Archive for April, 2010

Homeless Man Dies

Svend’s posting of this proves the point of my last post. We can stand together in recognizing that this is shamefully horrific.

From Akram’s Razor:

God rest this noble man’s soul.

Homeless man bleeds to death while people walk by – chicagotribune.com

Homeless man Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, 31, a Guatemalan immigrant, collapsed on a New York street after being stabbed by a knife-wielding attacker. Tale-Yax had reportedly protected a woman from an attack, and was stabbed several time in the chest. Dozens walked by the dying man on the sidewalk. One even stopped to snap a picture of the man on his camera phone.

A scene worthy of Sodom and Gomorrah (the exact nature of whose sins may be open to debate, but definitely was not exclusively sexual in nature).

There’s a reason Thomas Jefferson described cities as “sores on the body politic”. They create civilization, but paradoxically also they also make us less human.

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What We Would Have Missed

Too often we focus on what separates us from other people. Muslims believe this and we don’t. Christians believe this and we don’t. It is important to know what makes us different, but I hope we never let the things that make us different blind us from the things that bring us together.

We both ought to value life because it comes from our Creator. He is the one who creates. And if he has created a person who are we to say that this person has no value? I long to see the day when Muslims and Christians stand side by side in the fight for the value of life.

HT: Vitamin Z

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Disability Is Grace?

When I look at little Paul Knight in this video I feel like I see a glimpse of God himself. If he was your son would you say he is grace – an undeserved gift from God? His father does. I agree.

Check out The Works of God where his dad John blogs about God’s power to use disability for his glory and our good.

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Similar to the kosher diet of Jews, Muslims also have strict dietary laws about what they can and cannot eat. Meat must be halal and this means that when it is slaughtered it must be killed in the name of Allah. It is easy to find halal meat in the Middle East. In the US you have to look a littler harder (unless you live in a large city).

The Washington Post recently did a short photo essay on a halal goat farm in Virginia.

HT: Talk Islam

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A church in St Cloud, MN recently put an ad in the paper highlighting the dangers of Islam in America (click on the ad to read the whole thing). I think they misrepresent Jesus Christ in two major ways.

First, they appeal to our fears by making gross misstatements about Muslims. They say, “How do Moslems seek to take control of a nation? Moslems seek to influence a nation by immigration, reproduction, education, the government, illegal drugs, and by supporting the gay agenda.” What are they talking about? Illegal drugs? Muslims don’t even drink alcohol. Perhaps they are talking about the Taliban in Afghanistan who are funded by opium. But what does that have to do with the average American Muslim? Nothing. The gay agenda? Homosexuality is a sin within Islam. Besides, I imagine a lot more supporters of the “gay agenda” would call themselves Christians than Muslims.

Second, the ad seems to imply that the mission of the church is to protect America. Yes, I am an American citizen, but I care much more about the Kingdom of God than I do about the Kingdom of America. Too many Christians in America think that the health and future of the church is tied to the health and future of America. It isn’t. God’s kingdom prevailed before America existed and it will certainly prevail regardless of what happens to America. I love my country and I want it to prosper, but I care much more about the church (the people of God) and most of the church is not American.

This is not the kind of ad that will encourage the people of St Cloud to go and meet their Muslim neighbors.

I read about this on Talk Islam and was encouraged by Abu Noor Al-Irlandee’s comment, “I agree it’s a good reminder about our need to engage with others and get rid of ignorance (including our own ignorance of others.)”

Related Posts:
I Hate This
Our Greatest Enemy

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From Mind, Body, Soul:

‘Among the Righteous:’ Arabs Saving Jews in the Holocaust | The Middle East Channel

“Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust in Arab lands,” is a new documentary I made in partnership with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, airing tonight on PBS. It retells largely forgotten stories from World War II in North Africa of Arabs who saved their Jewish neighbors from the Holocaust — a story which Holocaust historiography has largely left untouched. The documentary digs into history to uncover not only cases of Jewish persecution in North Africa similar to the Jewish experience in Europe, but also stories of the “righteous” Arabs that protected Jews. Filmed in eight different countries stretching from Morocco to Israel, the documentary reveals surprising discoveries about the past that can help challenge how Arabs and Jews alike view this part of Holocaust history.

