Reflections on Fear and Faith – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Source: Reflections on Fear and Faith – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Arthur Brown on fear & faith, a constant topic of conversation for Christians living in the Middle East.

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Hospitality in an Age of Terror – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Source: Hospitality in an Age of Terror – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Sousie Lahoud of hospitality as a Christian virtue in the age of terror

5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Muslims

Source: 5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Muslims

This is a great text, worth reading. And, no, Corey does not have to also talk about the differences btween Islam and Christianity. That is common sense for anbody who has a brain. But, in a (conservative/fundamentalist and Islamophobic Western) context in which only the differences are emphasized, there is a great need for irenic spirits who also underline the communalities rooted in our being created in the image of God (yes, both Christians and Muslims) and in our monotheistic faiths, whether we beleve we worship the same God or not.

CSW – Prayer Diary: Sudan

Sudan has been on our minds a lot this year with the case of Reverend Hassan, Reverend Kuwa, Mr Jašek and Mr Abdumawla, all of whom were on trial on unjust charges last year. The men went through many months of imprisonment, separated from their families and frequently enduring harsh conditions. But God is good – Rev Kuwa was found innocent of all charges and released in January 2017. Mr Jašek received a presidential pardon and was freed in February, and in May both Mr Abdumawla and Rev Hassan were set free after receiving a presidential pardon. This, of course, exists in a wider context of extreme pressure on Christians in Sudan: let’s pray through the things they’re facing this week (source, HERE). Read More »

Fr. Boules George – A Message to Those Who Kill Us

Father Boules George gives a sermon during the Eve of Monday Pascha following the two bombings on Palm Sunday that took place at Saint George Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.

Find below the transcription of this powerful sermon.

* * *

What will we say to them?

THANK YOU

The first thing we will say is “Thank you very, very much,” and you won’t believe us when we say it.

You know why we thank you? I’ll tell you. You won’t get it, but please believe us.

You gave us to die the same death as Christ–and this is the biggest honor we could have. Christ was crucified–and this is our faith. He died and was slaughtered–and this is our faith. You gave us, and you gave them to die.

We thank you because you shortened for us the journey. When someone is headed home to a particular city, he keeps looking at the time. “When will I get home? Are we there yet?” Can you imagine if in an instant he finds himself on a rocket ship straight to his destination? You shortened the journey! Thank you for shortening the journey.

We thank you because you gave to us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ.Read More »

Israeli Settlements Explained

The latest discourse of Secretary of State John Kerry on the danger for peace in the Middle East represented by the constant extension of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territorries stirred again the debate on the lack of solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the obvious resistance of the Israeli right wing government to come to a peaceful two-state resolution of this conflict.

I am sure many of you, especially those who have been influenced by Zionist propaganda – whether Christian Jewish or secular, or by the suspect dispensationalist interpretations of the sacred text, wonder what is the big fusss with these seettlements.Read More »

Wendell Berry – The Peace of Wild Berry

Wendell Berry - The Peace of Wild Things

Poem shared by Parker J Palmer, on his Facebook wall, in memory of the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Nadine Al-Budair – How Would Muslims Act If Christian Terrorists Blew Themselves Up In Their Midst

Nadine Al-Budair
Nadine Al-Budair

Liberal Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Budair, who lives in Qatar, penned an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in which she wondered how Muslims would have acted if Christians had blown themselves up in their midst or tried to force their faith on them. She called on the Muslim world to be introspective and enact reforms, instead of condemning Western attitudes towards it.

The following are excerpts from the article:

“Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross. Imagine that two skyscrapers had collapsed in some Arab capital, and that an extremist Christian group, donning millennium-old garb, had emerged to take responsibility for the event, while stressing its determination to revive Christian teachings or some Christian rulings, according to its understanding, to live like in the time [of Jesus] and his disciples, and to implement certain edicts of Christian scholars…

“Imagine hearing the voices of monks and priests from churches and prayer houses in and out of the Arab world, screaming on loudspeakers and levelling accusations against Muslims, calling them infidels, and chanting: ‘God, eliminate the Muslims and defeat them all.’Read More »

12 Must-Reads on Mission and Islam by Fuller Professors

Source: 12 Must-Reads on Mission and Islam by Fuller Professors :: Fuller

An list of essential reading for those who want to understand Islam from a non-Islamophobic Christian perspective.

