Showing posts from June, 2007

Facts not Fear

A reader of this blog, Rev Jim Sutter , has offered an interesting comment on one of my posts. He is more optimistic than I am about the peacefulness of Islam, but in all fairness, one should read the statements of Islamic leaders RE terror and violence. But I wouls say that one should be quite careful in evaluating these statements. First: the use of dishonesty for securing the victory of Islam is sanctioned in Islam (taqiyye, taqiyya--which I have written about on this blog, feel free to query). Also, since Muhammad used violence in a rather robust manner to further his vision of God's power and sovereignty, violence cannot be said to be un-Islamic. That would indeed be heresy. Here is a portion of one of his comments, with the link: As to specific denunciations from thousands upon thousands of Muslim leaders worldwide, including fatwas against terrorism, violence, suicide bombing, militant jihad, and perverting the Qur'an and hadiths, you can find a compilation of these

Parts IV and V: Islam: Religion Plus

I wrote this a while ago, but have not yet published it on the blog, and I think it is quite helpful for understanding Islam. It is, of course, simplified and lacking in some of the nuance and specificity a longer work would contain, but it is meant to be only a crude and simple introduction and corrective to the Western understanding that Islam is a religion and nothing more. Enjoy. As always comments are welcome: Islam: Religion Plus (Part IV) There are two central aspects of Islam that folks in the West tend to misunderstand. Because of these two flaws in our understanding we continue to make decisions and take actions that are ineffective or counterproductive in the Dar al Islam. The second thing is the relation of power to grace. But the first thing, which is related to the second, is that Islam, properly speaking, is not simply a religion, but an entire civilization. Islam is a holistic and organic system of life that includes very specific regulations and laws regarding ever

Greetings to Readers of Sacramentum Vitae!

Special thanks to Michael Liccione over at Sacramentum Vitae who posted a link to this blog. I recommend starting with the recent article I wrote on the Islamic understanding of what the Gospel is (and is not): The Gospel According to Muhammad Mike said: His observations are generally trenchant and illuminating, though many would not avoid scholarly and/or polemical quibbling. Quibbling is welcome :-)

How the West was Lost

Just brilliant, but what else would you expect from Stein reviewing Dalrymple? Here it is, all of it: How the West was Lost by Mark Stein The American Conservative The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent, Walter Laqueur, Thomas Dunne Books, 256 pages by Theodore Dalrymple Flying to Rotterdam recently, the largest and busiest port in the world, I was forcibly struck by the aerial view. I doubt there is a sight anywhere that is more eloquent testimony to the power of human intelligence and organization. Indeed, this applies to the whole of the Netherlands: a physically unpromising fragment of land, much of it reclaimed from the sea, has been diligently transformed into one of the globe’s most flourishing regions, whose economic product exceeds that of the whole of Africa. The text accompanying a book of photographs of the Dutch landscape that I was given as a present is an unconscious witness t

Everyone Denounces Terror

Quote from Robert Spencer: Muslim leaders of all kinds have already denounced "terror." The problem here is that no one is defining these terms; rather, everyone is assuming that we all mean the same things by them whenever we use them. By "terror" does one mean "an unprovoked attack against innocent civilians with the intention of causing undifferentiated mayhem"? Muslim leaders will have no problem denouncing that. But if one means "actions carried out in order to further the program of Islamic supremacism that advances through both nonviolent and violent jihad," that is quite another matter. No one is being specific enough. No one is speaking about "the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism" and asking Muslims to denounce that. No one dares. From Here By the way one of our readers has voiced concern regarding Jihad Watch, so I am careful when I reference articles from that site. But I think this quote is right on and too good to

Fatwa Commanding Rushdie's Murder Still Valid

From a Friday sermon in Iran. (Thanks to Hot Air ): Following are excerpts from a Friday sermon by Ahmad Khatami of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, which aired on Channel 1, Iranian TV on June 22, 2007: [...] The old, decrepit, and colonialist English regime presents itself as the defender of human rights, yet it awards a medal to such a wretched, bankrupt man [Salman Rushdie], who has offended the sacred values of more than 1.5 billion Muslims. Are these your human rights? Crowd chants: Death to England. Death to England. Death to England. Ahmad khatami:Is this your civilization? This old, decrepit government of England should know that the days of its imperialistic aspirations are gone, and today it is considered America's branded slave. They must also know that the wave of Islamic revival in the world has begun, whether they like it or not. Under these circumstances, awarding England's highest honor to a wretched man, who lacks any talent whatsoever... He is not consi

