Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmastide: the true meaning, according to John Wright

I really liked this post by John Wright, sci-fi author extraordinaire and ABRC (atheist-background Roman Catholic).

I always had to tell Daoud and the family that Christmas doesn't start until the 25th, because before that it is Advent. Stinkin' pagan America. (Speaking of which, we're back in the USA for the time being.)

Anyway, check out John's informative and funny summary of what Christmastide really means. Here is a section to get you going:
So what are the Twelve Days? And why are there Thirteen of them? I have not been able to find easy to hand a list of the Twelve Days of Christmas for 2011-2012. Here is my own list I have gathered from various sources:
Christmas: December 25th–The Nativity of Our Lord
December 26th—Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr
December 27th—Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist
December 28th—Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
December 29th—Memorial of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, bishop and martyr
December 30th—Feast of the Holy Family
December 31st—Memorial of St. Sylvester I, pope (in Eastern Church, this is the Apodosis, or final day of the Afterfeast)
January 1st —Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 2nd —Memorials of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors
January 3rd —Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
January 4th —St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5th —Memorial of St. John Neumann, bishop & St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr
January 6th —Epiphany (traditional)
I liked this part:
The Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury is an optional memorial. The traditional celebration I think is to drink cider and stab a bishop to death in an English cathedral.

The Feast of the Holy Family is the 30th of December this year. (The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday following Christmas, unless that Sunday is January 1st.) I am not sure what the tradition is on this day, either uprooting your family because of a bad dream and fleeing to Egypt or else getting your twelve-year-old lost in Jerusalem and not noticing he’s missing for the whole day.
 But read it on your own. At John's Blog.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Former Muslims United (USA)

I was aware that various councils or groups for ex-Muslims existed in Belgium and the UK and some other countries in Europe, but behold, there is one in the USA as well. On their Mission Statement page they list, among other things, the following goals:
1. Develop a legal framework for and ensure the civil rights of American individuals and organizations to provide sanctuary for former Muslims without being subject to legal penalties or threats.

5. Educate the American public, especially politicians and those in the U.S. legal system, of Islamic law’s encouragement of extra-judicial enforcement or vigilante street justice against apostates who are subjected to serious death threats in America and from abroad.  Denial is a common reaction by many Muslim leaders to those who warn about clear-cut laws in all Islamic legal schools of Sharia.  As a matter of fact, Islamic law states that it is permissible to lie to non-Muslims to accomplish a Sharia-sanctioned objective.  Thus, since killing apostates is a Sharia-sanctioned objective, misleading Western publics is permissible and practiced regularly.  This point must be clear to the public in order to understand the extent of the threat and the disingenuousness of the public response by Muslim advocates of Sharia.
God bless them in their efforts! Learn more about them HERE.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Responding to Marc Cortez and the poor situation of Theology PhD's

Marc Cortez recently posted on the dismal job prospects of folks who have recently received a PhD in Theology (HT to Phil Sumpter). Here is a portion of his post, just so you get what he is getting at:
In 2008 ATS schools hired 420 new faculty. In 2009 they hired 339. By 2010 the number was down to 226. That’s an almost 50% decrease in just two years.
That becomes a problem when you consider the number of new PhDs produced every year. ATS schools alone graduate over 400 new doctoral students every year. Add in the students graduating from non-ATS schools (including all of the overseas programs) and you begin to see the shape of the market.
I felt that his post was interesting and worthwhile. Here is the comment I posted on his site:
I just am wrapping up a PhD in divinity (close enough, no?) and am very content working as a missionary to Muslims. I teach on the side at a local university but that is not my main job or main source of income. Consider the mission field. It is wonderful and dynamic, trying and exhilarating. Even if I got an offer for a T[enure] T[rack] position I would not automatically take it.
So check out his blog post, and chime in with your own thoughts. My overall impression is we need a closer relation between theological training and mission, like back in the maligned medieval Church, which I rather like.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pray for Evangelistic Meeting in Egypt

Christians in Egypt are gathering together for a large evangelistic meeting, and expect opposition from the religion of peace.
“The Holy Spirit is working mightily in Egypt,” said Jerry Dykstra, the media relations director for Open Doors. “There is revival and many coming to Christ. Yes, there are many dangers for Christians, especially from the Muslim Brotherhood extremists. But for decades we have seen that in times of great persecution, the Gospel is preached and people turn to the Lord.”
Read about it at Maghreb Christians.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sermon on Christian Witness and Evangelism

Nice sermon here on the Gospel and witness to Muslims. Check it out:


Camel urine, your health and Yemen

Drinking camel urine is an Islamic remedy that comes from the Prophet himself. It is alive and well today in Yemen:
Bottled urine from the desert animal can be found throughout the Old City, with at least five shops selling the item for an average of YR300 ($1.40) per 750 ml. bottle    

Rumored, but not scientifically proven, to offer health benefits for a number of ailments, Yemenis as well as those across Gulf have been consuming the animal urine for centuries. 

“I drink a cup of camel urine every morning,” said 67-year-old Um Aziz, an Old City resident. 
Read more about it here, and keep the people of Yemen in your prayers, that the light of Christ might shine upon their land and that many would come to faith.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sad News

Recently got news that two of our supporting churches are dropping us. Makes the heart sad. Nothing personal, just changing missionary strategies or something like that... Please pray that others would step in to make up for the loss.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Myth of Muslim Tolerance in Spain

Great article at the New English Review titled 'The Myth of the Golden Age of Tolerance in Medieval Muslim Spain' by Norman Berdichevsky. Here is an excerpt:
The tolerant Spain of The Three Great Monotheistic Religions [...] gradually contracted and was eventually extinguished as a result of repeated invasions of the peninsula from North Africa by severe Muslim-Berber tribes people who brought with them a fanaticism reminiscent of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Only later did a resurgent Christian-Hispanic reaction begin to imitate this intolerance. The term “Golden Age” of Muslim Spain most correctly applies to a relatively short period from the eighth to the mid-eleventh century and is even more accurate when applied to the Christian North of the country for a period of more than three hundred years. (1050-1390).
Read the whole article here.

