Jul 20, 2008

Christian Couple Arrested, Tortured and Threatened Islam the Religion of Peace?

On June 3, a newly converted Christian couple in Iran was arrested by
police for holding Bible studies with Muslims in their home, and
attending a house church. According to Compass Direct News, "Makan Arya
and Tina Rad were seized from their home in east Tehran after one of
Makan's relatives informed security police of the couple's Christian
activities. Their 4-year-old daughter was left behind, ill and
unattended. The couple was taken to an unknown jail where they were
severely beaten and interrogated for four days." Compass reported,
"Makan was accused of 'activities against national security' and Tina
of 'activities against the holy religion of Islam.' The authorities
threatened to take their daughter away to a religious institution and
warned they could be imprisoned on charges of apostasy or fabricated
drug charges if they didn't stop their Christian work." The report
added that eventually the couple was pressured into signing a statement
claiming they had not changed their religion from Islam and promising
that they would stay away from their house church and other Christians.
"After a court hearing, Makan was freed on bail charges of US $19,634
and Tina upon payment of US $29,451. The couple returned home to find
that the window of their shop had been smashed by local Muslims. On
June 23, Makan received a letter threatening him with continued attacks
if he did not put up evidence of his Islamic faith on the front of his
shop, to which he responded by hanging pictures of Muslim leaders on
his window," Compass added. Ask God to strengthen the hearts of these
believers to proclaim His Name without hesitation or fear. Pray for
healing, especially for Tina who currently cannot walk as a result of
her mistreatment in detention. Isaiah 40:29-31

Jul 19, 2008

Modesty is the citadel of beauty. Demades

I came across this in the "God's Politics" blog, they forgot to mention his humility!

"Melvin Bray
is a devoted husband, committed father, learner, teacher, writer,
storyteller, lover of people, connoisseur of creativity, seeker of
justice, purveyor of sustainability, and believer in possibilities. As
founder of Kid Cultivators, he lives, loves, works, and dreams with friendMelvin Brays in Atlanta, Georgia."
I have read is blog and he is not half as bad as he sounds above.

The True Spirit of the Olympics - Pastor Sentenced to Re-education Through Labour

Pastor Sentenced to Re-education Through Labour

On July 4, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years re-education through labor in Jining city in Shangdong province. According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Shandong Re-education-Through-Labor Management Committee issued a written decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through labor. Authorities accused him [Zhongxin] of cult participation in the ‘whole scope of the church' organized ‘Sunday school training courses, preaching the gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for missionaries and pioneers sermons.'" CAA added that in 2005, Zhongxin established The Rainbow Missions Fellowship and Timothy Bible Training School in Jining city, Shandong province, where Christian leaders are trained. Zhongxin has appealed his sentence.

Sanctus: Breaking News: ++Rowan's Movie Deal

Sanctus: Breaking News: ++Rowan's Movie Deal

This is very cruel.

A Book for Lambeth

All the bishops at the Lambeth conference have been given a book to read "The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality". There are some really interesting instructions in the book on how to engage with other people. It strikes me that if bishops need these instructions what hope is there for the rest of us plebs.So are you now sitting comfortably we will begin....

To listen as actively as I can:

• I do not participate in side conversations.

• I never interrupt the person who is speaking.

• I turn off all electronic equipment (cell phones, computers, pagers, BlackBerries, etc.) and put them away.

• I show my interest in the speaker through my posture and facial expressions.

• I keep my expression and posture interested, engaged and calm, even
when I very strongly agree – or disagree – with the speaker.

• When it is my turn to speak, I first demonstrate how I have listened
to others by paraphrasing what they have said. I do this using my own
words and ask 'Have I understood you correctly?' when I have finished
my paraphrase.

• I avoid making statements that suggest or assert that I completely understand what another is saying.

• If anyone in the group behaves in ways that block or impede
listening, I support the group facilitator as they ask for these
behaviours to stop.

This means that as an active or deep listener in a dialogue we will be
receptive, encouraging, and reflective. We will strive for
understanding of others in the group and take responsibility for our
own behaviours and thoughts during the dialogue. Let us look at these
behaviours in more detail.

To be a receptive listener:

• I adopt a comfortable and open posture and facial expression.

• I avoid crossing my arms.

• I avoid judgemental or confrontational body language – pointing fingers, shaking fingers, pursing lips or scowling.

• If culturally appropriate I look at the speaker and make eye contact if the speaker looks at me.

• I avoid closing my eyes and I do not fall asleep.

As an encouraging listener I will help draw the speaker
out. This is a particularly helpful and pastoral approach with those
who are shy, reticent, or unaccustomed to being given the opportunity
to speak in this type of process. To be an encouraging listener:

• I sit forward, leaning slightly towards the speaker.

• I keep an open facial expression, occasionally smile or nod my head.
This way I can affirm that a person is contributing without necessarily
affirming what the person is saying.

• I ask for more information. I can ask a speaker if they could say more about what they are thinking to help me understand.

• I thank the previous speaker before I begin to speak.

Jul 18, 2008

Long Robes and Long Prayers

[Jesus] taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk
around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake ofappearance say long prayers

- Mark 12:38-40

The Death Bed

I have just finished watching the final 'Numbers'
in series 3.for those who don't know 'Numbers'
is the thinking persons FBI series.
The two main character are Charlie Epps and his
brother Don.
Charlie is super brainy and helps his brother who
appears to be in charge of the FBI.
In this last episode a former agent is dying of poisoning,
but before he dies he leaves behind a list of
double agents. After solving the case
the brothers and their father talk about
the dead agent and the father quotes part
of a poem. I was intrigued as I half recognised it.
Here it<b> "Deathbed"</b> by Siegfied Sasson.
The last two verses were the ones quoted...

The Deathbed

He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep.
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.

Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water—calm, sliding green above the weir.
Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird- voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers
And shaken hues of summer; drifting down,
He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.

Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.
Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.

Rain—he could hear it rustling through the dark;
Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
Gently and slowly washing life away.

He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who'd stepped toward him, paused and stared.

Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He's young; he hated War; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?

But death replied: 'I choose him.' So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.