Plans for a Committe for Former Muslims

This time it is in the Hague! It seems like this kind of movement is gaining steam, and I think it is a much-needed sort of organization in places like Europe especially. I mean, it would be very helpful for people to have a place to go with people that know about how to deal with Muslim family members and legal protections afforded to citizens or residents of the various countries in Europe. Unfortunately his political party is giving him a hard time. Let's hope this brave soul will win in the end: Jami announced in May he was setting up a Committee for Ex-Muslims. The committee wants to break the taboo on lapsing from the Islamic faith. The 22 year old Jami, himself an apostate of Islam, says many Muslims do not dare to renounce Islam for fear of reprisals, including death. Jami, who is a PvdA council member in the town of Leidschendam-Voorburg, will launch the committee officially in September with an international press conference. He says he has already had hundreds of e-m

Previous Parts of Islam Series by Abu Daoud

Here are some links to previous segments of the Islam Series, written by yours truly, in case you haven't read them: Part XII: Islam and Sloth Part XI: Muslims' Main Objections to Christianity Part X: Why Muslims are Attracted to Christianity Part IX: Victimhood and Islam

Part XIII: The Gospel According to Muhammad

In this thirteenth section of my presentation on Islam I want to address the question of what Muslims believe about the Gospel, for they do indeed believe in the Gospel--but the meaning attached to that word for Muslims is radically different than what it means for Christians. First though I think it would be useful to outline what exactly Christians believe about the Gospel. We actually use the word in several different ways. Often we simply use it to refer to the four books in the New Testament that record the events and teachings of Jesus' life: they include things like miracles, healings, sermons, short sayings, genealogy, events surrounding his birth, crucifixion, resurrection and his commissioning of the Apostles to carry forth his preaching. We also use it very generally to refer to the central proclamation of how all those events relate to us, namely that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus, and that we can receive forgiveness of sins in his name. Of course, the i

What Is the Church?

I have long said that a weakness of evangelical Christianity is that it does not really have any way to account for what the church is and is not. Generally you will hear something like, "It is the invisible and non-institutional body of all true believers in Christ." That's nice I guess, but there's a real problem. That sort of thinking is found NO WHERE in the Bible. Yep. I said that. NO WHERE. Here's a pastor I respect a great deal taking a stab at explaining Paul's theology of the church: Just as we can trust God because God has no agenda that is not for our good, so we can trust the church because it is the sort of community it is, a community of active peacemaking and peacekeeping in which no one exists in isolation or grows up in isolation or suffers in isolation. The slogan of the church's life is "not without the other"; no I without a you, no I without a we. Yet that doesn't mean that the identity of the church is a herd identity

A Few Pictures from Spain's Costa del Sol

Me looking at the Bay of Gibraltar. Costa del Sol. Pictures from Malaga's Cathedral Church.

Umm Yasmin's Muslima Blog: Dervish

I know I'm generally fairly critical of Islam. But I think if you look at my posts on Christianity (my own religion of course) I am pretty critical too. So in the spirit of fairness, and because of her bravery and kindness, I want to recommend to everyone this blog by Umm Yasmin (that means that her daughter's name is Yasmin/Jasmin). She represents more positive aspects of Islam. Though I will say that if she lived in a truly Islamic society she would never have the freedom to keep a blog like this. In other words, her freedom to blog comes from living in a non-Islamic society. God bless her and keep her and guide her into all truth. BTW: May I point out that traditionally in Islamic society that could really not use the name "Umm Yasmin"? You only get to use that matronym when you have a MALE CHILD. Hence my name, "Abu Daoud"--Daoud being a male name of course since I have a son. Read up and post remarks. Let you words be salted by kindness and charit