The Economist: why going on Haj is getting harder

From The Economist:
But the growing global Muslim population of 1.6 billion, coupled with cheaper international travel, has brought its own problems. Back in 2004, 2.2m Muslims went to Mecca. Last year the number was 3.2m, the highest ever. Stampedes in 1990, 2004 and 2006 caused hundreds of deaths. This year Saudi Arabia, which gives a quota of haj visas to each country on the basis of the size of its Muslim population, has slashed the number of visas for foreign pilgrims by 20%, as it carries out renovation works to expand the capacity of the Grand Mosque. Thanks to an outbreak of the coronavirus in the Kingdom, many countries have asked elderly and sick Muslims not to travel.
Read it all HERE. Pray for Muslims as they go on Haj, that God will draw them close to himself through his Son our Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spirit.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Turkey: a mixed bag for religious freedom

Turkey can be a difficult country to interpret. On the one hand, legal conversion there is possible and I very much appreciate that. On the other hand, the notions of identity there mean that anyone who leaves Islam is understood to have betrayed the Turkish people.

But here is a little bit of good news:
For almost a century, the bells of St. Giragos, a magnificent 14th-century church built of sturdy black basalt bricks, were silent.

Severely damaged during the 1915 massacre and deportation of local Christians, it stood roofless and abandoned for decades, a poignant reminder of the void left by the killing of its congregants.
Yet for several months now the tolling of bells can once again be heard emanating from the belfry and echoing through the city’s narrow alleyways and busy markets.

St. Giragos recently underwent an extensive $3 million dollar restoration that included a new roof, the reconstruction of all seven of its original altars—a unique feature for a church, which usually has just one—and the return of an iron bell to its belfry.

“Right now the bells are just symbolic,” said Arahim Demirciyen, an ethnic Armenian who rings the bells twice a day. “A priest is currently in training in the Armenian quarter in Jerusalem. When he finishes and arrives here we can also start holding regular weekly services.”
Well, God bless this small community, and may this church be willing to welcome believers in Christ from among the Turks and Kurds and not only the Armenians. From HERE.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Abu Daoud interviewed by VirtueOnline

I was recently interviewed by David Virtue at VirtueOnline. Here is an excerpt:
VOL: We hear there are conversions of Muslims to Christ. Many Muslims are seeing visions and dreams of the risen Christ. Can you speak to that? 
ABU DAOUD: We should not lose heart. "The Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers" (Beza). Muslims are turning to Christ in unprecedented numbers. Not so much here in Israel and Palestine, but it is happening there too. Training Christians in the USA to be effective in reaching out to Muslims is at the heart of the new stage of our mission back in the USA. If there are any parishes out there interested in learning about this they can contact me through my blog, 
But as to the traditional churches in Israel including the Anglican churches, there is little or no future. Israel is the one country in the region where Muslims can legally convert to Christianity, yet it hardly ever happens. Anglicans in the Diocese of Jerusalem are mostly allergic to the idea. There are some exceptions, but not many. Anglicanism may well die out; the same goes for the Orthodox and Catholic churches, but the faith won't die out. "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent lay hold of it." 
You will want to read the whole thing.

What Abu Daoud predicted about the Arab Spring

Hi All,

I was recently going over this interview I did with Don Warrington at Positive Infinity for another interview I'm doing right now, and I was struck by how I nailed the Arab Spring all the way back in January of 2012. Check this out:

6) Where do you see MENA going, especially in view of events such as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring?

This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? First, the people who protested didn’t take political control, so as much as they wanted freedom and democracy, they just won’t get it, I’m sorry to say. The Egyptian elections were demonstrably corrupt, though the international press has not said so—I have no idea why. The Islamists will take power and they will not let it go. And why is this surprising? That is precisely what Muhammad did—engaged in diplomacy and compromise and so on, but once he had power he was ruthless. In the end, an Islamic society cannot be a free society. Islam and freedom are mutually exclusive.

The question I have is this: will it be like Iran? After the revolution in `79 Islam had a chance to prove itself in the political arena, and Islam, unlike Christianity, makes substantial guarantees in this area. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have concluded that Islam failed—it did not deliver politically so it must be false in terms of its religious and spiritual claims too. They have turned to Christianity some of them, and some to secular humanism or atheism. Will this happen in these newly Islamist states? Perhaps. I pray it will. Islam’s love of political power may well be its Achilles’ heel. Meanwhile, that means the native Christians need to stay as long as they can, and foreign missionaries like me need to stay no matter what. I will do it. Maybe the kids and wife need to go back to the US, I will do everything I can to stay here even if all hell breaks loose.
Anyway, if you didn't read the interview when it came out, I think it contains a good summary of my own philosophy of mission and opinions regarding the Arab world today: here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Muhammad: cross-dresser and unfair husband

The Qur'an says that a man may take up to four wives (and the Prophet up to eight) as long as he treats them all fairly.

Did Muhammad do this? Check out this sahiih/verified hadith from Al Bukhari which shows how unjust Muhammad was to his wives, and also his explanation of why he favored A'isha the daughter of Abu Bakr above his other wives. Enjoy:
From the Sahih Collection of al-BukhariHadith Number 2442, Chapter 52. Book of Setting Free, VII: The one who gave a gift to his friend aiming for a time when he was with one of his wives rather than another.   
It is related from 'A'isha that the wives of the messenger of Allah fell into two parties. One party contained 'A'ishaHafsaSafiyya and Sawda, and the other party contained Umm Salama and the rest of the wives of the messenger of Allah. The Muslims knew of the love of the messenger of Allah for 'A'isha, so when any of them had a gift which he wanted to give to the messenger of Allah he would delay it until the messenger of Allah was in 'A'isha's house. Then the person with the gift would send it to the messenger of Allah while he was in 'A'isha's house. The party of Umm Salama spoke about it and said to her, "Tell the messenger of Allah to speak to the people and say, 'Whoever wants to give a gift to the messenger of Allah should give it to him in the house of whichever wife he is.'" Umm Salama spoke to him about what they had said, but he did not say anything. They asked her and she said, "He did not say anything to me." They said to her, "Speak to him." She said she spoke to him when he went around to her as well, but he did not say anything to her. They asked her and she said, “He did not say anything to me.” They said to her, “Speak to him until he speaks to you.” He went around to her and she spoke to him. He said to her, “Do not injure me regarding 'A'ishaThe revelation does not come to me when I am in the GARMENT of any woman except 'A'isha.” She said, "I repent to Allah from injuring you, Messenger of Allah.” Then they called Fatima, the daughter of the messenger of Allah, and sent her to the messenger of Allah to say, “Your wives ask you by Allah for fairness regarding the daughter of Abu Bakr.” She spoke to him and he said, “O my daughter, do you not love what I love?” She said, “Yes indeed.” She returned to them and informed them. They said, “Go back to him,” but she refused to go back. They sent Zaynab bint Jahsh and she went to him and spoke harshly, saying. “Your wives ask you by Allah for fairness regarding the daughter of ibn AbiQuhafa.” She raised her voice until she turned to 'A'isha, who was sitting down, and abused her until the messenger of Allah looked at 'A'isha to see if she would speak. ‘A'isha spoke to answer back Zaynab until she had silenced her. She said, “The prophet looked at 'A'isha and said, ‘She is indeed the daughter of Abu Bakr.’” 
-HT to Aisha Bewley

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Episcopal Church Leased to Muslim Group

Dr. Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, president of the FVAMC, told The Christian Post that they are "thrilled" by the interfaith partnership and plan to move into the Avon property soon. 
"We hope to move in in the coming weeks. Since we're leasing the facility, we're keeping the modifications to the bare minimum needed to accommodate our activities," said Abu-Hasaballah. "The facility has been de-consecrated by the bishop and the altar removed. We are also relocating some pews to free up enough space for Muslim congregational prayers."

