Monday, November 30, 2009

‘Equal Opportunities’ means that Homosexual Rights Trump Christian Rights

Christian Legal Centre reports,

‘Equal Opportunities’ means that Homosexual Rights Trump Christian Rights in Employment, Court rules.

Christians in employment in the UK will no longer be able to act according to their consciences and the rights of homosexual couples trump those of people of faith.

This is the clear message from the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling issued today.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has today ruled that Gary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor who worked for Relate, was not unfairly dismissed or discriminated against when he was sacked for his orthodox views on sexual relationships which meant that he could not give an unequivocal commitment to help same-sex couples improve their sex lives.

The 48 year old father of two, who is also a solicitor and a former elder of a large multicultural church in Bristol, believes the Bible teaches that same-sex sexual practice is contrary to biblical teaching and therefore that he should do nothing which endorses this activity. Mr McFarlane had no objection to others in Relate counselling couples needing advice on same-sex activity, but for him it was a simple issue of conscience.

After managers at Relate made the decision to sack Mr McFarlane in March 2008, and after internal procedures had been exhausted, Mr McFarlane took his case to the Employment Tribunal claiming unfair dismissal and discrimination contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. In January 2009 the Tribunal ruled that he had not been discriminated against or unfairly dismissed. Mr McFarlane then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal which ruled today to dismiss Mr McFarlane’s appeal.

Mr McFarlane, a father of two children said: “This decision is a stark warning to people of conscience in this nation that as a result of 12 years of Labour rule, the British establishment no longer values the democratic rights of its citizens to hold conscience as a matter of principle”.

“Society is the worse for not allowing people of conscience to be free to exercise legitimate rights”

Mr McFarlane was supported in his appeal by the Christian Legal Centre which instructed leading human rights barrister, Paul Diamond, and Mr Thomas Cordrey to represent him.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of CLC said: “Mr McFarlane was quite prepared for other counsellors to help same-sex couples in psychosexual counselling. He simply asked that on the rare occasions he was asked to do the same, his employer roster another counsellor to handle the case. This would have respected both the best interests of the counsellor and client”.

“The seriously worrying underlying point in this case, which the Court has refused to accept, is that for religious belief to be protected it is necessary to uphold the right to manifest that belief. The effect of this judgment is to rule out any expression of deeply-held conscience, even when the expression is limited to a very reasonable, practicable and sensible request to be assigned work such that worker and client are best served and that the work is tenable for the worker. This ruling goes against all notion of religious conscience protection and also against common sense”.

“Time and time again in British Courts we see that freedom of religion, Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, offers no protection whatsoever to Christians and other people of faith with a conscience.”

“Mr McFarlane will be appealing this decision. We will take this as far as is necessary, even if we have to go all the way to the Supreme Court and then Europe. We will press on until justice prevails”

Christmas not holidays

One my way to church I see two hube billboards which raise my temper. Coc-Cola says happy Holidays and Waitrose tells me its the only place to be at Christmas. I should love to deface the ads but instead, there is this.

*Twas the month before Christmas, When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying, Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away, the reason for Christmas - none could say.* *The children were told by their schools not to sing, About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say, December 25th is just a 'Holiday'.*
*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit,*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod, *Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa, *In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down, At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears, You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty, Are words that were used to intimidate me.* *Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen* *On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter* *To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded* *The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'* *Sipping your Starbucks, You listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday!*
Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet MERRY CHRISTMAS Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Jonathan Agnew -

He didn't quite manage to get his leg over. ~ Jonathan Agnew (with Brian Johnston - after Ian Botham had spun around off balance and tried to step over the wicket unsuccessfully. (1991)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Agesilaus -

If all men were just, there would be no need of valor~Agesilaus (444-400 BC) from _Plutarch, Lives, Agesilaus_, sec. 23., king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid dynasty, ruling from approximately 400 BC to 360 BC

As he was dying on the voyage back from Egypt, he gave instructions to those close to him that they should not be responsible for making any image of his person, be it modeled or painted or copied, "For if I have accomplished any glorious feat, that will be my memorial. But if I have not, not even all the statues in the world—the products of vulgar, worthless men—would make any difference."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pakistani Christian on Run from Taliban Death Threat

Islamic extremist sermonizing leads to altercation at barbershop in South Waziristan By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Compass Direct News ( has revealed that a young Christian man is in hiding in Pakistan from Taliban militants who are seeking to kill him for “blasphemy” because he defended his faith.
The Compass story says, “In February Jehanzaib Asher, 22, was working in a barbershop his family jointly owns with his cousin in Wana, South Waziristan – a Taliban stronghold in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan’s northwest – when the Islamic militants showed up to try to convert him to Islam.
“It was not the first time the Taliban’s Noor Hassan had delivered strident sermons to him and his relatives, and this time Asher decided not to listen silently. He defended Christianity by citing verses from the Bible, and Hassan and another Islamic militant viciously beat him – breaking his left leg and some ribs and leaving his left hand non-functional.”
He told Compass that he only defended Christianity and did not comment on Islam. “One can bear the death of one’s father or mother, but can we keep listening to insults of our religion?”
Asher said that the Taliban militants began spreading the word to local residents that Asher and his cousin Christopher Masih had blasphemed Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. His picture was posted at check-points in an attempt to help the Taliban and other Islamists identify and kill him.
Earlier this month, Asher told Compass that he had disguised himself as a Muslim with a long beard and left Wana.

Friday, November 27, 2009

John Paul II -

It is not possible to speak of the right to choose when a clear moral evil is involved, when what is at stake is the commandment Do not kill!- John Paul II (1920-)

It is important to speak of suffering and death in a way that dispels fear. Indeed, dying is a part of life. - Pope John Paul II in Austria: Message to the sick and suffering June 1998

I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.- Evangelium Vitae- Gospel of Life- Pope John Paul II - 1995

While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in it's final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of " the strong" against the weak who have no choice but to submit. - Evangelium Vitae-Gospel of Life Pope John Paul II- 199

The right to profess the truth must always be upheld, but not in a way that involves contempt for those who may think differently. ~John Paul II

Did you ever read the Koran? I recommend it. What the Koran teaches people is aggression; and what we [Christians] teach our people is peace. . . . Christianity aspires to peace and love. Islam is a religion that attacks.If you start teaching aggression to the whole community, you end up pandering to the negative elements in everyone. You know what that leads to: Such people will assault us. ---Pope John Paul II [Karol Wojtyla] (1920- ) (In Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi's _His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time_ [1996])

Murder is murder is murder. - John Paul II to the IRA , Ireland, 1979, quoted in Brenda Maddox, Maggie the First Lady, p134

Power is responsibility: it is service, not privilege. --- John Paul II [Karol Wojtyla] (1920- ) _An Invitation to Joy_ [1999]

The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.-John Paul II, London, 9 June 1991

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.- John Paul II, 1986

The Islamic Law of Apostasy

The Islamic Law of Apostasy: join our campaign for its abolition
Throughout 2009 Barnabas Fund has been running a campaign for the abolition of the Islamic apostasy law, which imposes very serious penalties on Muslims who choose to leave their faith. All schools of Islamic law specify the death sentence for apostasy, and converts face a range of other punishments, including the loss of their families and property. The law also provokes powerful hostility to apostates among Muslims.

But change is possible. Some progressive Muslim scholars have argued that the apostasy law should be abandoned, so that people can leave Islam without fear of reprisals. And in a very encouraging development, just last month a group of mainstream Muslim leaders in Britain declared that no-one should be coerced into remaining a Muslim: “It is important to say quite simply that people have the freedom to enter the Islamic faith and the freedom to leave it” (Contextualising Islam in Britain, Cambridge: Centre of Islam ic Studies, 2009, p.75). These brave voices will be strengthened by non-Muslims also calling for repeal of the law.

Below you will find an important article by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, which explains how Christians should respond to the issue of apostasy (and blasphemy) in Islam. In response to this, we invite you to sign our petition against the apostasy law, and to encourage your church and Christian friends to sign it too. The more signatures we have, the more impact we can have.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
International Director, Barnabas Fund

Apostasy and Blasphemy in Islam: What should Christians Do?
From the Foreword to Freedom to Believe (McLean, VA: Isaac Publishing, 2009). Also published in Barnabas Aid Novemb er/December 2009.

Michael Nazir-Ali

The Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali

The Qur’an is fierce in its condemnation of apostasy (ridda) and of the apostate (murtadd). Theirs, according to it, will be a dreadful penalty (‘adhbun ‘azmun). This sentiment, which occurs in Sura 16:106, is re-expressed in other ways in other suras (chapters of the Qur’an). The interesting point to note is that the various threats of judgement and of punishment seem to relate to the next world or to life after this earthly one, rather than to this world and to this life.

