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Showing posts from August, 2008

Jesus Says...

Jesus Says ... Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. [Gospel of John 14: 1, 27]

How Not To Draw A Crowd

Wherever Jesus went a crowd came to listen to him. On the day of Pentecost "when they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment." And so it happened in the primitive church and wherever Christ was preached and the power of the Holy Spirit manifested. Modern churches are trying a different technique. A marketing technique, that is. Some succeed in drawing a crowd. But drawing a crowd in itself may not result in lifting up the name of Jesus or in lives transformed. More .

Land of Charles Malik

Land of Charles Malik Lebanon in recent years has become a hellhole for women hired as domestic workers. Many seem trapped in a cycle of abuses that infringed on their humanity and rights. The rate of suicide is rising.   Lebanon is also the land of Charles Habib Malik (d.1987), the philosopher and staunch defender of the Christian faith. It was Dr. Malik who helped draft the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In the Name of God, we urge all who are in a position to help to intervene to stop this human tragedy.

Child adoption and the Ethiopian Church

  Child adoption and the Ethiopian Church By Mitiku Adisu The church’s responsibilities to society are listed in two parts in the Book of James (1:7): To look after orphans and widows in their distress and, secondly, to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Let us look at the first of the two for now. Child adoption is a very sensitive and complex issue. It is sensitive because it says a lot about a nation’s social policy and safety net as well defines its image abroad. What are the social/psychological implications that currently Ethiopian adoptions are considered “cheap” and “easy”? Child adoption is also complex in that there are multiple actors with specific and often overlapping interests involved in its execution. There are those who having realized their inability to impact the world in a big way choose to share in a small way their love and resources with a child. This is commendable. Others simply engage in making good money in the process of doing ‘good’. The

One Pastor, Two Politicians

One Pastor, Two Politicians The two U.S. presidential hopefuls, Senators McCain and Obama, were invited to Saddleback Church on Saturday to account for their faith and politics. The two-hour forum , designed to acquaint voters with the candidates' style and substance, was moderated by none other than Pastor Rick Warren. We should add that Pastor Warren's non-threatening and engaging format on a whole range of life matters (not just abortion) was both refreshing and commendably executed. What is troubling is that U.S. evangelicals are routinely cast as "white," "progressive," "red letter," and "Christian Right." We are repeatedly reminded that the two candidates came to Saddleback to woo " white evangelicals ." Political ideology and the color line seem to define much of what we know about the U.S. evangelical community. We just wonder what it would be like if the message of the Cross of Christ permeated evangelic

Baby 'Rute' Needs Your Prayers

One-year old 'Rute' is having a heart surgery in Jacksonville, Florida. Please keep her in your prayers.

Don’t Burn the Bible. Read it.

 Don’t Burn the Bible. Read it. By Mitiku Adisu     Burning the Bible is not new. Tyrants of every stripe have done it. Opponents of the Reformation in Medieval European church did it for fear the “book” could fall into the hands of the people and render them powerless. That was before the Gutenberg press made the backbreaking work of monastic copyists unnecessary and Scriptures accessible to the masses. In more modern times Bible burning has added few features but remained basically the same. In the Fiji Islands of early 1900s conversion to Catholicism led a priest to burn Bibles and hymnals belonging to Methodists. In the Indian subcontinent and wherever Christians are in the minority such events have now become common occurrences. Saudis confiscate Bibles right at ports of entry and consign them to a paper shredder. Never mind you are a foreign national (and a Christian) paying them a visit. The Bible is banned in Saudi. In the worst case scenario, you could be flogged

Demographic Anarchy?

By Mitiku Adisu Lemma Guya Ask five Ethiopians the religious composition of their country you will most likely get six points of disagreement. Demographic data have become the means for locking others into an inferior position and, conversely, accord oneself a dominant status even when the facts militate against the assertion. Thus is perpetuated a jaundiced view of self and society before the watching world. Some don’t bother to acknowledge the presence of a sizable evangelical Christian population ( at least 19 million ) outside the mainstream Orthodox Church. “In relation to religion,” says one presenter, “the population constitute 51% Orthodox Christian, 33% Islam and the rest 16% are other religious sects. ” [Italics added] Those who engage in numbers game are in the main the educated elite who tend to harbor nationalistic and cultural biases. The economist Dr. Berhanu Abegaz in his analysis of the 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia chose to paint Prote

Ethiopian Roots

Ethiopian Roots It is always encouraging to see children of Diaspora Ethiopians return to investigate their roots. Even more so when the subject of the investigation is the church. Goshen College senior Lydie Assefa should be congratulated for choosing to study the history of Meserete Kristos Church in the context of the predominant Orthodox faith and culture. Two suggestions for Lydie: First, you need to brush-up your local language proficiency. Second, don't forget to refer to a recent dissertation, "Growing through the Storms: The History of the Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia" by Tibebe Eshete. Godspeed.

R.I.P. Solzhenitsyn

R.I.P. Solzhenitsyn Credit: TLS Solzhenitsyn’s life was spent writing in defense of human freedoms . For doing so he was sent to a Siberian hard labor camp and later into exile. Today his pen survives but the once mighty and repressive Soviet Empire is no more. God, for Solzhenitsyn, was the source of all that is dignified and the church beacon of hope and beauty. In honor of his death, here is an excerpt from one of his prose poems, A Journey along the Oka Traveling along country roads in central Russia, you begin to understand why the Russian countryside has such a soothing effect.      It is because of its churches. They rise over ridge and hillside, descending towards wide rivers like red and white princesses, towering above the thatch and wooden huts of everyday life with their slender, carved and fretted belfries. From far away they greet each other; from distant, unseen villages they rise towards the same sky.      Wherever you may wonder, over field or past

Whose Initiative Is It?

Whose Initiative Is It? A new Memorandum of Understanding just signed by an interfaith group reminded us of one such case in the early days of the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution. Then the plan was to bring all religious groups under a widely publicized " Religion Shall Not Divide Us " umbrella. It soon became apparent, however, that the plan was not well-intentioned. How is it different this time? Why now? Who is holding the umbrella? Have your say.   pic: flicker.com