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My Letter to the Pope

Hi All,

Well, I'm not sure he'll every actually read this, but I thought it was worth writing. My letter to the Pope on the topic of Catholic witness to Muslims can be downloaded at St Francis Magazine's website. Or just click HERE for the PDF.

Here is a sample:

The first reform I suggest is regarding Holy Scripture. One of
the most recurrent themes in conversion narratives of Muslims is
the reading of the Bible. Yet how many hundreds of thousands of
emigrants live throughout the West without access to the bible in
their own language? What if parishes in areas with significant
immigrant populations were told they had to have bibles available
in those languages--perhaps Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Pashto, Turkish,
or something else? What if each sleepy Catholic parish became a
de facto source of distribution of Scripture? I am not talking about
proselytism, or even evangelism.

Please pass this on or link to it on your blog or website, especially if you are Catholic. Catholic mission to Muslims…

The first modern Persian MBB martyr

The Presbyterians soon recognized that their plan to have Nestorian Christians evangelize their Muslim countrymen was not working. They then turned their own efforts in this direction, and small numbers of Muslims in Azerbaijan, Arāk, Khorasan, Tehran, and Gīlān did join the Presbyterian church. Indeed, the first Persian Christian martyr of modern times was Mīrzā Ebrāhīm of Ḵᵛoy in western Azerbaijan, a convert from Islam. The mullas tried to make him recant, offering him a comfortable place in one of their shrines, but he refused. After his wife left him, taking with her his children and his property, he was arrested and imprisoned in Tabrīz. When he began preaching to other prisoners he was segregated, and he finally died in prison in 1297/1880 (Elder, pp. 47-49).

From the Encyclopeadia Iranica.

Papal Mass in Glasgow

Because I have some Catholic friends in Scotland, and I happened to be in the UK at the time, I was able to make the papal mass today. It was inspiring in several ways. First, the sermon (which I have not yet found transcribed online) contained some direct challenges to the people present, in terms of not buying the world's narrative of success (sex, money, drugs, porn, fame, etc.), but rather invesitng in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (How evangelical is that!)

Second, one of the hymns actually contains the explicit phrase, 'justified by faith.' Which I loved. Why be afriad of this phrase? This bishop recognizes that there is nothing unbiblical or indeed un-Catholic about this phrase. He embraces it.

Finally, most of the liturgy of the word was in Latin, which I much appreciated, though it surprised me.

May God giver this pastor success during the rest of his sojourn in this United Kingdom.

--AD

A Coptic Christian on Islam in America

Using America's freedom of religion for the establishment of a religion that holds steadfastly to cutting off freedom of religion and freedom of speech in both principle and practice places the religion of Islam in direct contradiction with the American way of life. American secular culture, informed with Judeo-Christian principles, is heading on a collision course with its foreign antithesis, a culture I am all too familiar with.

Ashraf Ramelah, here.

Ugh

Sometimes this kind of work is discouraging. Just so you have an idea of how the economy affects everyone, a church (our largest supporter) just notified us that their support for our ministry will decline by 50% beginning next year. That means a pay cut of $800/month. That may not seem like a whole lot, but to us it is. Put that together with the fact we have a baby due early next year, and, well, you get the picture.

In other news, I am off to Scotland later this month and will be there for about two months, working seriously and (let's hope) productively on my dissertation.

Your prayers are coveted. Oh yeah, and I'll be at the Papal Mass.

Of Mosques, Churches and Spanish history: Suigenocide

As noted in Andrew Bostom's essay debunking the just-can't-shake-it myth of Islamic "tolerance" in Muslim Spain, by the middle of the 8th century, the cathedral in Cordoba dedicated to Saint Vincent had been "converted" to a Muslim mosque. However, as 19th-century scholar of Muslim Spain (and Islamophile) Reinhart Dozy writes, this was "clearly an act of spoilation as well as an infraction of the treaty" between Cordoba Christians and the invading Arab Muslims.

All the churches in that city [Cordoba] had been destroyed except the cathedral, dedicated to Saint Vincent, but the possession of this fane [church or temple] had been guaranteed by treaty. For several years the treaty was observed; but when the population of Cordova was increased by the arrival of Syrian Arabs [i.e., Muslims], the mosques did not provide sufficient accommodation for the newcomers, and the Syrians considered it would be well for them to adopt the plan which had been carried…

Response to Question at Circumpolar

Over at the blog Circumpolar, which I enjoy reading from time to time, there is an interesting discussion about words like contextualization, syncretism, and the question of Muslim followers of Jesus (some of whom would not call themselves Christians). A reader sent me two questions on my comment, and I wrote this is response. It's too long for their comment section, so I'm posting it here. --AD

1. Could you please define how you are using the words "contextualization" and "syncretism" here?

I am using a different definition of contextualization, and I think that it also the meaning that is being used by the seven self-church. The original meaning of contextualization was an extension of indigenization and was understood to be something carried out by the local believers, not by missionaries. Of course missionaries do indeed need to adapt aspects of their communication, that's not new at all. But the actual work of contextualization is primarily the prero…