Read it all HERE.

Sad to see stuff like this happen.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Context and Power

Some great quotes here and context, power, and forming or making theology:
...identifying a context is not simply naming a place, group or identity, but is an activity laden with power and purpose that has theological and social dimensions. 
Moving to a new identity--Christian--then becomes a matter of constructing a notion of a new context, a Christian one, where the previous identities may or may not intersect.

Power and Identity in the Global Church, eds Brian Howell and Edwin Zehner, p 5

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Did the Apostles espouse insider movements?

I answer that the Biblical witness clearly leads to the answer no:
Further, the mixed churches in cities like Rome and [the region of] Galatia were likewise errors. These believers, both Jews and non-Jews, had mistakenly supposed that they in some way had come into a new oikos and a new identity, and Paul, lacking wisdom as usual, taught them these things. Indeed, a triumph of IM hermeneutics and practice would have meant that Peter should have been victorious when Paul confronted him. Indeed, Paul, in violating kashrut was stepping needlessly outside of his oikos, while Peter himself was honoring his God-given identity as a Galilean Jew. 

In the end though, it was the faith—the apostolic faith—that was victorious. A faith which understood that in Jesus a new community had come into being demanded allegiance above and beyond one’s own community of birth. Or as one African pastor put it in those early centuries: you cannot have God for your Father without having the Church for your mother.
From my recent article on insider movements.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

"Rebecca Lewis and Kevin Higgins against the Ropes": a new article by Abu Daoud

As a contributing editor of St Francis Magazine I have the privilege (and duty) to write at least one substantial article per year. All my previous SFM articles can be found in the menu to the right of the main blog text. My recent article started as a mere book review of Jeff Morton's recent book Insider Movements: Biblically Incredible or Incredibly Brilliant?

The material in this book unfolded itself into an article-length article (which is also a review) concerned with 'insider movements'. In his book, Morton particularly takes on two of the main proponents of IM: Rebecca Lewis and Kevin Higgins--hence the full title (and biblio):
Abu Daoud. 2013. "Rebecca Lewis and Kevin Higgins against the Ropes: sounding the death nell of the insider movements and the victory of Apostolic faith" in St Francis Magazine 9(4), August, pp 52-58.
(Yes, that is "Abu Daoud" and not "Daoud, Abu.")

The article also takes on Dave Bogs, who is the gatekeeper of the 'Insider Movement' entry at Wikipedia, which is well-curated and totally inaccurate. It is a good reminder as to why Wikipedia is not allowed to be used in academic papers!

Here is an excerpt:
If you journey over to Wikipedia and check out the Insider Movement entry, you will enter the personal fiefdom of one Dave Bogs. If you click on the ‘view history’ tab you will find that anything he does not like is deleted (by him). His justification for this is invariably that a significant number of people have said that the article is balanced. If you click on the ‘Talk’ tab (next to the ‘Article’ tab) you will find that a bunch of people went to Wikipedia between March13th and 17th of 2012 and left positive comments on the article. Is it possible that Dave or someone else was teaching a class on IM, and that the students were told to log in to Wikipedia and endorse the article as ‘excellent, concise’ and so on? (p. 55)
Dear Dave Bogs, please leave a remark here and clarify the situation. I won't delete your material like you do with the poor souls who try to fix the IM article at Wikipedia. As Christians, dialogue is a fine way to work this out, but your control of the Wikipedia site makes this impossible.

Anyway, check out the entire article here, and let me know what you think. If Kevin Higgins or Rebecca Lewis or Dave Bogs would like to leave any comments, they are most welcome.

Find it a Scribd or download the PDF from St Francis Magazine.

(You can also download the entire issue, if you like.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Salvation according to Augustine

And today is the feast day of this great saint. A quote:
Salvation, such as it shall be in the world to come, shall itself be our final happiness. And this happiness these philosophers refuse to believe in, because they do not see it, and attempt to fabricate for themselves a happiness in this life, based upon a virtue which is as deceitful as it is proud.
— St. Augustine of Thagaste, The City of God, XIX, 4.

How the US attacking Syria could plunge the region into war

So 90% of the American people want NO military action in Syria, but President Obama, it seems, is intent on doing just this. This will be very bad for the whole region, though. Here is a likely scenario:
In fact, it is being reported that cruise missile strikes could begin "as early as Thursday".  The Obama administration is pledging that the strikes will be "limited", but what happens when the Syrians fight back?  What happens if they sink a U.S. naval vessel or they have agents start hitting targets inside the United States?  Then we would have a full-blown war on our hands.  And what happens if the Syrians decide to retaliate by hitting Israel?  If Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv, Israel will be extremely tempted to absolutely flatten Damascus, and they are more than capable of doing precisely that.  And of course Hezbollah and Iran are not likely to just sit idly by as their close ally Syria is battered into oblivion. 
We are looking at a scenario where the entire Middle East could be set aflame, and that might only be just the beginning.  Russia and China are sternly warning the U.S. government not to get involved in Syria, and by starting a war with Syria we will do an extraordinary amount of damage to our relationships with those two global superpowers. (From HERE)
Grim stuff. Instability is already spilling from Syria into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. But that can be contained. This, however, would be a game changer, and certainly not in a good way. America needs to stay out of Syria. Totally and completely. Just send tents and food for women and children refugees (not men), and don't resettle ANY of them in North America or Europe. That is my advice.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Freedom and peace in you, Jesus...

Hi All,

I'm pretty sure this is a song from the West, with (translated) Arabic words. But I can't figure out the original. What is the original song/lyrics? Please help and share with worship music people you know.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Islam says no new churches--why?

