Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, 3rd Ed. 1956 (2000). Oxford: One World. p 307.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
|Sharon's Christmas Prayer|
by John Shea
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars,
The baby was God.
And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.
The Cultivation of Christmas Trees (1954)TS Eliot
1 There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
2 Some of which we may disregard:
3 The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
4 The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
5 And the childish---which is not that of the child
6 For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
7 Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
8 Is not only a decoration, but an angel.
9 The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
10 Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
11 At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
12 So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
13 Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
14 So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
15 (Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
16 The expectation of the goose or turkey
17 And the expected awe on its appearance,
18 So that the reverence and the gaiety
19 May not be forgotten in later experience,
20 In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
21 The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
22 Or in the piety of the convert
23 Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
24 Displeasing to God and disrespectful to the children
25 (And here I remember also with gratitude
26 St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):
27 So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
28 (By "eightieth" meaning whichever is the last)
29 The accumulated memories of annual emotion
30 May be concentrated into a great joy
31 Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
32 When fear came upon every soul:
33 Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
34 And the first coining of the second coming.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
When radical Muslims claim the US has declared war on Islam, it smacks of mirror imaging. It is Muslims, not secular Americans, who view wars in a religious context and fight in the name of Allah, wrongly assuming the rest of the world is trapped in a similar mind-set.
From the CSM.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Jaffarian, Michael. ‘The Statistical State of the North American Missions Movement, from the Mission Handbook, 20th Edition’ in IBMR Vol 32:1, Jan 2008, pp 35-38.
Charles Amjad-Ali suggests that much of the difficulty faced by Muslim thinking today is because “Islamic political theory developed during the heyday of such an Islamic state with multi-cultural, social, national, and tribal affiliations, they have had difficulties with the ‘modern’ concept of nation-state for their emphasis has always been on state-nations, i.e. a single Muslim state encompassing the entire umma with many nations in it. […] So one of the greatest difficulties Islamic theorists face is how to deal among the Muslim states themselves as this falls outside the pale of their doctrinal structures” (Amjad-Ali 9).
Amjad-Ali, Charles. 1996. ‘Setting the Agenda: Contemporary Challenges to the Development of Theology in the Context of Islam’ in Developing Christian Theology in the Context of Islam, Christine Amjad-Ali ed. Rawalpindi: Christian Study Centre, pp 1-20.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
One of the Theban Martyrs who were converted by Egyptian Christians. Ammon, along with Ingenes, Ptolemy, Theophilus, and Zeno, were guards during the persecution of Christians in the reign of Emperor Decius. During the torture and trial of these prisoners, Ammon and his fellow guards were converted to Christ. They cheered the faithfulness of the Christians under torture and urged them to endure in their courage. As a result, Ammon and the others became prisoners. They were beheaded displaying the same Christian constancy.
HT to Catholic Online.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Have you thought about Tajikistan lately? Have you considered the possibility that God designed you and formed you in your mother's womb to be a light and witness to the peoples of this nation? If not, please discuss the topic carefully with God.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1) More workers
2) More collaboration: missions agencies working together
4) Prayer, Signs and Wonders, and Spiritual Warfare
5) Socio-political change: the fall of Communism, globalization, urbanization, the rise of Islamic governments and shari'a
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.
Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2314438#ixzz0ZJk3GLVL
The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
What was your first exposure to Christianity or Jesus or the Bible or any of those things?HT to Dar al Masih. Read more HERE.
Samira: Well, my first exposure was when I was six and had a vision of the Virgin Mary. And at the time I didn’t know who Mary was or who Jesus was or who Muslims were—I didn’t know anything about anything. I was in a mountain place, it was dark, I fell and I couldn’t get up. And there was this huge rock, this lady came from behind the rock, she was all in white, and she held my hand and picked me up and said that she was Mary. And when she held my hand something stayed with me and I just loved her and I asked my mother who she was and she said she was the mother of Prophet Jesus, as Muslims knew her. And I just knew since then that I wanted to be where she was which was the church. And then when I was nine I learned about St Bernadette, there was a movie called The Song of Bernadette and that is when I received my calling into ministry because I knew that my life belonged to the church. And that was the place to go to [inaudible]. And the interesting [thing] about that is I didn’t know anything about Jesus and—or the Bible. It was all the love of the church through the Virgin Mary.
