Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A professor of Muslim history, Denise Spellberg of the University of Texas, has described the book as "very ugly, stupid … soft-core pornography". Miss Jones can turn the other cheek.
The words of Anjem Choudhary, a one-time member of the extremist Islamist group al-Mujaharoun, are not so easy to brush aside.
Speaking after a firebomb attack on the home of the book's London publisher, he describes the novel as "an attack on the honour of Mohammed" and adds: "It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty." [...]
And then the last paragraph:
Isn't it time that moderate Muslims spoke out loud and long against the way a tiny minority of zealots can dominate the political debate and constantly depict Islam as intolerant and bigoted, when, in reality, those words apply only to its most extreme, blinkered adherents?
Lots of folks ask me if I've tried it. The answer is yes, I have. Once. Was it OK? It was OK and I ate everything on my plate. Did I love it? No.
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish.
There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The recent controversy over soap opera-style serials suggests that the Arab authorities, whether religious, tribal or political, are anxious about the extraordinary public reach of such muselselaat and their power to challenge accepted ideas or traditions.
Perhaps the best example is "Noor," the popular Turkish series that ran over the summer. The show violated Arab cultural taboos in a number of ways: besides having Muslim characters who drank wine with dinner and had premarital sex, a cousin of the male protagonist, Muhannad, had an abortion.
Perhaps more important, Muhannad treats his wife as an equal and supports her career as a fashion designer.
The show and the liberties it displayed prompted unusual condemnations from hard-line clerics throughout the Middle East, including Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Asheik, Saudi Arabia's leading cleric, who issued an instruction that Muslims should not watch it.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Most new converts have no access to fellowships. Like Samir in Kansas City, they are loners. Their sanctuary is cyberspace. Their stories, usually told anonymously, reverberate on websites like MuslimJourneyToHope.com and Answering-Islam.org. Samir helps manage the latter from his basement, tap-tapping words of counsel to Muslim seekers in closed countries. As an apostate, he's a target of fanatics—"I'd have beheaded you. Wait for your death; it will come from a source you don't know"—and a lifeline for isolated believers in America: "An ex-Muslim is always an ex-Muslim! I'll never get the new identity in Christ the Bible speaks of."
Samir knows this gridlocked psyche. Once a Muslim proselytizer and Sunni spy for Saddam Hussein, he's now a Christian missionary who also trains U.S. Army officers in Islamic culture. He is the only Muslim-background believer in his American church, but he is discipling a fellow Iraqi Christian who lost his gas station job when his Muslim employer learned of his conversion. "They are accustomed to community," Samir says, "but now they live on their own islands."
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Thank you for the response and the comments on the Latin liturgy for the ordination of a priest. May I ask what are the readings assigned for the liturgy?
A few comments though: the bishop’s sermon (or more precisely, the Cardinal Archbishop’s sermon) was not based on the homily which you commented on. Second, this was in context of a religious order, specifically the Dominicans. Is it possible they have their own liturgy for this occasion?
And finally, this sentence I find confusing: “By consecration [the ordinand] will be made a true priest of the New Testament, to PREACH THE GOSPEL, sustain God’s people, and celebrate the liturgy, above all, the Lord’s sacrifice.”
The words ‘above all’ entail that celebrating the Lord’s sacrifice (in the Mass) is a discrete act which can be separated from preaching the Gospel. I absolutely object to any such line of theological thought. The celebration of the holy Eucharist IS in its very essence and its most powerful form nothing else THAN the preaching of the Gospel. To divide the two has resulted in much unfortunate decline for the Roman Catholic church. The decision of Vatican II that all public masses must include a homily was a step in the right direction to redress this facile and foolish separation of the Word against the Word.
To separate the Word in the sacrament and the Word in Scripture is to divide a house against itself. The true natures of the two complement and complete each other. One is not higher than the other any more than one side of a coin is of greater value than the other.
“It is obvious that the defendant did not plot the murder and his actions came immediately after reading his sister’s confessions,” the court said, noting that the defendant benefits from a reduction in penalty because his sister was involved in extramarital affairs in return for money, which led to her divorce and “brought her family shame and disgrace”.
“Her actions hurt her parents, brothers and unmarried sisters’ honour and reputation and are considered by the court as dangerous and unlawful, especially to the defendant, since in our customs and traditions a man is valued by his sister’s behaviour and honour among his community,” the court ruled.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The Church in North Africa AD 200, p. 15, 16
Stuart Donaldson, 1902
Cambridge U Press
So next time you talk to someone who wants to go back to the pure, early church you can take them to the graveyard.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A few remarks. It was a beautiful service. The choir was excellent. The archbishop cardinal was there and while I don't know him seemed very engaged in the liturgy.
