Hawking replied:
The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can't solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those Societies most likely to survive. We assign them a higher value.
Sample had no idea what Hawking meant. But we can discern this much: Philosophy and religion may not matter, but Darwin does. More.
So philosophy and religion are outdated and irrelevant, and science makes no sense?

Well, materialism has sure made a difference, all right. Not a difference it was wise for our culture to support, promote, and fund.

The series to date:

What has materialism done for science?

Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train

Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies ... that is, if you would only believe ...

Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

But surely we can’t conjure an entire advanced civilization?

How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?

Not only is earth one nice planet among many, but our entire universe is lost in a crowd

The multiverse: Where everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Made for God - Rose McCormick Brandon

One of the ways God reveals himself to us is through His creation – everything we see around us in the natural world, including our own bodies.
“By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see – eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.” Romans 1:20
God’s message of love and hope for all humanity is revealed in every single thing He created. If we are not willfully blind and choose to look for it, we can see God’s “I love you” everywhere. Of course, we don’t have the capacity to study everything in nature but most of us can see clouds, watch the moon move through its phases, feel the warmth of the sun, eat the harvest the earth produces and listen to waves. We drink water pumped from hundreds of feet beneath the earth’s surface. We live in houses and print on paper made from trees grown from seeds that God himself planted in the soil He created long ago.
 Seeds – human seed, animal seed, seeds that produce food. Seeds contain life. Every seed on earth can trace its roots back to the beginning, back to creation, back to when God spoke the world and everything in it into being.
God is the starting point of everything.
A one-time agnostic who came to believe in Christ, said, “I came to the conclusion that the universe did not make sense without God. I set out to search for Him and found that He was searching for me.”
The person who denies God is like a man who walks over to a table each day, takes a look at the food, and turns away in disdain. Eventually, that man will become hungry because his body was made for food. Likewise, the human soul is made for God, and can’t be complete without Him.
 We have a built-in need to come to terms with God. Often people experience a sense of “coming home” when they finally accept that God exists and that He has shown His love to the world, not only through His creation, but through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Making it Personal: Lord, the worries of this world keep me earth-bound. Help me to let my mind and soul take in the wonder of You and all that comes from You.
Rose McCormick Brandon's book, One Good Word Makes all the Difference, can be purchased here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela: Gaze-Raiser (Peter A. Black)

The following piece is a slightly  modified edition of a post I placed on Raise Your Gaze a couple of days ago. Raise Your Gaze

The world is abuzz with the news of Nelson Mandela’s death and awash with accolades of praise and admiration. The gaze of multiplied millions – from child to the aged – has been elevated in his honour.

This is well-deserved, of course, in view of his tremendous role at enormous personal cost in bringing to an end the apartheid system of oppressive government by the white minority in South Africa, and its replacement with a more equitable democracy.

He was the first foreign leader to be made an honorary citizen of Canada and the first foreigner to be named an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada.

Mandela graciously stood alongside the then South African President F.W. de Klerk when they were each awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1993, although de Klerk was in part responsible for Mandela’s incarceration.
In 1994 Mandela was elected President.
Gaze-Raising Image
Photo courtesy
I call this his 'signature' smile!
For me, an enduring visual image of him is of a tall, elderly statesmanlike figure who, while physically frail, presented himself serene and poised, his demeanor exhibiting an inner strength. He spoke with authority and conviction.
Despite his great age and the rigours of his 27 years in prison, involving hard labour that resulted in lung damage, his countenance was youthful and displayed his radiant signature smile.
He appeared rested and at peace within his person; his manner gracious.
As I compared photographs of his younger, pre-prison years, it seemed to me that Mandela appeared more serious then, and I fancied that he didn’t smile as much. Something had changed. Perhaps the greatest change was in himself – in his soul.
The radical freedom-fighter was still engaged in the battle, but he was different now. Was it a spiritual change? Perhaps. Had he found a freedom that sets men free in spirit despite his long physical confinement and circumstantial constriction? Possibly.
Mandela’s Message upon His Release after 27 years (February 11, 1990)
His message was one of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing; letting bygones be bygones.  In that spirit, he emulated the example of Jesus Christ in His prayer from the cross in the midst of His suffering the agonies of crucifixion: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
In 1994, as the first fully democratically elected South African President representing all the people, Mandela  said that it was now time to heal old wounds and build South Africa for all the people, regardless of race.
As messianic a figure as President Mandela was to his people, and as lauded as he was and is – and rightly so, he was an imperfect and faulted, although remarkable human being.
However, when all is said and done, he achieved – along with others who stood with him – great things and demonstrated a greatness that accords with biblical principles, especially during the latter decades of his life. These reflect to a marked degree the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven and the blessedness our Lord spoke of in the beatitudes. For example:
From Matthew 5:3-9 (NIV2011. Inserted applications for these musings are mine.)
Blessed are the poor in spirit [humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn [over loss, sin, or injustice] for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek [gentle, patient], for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [justice; seeking and doing what’s right and just], for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart [honest, true; pure in motive], for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
You might like to consider whether other verses from the Beatitudes and The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 thro’ 7) should also be considered as in some measure evidenced in Mr. Mandela’s life.
His legacy will live on. It will be interesting to see it being played out in myriad small ways in individual lives as well as in the larger sphere of international politics.
Has Nelson Mandela been instrumental in elevating your focus – your gaze – in ways that I haven’t touched on here? 
Perhaps you disagree with me. And that’s fine, too. Be free to comment.
Personally, Nelson Mandela raised more than my eyebrows; my heart and mind and hopes were also raised.
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). (Finalist -- Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X)
His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. Peter’s current book project comprises a collection of 52 column articles.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is Christmas Coming Back Into Vogue? - Eleanor Shepherd