Friday, December 04, 2009
From HERE. The main portion of the article is about the recent flooding in Jeddah, which doesn't even have a sewage system.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A 15-year-old Egyptian girl, Dina el-Gohary, has written an emotional appeal to President Obama asking him to use his influence to save her father, Maher el-Gohary, who is being persecuted for his beliefs. "Mr. President Obama, we are a minority in Egypt," Dina writes, according to a report from the Assyrian International News Agency. "We are treated very badly. ... We are imprisoned in our own home because Muslim clerics called for the murder of my father, and now the Government has set for us a new prison, we are imprisoned in our own country."
Dina and her father are Christian converts in a part of the world where conversion can mean death.
The Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East are among the world's greatest offenders against freedom of conscience. Religious liberty does not exist or is severely curtailed based on Shariah supremacy. Egypt is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which commits signatories to respect a variety of liberties, including religious freedom, but a court considering whether Mr. el-Gohary could legally change his religious affiliation ruled that Egypt was only bound to honor those provisions that did not contradict Islamic law, and "in the event of a contradiction, Shariah takes precedence."
Monday, November 23, 2009
The new contract, a goal for the current legislative period, will elaborate on what kind of support immigrants can expect from Germany, in addition to “what we expect from the immigrants,” Maria Böhmer told daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
“All who want to live and work here for the long run must say yes to our country,” she continued. “To this belongs proficiency in the German language, but also a readiness to take part in society.”
German values, such as freedom of speech and equal rights for women must also be recognised in the proposed contract, said Böhmer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.
Friday, November 20, 2009
MOSCOW — The Rev. Daniil Sysoyev, a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church who was known for promoting missionary work among Muslims, was shot and killed in his parish church late Thursday night, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Father Sysoyev, 35, died at a Moscow hospital of gunshot wounds to the head and chest, RIA Novosti said. The Web site of the Moscow patriarchate confirmed his death. The parish’s choir director was wounded in the shootings at the Church of St. Thomas by the unidentified assailant.
A Moscow Patriarchate official called Father Sysoyev a “talented missionary” whose work among Muslims, including Tatars, might have been the motive for the shooting. [...]
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Medieval Muslims were reluctant to travel to infidel lands. According to Islamic jurists Muslims should not stay for too long in the lands of non-Muslims if they cannot live a proper Muslim life there. Muslims had little knowledge of or interest in any Western languages. Only Italian had some currency for commercial purposes, but mainly involving Jews and Eastern Christians, especially Greeks and Armenians. Few Muslims knew any non-Muslim languages well, the knowledge of which was considered unnecessary or even suspect.
Consequently, the translators of Greek and other non-Muslim scientific works to Arabic were never Muslims. They were Christians of the three dominant Eastern denominations plus a few Jews and Sabians. The language of culture for these Christians was Syriac (Syro-Aramaic or Eastern Aramaic) and their liturgical language was Greek. The translators already knew the languages they were to translate. We do have examples of translators who traveled to Greece to perfect their skills, but they were Christians for whom Greek was already at least a liturgical language.
Abu Daoud says: the truth is that Muslims were very insular and unwilling to acknowledge that they had things t learn from peoples of other religions and cultures. From HERE.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Simply put, [the] building of churches in Egypt is almost impossible.
Ah, where is all that wonderful Islamic tolerance we hear about? Read it all HERE.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"When a lightly dressed, intoxicated woman gets in alone into a taxi, the starting point is that she's already sinned. A Muslim woman can't do that. Those who attacked and raped women in the street thought that they were within their rights. They saw an intoxicated woman without an escort. She's then considered fair game in some Muslim communities. And by their own perception, the men think that women have no value as witnesses in a criminal case," says Thorsen.
