About This Blog

Friday, June 30, 2017

"One Dominion" (Paul Richardson & Bob Beasley)

TITLE: One Dominion, Celebrating Canada
AUTHOR: Paul Richardson & Bob Beasley
PUBLISHER: Grimsby, Ontario: Bible League Canada, 2017, (96 pages).

This year is a special year. It is the 150th year of the confederation of Canada, a nation that began with just four provinces, but now comprises ten provinces and three territories. It is also the second largest country in the world by land mass. Widely recognized by many to be one of the best places in the world to live in, the country boasts of many strengths. It is an economic power, a member of the G7 (now G8). It also has a strong banking system; is a reliable trading partner; one of the best education systems in the world; a leading advocate for human rights; resource rich, and proud multicultural nation. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was formed with Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. By 1949, Newfoundland became the tenth province to become the Canada we have today. Canada only became a fully independent nation from Britain in 1982. To celebrate this momentous event, Bible League Canada and Graf-Martin Communications have come together to publish this special book.

A) Remembering our Christian Heritage
July 1st is called "Dominion Day" or the commonly used "Canada Day." Its about celebrating the coming together of Canada as a nation. From being a welcoming nation to a place with some of the most envious natural resources, it is a proud moment for all Canadians and the many who have come to call Canada home. There is high tolerance of diversity and low levels of crime. Stories move hearts, and this is where the book powerfully comes alive.

There is the wonderful work of Elizabeth McMaster (1875) who sacrificially gave of her time and resources to set up a hospital for sick kids, which has become the largest children's health institution in Canada. There is the story of how a pastor became politician on the strength of his faith. Tommy Douglas entered politics in 1931 because of his deep religious convictions and was instrumental in the establishment of the national healthcare program. Stories continue to be told each day. Even today, Christians continue to provide a huge proportion of donations and time to social causes. According to the Work Research Foundation, 79% of Christian organizations primarily serve their neighbourhoods and municipalities, compared with 46% by others. Other stories include John Joseph Kelso who helped set up the YMCA in 1844; Josiah Henson (1789) who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery; and of Judy Graves who is a strong advocate for supporting the homeless.

There are altogether nine chapters filled with beautiful photographs that showcase the multicultural and diverse people groups; the beauty of the huge land mass; the milestone achievements; and the history of the years of nation building. Often, the pictures and photos alone tell a more profound story than the words accompanying them. Like the faces of children, people in prayer, the farming of crops, and the breathtaking landscape of mountains and the lakes.

I like the chronological story-telling from the beginning to the present. Of course, in doing that, there will always be details that will be left out. What are the criteria for each event selected? Is that event significant enough for the story? Does it reflect accurately the heritage of Canada? Having studied history myself, I believe that history is essentially retelling our stories in the past from a particular perspective. In this book, it is about recognizing God's grace and mercy as we reflect on the past so that we can better appreciate the country we have. I am impressed by the scope of coverage. I see maps to accompany the historical journey; a chronological flow of events and happenings; the tight link between Christianity and Canada's heritage; the growing pride of Canadian talent; and natural wonders including wildlife. Best of all, the book reflects a core part of what it means to be Canadian: Helping others. For Christians, it reflects what it means to be Christian: serve all. The authors so wisely describe it via the national and the international mandates. It recognizes the biblical truth that those who have received much would be expected much. It shows how changed lives in Christ spurred our Christian pioneers to establish schools, healthcare, hospitals, public places for the community and so on. Given the highly secular climate nowadays, people tend to belittle the contributions of the Christian community. That said, there is no running away from the past. There is a strong impact of the Church and Christianity on the early years of Canada. Lest we forget.