Insider Movement Theological Continuum – The C1–C6 Contextualization Spectrum

This tool, developed by John Travis (a pseudonym), has proven helpful and is widely accepted as a tool for differentiating different kinds of “Christ-centered Communities” in Muslim contexts. The tool focuses primarily on doctrine, theological language, and ecclesiastical practices. It would be interesting to create a corresponding continuum measuring the degree of Christ-like behavior characterizing a group of Christians—a DWJS (doing what Jesus says) spectrum. If such an analytical tool were applied to many doctrinally orthodox communities, it would help reveal the degree of compromise—“behavioral syncretism”—blighting some of our evangelical churches and religious communities.

C1 – Traditional Church Using Outsider Language. These are traditional Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant churches which may pre-date Islam. Many reflect Western culture and are significantly different from the surrounding Muslim culture. Some Muslimbackground believers may be members. They call themselves “Christians.”

C2 – Traditional Church Using Insider Language. Essentially the same as C1, but using an insider language. Theological language is distinctively Christian. Often there are more Muslim-background believers than in C1 churches. Believers call themselves Christians.”

C3 – Contextualized Christ-centered Communities Using Insider Language and Religiously Neutral Insider Cultural Forms. These may adopt local forms of dress, folk music, and art. The aim is to reduce the foreign atmosphere by “contextualizing to biblically permissible cultural forms.” The meeting place may be a church building or another location. Believers call themselves “Christians.”Read More »

Morocco Declaration: Muslim Nations Should Protect Christians from Persecution | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com

In Marrakesh, hundreds of Muslim leaders release modern update to Muhammad’s Charter of Medina.

Source: Morocco Declaration: Muslim Nations Should Protect Christians from Persecution | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com

This is a very important declaration, which, I am afraid, will go again unnoticed in the current Islamophobia that dominates the so-called ‘Christian West’.

Miroslav Volf, Allah – The Pneuma Review

Source: Miroslav Volf: Allah : The Pneuma Review

Here is an excellent review of Miroslav Volf’s book Allah. A Christian Response, by Pentecostal theologian Amos Young.

Christian de Chergé – Testamentul unui martir al iubirii

Christian de Chergé
Christian de Chergé

Dacă mă va ajunge ziua – și aceasta ar putea fi chiar astăzi – în care să fiu victima terorismului care pare că vrea să-i „înghită” pe toți străinii care trăiesc în Algeria, mi-ar plăcea ca comunitatea mea, ca Biserica mea, ca familia mea să-și amintească de faptul că viața mea a fost DĂRUITĂ lui Dumnezeu și acestei țări. Ca ei să accepte că singurul Stăpân al vieții nu poate fi străin de această brutală plecare. Ca ei să se roage pentru mine: cum aș putea fi eu vrednic de o astfel de ofrandă? Ca ei să știe să asocieze această moarte cu atâtea altele la fel de violente, lăsate în indiferență și anonimat.

Viața mea nu valorează mai mult decât alta. Nici mai puțin. În orice caz, ea nu mai are inocența copilăriei. Am trăit suficient ca să mă știu complice cu răul care, vai!, pare să prevaleze în lume și chiar cu cel care mă va lovi orbește. Mi-ar plăcea, atunci când va veni momentul, să am acea clipă de luciditate care să-mi permită a-i cere iertare lui Dumnezeu și tuturor fraților mei întru umanitate și în același timp să-i iert din toată inima pe cei care mă vor fi lovit.Read More »

Reportaj Apollonia TV – Refugiatii, o provocare pentru Europa

Reportaj Apollonia TV legat de Dezbaterea cu tema ‘Refugiatii, o provocare pentru Europa’ organizata de Asociatia Onesimus la Muzeul Unirii din Iasi, simbata 8 ianuarie.

Ahmed Rehab speaks at Dr. Larycia Hawkins Press Conference

As the only Muslim speaker at the Chicago faith leaders’ press conference with professor Larycia Hawkins this morning, CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director Ahmed Rehab spoke on behalf of Chicago area Muslims to convey appreciation for her as her own magnanimous act of solidarity with us now puts her in the crosshairs. But we will do more than talk. We will act. Please stay tuned for action alerts as we confer with Dr. Hawkins and her lawyers.

