DanutM:

Not for the faint hearted and the literalists :-)

Originally posted on Is That in the Bible?:

Joshua 10 has one of the most remarkable miracle stories in the whole of the Old Testament  outside the opening chapters of Genesis. Fresh off of victories at Jericho and Ai, Joshua’s Israelite army faces down a coalition of five Amorite kings; victory is swift, and with the enemy on the run, Joshua commands the sun and moon to stop moving, apparently in order to give the Israelites more time to pursue and slaughter the Amorites. So great is this feat that the narrator exuberantly declares, “there has been no day like it before or since!” and the chapter eventually ends with Israel in firm control of the Judahite heartland.

This passage, sometimes referred to as Joshua’s Long Day, is a puzzler. Exactly what kind of miracle is supposed to have occurred here? What traditions is the author working with? Answering these questions has proven quite difficult, since voluminous books…

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Posted by: DanutM | 25 July 2015

Richard Rohr on Centring Prayer

This is what you are to do. Lift your heart up to the Lord with a gentle stirring of love, desiring him for his own sake and not for his gifts. –The Cloud of Unknowing, Chapter 3

In the 1970s, drawing from The Cloud of Unknowing and other Christian mystical writings, three Trappist monks–William Meninger, Basil Pennington, and Thomas Keating–developed a simple method of silent prayer. This method came to be known as Centering Prayer, referencing Thomas Merton’s definition of contemplation as prayer “centered entirely on the presence of God.” (You can learn more about Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach.)

Centering Prayer is simply sitting in silence, open to God’s love and your love for God. This prayer is beyond thoughts, emotions, or sensations. Like being with a very close friend or lover, where words are not required, Centering Prayer brings your relationship with God to a level deeper than conversation, to pure communion

Because our minds are so attached to thinking, Father Thomas Keating sometimes suggests choosing a sacred word, with one or two syllables, “as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. [Then,] sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce your sacred word. . . . When you become aware of thoughts, return ever-so-gently to your sacred word. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.” [1]

Two sessions of 20-30 minutes of Centering prayer is recommended each day, but if that is too much for you, begin with five or ten minutes. Let go of all expectations or goals during this time. It is not about achieving anything, whether emptying your mind or finding peace or achieving a spiritual experience. There is no way to succeed at Centering Prayer, except to return again and again to love. Allow thoughts to come and go without latching onto them, without judgment. “Ever-so-gently” bring your sacred word, the symbol of your intention, back to mind and return to resting in Presence.

Gateway to Silence
“Nothing can come between God and the soul.” –Julian of Norwich
Posted by: DanutM | 25 July 2015

Responding to Franklin and the Politics of Fear

DanutM:

Here is a measured and consistent response to Franklin Graham’s foolishness. Thanks, Arthur.

Originally posted on The Institute of Middle East Studies:

By Arthur Brown

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. [1 John. 4:16 & 18].

There is no shortage of fear in this world, and of course no shortage of things to be fearful of. Given recent comments by a well known Evangelical Christian leader in the US concerning his views on Islam and Muslims – and how he feels his country should respond to it/them – it seems there is the need to address some basic gospel principles [yet again] in relation to the responsibility followers of Christ have towards their Muslim neighbors.

Islamaphobia has been defined as

“an outlook or…

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Posted by: DanutM | 23 July 2015

Discurs al lui Ben Carson la Casa Alba

Un discurs superb. Rev. Ben Carson este pastor adventist evanghelic (unii adventisti NU sunt evanghelici, ci aproape ‘se inchina’ profetesei lor, Ellen White). El este un candidat potential la presedintia Statelor Unite.

DanutM:

I doubt I have shared this second part of a translator’s review on CS Lewis’s biography by McGrath, so, here it is

Originally posted on BARTHOLOMUSINGS:

cover1-264x380Now to turn to some comments of a more evaluative nature. The biography is well written. The style is clear and fluid, maybe
dull at times. Nevertheless, when the material is of a poetic nature, McGrath shows his capacity for lyrical description. Particularly poignant is his discussion of Lewis’s A Grief Observed, which contains some of Lewis’ most raw and uncensored reflections on pain and suffering, following Joy’s death.

