Canada turned 150 years old yesterday. We have reason as a nation to celebrate. By almost all accounts, this is a wonderful country to live in.
This past week I read a new book celebrating that fact. One Dominion was written by Paul Richardson and Bob Beasley, who respectively are president and vice president of International Ministry for Bible League Canada.
This is a coffee table book. You want it on display where visitors to your home will have a chance to leaf through it before dinner. The pictures are appealing, the text is light and easy to read.
I’m not too sure what to make of this effort. The focus is on the Christian history of Canada, something that is very much ignored in the political correctness of 2017. Some of the people and stories they featured were familiar to me, but others were completely unknown. I like that – I always want to learn.
I was already familiar with the names of prominent Canadian Christians such as Edgerton Ryerson and Tommy Douglas, but I had never heard of John Joseph Kelso before. He established the Toronto Humane Society, which at the time (1887) concerned itself with the welfare of children and animals. Nowadays Humane Societies deal strictly with the animal kingdom. I don’t know if that is because we are a less caring society or just that there are other agencies looking out for children.
In our post-Christian culture it is nice to have someone point out that Canada has deep Christian roots. However, I feel the book gives short shrift to colonialism and the picture of the church being portrayed does not seem balanced. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t think it helps to ignore the times (and there have been some) when the church has not been a positive force for good. This is definitely a portrayal done with rose-coloured glasses.
Indeed, much of it could have been written by the civil servants working for Heritage Canada – it comes across as breezy government propaganda. I guess that is not a bad thing, but there is a lot of “rah rah Canada,” so much so that I as a patriot and nationalist said “Okay, I get the point.”
I do wish the photos had been captioned though. The pictures are a strength of this work, which isn’t surprising for a coffee table book. It is really annoying though to look at a picture and have to say “I wonder what that building is” or “I wonder where that lake is.” Many of the places I have been and others I could figure out, but still, it would have been nice to tell people. I guess I hope for too much sometimes.
There is the obligatory plug for Bible League Canada at the end, but given who the authors are, how could there not be? I know BLC does god work, so I will forgive the commercial.
If you are unfamiliar with the Christian history of Canada you will probably really enjoy this book.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”