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Showing posts from October, 2006

Persecution of Iraqi Christians

Thousands of frightened Iraqi Christians are fleeing Iraq, after an escalation in anti-Christian violence.

Several horrific attacks on Christians in the last three weeks have increased the fear amongst the Christian community. This appears to be a response to a call by militants for increased violence during the Islamic fasting month, Ramadan (which this year is 24th September - 23rd October).

See the Rest:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4921

A Church in Exile (The Chaldean Catholics)

Father Denis and I walked from the Jesuit House in the neighborhood next to mine to the make-shift church that the Iraqi Christians had set up in a small apartment.

I had called him on the phone earlier today to ask if I could go to the Chaldean mass with him, and he was cautious. “The bishops just released a letter to the Iraqi Christians telling them to be careful with evangelicals. This is their community: their language, the people they dance with, they worship with, and when you take one person out of the community it is like tearing the fabric of who they are.” I assured him that I wanted to learn only and had no plans of recruiting the Chaldean Christians for my church. He recalled that the Anglican churches had a good history of respecting other traditions so he would talk to the priest there and see if it was OK for me to come. He called back later to let me know it would be fine.

I would have never known we had arrived at the church had it not been for the sign reading …

A Parable

A Parable

"There was a king, and in his kingdom there were two cities that we having grave problems. One city sent a messenger to the king to ask for help. The king sat down and wrote a letter to the city and sent the messenger back.

"The other city sent a messenger to the king, and the king sent his son to that city to address the problems there. Which of these two cities has received the greater honor?"

I told this parable to a Muslim friend today, and here was his answer: the city that received the prince has received the greater honor. When he arrives he will see what the problems are and take immediate action; the people of the city cannot disobey him. The city that received the letter from the king--in that city maybe the mayor will read it and tear it up, or maybe he will read it and not take action right away.

I responded: and this is the difference between Islam and Christianity: we believe that the Word of God is a person, Muslims believe that the Word of God is…

Cartoons and Riots

I was chatting with a friend of mine who lives in Saudi Arabia yesterday. She has always lived there, her dad has three wives, she has never been outside of the Middle East. She is a smart lady, and witty too. I asked her about the cartoon debacle and she said what many folks here are saying: they don't have the right to offend Islam that way.

I just got back from spending some time with a very moderate Muslim friend who is not an Arab. His sisters don't wear head coverings, he doesn't go to mosque often. He compared the cartoons to people who praise the holocaust. I said that it was illegal to incite violence against a group, which is what you have in his holocaust example. Here violence was not being incited against Muslims. He repsonded, but it led to violence on the part of Muslims--so what's the difference?

These two twenty-somethings represent the future of the Middle East. They are well-educated, multi-lingual, intelligent people, and they are both dear frie…

Part I: The Qur'an: Introduction

It is often said that the Qur'an is like the Bible: one is the holy book for Muslims, and the other is for the Christians. This is not a very accurate way of looking at the situation though because the two books are very different. The Bible is really a collection of many kinds of writings (prophecy, poetry, genealogy, history, personal letters, and so on) written by a large number of people across over a thousand years. The Bible was written in three languages across three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa).

The Qur'an is wholly different. According to Islam, it was not written by anyone, it was revealed, word for word, from God, by the angel Gabriel (Jabriil in Arabic) to Muhammad throughout his life. The Qur'an consists of 114 chapters, called surahs in Arabic. These surahs are organized like Paul's letters to the churches: from longest to shortest. The second is "The Cow" which is 31 pages long (in the translation I use), and the last one is "The …