  I have noticed this year that instead of acknowledging the season as the Holiday Season, people are beginning again to recognize that the Holiday is Christmas and are wishing one another Merry Christmas.  I have noticed as I listen to the CBC that broadcasters are talking about the Holiday Season and also referring to it as Christmas.  The local CBC carol sing and fundraiser has been called by all of those participating a Christmas concert.  In the stores, the clerks have been wishing me a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas.  My question is why? 
           I wonder if perhaps it is because here in Quebec there has been so much discussion about the charter that our premier wants to introduce as a law underlining that this is a secular state.  This law would forbid the wearing of any obvious religious symbols by anyone who is being paid by the government.  This would include people like teachers, daycare workers and hospital employees. 
          While the desire of the premier in all of this has been to unite Quebecers around common secular values, instead there has been a greater mutual coming together of those to whom their religious convictions are important.  Muslims women who would be forbidden to wear the hijab are being supported by Christians who would not permitted to wear large crosses and Jewish men who are forbidden to wear the kippah on their heads.  Each of us realize that these are symbols of our faith that are important to us and we want the right to show the world that they matter to us.  What we have come to realize is that all of us are being targeted and we are united in our desire to quietly express the value of our faith by what we wear. 

           In a strange way, I think that much good will come from all of this.  We have nothing to fear when we are able to be open about our faith.  If our faith is true, as we believe it is, there is nothing to fear about telling others what we believe in an attitude of respect, not proudly announcing that we have the truth, but rather humbly exposing the values that govern and give meaning to our lives.  Such an attitude is relevant to the climate of tolerance that is the hallmark of Canadian life and goes with the welcoming of others from many different parts of the world to discover a new life in our country. 
          While I would prefer that this law not come into being, since like my fellow Quebecers who are Muslim and Jewish, I want to be able to openly wear the symbols of my faith, I realize that even if it is passed, there will be unexpected good come from what happens nevertheless. 
           We will have unique opportunities to support those who feel they must take a stand against such a law.  It will open up more doors for dialogue and encouragement for one another as people of faith.  It will enable us to demonstrate the strongest power in the world – the power of love.  That will mark us as truly Christian – followers of the One who came into our world to incarnate love and invites us to become members of another kingdom, the Kingdom ruled by Love. 

                 In anticipation of a greater freedom to be who we are, I wish you a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas!
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

Saturday, December 07, 2013

John Adams: Peace Maker -HIRD

Note: This is a test blog post, as I have been unable to post for the past few months.  I went into this blog through rather than

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

John Adams (1)

Every Christmas we hear Christmas Carolers singing ‘Peace on Earth’. One of my most popular Deep Cove Crier articles, with almost 17,000 online readers, has been my article on John Adams’ good friend Benjamin Franklin. Both were founding fathers of our neighbour to the south.  My American relatives have told me that Adams is the greater man.

Adams’ greatest strength and weakness was that he was a passionate peace-maker, even at the cost of sabotaging his own re-election as the second American President.  Napoleon in 1797 captured 300 American ships, six percent of the American fleet. (1)  The ‘hawks’ in Adams’ own Federalist party desperately wanted to go to war with France, but Adams negotiated a peace treaty that allowed him to disband Alexander Hamilton’s unnecessary and costly army.  Hamilton, the commander of this army, took this as a personal insult, and dedicated himself to splitting Adams’ own Federalist Party.  John Adams wrote his wife Abigail saying that he knew “Hamilton to be a proud-spirited, conceited, aspiring mortal, always pretending to morality…as great a hypocrite as any in the US…” (2)

thomasjeffersonWith two Federalist presidential candidates, the Republican presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson, won the election on the 36thballot after a deadlocked Congressional tie vote. (3) Jefferson, who had foolishly endorsed the blood-thirsty French Revolution, was wisely mentored by Adams.  At his final State of Union address, President Adams stated: “Here and throughout our country, may simple measures, pure morals, and true religion, flourish forever!” (4)  His final prayer as he left the House was: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.” (5) Despite strong political differences, Adams and Jefferson ended as good pen pal friends, both dying in 1826 on the significant American July 4th holiday. (6)   Jefferson acknowledged Adams as ‘the colossus of independence.’ (7)

