Thursday, 28 November 2013

Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian ...
1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian language, equating Stalinism with the Jews. The text reads "The Jew is our enemy forever". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not only europe faces a growing negative attitude towards Jews. Last year Australia recorded the highest ever anti-Semitic incidents.

657 reports of violence directed at Australian Jews were made. This is a 21-percent increase over the previous year and only accounts the registered incidents. According The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s annual “Report on Anti-Semitism in Australia” the number of serious physical attacks was the lowest since 2005.

The authors of the report, Julie Nathan, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s research officer, and Jeremy Jones, director of international and community affairs at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council wrote:
“In general, it can be said that Australians neither particularly like nor dislike Jews,”
The 202-page report does not include the recent brutal assault of five religious Jews walking home from Shabbat dinner in Bondi last month, described as the worst anti-Semitic incident of its kind since records began in 1989. This will be featured in next year’s report. 

The report does, however, include the fallout sparked by explosive revelations that Israel’s “Prisoner X” was Melbourne native Ben Zygier, an alleged Mossad agent who committed suicide in his maximum-security prison cell in 2010.

“A tragedy involving a single individual was used in some media to impugn the loyalty to Australia of Australian Jews as a group,” the authors wrote. “[It] … was used as a pretext by anti-Semites to accuse Jews in Australia of disloyalty.”

In europe we have seen a negative spiral against people who are not like the mainstream, homo's, transgenders, specific Muslims not belonging to the two big denominations, but also the different Jewish people.

In Europe there are people who want to let others know that the Muslims are trying to conquer the world and that Jews are undermining the economic evolution and are hindering the lower classes to become more wealthier. Like in the 1930s many Jews are considered to be the cause of the present economic crisis.
“Although stereotypes of Jews remain part of the culture in Australia, these are not as deeply ingrained or hateful as in European and Middle Eastern cultures,” according to the authors. “Anti-Semitism remains at the fringes of Australian politics and society, and though there are exceptions, anti-Semitism is not generally part of the mainstream discourse.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pope Francis says Catholics must become evangelisers

Pope Francis I who becomes more and more popular because of his own simple attitude has issued his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), following the synod of bishops on the new evangelisation in October 2012.
emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...
The Gospel in itself is a bringer of Good News and tells us the story of how Jesus brought the Word of God to the people and instructed his followers to do likewise, evangelising all over the world.
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus,” the Pope wrote, inviting Christians to “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” said the Pontiff to a number of people in St Peter’s Square on Sunday.
Those who call themselves Christians should know that they have to follow their leader of whom they got their name: Jeshua the Christ. Jesus Christ gave his followers commandments and his instructions focused on the love of his Father, the Only One God and on his Father His commandments.
In the evangelisation we should give an emphasis on God’s saving love before proclaiming doctrines and follow the “way of beauty,” the Pope said. Patience and “respectful and compassionate listening” are also a key part of evangelisation, he added.
“The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions, but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability… our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow,”
Pope Francis leads a mass at St Peter's basilica
Pope Francis also explained a “profound connection between evangelisation and human advancement,” saying that the
 “Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God”
 and that religion cannot be “restricted to the private sphere,” but is concerned with society, since
 “all Christians … are called to show concern for the building of a better world.”
As he correctly said "all Christians" which includes the protestants, trinitarian and non-trinitarian Christians
Naturally the 48,000-word document covers a wide range of Catholic issues including abortion, the role of the papacy in the 21st century and the question of women priests.
Many may look at the decline of priests or pastors, but for the Catholic church father the issue of women priests was “not open to discussion”.
Matters which are connected with our encountering other people, to talk to and about, area also written about in the document, including the global economy, the plight of the poor and the relationship between science and religion. He also discussed ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, making specific reference to Islam.
“In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs,” the Pope said.
“We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
Not only the Catholic Church can learn from this apostolic exhortation. It should be  “a challenge to everyone, without exception.”
The joy of the Gospel, the exhortation’s very title, should embrace all Christians. By all our actions we should convince others of the truth of that Gospel.
The pope said.
“It presents a vision for the pattern of life of the Church present throughout the world, for parish life, for the work of the preacher, for the catechist, for the bishop, for the business person and the politician and for the ministry of the Pope himself.
It contains a radical look at the crisis of poverty in our world and at the role of economics. 
It offers a new light on the Church’s social teaching and calls for dialogue between faith, reason and science, with our fellow Christians, with the Jewish community, with other religions and with society, especially in the context of religious freedom.
This dialogue about faith, reason and science was already started by the Christadelphians in "Stepping Toes", with articles like:

Our world may have developed into the 21st century, but that does not have to mean that science has conquered religion and made it not necessary any more.

Contrary to his previous encyclical writing Lumen Fidei, released in July, essentially based on the work of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, this Evangelii Gaudium is very much his own work.
Apostolic exhortations are often based on deliberations of synods of bishops, and although this one takes into account the October 2012 synod on the new evangelisation, last June, Pope Francis informed the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops, which is normally responsible for helping draft post-synodal apostolic exhortations, he would not be working from their draft.
Instead, the Pope said, he planned to write an “exhortation on evangelisation in general and refer to the synod”, in order to “take everything from the synod but put it in a wider framework”.
For the full text of Evangelii Gaudium go here.
For key quotes from the Pope’s document, go here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Giving cogent reasons to young people why Christian faith is relevant to them

Earlier this week, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey warned that Christianity might be going extinct in the UK, maybe even in one generation’s time. When we look at the amount of people visiting churches this would not be a surprise.
English: former Archbishop of Canterbury Georg...
English: former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also when we do look at the lifestyle and when we hear youngsters speaking we may wonder where their heart is and in how far they are still connected with the Creator of this world.

The Archbishop may be convinced that the Church is failing to attract young people to its fold and therefore should look for what reason there has come such a distance between the people and the 'church'.
 “We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them.”
Bishop Carey said. His statement was echoed by another Anglican authority, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who also underlined the scale of the crisis, telling members of the Church of England’s General Synod.

We would not regret an impassioned plea for Church to adopt a new missionary stance, so it would be better if those clerks looked not so much to have their constant internal debates going on. Instead of  “rearranging furniture when the house is on fire” they would better come out in the open and take care that everybody gat assembled.

They must “evangelise or fossilise”.  It is high time many more Christians would understand we shall have to face a “re-evangelisation of England”, on a par with the ministry of the northern saints such as Cuthbert, Hilda and Aidan who spread Christianity in Anglo-Saxon times.

The former Archbishop Lord Carey his warning came as he addressed the Shropshire Light Conference at Holy Trinity Church in Shrewsbury at the weekend discussing how the church could be “re-imagined”. According to him the church is still doing much important work, but it faces an existential challenge.
“In many parts of Britain churches are struggling, some priests are diffident and lack confidence; a feeling of defeat is around.
“The burden seems heavy and joy in ministry has been replaced by a feeling of heaviness.”
He said that the reaction from the public was not so much hostile as dismissive.

“The viewpoint could be expressed in a variety of non -verbal ways: the shrug of indifference, the rolled eyes of embarrassment, the yawn of boredom.  
Do those priests stand still why so many people become bored? Why so many do not feel that they can be or are no part of the church?

It is not only the Church of England or the West European continental  countries their churches like the Roman Catholic Church that face the empty churches because those institutions have been too busy reorganising the structures, arguing over words and phrases and have lost the spirit of evangelising. Such failings mean that the Church may be in danger of losing its “nationwide presence”.

Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Cen...
Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower. Seen from south. Image assembled from 4 photos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Years ago perhaps many people could find a church as a place where great things happened. There were many social activities going on in the parishes, which drew a crowd.  With all the comfort in the houses the church buildings did not much effort to make it comfortable for its visitors.
 “To sit in a cold church looking at the back of other peoples’ heads is surely not the best place to meet exciting people and to hear prophetic words.”
The church leaders of the Church of England are aware that
 “It is still the case that people are essentially looking for spiritual fulfilment.”
So perhaps they can start at working on this. Trying to give spiritual guidance and spiritual fulfilment to the people who are still looking for many answers in their life.
 “So many churches have no ministry to young people and that means they have no interest in the future.
“As I have repeated many times in the past we are one generation away from extinction.
“We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them.” 
According to Cristina Odone, journalist, novelist and broadcaster specialising in the relationship between society, families and faith, the claim of George Carey that Britain's precious Judaeo-Christian legacy is being diluted and that Christianity is one generation away from extinction is not so. She can see why he despairs for the Christians because plenty of things have been going wrong.

She writes:
 "First and foremost, our enemies are organised as never before. Secularists have made a concerted effort to erase Christianity from public life here and across the West. They have silenced prayers before meetings, the ringing of church bells, and even the girl scouts who once pledged to serve God."
But does she really believes that the ringing of bells at times when people are sleeping or doing something different will bring them to God? would it not more annoi them and get them the feeling that something is being pushed in their throat?

Odone has written in her ebook, No God Zone, that the secularists have successfully enshrined their bias against religion in laws across Europe.
"The Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe has reported that EU member states have enacted 41 laws that discriminate against Christians. The effect of such legislation is huge: some professions, such as doctors, therapists and even pharmacists, are now closed to Christians, who would otherwise have to go against their conscience on issues such as abortion, euthanasia or the morning after pill."
She does find that the forces of atheism are ranged against the believers and, as George Carey points out, too many Christian clergy cannot stand up to the challenge. They are too ready to dilute their ethos – look at what has been happening with faith schools, both Anglican and Catholic. 

But before the English give up on the faith of their forefathers Odone finds that they do have to consider three new factors.
" Pope Francis, Justin Welby and the backlash effect. The extraordinary impact of Francis has been felt not only among his immediate audience – Italians, who are now retuning to Mass – but, incredibly, among the intelligentsia that is traditionally so sceptical of Christian values. Jonathan Freedland, who is neither a Christian nor a conservative, went so far as to predict that in college dorms around the globe, students will replace their posters of Che Guevara with ones of Francis. Justin Welby's impact has been more subtle, but he too has shown Christianity in a new light: inclusive, compassionate, and above all truthful. No wasting time and effort on false gods like money, celebrity, status.
Both men have struck a chord. Christians – and many non-Christians – have grown weary of the relentless pursuit of shallow goals. We have grown weary of being mocked for holding dear our heritage and its immortal values: charity, honesty, humility, and love. "Backlash" sounds too violent for a Christian response, but that is what I believe is taking root. I see it in the effort to block porn on the internet, the generous reaction to the Philippines' disaster, the distaste for bloated bankers and for OTT, twerking celebrities.

John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford and Chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education. “We don’t need to attract them to church” he declared, “they’re already there, if we embrace our church schools fully.” He  echoed the former Archbishop Rowan Williams’ declaration that “A church school is a church.” Despite being publicly-funded, state schools are seen by the church as the primary method of recruiting the next generation of Anglicans.

The Church of England considers having her evangelism in the discipline of ‘catechesis, as one of the ‘Seven Disciplines of Evangelisation’. Catechesis, described by the Church as “teaching and learning faith”, is more akin to religious instruction than religious education. According to the paper, “Catechesis of adults and children and young people is absolutely critical to the growth of the church.” The Church say it is a discipline exercised in the pulpit, in pastoral encounters, and, you guessed it, in schools.

They seem to trust that all the work can be delivered in the schools by that catechism or religion class. Though their paper asks how the place of catechesis in Church of England schools be strengthened and how they can create a task force which will “support Archbishops in taking forward the call to evangelism.”

A second Synod motion, concerning church schools, already seems to shed some light on how this will be achieved. The motion affirmed “the crucial importance of the Church of England’s engagement with schools for its contribution to the common good and to its spiritual and numerical growth.”

The motion invited dioceses to draw up plans for promoting the widest possible use of a “new online resource” for teaching Christianity, not only in Church schools, but also in non-Church schools.

