19
Jan
17

In the Land of the Blue Burqas

burqasI’m currently reading In the Land of the Blue Burqas by Kate McCord.

It gives a fascinating insight into the people of Afghanistan, particularly the women, and how Islam affects their lives and relationships.

McCord worked among the Afghan people, befriending them and regularly visiting their homes; sharing her faith in Jesus and her understanding of God, whenever possible.

While Islam and Christianity embrace very different views of God, McCord makes use of a few common areas of belief to build a bridge to the gospel and present a clear contrast between the Moslem and Christian views of God.

McCord writes of how “Afghans almost universally believe in the concept of kismet, fate. Whatever happens happens because Allah wills it, no matter whose hand has accomplished the thing”.

She addresses this with a group of Afghan women while discussing a deadly car bombing in Kabul that destroyed a bus and killed many including a young mother:

“God told us not to kill. We cannot disobey God in the name of God. That is a lie. God told us to love Him with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength. Then He told us to love our neighbours. If a man kills his neighbour, he is disobeying God. This man who blew up the bus and killed that mother did not do the will of God. He did the work of Satan. God will judge him”

One woman in the room responded by sharing another story.

“Our town was at peace. We didn’t know war. We were happy. One day my cousins and aunts were gathered in the house preparing [food] for a wedding party. A bomb fell. We found pieces of dough, bundles of meat, hair ties, scarves, and scraps of bloody fabric. Even the part of the ceiling that didn’t fall was covered with blood and pieces of bodies”

… we all looked at the swirling red carpet . Each woman muttered “Tobah” repent.

After a long pause I restated what I absolutely believe to be the truth: “That was not the will of God, either”
“No,” the women agreed. “That is not the will of God.”

McCord gives the Chrisitan reader a lot of food for thought.
She writes:

“For many Westerners, the question of who God is and what He wants for and from us is simply not relevant. We are, after all, wealthy and busy. For Afghans, it may be the most important question of all.”

And she confesses to something that I think affects most western Christians to one degree or another:

“Sometimes I forget to differentiate between what I believe as an American woman and what I believe the Bible teaches. America is my culture, and Jesus is my Saviour and Lord. Sometimes it’s hard to untangle the two. Afghans challenged me to try.

19
Jan
17

Richard Flanagan on Syria’s great exodus

In February 2016, Richard Flanagan was invited to Lebanon, Greece and Serbia by the international aid organisation, World Vision, to witness and report on the refugee crisis.

There’s a lot of talk about the refugee problem. I don’t see it. I see a politician problem. I see people who have no morality, no ethics, beyond their own advancement… (Richard Flanagan approx. 39 mins)

51 minute interview here:

(from http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/author-richard-flanagan-on-syrias-great-exodus/7794224 )

xnotes-on-an-exodus_jpg_pagespeed_ic_z0gz7co-nv

Flanagan’s essay “Notes on the Syrian Exodus” is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/05/great-syrian-refugee-crisis-exodus-epic-inconceivable-witness-lebos-islamic-state

17
Jan
17

Nalliah in the news again.

Update related to my previous post.

Daniel Nalliah, leader of Catch the Fire Ministries and Rise Up Australia, says revocation is ‘a big blow to freedom of speech’

A Victorian religious group headed by the controversial leader of the Rise Up Australia political party has had its charity status revoked by the Australian government.

Catch the Fire Ministries, which is run by pastor and Rise Up Australia leader Daniel Nalliah, lost its charity status amid an investigation into the organisation’s activities and operations, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

It’s understood the group lost its status due to its political affiliations with the party.

Under the Charities Act 2013, promoting or opposing a political party or candidate for political office disqualifies organisations from having charity status.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/17/catch-the-fire-ministries-loses-charity-status-political-affiliation

It’s time that Nalliah and others following the unholy hybrid of politics melded with religion, repented of their nationalist idolatry and turned to the gospel of GOD’s Kingdom.

It is also time to be rid of that idol “freedom of speech” that so many believers seem intent on promoting and defending, as if THAT was central to the gospel of Jesus.

To the Christian, “freedom of speech” is a political privilege in a few countries that for a time enables the gospel to be preached. It is not a “RIGHT” we are required or entitled to demand of earthly governments.

Despite common misunderstanding, God does not promote universal “free speech”.

_______________________

also see here for more on freedom of speech: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/what-do-you-really-know-about-charlie/t is nor a “RIGHT”

16
Jan
17

I Sigh and Shake My Head…

I’d like to be able to say I sigh and shake my head in disbelief – but the following news clips don’t surprise me anymore.

eternity.png

From Eternity a publication of the Bible Society.

 

AND

 

CTFM.png

From  Catch the Fire Ministries Inc. News, summer edition 2016.

 

Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’

In other words, the concerns and ways of Jesus’, Kingdom are NOT the concerns and ways of the world’s Kingdoms.

The second clipping from Danny Nalliah’s ministry is an example of his continued attempts to meddle in politics that was most infamously demonstrated in 2007 when he tried to influence the outcome of a Federal election by “prophesying” details of God’s (alleged) favoured candidate. His attempt failed miserably, but instead of repenting of his false prophecy, he turned the blame on Australian Christians for not voting according to his (“prophesied”) instructions.

 

More recently Nalliah (a Sri Lankan born Australian citizen), aligned himself with a commemoration of the 2005 Cronulla race riots – despite the fact that he, as a dark skinned man, would have found himself a target of the violence had he been present on the day of the riots.

(see articles here: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/category/danny-nalliah/ )

28
Dec
16

Believing God?

I suspect the Lord tailors his teaching to our different capabilities of learning. But while the way we learn may be unique to each individual, the overall intent of the lesson will always be the same: an understanding that conforms to God’s nature and purposes that can be confirmed through a proper addressing of scripture.
But the intended outcome is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but deeper relationship with Him and others.

Throughout my Christian life I’ve learned a lot through experience, making a lot of mistakes and taking many wrong paths before stepping back to consider why things went so unexpectedly wrong.
Perhaps out of that, the most important thing the Lord has opened up to me is the need to test everything. What Paul wrote with regard to prophecy can be applied to all areas of revelation and learning: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”.
It’s very easy to be attracted by something “good” and then fall for something “evil” – IF we bypass the testing.

I think back around 30 years ago when I was hooked by word of faith teaching. The thing that caught my attention and drew me in was a LEGITIMATE understanding of faith.
A group of friends were bombarding me with arguments recommending the Copelands’ WOF teachings, and in the process (despite their arguments rather than because of them – and I wish I’d realised that at the time) I finally understood something about faith that took it out of the realm of wishful thinking and to a place of greater certainty.

I suddenly saw that Christian faith was simply believing God and His word even when sensory and intellectual evidence seemed to be “proving” something else.

That was the good and if I’d stopped there and studied the Word for myself I might have avoided the bad: a lot of false teaching that took me in a wrong direction. But instead of searching the scriptures for myself to develop my understanding, I searched the Copeland’s teachings and relied on the particular spin THEY placed on the “faith message”.

What I find disappointing now is that I could see that a large portion of their teaching was (at best) questionable, but I pushed my reservations aside.

I can now recognise that by taking that path I wasn’t really believing God and His word, (as per that revealed understanding of faith) I was “believing” what Copeland told me ABOUT God’s word, without actually checking it out for myself to see if he was addressing it correctly, according to its intended context.

I said above that Christian faith is simply believing God and His word. Yes it IS as simple as that. But what is not necessarily so simple is being sure that it is REALLY God and His Word that we are believing. It is extremely easy to pick up wrong ideas that create a distorted understanding of God, and that is where so much of WOF teaching is in error. Its view of God and his purposes are created out of selected parts of scripture, usually applied with no consideration for the intended context of those scripture portions.

It is essential that we develop an overview – an understanding of the broad scope of scripture, and not be satisfied with bits and pieces that seem to support what we want to believe.

25
Dec
16

What if…

“…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Australia, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Australia, and was detained there indefinitely to deter others who might be desperate enough to seek asylum in that country.”

family

Drawing by child refugee imprisoned in Australian detention centre.

.

(drawing from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/national-inquiry-children-immigration-detention-2014 )

detention-centre

(drawing from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2711408/Drawings-asylum-seeker-refugee-children-held-Australian-detention-centres.html )

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

21
Dec
16

Ben Quilty and Syrian Refugee Crisis

Quilty Confronts Syrian refugee crisis

 
Earlier this year the celebrated Australian artist Ben Quilty and the equally lauded author, Richard Flanagan, travelled to Europe and the Middle East to witness the refugee crisis in those regions.

They’ve since returned home and Ben Quilty’s new exhibition opening this week at the Art Gallery of South Australia is his interpretation of that experience.

Barbara Miller visited the artist in his studio.

See video here:

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/quilty-confronts-syrian-refugee-crisis/8003348

Also: Confronting mortality.

Artist Ben Quilty and author Richard Flanagan make a harrowing trip to Europe and the Middle East to witness first-hand the refugee crisis.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/confronting-mortality:-ben-quilty-confronts-the-syrian-exodus/7995244

 




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