What did trouble me--and this is the Protestant part of my Anglican heritage coming out--was the scant reference to teaching, preaching, and evangelizing connected to the priesthood. The priest is given--if I recall--only articles related to the Mass. During the readings and the sermon there were only a few incidental mentionings of the connection between the priesthood and the ministry of teaching. This is why I like Luther: his focus on the integral connection between the ministry of the Word qua sacrament and the Word qua proclamation is brilliant.
This close connection is, of course, in theory present in the Latin church. But in practice--specifically in this conferral of Holy Orders--it was (almost) entirely absent. I was greatly troubled. This is especially poingnant when one considers that he is "OP", or Order of Preachers. The very foundation of his religious order is preaching, and it was not mentioned.
On the other hand, I have found that the Scots know how to do Presbyterian church very well--much better than any where in the US that I have visited. There, Presbys seem like they are trying to be non-denom and it ends up being a service without the emotional impact of a good non-denom service AND without the sense of majesty and tradition you would find with, say, a good Anglican service. Here though, I have been to two services in the last three days where they have done Presbyterianism very well. I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but I really liked it. (Passing around the bread and wine was lame though--why do they do that?) They preached very well--that was a pleasant surprise.
Anyway, reflections form a conflicted Anglican who is too Protestant to be Roman Catholic and too catholic to be 100% Protestant.
Friday, September 19, 2008
And we thine unworthy servants beseech thee, Most merciful Father, to hear us, and to send thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that, being blessed and hallowed by his life-giving power, they may become the Body and Blood of thy most dearly beloved Son, to the end that all who shall receive the same may be sanctified both in body and soul, and preserved unto everlasting life.
And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.
...“The mouse is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him,” he explained, adding that should a mouse come in contact with food, the food must be disposed of as the mouse is an impure creature.
“According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature,” al-Munajid said, adding that he was concerned that popular culture had given mice an undeserved positive image.
“How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?” he asked.
“Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice. Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It was a good day, really full and very tiring. Got to meet my DOS (Director of Studies) in person, finally, after being in touch with her by e-mail for months. We were all taken on a tour of the old and labyrinthine structure where folks study things like religion, church history, theology, and divinity. It was very good to meet other people in my specific program which focuses on Christianity outside of the Western world. One guy was interested in Japan, another in Zimbabwe, and so on. The building really is baffling. I mean I was totally lost. My favorite thing is that all the rooms are named after former professors and clergy except for one room, which is named, mysteriously, 1.07. There are no rooms 1.00 through 1.06, or to my knowledge any room >1.07. It just is. Room 1.07, I'll be spending a lot of time there this semester.
Near the end of the day I started getting nervous. That feeling you get when you think, Wow, I didn't think it would be this hard. But I guess that's to be expected.
One thing that was very cool: I was told I can attend any classes I want at all, in all the university, even outside the college. And I just go, I don't have to read or do assignments. How cool is that? So yeah, I'm salivating over 'sacraments in the post-modern world'. That's the name of one of the classes I'll be going to. Will also see what they have in terms of Arabic over the college that deals with that topic.
In the evening I had a very nice supper with Fr. Andrew of a local Anglican church, and really enjoyed our conversation. He was interested in our work in the Middle East and I heard about his life story and calling to the priesthood, and I really do love stories of how people discerned their calling to ordination. We meandered our way down to a local pub after a scrumptious dinner which he made with smoked fish, peppers, mushrooms, in a light gravy on rice. So we got to sample some of the local Scotch which I am learning is a wide and varied world of tastes and colors and so on. Such are the burdens of contextualized ministry!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
So I went to the BBQ the Catholics were having, and guess what, I had a really good time. I met one young guy who wants to become a priest, and two others who are thinking about it. In Scotland. You don't know how odd that is for Scotland. If nothing else this indicates that we have here a serious community of faith. And people were really welcoming. After the BBQ we went to a local pub and hung out and talked about sundry topics like Gaelic and Celtic languages, the monarchy, and Humanae Vitae. After that we went for a lengthy walk, and then got some food (fish and chips for me--still have not tried haggis, but I will) and went back to the Catholic student office, where some monks live, and had tea (at 9 pm).
