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Showing posts from November, 2006

This Morning's Church Visit

I visited a Sriac Orthodox Church this morning here in our city. What's that? Glad you asked.

It is part of a family of what are called here Oriental Orthodox Churches. Not to be confused with Eastern Orthodox, these churches did not accept the definition of Chalcedon, which you can check out at New Advent if you like. Other churches in this famiyl are th Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic, and Armenian Apostolic.

The language there is Syriac. That is, you should not think this is a "syrian" church, in term of the actual nation of Syria. It is named after it's liturgical language. The book of liturgy, which was kindly gifted to me, has three columns: Syriac (with the Syriac alphabet), Syriac (with the Arabic alphabet), and Arabic. Quite fascinating.

Am working on figuring out the contours of the Lord's Prayer in Syriac right now. Then will move on to the Creeds, and then possibly (if I get that far) to the Great Thanksgiving.

People were friendly, and I got to meet the p…

The Pope on Islam and Evangelism

Pope urges 'firm, humble' dialogue with Muslims
Nov 10 2:16 PM US/Eastern

Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to engage in "firm and humble" dialogue with Muslims, in an address to bishops from Germany, which has a sizable Muslim minority.

Pope Benedict said Catholics should manifest their beliefs with the same conviction as Muslims, who "are attached with great seriousness to their convictions and their religious rites."

The pope, who will travel to mainly Muslim Turkey at the end of the month, said Muslims "have the right to our firm and humble witness for Jesus Christ."

Such dialogue "obviously presupposes a solid knowledge of one's own faith," he added.

Pope Benedict is to pay a four-day visit to Turkey, his first official trip to a Muslim country, starting on November 28.

The planned trip follows uproar across the Muslim world over remarks by the pope in September seen as linking Islam and violence.

From Breit Bart

Islam and Christianity in Europe

Great article here. I wish there were more info on Islam in Europe. I think the percentage of the population in Europe that is Muslim will increase greatly in the coming years.

Demography and Europe

Liturgy in a Middle Eastern Environment

A Selection from a Work in Progress (WIP)
by Abu Daoud

Before one embarks on the difficult task of evaluating, critiquing, and revising liturgy, it is important to answer two questions (at least): what is the purpose of liturgy? And, how does one evaluate the success of a liturgy?

The word liturgy is derived from the Greek and means the work of the people. The Greek word does appear in the New Testament a number of times. In Luke 1:23 it is in reference to the cultic duties of the Levitical priesthood at the Temple, specifically in reference to Zechariah father of John. It is used in 2 Cor. 9 in reference to the giving of the Corinthian church for the saints in Jerusalem. In Phil 2 Paul speaks of the ministry of the Philippian church to him as a leitourgias. And Hebrews 8:6 and 9:21 refers to the ministry of Christ in the heavenly Temple, of which the earthly Temple was only a shadow, as a liturgy. Thus the usage of the actual word is very diverse in the NT.

It has at once specific…

Book Meme

From my friend's blog at

DawnomitesDomain

The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

And I would have to add a 6. to that: don't include dictionaries and atlases, because those were the closest books to me:

Thus Aubrey Moore argues that evolution restored 'the truth of the divine immanence', which Deism had denied--but this led to a pantheistic reaction. In relation to these extremes, orthodox theism could be presented as reasonable, as 'the safegaurd of rational religion against deism and pantheism'. Another attempt to integrate evolutionary theory with previous Christian thought was made in this volume by J.R. Illingworth, who argued that 'the theo…

Islam and Victimhood

I found this post to be very englightening:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4953

It is true! The Muslim community understands itself to be unqiuely favored and priveleged before God. Moreso of course than communities of Christians or Muslims should be.

Thus the demand for ever-expanding rights will never cease. Even here in the Middle East where the national constitutions explicitly spell out inferiority of rights under Islam for those communities. And yet, there are many people who would like to see those limitations increased and the already-limited freedom of Christians further curtailed. Why? Allahu Akbar! God is great, thus the greater the humiliation of Christians and Jews, the more God is exalted.

Some Muslims don't agree with this, thanks be to God. But once you get to the core of the matter they will admit that Muslims should and must have superior rights and supremacy than others. That is how Islam has always been and will always be.

++Mich…

Meeting with a Mercenary

I met Stephen (Steven?) at XXXXXXXX, a restaurant-bar at one of the big hotels near our place. As I was forging through Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” (more on that later), I noticed that one of my neighbors was speaking with a decidedly un-Arabic accent and we started chatting. Following are excerpts from my rather long conversation with Stephen, a Scottish mercenary, who has just arrived from Baghdad earlier that day:

When I was in Angola, my troops and I would travel around from place to place. And these little kids would somehow find out where we were. They would come and set up camp outside of our camp—the oldest one of them must have been 12 years old. And there was one I liked especially, they called him Babba. I would sit him on my lap and give him good food from my plate. He must have been about two and a half. One day I noticed he was not there, so I called for him and did not find him. I went out into the brush—the…