Well, Norway, you asked for it.
And also this, on rape in Oslo:
Q: You're saying that Norwegian girls are asking to be raped?
A: Not exactly asking, but when then go out almost completely naked and get completelydrunk in Frogner park or go to a party together with some friend, and then they complain about being raped? It's their fault, says the 26 year old from Somalia.
Q: But even if they go around lightly dressed and get drunk then they're certainly not asking to be raped?
A: No, but many of the foreigners aren't used to this where they come from. They're not accustomed that girls go dressed as they want, then maybe they interpret this a bit wrong, you understand?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Milton Viorst. 1994. Sandcastles: The Arabs in Search of the Modern World. New York: Knopf. pp 357-8.
Hmm, what do you think? Fair or unfair?
Louay Safi. 1994. The Challenge of Modernity: The Quest for Authenticity in the Arab World. New York, London: University Press of America. p 141.
Monday, November 09, 2009
If any church desires to be a spiritual home for those who come to Christ from Islam, a brotherhood, a spiritual garden, then it must have a very definite and well thought-out plan for teaching and training them in the Christian faith; and it must also, having determined its responsibility with regard to their human needs, be ready to shoulder the same. A church that makes this preparation in a spirit of thoughtful love, is already more than half-way to the ideal of being a home. A church that makes no such preparation, or whose preparation is ill thought-out, is making it that much harder for itself to be a home, indeed has not declared unmistakably that it thinks of itself as such.
WHT Gairdner, "The Christian Church as a Home for Christ's Converts from Islam", The Muslim World Vol. 14, p. 241.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Lord Sacks said: “Parenthood involves massive sacrifice of money, attention, time and emotional energy.
“Where today in European culture with its consumerism and instant gratification – because you’re worth it – where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born?
“Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying.”
“That is one of the unsayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.
“Albert Camus once said, 'The only serious philosophical question is why should I not commit suicide?’.
“I think he was wrong. The only serious philosophical question is, why should I have a child? Our culture is not giving an easy answer to that question.”
He added: “Wherever you turn today - Jewish, Christian or Muslim - the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families.
“The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians.’’
Discussing the popular secular idea that there are no absolute moral values, he said: “You cannot defend a civilisation on the basis of moral relativism.
The whole thing is HERE.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
The first generation of Muslims was a minority in the non-Muslim world it set out to conquer. For the Muslims, this created a sense of defensiveness and a fear of being overwhelmed by the conquered communities that persist today in spite of centuries of Muslim dominance. Even in modern secular Muslim-majority states, Islam and shari’a have such a hold on public perceptions that attitudes of contempt and practices of discrimination against non-Muslims are accepted as normal.
From this article by Patrick Sookhdeo.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
JAHILIYA, Yemen — More than half of this country’s scarce water is used to feed an addiction.
Even as drought kills off Yemen’s crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.
Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long.
Pray for Yemen. Without the power of the Gospel true freedom and wisdom will never come to this country.
Read it all here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Friends of Indonesia
Monday, October 26, 2009
But in making the opening to Anglicanism, Benedict also may have a deeper conflict in mind — not the parochial Western struggle between conservative and liberal believers, but Christianity’s global encounter with a resurgent Islam.
Here Catholicism and Anglicanism share two fronts. In Europe, both are weakened players, caught between a secular majority and an expanding Muslim population. In Africa, increasingly the real heart of the Anglican Communion, both are facing an entrenched Islamic presence across a fault line running from Nigeria to Sudan.
Where the European encounter is concerned, Pope Benedict has opted for public confrontation. In a controversial 2006 address in Regensburg, Germany, he explicitly challenged Islam’s compatibility with the Western way of reason — and sparked, as if in vindication of his point, a wave of Muslim riots around the world.
By contrast, the Church of England’s leadership has opted for conciliation (some would say appeasement), with the Archbishop of Canterbury going so far as to speculate about the inevitability of some kind of sharia law in Britain.
