Friday, December 31, 2010

Religious freedom as the path to peace

Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. To deny or arbitrarily restrict this freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person; to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust, inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family.

--Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The UK: A bold leader in the Islamization of Europe

Wow. Check out these numbers! Amazing.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that there are 2,869,000 Muslims in Britain, an increase of 74 per cent on its previous figure of 1,647,000, which was based on the 2001 census. No demographic statistics are reliable in an era of open borders, but such an expansion is unprecedented.

Read the whole article here.

Damian Thompson, commenting on this, rightly asks about the future of women's rights in the UK. Also, we need to acknowledge that the future of gay rights is very dark. How many children do gay couples produce? How many children do liberal couples produce? Many fewer than Muslims do. Also, as countries like Pakistan and Yemen continue to disintegrate look for the numbers of asylum seekers to increase. And then there's always 'family reunion', which is ridiculous (both in the UK and the US). Anyway, demography and immigration make it certain: the future of Western Europe is Islamic.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Dear Readers,

Will you please stop and say a prayer for my new daughter? She was just born yesterday and is in intensive care due to difficulty breathing. Please pray for her healing and for God to be with our family during this difficult time.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Glorious Servants

One thing that is interesting about back in the sending country (note that I don't say being back home, I don't consider this home), is that you find rare people who really become your cheerleaders.

Like there is one old lady at a local church which is rather large and wealthy and she always gets our prayer requests and tries to get us an entrée to speak about our ministry in the ME, and yes, raise funds. She does not seem to be particularly dynamic in her personality, her emails don't end with dramatic Christian sign-off's like 'in Him' or whatever (not that I dislike those), and she doesn't appear to have a very deep knowledge of mission or the Bible or theology. But she is a big supporter, not in terms of her own funds, but in terms advocacy. Without people like her our work would not be possible.

The last six years have been extremely difficult. I sometimes wonder why I'm putting my family through all this. It is encouraging to find people like this unassuming, glorious sister who partner with us by using the resources they have at hand.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Palestine not good to Arab Christians

From Christian Arabs under the thumb of the PA, I have heard testimony of forced marriages of Christian women to Muslim men, death threats against Christians for distributing the Bible to willing Muslims, and Christian women intimidated into wearing traditional ultra-modest Islamic clothing. Churches have been firebombed (most recently in Nablus, Tubas, and Gaza when the Pope made his controversial remarks) and/or shot up repeatedly. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

Under the Palestinian Authority, whose constitution gives Islamic law primacy over all other sources of law, Christian Arabs have found their land expropriated by Muslim thieves and thugs with ties to the PA's land registration office. Christians have been forced to pay bribes to win the freedom of family members jailed on trumped-up charges. And Arabs -- Christians and Muslims alike -- have been selling or abandoning homes and businesses to escape the chaos of the PA and move to Israel, Europe, South America, North America, or wherever they can get a visa.

From HERE: 'A Christian-free Holy Land' by Justus Weiner.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kathryn Kraft on converts from Islam and community

The most recent issue of St Francis Magazine (volume 6:6) just came out. You can browse the contents here. I am particularly interested in Kraft's article entitled 'Faith is live out in community: Questions of new community for Arab Muslims who have embraced a Christian faith'. You can DL the entire article HERE. And of course you can download the entire volume 6:6 HERE. I have been busy (extremely busy) with many other things, so I have nothing in this issue of SFM, alas.

Kraft makes some great points, based on real field work, and not just hearsay and anecdotes, which makes her research all the more valuable in my sight. For example:

As the number of converts in a region grows and the group also grows, a different set of challenges presents itself, and enthusiasm and commitment can decrease as people become more anonymous. There is often a subsequent loss of cohesiveness (Pitchford, Bader and Stark 2001:385-386). One man, who is one of the most experienced known converts in the city where he lives, has seen the number of converts grow from almost none to a group that is too large to keep together. He
sees that there is good in having different groups for different types of people, but also misses the cohesiveness that he felt when there were few converts [...]

A Prayer of St John Saba: O Christ, Treasure of all Goodly Things