How Should Arab Christians React to Persecution?

Martin Accad presents in this blog post 3 possible response to persecution. The first, revenge, is incompatible with Christ’s gospel of love. The second, self-victimization and demonization of others, equally incompatible with the Christian vision, seems to be the preferred option of many conservative American Christians.
The third option, active forgiveness and reconciliaation is the only option that fully represents the vision of the Kingdom of God, inaugurated by Christ. May we all choose this path, by God’s grace.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Martin Accad

The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary has just completed its fourteenth Middle East Conference/Consultation, organized by its Institute of Middle East Studies, the highlights of which were presented last week through our blog. Under the overarching concept of “disorienting times,” we explored the four themes of “Persecution and Suffering,” “Emigration,” “Hopelessness and Despair,” and “Minoritization.” The four themes were well integrated and tied together through a specific logical framework: The persecution that the MENA church has suffered historically has driven it to a sense that its status as minority was not simply a matter of numbers, but that it has been subjected to a process of subjugation which we referred to as “minoritization.” This process, which has led many to despair and to a general sense of hopelessness, continues to drive many to the search for new hope through emigration.

The bombing of two churches in Egypt on…

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“There are no women on my theology bookshelf…”

In case you wondered about women theologians.
This is effective cure for theological misogyny.

maggi dawn

Last year on Twitter, someone wrote to me “there are no women on my theology bookshelf. Who should I read?”.

I followed up with a blog list, and was pleased to discover that without even looking up from my screen I could easily think of well over a hundred female theologians, ecclesiastical historians, biblical scholars, sociologists of religion, and others who figure on the theological landscape. More names appeared when I actually looked at my own bookshelf.

Replies flooded in through the comments, adding many more names of women authors – both academic and devotional, theoretical and practical, in every area of the theological landscape. Now the academic year is about to begin again, one or two people have mentioned the post again as a resource – so, incomplete though it is, here is the updated blog post with names added from the comments section.

10897776_469733266514841_7639664988515007378_nWhen people ask about “women…

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The Welcome of Tiger the Cat in Glasgow

The arrival of the Romanian kitty Tiger in the house of the McArdeleanu clan in Glasgow

The Benedict of History versus The Benedict Option – Public Orthodoxy

Source: The Benedict of History versus The Benedict Option – Public Orthodoxy

Here is an Orthodox author who agrees on my evaluation that Dreher (an Orthodox himself) misreads Benedict in his defetist approach to the American ‘cultural wars’ madness.

Acceptance of the Other: How Interfaith Dialogue Has Helped One Community Come to Life Again

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Kathryn Kraft

When she stood up from the little stool on which she had been perched throughout our interview, I saw that she was indeed pregnant. I’d guess about seven months. But, I thought, she already had seven children, a sunken eye, and a lost home!

I wondered if she wanted this baby or if her husband wanted this baby or if she was unfamiliar with the concept of contraception. My mind wandered to my London existence, where the norm is to choose if and when to become pregnant and where few people have more than three kids. And in London we can access free prenatal, neonatal and paediatric care, assistance with childcare and then free primary education.

This woman had none of these things, and the contrast between her existence and mine somehow to me summarised so well the stark reality of her story and that of her…

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Recovering the Doctrine of Divine Missions for Evangelical Theology

Adonis Vidu’s writing project continues. Exciting.

Opera Ad Extra: The Inseparable Works of the Triune God

One of the biggest surprises of my research into the doctrine of inseparable operations (DIO) was the discovery of the doctrine of divine missions (DDM). Augustine is the first theologian (I may be wrong here) that unpacks the metaphysics of DDM. After him, DDM becomes replete in the West. It still remains an important locus of Catholic theology.

What makes DDM special? While other traditions also talk about the missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the West DDM has become almost an integrating motif. It is carefully correlated with a theistic metaphysics. That means that it interprets the scriptural language of the sending of the Son and the Holy Spirit by bringing to bear the theology of divine attributes (simplicity, immutability, omnipresence, divine unity, etc.). DDM has thus come to dogmatically anchor reflection on Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology.

The following are the essential elements of DDM:

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Socrate si Xantipa | ISTORII REGĂSITE

Source: Socrate si Xantipa | ISTORII REGĂSITE

Cu Socrate, desspre intelepciune matrimoniala.