There are an awful lot of Anglicans, in England and Africa alike, who would prefer a leader who takes Benedict’s approach to the Islamic challenge. Now they can have one, if they want him.
At the same time, the more ecumenically minded denominations have lost believers to more assertive faiths — Pentecostalism, Evangelicalism, Mormonism and even Islam — or seen them drift into agnosticism and apathy.
Nobody is more aware of this erosion than Benedict. So the pope is going back to basics — touting the particular witness of Catholicism even when he’s addressing universal subjects, and seeking converts more than common ground.
Along the way, he’s courting both ends of the theological spectrum. In his encyclicals, Benedict has addressed a range of issues — social justice, environmental protection, even erotic love — that are close to the hearts of secular liberals and lukewarm, progressive-minded Christians. But instead of stopping at a place of broad agreement, he has pushed further, trying to persuade his more liberal readers that many of their beliefs actually depend on the West’s Catholic heritage, and make sense only when grounded in a serious religious faith.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Damascus Umayyads started discouraging their subjects from going on the
hajj pilgrimage. It is said that while in Mecca, the Syrian pilgrims would be
infl uenced by the oratory of Caliph Ibn al-Zubayr and give their oath of
allegiance to the Meccan caliph. Abd al-Malik feared that returning pilgrims
would challenge his political as well as religious authority. Many historians
report that Abd al-Malik was so frustrated by his inability to capture Mecca
and to lead the hajj that he built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as an
alternative to the Ka’aba in Mecca. Before Abd al-Malik, there is no record
of Muslims going to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but after he built the Dome
of the Rock, this site became a venue for Syrians to visit instead of Mecca
Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, by Tarek Fatah (2008, Wiley, p 169)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Pope has announced the formation of a new and rather innovative ecclesiastical structure for Anglicans/Episcopalians who are disappointed with all the wonderful developments in the West (women bishops in the UK, gay marriage in the US, church blessings of same-sex unions in Canada, you know). In a nutshell: Anglicans can become Roman Catholic AND retain their liturgy and hymnody and their married priests (to some extent, at least). That is a big deal. Hordes of evangelicals (like me) have left The Episcopal Church (USA) already. It is not unreasonable to think that a significant number of anglo-catholics (like me) will also leave now that communion with Rome AND retaining an Anglican identity is a very real option.
Anyway, the press release is HERE, as well as the best treatment of the underlying meanings of the document.
[And for those of you who are wondering if Abu Daoud & Co. are going that way, the answer is no. We don't live in the US or the UK, but in the Middle East. The Anglicans here don't do all those trendy things like gay marriage, so it's not a concern. And plus, like I have mentioned several times before, it would mean the end of our ministry here as Catholics don't support lay missioners. There are other reasons too, but that's just to start with.]
Monday, October 19, 2009
Twenty years ago, I think that most Sweden would have found it difficult to imagine that Islam would become Sweden's second largest religion, that Swedish artists who criticize or joke about Islam would live under constant death threats, that a dozen Muslim terror organizations would establish themselves in Sweden, that leading Muslim representatives would make demands about imposing Sharia laws in Sweden, that Swedish county councils would use taxpayer's money to circumsise fully healthy little boys, that Sweden would have the most rapes in Europe and that Muslim men would be highly over-represented among the perpetrators, that Swedish pools would introduce separate swimming times for men and women, that Swedish municipalities would consider introducing sex-segregated swimming classes in the schools, that the freezer sections in our grocery stores would offer ritually slaughtered meat while Swedish preschools would stop serving pork, that Swedish schools would introduce new vacations to celebrate the end of Ramadan while Church graduations would be banned in more and more schools and so forth.
All this is today a part of Swedish reality. The question is how it would look a few more decades from now, when the Muslim population, if the current pace continues, will multiply in size and many of Europe's major cities, including Malmö, would almost certainly have a Muslim majority.