One thing I lied was that when I said I was Anglican, they were like, "OK, hope you like the food and enjoy your time here and come back to hang out." As opposed to what I often get at evangelical groups (and let me say for the bazzilionth time that I AM EVANGELICAL), where I get the treatment of, "Isn't it nice the Lord has brought us this nominal Christian from a dead church so we can evangelize him?" I mean, that is born from good motives. But were I am emotionally and spiritually right now, I'm just not up for it. Sorry.
So I am one of the few Anglican members of the Catholic group. Praise be to God that his grace and love know no boundaries, even when we try to build them, he is greater.
Bad news from Britain:
Britain's Shari`ah courts, have finally been given the powers to rule on civil cases.
CAIRO — Britain's Shari`ah courts, which have operated for years in solving the Muslim community's legal disputes, have finally been given the powers to rule on civil cases.
"We realized that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts," Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, head of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, told the Sunday Times on September 14.
According to the daily, the government has quietly sanctioned the powers for Shari`ah courts to rule on cases ranging from marital and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence. [...]
Sunday, September 14, 2008
[A Muslim spokesman] has boasted that Muslims will one day conquer Britain — by having more BABIES.
Speaking at a rally marking 9/11, Anjem Choudary bragged that a birth explosion would let followers of Islam take control of the country.
Undercover Sun investigators secretly recorded Choudary telling a young and impressionable audience that they would eventually rule under strict Sharia law.
And our team listened in chilled silence as he predicted: “Islam is superior and will never be surpassed. The flag of Islam will rise over Downing Street.” [...]
And note that this man receives welfare from the government. In other words, the UK is actively funding the islamization of its own nation state. Stupid.
Read it all HERE.
It was quite exciting, yesterday, waiting for the shuttle at the airport and talking to other new international students arriving for the new semester. There was the American girl starting a masters in archeology who talked a lot bc she was nervous. There was French girl studying law who didn't talk because she was nervous. There was a really geeky young Italian guy starting his BS in Physics. I was the only guy starting work on a PhD, and I felt, let me say it, OLD. I mean, not really old, but older. But hey, I felt like that when I started studying for my master's degree, and that was like seven years ago. There was one other guy, a Korean-American from California, studying religion (same college as me), so that was cool, I might see him around.
You know you're in Scotland when you read a place name and think, wait--isn't that from a Tolkien novel? Have not tried haggis yet, but I will. This next week is set to be insanely busy with meetings, receptions, and the matriculation system which seems modeled after the Arab Bureaucratic Tradition, so I should get along just fine.
This morning I went to the local Roman Catholic church because a) I could walk there, and b) I really didn't feel like a long sermon. It is, by the way, the memorial day of Duns Scotus, and the Franciscan priest said he was hoping for the "Subtle Doctor's" canonization soon. The people there were really friendly and for such a secular land it seemed well-attended with a good number of folks from India and the Philippines as well as Scots, English, and a few folks from the Continent.
Salam bi ism irrab.
Abu Daoud, PhD candidate (assuming I can figure out the matriculation thing tomorrow)
Friday, September 12, 2008
Let's hope we see many more projects like this around the country. "Solid waste" is produced by ever human being in the world of course.
Some communities are using methane gas harvested from solid waste to power smaller facilities like sewage treatment plants, but San Antonio is the first to see large-scale conversion of methane gas from sewage into fuel for power generation, he said.
Following the agreement, more than 90 percent of materials flushed down the toilets and sinks of San Antonio will be recycled, he said. Liquid is now used for irrigation, many of the solids are made into compost, and now the methane gas will be recycled for power generation.
He describes a non-residential program for an accredited Doctor of Missiology degree which is done by research. You can check out the program over at Western Seminary.
And congrats to Pastor Geoff for starting his doctoral studies.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
1) HERE you can find pictures of the Chevy Volt, an electrical car from an American automaker (gasp!). Good for them. This is important because the West's addiction to oil absolutely binds our hands regarding political options. Example: Russia's recent foray into Georgia which has been met by--never mind, they have oil.
2) And HERE, a letter from the Catholic bishops of Denver publicly and clearly outlining Catholic (and catholic) teaching on abortion and telling Joe Biden he's wrong, why he's wrong, and why that's important. Wow, that sounds like prophetic ministry from bishops. Go Denver bishops.
