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Showing posts from January, 2009

God and Art

By Mitiku Adisu Golgotha , Gebre-Kristos Desta, 1963. 183 × 122 cm.   The Last Judgment , Afewerk Tekle, 1958, 3 x 2.5 meters Several themes are worth looking into when considering the relationship of Art to God. First, God is the Creator of all things seen and unseen. Humans create because they are created in the image of their Creator. God is the One who bestows creativity as well as the Supreme architect behind all genres of art. Art is, therefore, part of creation. Artists are simply co-creators with God – whether they recognize Him or not. Throughout history works of art have represented religious motifs. These served to instruct the illiterate laity in the ways of Church doctrine and devotion to and veneration for the Holy. One is amazed at how much of today’s Art in Ethiopia has been influenced by the Church. Of course, there were instances where the Church condemned a work of art as the work of the devil. Socialist revolutionists also condemned as reactionary

Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do

The New Frontier: Educating the Nation

 The New Frontier: Educating the Nation By Mitiku Adisu Many institutions of higher learning today trace their origin to monasteries and churches. Vanderbilt University to United Methodist Church, Princeton to Presbyterian Church, Oxford to St. Frideswide's nunnery, and so on. In Ethiopia, Protestant and Catholic churches were responsible for introducing and advancing modern education--especially in those areas inhabited by marginal populations. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that we welcome the proposed university by Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (ECMY) whose mission we are told is "to create ethical citizens ... and agents of development for their country." This could not have come at a better time. And it is worth mentioning here that ECMY has over the years taken the lead in promoting national literacy, community development, theological studies, indigenous leadership, and now university education. It was only a few months ago that similar announ

Charity Begins At Home

By Mitiku Adisu With the new “Charities and Societies Draft Proclamation " [CSDP] Churches and related organizations in Ethiopia may be entering a new phase in their relationship with the State. As things now stand, charitable associations within the country are barred from receiving more than 10% of their financial support from foreign sources. Ethiopians living abroad are classified as “foreign.” Organizations must be locally funded and controlled or else they will be denied registration. Registration could also be denied or revoked "if there is sufficient reason to believe that the proposed charity or society is to be used for unlawful purposes or for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order in Ethiopia." What constitutes “sufficient reason” or “unlawful purposes” “prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order” will be a subjective call by the government with little or no legal recourse for the charitable organization. That is a dangerous p

Tamrat Layne: The Lesson

The Christian testimony of former Prime Minister Tamrat Layne is instructive in more ways than one. First, it is a testament to the capacity of the Christian community to forgive and accept the repentant sinner without reservation. This quality becomes immensely significant in a nation racked by ethnic politics and poverty. Indeed, the Church of Christ is called to the prophetic role of facilitating reconciliation and speaking truth to power. Second, brother Tamrat's public confession points to the importance of humility in society, especially for those holding high office. In other words, no one should think he or she is above reproach. Third, the testimony is not only sincere but also a pointer to the transforming and present power of Jesus Christ. Imagine more people of influence opening their hearts and minds to Christ. How would that impact the way people do business? the way they govern? the way people relate to each other? Often times, it is not for lack of evidence that

Jose and Hilda Ettedgui: Prisoners of Love

Few months ago we had reported on the health condition of Baby Rute. Well, Rute has successfully undergone a desperately needed heart surgery and is now headed home -- with husband-wife founders of Patrons of the Heart as prisoners of love. We thank God for her and wish to also extend our appreciation to persons and agencies involved in making this happen.

The Prayer of Rick Warren

By Mitiku Adisu We now know for sure Pastor Rick Warren will be offering prayer at President Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009.  In the meantime, whether or not Pastor Warren will or should pray in Jesus' name has become the talk of the nation. Some are expecting the pastor to be what he is not and indeed want him to reflect their points of view (not to offend Muslims, Atheists, Jews, etc.). That aside, the president and the pastor do share one thing in common: both would like to present themselves as 'uniter', not as 'divider'. That is a worthy endeavor though the outcome may be radically different for a pastor than for a politician. For President Obama wanting to govern from the center in order to avoid perils on the fringes could be politically expedient; it is a truism that winning office often trumps principle. For Pastor Warren, however, a greater danger lurks in the idea of wishing to 'include everyone.'  In other words,

Democracy and Demography

Democracy and Demography By Mitiku Adisu “Ethiopian Muslim critics reject national census for ‘missing millions’” goes a headline of few nights ago. Of course Muslims are not the only group crying foul. Leaders of the Orthodox Church complain decrease in their number is due to evangelistic activities of Christians outside the fold and not to institutional failure to preach Christ in terms the new generation could comprehend. Even those Christian communities who experienced growth complain they are undercounted. Few others take ethnic and/or political angle in discussing the issue. This is understandable in that numbers do translate into budget size, employment and political power. Some want to cast the issue as Western- versus Gulf States-financed missionization. In fact, the cited article lets us in on a piece of information that in Jimma [west of Addis] “the growth of Muslim development and aid organizations financed by the Gulf States have effectively checked the Protestant