Against this, we have the unanimous position of the various schools of Islamic law (fiqh) that shari‘a lays down the death penalty for adult male Muslims in possession of their faculties who apostatise. Some schools also prescribe a similar punishment for women, whilst others hold that a woman apostate should be imprisoned until she recants and returns to Islam. In addition to this, should an apostate somehow escape the ultimate penalty, his property becomes fai’, i.e. it becomes the property of the Muslim community, which may hand it over to his heirs; his mar riage is automatically dissolved and he is denied Muslim burial.

How then did such a major difference arise between the prima face teaching of the Qur’an and the provisions of shari‘a as codified by the various schools of law? The answer is that the death penalty for apostasy is to be found in the hadith, the various collections of traditions about the Prophet of Islam’s sayings and doings, and it is also found in the sunna of Muhammad and of his closest companions, the reports about their practice.

Commentators on the Qur’an, both ancient and modern, sensing this tension, have attempted to find passages that could be interpreted as teaching the death penalty for apostates. Thus 2:217, which speaks of the barrenness of an apostate’s life and work, in both this world and the next, is interpreted as meaning that apostates will be punished both in this world and in the next. Similarly, passages such as 4:88-89 are taken as justification for inflicting capital punishment on apostates.

On the other hand, there are those who take as their point of departure the Qur’anic silence on penalties in this world for apostasy. They either minimise the force of the traditions that require it or reject them altogether. It is said, for example, that the traditions that speak of the death penalty for apostates are weakly attested or from an unreliable source. If they contradict the Qur’an they are to be rejected as an accurate account of what Muhammad may have said. They are also to be rejected if they do not cohere with other accounts of his behaviour or speech.

Others point to the supposed practice of the second Caliph ‘Umar, who disliked the extreme penalty for apostasy and was followed in this by some of the early fuqaha or lawyers. More recently, this view has gained currency in some circles close to Al-Azhar As-Sharif, the premier place for Sunni learning, located in Cairo, Egypt. According to these scholars, the traditional time given to an apostate to repent must be extended to the whole of his life.

Many scholars claim that the punishment for apostasy in the time of the Prophet and of his Companions arose because rejection of the Islamic faith was linked to rebellion against the nascent Islamic state. So the punishment was not so much for apostasy as for treason. The well-known scholar, Sheikh Qaradawi, whose opinions are widely studied and followed, relying on the medieval jurist and reformer Ibn Tamiyya, distinguishes between the greater and the lesser apostasy. The lesser apostate, whilst being subject to civil penalties, would not be put to death but those who proclaim their apostasy, thus destabilising Islam and the Muslim umma (or nation), would be. This may be a useful distinction to make but is hardly a manifesto for freedom of expression or of belief.

Although apostasy is punishable by death in only a few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan (Iran seems to be drawing back from putting it on the statute book, at the time of writing), in fact jurists will sometimes directly invoke the authority of shari‘a to sentence apostates to death. This has happened in both Iran and in Afghanistan. In addition to judicial process, those accused of apostasy can be killed in prison, through torture or poisoning, or by mobs attacking their home or place of work, or even by relatives!

Whilst apostasy, and its penalty, are applicable to Muslims, the offence of Sabb, of insulting the Qur’an or the Prophet of Islam, can also be applied to non-Muslims. Blasphemy against the Prophet is punishable by death, though the method of execution varies from one authority to another. It is this that led the Federal Shari‘a Court in Pakistan to rule out any other penalty but death for blaspheming Muhammad. The so-called “Blasphemy Law” has caused considerable grief for Christians and other non -Muslim minorities since even the expression of their belief can be construed as insulting the Prophet. The Law has also become a way of settling personal scores by accusing one’s adversary of blasphemy. There have been numerous convictions in the lower courts, though fortunately the higher courts have invariably, so far, overturned these verdicts. In the meantime, the family is left destitute and the community from which the accused comes left vulnerable to harassment and intimidation.

The irony is that Muslims claim that their prophet forgave those who insulted him and there are a number of stories to this effect in the sira (life of Muhammad) and in the hadith (there are also other stories that describe how those who insulted him were punished). Which of these attitudes is to prevail in contemporary Muslim societies?

A number of administrative and judicial attempts have been made to ease the lot of those accused of blasphemy and to make it mor e difficult to file charges of blasphemy against someone. None of these has been wholly successful. The law returns again and again to haunt the political establishment and the judiciary. The only solution is for a government to have the courage to repeal it or to abolish or suspend the death penalty altogether, thus leaving other penalties for dealing with alleged cases of “insulting religion” or blasphemy, as indeed existed before the current law was promulgated. Some of the ‘ulama (Islamic scholars) are bound to object to such steps, if the government takes them, and there may well be “popular” movements to resist the repeal or amendment of the law. Such resistance needs to be faced down and genuine objections, such as the claim that Islamic law prescribes qisas or retaliation for murder and that therefore the relatives of the murdered person have the right to seek life for life, or alternatively compensation, will have to be met. It is already the case that qisas cannot be carried out by an individual or group but must be left to the state. If the death penalty were to be abolished or suspended for all serious crime, could not the state order and enable compensation to be paid instead of the death penalty as part of its judicial and executive responsibility? These issues need further exploration but it is clear that the present blasphemy law is neither just nor compassionate and needs to be dealt with while there is opportunity.

Most Muslim countries have subscribed to international treaties, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but they subordinate such agreements to the provisions of the shari‘a, which, in many cases, negates the effect of these documents. In this connection, it is interesting to compare the UN Declaration with the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. In the latter there is no equivalent to Article 18 (on freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the former and all provisions are, ultimately, subject to shari‘a. This approach has resulted, again and again, in important rights under Article 18 of the UN Declaration being denied to people in Islamic countries on the grounds that they contravene the provisions of shari‘a. This situation has caused much frustration to human rights activists, constitutional lawyers and even progressive regimes as any provision in law can always be trumped by an appeal to shari‘a.

If the impasse created in this way is to be avoided, it is necessary for leading institutions in the Islamic world to undertake a major reform of shari‘a so that the principles of amelioration and of movement, which exist in at least some of the madhahib, or schools of law, are not only recognised but actually acted upon in both religious and other courts, as there is need. There is also, of course, the urgent task of ijtihad, i.e. a fundamental examination as to how the principles of law to be found in the Qur’an and other sources of Islamic law can be brought into a fruitful relationship with present-day conditions and requirements. This is the case, for example, in the areas of finance, family law, penal provisions, jihad and the treatment of non-Muslims in an Islamic state.

Christians, of course, in the context of dialogue with Muslims and with Islamic religious and political authorities, will encourage those who are struggling to maximise fundamental freedoms in Islamic contexts. They will also be active in advocacy for those who have fallen foul, both materially and spiritually, of traditional understandings of laws and customs regarding apostasy and blasphemy. It remains important to raise awareness of what is happening in so many parts of the world so that people can learn from, pray for and give to those who have become victims of these draconian laws and customs.

The Rt Revd Dr Nazir-Ali was until recently Bishop of Rochester.

“When I am visiting a country where Christians are under pressure, quite often a minister or a lay person will ask quietly whether I know about Barnabas Fund. When I say, ‘Yes,’ their eyes light up and they tell me how Barnabas has encouraged them with a church building, a school or medical assistance. It is this kind of ministry that needs to be supported by prayers and by generosity so that the situation of our brothers and sisters is eased a little by our love.”

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

International Website: | Follow Barnabas Fund:

Registered UK charity number: 1092935 | Company registered in England. Number: 4029536

Thursday, November 26, 2009

James Agate (1877 - 1947) -

New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time."- James Agate (1877 -; 1947) English critic, author.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Petition against the Badman Report on Homeschooling

The Government look about to implement the Badman Report which will oppress home-schoolers. See:
Graham Stuart MP is organising a Parliamentary Petition which we are supporting with an online petition. There is a deadline of 30th November. Please sign the petition yourself at:
Pray that many will sign this petition and that the Government will scrap this idea.

Click on my title for the link.

Aesop -

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. -Aesop (c. 550 BC)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oppose the state's control of the family.

Click the title to sign the petition.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to uphold that parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child, to not undermine parents legitimately fulfilling their fundamental duties, and to assume that the best interests of their child is the basic concern of parents unless there is specific evidence to the contrary

Aeschylus (525-456 BC)-

I know how men in exile feed on dreams. Aeschylus

I would far rather be ignorant than knowledgeable of evils. -Aeschylus (525-456 BC)

Words are the physicians of a mind diseased. -- Aeschylus, Greek playwright

Monday, November 23, 2009

March for the persecuted Pakistan church

'Over recent months a number of attacks have been perpetrated against the Christian minority in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The British Pakistani Christian Association has organised a march from the Pakistani High Commission in 34-36 Lowndes Square, London, SW1X 9JN, to 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA. This march will take place on 19th December 2009, and will begin at the Pakistani High Commission at 11:00.

Among our partners for this event are:

Christian Social Link
Release International
Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Over the past few months a number of attacks on Christians and their properties have taken place in Pakistan, additionally a number of abduction, rape and forced marriage of female Christians, and false allegations of blasphemy against innocent Christians has taken place over the past year.