On dhimmi/millet neighborhoods: 
Churches, synagogues, and other non-Muslim places of worship were restricted to locations outside the central public areas of the city. Usually they were located in the residential quarters where those who frequented them lived. […] In principle, non-Muslim communities remained constant, while only the community of Muslims was free to grow by way of proselytism. New mosques could therefore be built as needed, but non-Muslim places of worship could for the most part be only repaired or replaced.
The Spirit of Islamic Law by Bernard G. Weiss, p 149.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Crap that Reza Aslam is Full Of....

More on Reza Aslam and his mediocre, sub-standard faux scholarship, this time from The Jewish Review of Books (Muslims at this point can dismiss the whole thing as a Zionist conspiracy, and feel sorry for themselves, being the "best of all nations" while also having the lamest of all countries):
Speaking on CNN in the wake of his Fox interview, Aslan ruefully observed, “There's nothing more embarrassing than an academic having to trot out his credentials. I mean, you really come off as a jerk.” Actually, there is something significantly more embarrassing, and that is when the academic trots out a long list of exaggerated claims and inflated credentials.

Read the rest here, by Allan Nadler, director of Jewish Studies at Drew University.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quotes from the brilliant Bernard Lewis

I really love Bernard Lewis, the great orientalist. I was just reading one of his books and thought I would share with you some of great, insightful quotes I found:

Lewis, Bernard. 1993. Islam and the West. Oxford.

“The imported idea of ethnic and territorial nationhood remains, like secularism, alien and incompletely assimilated.” (p 136) 
“Since for Muslims Islam is, by definition, superior to all other faiths, the failures and defeats of Muslims in this world can only mean that they are not practicing authentic Islam and that their states are not true Islamic states.” (p 136, 7) 
“…many of the extremist organizations tend to be Christian, for in the radical extremism that they profess, Christians still hope to find the acceptance and equality that eluded them in nationalism.” (p 144) 
“After a long period of secular, liberal, and nationalist ideologies and programs, the non-Muslim minorities are no longer conditioned to revert to their former position of inferiority. Some have sought a solution to their problem in emigration; some have resorted to radical politics; and some look anxiously, with decreasing confidence, for saviors from outside.” (page 146) 
“Humiliation and privation, frustration and failure have so far discredited all the imported solutions and made increasing numbers of Muslims ready to believe those who tell them that only in a return to their own true faith and divinely ordained way of life can they find salvation in this world and the next.” (153)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Errors of Reza Aslan on Jesus, a long list by John Dickson

How sad that such a mediocre book could get so much publicity. This list comes from this article (HERE) by John Dickson.

Litany of errors

Finally, the list of exaggerations and plain errors in Zealot bear testimony to Aslan's carelessness with concrete history. If this were presented as a work of fiction, there would be no shame in such oversights. But if this were handed in as an essay in an Ancient History Department, it would most likely fail, not just because of the numerous inaccuracies, but because of the disturbing confidence with which they are habitually stated.
  • Aslan repeatedly calls revolutionary leaders of the first century "claimed messiahs," when this crucial term hardly ever appears in our sources and certainly not in the contexts he is claiming.
  • Aslan pontificates on questions such as Jesus's literacy (or illiteracy, in his judgment) with a cavalier style that does not represent the complexities involved.
  • He rushes to dismiss some Gospel passages as "fabulous concoctions" while accepting others as "beyond dispute" - and the only rhyme or reason I can detect is whether a passage fits with the story he wishes to tell.
  • He informs us that Mark's Gospel says "nothing at all about Jesus's resurrection," overlooking the plain narrative signals of Mark 14:28 and 16:7.
  • He declares that Mark's portrayal of Pilate's prevarication over the execution of Jesus was "concocted" and "patently fictitious." We are told that this Roman governor never baulked at dispatching Jewish rabble-rousers. This overlooks the widely-discussed evidence that Pilate did precisely this just a few years earlier with some Jewish leaders from Jerusalem.
  • Weirdly, Aslan says in passing that the letters of Paul make up "the bulk of the New Testament." In fact, they represent only a quarter.
  • He dates the destruction of Sepphoris near Nazareth to the period of the tax rebellion of AD 6, when in fact this city was destroyed by Varus a decade earlier in the troubles following Herod's death in 4BC.
  • He says that the traditions of John the Baptist were passed around in writing in Hebrew and Aramaic throughout the villages of Judea and Galilee. This is baseless.
  • He claims that Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was from the Hellenistic diaspora (and was therefore liable to fall for the un-Jewish perversion of Jesus's message he heard in Jerusalem). This is pure invention, and overlooks the fact that many Greek-speaking Jews like Stephen lived in Jerusalem for generations. They even had their own Greek-speaking synagogues.
  • Aslan's claim that "the disciples were themselves fugitives in Jerusalem, complicit in the sedition that led to Jesus's execution" is disproven by the complete absence of evidence for any Roman attempt to arrest the followers of Jesus. Indeed, this is one of the reasons specialists remain confident Jesus was never viewed as the leader of a rebel movement.
  • He says a certain Jesus son of Ananias, a prophetic figure who appeared in Jerusalem in the early 60s AD, spoke about the appearance of the "Messiah." Our sole source (Josephus) says nothing of the sort.
  • Aslan avers that even Luke, a Pauline "sycophant," avoids calling Paul an "apostle" since only the twelve bear the title that Paul so desperately tried to claim for himself. In fact, Luke happily calls Paul and his colleague Barnabas "apostles" (Acts 14:14). Almost everything Aslan says about Paul and his place in ancient Judaism and Christianity is either wildly exaggerated or plainly false.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Conversion from Christianity to Islam in Cameroon

In this part of the continent, including Cameroon, there has been growing influence of Islam through economic development. The country is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and nations like Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey are increasingly investing in Cameroon. Other investors include Arab Contractors based in Cairo and the Islamic development bank in Jeddah, a coastal city in Saudi Arabia. These investments often come with increased Islamic influence and pressure on usually lower- income rural people to embrace Islam for the economic benefits connected with such a move. 
Read it all, at Open Doors.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Message from a Christian of Syrian Ancestry to the Americans