Germany: The Central Council of Ex-Muslims

From Der Spiegel : "Not Possible to Modernize Islam" Human rights activists have formed a "Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany" to help women renounce the Islamic faith if they feel oppressed by its laws. Its Iranian-born founder Mina Ahadi, under police protection after receiving death threats, talks to DER SPIEGEL about its goals. Mina Ahadi has received death threats after founding the group. An Iranian human rights activist living in Germany has formed a "Central Council of ex-Muslims in Germany" with 40 others and has received anonymous death threats after declaring she wants to help people to leave the religion if they so desire. Iranian-born Mina Ahadi, 50, said she set up the group to highlight the difficulties of renouncing the Islamic faith which she believes to be misogynist. She wants the group to form a counterweight to Muslim organisations that she says don't adequately represent Germany's secular-minded Muslim immigrants.

Don't Want Truth

From Here : Yesterday while witnessing to a Muslim in the area, I noticed that he was repeating all of the Muslim propeganda. He was not able to answer one question that I had, but was unwilling to even look into the possiblity that he was wrong, and that Jesus really did die on the cross for the sins of the world. He wasn't really religious persay. Seemed like he didn't do his daily prayers, like he probably drank beer. And yet somehow, he had all the things memorized. When I asked, "What evidence do you have that the Injil was changed?" He simply responded that the Koran was proof that it was changed... No matter how I tried reasoning with him, he was not willing to think independantly on the manner. A brother then came out and handed me two books. One was an Injil, and the other was a book explaining different reasonings why we believe that the Injil (New testament) was not changed and how we know that Jesus really did die on the cross... "Are those

Two Pictures from Madrid


Salman Rushdie

Well, Salman Rushdie has been knighted by the Queen! And should we be surprised that this has been met by condemnations from Iran and Pakistan and other Muslims around the world? May I point out some quotes that show the acute victimhood that (I propose) Muslims are addicted to today? Effigies of Rushdie and the Queen were burnt in Pakistan, where presidential elections at the end of the year have destablised an already volatile political climate. Hundreds of protesters in Multan, Karachi and Lahore set fire to British flags and chanted “Death to Britain, death to Rushdie” and Islamist leaders called for nationwide protests after Friday prayers. Ijaz-ul-Haq, the Religious Affairs Minister, told the assembly in Islamabad that the award of the knighthood excused suicide bombing. “If somebody has to attack by strapping bombs to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet then it is justified,” he said. He later retracted his statement, explaining that he had intended to say that kn

Biblical Reflections

From me and my wife (Um Daoud). A person from our church asked us to compose these reflections. Along with other reflections on verses from Scripture by missionaries they will be offered as a series: By Um Daoud: Ps. 37:23 -- Our steps are made firm by the LORD, when he delights in our way. The thing that struck me initially as odd in this passage is the phrase "when HE delights in OUR way," not "when WE delight in HIS way." Why did the psalmist decide to say it this way? God has given us choices in life, and sometimes they are not always easy to test against the black-and-white "Thou shalt's" and "Thou shalt not's" given in Scripture. There's no advice in Scripture about which college to send our kids to or how often we need to go to church, but it does give us guidelines to make wise choices with the time and other resources that God has given us. And when God is delighted by the choices we make in our day to day living, yo

Muslims Should Condemn Muslim Violence

Nice article. Let the Muslim communiy be clear about what is 'violence' and what is terrorism. From Jihad Watch : While Muslim groups have issued vague condemnations of "terrorism" and the killing of "innocent civilians," they have never bothered to define who exactly is an innocent civilian, despite the fact that jihadists have claimed that Israelis and, in some cases, Americans and Britons are neither innocent nor civilians. Yet despite the fact that there is no global network of Jewish or Christian terrorists committing violence in the name of either religion and justifying that violence by referring to its sacred texts, and Christian and Jewish leaders have quickly condemned violent acts committed by Christians and Jews, without vagueness or weasel words, the idea that all three religions are equally likely to inspire violence persists.