It is time we as the wider Christian comunity in Britain made our voices heard against the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

It is hoped that the march will have a number of benefits for those who have had their homes burned and destroyed and found themselves displaced.

It will encourage the Pakistani Government to move swiftly and decisively to bring to justice the perpetrators, inciters and collaborators of these outrages.
It will encourage the Pakistani Government to reform the Police Service in Pakistan.
It will encourage the Pakistani Government to make sure the rule of law is carried out for justice for those who have fallen asleep in Christ or are suffering as a result of these outrages.
It will encourage the Pakistani Government to repeal the Blasphemy Law, or add other amendments to the Blasphemy Law and enforce those amendments that have already been put into place.
It will reinforce the British Governments criticism of these incidents and encourage further international pressure on the Pakistani Government to act in accordance with the above bullet points.
It will encourage the UK Church to take more seriously its obligations towards its persecuted brothers and sisters.
Please feel free to forward this email on to Churches, organistaions and others to encourage them to attend this demonstration. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible to push this agenda forward.

For further information regarding the British Pakistani Christian Association, and the ongoing problems in Pakistan please feel free to visit our blog at:

Yours faithfully in Christ

Alex Chowdhry

P.s. I attach a link the Pakistani High Commission in London's website which has directions to the High Commission.

Pope Adrian IV -

[S]trive to imbue that people with good morals, and bring it to pass, as well through yourself as through those whom you know from their faith, doctrine, and course of life to be fit for such a work, that the church may there be adorned, the Christian religion planted and made to grow, and the things which pertain to the honor of God and to salvation be so ordered that you may merit to obtain an abundant and lasting reward from God, and on earth a name glorious throughout the ages, - Pope Adrian IV to Henry II of England, encouraging him to invade Ireland so the Irish church would come under the See of Rome. He was the only English pope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


November 18, 2009
'The Free Church of Scotland has decided to suspend its regular discussions with the Church of Scotland. The biannual talks involved representatives of both denominations and had been taking place over the past 5 years. They involved a frank but friendly exchange on the theological issues which divided the two denominations, along with an acknowledgement of the good relations which exist in many localities between congregations of both churches. However, the Free Church has said that, in the light of the uncertainty over the Kirk’s position on homosexuality following the induction of an allegedly gay minister earlier this year, which appeared to be sanctioned by their General Assembly, it cannot for the time being continue “as if nothing had happened.” The decision was communicated at a recent meeting between the representatives of both churches and accepted with regret. Rev. Iver Martin, Convener of the Free Church Ecumenical Relations Committee, said, “Suspending the talks, whilst regrettable, was the most tangible way of expressing the Free Church’s discomfort with the failure of the Church of Scotland to take a thoroughly Biblical stand on the place of marriage between one man and one woman.” The Free Church continues to value and encourage the close relationship that there is between congregations of both denominations in many areas of Scotland.'

As ever, the Frees are the orthodox. I pray that if some CoS congregations secede they find unity with other Presbyterians and do not start another denomination.

Richard P. Adler -

All television is children's television.-- Richard P. Adler

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mortimer J. Adler -

Sin is not only manifested in certain acts that are forbidden by divine command. Sin also appears in attitudes and dispositions and feelings. Lust and hate are sins as well as adultery and murder. And, in the traditional Christian view, despair and chronic boredom -- unaccompanied by any vicious act -- are serious sins. They are expressions of man's separation from God, as the ultimate good, meaning, and end of human existence. Mortimer J. Adler (1902- 2001) American philosopher

My chief reason for choosing Christianity was because the mysteries were incomprehensible. What's the point of revelation if we could figure it out ourselves? If it were wholly comprehensible, then it would just be another philosophy.-Mortimer J. Adler Christianity magazine: 1990

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hermann Adler -

Here as in no other country, the teachings of Holy Writ are venerated...Here, as in no other empire in the world, there breathes a passionate love of freedom, a burning hatred of tyrant wrong. --Hermann Adler, dedication to memorial of Jewish soldiers killed in the Boer War, 1905Hermann Adler (30 May 1839 – 18 July 1911) Chief Rabbi of the British Empire from 1891 to 1911.

The object of education is not merely to enable our children to gain their daily bread and to acquire pleasant means of recreation, but that they should know God and serve Him with earnestness and devotion.- Hermann Adler

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Felix Adler -

The family is the school of duties... founded on love. Felix Adler German Educator August 13, 1851 - April 24, 1933

Few are there that will leave the secure seclusion of the scholar's life, the peaceful walks of literature and learning, to stand out a target for the criticism of unkind and hostile minds.
Felix Adler

Where the roots of private virtue are diseased, the fruit of public probity cannot but be corrupt.
Felix Adler

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maryam and Marzieh Released from Iranian Prison!

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) -- Two Christian converts from Islam, held in Iran's notorious Evin prison for more than six months, have been released.

Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh
International Christian Concern (ICC) – -- has learned that Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, two Christian converts from Islam, were released from Evin Prison in Tehran on November 18 at 3:30 pm local time.

Elam Ministries told ICC that Maryam, 27, and Marzieh, 30, were released without bail, but that they have yet to face another court hearing. November 25th will mark Marzieh’s 31st birthday.

ICC says that originally arrested on March 5 by Iranian security forces, Maryam and Marzieh were charged with anti-government activities. However, it became clear that apostasy (conversion from Islam to Christianity), not anti-state activities, was the reason for the arrest.

Taken before a Revolutionary Court hearing on August 9, Maryam and Marzieh were commanded to recant their faith, and in return, would be granted their freedom. “We will not deny our faith,” the women responded, “if we come out of prison, we want to do so with honor.”
ICC says that while detained at Evin Prison, which is notorious for its brutal conduct toward women, Maryam and Marzieh have been kept in solitary confinement and have endured extended interrogations, all the while suffering from poor health.

According to ICC, Iran issued no statement explaining the verdict for Maryam and Marzieh’s release. However, the decision follows international pressure and prayers from Christians throughout the world.

“Words are not enough to express our gratitude to the Lord and to His people who have prayed and worked for our release," said Maryam and Marzieh.
Although released, eight months of abuse and mistreatment by Iranian security forces have undoubtedly taken a toll on Maryam and Marzieh’s health. Marzieh has suffered intense headaches, toothaches, and spinal pain, while both women have been denied medical treatment.

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager of the Middle East, said, “We celebrate with Maryam and Marzieh, and with all Christians upon hearing the news of their release. Yet, we continue to hold Iran accountable for having unjustly imprisoned and degraded two women who committed no crime.
"We condemn Iran’s tactics of intimidation and harassment used to terrorize Christians throughout the country. We call upon Iran to uphold religious freedom by allowing all Iranians to practice the religion of their choice, and to be allowed to worship freely without being threatened or discriminated against.”
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.
** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649,at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can donate online to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.

Konrad Adenauer (1876-1976)) -

We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon. --Konrad Adenauer (1876-1976)

A thick skin is a gift from God. Konrad Adenauer (1876-1976)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trident Missile Renewal Rejected by Annual Conference of Christian Peoples Alliance

'Meeting this weekend at their Annual Conference and AGM, activists with
the Christian Peoples Alliance party agreed to oppose the extension of the
Trident missile system, which forms the basis of Britain's nuclear policy.
The missiles must be replaced sometime between 2025 and 2030.

Supporting a resolution proposed by members of the Kingston & Surbiton
branch of the party, the rally for Christian Democrats in Britain decided
that not only are such weapons immoral, the estimated £20 billion cost of
Trident's renewal could not be justified. (See below for full text of resolution:
A Secure World.)

Joint proposer, Tony May, who works in public health policy, said:

"To approve the use of nuclear weapons or to hold them in reserve is a
form of blasphemy against God. It is a kind of idolatry. Like all idols,
our weapons research programme, testing, maintenance and delivery
mechanisms require continual payment. The Christian Peoples Alliance is
saying we refuse to worship this false god and we choose to support
investment in pursuing justice and tackling poverty, which cause much of
global instability."

Britain's nuclear weapons system is made up of four nuclear submarines.
Each sub carries up to 16 missiles on board and each missile carries three
nuclear bombs (warheads) on top. Each of these bombs is around eight times
as destructive as the bomb which flattened Hiroshima in 1945, killing over
140,000 civilians. One Trident submarine patrols the seas at all times.

In other developments at the Conference, members agreed a policy to seek
deep reforms of the international financial system, involving monetary
reform with the end of fractional reserve banking and the separation in Britain
of speculative investment banking from High Street banking. They also heard
from party Leader, Cllr Alan Craig and a message of greeting from a
representative of the African Christian Democratic Party, Keith Downs.