Message from a Christian of Syrian Ancestry to the Americans
by Abu Daoud (8/2013)
Today I was running errands and I happened by my local pharmacy to pick up some stuff for the family. The man there is a Greek Catholic Christian of Syrian ancestry and he told me about how his ancestors had migrated from Syria to where I am, back in the days of Ottoman Empire.
We got to talking and, as often happens with this sort of thing, he became rather impassioned and started to tell me his thoughts in detail about what was going on in Syria. He told me, You are American, you voted for this guy (President Obama)!  I promised him I would relay his message to people in the USA as best I could. So here I am, trying to do that. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, of course. But I did think that people in the USA (and elsewhere, too) would be interested to hear the unvarnished thoughts of an Arab Christian whose ancestral home is Syria, in Wadi al-Nasara (it’s on Wikipedia).
His main source of frustration was that, in his mind, the Obama administration was actively funding the genocide of Middle Eastern Christians. He felt that the USA and the UK were arming terrorists (Jabhat al Nusra, which is a branch of the Syrian rebels, and is affiliated with Al Qaeda) who were killing Christians. He said that these people were beasts and monsters, and that he hoped that Al Assad would kill them all. Not just beat them or chase them out. But kill them. He believes that the Obama administration is lying then they say that they think they are supporting Syrians fighting against Al Assad, because in fact they know that these people are foreigners (from Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Gulf, the USA, Europe) and not Syrians. He mentioned the famous video clip of one such fighter cutting open a man’s chest and then taking out his heart and eating it, which, yes, really exists. He said, when I’m hunting and I see a wounded animal, I kill it. I don’t feel good about it, but I do. The implication is that these Al Qaeda people are wounded beyond recovery—their humanity irrevocably damaged.
He says that before the revolution he didn’t much like Al Assad, but now he likes him. This is because Syrian regime left the people alone, and didn’t enforce religion on anyone.
I explain that the Obama administration says they only want to support the liberal, secular democratic rebels, not the terrorists who are bent on destroying Christianity in Syria (though they are working together). The logic behind this explanation seems so entirely incoherent to him that he concludes it is a lie: the Obama administration (and John McCain as well, it appears) is merely saying this to cover their tracks. The logistics of giving weapons to one portion of an army while keeping them from another portion of the same army (and a more powerful and larger portion, at that) is ridiculous, and no one would ever think that is a realistic goal, he said.
Based on this evidence—the Obama administration’s clear and unequivocal support (in his mind) for a branch of Al Qaeda bent on eliminating Christianity from the region, he concludes that Obama must be a Muslim—there is no other logical way of explaining it all. He concludes that he hates Obama. He says his wife’s parents are in Canada and he could have easily emigrated, but he loves this land and will not leave. He wants American Christians to know about his point of view.
I told him I would tell you, and I have. I will leave the evaluation of his opinions to you. As for me, he told me to pass this on, so please link to this or copy and paste. The material is not my own.
--Abu Daoud

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reza Aslan on Jesus of Nazareth

Good Lord, Americans are so stupid. I can say this. I am one.

Evidence: the recent fad regarding this man's book.

From First Things: Reza Aslan Misrepresents His Scholarly Credentials

For instance:
None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false.  Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential. It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.
Ah, yes. But Americans prefer fads (a Muslim writing about Jesus!) over truth (the Gospel).

Child brides in Yemen: ندى الاحدال

Watch this and pray for the young girls of Yemen.

This practice will not die out. Rather, it will spread form Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan to those places where Yemenis, Afghans and Pakistanis spread--the UK and the USA. Just a guess, but time will tell.

It should be noted that Muhammad (he was about 50) had sex with his nine-year old bride, A'isha. Because of this, the Islamic shari'a simply cannot, and never will be able to, say that this is immoral. Muhammad was the ideal man, after all.

(By the way, if anyone knows for sure the correct Arabic spelling of Nada Al-Ahdal's surname let me know. That spelling is just my guess.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Church of Afghan Converts

Wow, what a wonderful story. Praise be to God for bringing these people to the light and hope that is found in Jesus, who is the very image and icon of God:
Between 200 and 250 Afghan converts from Islam to Christianity who feared persecution from the Afghan authorities and the Taliban have found refuge in Delhi.

“The number of coverts to Christianity increased as the U.S. presence increased after the fall of the Taliban,” said Obaid Jan, 33, the pastor, who led the Bible service. “Most of the Christian converts lived in urban areas, so the threat from the Taliban was minimal,” he added.

But the Christian converts started fleeing Afghanistan around 2005, fearing their identities might become public. Most came to India after video footage of their secret churches found its way to Noorin TV, a Kabul-based television network, in May 2009. Their lives were further endangered in 2010, when an influential member of the lower house of the Afghan parliament, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, called for the converts’ execution.
Execution indeed. And that is the punishment which Muhammad explicitly prescribed for people who leave Islam: "Who so changes his religion, slay him!" (Google it, it's from Sahih al Bukhari). And so, in the religion of peace, the four schools of Sunni shari'a are in unanimous agreement that the apostate must be killed.

How can someone look at a man who would say such a thing and think he is the final prophet from God? I just don't understand it.

May God bless and guide Muslims, and bring them into his wonderful light.

Read more HERE.

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Violence' by Yemeni poet Adil Hossenally

I enjoyed this poem by Yemeni poet Adil Hossenally. I would assume that the author is Muslim, as Yemen has only a few hundred indigenous Christians. Nonetheless, as a Christian I appreciate his sense of wrestling against his own inadequate desires--desires that are so strong, but that don't tend, in the end, to life and hope and peace.

Read the poem, and say a prayer for Yemen, and say a prayer Adil as well:

Every inch of me is screaming for violence
Fists clenched and fire flowing bitter anxiety
I want to punch, kick and wrestle
Blistered bloody knuckle
Beat my knuckles
Pound some flesh

But I don’t want to hurt anybody
Least not myself
I want to fight this world and put it in its place
Yet I can’t even seem to fight myself
And its myself that beats me down
My own rusty halo is what cuts me
I can’t be good
Even though it’s who I am
I still hold on to the evil that makes me weak
I’m not who I used to be
Nor am I strong enough to be whom I want to be
I’m stuck somewhere in between
A place where there is no light
The darkest place I could ever be
And I’m about to lose this fight

Why do I cause myself to suffer in this life
Only to burn in hell?
HT Yemen Times.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tehmina Tariq: (Free) Christian music from Pakistan

Ok, so Pakistan is quite a ways from the Middle East, but I was just made aware of this fine Christian album from Pakistan which is available (for free) online. I thought you might be interested in knowing about it:

Tehmina Tariq

I don't understand the lyrics, but it sure sounds pretty :-)


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Rick Wood is at it again....

Oh boy, the new issue of Mission Frontiers is out, which is great, and I look forward to reading it. But Rick Wood, the editor of MF and a main booster of Insider Movement methodology, has seriously goofed up right off the bat. Do you see it?

As Dr. Garrison reports on page 7, Sadrach “then gathered
converts into contextualized, indigenous mesjids of Javanese
Christian communities called Kristen Jawa, rather than
extracting them into the local Dutch Christian churches.”
Sadrach allowed these Muslims to have their own contextual
centers of worship and did not force them to join a culturally
foreign body in order to follow Jesus.

