Showing posts from July, 2009

Youth Pastor Screw-up

Nice guy. Funny video. Thanks to Albion for this.

Magic, Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Mary Douglas

Mary Douglas, the great anthropologist makes a great observation: In a sense, magic was to the Hebrews what Catholicism was to the Protestants, mumbo-jumbo, meaningless ritual, irrationally held to be sufficient in itself to produce results without an interior experience of God. Purity and Danger, p 22.

How wrong he was: Zwemer on Islam and politics (1912)

Sam Zwemer, The Disintegration of Islam, p 107.

Pius XII on Contextualization/Indigenization

This is the reason why the Catholic Church has neither scorned nor rejected the pagan philosophies. Instead, after freeing them from error and all contamination she has perfected and completed them by Christian revelation. So likewise the Church has graciously made her own the native art and culture which in some countries is so highly developed. She has carefully encouraged them and has brought them to a point of aesthetic perfection that of themselves they probably would never have attained. By no means has she repressed native customs and traditions but has given them a certain religious significance; she has even transformed their feast days and made them serve to commemorate the martyrs and to celebrate mysteries of the faith. Pius XII, Evangelii Praecones §58

Benedict XV on the perseverance of the missionary

What obstacle can arise, what annoyance or danger exists that could deter this emissary of Jesus Christ from fulfilling the task he has begun? There is none. This man, who has attained great favor with God by his free choice of the lofty work he has taken upon himself, will cheerfully endure whatever adversity or hardship befalls him. Toil, scorn, want, hunger, even a dreadful death - he will gladly accept them all, as long as there remains a slight chance that he can free even one soul from the jaws of hell. Maximum Illud §28

Benedict XV, Maximum Illud, 1919

An encyclical on mission issued in 1919. This section is addressed to the missionaries : §18: Now We turn to you, beloved sons, the working-men of the Lord's vineyard. In your hands lies the immediate responsibility for disseminating the wisdom of Christ, and with this responsibility the salvation of innumerable souls. Our first admonition is this: never for a moment forget the lofty and splendid character of the task to which you have devoted yourselves. Your task is a divine one, a task far beyond the feeble reach of human reasoning. You have been called to carry light to men who lie in the shadow of death and to open the way to heaven for souls that are hurtling to destruction. Assure yourselves that God was speaking to you, to each one of you, when He said: "Forget your people and your father's house" (Psalm 44:11). Remember that your duty is not the extension of a human realm, but of Christ's; and remember too that your goal is the acquisition of citizens f

Edinburgh 1910 World Missions Conference

100 years ago a conference on world missions was held in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, in Scotland. These prescient words were issued by the Commission of the conference afterward: Edinburgh 1910 in Comission I “It is a testing time for the Church. If it neglects to meet successfully the present world crisis by failing to discharge its responsibility to the whole world, it will weaken its power both on the home and foreign fields and seriously handicap its mission to the coming generations. Nothing less than the adequacy of Christianity as a world religion is on trial.” So was the church successful? Or did the church over the last century fail? Remember, Edinburgh had representatives from all Protestant traditions (including high-church Anglicans), but not from the Catholics or Orthodox.

Archbishop of Canterbury on non-celibate homosexuality and Orders

Wow, is this the ABC I know and (try to) love? The gentle-spoken Welshman is being amazingly (and rightly) strong in his words here. The Episcopal Church can only push things so far. He needs to understand that Americans are arrogant and self-righteous much of the time, and that is certainly the case with TEC. To the American he must be as an American. Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires. From HERE .

Part XX: The Islamization of Europe

Part XX: The Islamization of Europe by Abu Daoud I have suggested on numerous occasions that Western Europe is being Islamized at a rapid and consistent pace. However, a recent article in Newsweek contends that this is not the case. In this section XX of my series on Islam and Christianity I want to analyze the Newsweek article by William Underhill and reveal its lack of coherency. (The article can be found here: It is well known by now that Muslims have many more children than ethnic Europeans, and that Islamic immigration has been robust for decades and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. These factors indicate the Islamization of Europe, or the creation of ‘Eurabia.’ Underhill says these fears are overblown. What are his reasons? One thing that the author mentions without actually spelling out the implications is that the Europeans are getting older: you have fewer Europeans and they are older, while the new Muslims are

The Disaster that is the The Episcopal Church

The best summary that I have read to date on the disaster that is the The Episcopal Church, of which my family and I are still members technically. Though, I am working on changing that, God willing, to the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East (ECJME), which is still part of the Anglican Communion but is not TEC and does not share the bizarre, heretical doctrines of that atrophying, diseased carcass called TEC. Does ECJME have problems? Yep, lots. All sorts of political infighting (hey, it's the Middle East) and TEC had $ and therefore influence in ECJME, but the point it is that is a much better Province for us. Anyway, read about the amazing imploding church that is TEC .

Muslim Youth torch entire neighborhood in France

The situation in France is going from bad to worse, but the government has issued strict orders that the number of cars torched NOT be shared with the press. But not only do we have the torching of car, these poor victims of society are moving on to bigger and better forms of arson, namely, burning down entire neighborhoods: Firminy burns Here is the priceless commentary of the Brussels Journal .

Palestinian Summer Camps in Israel

Great stuff from CT on the tension and practical difficulties in the Holy Land here, from CT: Enjoy. I am off to California tomorrow with the wife and w/o the kids--they are staying with grandparents, thanks be to God. Pray for a fruitful time as I speak at a conference in the San Diego area on, what else, Islam and Christianity. Salam, Abu Daoud

New Martyrs of Yemen

Christian expatriates in Yemen were left shaken in June after six Christian aid workers and three children were abducted while on a day trip. Shepherds found the bodies of two German nurses and a South Korean teacher in a riverbed in Saada, a mountainous province near Saudi Arabia known for tensions between Shiite Houthi rebels and the government. Still missing at press time were a British engineer, a German doctor, his wife, and their three children all under age 5. The group was working at a Saada hospital through Worldwide Services, a Dutch charity that places medical personnel in developing countries. The charity is reevaluating its presence in Yemen. [...] From here . AD Says: Yemen is a rough country, but one in great need of Christian witness and just plain old skill and knowledge. Please pray for Yemen: -That the remaining Christians would be brave and courageous. -That the MBB's would be hopeful and effective in their witness. -That the Muslim population would see th

More on the fake prosperity of the UAE

(HT to Secret Dubai Diary ) These days, despite defiant protestations of resilience, no one seems to know when the sweet breeze will return. The UAE is still in the doldrums. For the first time since the seven Gulf statelets joined together as a union in 1971, people are beginning to mutter—rather quietly, for sure— whether there may be something amiss with the autocratic, opaque system that hitherto seemed to work so well behind closed doors. “Nobody really knows what any of the statistics are,” says a Western analyst. “We haven’t seen the half of it yet,” says a Western banker, referring to the debt and the possible defaults. It is notable that almost nobody in business or government is prepared to talk publicly. Cohorts of public-relations people surround the bigwigs and shield them from scrutiny. From The Economist See also a previous story HERE .

Pray for The Episcopal Church USA (TEC)

It almost seems like a waste of time to pray for The Episcopal Church (TEC), which is canonically my province of residence (kyrie eleison). Anyway, the General Convention which meets every three years is going on now in Anaheim, California. Dozens of conservative parishes have left over the last few years, and a few conservative dioceses have left, all of this means there is almost no voice advocating the positions of traditional evangelicalism or anglo-catholicism. There is nothing to hold back the impulses of revisionism and pan-sexuality and heresey. It is a sad day, but the Convention is still not over and perhaps something will happen to salvage the situation as the main decisions regarding non-celibate gay bishops, same-sex 'marriage', and the blessing of same-sex unions, have yet to be made. Meanwhile, what I do I expect? Our conwardly bishops will continue to waffle, wanting everything gay while also wanting to remain part of the Anglican Communion. My only consolati

Abu Daoud on the Isle of Skye

That's me on the left. Got to recently visit the Scottish Highlands and it was a wonderful experience. Also made some great friends there and enjoyed hanging out with Nessie ;-)

Problems with Shari'a in the UK

From Brussels Journal , on the implications of Shari'a in the UK: The disparity between English and sharia law was highlighted only a month later, as the House of Lords passed judgment in the case of a Lebanese woman who had claimed the right to remain in the UK with her son. An earlier Lebanese court decision, under sharia law, meant that, despite a history of abuse, her former husband would get automatic custody of the child when he turned seven. Lord Hope of Craighead observed that under the sharia judgment, “[…] there is a real risk of a flagrant denial of their article 8 rights [of the European Convention on Human Rights] if the appellant and her child were to be returned to Lebanon.” Lord Bingham of Cornhill added, rather triumphantly, that her case was supported “[…] by JUSTICE and Liberty.” Justice and liberty, Lord Cornhill appeared to say, are not supported by sharia. Not even in civil cases.

Comments on Iran by Abu Daoud

What is special is not that there are protests. Clearly the vote was rigged, but Ahmadinejad could have probably won in a fair vote. He really shot himself in the foot. I mean, he says he got 60%+. Absurd. Here are the things that caught my attention--and unless you have been keeping up to date on the events in Iran this will make little sense. 1) The protest movement has lasted so long. I thought it would be over after a few days. 2) Important clerics have opposed the Ahmadinejad-Khameini group. Very surprising. I thought they would be cowed into silence. And here is what is missing: 3) No one from among the security forces (internal intel., army, police) has sided with the protesters. Until this happens the movement will be very limited in its influence to actually change the country. Sincerely, Abu Daoud

Claude Geffre on culture and religion

"The relationship between religion and culture is extremely complex, and the Westerners who pride themselves on the autonomy of a culture said to be atheistic often forget that is still a post-Christian culture." Claude Geffre in Many Mansions? p 96

Anton Wessels on Syncretism

“…there is no religion without syncretism and no Christianity without syncretism[.]” -- Anton Wessels

Amjad-Ali: The Umma as a state-nation

Charles Amjad-Ali suggests that much of the difficulty faced by Muslim thinking today is because “Islamic political theory developed during the heyday of such an Islamic state with multi-cultural, social, national, and tribal affiliations, they have had difficulties with the ‘modern’ concept of nation-state for their emphasis has always been on state-nations­, i.e. a single Muslim state encompassing the entire umma with many nations in it. […] So one of the greatest difficulties Islamic theorists face is how to deal among the Muslim states themselves as this falls outside the pale of their doctrinal structures” (Amjad-Ali 9).

Two great books

Have been reading two books recently, both quite challenging and have learned a great deal. It is very important, I think, to get beyond the evangelical discussions of contextualization because really, once you read a few of those essays, you feel like a dog chasing his tail. I suspect that evangelicalism just does not have the historical and ecclesiological resources to address these questions in a robust manner, but I could be wrong. On the other hand, I am grateful that evangelicals are the only ones doing evangelism on any significant level among Muslims. It is easy to critique evangelical missiology, but at least they are risking something by trying to do the work, more than one can say for the Orthodox or Catholics. The two books are: Cornille, Catherine ed. Many Mansions? Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity. New York: Orbis 2002. Amjad-Ali, Christine ed. Developing Christian Theology in the Context of Islam. Rawalpindi: Christian Study Center 1996.

Islamic forced marriage in the UK

How do you say 'not surprised' in Pashto? Just curious...Check out the article HERE . Here is an excerpt: ...government figures released today suggest the true scale of Britain's forced-marriage problem is only now beginning to emerge. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 8,000 cases of forced marriage occurred in Britain last year, according to the Department for Children, Schools, and Families. Most are teenage girls from Britain's large Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian communities. They're married off, according to the report, to bond the young women to their community, keep clan promises, or as a way to provide a British visa for a foreign family member or friend. The figures have delivered a fresh jolt to Britain's multicultural paradigm, which until recently handled reports of forced marriage and associated "honor crimes" as cultural issues, beyond the remit of the justice system [...]


"Careful work on contextualization grows in us appreciation both for how culturally relative some forms are and how transcultural the Christian gospel is." --John Witvliet