Known as ‘The Christianity Project’, the resources have been developed to ensure that every child has a “life enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ.” The Church insist that “all children, of all faiths and none, should be offered the opportunity for a serious engagement with the Christian faith.”

According to the Church, “There is no expectation of commitment but learning about and engaging with the faith is a necessary pre-requisite for commitment especially for children and young people whose only experience of church is through the school.”

The Church of England’s clear intention here is to ramp up the evangelisation, not only in Church schools, but also in non-faith schools. They realise that the indoctrination of children, however subtle in its execution, is absolutely critical to its survival.

This results in our state education system being used by the Church to manipulate children and young people, in order to meet its own needs. For our legislators to allow this is both morally objectionable and intellectually irresponsible.

State education has become a playground for all manner of religions and denominations – and despite being one of the least religious countries in Europe, huge swathes of the English education system being under religious influence – and in the case of the Church of England, being used to prop them up.

Comments by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, recently indicate that he intends to be as accommodating as he can in helping the Church in its ambitions to expand its influence in education. He said in parliament recently:
 “We praise and cherish the role of the Church of England in making sure children have an outstanding education. I welcome the [Chadwick report on church schools of the future] and look forward to working with Bishop John Pritchard to extend the role of the Church in school provision.”
We do not believe the religious education as such should come from the shools. Most work of evangelisation has to be done in the household; In the family should there be the living faith, giving the flame of the fire from one person to the other. Next should come the parish or the church community where there should be elders enlightening people and getting as many as possible involved so that they really can feel they are part of a living paris, and forming a thriving spiritual community.

It may be overly optimistic to read a lot into these developments Odone presents, but she truly thinks these are the first shoots of a Christian Spring.
We only can hope for the best and see how the new pope may bring a fresh spirit in the Catholic church, forcing others to take a new move as well.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, 18 November 2013

Jan 24-26, 2014 – Central Florida Study Weekend

In sunny Florida the Central Florida Activity Committee sponsors the annual Central Florida January Study Weekend where Brother John Mannell of Georgetown, Ontario shall speak on the subject “The Lesson of Jehoshaphat – Do not be dismayed…for the battle is not yours but God’s”.
English: Uptown Altamonte Springs Français : U...
English: Uptown Altamonte Springs Français : Uptown Altamonte Springs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dates: Jan 24-26, 2014
Location: Quality Inn, 151 N. Douglas Ave. Altamonte Springs, Florida  [Google Maps]

Speaker: John Mannell (Mississauga West) Georgetown, Ontario

Jan 24-26, 2014 – Central Florida Study Weekend
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, 15 November 2013

Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him

Like there are many misconception about different Muslims there are also many wrong ideas about Christians. Not all people who receive a correction on what they are saying on the others like that reaction.

Adnan Masih, 26 is a young Christian clergyman accused of blasphemy after he sought to correct misconceptions about Christianity in a Muslim book.
The Islamic extremist Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and the police from Lahore, Pakistan are searching for him because they do find this man did something terrible against the prophet and the Pakistani judicial system, makes blasphemy against Islam’s prophet punishable by death.

The story began on 7 October with a misunderstanding. Adnan Masih was replacing his brother at an eyeglass store, the Diamond Glass, where the latter worked. Whilst there, the Christian clergyman saw a book on a shelf by a Muslim leader who heads an outlawed extremist organisation, the Jamat-ul-Dawa. He noted errors in the book about the Bible and penned corrections in it. He then left the store.
The next day Abid Mehmood, a colleague of his brother, filed a complaint against Masih at a police station, accusing him of blasphemy (under Article 295, sections A, B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code). When he heard about the complaint against him, the Christian man denied the accusations.
However, he became the subject of death threats from Jamat-ul-Dawa and eventually a fatwa. Fearing for himself and his loved ones, on 8 November, he turned himself in to local police, asking for protection.
"We're scared," family members said. "Adnan has not written anything against Islam. He only corrected some things about Jesus Christ."
"This is the third case of persecution against Christians based on the blasphemy law in just two months," Fr Arshed John, from the Diocese of Lahore, told AsiaNews. "I hope the police is able to protect him. I call on everyone, without distinction of religion, to pray for this man and his family. "

What the christian family does not seem to understand that first of all you can not write something in a book which you do not buy and is not your own. He should have bought it, read it and returned it with his corrections. But now just writing in something which did not belong to him we can not justify.