Towards the end of the volume a sense of wistfulness is introduced when McGrath reveals Lewis’ letter to the Nobel Committee, nominating J. R. R. Tolkien for the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature. The letter was discovered after January 2012, when the archives were finally opened to scholars, after a fifty-year embargo. We may note that the friendship with Tolkien is well documented.
Even if Lewis regarded Tolkien as one of his “second class” friends, McGrath’s decision to insist on…

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American religion is rapidly spreading in the world through the power of the ‘almighty dollar’ and the insidious influence of the media (that is what we used to call  with a very adequate term, ‘imperialism’. Thus, we find many ‘Americanised’ churches all over the world, especially in evangelicalism. And that is also true of Romania, unfortunately.

Benjamin Corey suggests ten tests for finding out if your church has been ‘Americanised too’. Here they are, in brief:

1. If you look at the early Christians and are in disbelief over what you find. 

2. Your chief concern with Muslims is how to defeat them instead of how to show them the love of Christ.

3. If you can recite more of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights than you can the Sermon on the Mount. Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 22 July 2015

Where A Natural Disaster Is Most Likely to Strike

natural disaster world map
(Source, The Telegraph)

Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever moulded the huge geographic regions in their paths.

For a night, join the saints! | THE ORTHODOX MONASTERY OF ALL CELTIC SAINTS.

Here is the story of a night spent on Iona Island, my most beloved place in the entire world. The pilgrim is a Romanian Orthodox monk, Fr Serafim.

Ortodoxie şi evanghelism – ediţia a doua, revizuită.

O veste excelenta, pe care o asteptam de mult

Slava Domnului.

The times are changing. Like it or not, secularism is on the rise in North America. This does not mean that Christianity is waning worldwide, but the situation in the old heartlands of Christianity is definitely not the same as it has always been, and the indicators show that it may continue to change.

I live and minister in Europe, where the landscape is covered with vestiges of Christianity. Virtually every major city has a cathedral at the heart of its skyline. One does not have to travel very far to find historical sites where great revivals took place, synods were held, and mission movements began. But to many in Europe, Christianity is little more than part of the cultural past. In most parts, average church attendance is below 10 percent and in many places it is less than two percent, often times filling the pews exclusively with silver-haired saints.

I think it can be argued, at least in practice, Europe has become a post-Christian context. Please allow me to share a few insights into ministering in a post-Christian context if and when this becomes your reality.

Effective mission in a post-Christian situation requires creativity and some outside-the-box thinking. It takes some surrendering of things that may have been held to very closely. So what do North American church leaders need to consider as the times unfold?

1) The church needs to surrender its entitlement mentality.

For centuries, the realm of Christendom has been able to expect people to be part of the church. Going to church was part of one’s civic duty like paying taxes, voting, and obeying the laws. It was reinforced by social pressures. In Christendom, would someone want to be known to have played hooky from church? What does the church do when these safety nets are taken out? I think we need to look at motivation. Why be in church? Is Jesus really relevant in my life?

2) The church requires missiologists.

I’m not talking about those academic types who delve deeply into the philosophies, theories, and theologies of mission. The church in the post-Christian West does, however, need an abundance of people who are thinkers who ask good questions about the nature of God’s mission in their contexts. What does the essence of the gospel look like in our community? Does the meaning come through in our language and forms? How can we effectively shape the church in ways that reach into all aspects of the lives of our people so that they can truly live under the Lordship of Jesus? Too often we have just looked for “add water and mix” strategies, but as we enter this new season, we can’t expect what works in one place will also work in another.

3) It’s time for the church to look at its ecclesiology.

Ecclesiology is just a fancy word that means “theology of church.” But in reality, if the church is to be Body of Christ on earth through which people worship the Lord, are discipled, find community, express their spiritual gifts, and are deployed for mission, how often have we actually thought about the whys and hows of church? Do we have a robust view of church? It may also be time to reconsider the whole idea of church membership as the deeper question is more about how people are moving toward Jesus rather than belonging to a rigidly defined bounded set.

4) The church will need to embrace diversity in different ways.

Over the last few decades, much of church growth thinking has focused on homogenous groups. Often times, churches have been planted amongst a very narrow demographic, leading to very like-minded faith communities that may even reflect a very narrow socio-economic, cultural, and yes, even racial makeup. Talking about diversity in reality has often been that annual pulpit exchange when people hear a slightly different voice. However, as churches grow in post-Christian environs, what brings people together may simply be Jesus. This might also bring about a wide variety of ideas and expressions.