For more information: Tony May 07873 625396 or email

Resolution to CPA AGM 2009
A Secure World

As Christian Democrats our commitment and expectations are rooted in a
vision of society which embodies the kingdom and goes beyond party
politics. Ours is a politics of peacemaking justice. Our understanding of
security is based on the view that all people are our neighbours, made in
the image of God. We reject the model of security that rests on
pre-emptive military intervention, the strength of arms - conventional and
nuclear - and the demonisation of the other. We seek a model of security
that puts life, justice and respect at its heart. Scripture tells us that
real security does not come from weaponry but from justice. "Integrity
will bring peace, justice give everlasting security" (Is 32:17). To be a
nation that is known for providing real security in the world, to be a
nation that truly defends the poor and needy, the CPA pledges to do all
that we can to bring peace and justice to the world.

The Christian Peoples Alliance agrees with the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Dr Rowan Williams, in his comments this year in Japan that "To plan a
strategy around such weapons is to be defeated by them." And we stand by
the verdict of Vatican II forty years ago that "Any act of war aimed
indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas
along with their population is a crime against God and man himself."

1. The CPA will therefore expose the link between issues of security,
poverty and injustice and will redirect resources and research away from
military-based policies that take us to war and cause untold suffering
towards policies that work for the elimination of poverty and the
protection of the environment as a means of creating true human security.

2. We recognise that a nuclear weapons free world must be achieved
carefully and in a step by step manner. We are convinced of its
technological feasibility. Lack of political will, especially on the part
of the nuclear weapons states, is the only true barrier. As chemical and
biological weapons are prohibited, so must nuclear weapons be prohibited.

3. The nuclear weapons states have failed to disarm, while other countries
have harboured nuclear ambitions. The UK has a stated commitment to
nuclear disarmament, yet retains four armed and operational Trident
nuclear weapons submarines and describes these as 'the ultimate guarantor
of the UK's national security'. The CPA therefore pledges to work for
unilateral disarmament by the UK and to remove all reliance on nuclear
weapons owned by other states. We therefore oppose replacement of Trident.
We also agree with the leaders of the Baptist, United Reformed and
Methodist churches in describing Gordon Brown's plans to move from four to
three boats a "feeble and ineffective gesture" that do not reduce the
number of warheads.

4. The CPA calls upon all states -- particularly the nuclear weapons
states, declared and de facto -- to take the following steps to achieve
nuclear weapons abolition. We further urge the states parties to the NPT
to demand binding commitments by the declared nuclear weapons states to
implement these measures:

Pursue negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that
requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time-bound
framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement.

Immediately make an unconditional pledge not to use or threaten to use
nuclear weapons.

Rapidly complete a truly Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with a zero
threshold and with the stated purpose of precluding nuclear weapons
development by all states.

Establish a body to deal with nuclear disarmament.

Place a moratorium on all nuclear explosions before the Treaty comes into

Cease to produce and deploy new and additional nuclear weapons systems,
and commence to withdraw and disable deployed nuclear weapons systems.

Prohibit the military and commercial production and reprocessing of all
weapons-usable radioactive materials.

Subject all weapons-usable radioactive materials and nuclear facilities in
all states to international accounting, monitoring, and safeguards, and
establish a public international registry of all weapons-usable
radioactive materials.

Prohibit nuclear weapons research, design, development, and testing
through laboratory experiments including but not limited to non-nuclear
hydrodynamic explosions and computer simulations, subject all nuclear
weapons laboratories to international monitoring, and close all nuclear
test sites.

Create additional nuclear weapons free zones.

Recognise and declare the illegality of threat or use of nuclear weapons,
publicly and before the World Court.

Create mechanisms to ensure the participation of citizens and NGOs in
planning and monitoring the process of nuclear weapons abolition.

A world free of nuclear weapons is a shared aspiration of humanity. This
goal cannot be achieved in a non-proliferation regime that authorises the
possession of nuclear weapons by a small group of states. Our common
security requires the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Our
objective is definite and unconditional abolition of nuclear weapons.

The convention should mandate irreversible disarmament measures, including
but not limited to the following:
withdraw and disable all deployed nuclear weapons systems; disable and
dismantle warheads; place warheads and weapons-usable radioactive
materials under international safeguards; destroy ballistic missiles and
other delivery systems.

The convention could also incorporate the measures listed above which
should be implemented independently without delay. When fully implemented,
the convention would replace the NPT.'

I left before the debate. If present I would have said that I felt about this motion like the man who said he would vote for his religion's party unless he thought they were about to gain power. I believe that MAD kept the peace in the cold war. Nations need arms to keep the peace. But for economic reasons I do not favour replacing Trident.

Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719) -

A man must be both stupid and uncharitable who believes there is no virtue or truth but on his own side. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling in the world. -

- Joseph Addison

If we may believe our logicians, man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter.~ Joseph Addison

It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

No vices are so incurable as those which men are apt to glory in. --Joseph Addison

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

Plenty of people wish to become devout, but no one wishes to be humble. - Joseph Addison (Attributed)

Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life. -- Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.--Joseph Addison

Loveliest of women! heaven is in thy soul, Beauty and virtue shine forever round thee, Bright'ning each other! thou art all divine! - Joseph Addison, Cato (1713) (Act III, sc. 2)

Talk not of love: thou never knew'st its force.- Joseph Addison, Cato (1713) (Act III, sc. 2)

Content thyself to be obscurely good.
When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway,
The post of honour is a private station.-- Joseph Addison, Cato (1713) (Act IV, sc. 4)

'Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia's Isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Others with towering piles may please the sight,
And in their proud aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretch'd canvas give,
Or teach their animated rocks to live:
'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbours' pray'r.
Joseph Addision, _Letter from Italy to the Right Honorable Lord Halifax_, 1701
To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.
Joseph Addison , Spectator, 8 March 1711

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I'm lost
In wonder, love and praise.
Thy Providence my life sustained,
And all my wants redressed,
While in the silent womb I lay
And hung upon the breast.

To all my weak complaints and cries
Thy mercy lent an ear,
Ere yet my feeble thoughts had learned
To form themselves in prayer.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From Whom those comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
With heedless steps I ran,
Thine arm unseen conveyed me safe,
And led me up to man.

Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths,
It gently cleared my way;
And through the pleasing snares of vice,
More to be feared than they.

O how shall words with equal warmth
The gratitude declare,
That glows within my ravished heart?
But thou canst read it there.

Thy bounteous hand with worldly bliss
Hath made my cup run o'er;
And, in a kind and faithful Friend,
Hath doubled all my store.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the last a cheerful heart
That tastes those gifts with joy.

When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou
With health renewed my face;
And, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
Revived my soul with grace.

Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I'll pursue
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

When nature fails, and day and night
Divide Thy works no more,
My ever grateful heart, O Lord,
Thy mercy shall adore.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song I'll raise;
For, oh, eternity's too short
To utter all Thy praise!
Joseph Addison 1672-1719, The Spectator, (London: August 9, 1712).

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th'unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevai
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."
Joseph Addison, in The Spectator (London, England: August 23, 1712)

How are Thy servants blest, O Lord!
How sure is their defense!
Eternal wisdom is their guide,
Their help Omnipotence.

In foreign realms, and lands remote,
Supported by Thy care,
Through burning climes they pass unhurt,
And breathe in tainted air.

When by the dreadful tempest borne
High on the broken wave,
They know Thou art not slow to her,
Nor impotent to save.

The storm is laid, the winds retire,
Obedient to Thy will,
The sea, that roars at Thy command,
At Thy command is still.

From all our griefs and fears, O Lord,
Thy mercy sets us free;
While in the confidence of prayer
Our hearts take hold on Thee.

In midst of dangers, fears and death,
Thy goodness we adore;
We praise Thee for Thy mercies past,
And humbly hope for more

Our life, while Thou preservest life,
A sacrifice shall be;
And death, when death shall be our lot,
Shall join our souls to Thee.
Joseph Addison, in The Spectator (London, England), September 20,1712.

Silence never shows itself to so great an advantage, as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them. - Joseph Addison,The Tatler" no. 133

Monday, November 16, 2009 reviews

Reviewer Rank: 210. Helpful votes received on reviews & lists: 74% (1,711 of 2,328)
Have a look at the books I have read and give me some votes please. I find if you do negative reviews, especially of things the world acclaims, like Pulp Fiction, you come in for some stick. But I can stick up for myself if I decide to answer the fool according to his folly.

Thomas Adams (1583-1652) -

Oh, then be ashamed, Christians, that worldlings are more studious and industrious to make sure of pebbles, than you are to make sure of pearls. -- Thomas Adams.

Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is, but all these, our pleasure, treasure, and life, are reposed in Jesus Christ. -- Thomas Adams

Sense of sin may be often great, and more felt than grace; yet not be more than grace. A man feels the ache of his finger more sensibly than the health of his whole body; yet he knows that the ache of a finger is nothing so much as the health of the whole body. - THOMAS ADAMS

The Law gives menaces. the gospel gives promises. Thomas Adams

Woman takes her being from man, man takes his well-being from woman.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Woman was principal in killing the first Adam, himself being accessory. But in killing the second Adam, man was the principal and woman had not a finger in it.= Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

True obedience hath no lead at its heels.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Naked faith is no faith.= Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

We know that there is a sun in heaven, yet we cannot see what matter it is made of, but perceive it only by the beams, light and heat. Election is a sun, the eyes of eagles cannot see it; yet we may find it in the heat of vocation, in the light of illumination, in the beams of good works.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Many come to these holy places, and are so transported with a desire of hearing, that they forget the fervency of praying and praising God . . . all our preaching is but to beget your praying; to instruct you to praise and worship God . . . . I complain not that our churches are auditories, but that they are not oratories; not that you come to sermons (for God’s sake, come faster), but that you neglect public prayer; as if were only God’s part to bless you, not yours to bless God. . . . Beloved, mistake not. It is not the only exercise of a Christian to hear a sermon; nor is that Sabbath well spent that despatcheth no other business for heaven . . . God’s service is not to be narrowed up in hearing, it hath greater latitude; there must be prayer, praise, adoration.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

The least faith is as precious to the believer's soul as Peter's or Paul's faith was to themselves; for it lays hold upon Christ and brings eternal salvation.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652) (On 2 Peter)

The light of nature is like a spark, the light of the gospel a lamp, the light of grace a star, but the light of glory the sun itself.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus.= Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Religion gives riches, and riches forgets religion . . . Thus do our affections wheel about with an unconstant motion. Poverty makes us Religious, Religion rich, and riches irreligious.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)(Diseases of the Soul: A Discourse Divine, Morall, and Physicall, (London, 1616), 24)

It is a poor worship to move our hats, and not our hearts.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

One would think that punishment should procure fear, and forgiveness love; but no man more truly loves God than he is most fearful to offend Him .... we fear thee for thy justice, and love thee for thy mercy; yea, fear thee for thy mercy, and love thee for thy justice; for thou art infinitely good in both.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Devotion without instruction winds itself into superstition.= Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Lay up in the ark of thy memory not only the pot of manna, the bread of life; but even Aaron's rod, the very scourge of correction, wherewith thou hast been bettered.- Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Sins are so remitted as if they had never been committed.= Thomas Adams (1583-1652)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Return to Twickers

It is 40 years since I last saw rugby at Twickenham. That was Oxford University v South Africa, the last apartheid tour. I argued with the demonstrators saying I was going to work in Nigeria, a more practical help for Africa than their banners.

I went with my youngest, the ticket being her birthday treat. The 80,000 seat stadium is a mile from the station. Lots of enterprising homeowners have turned front gardens into fast food outlets.I have also never seen so many mounted police but I think that was for helping stop the traffic as rugby crowds are well behaved.

The game was disappointing in that the first half, at 9-9 saw no decent England try attempts. Once again all the points for us were from Johnny's boot. There was a strong wind which did not help kicking but could lift the numerous paper aeroplanes thrown towards the pitch. It you give spectators card to wave, you can expect such fun. Planes which got to the pitch gained applause. More than 14 of our team did that half.

Click on the title for photos. Second half was better and we had our try.

I was appalled by poor line of sight next to a gangway being constantly blocked by people gong to get beer. I am all for beer but when I go to a game it is to watch not to drink and pee.

Christian Peoples Alliance AGM

THe Annual Consultative Assembly and AGM of the CPA took place in Ealing yesterday and I was able to attend in the morning. Numbers were disappointing. Not quite the old story of having the party conference in a phone box though.

'In June, a quarter of a million people in Britain
voted for a Christian vision of Europe by backing candidates from the
Christian Peoples Alliance and our colleagues in The Christian Party. The
Times newspaper said the joint ticket was among the "key winners" of the
smaller parties..... Although there are 250,000 people voting for Christian
Democratic policies, the CPA has insufficient paid up members! We rely on
volunteers and the big challenge is to translate goodwill into proper
organisation and a functioning office. The reality we face is that
unprecedented numbers of people are looking for a political alternative to
the big parties. The CPA stands for values of honesty and integrity. All
that is required is for you and those like you in CPA to come forward and
be the difference the public is seeking........You can support us online by visiting:'

I leaned more about the split that took place some time ago. The CPA in Scotland put a Muslim to stand for election. Party membership is not faith based but the constitution states that candidates must agree with the Christian aims of the party. Those on the executive who supported this breach of the constitution eventually resigned. It appears they were also responsible for a great gulf between the CPA and George Hargreave's Christian Party. This rift is now healed and in June there was a joint party ticket The feeling of our meeting was that our campaign main thrust to say we not the BNP were the Christian alternative was not very helpful knocking copy.
Cllr. Alan Craig, CPA leader.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scott Adams (1957 - )-

Change is good. You go first.~Scott Adams

If you spend all of your time arguing with people who are nuts, you'll be exhausted and the nuts will still be nuts. "Dilbert", Scott Adams

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ~Scott Adams

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?-Scott Adams

You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.-Scott Adams, US cartoonist

Friday, November 13, 2009

Samuel Adams (1722-1803) -

general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader...if virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.--Samuel Adams

It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.- Samuel Adams

Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason. - Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.--Samuel Adams,letter to James Warren (Nov. 4, 1775)

That all the People may with united Hearts on that Day express a just Sense of His unmerited Favors -- Particularly in that it hath pleased Him, by His over ruling Providence to support us in a just and necessary War for the Defence of our Rights and Liberties; defeating the Councils and evil Designs of our Enemies, and giving us Victory over their Troops -- and by the Continuance of that Union among these States, which by his Blessing, will be their future Strength & Glory. --Samuel Adams on behalf of the Continental Congress, November 3, 1778

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Prayer for the Muslim World —Samuel Zwemer (1867 – 1952)

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy kingdom: We pray for thy prodigal children in Muslim lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth.

Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ. Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Savior. Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldy confess thy name.

Hasten the day of religious freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected. May the tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall prey to Islam but be won for Christ. Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every church and mission. May all Muslim children in mission schools be led to Christ and accept him as their personal Savior.

Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labor among Muslims the tenderness of Christ, so that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church, and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights. Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power. All our expectation is from thee.

Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Muslim world, and fulfill through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, “O, that Ishmael might live before thee.” For Jesus’ sake. Amen. -Samuel M. Zwemer, Islam and the Cross: Selections from “The Apostle to Islam,” ed. Roger S. Greenway (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2002), 153-154.

Robert Hammond Adams (1883-1975) -

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.
The hungry sheep, that crave the living Bread.
Grow few, and lean, and feeble as can be,
When fed not Gospel, but philosophy;
Not Love's eternal story, no, not this,
But apt allusion, keen analysis.
Discourse well framed -- forgot as soon as heard --
Man's thin dilution of the living Word.
O Preacher, leave the rhetorician's arts;
Preach Christ, the Food of hungry human hearts;
Hold fast to science, history, or creed,
But preach the Answer to our human need,
That in this place, at least, it may be said
No hungry sheep looks up and is not fed.
Robert Hammond Adams (1883-1975) INSCRIPTION FOR A PULPIT

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Key vote today

'An urgent need for prayer

Do make gospel freedom a matter for urgent prayer as today the House of Lords votes on whether the free speech clause should remain as part of the criminal law.

Lord Waddington’s clause protects free speech and religious liberty in the Government’s homophobic hatred office.

This is an issue of freedom for the gospel.

Julian Hurst, an evangelist in Chorlton, was handing out invitation cards to his church’s Easter services in a town centre when five policemen surrounded him and took away samples of his literature to investigate. The police had received complaints that he was homophobic. But neither Mr Hurst nor his leaflet had said anything about homosexuality.

More recently many will have heard about the case of Pauline Howe who wrote to Norwich City Council objecting to a gay rights march. The next thing she knew two police officers called at her house to tell her that she had committed a ‘hate incident’.

No action was taken against Mr Hurst or Mrs Howe. It is perfectly lawful to hold the Biblical view that homosexual conduct is wrong and also to preach it. But in practice the free speech protection is vitally needed to stop false allegations being made.

So do pray that Lord Waddington will succeed in the vote today and that gospel freedom will be protected. Pray also that the issues will be fairly reported by the media.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Hart
The Christian Institute'

We should stay in Afghanistan

The death toll of our soldiers mounts and pressure from public opinion increases pressure on Brown to withdraw our boys. I do not agree with this sentiment.

Brown says we went there after 9/11 to catch the perpetrators. Osama, if alive, is still in hiding. There is no doubt the Taliban are his people. Combating them should be extended to their Pakistan homeland not be stopped.

Afghanistan was at civil war before the Taliban era. This is normality for the country. Remove the troops and the Afghans will be killing even more of their people. Let the Taliban win and you allow oppression, especially of women, and the further persecution of Christians.

My friends work in this country. Remove troops. War. No more Christian voluntary agency work.