Cease-fire Reached in Yemen

Thanks be to God for this. Let us hope it will last, though the level of government corruption is so profound that it may be difficult. Read it all at the IHT : SAN'A, Yemen: A Yemeni government official and a Shiite rebels leader said Saturday that the two sides have agreed on a cease-fire that would pave the way to end a three year rebellion in the country's north which had claimed 4,000 lives this year alone. The deal was agreed to under Qatar's mediation, a Yemeni security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to give statements to media. Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, a prominent Shiite rebel leader based in the Saada province, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of the Yemeni capital, confirmed that the agreement was reached.

Mission to Morocco

Are you called to be a missionary to Morocco? Is your church as a community called to support the country and the missionaries there? It is one of the least-reached nations in the world. It once had a vibrant Christian population but that was extinguished long ago. Now there are signs of life though. Please read this website carefully and consider how the Lord would have you support the church's mission to Morocco: Arise Shine Morocco

Civil War Starts in Gaza

I think civil war is not too strong a term for what is going on now: From the Jerusalem Post : At least 25 Palestinians were killed and 80 were wounded as Hamas fighters overran two of Fatah's most important security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Witnesses said the victors dragged vanquished gunmen from the building and shot them to death gangland-style in the street in front of their families. The headquarters of the General Security Service, commanded by Ramallah-based General Tawfik Tirawi, fell to Hamas gunmen. Hamas said documents it found there prove that the Fatah-affiliated security apparatus has close ties with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Hamas said it would show the documents on television in the coming hours. Elsewhere, the capture of the Preventive Security headquarters was a major step forward in Hamas's attempts to complete its takeover of all of Gaza. Hamas followed up that victory by demanding Fatah surrender another key security

Oil Running out Faster than Expected?

It will be a big deal when oil runs out, or more precisely, peaks. I mean, when world-wide oil-production starts going down, and prices will start going up faster than they are already. People always like to say that we will then find some way of getting around oil--technology has no bounds, after all. Right? Wrong. What you will see is certain countries not being able to bribe their citizens any longer, some will be overthrown, some will squelch those movements. It will not be pretty. (I might mention Venezuela, I might mention Yemen...) Economies in the developing world and MENA will suffer greatly. And guess what? Those are the countries where people are having babies. So you will see even greater atempts to immigrate illegally to places like the US and the EU, and those governments will either be drowned in illegal immigrants, or they will (violently) resist such immigration. Neither option offers a nice picture of the future. So this is a big deal. From The Independent : Sc

A Sense of Hope and Life Part 2

Part 2 I am often thankful. Especially thankful for the very excellent people I work with here. My fellow missionaries and apostles come from all around the world and they are wonderful people. They bring light and life to my life. We often thank God for the Bible, but let us consider what life would be like without the church. It is not often a beautiful thing. Shot through with divisions, strife, petty arguments, sectarianism, legalism, the love and abuse of power, and so on. But it is, in the end, Plan A for the salvation of the world. And there is no Plan B. Sometimes we pray together, often times we just play board games or eat or go to the mall--it doesn't matter. And we take Christ with us. We are shining with unveiled faces, reflecting the glory of God. The Law was glorious, but it was a fading glory. The glory of Islam is also fading, but we present a Law of grace and truth whose glory does not fade, because its promises are always answered with God's YES. I am

A Fatwa Free-for-all in the Islamic World

What is a fatwa exactly? It is a legal ruling. Since in Islam there is no separation between civil and religious rule, the fatwa can address almost any facte of life, from real estate, to jihad, to dietary rules, to travel rules, and so on. Do Christians have anything equivalent to the fatwa? Not really. Sunni Islam is much like Protestantism in that there is no central authority, and just as Protestants and evangelicals divide into new denominations on a daily basis, you find the same thing in the Muslim world. The proliferation of fatwas is a result of this process. CAIRO: First came the breast-feeding fatwa: It declared that the Islamic restriction on unmarried men and women being together could be lifted at work if the woman breast-fed her male colleagues five times. Then came the urine fatwa: It said that drinking the urine of the Prophet Muhammad was deemed a blessing. For the past few weeks, the breast-feeding and urine fatwas have proved a source of national embarrassment

Jihad Etiquette--Must Read!