5) The church has reinforcements.

Within this generation, the scale in the demographics of World Christianity has been tipped, reflecting quite a different reality. Now, more Christians are found in the Global South than in the North. The “typical” Christian comes from places like South America, Africa, and Asia. With the rise of migration, the church in the post-Christian West can celebrate the arrival of sisters and brothers in Christ who are eager to be salt and light in their new homes. The established church in the North will be wise to embrace, learn from, and work alongside non-westerners in building God’s kingdom, especially as they move into the post-Christian West.

* * *

Kirk Sims serves Jesus in cosmopolitan Hamburg where his wife, Nicole, is pastor of an intercultural, international congregation. He is the European regional consultant for The Mission Society and is finishing up a Ph.D in African missiology through OCMS in the UK.

The world as it appears to be perceived by the ridiculous American Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Political pathologies have no limits. And the US is no exception.

Donald Trump World Map

Source, Huffington Post.

Posted by: DanutM | 11 July 2015

God’s Architect: Antoni Gaudi’s Glorious Vision

Architect Antoni Gaudi’s vision for the Sagrada Familia, a church under construction for over 130 years.

Incredibly, this is a project ENTIRELY funded by private donations.

Lara Logan reports. Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 11 July 2015

The World Online Map

world online map

You all know I love maps (search for ‘map’ on my blog and you will find many interesting ones). If you know how to read, they tell amazing stories.

Here is another one, where sizes of countries are depend not on square kilometres, but on the number of internet users. Enjoy

(Source, The Guardian.)

Rita Davies & rev husband
Rita Davies and her Rev. husband

Note: This is a great story. It is genuine and transparent. I dedicate this to my daughter-in-law, Ligia, who is a courageous, independent, beautiful and smart Rev wife. I love you, Ligia.

20 Confessions of a Minister’s Wife

Being married to a minister was not something I had on my to-do list. I just happened to fall in love with a guy who also carried the title, “Reverend.” According to my mother, I used to kiss the TV screen when Mr. Rogers was on, so maybe I always had a thing for Presbyterian ministers.

I definitely had zero schema for a pastor’s wife. I grew up Roman Catholic in overtly Catholic cities and towns, went to Catholic school and had grandparents who had Mary and Joseph statues from church in their house. On a bench. Standing close to nine feet tall. Number of times I peed my pants thinking they were people: two.

We didn’t meet in college or in seminary. We met through mutual friends at a dive bar with fantastic pizza. A year later, we were married and I was sitting in a pew, staring at a hymnal, thinking, Dear God, they sing every verse to every song. And, I don’t think I can leave after communion. Err, no.

As I categorize myself as a novice preacher’s wife (10 years in), I am still learning, growing and navigating my way through this very unique role. I still really don’t know what I am doing and just strive to be my authentic self. However, there are a few things that I have gleaned along the way that are worth sharing. Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 10 July 2015

Sagrada Familia – 2026 – We Build Tomorrow

My son’s family is visiting Barcelona these days. This is a good opportunity for me to share with you a few video recordings about Sagrada Familia, the most extraordinary building ever erected, in my humble opinion, and about Antonio Gaudi, the genius architect that designed it and started building in, until his tragic death.

This first short clip presents what’s next in the building project, until 2026, when it will be finished.

Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 10 July 2015

The Chosen Ones – The Trailer

A group of solitary elderly individuals from Armenia, who have been neglected by the society, unify in an amateur dance troupe and prove during each performance that they still can dream, fall in love, amaze and wonder.

Director: Arman Yeritsyan
Production studio: Bars Media documentary film studio

Thanks to my friend Liana Enli Manusajyan for the link.

DanutM:

Manu Contac despre avatarurile versiunii Cornilescu a Bibliei, schilodita de mina unui avocat fara scrupule.

Originally posted on Vaisamar:

În peisajul evanghelic românesc a apărut de câteva luni o struțocămilă asupra căreia alte activități presante nu mi-au îngăduit să mă opresc: Biblia Cornilescu 1921 în „ediție revizuită autorizată”.