3) And HERE we have a picture of the demographic decline of Hungary, which is now at about 1.35 children per woman, with emigration of young people, and plunging marriage rates. God save them.
Monday, September 08, 2008
I also thought her pastor's insight and ref. to Esther was very good. Good job Pastor Riley:
She needed spiritual advice in how to do her new job, said Riley, who is 78 and retired from the church.
"She asked for a biblical example of people who were great leaders and what was the secret of their leadership," Riley said.
He wrote back that she should read again from the Old Testament the story of Esther, a beauty queen who became a real one, gaining the king's ear to avert the slaughter of the Jews and vanquish their enemies. When Esther is called to serve, God grants her a strength she never knew she had.
Riley said he thought that Palin had lived out the advice as governor and would do so again as the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee.
"God has given her the opportunity to serve," he said. "And God has given her the strength to carry out her goals."
From the IHT.
Folks always say they want someone who can deal with the Islamic nations intelligently and who understands them. Someone like Palin who actually BELIEVES in her religion, unlike pseudo-Catholic VP nominee Joe Biden who supports abortion rights, is that kind of person. My experience indicates in a very solid way that religious Muslims respect religious Christians (who read the Bible and go to church weekly and fast and pray regularly) much more than they respect non-religious Muslims. Need I mention non-religious Christians?
Here, being religious is good.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
[...]In Kemayoran, a business district of high-rise offices near the city center, the Reformed Millennium Cathedral is set to open officially on Sept. 20. It will seat 8,000 and house a seminary, a university and a museum of Chinese porcelain.
Preacher Stephen Tong, a 69-year-old Chinese-born Indonesian, founded the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church in 1989 and says it took 16 years to persuade the central government to issue a permit to build the new church. In that time, hundreds of churches have been burned down by hard-liners across Indonesia, he estimates.
"I've built a bigger one" than all the destroyed churches combined, says Mr. Tong, who used to hold his church's meetings in a hotel. "I want it to be an image that Indonesia still has freedom of religion."
Mr. Tong acknowledges persistent problems, and Christians complain that in day-to-day life, President Yudhoyono, who faces re-election next year, has generally been slow to defend religious minorities. The police often turn a blind eye to Islamist violence against churches without security in poor parts of Jakarta and rural Indonesia.[...]
Saturday, September 06, 2008
...“That’s just it,” she exclaimed, as both her biography and her concern came pouring out of her. “I don’t know what I’m asking. Everything is in flux! I’ve gone to mosque every week. Everyone there always had answers. They told me they were God’s answers, and that if I didn’t accept them I would be damned. I’ve worn the hijab [the veil many Muslim women wear] since I was six. I’ve taught Arabic to small children so that they could read the Koran, and now I don’t want to take Arabic as my modern language in college! I’ve come to think of God and God’s place in my life in a whole new way. This course has convinced me that God is real and that God is in my life, but now I don’t know what to make of my religion.”[...]
Thursday, September 04, 2008
DAMASCUS, Syria (CNN) -- The Syrian government has put forward a six-point proposal outlining goals for furthering indirect talks with Israel, a senior Syrian government official said Thursday.
The Syrian government handed the proposal to Turkey to pass along to Israel, the senior official said. [...]
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Check it out here. One section:
Inconsistency with the Generous Qur’an: Many beliefs that Muslims hold are not actually consistent with the Book they hold so dear (I have found this to be no different than many “Christian” beliefs and the Bible). While it is my contention that God’s Messiah was not defeated by unbelievers, it is important to note that at least three times in the Generous Qur’an it is written that prophets and messengers of God were not only persecuted but also murdered.
Truth: What really happened? Ultimately Jesus was not murdered or crucified by the Jews or Romans. Rather Jesus laid down His life and took it up again in accordance with the divine will. Did they put him on a cross? Did he die? Yes and yes. But it was his choice to follow the divine will, not theirs. Therefore, he sacrificed himself.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent's Park Mosque in London - widely considered the most important mosque in Britain - I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.
What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? "We kill him," she says, "kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?"
Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death - and as for homosexuals, and women who "make themselves like a man, a woman like a man ... the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place".
These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. "This is not to tell you to start killing people," she continues. "There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough."
A young female student from the group interrupts her: the punishment should also be to stone the homosexuals to death, once they have been thrown from a high place.
These are teachings I never expected to hear inside Regent's Park Mosque, which is supposedly committed to interfaith dialogue and moderation, and was set up more than 60 years ago, to represent British Muslims to the Government.