Martin Luther King jr – The Letter from Birmingham Jail

Today, I will spend a few hours with a group of young friends, discussing MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

This is an amazing document. Plase watch or read, if you have never done it. See below the PDF text.

Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail

Women and the Creed: “For Us Humans and for Our Salvation” – Public Orthodoxy

Source: Women and the Creed: “For Us Humans and for Our Salvation” – Public Orthodoxy

An Orthodox case for the use of inclusive language in the translation of the CReed. Remarkable.

Open Letter from Christian Palestinians to the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Movement


Pope Francis at the Apartheid Wall in Palestine

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.Read More »

Turning the World Upside Down, Down Under | Christianity Today

Source: Turning the World Upside Down, Down Under | Christianity Today

Australian Biblical scholar Michael Bird writes on the defetist so-called ‘Benedict Option’ vs the (active resistance) ‘Thessalonian Strategy’, as a way of engaging the militant anti-Christian atmosphere in Australia.

If I had to chose between the two, I would certainly opt for Bird’s suggestion. Dreher’s (falsely) monastic soluton was tried by the fundamentalists in the tweentieth centurry and it utterly failed).

Yet, I would like to offer and extra suggestion, based on the same first century that gave birth to the Thessalonian approach and on my experience as a persecuted Christian for 35 years beehind the Iron Courtain.

What about a ‘Calvary Strategy’, one based on happily carrying the cross and willfully accepting persecution as a normal part of the faitful walk with Christ?

Ce vreau să fiu (2)

Dyo, cu un indemn de a vedea Chariots of Fire.Asa sa facem. Chiar daca l-am mai vazut (de vreo citeva ori). 🙂

dyo

Unul dintre cele mai bune filme creștine făcute vreodată de către oameni care nu se pretind a fi neapărat creștini – ba, dimpotrivă, aș zice, stau departe de lumea credinței tradiționale – este, fără îndoială, Chariots of Fire (1981). Protagoniștii sunt doi alergători în curse de viteză, cu șanse și pretenții la câștigarea unei medalii olimpice: un evreu care trage tare de această șansă ca de singurul resort care l-ar mai putea propulsa spre un anume sens al existenței și un creștin, confruntat și acesta cu o profundă dilemă existențială legată de destinul său și de felul în care L-ar putea sluji mai bine pe Dumnezeu.

Eric Liddell dorește să urmeze calea misionariatului, știe că este chemat să vestească Evanghelia în Orientul îndepărtat. În același timp, constată că Dumnezeu l-a făcut iute de picior și, în plus, simte o imensă plăcere în alerga. O bună parte din film reflectă căutarea…

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What the Poor Have Taught Me?

How much are the poor, who were at the core of Christ’s gospel, a concern for us as followers of Christ? I guess ‘not enough’ would be a fair answer.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Rupen Das*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA 2009 study by Tomas Rees on the relationship between poverty and religiousness found that personal insecurity (due to stressful situations, such as poverty) was an important determinant of religiosity.[1] The poor tend to be more religious.

I find the faith of the poor both intriguing and challenging. Intriguing – because I wonder why the poor would turn to God and Christ? Challenging – because they want to know the reality of God made possible in Christ – not a message or a theological proposition.  I would have imagined that they would be angry at God, and blame Him for their circumstances –  for their poverty and the injustices they face. Why would they ask God (or anyone for that matter) for forgiveness, when it would seem that they have been the ones who have been sinned against? From my perspective, it seemed that God has…

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Rob Bell once questioned hell: Here’s why he is now taking aim at the Bible | Religion News Service

Source: Rob Bell once questioned hell: Here’s why he is now taking aim at the Bible | Religion News Service

Here is a great interview by Jonathan Merritt with Rob Bell on his latest book, on the Bible.

Rob Bell – What Is the Bible?

I have just finished reading Rob Bell’s latest book, titled What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything. I really loved it and I think every evangelical should read it. The book does not say anything new, nor does the author claim to do so. It merely presents at a popular level what theologians and Bible scholars have said about it in the last hundred years.