John Adams was both passionate about liberty and yet cautious about our human tendency to selfishness.  James Grant commended Adams for “his unqualified love of liberty, and his unsentimental perception of the human condition.” (8)  As such, Adams produced constitutional boundaries that guarded people’s essential freedoms of life and liberty of speech, assembly, and religion.  The US Congress praised Adams for his “patriotism, perseverance, integrity and diligence.” (9)   Adams insightfully commented: “our Constitution was made only for a moral & religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (10) The root of equality, said Adams, was the Golden Rule – Love your neighbour as yourself.  (11)

John Adams 2Adams has been described as one of North America’s greatest bibliophiles.  He loved to learn, reading voraciously in wide-ranging areas of interest, including the Bible.  Equality for Adams was grounded in equal access to education for all: “knowledge monopolized, or in the Possession of a few, is a Curse to Mankind. We should dispense it among all Ranks.  We should educate our children.  Equality should be preserved in knowledge.” (12)  His prayer for his children was: ““Let them revere nothing but religion, morality, and liberty.”  (13)

One of Adams’ strengths was that he was deeply honest, even to his own political detriment. Unlike the worldly-wise Benjamin Franklin, he would say exactly what was on his mind. Adams urged Franklin to get more exercise, saying that “the sixth Commandment forbids a man to kill himself as it does to kill his neighbour. A sedentary life is tantamount to suicide.” (14)  James Grant commented that “like the mythical George Washington, he seemed incapable of telling a lie; he was naturally and organically honest.” (15)  Adams once commented: “The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion.”(16)  Adams was indeed an unusual politician. He found the endless political bickering to be painful and pointless, commenting that “a resolution that two plus two makes five would require fully two days of debate.” (17)  Adams was known as a foul-weather politician, only drawn to serve his country because of the intense crisis.  He would have much rather been anywhere else: “The longer I live and the more I see of public men, the more I wish to be a private one.” (18)  Adams was a latecomer to American Independence, preferring to work for reconciliation with the British.  While Benjamin Franklin had favour and therefore initial funding from France , John Adams eventually obtained key loans to the United States from the cautious Dutch.  Because of his endless negotiations in France, Holland and England, Adams only saw his dear wife Abigail for a grand total of three months over six years. (19)   He wrote to Josiah Quincy: “Happy is the man who has nothing to do with politics and strife.” (20)

 king-george-iiiOne of Adams’ first assignments in Congress was to draft a resolution  appointing a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer throughout the thirteen colonies: “that we may, with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins, and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise Omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbling beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments with which we are threatened, and to bless our rightful sovereign, King George the third.” (21)   Sadly King George dismissed Adams and his colleagues as ‘wicked and desperate persons.’ (22)

King George’s thirty-three thousand British troops resulted in thirty-five thousand American deaths by sword, sickness, or captivity. (23) Adams knew that without heart-forgiveness, American independence would quickly become as barbaric as the French Revolution:  “In a time of war, one may see the necessity and utility of the divine prohibitions of revenge and the Injunctions of forgiveness of Injuries and love of Enemies, which we find in Christian Religion. Unrestrained, in some degree by these benevolent Laws, Men would be Devils, at such a Time as such.”  (24)

John Adams3In 1815 he wrote his own gravestone epitaph: “Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the peace with France in the year 1800.” (25)  My prayer is that we too may be passionate peace-makers like President John Adams.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

 -an article for the Dec 2013 Deep Cove Crier

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

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

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(1) James Grant, John Adams: Party of One , (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2005), p. 392.

(2) Gore Vidal, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003), p. 133.

(3)  David McCullough, John Adams , (Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 2001), p. 572.

(4)  John Adams, State Of The Union Address 11/11/1800,

(5) McCullough, John Adams, p. 560, picture 57.

(6) McCullough, p. 646.


(8) Grant, p. 61.

(9)  Grant, p. 336.


(11) McCullough, p. 543.

(12) Fragmentary Notes for ‘A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law’,

(13) Grant, p. 165.

(14) Grant, p. 287.

(15) Grant, p. 100.

(16) Grant, p. 442.

(17) Grant, p. 142.

(18) Grant, p. 146; McCullough, p. 207.

(19) McCullough, p. 271 “At last, on June 11th 1782, Adams negotiated with a syndicate of three Amsterdam banking houses — Willink, Van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje — a loan of five million guilders, or two million dollars at five percent interest.  It was not the ten million dollars Congress had expected…”;  Grant, p. 196.

(20) Grant, p. 157.

(21) Grant, p. 153.

(22) Grant, p. 152.

(23) Grant, p. 256.

(24) Grant, p. 184.

(25) Grant, p. 383.

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