Rev. Robert McAdam
|FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, April 30, 2002|
"Winter is hard to get in much activity, I bowled a few times and used to curl but it was good to get out and play nine holes yesterday."
Robert (Bob) McAdam is eight-seven having lived in Tisdale since he and Evelyn moved here when he became the Priest at Tisdale's St. Matthew's church in 1968. The Tisdale Recorder carried the story you see here (right) at the time and his induction service was on Sunday evening June 2, 1968.
We began our conversation by discussing national politics. Robert's collage major was in political science and in his life time he has seen a lot of prime ministers come and go, most of them Liberal. He compared our present prime minister with Louis St. Laurent and Trudeau, pointing out that both over stayed their welcome and it seems like it was time for Chretien to step aside Robert is very critical of the prime minister who he feels avoids all references to religion and spirituality to the point of the extreme.
I jumped to the prime minister's defense, pointing out that no doubt having come from Quebec and an era when the Church and Quebec politics seemed to play a much larger role than seems appropriate, he was no doubt, reacting to his background.
But Robert was adamant about the secular bent of the country's leadership and both of us agreed that the position taken by the federal government on the various abuse law suits against the Roman Catholic Church, The Anglican Church and even the United Church seems wrong. The Federal government should be taking full responsibility for its policy of residential schools and the present 70/30 split will cause extreme damage to all of Canada's churches, but the Anglican Church which is the smallest, will suffer the most.
Robert worries that David Orchard who continues to campaign and work toward just causes, such as opposing NAFTA, is really a voice crying in the wilderness and since it was the Progressive Conservatives who began the rape of the country with this policy of free trade, Orchard is definitely heading up stream in what seems like a hopeless cause.
It is perhaps the prime minister's failure to stand up for the principles upon which he was elected that most upsets Robert. GST, Free Trade and his foolishness with the helicopters have destroyed his credibility and Robert said, "The man talks from both sides of his mouth."
I brought up the topic of the current problems the Roman Catholic Church is experiencing with as many as one hundred-fifty priest having resigned their jobs in the United States because of accusations of sexual abuse. Robert shook his head and said that he felt that clearly the Roman Catholic practice of adhering to celibacy is just wrong. He said that Pope John had moved the Roman Catholic Church so far along with his Vatican II work and since then, the momentum and reforms have fizzled.
I asked him about the ordination of women and he said that among Anglican as well as Roman Catholic clergy there was little support for women in the ministry. He explained that no where in scripture was their women depicted as worship leaders and all of the disciples were indeed male. However, he pointed out that St. Paul did make a reference to everyone being equal before God.
I exposed my lack of enthusiasm for Paul, I wanted to see Robert's reaction to my characterisation of this Roman "born again wonder" as nothing but an advertising agent for the Christian movement.
Robert was able to contain any rancor at my obvious attempt to get a rise out of him and he pointed out that both Romans and Corinthians were among the most important scriptures of the New Testament and that Paul offers people valuable guidance.
With my failure to get the emotional response from that I was more successful when I mentioned that there were some scholars who consider the possibility of Mary Magdelan as Christ's girl friend and perhaps even his wife.
Robert pointed out that the specific scholar who had made this claim was wrong and that his claims were "rubbish." He said that at one marked event with the fish, some have claimed that her presence in that story is evidence and he said that there was nothing to the rumor, any more than because he was good friends with several of the disciples, that did not make him a homosexual.
So if Christ were to appear today, I suggested, it would be pretty unlikely that "she" would be a Catholic or a "holy roller". I pointed out that I felt that the low brow approach both by the Roman Catholic and Pentecostal movement was too childlike to be taken seriously.
Robert handled this one, and explained that he was not impressed with the feminists who wanted to see the de-genderising of language used in worship and that the many evangelical based Christian churches fill a great need not met by Anglican, Presbyterian and United Church liturgy
It was a delight to explore topics with a man who was tolerant and would handle my challenges as we ranged through reform of Judaism, the nature of Islam and the way things have changed during his lifetime.
Amazing to both of us was that for some time he served a church only two miles from the little community of Langbank where I grew up and we knew well people who were a part of that church community. As we reminisced about those times he told of the primitive rectory in Milestone with is cistern that went dry in January and he had to melt snow for water until spring. The leaky basement and outhouse in Whitewood and the rich warden who demanded that he return the 1/4 horse pump every day when the basement filled with water.
As I talked with this man it was clear that he had found the key to successful living, keeping himself informed, being a part of his community, coming down for coffee each morning to be with friends and golf buddies.
Robert does not share my view that things are improving, as he worries that moral decay is just to wide spread and he condemns what he considers the loose ways of so many young people. Robert was married in 1947 and considers his partnership one of the most important things in his life and is puzzled by so many who seem today, to not understand the value of a permanent relationship. He pointed out that one story caught his eye about "failed divorces".
Robert reads the Globe and Mail when ever he can get a hold of it, picks up the National Post often and subscribes to a wide range of magazines that are part of his ways of keeping in touch. With his daily bible reading and a round of golf he feels his life is complete. He looks forward to his future either here or beyond, but is often saddened by the lose of those who have not and will not, have the chance to live a complete life.