There is a price to pay and we should fight on.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) -

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well- wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.- John Quincy Adams

Duty is ours; results are God's. - John Quincy Adams 1831

Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens understanding and softens the heart. -John Adams (1767-1848)

I inhabit a week, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms, and, from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair. - John Quincy Adams

Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order. - John Quincy Adams

I agree with you that in politics the middle way is none at all. - John Adams (1767-1848) In "Adam," no. 299, "Samples from Almost Illegible Notebooks," 1962.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Court Ruling on Environment – the New Religion

CCFON reports,'A court ruling, giving an executive the right to sue his employer on the basis thahe was unfairly dismissed for his ‘green views’ has been criticised by the Christian Legal Centre.

In a controversial decision, the judge ruled that ‘environmentalism’ had the same weight in law as religious and philosophical beliefs.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Barrister and Director of CLC said: “When a society loses her cultural Christian heritage she loses her anchors in the law and we end up with social, moral and legal chaos with any and every view competing in the public and legal square for a place.

“This decision has a real irony about it: whilst the Court seems to be simply extending the definition of what is regarded as ‘religion', implying that what is basically a scientific experiment should be respected as much as the historic, community-enhancing and establishment-linked main stream religion, the very same judiciary are failing spectacularly, month by month, in safeguarding the fundamental religious rights of Christians.”

Tim Nicholson, 42 and from Oxford, had told a previous court hearing that his views were so strong that he refused to travel by air and had renovated his house to be environmentally-friendly.

In a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton said that "a belief in man-made climate change… is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations". The ruling could open the door for employees to sue their companies for failing to account for their green lifestyles, such as providing recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel.

John Bowers QC, representing Mr Nicholson’s employers, had argued that adherence to climate change theory was "a scientific view rather than a philosophical one", because "philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof."

That argument has now been dismissed by Mr Justice Burton, who last year ruled that the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore was political and partisan.

The decision allows the Employment Tribunal to go ahead, but more importantly, sets a precedent for how environmental beliefs are regarded in English law.

Mr Nicholson hailed the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruling as "a victory for common sense" but stressed climate change was "not a new religion".

He said: "I believe man-made climate change is the most important issue of our time and nothing should stand in the way of diverting this catastrophe.

"This philosophical belief that is based on scientific evidence has now been given the same protection in law as faith-based religious belief.

"Belief in man-made climate change is not a new religion, it is a philosophical belief that reflects my moral and ethical values and is underlined by the overwhelming scientific evidence."

The grounds for Mr Nicholson's case stem from changes to employment law made by Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, in the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003. The regulations effectively broaden the protection to cover not just religious beliefs or those "similar" to religious beliefs, but philosophical beliefs as well.

On 4 November 2009, Lord Warner spoke in a House of Lords debate referrring to the case. He said:

"This is a major change of ruling by the courts and the BBC might like to ponder that ruling when considering its [religious] programming arrangements. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response."

Andrea Minichiello Williams added: “At a time when the Government is playing politics with religion, society should be able to look to the Courts for balanced, carefully thought-out judgments, not more political correctness”.'

For a long time global warming has been reported as a strong belief, an article of modern faith. Now it is confermed as a new religion. I remain an unbeliever. Life is cyclical in matters of climate.

John Adams -

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery of party, faction, and division of society.-- John Adams

Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air. John Adams (1767-1848)

I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.- John Adams

I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman. ~John Adams to his wife, Abigail Adams.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. --John Adams

Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.--John Adams

The four most miserable years of my life. - John Adams (1735 &endash; 1826) US President (2), on the Presidency

It has confirmed in me, the Belief, of what was formerly suspected, viz., that your Principles were very wicked and depraved, tho your Cunning was exquisite enough, to conceal your Crimes from the Public scrutiny. I am now brought to believe what was formerly only suspected, viz. your subordination of Witnesses, your Perjuries, and your Briberies as well as your Cruelty. John Adams, Dec. 23rd, 1765

The great and Almighty author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the world, can as easily suspend those laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of Jesus Christ.
John Adams; in his Diary Mar. 1, 1756.; Works II, p.8

I am, therefore, of opinion that men ought, (after they have examined with unbiased judgments every system of religion, and chosen one system, on their own authority, for themselves,) to avow their opinions and defend them with boldness.-- John Adams Diary Mar. 7, 1756; 'Works' II, p8

We live, my dear, in an age of trial. What will be the consequence, I know not. --John Adams, to Abigail Adams, 1774, quoted in _John Adams_ David McCullough

These bickerings of opposite parties, and their mutual reproaches their declamations, their sing-song, their triumphs and defiances, their dismals and prophecies, are all delusion.-- John Adams to Abigail; Jul 16, 1774

The Science of Government it is my duty to study, more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts.&emdash;I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematics and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine. --John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, after May 12, 1780.&emdash;Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, vol. 3, p. 342 (1973).

The numbers of men in all ages have preferred ease, slumber, and good cheer to liberty, when they have been in competition. We must not then depend alone upon the love of liberty in the soul of man for it preservation. Some political institutions must be prepared to assist this love against its enemies. Without these, the struggle will ever end only in a change of imposters.--John Adams, letter to Samuel Adams, October 18, 1790

We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bands of government everywhere; that children and apprentices were disobedient; that schools and colleges were grown turbulent; that Indians slighted their guardians and Negroes grew insolent to their masters. But your letter was the first intimation that another tribe more numerous and powerful than all the rest were grown discontented. This is rather too coarse a compliment, but you are so saucy, I won't blot it out. Depend on it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systens. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We dare not exert our power in its full latitude. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and in practice you know we are the subjects. We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight. --from the letters of John Adams, quoted in _John Adams_, David McCullough

Monday, November 09, 2009

Joey Adams -

A psychiatrist is a fellow who asks you a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing. -Joey Adams (January 6, 1911 – December 2, 1999), born Joseph Abramowitz, American comedian

Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.-Joey Adams

The difference between playing the stock market and the horses is that one of the horses must win.-
Joey Adams

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.- Joey Adams

A bikini is like a barbed-wire fence. It protects the property without obstructing the view.- Joey Adams

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ordination in Camden Town

This morning I was officiating at the ordination of Tim Dalton, a new teaching elder in our Camden Town church plant. I spent half an hour wandering the streets looking for the pub where the church meets. I had not realised they had changed pubs since my visit a year ago. I think seven elders laid on hands and prayed for Tim. We were not all Presbyterians as his father took part and he is a retired vicar, John Field gave an excellent exposition of John 21. Afterwards we descended from the upper room to the bar below for a very pleasant Thai buffet lunch. I also met up with an old friend from my undergraduate days. We had not met for over 42 years.

Books Read in November 2009 (28)

1. The Practical Approach to Muslims by Jens Christensen

There are not many books I have found to be worth reading more than once for books are many and life is short. Here is an exceptional work which I first read when a missionary among Muslims in Nigeria. It is simply the best book I know on understanding Islam and taking the gospel to Muslims.

The author was a Danish Lutheran bishop who spent a lifetime of work on the North West Frontier of Pakistan. He writes as a Lutheran who holds a high view of Scripture but not as a believer in plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture. But I do not see this in any way detracting from the superb value of the book except his view of politics is very Lutheran, two kingdoms. But this is a minor criticism of a book which will give the reader a deeper understanding of the gospel as well as of Islam.

Christensen is in no doubt that Allah of Mohammed is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Islam is submission to the inscrutable and sometimes changing will of Allah, the only sovereign. The gospel is the good news that we know God as Father through his Son by the work of his Spirit. Every word of theology the two faiths use has a different meaning, God, prayer, books, prophets, predestination, tradition. The Muslim sees the way to please Allah is to imitate the way of Mohammed. What he did, the Muslim must do. Christians do not follow Christ by What Did Jesus Do?

The fundamental conflict though is that God became man, He became flesh in Christ. The chapter on the virgin birth is the best I have ever read on the incarnation.

If you want to be a Christian witness to Muslims, this is the one book to study. Even if you have no Muslims near you it will be a benefit too.

Though published in 1977 it is based on lectures in the 1950s with a final 1960 chapter. So it is dated as is all pre-9/11 work on this subject but it remains invaluable.

2. Churchill's Black Dog by Anthony Storr

The author, a psychiatrist, has given a series of papers on creativity and mental health. His chapters on Churchill and Newton as worth the price of the book. If Churchill had not had an emotionally deprived childhood we might be speaking German now. He was a man who had to prove himself. Storr reminds us how close we were to a deal with Hitler in 1940. Churchill was resolute. Interestingly, just how bad things were does not come out in Winston's writings but Jenkin's biography makes it clear. I wonder also if Churchill's appetite never went to sexual excess because of his father's syphilis, something else the great man was quiet about. The chapter on Newton is a revelation. Some chapters are not so gripping but read it for WSC and Newton.

