Saturday, December 31, 2011

'December' by Gary Johnson


A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
           Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
           And are there angels hovering overhead? Hark.

"December" by Gary Johnson. Used with permission of the poet.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fr Seraphim on Prayer, a Coptic Orthodox perspective

The latest St Francis Magazine (Vol 7:5) has two articles from non-western folks, kudos to them for that (in addition to an interview with Fr Boutros, which I am not even including in my count).

One is a meditation on the meaning of prayer from Abouna Serphim al Baramousy, a Coptic Orthodox monk in Egypt. Here is part of his reflection, which I commend to all of you:

This relationship between the Bible and prayer is essential, for
prayer inspires the ability to fulfill the calling of the Bible. It unleashes
the words of the Scripture from limitations of paper and ink
by intangibly etching and inscribing them deeply into the real life of
man’s existence; for it is this calling in prayer which enables the Holy
Spirit to provide day by day from the Priceless Treasure which
Christ left us.

Read it all HERE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bob Blincoe interviews Fr Zakaria Boutros

The newest SFM (December) just came out. Has some great material in it. For instance, an interview with the famous (infamous?) Abouna Zakaria Boutros. (For those who may not know, ZB is probably the most important person in the 20th Century in terms of mission to Muslims, with the possible exception of Temple Gairdner. If you want to learn more read my article on him here.)

Anyway, Bob Blincoe (PhD, mind you), the director of Frontiers, one of the most influential and, you guessed it, controversial missionary agencies in the world, which focuses on unreached Muslim groups exclusively, interviewed him. And it is all there in SFM for your pleasure.

Check it out here: Bob Blincoe interviews Abouna Zakaria Boutros.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Response to Aijaz Zaka Syed at Foreign Policy Journal

I recently read an article by Aijaz at FPJ, which was commenting on the article by Pat Buchanan which I had recently critiqued. I posted this response at the FPJ site, and perhaps there will be a response. First, you do need to read Mr Syed's helpful article. And then my response, which follows:

Thanks for your thoughts on this Aijaz. I also wrote some comments on Pat's article at my blog.

I would first of all take issue with your characterization of Islamic society ruling the roost for 1000 years. So many of those accomplishments actually belonged to Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. The relatively few Muslims who did great things we often educated by non-Muslims. Once the dhimmis were properly subdued and educational power given mostly to Muslims, well, there were no more accomplishments.

But that is not my main point.

I want to propose that there is no Islamic order that can really fulfill the desires of the young people who ousted the various dictators. Let me say it like this: They want the benefits of Christendom without the Christianity of Christendom. There are great stories about the justice that flourished during the days of the rightly-guided caliphs, but if you read the Islamic material from those days you will find complaints about rampant immorality, not a great golden age of justice and progress.

You can't make a vibrant future of human rights and justice out of the worn fairy tales of past Islamic greatness. If the young people of the Middle East want a brighter future, then they must find another religion, or even no religion at all. Islam will never get them there.

And finally, RE Turkey, it is doing well because it was founded on an explicitly anti-religion basis. So please don't use that as an example of what Egypt or Libya might look like some day.

I would love to hear your response to this comment. Salam. كل عام و انت بخير

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pat Buchanan: The Year's big winner is Islam

Very interesting article here with some good background research. Here is a segment of it:

If demography is destiny, the future would seem to belong to Islam. 
Consider. The six most populous Muslim nations – Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Turkey – had a total population of 242 million in 1950. By 2050, that 242 million will have quintupled to 1.36 billion people. 
Meanwhile, Europe's fertility rate has been below zero population growth since the 1970s. Old Europe is dying, and its indigenous peoples are being replaced by Third World immigrants, millions of them Muslim. 
Yet there is another side to the Islamic story. 
In international test scores of high school students in reading, math and science, not one Muslim nation places in the top 30. Take away oil and gas, and from Algeria to Iran these nations would have little to offer the world. Iran would have to fall back on exports of carpets, caviar and pistachio nuts.
Not one Muslim nation is a member of the G-8 economic powers or the BRIC-four emerging powers – Brazil, Russia, India, China.
He then goes on to conclude (rightly, I think) that the new Islamist regimes will not be able to deliver the new jobs and freedoms that the revolutionaries wanted. And then, I think, he misses the point and fails to see where his argument is going in the long run. He starts asking questions about what will replace those regimes when they fail. I think the more interesting question is what will replace the European regimes when they fail? He gets the demographics right, and the logical conclusion is that Europe must start to perform poorly and be less educated, Europe must start to look more like the countries where its new population is from. France MUST look more like Algeria. Germany MUST look more like Turkey. The UK MUST look more like Pakistan.

When will this happen and how should other countries react to it--that is the real question, and it must be addressed sooner rather than later. It is more urgent than the question about the projected failure of the new Islamist regimes. These regimes will understand what they are doing as the will of God, and a god who doesn't make breaking a few eggs to make an omelet (worldwide Islamic hegemony, namely). They will hold on to power, and their ruthless reigns will not result any time soon in a new revolution, but in oppression and, guess what? More emigration to Europe, thus making the Islamization of that continent all the more pronounced. Cf Iran--massive emigration and a theocracy and no coupe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome to new readers from VirtueOnline

Dear Visitors from VirtueOnline,

My friend David Virtue recently posted a short article I had written on Iranian Christianity, which originally appeared here on this blog some time ago, he also included a link to my blog at his website.

For new readers, I update the blog once a week or so, not as often as I used to. But I have had this blog for a long time, so please do try searching for any topics of interest to you, like Anglican or conversion or Europe.

I also want to invite you to check out my own articles on several topics, which appear in a menu on the right hand side of the blog in a menu. Some of those are the journal St Francis Magazine, and some are just posted right here on the blog. Let me recommend Islam and Victimhood, Reformed Islam and Apostates of Islam to begin with.

For nerdier folks who would like to hear about my ideas on applying early church practice to contemporary mission to Muslims today, check out my three articles from St Francis Magazine on Mission and Sacrament (part 1, part 2, and part 3). Responses are always welcome.

Please do feel free to leave any questions. If you or your parish would like to get our prayer updates do let me know and we will find a way to do this in a secure manner. I am especially happy to be in touch with people discerning a vocation to the mission field today (and I mean foreign missions here).


Abu Daoud
abu_daoud [at] afm-us [dot] org

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Peter Berger on Modernity, great quotes

I have recently had the pleasure of reading Peter Berger's work on modernity. He is an astute critic and observer, I must say. I feel like Berger's material, which is sociology of religion as a discipline, is not a great deal more useful than all the lame evangelical material I've seen trying to relate the Gospel to late modernity (or post-modernity, as it used to be known). Here are some fine quotes from his book Facing up to Modernity: Excursions in Society, Politics, and Religion:

“…I am impressed by the intrinsic inability of the secularized world views to answer the deeper questions of the human condition, questions of whence, whither, and why.” (160)

“All the same, Christendom provided both a social-structural and a cognitive unity that was lost, probably irretrievably, upon its dissolution at the beginning of the modern age.” (171) 
“Could it not be that that ‘modern consciousness,’ far from being the pinnacle of man’s cognitive history, may rather be the result of an impoverishment of man’s grasp on reality?” (187) 
If there is going to be a renascense of religion, its bearer will not be the people who have been falling all over each other to be ‘relevant to modern man’.” (191) 
“Transcendence has been, shall we say, declared ‘inoperative’ by the major agencies that ‘officially’ define reality—the universities, the school system, the medical system, the communications media, and to some extent even the courts.” (202) 
“I believe that such a world view without transcendence must eventually collapse, because it denies ineradicable aspects of human experience.” (210)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Italy: Morrocan murders wife, suspects her of trying to convert to Christianity

Via bladna (Dutch):

Mohamed El Ayani (39), a Moroccan living in Brescello, killed his wife, Rachida Radi (35), since he suspected she was converting to Christianity.

The victim was killed with a hammer by her ex-husband, from whom she was divorcing. Once the investigation into her death is finished, her body will be flown for burial in Morocco.

Mohamed El Ayani turned himself in to the police shortly after the murder, holding his 4-year old daughter. He told the investigators his wife often went to chruch since she wanted to convert to Catholicism.

The city's mayor told Il Corriere della Sera that Rachida Radi most wanted to adapt to the customs of Italy. She performed small jobs for the parish to supplement her income.

Mohamed El Ayani came to Italy in 1995 and was revolted by his wife's and oldest daughter's wishes for autonomy He worked as a cleaner in Parma.

HT to Islam in Europe

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Lausanne World Pulse and the Early Church

I don't know if any single person has actually read my three articles on mission, sacraments, and learning from the early Church (aka, paleo-orthodoxy). Either way, here they are:

Part I
Part II
Part III

That having been said, I was very happy to see Lausanne World Pulse, one of the most influential magazines on evangelical mission, treat this great topic. From the most recent issue (December 2011), there is an article on prayer in the early church, and another on evangelism in the early church. Enjoy!

Evangelism and the Early Church by Jerry Root
Prayer in the Early Church by John Godson