You may ask, what is then so important about it? Here is my answer.Read More »

Despre importanța gesturilor simbolice

Ce rost au gesturile simbolice? O intrebare inradacinata in imaginalul iluminist care domina gindirea evanghelicilor>
Si totusi, omul este eminamente o fiinta simbolica. Religia insasi, si teologia, sunt imposibile fara simboluri, caci despre Dumnezeul transcendent nu putem vorbi altfel decit folosind metafore.

Cu drezina

De-a lungul timpului, am fost întrebat, cu diverse prilejuri, de către comentatorii textelor de pe acest blog ce rost are să facem gesturi simbolice. Nu suna chiar așa întrebarea. Mai degrabă oamenii dădeau glas frustrării că sunt situații în care nu se poate face mai nimic, ci rămân doar gesturile simbolice. E mult, e puțin? Depinde.

A oferi un buchet de flori este un gest simbolic efectiv inutil. Sunt multe alte cadouri folositoare ce se pot dărui. Și, cu toate astea, continuăm să dăm flori cu diverse ocazii. Probabil că și cei care consideră că gesturile simbolice sunt inutile mai oferă din când în când astfel de cadouri… simbolice. Măcar din reflex, dacă nu din alt motiv.

Există, pesemne, un reflex adânc împământenit în cultura noastră de a recurge la astfel de gesturi lipsite de eficiență, dar purtătoare de mesaj. În funcție de context, ele transmit diverse tipuri de conținut…

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Berbecuț confesional

Dar daca omul vrea si vrea, care-i problema ta? 🙂

dyo

Vrei ca filmul să vorbească de bine credința ta, să-ți mângâie convingerile, să zică bine din Biblie, hm? Serios? Dar oare de ce ar investi cineva milioane de dolari pentru a-ți oferi pe ecran ceea ce oricum primești pe gratis duminică de duminică? Nu e mai bine să te duci tu frumușel la o biserică și iei aminte la ce se predică acolo?

Căci filmele nu sunt făcute pentru transmite discursuri omiletice, ci pentru a trăi idei. Ajunge mijlocului mesajul său!

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The Exodus

Words of a prophet, for the church today.

Dave Barnhart's Blog

Frans Francken I. Hans skola: Den rike mannen och Lazarus. NM 429
I have seen your religion, and I hate it.
I have heard your doctrine, and I loathe it.
Take away your empty praise songs,
your vacuous worshiptainment.
Your mouth is full of religious words,
but your proverbs are salted manure.

“The sick deserve to be sick.
The poor deserve to be poor.
The rich deserve to be rich.
The imprisoned deserve to be imprisoned.”
Because you never saw him sick, or poor, or in prison.

“If he had followed police instructions,
if he had minded the company he keeps,
he would not have been killed,”
You say in the hearing
of a man hanging on a cross
between two thieves.

“People who live good lives
do not have pre-existing conditions,” you say,
carving these words over the hospital door:
“Who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”

“It is the church’s job, not the government’s,”
say…

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Jerusalem: The 50th Anniversary of Reunification

A love tribute to Jerusalem, by the Chief Rabbi of UK, Dr Jonathan Sachs.

As we approach Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) on the 23rd / 24th May, and the 50th anniversary of the reunification of our beloved city, here are a few thoughts about what Jerusalem means to me. (This video includes captions in Hebrew. If you wish to receive an MP4 version of this video for use in your community, school or organisation on Yom Yerushalayim, please email info@rabbisacks.org and put ‘Jerusalem 50 video’ in the subject line.)

Anne Lamott – 12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writings

Here is the transcript of this insightful talk.Read More »

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.

Getting the Trinity out of the Ivory Tower

Here is a Christian view of the Trinitarian debates from a Muslim dominated context. Lots to learn from.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Mike Kuhn

Are there any “ivory tower theologians” out there?

I’ve never seen an ivory tower…and I suppose that’s the point. Ivory tower theologians are presumably dealing with things nobody cares about, things that make no practical difference in day to day life.

I remember chuckling at “Owl” as I read the Winnie the Pooh books to my children (a long time ago). Poor old Owl, supposedly a symbol of wisdom, was inclined to pontificate in ways that failed to connect with life.