Thank you Rick Wood, but that is the whole point--they were no longer Muslims. They had been Muslims. They became Christians. Why do IM people always try to take movements like this one from Indonesia and try to make them back up their IM ideas? Lame.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Part IX: Victimhood and Muslim Identity

Part IX: Victimhood and Muslim Identity (originally posted in December 2006)
by Abu Daoud

“No one admits that his own yoghurt is sour.” --Syrian proverb

I want to suggest in this post that victimhood has become an integral and essential element in Muslim identity today. There are a number of reasons for this, some of them are valid, but many of them are not. I want to explain why and how this has come to be the case today.

If I may quote Sam Huntington, “The problem is not Islamists, it is Islam: a civilization convinced of its superiority and obsessed with its inferiority.” Islam is unlike Christianity in that it makes certain guarantees, namely that if a society is faithful in following Islam (and the sharia’) then certain consequences must follow: material wealth, political power, an ever-widening scope of authority over non-Muslims, scientific and economic advancement, justice and good governance, and so forth. It is very clear though to people throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that other than sub-Saharan Africa their region is near the bottom of the list in all these areas. With globalization, migration, increasing ease of travel, and of course the internet, it has become clear to Muslims everywhere that this is not at all the case today.

(It must be stressed that Christianity does not make any such promises. While there are verses from the proverbs that speak of God rewarding hard, honest work, and many of us have seen this in our lives, even stronger is Jesus’ insistence that the Kingdom of God is characterized by opposition which may well be violent, and indeed resulting in martyrdom.)

And the tension is not just between MENA and the West. Rapid development and the growth of a middle class have moved forward in nations like India and China, not to mention the astounding development of places like South Korea and Japan in the 20th Century.

So there is a very tense situation because the empirical evidence and experience of the people run directly against the claims of Islam. There are two common ways of trying to reconcile the evidence and the religious doctrine. The first is simply to say that none of the Muslim countries are actually practicing Islam correctly. I hear this a lot: this country is too strict, that country is too liberal; this country is not democratic enough; that country has a corrupt monarchy; and so on. My answer: There are more than 20 Arab Muslim countries, and you mean to tell me that not one of them can get Islam right? If that is the case then Islam is more of a dream than a realistic system that can actually work. It’s like someone telling you that you can get a million bucks for walking from the ME to North America. You can easily spend all your life trying to do it, but ultimately it is simply impossible, no matter how wonderful the promised reward is.

The second response though is my primary concern here: victimhood. The reason that Muslims nations are not the prominent world powers, that their governments are extremely corrupt, that nepotism and tribalism and rampant, that five million Israelis publish more scientific papers in a year than 400 million Arabs, that no Muslim nation in MENA actually has freedom of the press, assembly, or speech, and that the governments are not accountable to the people—the reason is simple: we are being oppressed. 

The culprit changes from place to place and time to time: the French, the British, the Israelis, the Americans, but tomorrow it will be someone else. Sometimes the culprit is other Muslims, but even then (as is the case of fighting between Shii'a and Sunni in Iraq) the real culprit is outside of Islam. 

The rise of the sense of victimhood is integral to the recovery of jihad which we have witnessed in these last years. Historically Jihad need not be related to self-defense at all, but the appeal to self-defense strengthens those who advocate it. And here is the critical tie: If all Muslims are victims of Western anti-Islamism then any act of Jihad against the West becomes an act of self-defense. This was OBL’s explicit rational for the 9-11 attacks: they were a defensive measure. And since all Americans contribute to the American oppression of Islam by virtue of paying taxes, all Americans (children and women included) are in fact military targets and their execution is an act of worship to God. Such is his logic, which, while novel, has great appeal throughout Dar al Islam.

Victimhood is a central element of contemporary Islamic identity. When the West does not help Muslims it is oppressing them. When the West intervenes in the region it is imperialism and occupation. When the west opts for the long, messy, and sometimes ineffective path of diplomacy, they are indecisive. When the West makes dramatic moves they are brash and militant. Victimhood confers on one’s self the ability to abuse power in the name of protection and self-preservation.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy because, as I outlined above, political and social efforts to help will always be interpreted by some as further persecution. Moreover, they lack the ability to bring about the profound moral and spiritual conversion that we call being born again. Only within the Gospel do we find a point of reference for victimhood and power because we understand that in the ultimate sense of the word no one is a victim because no one is absolutely innocent except for Jesus Christ. As the Gospel transforms our minds and our communities, the imperative is to be generous and forgiving rather than to assert the rightness of one’s cause. This is the transformation we should hope for in MENA.

London's Favorite Terrorist: Abu Qatada's decade-long safe haven in the UK

Matthew Kalman, Jerusalem Correspondent: Abu Qatada's decade-long safe haven in the UK: London's favourite terrorist

By Matthew Kalman

Abu Omar (aka Abu Qutada) was born in Bethlehem in 1960. He was convicted in...

USA complicit in murder of Syrian clergy?

The so-called freedom-fighters and rebels in Syria which we are told ae fighting against the unjust oppresive yoke of Bashar al Assad are now being funded by the USA and, along with Saudi and Qatar, the USA is providing weapons for them.

Meanwhile the allies of these 'brave, kind heroes' are slaughtering Christians by the score.

No one will care though, because, while Obama will stand up for Muslims, he doesn't seem to care about Christians at all.

The USA is complicit in the elimination of Syrian Christianity, just as it was in the elimination of Iraqi Christianity a few years ago. A sad country without a future.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Universal Litany of the Liturgy of St James

The Universal Litany of the Liturgy of St James

The Deacon makes the Universal Litany.
XXII In peace let us pray to the Lord.

The People.
O Lord, have mercy.

The Deacon.
Save us, have mercy upon us, pity and keep us, O God, by Your grace.
For the peace that is from above, and the loving-kindness of God, and the salvation of our souls;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For the peace of the whole world, and the unity of all the holy churches of God;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For those who bear fruit, and labour honourably in the holy churches of God; for those who remember the poor, the widows and the orphans, the strangers and needy ones; and for those who have requested us to mention them in our prayers;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For those who are in old age and infirmity, for the sick and suffering, and those who are troubled by unclean spirits, for their speedy cure from God and their salvation;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For those who are passing their days in virginity, and celibacy, and discipline, and for those in holy matrimony; and for the holy fathers and brethren agonizing in mountains, and dens, and caves of the earth;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For Christians sailing, travelling, living among strangers, and for our brethren in captivity, in exile, in prison, and in bitter slavery, their peaceful return;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For the remission of our sins, and forgiveness of our transgressions, and for our deliverance from all tribulation, wrath, danger, and constraint, and uprising against us of enemies;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For favourable weather, peaceful showers, beneficent dews, abundance of fruits, the perfect close of a good season, and for the crown of the year;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For our fathers and brethren present, and praying with us in this holy hour, and at every season, their zeal, labour, and earnestness;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For every Christian soul in tribulation and distress, and needing the mercy and succour of God; for the return of the erring, the health of the sick, the deliverance of the captives, the rest of the fathers and brethren that have fallen asleep aforetime;
Let us beseech the Lord.