The multicultural social elites might see this future as a colorful, interesting change for a Sweden and Europe, which all too often denies ever being 'Swedish' or 'European'.
As a Swedish Democrat I see this as our greatest foreign threat since WWII, and I promise to do everything in my power to change the trend when we go to the polls next year.
HT to Islam in Europe
Friday, October 16, 2009
Qutb, p 30
I cannot put my finger on it exactly, but there is something very "Decline and Fall of Rome"-ish about the trend of current events. In Rome, too, as things began to go downhill from its days of heroism and glory, the lawsuits multiplied (with results just as random and unpredictable as they are today), the troops were brought home to be safe as the barbarians made things rough on the frontiers, productive businesses were taxed and taxed to pay for the emperors' extravagances until people were put out of work, farms went fallow and food had to be brought in increasingly from greater and greater distances, and the citizens of Rome partied on as though there were no tomorrow.
No one at the top could bring themselves to describe the bad news as it was happening; instead, a few messengers who brought ill tidings were put to death. And so, guess what? Nobody brought any news to Rome about the barbarians advancing toward the gates, until it was too late.
What do you all think? Is the decline of the USA (and the West in general) like or unlike the decline of the Roman Empire? Specifically, how are the two different?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
40% of the students in the Antwerp municipal elementary schools (4,150) chose Islam as their religion class subject this year, according to data provided by the Antwerp alderman for education Robert Voorhamme (SP.A) upon request by Vlaams Belang.
According to Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang), by extrapolation, in 2012 a majority of the students in the Antwerp elementary schools will be Muslim. Voorhamme says this is an hypothesis. "People see a threat where there is none," says the alderman for education.
31.5% chose a non-confessional morals class (3,235 students) and 26.5% chose Catholic religion (2,751 students). Other religions (Protestants, Orthodox) were chosen by a small number of students.
In secondary schools, morals class is still more popular than Islam: 47.5% compared to 30.5%.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This is from the most recent issue of St Francis Magazine, p 12.
Mallouhi, Mazhar. 'Comments on the Insider Movement' in SFM Vol 5:5, Oct 2009, pp 3-14.
Mallouhi describes himself as a Muslim follower of Christ.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The kit allows a bride who is not a virgin to pretend that she is. A pouch inserted into the vagina on her wedding night ruptures and leaks a blood-like liquid designed to trick a new husband into believing that his wife is chaste. It's a wink of ingenuity to soothe a man's ego and keep the dowry intact.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
I believe that Botros is an example of contextualized ministry
par excellence. This might sound like a strange thing to say today
when contextualization and a non-polemical approach are seen as
inseparable. Au contraire. Contextual witness does not mean be-
ing nice, and it certainly does not mean refraining from criticism of
the Prophet of Islam or its book. What contextualization means is
that you are asking the questions to which people want to know an-
swers. A basic example of this is the now commonplace insight
that Arabs are more moved by honor-shame questions than inno-
cence-guilt ones. That is context. And Abouna does this very
well: Muslims want to know about Muhammad, the shari’a, the
ahadiith, and so on. They want to know how Islam can (or cannot)
be al haal, the solution, as other great Egyptians have argued (Al
Banna? Qutb?). And Botros is uniquely prepared to address these
questions: for one, his Arabic is excellent, which might not mean a
lot to people who have not studied the language, but understand
that classical Arabic and common Egyptian Arabic are about as
close to each other as Latin and modern Italian. (OK, maybe that’s
a little bit of a stretch, but not much.) His skills in Arabic permit
him to delve into the copious volumes of traditions about the life of
the Prophet and Islamic shari’a. Egypt asks Zakaria: in what way
can Islam be the solution? Zakaria responds: this is the life of the
Prophet and the law of Islam; you make your own decision.
Read it all at SFM:
Abu Daoud, 'Observations on Abuna Zakaria Botros (and a Book Review)' in St Francis Magazine, Vol 5:5, Oct 2009, pp 93-8.