Sometimes I felt a little like Owl with my kids. Maybe that’s why I hesitate to write this blog. I wonder if the Trinity is an “ivory tower” issue in theology that, in reference to the Muslim world, should not be brought into the conversation. However, since my hesitation owes more to the rancor that has dominated the conversation than to conviction, I’ll go with conviction.

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Science, Truth, and the Current Political Climate | Public Orthodoxy

Source: Science, Truth, and the Current Political Climate | Public Orthodoxy

This is a very important discussion in the context in which, in majority Orthodox countries, includng Romania, the structural conservatism of Orthodoxy is usually also associated with an anti-science stance, very similar to the one that dominates much of conservative evangelicalism, not just in the United States, where it could be explained by their blind allegiance to the Trump madness, but in many other places, especially in the West.

realitatea e cu totul și cu totul alta | JURNAℓ SCOȚIAN

Source: realitatea e cu totul și cu totul alta | JURNAℓ SCOȚIAN

Pr Florescu despre experientee din jurul lansarii ultimei sale carti.

The Bart Ehrman Michael Bird Debate, 2016

Here is a little bit of (early) historical theology. In case you are interested.

Professor Bart D. Ehrman met with Australian theologian and New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum on February 12-13, 2016 for a two part debate. The event was held at 7:00 p.m. and Part 2 the next day at 2:00 p.m. in the Leavell College Chapel at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. An attendee question and answer session followed the debate. The subject of the debate was “How Jesus Became God.” Read More »

Pur și Simplu: Colibași-București – Despre Vasile Ernu

Published on 7 Jun 2017

De unde vine „omul de stânga” – așa cum își zice – Vasile Ernu, scriitor român, eseist, comentator politic, cunoscut pentru cărțile sale „Născut în URSS”, „Sectanții”, „Bandiții”? Cum definește ceea ce numește „stânga mea” și cum a ajuns la astfel de convingeri?

Max Turner – Botezul cu Duhul Sfant conform Evangheliei după Luca si Faptelor Apostolilor

Prelegere sustinuta de Prof. Max Turner, in 7 iunie 2017, la Centrul Areopagus din Timisoara.

Daca-mi pot permite un comentariu, observ si de data aceasta cit de speculativa, reductionista si deformatoare devine teologia biblica atunci cind, ca in cazul teologului penticostal Robert Menzies, analizat aici de Prof. Turner, ignora implicatiile dogmatice ale concluziilor la care ajunge. In acest caz, ideea lui Menzies ca cineva poate avea parte de darul mintuirii fara a a se bucura de darul Duhului Sfint apare ca absolut aberanta, in lumina dogmei Sfintei Treimi si a actiunii perihoretice, de nedespartit, ale celor trei persoane ale Treimii.

Human Beings or Human Persons?

This is a very consequential discussion, in which, I believe, truth is on the side of Zizioulas and Kallistos. Staniloae would certainly also agree with them.

Public Orthodoxy

by Paul Ladouceur

Vlachos-Zizioulas Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) and Met. John (Zizioulas)

One of the liveliest exchanges at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in June 2016 concerned which Greek words should be used in Council documents to refer to humans: anthrōpos (“human being”); or anthrōpino prosōpo (or simply prosōpon) (“human person”). The main protagonists in this debate were, in the anthrōpos corner, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos), and in the prosōpon corner, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas), supported by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). While this episode may seem to be an intra-Greek linguistic spat, the theological stakes are very high.

Prior to the Council, in May 2016 the Church of Greece, at the urging of Metropolitan Hierotheos and others, accepted that all references in Council documents to “human person” should be changed to “human being.” Vlachos advances two reasons for rejecting references to humans as persons. First, the ancient Fathers attributed the…

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Predica Papei în ajunul Rusaliilor – www.magisteriu.ro

Source: Predica Papei în ajunul Rusaliilor – www.magisteriu.ro

Un superb mesaj de Rusalii al Papei Francesco.

Why the Doctrine of Inseparable Operations Matters – Opera Ad Extra: The Inseparable Works of the Triune God

Source: Why the Doctrine of Inseparable Operations Matters – Opera Ad Extra: The Inseparable Works of the Triune God

Some good theological stuff from Dr Adonis Vidu, Associate Professor at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Boston.