B) Remembering our Blessed Mandate
The international mandate pages should make every Canadian proud to be one. God has blessed us to be a blessing. Each time we help others, we are expressing this gratitude in action. There are many quotable phrases. Let me mention a few:

  • "Within 1 Corinthians 8 and 9, the Apostle Paul speaks about the seed and its purpose. The farmer's purpose is not to enjoy the seed but to sow it. Once sown, fruit, crops, and plenty will be experienced because the seed has blossomed and taken root."
  • "The seed of our blessing is not to be selfishly retained but to be sown."
  • On Hebrews 11, "Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and priests do not play a major role in that chapter. It is full of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. These are individuals who had been transformed by God and His Word and then by God's grace did remarkable things for themselves, their families, and their nation."
  • "Canada is not a nation of one story alone, but of many stories, from ordinary people, often ordinary people of faith, who helped form the foundations of our wonderful country."

The mandate is essentially summed up as God's Word being the very "foundation and journey of Canada and must be the foundation and journey of other nations." We are challenged to know God for ourselves; to share the blessings of God with others; and to be a blessing to all. I am impressed with the many different photos used. It must have taken an immense number of resources just to collect them and to choose the most appropriate ones. Given the huge variety of possible trajectories, I suspect that if this project is done again, it could very well lead to a brand new book altogether with a different storytelling.

C) Remembering Our Story
All in all, this book combines the best of storytelling through words and pictures. It makes one not only proud to be Canadian, it makes one glad to be Christian. Though the storytelling here is from the perspective of Christians, we remember that Canadians come from a wide variety of faith beliefs and cultures. The danger now is that many in the younger generation tend to forget our Christian past and humble beginnings, to their own detriment. Even as Canada becomes more and more secular, projects like this book remind us about our Christian heritage and how much the Christian minority need to pray on behalf of the whole country to ask God for continued mercy and grace for this beautiful country. Perhaps, as we celebrate as one people and one nation for 150 years of existence, more would be motivated to see the Creator of all things and the Judge of all people. For the beauty of the earth, the splendor of Canada, and the natural resources, this book is an acknowledgement of God's Hand at work. It makes me wonder, if this book that tells the story of Canada could be so beautiful, the land, the people, and the natural resources would be far more wonderful when we see it with our very eyes. How much more when we see the Creator of all these?

D) About the Book
There is a glaring absence of page numbers and table of contents. Nevertheless, I have placed it an outline to give readers a birds' eye view of what this beautiful book is about.

Part One: One Dominion Named Canada
Chapter 1 - This is Us
Chapter 2 - From Village to Dominion
Chapter 3 - Exploration Leads to Confederation
Chapter 4 - In Stone, On Paper, In Song

Part Two: Our National Mandate
Chapter 5 - Transformed Lives Form a Nation
Chapter 6 - Philanthropy

Part Three: Our International Mandate
Chapter 7 - The Transformation of Nations
Chapter 8 - For the Greater Good
Chapter 9 - From This Nation to the Nations

The three parts showcase the reasons for existence. Each step of the way is purposeful. As we discover and appreciate the land we live in, we become filled with gratitude for what we have and the privileges we often take for granted. With Bible verses to guide us, we marvel at the beauty of creation, the purpose of existence, and the passion of helping others. The book covers many aspects of the major Canadian cities and landscapes. There is the story of the beginning of Canada. On the cover, the careful eye would recognize the words of "O Canada" printed in faint white. You would see it best under reflective lighting. Though it is a softcover, the paper quality is pretty strong to withstand usage. Whether one flips from front to back or vice versa, there is a sense of wonder and serenity as the images trigger a thought or two, an idea or more, about what it means to be Canadian. It infuses a sense of pride to be living here and renewed sense of duty and love for this amazing country.

Religion make one to do things. Christianity motivates us to serve all for the sake of the Kingdom. For Christians, it is about honouring Christ and to bless others as our act of love for Christ. May this book not only celebrate Canada's 150 years of nationhood but inspire more people, especially Christians to do whatever they can to bless others, for many generations to come.

Authors Paul Richardson and Bob Beasley are passionately Christian and proudly Canadian. Paul Richardson is also President of Bible League Canada leading a team of Canadians to reach out to people in 40 other countries. Bob Beasley is Vice-President of International Ministry at Bible League Canda. He teaches widely at churches, youth ministries, camping programs, and radio.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Bible League Canada without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment