Showing posts from May, 2012

Prayer of St Francis in Arabic

A nice resource here, with various translations of the Prayer of St Francis into Arabic: St Takla

The Myth of Religious Tolerance in Indonesia

Missionary Secrets 2--life is not that exciting most of the time

Am travelling at the moment, and so do not have children running my life for a few brief days. After smoking hooka and reading for a while outside and enjoying the fine weather of this perfidious city, I thought I would drop by the local mosque. Which worked out well since they were issuing the call to prayer: "Come to fulfillment....come to prayer." Wonderful words, if I do say so myself. After standing at the mosque door and signing to some guy there I said, "I'm a Christian, but would like to see how you prayer." I have done this once before, but that was some  time ago. They had no problem with that, so I took my shoes off and sat outside the door of the prayer room and watched them do their short prayers. I enjoyed chatting afterwards with some of the men coming out. And there were only men, as this mosque had no women's room. But sure enough, some 30 or so men piled in and prayed and left. In the Arab world if you can get 30 Christians together onc

Interview with Bernard Lewis, the great Orientalist and Historian

Long live Bernard Lewis! Long live Orientalism! I have learned a great deal from Lewis and am thankful for him. In this interview with Neil Conan, Dr Lewis talks about political correctness and Islamic slavery.

My Parking Ticket and Bashiir

Dear All, Today I went out run some errands and I stopped at a nice, new cafe and to pick up an early lunch (grilled cheese and tomato, how's that for fancy?) I was reading my book and as I was the only one there the young lady there and I started chatting as she was sweeping and didn't have much to do. Then the manager got there, a young man around 30 I'd guess, and we started chatting. I was in a hurry to leave because my car was by the parking meter which I new was going to run out and I live in probably the only Arab city in the world where police give tickets for this stuff (seriously). But I told him that I am a scholar and that I study things like religion and politics and history, and he got interested. He then asked me a very interesting question: "Are violence and terrorism taught in the Qur'an?" I thought for a moment, and answered that the Qur'an is a mixed bag. That during the Meccan period it was not the case, but that during the Medi

Missionary Secrets 1--retirement worries us

I have been a missionary long enough that I feel like I really understand the job. There are veterans out there that put people like to shame, but all those young Americans who come to the Muslim world for a few months or two or three years--I'm not with them. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike them, and some of them are great people and in our own ministry they do help a good bit...often--but not always. So here is my missionary secret 1: retirement inspires fear, or at best, requires a great deal of faith. I'm not old enough that retirement is just around the corner or anything, but when I hear about people who get matching retirement based on income (like I used to before we left for the field), well, that is admirable. You always hear, but away 10% of your income for retirement. We do that. A lot of missionaries can't afford to, so I think we are lucky in this area, and I am thankful for this. But still, based on our income it is never going to reach a grea

St Monica and prayers for the dead

Interesting section here from Augustine's Confessions . It seems that both Monica and Augustine believed in the efficacy of praying for the dead saints: However, scarcely five days after, or not much more, she was prostrated by fever; and while she was sick, she one day sank into a  swoon , and was for a short time unconscious of visible things. We hurried up to her; but she soon regained her senses, and gazing on me and my brother as we stood by her, she said to us  inquiringly, Where was I?  Then looking intently at us stupefied with grief,  Here,  says she,  shall you bury your mother.  I was silent, and refrained from weeping; but my brother said something, wishing her, as the happier lot, to die in her own country and not abroad. She, when she heard this, with anxious countenance arrested him with her eye, as savouring of such things, and then gazing at me,  Behold,  says she, what he says;  and soon after to us both she says,  Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it