Fiindcă multe și grave sunt dezinformările din această ediție, atât în pagina de titlu, cât și în cuvântul justificativ de la final, voi face în postarea de mai jos toate clarificările pe care le socotesc necesare. Vă previn că tonul postării este foarte apăsat. Îi rog cititorii slabi de înger să nu parcurgă acest text, fiindcă voi fi foarte sever cu inițiatorul proiectului. Dacă, dimpotrivă, socotiți că restaurarea adevărului istoric nu se negociază, vă invit să citiți această punere la punct.

Titlu

(1) Nu vorbim de revizuirea ediției 1921, ci de revizuirea edițiilor 1924-1928. Ediția 1921 a ieșit din uz odată cu apariția versiunii 1924. A pretinde că ne mai putem întoarce la această versiune, când însuși autorul a înlocuit-o cu ceva…

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Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

Jesus and the Overthrow of Religion

DanutM:

Mike Kuhn deals in this IMES blog post with what I call the three ‘prophets of modernity’. He writes:
‘It is striking that Freud, Marx and Nietzsche gave voice to the very critique that is being made of religious belief in today’s Middle East. Religion has become a means to exclude, socially manipulate and exploit people. The critique is devastating because it is self-evident. Religion has tremendous power to mold a society and shape it according to the desires of its overlords.’
He believes that ‘Jesus is the way out of this dilemma of religion’.
Why? Because ‘he was scathing in his denunciation of religious strictures and authority’.
So, concludes Kuhn, ‘maybe Marx and Freud and Nietzsche are inadvertent cheerleaders for Jesus. Maybe the current skepticism of religion in the Middle East bodes well for his Kingdom. It also forces us to ask ourselves if we have domesticated Jesus’ Kingdom by turning it into religion’.

Originally posted on The Institute of Middle East Studies:

by Mike Kuhn

Having grown up in the West, I was aware that a trend emerged in the post-World Wars era towards a rejection of religion.  The brutality and sheer evil of the World Wars led many to reject belief in God.  If God is good and all-powerful, how could such evil proliferate in the world this God created?  Much of the debate with atheism in the West has centered on this “problem of evil.”   Though Christian intellectuals have responded, the hemorrhaging of mainline churches in the West demonstrates that skepticism is here to stay and too obvious to be denied.  A culture that recoils from faith in God has increasingly become the environment in which we live and move.

Then I relocated to the Middle East and learned that in this culture, religious faith is ubiquitous.  At least, that was true until recent years.  Nowadays I increasingly detect a…

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Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

Gomorrah, Masada, and Mount Sodom from the Air

Filmed by Amir Aloni, with his drone.

Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

“One God, One Lord”: Third Edition Forthcoming

DanutM:

A very significant book that was mandatory reading during my magisterial studies at LST.

Originally posted on Larry Hurtado's Blog:

Earlier this week I received the proposed cover for the third edition of my book, One God, One Lord:  Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism (London:  Bloomsbury T&T Clark, forthcoming November 2015).  Now I see that Amazon has notice of this edition as forthcoming here.   Originally published in 1988, there was a second edition in 1998, in which I provided a new 5,000-word Preface reviewing the discussion of relevant topics in the ten years between editions.  In this third edition, I provide a 20,000-word Epilogue in which I sketch the background of the book (in my own research development), and then devote the greater part of the Epilogue to tracing scholarly discussion of the main points of the book, engaging key scholars in the process.

Because I judge the net effects of the vigorous scholarly work reviewed not to have called into question anything significant in the original…

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Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

Bianca Lucaciu – Revolta impotriva nedreptatii

Bianca Lucaciu
Bianca Lunaciu, absolventa de liceu de nota 10 din Zalau

O eleva care a terminat in acest an liceul si bacalaureatul cu nota 10 isi marturiseste in aceasta scrisoare deschisa revolta fata de nedreptatea care se manifesta sub diverse forme in scoala romaneasca. Prilejul circumstantial al acestei revolte este mai putin important decit hotarirea pe care aceasta scrisoare deschisa o exprima. Una de a nu mai suporta nedreptatea, de a-si lua soarta in propriile miine, in ciuda circumstantelor nefavorabile.

Am intilnit aceeasi hotarire la tinerii de liceu in multe dintre tarile Europei de est in care calatoresc cu regularitate.

Din pricina acestor tineri cred ca tarile noastre inca mai au sansa normalitatii. Dar numai dupa ce acestia ingroapa generatia expirata din care, din nefericire, fac si eu parte. Dumnezeu sa aiba mila de noi toti.