Monday, October 05, 2009
By Adnan Shabrawi
JEDDAH – A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus. The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all night long. The girl claimed that she became pregnant soon after and went to King Fahd Hospital for Armed Forces in an attempt to carry out an abortion. She was eight weeks’ pregnant then, the hospital confirmed. According to the ruling, the woman will be sent to a jail outside Jeddah to spend her time and will be lashed after delivery of her baby who will take the mother’s last name. – Okaz/SG
Sunday, October 04, 2009
As he entered, a vespers service was under way. Maybe two dozen worshipers stood, chanting psalms and hymns. Incense filled the dark air. Icons of apostles and saints hung on the walls. The ancientness and austerity stood at a time-warp remove from the evangelical circles in which Mr. Oren traveled, so modern, extroverted and assertively relevant.
“This was a Christianity I had never encountered before,” said Mr. Oren, 55, a marketing consultant in commercial construction. “I was frozen in my tracks. I felt like I was in the actual presence of God, almost as if I was in heaven. And I’m not the kind of person who gets all woo-hoo.”
Read it all at IHT.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I heard the claim from one European reader that “The Arab world invented the zero, and it’s been downhill ever since.” This is false, but unfortunately not an uncommon mistake. Our numeral system dates back to India during the post-Roman era, but it came to Europe via the medieval Middle East which is why these numbers are called “Arabic” numbers in many European languages. Yet even Muslims admit that they imported these numerals from India. Calling them “Arabic” numerals is this therefore deeply misleading. “Hindu-Arabic” number system could be accepted, but the preferred term should be “Indian numerals.”
Read it all here.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution that overthrew Communism in Czechoslovakia, the pope is visiting what many religious observers, unfairly or not, consider the ground zero of religious apathy in Europe. Vatican officials said that he had chosen the Czech Republic for a mission central to his papacy: fomenting a continentwide spiritual revolt against what Benedict labeled Saturday as “atheist ideology,” “hedonistic consumerism” and “a growing drift toward ethical and cultural relativism.”
Friday, September 25, 2009
Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State
Wiley, 2008, pp 78, 79
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The problem? Clement, a disciple of Paul and bishop of Rome, writing around the year 100AD, makes the connection explicitly himself:
1 Clement 40 -- LET US PRESERVE IN THE CHURCH THE ORDER APPOINTED BY GOD.
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable to Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In the eschatological imaginaire of medieval Islam, punishment of Muslims in the other world is thus conceived of as a real threat. There is a tangible fear of becoming the target of divine acts of violence after death. This is not an ever-present fear, perhaps, but rather, a nagging suspicion that things might go terribly wrong after all. (p 160).
It is interesting to note that, despite their ugliness and general nastiness, the gaolers of hell are angels. They are, as it were, on the side of power. In a sense, they are agents of God's siyasa, His terrifying but ultimately just use of punishment. (p 163)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
And has not He made Britain and America great in [merchant] ships for this end? Let our rich merchants beware of boasting that the arms of their own skill and enterprise have done all this. God has assuredly done it, in order, among other things, to provide means and afford facilities for the setting up of his Kingdom. But it does not follow from this that the missionary is to be, in any sense, an auxiliary to the trader.
p 77, The Heathen World and the Duty of the Church
Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot 1863
Most European elites, though, have not debated seriously the potential effects of introducing into this land of postmodern chatter millions of devout believers in another religion, one previously seen as antagonistic to European culture. As Mr. Caldwell says, Europe's elites seem hardly to have considered that the ethical views they pride themselves on have little meaning when divorced from Christian origins.
