Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark Steyn on the reprimitivization of the post WWII world

Mark Steyn is a provocative author and there is a great deal of panache in his style.

He recently wrote a post titled Living History which argues that the world after World War II is becoming more primitive and savage, not more enlightened and free. I find this thesis compelling.

Throughout the article he is debunking (and ridiculing) this Tweet from one Max Fisher:
People who think Christian sectarian militias are the solution to Iraq's problems could stand to read a history of the Lebanese civil war.
Here are a few sections that caught my interest:

A lot of things have gotten worse. If Beirut is no longer the Paris of the east, Paris is looking a lot like the Beirut of the west - with regular, violent, murderous sectarian attacks accepted as a feature of daily life. In such a world, we could all "stand to read" a little more history. But in Nigeria, when you're in the middle of history class, Boko Haram kick the door down, seize you and your fellow schoolgirls and sell you into sex slavery. Boko Haram "could stand to read" a little history, but their very name comes from a corruption of the word "book" - as in "books are forbidden", reading is forbidden, learning is forbidden, history is forbidden. 
Well, Nigeria... Wild and crazy country, right? Oh, I don't know. A half-century ago, it lived under English Common Law, more or less. In 1960 Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, second Governor-General of an independent Nigeria, was the first Nigerian to be appointed to the Queen's Privy Council. It wasn't Surrey, but it wasn't savagery. 
Like Lebanon, Nigeria got worse, and it's getting worser. That's true of a lot of places. In the Middle East, once functioning states - whether dictatorial or reasonably benign - are imploding. In Yemen, the US has just abandoned its third embassy in the region. According to the President of Tunisia, one third of the population of Libya has fled to Tunisia. That's two million people. According to the UN, just shy of four million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and beyond. In Iraq, Christians and other minorities are forming militias because they don't have anywhere to flee (Syria? Saudia Arabia?) and their menfolk are facing extermination and their women gang-rapes and slavery.
And he has more to add to that. Check out the whole article HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Son of Hamas: "ISIS is Islam"

With the Islamic State and others in the news so much, there has been a lot of thinking and talking and reflecting about to what extent the IS actually is (or is not).

President Obama recently came out with his standard, "Every religion has extremists" and "IS are not Muslims, they are terrorists" and so on.

I want to be clear that I am not saying that I necessarily agree with the following statement. It is provocative. I do think it is worth discussing though, because so many of the Christian converts from Islam that I know believe that this is accurate, and also, no one in the lame-stream media will even discuss this position.

So here is what the Son of Hamas has just posted:

When you recognize that ISIS is Islam, you free yourself from the naiveté of world leaders who tell you that ISIS is an anomaly of Islam, leaders that, I am sorry to say, include US President Barack Obama, who told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently that, “There is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam.”
What do you think? If you believe it wrong, then please explain why. Likewise, if you think it is correct, then why is it that most Muslims don't acknowledge the caliphate of Abu Bakr?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Atallah Hanna, the only Orthodox Palestinian Bishop

A colleague referred me to this interesting interview with Bishop Atallah Hanna. All the bishops of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the Holy Land are Greeks (weird, I know), with the exception of this single man. While almost all the indigenous Christians within the patriarchate are Arabs (or Palestinians), and most of the clergy are Arabs too, there is only one Arab bishop.

Here is part of one of his answers:

I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights. 
I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships. 
The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world. 
We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties. 
As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.
I just want to note that he doesn't mention here (or anywhere in the interview) that sometimes Palestinian Christians are mistreated by Palestinian Muslims. Indeed, I know of many such cases. 
Half the truth is a complete lie.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

"For the Sake of the Name: a letter to new missionaries in the Arab world" by Abu Daoud

I am pleased to share with you that I have recently published this article in St Francis Magazine (Vol 11:1).

I had the privilege of being part of the training and mobilization of this couple, and shortly before they moved to the Arab world, I wrote this letter to them. I thought it was worthwhile enough to share with a wider audience.

Here are a couple of the points of advice I offer:

  • learn from the ancient churches
  • remember that you are Americans and don't try to hide it
  • apply yourself to language acquisition above all
  • learn the history of the people and the country

And others. But read the article which contains a lot of other good stuff.

Read it all. Download the PDF from St Francis or check it out on Academia.edu.
But before I get to that, let me share with you my favorite Bible verse about missionaries, and I commend this to you: “For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles [that is, non-Christians]. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 7, 8). This might seem like the kind of verse you would use when fundraising, but I like it because it reminds us of who we are and what we do at the heart of our vocation: that we have gone out– out from our culture, from our homeland, from our language– and that this has been done for the sake of “the name”. Jews in the 1
st
 Century (as today) often did not want to pronounce the divine name (YHWH) because of its overwhelming holiness, so they would say “the Name” or “ha shem”. (May I note that the Hebrew 
shem 
 and the Arabic 
ism 
 are cognates?) But here John the elder means not God, but God as revealed in Jesus– 
Jesus 
 is now 
ha shem 
 or “the name”. There is much more one could say on these two brief verses, but let us move on to the heart and soul of this letter.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A quarter of French youth support the Islamic State

So much for the idea of the IS being thugs and very few Muslims supporting them.

The official response to such domestic hostility towards European society and culture is to say, ‘Let’s not talk about it’. This is because officialdom fears that an open discussion of the cultural threat facing European society would only strengthen support for both radical Islamists and right-wing nationalists. That’s the main reason there was so little discussion of the implications of an ICM poll that showed 16 per cent of French citizens had a positive assessment of IS – among 18- to 24-year-olds, this rose to 27 per cent. The poll also revealed that seven per cent of British and German citizens supported IS.
From Spiked Online.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A prayer for Salman, the new king of Saudi Arabia

TIME has a nice (if brief) article about the new monarch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, especially when it comes to freedom of religion. And just to think that British gold in the hands of the Christian man, Lawrence of Arabia, was so instrumental in building its independence!

But let us hope and pray for a new day for Arabia.

Lord, in your mercy we ask of you:

Peace and justice in Saudi Arabia
Freedom for all people there to worship and live according to their conscience
Wisdom for the Salman, the new king
To confound the plans of the wicked, and deliver the righteous
Strength and power for your holy Church

And we thank you:

For a great increase in the number of people leaving Muhammad for Jesus in KSA
That even in this closed kingdom you have ambassadors from your greater and eternal Kingdom
For the faithful witness of martyrs who loved Christ more than life itself

Amen.

Please do share this far and wide, and use this prayer in your small group, home church, or cathedral, or personal devotions. The power of prayer is not to be underestimated.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

UCLA and the end of Western Civilization

No comment:
For instance, Heather MacDonald notes that in 2011 the University of California at Los Angeles instituted a major change in requirements for an English degree,  replacing three requirements in the foundations of English literature with a mandate for all English majors to take a total of three courses in four areas: “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.” Instead of UCLA English majors being required to read Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare, then, they are required to be exposed (via the course catalogue) to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” These radical changes were caused by a revolt by the junior faculty.
From HERE.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

TS Eliot on the First Crusade

I love what Eliot says about the (first) Jerusalem Crusade:

"In spite of all the dishonour,
the broken standards, the broken lives,
The broken faith in one place or another,
There was something left that was more than the tales
Of old men on winter evenings."

From his Choruses from 'the Rock'

Thursday, January 08, 2015

No, Europe's Muslims will not integrate into a secular society

When I talk about Europe's Islamic future, I often get the rejoinder, "Everyone is becoming more secular and European, whether Christians or Muslims." Not really. Here is Dr Eric Kauffman of the University of London responding to that claim:
Other sceptics claim that Muslims will increasingly integrate and leave Europe’s culture largely unchanged, but this is difficult to prove. Here intermarriage is arguably the best barometer of assimilation. Leo Lucassen and Charlotte Laarman of the University of Leiden have researched this area, focusing on Muslim populations in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Britain and France. They concluded that roughly 6 per cent of foreign-born Muslims married outside the faith, rising to 10-11 per cent by the second generation. Much of the increase can be attributed, however, to the somewhat exceptional integration of French Algerians. Overall, the level of Muslims marrying out remains low. In Germany, for instance, just 7.2 per cent of Muslim men and 0.5 per cent of Muslim women were married to someone of another religious faith.
Also, young Muslims are as religious (or devout) as their parents are:
An alternative route to integration is secularism. If Muslims are turning into secular Europeans, demography is immaterial. Here again, though, group boundaries are holding. Europe-wide surveys find that Muslims under 25 are as devout as those over 55, a big contrast with Catholics or Anglicans. Muslim youth are often stricter than their elders: a 2006 poll discovered that 37 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds want to live under sharia law compared to 17 per cent of those over 55.
Here is the link to the article: "Europe's Muslim Future"

That having been said, I want to wish all my readers a happy and religious new year!

Abu Daoud

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Why doesn't the American Church spend $ on non-Christians?

This is a great question, isn't it? I found these great figures at the site of Global Frontier Missions:

Basically, the world can be divided into three parts based on how people respond to two questions:
  1. Do you have access to a Christian witness?
  2. Are you a Christian?
People that respond “yes” to both questions are considered “World C”. These people are spread out in countries like the United States, Spain, England, Poland, Kenya, Romania, and all throughout Latin America. They have had significant access to the gospel and many people living in these areas would at least claim to be “Christian” even though they may be very nominal or cultural followers of Christ. About 10% of the world’s population is estimated to be true believers while another 23% are at least considered adherents to the Christian faith.
People that respond “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second question are considered “World B”. These people are spread throughout countries like India, Thailand, Japan, China, Nigeria, and Vietnam. These are people that for the most part have had access to the gospel but have not chosen to embrace it for a many number of reasons. They are what we would call exposed unbelievers because they have had a chance to respond to the message.
People that responded “no” to both questions are considered “World A”. These people live in countries like Iran, Bhutan, Somalia, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Algeria. Many of these people have no access to a Christian, a missionary, a church, or a Bible. These guys are virtually unreached and would need an outside witness to come and share Christ with them. We refer to them as unexposed unbelievers because they really do not have any chance of hearing about Jesus.
As of 2011, the world’s population can be divided into these three categories:
World A – 1.6 billion people 29.6% of the world’s population
World B – 2.4 billion people 40.1% of the world’s population
World C – 2.0 billion people 33.0% of the world’s population
So, where are the missionaries going?
This is the breakdown of the worldwide foreign missionary force and where they are currently deployed:
World A – 10,200 (2.4%)
World B – 103,000 (24.5%)
World C – 306,000 (73.1%)
So, basically, we only have 2.4% or 1 out of every 40 of our foreign missionaries serving among “World A” where the majority of the unreached people groups in the world live.