The man writing in the book has also doctrinal teachings which are not justifiable with the Biblical teachings. According to him the Old Testament demonstrates a plurality in the Godhead that is a united One, and this distinction is reaffirmed in the New Testament, but that is not at all so. According to the Holy Scriptures, which we consider to be the word of God, there is only One God.

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...
The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of the Virgin Mary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some may say "Because of Mohammed’s misunderstanding of what
Christians believed and practiced, Islam teaches that the Christian belief of the Trinity is a polytheistic teaching of  “three gods”, characterized as the “Father”, and the “Son” and the “Virgin Mary”. " They overlook that the Islamic prophet recognises the Jews and Christians who follow good teachings but also see the Jews and Chrisitians who follow false teachings. One of those false teachings of that group of Christians which went the wrong way according Muhammad is the Holy Trinity. That is not about a virgin Mary being God, though at his time and also still today there are Christians, like several Catholics who honour Myriam the mother of Jeshua as Maria or Mary, mother of Jesus and mother of God.

Text of
Text of "Our Father" prayer with Trinity in central column (God the Father, dove of the Holy Spirit, Jesus) and Biblical and symbolic scenes in left and right columns. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The “Virgin Mary” has nothing to do with the Trinity (it is the Holy Spirit, not Mary) which is according many Christians a person or figure. Those Christians do forget that God Himself is only One and is Spirit, not anything of flesh and blood, male or female in the strict sense like they see a human being. Lots of Christians do have 1 God the Father + 1 god the son + 1 god the Holy Spirit, and to our and to the Muslim mathematical thinking 1+1+1= 3. for that we can not say the prophet of that religious group had a wrong impression of those Christians who believe in a Tri-une God. Such a teaching is totally against the Words of God which can be found in many old writings, older than the quran.

Archaeological discoveries have repeatedly confirmed what Christians have already believed, that Biblical manuscripts and fragments dated even hundreds of years before Mohammed are virtually identical to the canonized Biblical texts we have today. From those old textfragments we can see that in later  centuries some alterations may have been brought in the Bible Translations, like the taking away of God His name and putting 'Lord' everywhere the tetragram or the Name of God was written, so that people could not figure out any more who it was that was been spoken of, god or Jesus. This alteration made to fit specific doctrinal teaching could not erase the essence of the real message, which each person still can find when he reads the whole assembly of 66 books.
The Biblical Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew Name f...
The Biblical Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew Name for God the Father. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Those who read the bible and compare the many translations with the old manuscripts will see how much conformity they still have.

When Muhammad recited the Qur’an, he clearly stated that he did not believe that the Bible was corrupt at that time and called upon Christians to adhere to the Scriptures that they already possessed.

Today, looking at some fundamentalist Muslims and hearing what they say about the Christian Scriptures, comparing them with the texts archeologist found until now, we could question them: "Since the Scriptures we have today are the same Scriptures that Christians had even well before the time of Muhammad, when do you believe the Bible could have possibly been corrupted, who corrupted it, and how was it corrupted?"

It is true that there are many Christians believe in something wich is nowhere noted in the Scriptures. We still offer 1000 € to the first Christians who can show us where in the original bible texts was written the word 'Trinity'.

The Muslims, like many Christians, Jews and gentiles should know that there are Christians who do not believe in a Tri-une God, but believe the Only One God, who does not tell lies and said about the Nazarene Jew Jeshua, whom we believe to be Jesus Christ the Messiah: "This is my only begotten beloved son". Jesus is the son of God and not god the son, nor the god the sun, nor god the light which we should honour. Jesus prayed unto his Father and told us to do likewise. We only should believe in One God only and One God that is not Triune.  Not three gods.

Islamic picture of Annunciation (Mariam)
Islamic picture of Annunciation (Mariam) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta