Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shifting ground in Australia

Australia is undergoing a huge demographic shift. The numbers and trends in this article indicate an Australia that will be very different in 30 or 40 years. But it does not mean, necessarily, an Islamized Australia. Lots of the immigrants are from Vietnam and India. The former are not Muslims, the later may or may not be Muslims. What is clear is that Australia, in a few decades, will no longer be part of the West. That may not be such a bad thing, but meritocracy and rule of law will certainly suffer, as the country's Judeo-Christian foundations continue to erode.

Australia is undergoing its fastest population boom since the end of World War II, with a growth rate that peaked in late 2008 at double the world average – rather than where they are coming from.

“The angst is really about population growth above race or ethnicity,” says Ms. Betts. “Over the past couple of years Australians have really become pretty distressed about the rapid growth in immigration, particularly in the major cities. They see that infrastructure has not kept up. They see clogged highways, overcrowded hospitals, public transport under pressure, and rising housing costs and there is a lot of concern about that.”

From CS Monitor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ramon Llull: Muslims honor Muhammad more than Christians honor Jesus

I recently went on a one-day retreat to spend some time in prayer and reflection, and during that time I read (most of) Ramon Llull's mystical reflections in his Book of the Lover and the Beloved, can be downloaded HERE. It is about 50 pages long and contains a short introductory essay from one of the foremost translators and scholars of Llull, E. Allison Peers.

Most of the meditations (366 of them) are on the nature of love and how the love of God is tied to grief and tribulation. From time to time he gets autobiographical and addresses missionary topic explicitly, in terms of how he has traveled far and wide to defend the honor of his beloved's name, and also his disappointment with the mediocrity of the average Christian of his medieval day.

But there is one verse that explicitly mentions Islam, and I wanted to share that with you:

The Lover (Llull) reproached Christian people, because in their letters they put not the name of his Beloved, Jesus Christ, to do Him the same honour that the Saracens do to the false prophet Mahomet, when they honour him by naming him before everything in their letters. v. 149

Presumably he is referring to a custom of writing the shahada at the beginning of any official communication, which does indeed name Muhammad.

You can find some other of my posts on Llull here, here, and here. A list of all the links is here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Syrian bishop says government must crush the uprising

HT to Reflecting by the Shore.

By John Pontifex

The Syrian government must resist the uprising – and has the people's backing in quelling forces seeking "destabilisation and Islamisation" – according to one of the country's most respected Catholic bishops.

In a strongly worded defence of President Bashar al-Assad's response to the protests and instability, Bishop Antoine Audo accused the media including the BBC and Al Jazeera of "unobjective" reporting, unfairly criticising the Syrian regime.

The Jesuit, who is the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, went on to warn that if Assad's government was overthrown, it would cause widespread instability, a breakdown of basic services such as electricity, increased poverty and a drive towards Islamisation.

Speaking from Aleppo in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Audo said: "The fanatics speak about freedom and democracy for Syria but this is not their goal.

"They want to divide the Arab countries, control them, seize petrol and sell arms. They seek destabilisation and Islamisation."

"Syria must resist – will resist. 80 percent of the people are behind the government, as are all the Christians." [...]

Read the rest of it here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Patron Saint of Muslim converts to Christianity?

Ok, ok, so a lot of you don't believe in patron saints. The idea behind a patron saint is that certain saints have such an affection for certain kinds of people or people in certain situations that they intercede for the before God. If this is indeed the case, then Joseph, patron of travelers, has been interceding for me and my family for years. Also Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries. Also, Aquinas, who is a patron of scholars has been interceding for me. Lots of intercession there! Also, our city in the Middle East has a patron, and presumably that patron prays for us as residents of said city.

Which got me thinking--is there a patron for Muslims who convert to Christianity? I figured there was not, but that Bl Ramon Llull would make a fine patron, should he be recognized as a full-fledged saint some day (which he should).

But alas, it appears that there is a contender for Muslim converts to Christianity: St Casilda of Toledo (died c. 1050).

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Augustine: ...in love with love

I was looking for something to love, for I was in love with loving, and I hated security and a smooth way, free from snares.

-Augustine, Confessions 3:1.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Kenneth Cragg on Mission to Muslims

The question about mission can never be 'whether': it can only be 'how.'

2000. ‘Being Made Disciples—the Middle East’ in The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999. Kevin Ward and Brian Stanley eds. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Pp 120-143.