The documentary airs tonight on PBS at 10 p.m. eastern time.

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I’ve been reading Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics by William Swartley. I will blog more about it in coming weeks, but for now I will post this quote, which addresses the need for repentance in peace.

Peace involves restoration of relationship, possible only when misdeeds are duly acknowledged. An element of “repentance” is thus needed for “peace” to be effectual.

Related Post:
Sin Destroys Peace

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Easter in Damascus

Syria News Wire posts some Easter pictures in Damascus (yes, there are Christians in Damascus – they’ve been there since the time of Ananias). The photos are from John Wreford. You can see a lot more photos from the Middle East at his site.

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The Jesus Storybook Bible for kids is one of the best children’s Bibles we’ve read. We love the subtitle: Every Story Whispers His Name. Understanding that the whole Bible speaks about and points to Jesus Christ is crucial if we are going to understand what the message of the Bible is.

Here is a video from that Bible on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

HT: Doug Wolter

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From the Crossway blog:

Excerpt modified from chapter 9 of Doctrine (Read the full chapter).

Without the resurrection, the few billion people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible; their hope for a resurrection life after this life is the hope of silly fools who trust in a dead man to give them life. Subsequently, the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection is, without question, profoundly significant and worthy of the most careful consideration and examination.

Biblical Evidence:

  1. Jesus’ resurrection was prophesied in advance (Isa 53:8-12).
  2. Jesus predicted his resurrection (Matt 12:38-40; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; John 2:18-22).
  3. Jesus died. Jesus was crucified, and a professional executioner declared him dead. To ensure he was dead, a spear was thrust through his side and a mixture of blood and water poured out of his side because the spear burst his heart sac (John 19:34-35).
  4. Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find. Had Jesus not risen from death, it would have been easy to prove it by opening the tomb and presenting Jesus’ dead body as evidence (see pp 288).
  5. Jesus appeared physically, not just spiritual, alive three days after his death (Matt 28:9; John 20:17; John 20:20-28; Acts 1:3; 1 Cor 15:6).
  6. Jesus’ body was the same as his pre-resurrected body (Luke 24:31; John 21:7, 12; John 20:16, 20:14, 15; 21:12).
  7. Jesus’ resurrection was recorded as Scripture shortly after it occurred (see pp 289-290).
  8. Jesus’ resurrection was celebrated in the earliest church creeds (1 Cor 15:3-4).
  9. Jesus’ resurrection convinced his family to worship him as God (John 7:5 compared to 1 Cor 15:7; James 1:1; Acts 12:17; 15:12-21; 21:18; Gal 2:9; Acts 1:14).
  10. Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed by his most bitter enemies (Phil 3:4-6; Acts 7:54-60).

Circumstantial Evidence:

  1. Jesus’ disciples were transformed.
  2. Jesus’ disciples remained loyal to Jesus and endured widespread persecution and martyrdom, which would have been unthinkable had Jesus merely died and failed to rise as he promised.
  3. The disciples had exemplary character.
  4. Worship changed. The early church stopped worshiping on Saturdays as Jews had for thousands of years, and suddenly began worshiping on Sunday in memory of Jesus’ Sunday resurrection. The object of worship changed. The commandments forbid worshiping a false god . . . it is impossibly to conceive of devout Jews simply worshiping Jesus as the one true God without the proof of Jesus’ resurrection.
  5. Women discovered the empty tomb. Since the testimony of women was not respected in that culture, it would have been more likely for men to report discovering the empty tomb if the account was fictitious and an attempt were bring made to concoct a credible like about Jesus’ resurrection.
  6. The entirety of the early church preaching was centered on the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection. If the empty tomb were not a widely accepted fact, the disciples would have reasoned with the skeptics of their day to defend the central issue of their faith. Instead, we see the debate occurring not about whether the tomb was empty, but why it was empty?
  7. Jesus’ tomb was not enshrined (see pp 295).
  8. Christianity exploded on teh earth and a few billion people today claim to be Christians.

Read this entire chapter including more on the historical evidence, the primary ancient objections to the resurrection, and what the resurrection has accomplished here.

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