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Showing posts from December, 2008

Census and Sensibility

By Mitiku Adisu Ethiopian intellectuals have a history of wishing to have their cake and eat it too. They want to do away with religion or grant recognition only to Orthodox Christianity. They are relentless in wanting to deny space to Protestant Christians while decrying democratic and human rights are not being respected in Ethiopia. They equate Protestantism [which is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and testimony of scripture] with an alien disuniting force to simply overlook the diversity and relative unity one witnessed in the country. Not infrequently, the argument turns to separation of church and state but invariably seeks to usurp the sacred to advance a secular, ethnic or ideological agenda. One reason for such a confused stance is that many refuse to make intellectual commitment to Christ or do not quite understand the essence of Christianity [be it Orthodox or Protestant] beyond unsubstantiated word of mouth. In other words, Ethiopian intellectuals gener


WHEN Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him on a tree, They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary; They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep, For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap. When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by, They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die; For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain, They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain. Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through; The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see, And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary. [G. A. STUDDERT KENNEDY, 1927]

Repent, Restore

Ethiopia's former prime minister Tamrat Layne was freed just few days ago after serving twelve of eighteen-year jail term. According to news report he was involved in major corruption scandal. What is interesting is that he came out of prison a transformed person. He was a criminal and a communist going in; he now publicly confesses he is a Christian. Certainly, some of us are familiar with a story like that. Indeed, brother Tamrat must have outgrown his atheism to let Christ the Savior find him. What is even more sobering is the remark that his one regret in life was his atheism. Now that is repentance. But repentance needs to be followed up by restoration. Any misappropriated funds should be restored and public apologies issued. [see Luke 19: 8] Equally appropriate may be a book retelling his journey from unfaith to faith. In the meantime, our prayers are with him and his family as they regroup once again to face the future. Godspeed.

The Times They Are a Changin'

So much is going on. What was unthinkable just a few months ago is now a reality. Job security for many is slipping away. Home foreclosures are sharply on the rise. Rumors are of wars and the breach of trust. We could go on. In the midst of all this we are once again reminded to meditate on Jesus. Mary could not find a place to deliver him; and he was born in a stable. He had said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head?" At his death he was buried in a borrowed grave. He came offering himself -- as a peace offering in a troubled world, to troubled hearts. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus knows what homelessness, hunger, ridicule, and death are and because of that "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near t

In the Beginning

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent night, Holy night All is calm, all is bright Round yon Virgin Mother and Child Holy Infant so tender and mild Sleep in Heavenly peace Sleep in Heavenly peace Silent night, Holy night Shepherds quake at the sight Glories stream from Heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah Christ, the Savior is born Christ, the Savior is born Silent night, Holy night Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from thy Holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord, at thy birth Jesus, Lord, at thy birth

What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?

"‘What are we to make of Jesus Christ?’ This is a question, which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Him in the sense of ‘How are we to solve the historical problem set us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?’ This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, ‘I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity’ — and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of this Man and of His immediate followers, moral truth is

Jesus the Christ Child is here

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will com

Census, Religion, and Ethiopians

Census, Religion, and Ethiopians By Mitiku Adisu A 2007 Census approved by Parliament yesterday has new figures out. Not including those living abroad Ethiopians now number about 77 million [though a UN estimation is higher by more than 4 million.] The report also says, The Christian population rose to more than 46 million, or 62 percent of the population, up from 32.7 million in 1994. The census highlights a decrease in the number of Orthodox Christians, traditionally the dominant church in Ethiopia. They now comprise 43.5 percent of the population, as against just over 50 percent in 1994. The erosion is mainly due to the rising influence of Pentecostal churches in the country. Membership of Protestant churches as a whole has increased from 5.4 million to 13.7 million. What is interesting in the above statement is the choice of the word "erosion" to explain decline in membership in the Orthodox church. Why people are not part of a church community or p

Lemn and Native Culture

Prince Alemayehu at age 7  Adopting children outside their native culture does present some difficulties. How those difficulties are handled could depend on (a) the quality of the community to which the adoptive child is introduced and (b) how culturally aware the new parents are, etc. Prince Alemayehu's story is certainly a sad one. He was kidnapped by British invading forces and later died in custody. One way to prepare for the road ahead is to share stories of adoptive parents and their grown-up children. Please send us yours. Here is the story of the prolific poet Lemn Sissay for today: "When somebody takes a child from their native culture, that is in itself an act of aggression. People will often say, love is all you need." More . Let There Be Peace Lemn Sissay Let there be peace So frowns fly from foreheads Like seagulls from cliff edges So war correspondents become travel show presenters And magpies bring back lost property C

First Responders

Ethiopia is a land plagued by myriad of problems. Natural resources are all around but not always well-coordinated. Often needs are not well-articulated. This is not to say people are not resourceful. Indeed, it is amazing how creative people are considering the odds stacked against them. One inexhaustible resource Ethiopians possess is their faith in God. እርሱ ያውቃል Ersu yawQal The Lord is aware of this or that . Alas, over the past several decades, there have been a gradual erosion of faith in one another. Here then is where a real revival is needed. And churches should take the leadership in this. In other words, Ethiopians should not lose hope and turn over their responsibilities to outsiders. Well-meaning expatriate groups also need to reassess their role with the view to strengthening local initiatives and capabilities. This is especially so in the way orphaned and homeless children are being cared for.