Many Europeans are determined to defend their values— witness France's ban on headscarves in schools—but it is hard to defend what you cannot define. "There is no consensus, not even the beginning of a consensus," Mr. Caldwell writes, "about what European values are." When the Netherlands decided not long ago to try to define its values and inculcate them in prospective new residents, it ended up producing a ghastly naturalization packet that included a video that featured "gays expressing affection in public, and bare-breasted women on the beach." Welkom, immigrants!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
"Upon landing in the U.S. after speaking at a conference in Poland, I noticed that the first picture welcoming international visitors to the U.S. at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) was of two Muslim women wearing the hijab. The photo also portrayed a mosque and the crescent as a symbol for Islam. I have noticed on other visits to the airport that the same photo is in the same position: Window A1 of the immigration hall, where the travelers show customs officials their documentation. I have checked the other pictures in the hall to see if other religions are also represented in the same manner. To my surprise, there are none. The ONLY religious symbols that exist in such a manifest manner are the Islamic ones. This situation raises an important question: why don't the airport authorities acknowledge other faiths as well? If the answer is that Muslims are a minority, then why doesn't acknowledge the other religious minorities?"
From this author, the quote is HERE.
Friday, September 18, 2009
And when coming together on the Lord's own day, break bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions. In that manner, your sacrifice will be pure. And do not let anyone coming with a quarrel against a brother join you until they get reconciled, in order that your sacrifice is not impure. For this has been spoken of by the Lord, "in every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King," says the Lord, "and My name is wonderful among the nations." (Didache 14:1-3)
There is no interstice between 100 AD and the Apostolic period. The Gospel of John was probably taking its present form at the time and, according to some scholars, 2 Peter had not yet been written.
The Apostolic Church called the eucharist a sacrifice and had no problem with that sort of language.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My wife made some cookies and I went out today to visit three groups of friends to give them a plate of cookies as a Ramadan gift, along with a nicely printed Sermon on the Mount in Arabic.
Please say a prayer for the people who received this. We have known them all for some time and have good relationships with all of them.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The important thing here is that Qutb is correct in finding the Western category of 'religion' as shallow and false. --AD
Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, p 76.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Only a handful of demonstrators showed up — and they were vastly outnumbered by Muslims coming to defend the mosque.
Police hustled the protesters away from the angry crowd. But television footage showed Muslim youths racing through the streets shouting "Allahu Akbar!", waving Islamic banners and throwing projectiles at riot police. Scotland Yard reported 10 arrests.[...]
AD says: wait, so the police rushed the handful of demonstrators away? Um, why? Shouldn't they protect them from the angry crowd?
Friday, September 11, 2009
1) A sure salvation
3) A Holy Book: the power of the Bible
4) Then you will know the truth (Christianity teaches the truth about God, humanity and ethics)
5) Dreams and vision
6) The love of God manifest in Christ and the Church
7) I have called you friends: relationship with God
8) Persecution (both being persecuted and seeing others persecuted)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Conversion growth is where you find quite a contrast. According to figures presented in the 2000 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia, each year some 950,000 people convert to Islam from some other persuasion. Christianity, by contrast, sees some 2.7 million each year shift their affiliation to Christianity and presumably their allegiance to Christ from some other religion.
(Woodberry and Shubin 2001)
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Surah 5 is named after Jesus' miracle of providing "a table laden with food" (Surah 5:112-114). From the Qur'anic narrative it is not clear whether it is the story of the last supper or the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:34 ff; 14:12ff). Some Muslims relate it to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11). However the Qur'anic reference says that this occasion was "to be to us a festival". The word Eid is used, which is applied also to Islamic festivals, and so this would be appropriate for the Lord's supper, which many Christians celebrate every first day of the week also known as the Communion.
Some Muslims think that a real table came from heaven and it stayed with Jesus and his disciples for three days and then was taken into heaven. Another version says that there was no table from heaven. It was Jesus who multiplied the bread. They refer to the feeding of the five thousand (Tabari commentary on 5:112-114). Some Sufi mystics believe that the table symbolised the truths of mystical knowledge, the nourishment of the spirit.
The central message of biblical Christianity is the possibility of men and women approaching God through the work of Christ. But the message also has secondary results, among them the unusual and wide freedoms which biblical Christianity gave to countries where it supplied the consensus. When these freedoms are separated from the Christian base, however, they become a force of destruction leading to chaos. When this happens, as it has today, then, to quote Eric Hoffer (1902--), 'When freedom destroys order, the yearning for order will destroy freedom.'