I can't believe I'm saying that an article from the New York Times is actually good. Amazing! The Times could pretty easily be renamed "Let's just Submit to Islam Times," based on some of the previous articles they have published. But here's a great article, read it all. These are the real questions that Muslims today are dealing with. Here is rule #2, for example: "You can kill children, too, without needed to feel distress." Great stuff. Here.

Pentecost Exhortation

"Recalling Pentecost, which we just celebrated last Sunday, I exhort you, dear young people, to constantly invoke the Holy Spirit, so that you may be Christ's intrepid apostles among your contemporaries. May the Consoler Spirit help you, dear sick people, to accept suffering and sickness, offering it to God with faith for the salvation of all people, and may he grant you, dear newly-weds, the joy to build your family on the Gospel's solid foundation." These are the closing sentences of the Papal address on May 30 when I was in Rome. Read his whole reflection on Tertullian at the Vatican City site.

Feast Day of Saint Columba

Yes, it's one of those strange things that we Anglicans do. Yes, we're Protestant; and yes, we observe the feast days of the saints--sometimes. And June 9th is the Feast Day of one of my favorite saints: Columba of Iona. He died on June 9th many years ago. He was a wonderful missionary to the Picts of what is now Scotland. There is a goodness and wholeness in remember God's wonderful provision of apostles and messengers throughout all of history. The Holy Spirit did not stop working after the book of Acts! In 563 he traveled to Scotland with twelve companions, where according to his legend he first landed at the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, near Southend. However, being still in sight of his native land he moved further north up the west coast of Scotland. In 563 he was granted land on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland which became the centre of his evangelising mission to the Picts. However, there is a sense in which he was not leaving his nati

Recent Stuff on Yemen

As you may know, I have a special love for Yemen and its people. The country faces such great difficulties that seem totally insurmountable. Yemen is one of the least-reached countries in the entire world. The Gospel is almost entirely absent there. There are NO indigenous Christians other than a few converts from Islam, and they form less than .01% of the population. That is, statistically insignificant. Pray for Yemen: Yemen hopes to lure tourists Yemen Faces Locust Outbreak And here is the most alarming of them all: Tensions Flare in South Yemen : Demonstrations and armed conflict in southern Yemen are heightening fears of growing instability in the impoverished nation, already battling an insurgency in the North. Yemen has experienced marked instability since September's 2006 presidential election. In the northern Sa'ada province, about 60,000 soldiers have been embroiled in a guerrilla war with about 2000 Zaidi Shi'a rebels since January. Tens of thousands o

Racism or Security?

This sort of question will become more and more important in the future. Officials should proclaim a moratorium on all visa applications from Muslim countries, since there is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims. Because this is not a racial issue, these restrictions should not apply to Christians and other non-Muslim citizens of those countries. Those who claim that such a measure is "Islamophobic" should be prepared to provide a workable way for immigration officials to distinguish jihadists from peaceful Muslims, or, if they cannot do so, should not impede basic steps the U.S. should take to protect itself. And Muslims entering from anywhere -- Britain, France -- should be questioned as to their adherence to Sharia and Islamic supremacism. This is not because anyone will expect honest answers, but so that answers proven false by the applicant's subsequent activity can become grounds for deporta

Pentecostalism, adaptation, history

From an interview with Pentecostal theologian Simon Chan, who talks about Pentecostalism, liturgy (!), the Trinity, and mission. Great stuff, glad to see a serious Pentecostal theologian, we certainly need more. Check it all out at CT Surely part of Pentecostalism's success is its ability to adapt rapidly in a technological culture. Pentecostals are definitely very adaptable. They are quick to seize upon new opportunities for the sake of the gospel. They make use of the technologies of the times. There is a certain habit of mind that enables them to readily leave behind things that don't work and to move on to things that they think will work. Whereas the liturgy creates a different habit of mind, a habit of stability. This has its strengths and weaknesses, just as the Pentecostal mindset has its strengths and weaknesses. But in my view, in the modern world especially, the danger of a short memory far outweighs the danger of not being willing to change. Many people would

Radio Ministry to Iran

Ministry news from Iran: Recently we met with Iranian Christians who invite friends and neighbors over at the time the broadcasts air, then simply watch the program with them. In this way they have led many to Christ. In the last five years, the satellite TV broadcasts have led 200,000 people to put their faith in Jesus Christ. A woman we'll call "Padina" was part of a group of devout women who met to study Islam and pray to the 12 Imams. She was left frustrated and depressed, finding that no matter what she did she never sensed Allah's approval. She was on medication for depression when she first saw the TV broadcasts, and couldn't believe how joyful the Christians on TV appeared. Padina called into the broadcast to find out more. Today she has been healed from her depression, and has shared Christ with many of her family members. Read it all here .