CAIR-Chicago will not abandon those who stand with us as Dr. Hawkins has. We will NOT let her stand alone.

Interview with Myriam, A Child from Qaraqoush

The discussion with this ten-year-old girl from Mosul becomes Christian broadcaster SAT-7’s most-watched interview ever.

Read HERE more about this subject.

Vinoth Ramachandra – Pocket-Sized Gods?

vinoth_ramachandra
Vinoth Ramachandra

The Malaysian Church, in recent decades, was engaged in a prolonged legal battle with their Islamist-influenced government which prohibited non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to the supreme God and creator. Church leaders received directives stating that several words of Arabic origin, including Allah, Nabi (prophet) and Al Kitab (Bible) were not to be used by non-Muslims as Arabic was the language of Muslims. Usage by Christians would sow the seeds of “confusion”. The import of Malay Bibles printed in Indonesia (which used Allah) was effectively banned.

Christians countered by pointing out that Allah was the common term used to refer to the supreme God long before Islam came into existence in North Africa. Arab Christians continue to worship God as Allah and Malay-speaking Christians have also been using Allah for centuries. Far from sowing “confusion”, it has facilitated communication and promoted mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims.

Clearly this was more than a matter of official historical ignorance. Islamists fearful of the conversion of Muslims sought to deter the latter from reading the Bible by claiming that Christians and Muslims worship different Gods. They have been successful. Christians lost the legal battle, with dire consequences for the future of social justice and religious harmony in Malaysia.

How ironic, then, to find these Islamist arguments flourishing among conservative Christians in the so-called American Bible Belt.Read More »

Parable of the Good… Muslim

Source: Thoughtful Engagement – Gospel and Humanity

Did you ever read the Parable of the goo… Muslim?

Here it is.

Stephen Holmes – Mr Graham, you ain’t no Baptist, bruv – An open letter to Franklin Graham

franklin graham
Franklin Graham

ear Mr Graham,

This week someone who has put himself forward as a candidate for the presidency of your great nation made a number of hate-filled and inaccurate comments about Muslims, and proposed some extreme policies on the back of those comments. This came to our attention here in the UK because one of the things he claimed, entirely erroneously, was that parts of London were so radicalised that they had become no-go areas for our police and security services.

Our national response was, as our national responses so often are, as mocking as it was derisive. The mayor of London led the way, but on social media many of us joined in with the humour. I know London well; I trained for ministry there, took my PhD there, pastored my first church there, made, with my wife, our first home there, and saw two of our three daughters come into the world there. My home has been elsewhere for eleven years now, but it is a city I still visit several times a year, a city that still has a significant place in my heart. For all these reasons, I know that the truth about London was expressed far better by a young Muslim Londoner caught on camera as our police arrested someone who had attempted violence, pretending to represent Islam. In a pure London accent he called out to the attacker, ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv!’

London is an exhilarating and sometimes disorientating coming together of people of different national backgrounds and of different faiths; London is also a city that is passionate that people come together, without denying who they are. London Muslims are truly Muslim, and devoted the the peace of the city also; London Baptists the same, as I know well. In London, the person who believes the two are impossible to hold together will be told, straightforwardly, ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv.’Read More »

Brian McLaren – An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell Jr, Students and Faculty of Liberty University

Brian_McLaren

Dear Mr. Falwell,

In the tradition of your father, you made some reckless and inflammatory statements to your students the other day.

Just as I appreciate it when peace-loving Muslims, Hindus and others repudiate hostile and reckless statements made by prominent members of their religions, I feel impelled by conscience to repudiate your words as not being representative of authentic Christianity as I, and thousands like me, understand it.

For us, authentic Christianity is the loving, peaceful, justt and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defense, by pre-emptive peacemaking rather than pre-emptive violence.