For the hearing and acceptance of our prayer before God, and the sending down on us His rich mercies and compassion.
Let us beseech the Lord.

And for the offered, precious, heavenly, unutterable, pure, glorious, dread, awful, divine gifts, and the salvation of the priest who stands by and offers them;
Let us offer supplication to God the Lord.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Bernard Lewis on the demise of Western culture

‘‘It may be that Western culture will indeed go: the lack of conviction of many of those who should be its defenders and the passionate intensity of its accusers may well join to complete its destruction. But if it does go, the men and women of all the continents will thereby be impoverished and endangered.’’

From HERE, p xxiv.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Christians struggling in Egypt

I argued a long time ago that the Arab Spring could not succeed. As I have said before, and will say once more: The Arabs can either have human rights or Islam. The two just cannot go together.

Here is an update of the sad state of Christians in Egypt:

  • In November 2012, an Egyptian court decreed that eight Christians living in America—seven native Egyptians, and one American, Pastor Terry Jones—be sent to Egypt and executed in connection with the 16-minute YouTube Muhammad video. The prosecution offered no real evidence against the Christians, most of whom deny any involvement, and instead relied on inciting Muslims against the accused by replaying the video in the courtroom.
  • Last September, 27-year-old Copt Albert Saber was accused of posting clips of the Muhammad movie—which he had actually downloaded from a Muslim site, not YouTube. Muslims attacked and evicted him and his mother from their home; he was arrested and is currently awaiting a multi-year sentence.
  • In March 2012, Makram Diab, a 49-year-old Christian, was sentenced in a 10-minute show trial to six years in prison for "insulting Muhammad." He had gotten into a religious argument with a Muslim colleague, who went on to protest that Diab had offended the prophet. The judge doubled the sentence to appease an angry mob, 2,500 strong, which had surrounded the courtroom demanding Diab's death.
  • In August 2012, Bishoy Kamil, a Copt in his 20s who worked as a teacher, was arrested and given six years in prison for posting cartoons deemed insulting to Islam and its prophet on Facebook. Like Diab, he was given more than double the maximum penalty to appease mob calls for his death.
  • In April 2012, Gamal Abdu Massud, a teenage Christian student, was sentenced to three years on accusations that he had posted a Muhammad cartoon on his Facebook account, which had only some 135 friends. Apparently the wrong "friend" saw it, for it was not long before local Muslims rioted, burning the Coptic teenager's house as well as the homes of five other Christians.
  • In June 2011, another Christian woman, Naima Wahib Habil, newly hired as director of a junior high school for girls, was sentenced to two years imprisonment on the accusation that she had torn a copy of the Koran in front of her students. The rumor inspired mob riots and calls for her death.
    Read more HERE, by Raymond Ibrahim.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Missionary Secrets 5: How to fruitfully insult the Prophet

Missionary Secrets 5: How to fruitfully insult the Prophet
by Abu Daoud

It has become accepted in many missionary circles (among Muslims, at least, an that's me folks) that one should never, ever insult the Prophet. If you do it, then as Mazhar Mallouhi, evangelical turned Jesusy-Muslim, said, it is like telling someone their mother is ugly (that is from St Francis Magazine). Actually, normally he is right. Normally you touch Muhammad and that is the end of the conversation. So I appreciate his insight.

Here is a missionary secret which took me like eight years to learn: there are ways to do this fruitfully and to God's glory and to the good of the person you are speaking with. It is not an easy procedure though.

First, you need to earn the right to be heard. Say you're in Cairo, for instance. Demonstrate a knowledge of the history of the place. Show that you know a lot about Egypt and the people there. And this is the hard part: you actually need to really know this stuff. You really need to know about Chalcedon and arrival of Arab Imperialism (ie, Islam) and the Fatimids an Mamlukes an so on. You need to show that you know about the contemporary challenges faced by Cairenes: that Egypt imports more than 50% of its wheat, that the currency has become very weak, and so on. You also need to show that you know more about the Qur'an and Islam than your hearer. Not in a pompous, bossy way of course. Finally, you need to be able to do all of this by mostly asking questions and (really) listening to their answers (and really caring about what they say--there is no substitute for sincerity).

Once you have done all of this, you probably have earned the right to fruitfully insult the Prophet. This happened to me today where I'm staying, over a lengthy conversation. The speaker was emphasizing how Christians and Muslims get along well, and the proof was that Muhammad took Christian wives an the shari'a allows this. I told him, "With all respect and sincerity [that doesn't sound so corny in Arabic], the Prophet's Shari'a is precisely the reason I could never become a Muslim. That a Muslim man can take a Christian wife, but a Christian man cannot take a Muslima wife is injustice in my view. The Shari'a is not stable--sometimes it is generous and sometimes harsh. Sometimes it is peaceful but other times violent. The path that our master the Messiah [I don't even say Jesus because then I have to choose this or that] taught is one of love and perfect peace. The Prophet's Shariah is the reason I could never be a Muslim."

Was he mad? Of course not. He knows well that what I said was true. I left the guy with a Bible in Arabic and the location of a decent local church. Hopefully he will read and/or visit.

And here is the clincher--always end up with Jesus (sayyidna al masii7). Emphasize his love and the closeness of his God. Don't say something stupid like Islam is a violent religion, or Muhammad was "a violent man." Sure he was, but at times he was generous and kind.  The beauty of Messiah's way is that we was consistent. Muhammad (and hence his Shariah) were not. Muhammad (and Islam) are unstable and can't be depended on. In other words, they are not worthy of one's faith.

