Daily Archives: 7 Apr 2012

The Israeli Goverment’s Repression of Palestinian Christians

During Holy Week

Because of travel restrictions in past years, the vast majority of Christians living in the West Bank have been stopped at checkpoints and prevented from attending one of the most important religious services of the year. Israeli authorities require permits for entering Jerusalem. Local Christians estimate that only 2,000 — 3,000 permits are provided, despite the overwhelming desire among the 50,000 Palestinian Christians to travel from the West Bank and Gaza for the Easter week celebrations in Jerusalem.

Those who make it across checkpoints and into Israel are still barricaded by numerous walls and other security obstructions. As a result, even many who have permits are unable to make it to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 2010, a Palestinian colleague of mine at World Vision, who had warm memories as a child of the Holy Fire service, was able to return to the Holy Sepulchre. She described the scene for those able to gain entrance to the church: “The crowd, striving to stay joyful, could still feel the change of what Easter had now become and the dark cloud of checkpoints, police forces, and denial of entry that had obscured the joy of this holiday.”

And throughout the rest of the year as well

The restrictions on travel for worship are not only in force during Holy Week, but also for routine Sunday services, weddings, funerals, and baptisms throughout the year. Certainly, Israel can take care of its own security concerns while accommodating peaceful Palestinian Christian worship.

In a recent letter by 80 Palestinian Christian leaders, including the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians spoke out against the lack of religious freedom inside Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. They complained of being forced to endure an “assault on our natural and basic right to worship.”

Israel is acting immorally.  This is unacceptable in a democracy.  Even if that democracy is in the Middle East.  Will Christian’s who ‘love Israel’, ‘Christian’ Zionists, love Israel more than they love their brothers and sisters in Christ?  Why isn’t John Hagee leading the charge to pressure Israel to allow Palestinian Christians the freedom they deserve?  My answer- because ‘Christian’ Zionism isn’t Christian at all.

From the Archives of Zwingliana

The Myth of the Swiss Lutherans, by Amy Nelson Burnett. Give it a read!

The time is long overdue for a complete re-evaluation of the conflicts that wracked Bern during the 1530s and 1540s. This article will lay the groundwork for such a re-evaluation by putting to rest the myth of the Swiss Lutherans.

Conjugal Infidelity is Misogyny

C.S. Lewis astutely observed – “A society in which conjugal infidelity is tolerated must always be in the long run a society adverse to women.”  What he meant is simple- a man who cheats on his wife hates her and a society which tolerates infidelity itself is a society where women are devalued.

Tiger Woods: Foul-Mouthed Adulterous Has-Been

in 2007 Esperanto: en la jaro 2007

It’s a question we’ve all been asking since he wrecked his Escalade and his life that Thanksgiving night 30 months ago. Who is Tiger Woods really? Part of the answer came Friday in a foul-mouthed, club-kicking back nine at the Masters that would have gotten you or me thrown off much lesser golf courses than Augusta National. Pretty simple, actually. He’s an embarrassment to his sport.

I applaud Tim Dahlberg for telling the truth. Read the rest of his truth telling here.

Woods is reaping what he’s sown. He cheated on his beautiful wife and his life has been a trainwreck ever since.

Pseudo-Christianity Pentebabbleist Style

Do these pentebabbleists not realize how wrong this is on so many levels for so many reasons?  This has nothing to do with preaching, church, worship, Christianity, faith, or sound doctrine.  This is mockery of proclamation pure and simple and therefore a profound evil. As Paul said to the Corinthians (Ch 5, letter 1)

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Religion Journalists Have an Overinflated Sense of Knowledge

Stuart observes

A new study looking at religious journalism has been produced by the Knight Program in Media and Religion at USC and the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.  You can view the entire report here in PDF format.

Here’s the interesting part (to me)

One-half (50.2%) of all reporters say a major challenge to covering religion is a lack of knowledge of religion. Two-fifths say that a lack of time for reporting religion stories and inadequate space for such stories are major challenges (40.9% and 40.2%, respectively). About one-third (35.2%) say that a lack of interest in religion is a major challenge to coverage, and about as many reporters (31.3%) say that a major challenge is they “Don’t know the sources” for covering religion.

Half say a lack of knowledge is a problem and in fact it’s more like 99% (given the things that the vast majority write about religious subjects).  And 31% admit they don’t know the sources?  Again, given what is usually written it’s more like 99%.

Over the years of reading stories in the news on matters religious I’ve encountered three journalists… just three… who know what they’re talking about:  Matti Friedman, Matthew Kalman, and Rachel Zoll.  I’ve never read another who didn’t bungle massively.  Especially when they’re talking about biblical matters or archaeology.

In keeping with the lack of knowledge as a challenge to covering religion, about one-fifth (18.9%) of reporters say they are as “very knowledgeable” about religion and one–third (31.5%) say they are “knowledgeable.” Another 39.8% said they were “somewhat knowledgeable” and 9.8% said they are not knowledgeable about religion.

One fifth huh.  That’s exceedingly doubtful.  Religion reporters have an overinflated sense of their knowledge.  They really ought to let some scholars go over their stuff to keep them from massive error.  But of course that’s unlikely.

How They See God in Texas and Florida

Again, thanks to Chris Tilling for this-

The idols which people make- turning God into a vision of themselves… wretches.

Indeed…

Thank you Chris Tilling for posting this gem:

Sometimes Facebook Makes Me Want To Scream

Especially when things like this are posted…

Ok

1- The angels don’t have a say in the matter.  They don’t decide when things begin and they don’t decide when things are over.

2- The Bible never, not once, tells us that we must ‘believe in angels’.  In fact, that’s idolatry.  We believe IN God, not created things and angels (if you accept that they exist at all) are nothing more than creatures.  They aren’t omniscient.  They aren’t omnipresent.  They aren’t omnipotent.  They’re mere creatures.

3- If some ‘angel’ is ‘testing you’ to see whether or not you’ll repost a picture on Facebook they have too much time on their hands and need to get busy with their real task which, according to Hebrews, is

οὐχί πᾶς εἰμί λειτουργικός πνεῦμα εἰς διακονία ἀποστέλλω διά ὁ μέλλω κληρονομέω σωτηρία (Heb 1:14).

If your ‘angelology’ says more than that of them, you’re in error and in danger of heretical belief.  And if you get your theology from Facebook picture postings, repent.

Thomas Kinkade Has Died

The AP reports

Artist Thomas Kinkade once said that he had something in common with Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell: He wanted to make people happy.

And he won success with brushwork paintings that focused on idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches — highly popular works that became big sellers for dealers across the United States.

The self-described “Painter of Light,” who died Friday at age 54, produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment.

Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, said family spokesman David Satterfield.

His life was wracked by various difficulties and personal issues but he sure could paint.  May he rest in peace.