3. The Last Kingdom (Alfred the Great 1) by Bernard Cornwell

The master of historical fiction takes us to 9th century Britian. I have to call it that because we are not yet England. Northumbria falls to the Danes. So do the other kingdoms. Only Wessex holds out under Alfred, pious, clever and not very attractive here. He is learned and starts us for the first time as a naval power. Our hero and narrator is a Northumbrian lad who loses his family and inheritance in the conflict with the Danes. He gets a Danish upbringing, love for combat and a preference for their pagan gods. Christianity is not a faith for warriors. You learn the horror of invading Danes who loved to destroy churches for their treasure. You become conversant with the battle techniques of a shield wall and you learn a lot of the history of the formation of our nation.

4. Discipleship in Islamic Society by Samuel P Sclorff

A helpful booklet by a missionary to North Africa. It is a handbook for Muslim background believers but also a good introduction to Islam for the Christian. Differences in the faiths are well described but I believe the biggest difference, the doctrine of grace is not made clear. Also missing is the action of God in baptism. Baptism is not primarily the believer's witness to his faith. It is first and foremost God's witness to the salvation given in union with Christ.
The booklet teaches that MMBs should be in local churches and is a primer on church government.

5. Islam in Britain by M.A.Zaki Badawi

In this 1981 lecture introducing the subject to a British audience the late author estimates the British Muslim population at 1 to 1.5 million. Things have moved on but this remains a valuable short introduction as to the origins of Islam in this country. In his latter years, when principal of the Muslim College in Ealing, Badawi was often in the media as a spokesman for his religion and no-one seems to have replaced him. He explains the autonomy of each mosque and and the need for an officially representative body. So far the various groupings remain diverse and not practically united. He states that Muslim theology has not developed a view on how to live as a minority. The need remains though now Islam in the UK has a much higher profile. In 1981 the author could only look forward to Muslim members of both houses of parliament. I would dispute his claim that Islam is a universal religion. It is a very Arabian expression of faith which has spread world wide.

6. Christianity and Islam under colonialism in northern Nigeria
by Jan Harm Boer

This booklet was written in response to a Nigerian newspaper article in 1974 which the writer equated British colonialism in northern Nigeria with christianisation. Boer did his doctorate on the relation between colonialism and a Christian mission in this country and this booklet draws on that more detailed study. British missionaries were supporters of the colonial enterprise. They were children of their age. They especially welcomed it for putting an end to the slavery which is horrifically described here. But the British government chose to rule through the Muslim emirs and not to disturb their political hegemony by allowing the missionaries to evangelise. Missions were restricted to the area of followers of traditional African religion. The missionaries believed such restrictions unwarranted, a denial of religious liberty. They also objected to being told that for their own health they could not live within 440 yards of the locals. It was erroneously thought that mosquitoes could not fly that far.There was co-operation in some work. notably education but the missionaries were concerned that government grants meant government control and secularised education. The general conclusion of this book is that the colonial regime was more helpful to the spread of Islam rather than being in cahoots with Christian missionaries, some of whom took very courageous stands against the powers that be and on one occasion maintained discreet silence so as not to embarrass Britain in WWI. A most excellent small corrective to the myth of colonialism being the friend of Christian mission. Remember, the British kept Carey out of their India.

7. The love of God in the Qur'an and the Bible (Christianity and Islam) by John Gilchrist

The author shows from the Bible that God is love and through Jesus Christ we can be in son to father relationship with Him. There is no such possibility from the Quranic revelation.

8. The integrity of the Bible according to the Qur®an and the Hadith by Ghiyathuddin Adelphi

This booklet published in India makes extensive use of Quranic and Hadith texts to show the common Muslim slander that Jews and Christians have corrupted their Scriptures is unfounded. The case is argued well. A charge of false interpretation may be made against People of the Book, but not one of altering the text. Perhaps because this comes from India the reader is not told to simply go to the British Museum and view New testament codices from centuries before Mohammed. Their text is the same as today's Bible.

9. God has chosen me for everlasting life by Hamran Ambrie

Testimonies of Muslims who come to faith in Christ are usually interesting and this on from an Indonesian Muslim leader is no exception. Preparing to preach against the gospel he received inner conviction that Scripture has not been corrupted and is true. He recounts his struggles with the doctrines Muslims reject and how he came to see this is wrong. Unbeknown to him, other family members were also coming to faith. His whole family was baptised and he took a courageous stand for the truth in the face of Muslim friends who did not believe such a prominent man could become apostate from Islam.

10. The crucifixion of Christ: A fact, not fiction (Qur'an and Bible Series) by John Gilchrist

My copy is called The Crucifixion in the Quran and the Bible, 1981. The author is from South Africa and often, as hear, writes to answer the Muslim evangelist, the late Ahmad Diddat. Muslim theories that Jesus was nor crucified, but a substitute are countered as well as the ridiculous idea that Jesus did not die, merely passed out on the cross. Refuting error, the author preaches the true gospel that Jesus died for the sins of his people and was raised for their salvation.

11. The textual history of the Qur'an and the Bible (Qur'an and Bible series) by John Gilchrist

The author writes in response to the late Ahmed Deedat's, 'Is the Bible God's Word?'. The Christian church has preserved many very old manuscripts of the Bible predating Mohammed. The Muslims have selected only on Quranic text and destroyed others The Bible does not exist in various versions but different translations. Alleged errors and contradictions are refuted.

12. A Comparative Study of the Quran and the Bible by John Gilchrist

The message parallels the above book but also shows how Christians will stick with their earliest manuscripts though this may remove some previously cherished texts like the ending of Mark's Gospel. The Quran shows evidence of borrowing from Jewish non-biblical writings but also testifies that the Bible should be read. Nowhere does it say it has been altered.

13. Origins and sources of the Gospel of Barnabas by John Gilchrist

This spurious gospel is used by Muslims against the true Scripture. It claims to be apostolic but all the evidence points to a medieval origin in Spain or perhaps Italy. It quotes from Dante.

14.Is Muhammad foretold in the Bible?: A response to What the Bible says about Muhummed (Qur'an and Bible Series) by John Gilchrist

Jesus not Mohammed is the true fulfilment of the Deuteronomic promise of another prophet like Moses. Gilchrist again ably refutes Muslim claims for Mohammed. Neither is the Muslim's prophet the Comforter Jesus promised in John's Gospel. Only the Holy Spirit is in place of Christ in the world today.

15. The titles of Jesus in the Qur'an and the Bible (Christianity and Islam) by John Gilchrist

In the Quran Jesus is the Messiah. Word of God and a Spirit from God. These titles are greater than those of Mohammed. In the Bible he is Son of Man and Son of God to show perfect humanity and deity in the one person. Son of God does not imply sexual origin but likeness to the Father.

16. The Christian view of the Eid sacrifice (Christianity and Islam) by John Gilchrist

Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his only son. This was Isaac, son of the promise, not Ishmael, son of the slave. God then provided the lamb, a foretelling of his sending his Son, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The significance of the Eid sacrifice is not man giving something to God, but God providing the sacrifice to take away sin.

17. The temple, the Ka'aba, and the Christ (Christianity and Islam) by John Gilchrist

The temple of Jerusalem is put in historic context as is Jesus' attitude to it. The Kaaba is claimed to be the place where Abraham worshipped. it is shown to be an Arab idol shrine. At first Mohammed faced Jerusalem in prayer. Only after Jewish opposition in Medina did the prophet face Mecca. Finally Christ is shown to be the one to be worshipped in spirit and truth.

18. Our approach to Islam - Charity or Militancy by John Gilchrist

This 1990 booklet was written in response to the development of militant Islam, a phenomenon which sadly is now daily in our news. Islam is inherently militant. The concept of jihad being only personal and spiritual is linked to a publication as recent as 1948 for its origins. The Christian way should be one of tolerance and respect. Gilchrist considers whether Allah is the creator God and says he is the one true God, but without a Trinitarian understanding through Christ he is not really known. He denies that the Muslim's God is an idol or a demon and is critical of Christians who teach this and who refuse halal food. His message is that the Christian response is love not militancy.

19. The Cross in the Gospel and the Quran by Iskandar Jadeed

Muslims deny that God would let a prophet be put to death. God made someone take the likeness of Jesus and be put to death. The author shows proof from the Bible that the Quranic understanding is wrong for it was the will of God that his Son should suffer and die for our sins.

20. God and Christ by Iskandar Jadeed

Answers to Muslims' questions, about God, Trinity and Christ. The true gospel is given in answer. I do not though consider that science teaches any purpose to the universe. That is not what science is about.

21. Evidences for the collection of the Qur'an by John Gilchrist

This is a small beginning to Quranic textual criticism. It tells how the book was compiled, how Uthman standardised the text by burning variants and the different codex of Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud. The missing stoning verses are discussed and other variant readings.

22. The Gospel of Barnabas: " a false testimony " by Iskandar Jadeed

The Gospel of Barnabas did nit exist before the 15th century, The author as an apostate Christian turned Muslim. It contradicts the gospels, It also contradicts the Quran.