Your message faithfully represents a longstanding (and ugly) stream of American culture and politics. This tradition goes back to those who argued against the equal human rights and dignity of the Native Peoples and African-American slaves, often abusing the Bible to justify white supremacy under its various guises.Read More »

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on His New Book ‘Not in God’s Name’

Notable Rabbi Jonathan Sacks talks to Andrew Marr on “The Andrew Marr Show” about the War on Terror; Islam; Islamic Extremism and the history of religion combining with war.

* * *

If you are interested, you may listen below, to a lomger discussion about this very important book.

Are Islam’s Allah and Christianity’s God the Same Deity? | University Abbey

My virtual friend Carson Clark discusses in tis post the tough question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Here are just two comments on this matter:

  1. Until about a century ago, the unanimous answer of Christians was a resoundiong  ‘yes’. We need to ask ourselves what made us all to of a sudden doubt it.
  2. This question cannot be answered legitimately if we cannot also add to it the question if Christians and Jews worship the same God. If we answer yes to this question and no to the second, we are in a blatant contradiction.

 

Visit the post for more.

Source: Are Islam’s Allah and Christianity’s God the Same Deity? | University Abbey

Miroslav Volf – In Light of the Paris Attacks, is it Time to Eradicate Religion?

Miroslav Volf1

Paris is where a long trail of blood and tears, meandering through the centuries and from continent to continent, has now stopped — for a brief while.

The Islamic State has taken the responsibility for the 129 dead and more than 350 injured, almost 100 of them seriously. In Paris as in many other places, the hands that pulled the triggers of Kalashnikov rifles and pulled the fuses of bombs to kill the innocent people belonged to men and women in whose hearts burned the fires of religious zeal.

Religion, it would seem, breeds violence. Far from being great, God might be thought terrible.

In a globalized world, the terror of God’s crazy-eyed followers is threatening lives, peace and prosperity of everyone on the planet. We are tempted to conclude: The sooner that humanity either eradicates or quarantines off religion, the better our world will be. This conclusion would be too hasty, however.Read More »

Executive Summary of 120 Islamic Scholars Addressed to Daesh

(RNS1-sept24) Nihad Awad, center, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, and more than 10 Muslim-American leaders Wednesday (Sept. 24) endorse a letter written by more than 100 Islamic scholars that denounces ISIS by relying on sacred Muslims texts. For use with RNS-MUSLIM-SCHOLARS, transmitted on September 24, 2014, Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe.
Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

1. It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

2. It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

3. It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

4. It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

5. It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.Read More »

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

What makes someone become an Islamic extremist? Is it poverty? Lack of education? A search for meaning? Haroon Ullah, a senior State Department advisor and a foreign policy professor at Georgetown University, shares what he discovered while living in Pakistan.

These Men Tried To Kill Each Other. Now They’re United For Peace.

Source: These Men Tried To Kill Each Other. Now They’re United For Peace.

 

This is an amazing story of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in NIgeria. I have written previously about this on my blog. You may find HERE a link tothe documentary.

Danut Manastireanu – Interviu pentru cotidianul Adevarul

Ramona Iacobute
Ramona Iacobute

In urma cu putin timp am avut deosebita placere a unei convorbiri prietenesti cu Ramona Iacobute, jurnalist in cadrul echipei din Iasi a ziarului Adevarul. Am discutat despre credinta, despre secularizare, despre islam si islamofobie, despre criza refugiatilor sirieni si multe altele. O parte a acestui dialog si-a gasit locul in interviul publicat astazi, 21 octombrie, 2015, de cotidianul Adevarul.

Redau mai jos prima parte a interviului.

* * *

Ieşeanul doctor în Teologie ajuns în marile zone de conflict ale lumii: „Criza refugiaţilor e un turnesol pentru Europa. Arată lipsa de coerenţă, lipsa unui lider.”

DanutM

Dănuţ Mănăstireanu (60 ani), cu o vastă experienţă în zonele de conflict şi la catedrele universităţilor care au cursuri de istoria religiilor, îşi expune punctul de vedere în privinţa crizei imigranţilor din Siria şi a evoluţiei religiilor în Europa.Read More »

He Named Me Malala – The Trailer

Take a first look at HE NAMED ME MALALA, a documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s life, story and personal journey as an education activist. Pledge to see the film only in theaters this October at http://bit.ly/1IlDIMg

Directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for “Superman”), the film shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education worldwide.