Non Parlo el Italiano

I think it came to me yesterday on the metro from the downtown terminal in Rome to Fiumicino Airport. Knowing Spanish, English, and Arabic I can communicate with about half of the world population. That's pretty good! But being in Rome was different since, non parlo el Italiano. Parlo el Espaniolo, Inglese, y Arabo. (I have no idea about spelling in Italian, btw.) But it's amazing what you can do with fluency in Spanish and some basic Latin. Of course the Latin I know is either biblical or liturgical, and I know a few words of Italian from studying classical music. A curious and not always successful admixture of elements. Within the first few hours I was learning/recalling basic pronouns (io sono=I am) and prepositions (dove=where), some of which were very close to Spanish. I was very happy when the bishop of that illustrious city preached in Italian and I understood almost everything he said. Great excerpt: "During this season of Pentecost we must continuously invok

Adam on ROMA!

I think I will never forget sitting in front of St Peter's with Adam, quizzing him on the different forms of Neo-Thomism :-) Great guy, God bless him in his call to the priesthood. Check it all out, great pictures too: ROMA!

Erik Twist on Catholicity

Catholicity...that's a fanccy word for "universalness" or even "oneness" Check out Erik's thoughts on the matter at his blog: Catholicity Part I A section: Might there remain the possibility that the catholic nature of the church presupposes and necessitates something more than the elusiveness of orthodoxy; the possibility of which must, itself, hinge on its relation to the orthopraxis of the community? Right belief has little efficacy when dispersed among a vast array of disparate individualities. For orthodoxy to have teeth it must be embodied, incorporated into the kerygma of a community living with liturgical consistency and corporeality. Could it be, then, that catholicity is dependent upon a physical and visible component for its very legitimacy? To answer in the positive is to agree that in order to be meaningfully catholic, the church must be capable of being located on more than just a creedal level, it must be visible liturgically; viz. in i

My Friend Pat on our Visit to Rome

Has some reflections at his blog, "Think, Ubu, Think! Good Dog" Check it out: The picture above was taken on a vacation/pilgrimage that friends Adam, Erik, and Abu Daoud, and wife Kendra and I took to Rome last week. The experience has left much on which to reflect. Benedict's message was on Tertullian, and moreover how this Church Father's engagement with "secular" philosophy could be a guide for how we, as 21st-century Christians, can engage with our culture. But I find myself ruminating more on the essence of the Roman Catholic Church. Help me out, here, readers: I know the Pope is held to be the "Vicar of Peter"...apostolicity incarnate, through succession, tracing back to Christ's institution of Peter as the Rock on which Christ would build his Church. But what, exactly, is the Pope's relationship to/with the Roman Catholic Church? Is the Pope seen to be the representation of the Church entire? Or merely the apostolic head thereof

A Sense of Hope and Life Part 1

How Do you Feel? We ask this question a lot. I think in the West we worry a lot about how people feel. It is not as important here in the East (the Middle East in my case). But here is a shot at answering that question. How do I feel as a Christian in the lands of Islamdom? How do I feel as a foreigner and stranger? I walk a lot here. I don't have a car and things are laid out in this city so that you can get around fairly well without one. Sometimes I walk around and have a sense of oppression, of hate, of tension. Yes, I can just feel it in my bones. Sometimes it is more present than others. The remember the first time I was in Jerusalem (not where we live) I could really feel it. At such times I feel like we should just go home and lead a comfortable life in the West or Latin America for that matter. Pastor a church or teach religion...why not? But sometimes I feel an irrational sense of hope and life. Sometimes I walk around the dusty streets of my neighborhood and am convi