23. Blood on the Holy Land: Report on the Visit by a Delegation of British Muslims to Occupied Palestine, 24th Rajab-2nd Sha'ban 1408/13th-20th March 1988 by Ibrahim Hewitt

The author is an English convert to Islam. He recounts a visit of British Muslims to Palestine and Israel in 1988. We are now in a different situation but the message here is one of Israeli oppression. Nothing is said about the plight of Christian Arabs. Islam is seen as the hope for peace. It is said to be the most tolerant religion.

24. A chronology of Christian outreach to the Arab world 37AD to 1941 by David Morriss

A fascinating account of the growth and history of the church among the Arabs. It shows the decline brought about by Islam and the history of missions, particularly to North Africa until 1980. Very informative.

25. The new vitality of Islam in Black Africa and its pastoral implications by Victor Mertens

This is a 1980 study by a Roman Catholic based in Zaire whch examines the reasons for the growth of Islam in black Africa and the response his church should make. It is a good and insightful analysis for the reasons Islam has grown. Passing years have not significanly affected these reasons. He calls for Christians to continue Afican tolerance and for the whole church, not only clergy, to be evangelistic in word and deed. This Protestant wholly concurs.

26 Muslims and Christians at the Table: Promoting Biblical Understanding among North American Muslims by Bruce A McDowell and Anees Zaka

Probably the best book to read for any Christian wanting to witness to Muslims. It suffers a little from its American context but any Brit can contextualise. Good analysis of Muslims and their cultures in the West. The comparative theologies are taught and very practical ways of witness. Of particular interest is the concept of Meetings for Mutual Understanding as these are corporate witness and promote social cohesion as well as friendship evangelism.

27. Ford County by John Grisham

Grisham is at his best in the Deep South. However I found six of the seven short stories to be disappointing. They were all about rather unsavoury characters and there was more sex than usual from Grisham. We had drunken youths, bent and ruthless lawyers, an execution, gambling and deceit. It was not uplifting. But the last story is worth the price of the book. Grisham ends with a very Christian story set in a very unchristian town. An old black woman cares for a white man dying from AIDS. The whole town shuns them. The lady gets a taste for wine and makes a surprising confession.

28. The Collaborator by Gerald Seymour

I have read all of Seymour's thrillers and he continues to be the top man in my estimation. For once he has left a topical terrorism or war setting and gone to the mob controlled city of Naples. It is enought to put you off going as a tourist. The theft, extortion and extreme volience are threatening. As ever a gripping read. As usual different unrelated charcters are brought together at the end but this time it is only really two threads to be woven together so it makes for a simpler read.

Jay Adams -

If I had to choose between putting a saloon or a liberal church on a corner, I'd choose the saloon every time. People who drink up the pay check in the saloon are less likely to become Pharisees, thinking that they don't need the Great Physician, than those who weekly swill the soporific doctrine of man's goodness. - Jay Adams (b. January 30, 1929) i American Reformed Christian author of Competent to Counsel,

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Books read in the year to July 2009

Reading in the past year to July has been slow to collate. 61 this year. I am slipping from 83 , 127 and 97 the years before. Perhaps I have been more on the web this tear with my new Macbook and then Facebook. Here is the analysis, position and books read with previous years below

1 Theology 13.
2= Biography 12
History 12
4 Fiction 5
3 Travel 4
4= Economics, Islam .language, humour
10= Trivia, commentaries, computing, psychology, politics, mission, ethics

1. History 18 (14 4th, 32 1st)
2. Biography 12 (16 3rd, 20 2nd)
3= Novels 11 (34 1st, 3 7th= )
3= Theology 11 ( 8 5th= 7 4th)
5. Commentaries 8 1 (1 12= 0 14th=)
6. Islam 6 (8 5= 9 3rd)
7= Devotional 3 (3 8= 3 7th)
7= Travel 3 (1 12th 0)
9. Trivia 2 ( 3 8th= 2 10th=)
10= Psychology 1 (2 19= 2 10th=)
10= Politics 1 (6 7th 4 6th)
10= Humour 1 (1 12th 5 5th)
10= Mission 1 (0 9th 2 10th= )
10= Ethics 1
15= Letters 0 (1 12= 1 14th=)
Sport 0 (1 2= 1 14th=))
Quotations 0 (2 10th= 2 10=)
Diaries 0 (1 12= 0)
Prayers 0 (1 12= 0)
Children's 0 (24 2nd 3 7th=)


Friday, November 06, 2009

James Luther Adams -

Nothing is more dangerous than a Calvinist just off his knees.. - James Luther Adams (November 12, 1901-July 26, 1994) was a Unitarian parish minister, quoted by Max Stackhouse, in his preface to, Religion, Pluralism and Public Life, ed Luis E Lugo, Eeerdmans, 200O.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A decade of Sharia law in north Nigeria breeds frustration

Aminu Abubakar (AFP) writes,
KANO, Nigeria — A decade after Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north re-introduced strict Islamic Sharia law, the fervour has fizzled while disillusionment is becoming more strident about its patchy application.

Out of Nigeria's 36 states, 12 re-adopted a strict version of Sharia in 1999 nearly a century after it had been abandoned.

But even one of the radical Muslim clerics who in 1999 actively lobbied for Sharia in Kano State, Abba Koki, conceded there were problems.

"People are disillusioned with the insincerity, deception and hypocrisy which characterise the implementation of Sharia," Koki told AFP.

Zamfara State, which pioneered the return to the penal code, last week marked the 10th anniversary with a low-key ceremony attended by the clergy and politicians.

Since the introduction of Sharia coincided with the return of democracy to Nigeria after 15 years of military dictatorship, critics accuse politicians of hijacking the return to Islamic law to advance their own political mileage.

Sceptics say there is little to show that Sharia law has had a positive impact in a region still battling graft, moral decay and searing poverty.

"People?s aspirations for a just and decent society were dashed by self-seeking politicians who hide under the Sharia to promote their personal political interests," charged Koki.

Five years into the law, Koki quit a Kano State government Sharia board in protest at what he called its failure to deliver.

"The clamour for Sharia was motivated by the people?s ardent desire to do away with injustices, corruption, impunity, immorality and other social ills bedeviling our society.

"Instead politicians have used this to seek votes and maintain the status quo after winning elections," Koki said.

Sulayman Nyang, a lecturer in African studies and Islamic affairs at Howard University in Washington D.C. said Sharia was seen in northern Nigeria as a "pacifier in this world of chaos and uncertainties".

"Caught in the crossfires of moral decay and grinding poverty, and very much handicapped by poor leadership and corrupt politicians, many a Muslim who believes in traditional Islam now sees the resurrection of the Sharia as a way out of their disturbing humiliation and low self-esteem," Nyang told AFP.

Nigeria?s return to democracy, also in 1999, saw the emergence of a new political class which included former Zamfara State governor Ahmed Sani Yerima, now a senator, whose campaign promise was strict Sharia.

He won election and made good his pledge by declaring Islamic law in the state at an elaborate event. Eleven other states followed in swift succession.

Yet Abubakar Sadiq, political scientist at Nigeria's Ahmadu Bello University, said none of the rulers at the time genuinely embraced Sharia.

"The northern political elite had come to the end of its political wits" and saw Sharia as "a new cheap and effective" tool for electioneering, said Sadiq.

Voters like Muhammad Nasir, an electronics dealer at Kano city's downtown Sabon Gari market, agree.

"Nothing has changed in the last 10 years, there is nothing like Sharia in all the so-called Sharia states. Politicians are still corrupt, immorality is everywhere ... there are brothels and beer parlours everywhere," Nasir said.

But Kano State governor?s spokesman Sule Yau Sule countered critics as narrow-minded.

"Some people think Sharia is all about stoning to death and amputation, which is a narrow perception. Sharia is about human development, making a person a better being in all spheres and I believe this is what we are doing," Sule said.

In the first two years, several death sentences were passed, none of which were executed.

Four women condemned to death by stoning for adultery had the sentences overturned on appeals.

Sadiq said Sharia judges were initially "overzealous" thinking that the rulers were "sincere and began dishing out capital punishments", but later soft-pedalled.

Out of more than two dozen amputation sentences passed for theft in four states, only two were executed. One of them was on a peasant, Buba Bello Jangebe, for stealing a cow in 2000.

A prominent rights group in Nigeria, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), wants the federal government to sponsor Jandebe for surgery to replace his limb.

"This we believe is the best gift to celebrate our 10 years of civil rule and the anniversary of the 'launching' of the Sharia," said CRC.

Sharia was first introduced in northern Nigeria by Arab traders around the ninth century. In 1904 the British colonial administration allowed it to be practiced but outlawed the punitive aspects of stoning to death, amputation and flogging.

Nyang also warned of dangers of "misappropriations" of Sharia by Muslim extremists in Nigeria, the most populous black nation seen as pivotal to the region's stability.

Copyright © 2009 AFP.

We left in 1982 when democracy had already been restored but before the reversion to this inequitable code. So 'the introduction of Sharia coincided with the return of democracy to Nigeria ' is not accurate.