At that point the words left or right will make no difference. They are only two roads to the same end. There is no difference between an authoritarian government from the right or the left: the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will not go on to chaos. And most people will accept it--from the desire for personal peace and affluence, from apathy, and from the yearning for order to assure the functioning of some political system, business, and the affairs of daily life. That is just what Rome did with Caesar Augustus.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
What we have here is Llull arguing from his fundamental premise, which is at the heart of his epistemology and missional theory: allahu akbar. God is greater. Since love and power and glory and truth are all related to each other, and the Christian understanding of God yields the most loving God, he is also the most glorious God. The Christianity as a religion concords with the this most glorious (and loving) God. Allahu akbar.
...these defeatist-type people try to mix the two aspects and want to confine jihaad to what is today called 'defensive war'. The Islamic Jihaad has no relation to modern warfare, either in its causes or in the way it conducted.
He chalks it up to a bunch of pseudo-Muslim scholars and orientalistis--this terrible plot to redefine Islamic jihad to deprive it of such an important element and tool.
He also begins to touch on takfiir, which is an important aspect of the spirituality of al qaeda type gorups today. The doctrine is that anyone who is no following true Islam, even if they say they are a Muslim, are not. Such a person practicing an incomplete or incorrect Islam is a hypocrite and an apostate, and apostates should be killed. Thus the taking of the lives of all those fake Muslims (ie, the government of KSA, American and British soldiers who are Muslims, Iraqi police officers, etc.) is not a violation at all of the command to not kill Muslims. They are all unbelievers, they are mukaffariin, excommunicated ones, by their own incomplete allegiance to God and his law.
Anyway, Qutb is quite clear on the question of violence, and it boils down to this: it is lawful and obligatory to use violence to overturn all form of government that are not truly Islamic (by his standards), which means probably every government in the world today.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
And if you want to see my other stuff on Llull just type in LLULL in the search box for this blog. You'll get some comments and quotes and so on.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
I read the first chapter today and a few things caught my attention:
His view of the first generation of Islam is totally unrealistic. After the death of Muhammad tons of Muslims left (or tried to leave) Islam, and it was only after being 'convinced' (beaten in battle) that they came back to the fold.
I found his extensive concern with the scientific and military power of the West interesting. He says basically that the Muslim world won't catch up, so it has to offer something of a totally different category. For him that is the life-giving values of Islam. (And genuine freedom, but that's for another post.)
He also reminds me a little of Jospeh Smith with his ridiculous "the church disappeared from 100 AD through 1840 or so" thing. Qutb actually does not say that Islam has been polluted. He says that it has disappeared. It's not that the Ummah needs to be reformed. It's just gone. Pretty strong medicine.
So what is the project? To purify a community which will drink only from the clear streams of the Qur'an (and nothing else) and form a vanguard (how European of him!) that will demonstrate in some Muslim country the glory of Islam. And when people see this community with its blessings and live-giving properties, they will adopt the same kind of life style.
"...the beauty of this new system cannot be appreciated unless it takes a concrete form. [...] In order to bring this about, we need to initiate the movement of Islamic revival in some Islamic country." (p 11)
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
In August of 2008 Fatima bint Muhammad al Matayri of Saudi Arabia was martyred--burned to death by her brother who also cut her tongue out. She was 26. I have a PDF file with some of her writings, both in English and Arabic, and some other background info. It is pretty short, but very powerful.
If I were Catholic I would work for her canonization. Heck, maybe as an Anglican I'll do it anyway. But if anyone would like the PDF file (about 1 MB) e-mail me. winterlightning [@+] safe-mail [d0t] net.
Salam u Ramadan Mubaarak,
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Sharkey, Heather J. 'Arabic Antimissionary Treatises: Muslim Responses to Christian Evangelism in the Modern Middle East' in the International Bulletin for Missionary Research, Vol 28:3, July 2004, pp 98-104.