So there you go. You can fruitfully insult the Prophet. Just make sure you know what the heck you're talking about (history, contemporary politics) before you do, and make sure to earn a hearing, and make sure to bring it back to Jesus.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Debunking Edward Said's Orientalism

Readers of this blog know I despise Said's Orientalism... But here is more:
Nadim al-Bitar, a Lebanese Muslim, finds Said‘s generalizations about all Orientalists hard to accept, and is very skeptical about Said having read more than a handful of Orientalist works. Al-Bitar also accuses Said of essentialism, "[Said] does to [Western] Orientalism what he accuses the latter of doing to the Orient. He dichotomizes it and essentializes it. East is East and West is West and each has its own intrinsic and permanent nature…." 
The most pernicious legacy of Said’s Orientalism is its support for religious fundamentalism, and on its insistence that "all the ills [of the Arab world] emanate from Orientalism and have nothing to do with the socio-economic, political and ideological makeup of the Arab lands or with the cultural historical backwardness which stands behind it".
Debunking Edward Said

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Demography in England and Wales, and the end of British culture

Demography in England and Wales, and the end of British culture
by Abu Daoud

I have pointed out from time to time where I see things going in Europe. I don't necessarily think that it will be majority Muslim in the near future, but I do see the proliferation of de facto Islamic area-states, which you already see all over the place in France, Sweden, the UK and Germany (among others). Indigenous European populations (English, Irish, French, etc) are stagnating or (as is becoming more and more the case) actually in decline for a number of complex reasons which touch on de-Christianization, the proliferation of artificial birth control, the sexual revolution, and, recently, the economic downturn and emigration.

I also have opined that current figures of ethnic Europeans mask the true dimensions of this loss of European identities and the concurrent Islamization of portions of Europe. (Of course, I know that not all immigration to Europe is Islamic, but even if it Indian Hindu or African Christian, that does indicate a weakening of the strength of an given culture to perpetuate itself and influence others.) I say this because the ethnic Europeans are, for the most part, disproportionately old and will start dying off quickly in the coming years.

What matters is not so much the percentage of the population you have, but the percentage of the young population you have.

And with that in mind, here are some interesting figures on England and Wales, from here. These are from 2002 through 2009, and I suspect that birth rates from white people have gone down with the economic downturn. That may well be the case for minorities as well, but anyway, I don't have that information. What we do have says,

The White (British) population stagnated at 45.7 million, while the Irish population declined. 'Other' white population (I'm guessing a lot of Poles) did grow at 4.3% per year. I think that Poles are done coming in though, and the ones who wanted to come have come.

While the (white) British and Irish populations stagnated and declined, respectively, note the rapid yearly increase, through fertility and immigration, for the following groups:

Black African 6.2%
Asian Pakistani 4.1%
Asian Indian 3.9%
Asian Bangladeshi 4.0%
Other Asian (presumable includes people from most of the Middle East): 5.7%
Chinese 8.6%

What does this tell us? I think that with the soon-to-be-obvious dying off of more white folks, and the rapid increase of non-indigenous (and mostly non-Christian) population in the UK, I think we can look forward to a day when a common culture in the UK does not exist (already common in large portions of London and Manchester and so on). Being British will mean nothing more than carrying a British passport, and historically British institutions will continue to become increasingly irrelevant (Church of England, anyone?). The West Midlands, for instance, already has an Asian plurality (40%) and a white minority (32%).

Am I being racist? I'm not really evaluating these changes as positive or negative. I'm just predicting that British culture, which historically is indeed to specific ethnic groups who followed Christianity to some extent,  will soon (40 years?) become a strange and quaint thing, like an Assyrian village in Iraq, an Egyptian Jew, or a Huguenot town in France.

Let us wait and see.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Successful multiculturalism in Sweden

Not that you're going to see this much on BBC or CNN of course...And just remember, it is Sweden's fault for not, uh, integrating them better and, uh, giving them jobs and more free stuff. I mean, being poor in Sweden is a lot harder than the homeland of Somalia or Iraq or whatever, right? Poor abandoned immigrant youth. It's all Sweden's fault.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

We don't have answers...

Missionary Secrets 3: we don’t have answers
by Abu Daoud (5/2013)

I sat around smoking water pipe with a guy considering a long-term career in the mission field today. He is a friend of mine, a bit younger than me, but not much. But I have been out here for going on a decade, and he and his young family are only here short term.

He asked me questions. We were there to talk about life and pray together. (Yes, at a hookah bar—I’m all about religion in the public square…maybe I’ve been too influenced by Islam? Who knows, and who cares?)

How do you handle the stress? Me: Go on vacations outside of dar al islam?

What if the local churches don’t build you up? Me: You find fellowship in…your family? Old friends? The liturgy at my church sustains me, but you don’t go to a liturgical church, so…not sure…

Who are the mature Christians who can build you up? Me: here? Not many…there are older people but they are just passing through and don’t really grasp the local context. Maybe some European monk over at that church? Maybe your missions agency will be of help. In the end, you are alone.

I would never answer questions like this to a sponsoring church. I mean, I would not hide it, but this is not the stuff of Sunday School or sermons, is it? But here we are, serving, still.

May God give us many more years in the Middle East.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NT Wright on Miroslav Volf on Forgivenesss

This is why the concept of divine forgiveness in Islam is incoherent:
In his magisterial Exclusion and Embrace [...], he demonstrates, with sharp examples from his native Balkans, that it simply won't do, when faced with radical evil, to say, 'Oh well, don't worry, I will love you and forgive you anyway.' That (as the 1938 Doctrine Report already saw) is not forgiveness; it is belittling the evil that has been done. Genuine forgiveness must first 'exclude', argues Volf, before it can 'embrace'; it must name and shame the evil, and find an appropriate way of dealing with it, before reconciliation can happen. Otherwise we are just papering over the cracks.
From N T Wright's article 'The Cross and the Caricatures'

In Islamic doctrine Allah can and may forgive sins, even great sins. There are actually ways to force the god if Islam to forgive your sins (ie, dying in jihad). But there is now way to account for the enormity of sin in Islam. Allah just lets it go, winks at it, and that is that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The UK: Slouching towards dhimmitude

From VirtueOnline:

Christian hymns dropped from Anglican school where 75 percent of pupils are Muslim. Assemblies at Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College are not based specifically on the Bible, but may make reference to it alongside other religious texts.

Bowing to Muslim dietary requirements, the meat served at the secondary school, which has over 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 19, is halal.

Headmaster Paul McAteer said the approach was to be "sensitive to the fact that we do have many different faiths in the school." As justification, he added that Christian values were "more prevalent here than I have experienced in non-Church of England schools."

McAteer also stresses that the Church of England describes itself as "a faith for all faiths. The values we support are very much Christian values of honesty, integrity, justice." The gender-separated prayer rooms at Slough and Eton, McAteer says were not specifically for Muslim pupils, but said that it tended to be Muslim children that use them.

He said 20 male students would typically attend a lunchtime Islamic prayer session at the Berkshire school.

One of the school aims outlined on its mission statement is "to promote tolerance and respect for all cultures represented in the school."