* * *

Gata. Azi mi-am făcut o promisiune. Nu mai tac. E momentul cel mai potrivit să spun ceea ce simt. E momentul să clarific câteva lucruri şi să pun punct.

N-am vrut să scriu despre asta. Am zis că e mai bine să o las moartă. Că asta e, se întâmplă. Că unii vor vedea unde au greşit şi nimeni nu va mai suferi.

Dar am auzit un lucru care m-a făcut să înţeleg că noi, românii, avem o mare problemă – mentalitatea. Lumea e plină de nedreptăţi şi trebuie să mă obişnuiesc cu asta. Şi dacă nu vreau? Când au fost alegeri în toamnă, am strigat toţi că vrem o altă Românie, una mai bună, lipsită de corupţie şi de intrigi mânate de interesul personal al oamenilor care au ajuns în funcţii. Vedem toţi ce se întâmplă în jurul nostru, dar nu avem curajul să ne opunem. Ne lăsăm duşi de curent şi asta este, ce-o fi, o fi. Eu una mă simt curajoasă. Vreau să înot împotriva curentului. Şi sunt sigură că fiecare dintre voi a simţit asta măcar o dată.
E de ajuns. Nu mai vreau să mi se spună că trebuie să accept mizerii şi nedreptăţi doar pentru că aşa vrea cineva. NIMENI nu poate să îmi impună absolut nimic. Nu am nevoie de lecţii de moralitate sau de demnitate. Sunt responsabilă şi spre deosebire de alţii, ÎMI ASUM toate alegerile pe care le-am făcut vreodată. Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

Russian Empire | Cookies and The Caucasus

Russian Empire | Cookies and The Caucasus.

Here is a great post about an amazing place – Tsminda Sameba (Holy Trinity) Church in the Kazbegi Mountains, in Georgia (the real one, not in the US). Something to do next time I visit there.

Posted by: DanutM | 9 July 2015

The Centre on Religion and Global Affairs

CRGA logo

Our approach to the interplay of religion and global affairs in 5 simple paragraphs!

1. Religions and beliefs play a major role in the way human beings locate themselves in the world and live their day-to-day lives, both as individuals and as communities. Therefore, religions are not simply a matter of personal beliefs about life after death or matter of transcendence. They have direct implications for social, political and economic interactions.

2. At their core, religions are attempts to offer a moral reading of the universe and answer fundamental questions of meaning, and how individuals and communities should live their lives, interact with each other and handle the process of human life. Thus, religions manifest not simply as theological beliefs formulated from sacred texts, but also as social structures and social forces offering belonging, as well as stability and order, to communities. Through rituals and activities of their clerical structures, religions maintain their networks and provide spiritual and physical support to their followers. For this reason, religion often demonstrates itself as the most basic form of civil society in most parts of the world, and emerges as one of the strongest form of mobilisation — cutting across ethnic, socio-economic class, and political differences. Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 8 July 2015

Putin din mult. „Sectantii“ lui Vasile Ernu

Putin din mult. „Sectantii“ lui Vasile Ernu.

O noua recenzie, scrisa de domnul Mirel Banica, la ‘Sectantii’ lui Vasile Ernu. Una consistenta si mai critica de aceasta data, asa cum este normal, data fiind pozitia asumat ortodoxa a autorului acesteia.

Laughter & Silence: The Spiritual Odd Couple | On Being.

Parker J Palmer at his best.

Principles for Contemplative Spirituality (Part One) | Carl McColman.

Do you resonate with these principles?

An excerpt from Plato’s Republic, the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ is a classic commentary on the human condition. It is a story of open-mindedness and the power of possibility.

Posted by: DanutM | 4 July 2015

4th of July – Democracy Is Coming to The USA

I dedicate this to the Independence Day of the USA. You may also read HERE a text written by Parker J Palmer for the same celebration day.

Here are the lyrics.

Read More…

Posted by: DanutM | 2 July 2015

Theology of Joy: Jurgen Moltmann and Miroslav Volf

One day after the first Yale Center for Faith & Culture Theology of Joy consultation in Tübingen (funded by the John Templeton Foundation), Miroslav Volf engages his Doktorvater, Jürgen Moltmann, on some of the most fundamental questions of Moltmann’s work. Where does joy come from? Whence hope? Who is God?

Thanks to Manu Rusu for the idea.

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