Daily Archives: August 17, 2015

John Bingham: UK's £2.7bn in aid to countries where Christians are persecuted

Taxpayers in the UK donate £2.7 billion a year in aid to countries where Christians are suffering some of the most extreme religious persecution in the world, figures show.

Analysis of official aid statistics shows that four out of five countries listed on a global human rights watch list, charting attacks or official suppression against Christians, receive money from the overseas development budget or through other official agencies.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

[InfoNigeria] Meet Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, The Bishop Who Teaches Islam

After his consecration in 1990 and given what he describes as his exposure and experiences which were compounded by his “undue” knowledge of Islam, Idowu-Fearon said his colleagues, fellow bishops, did everything possible to frustrate him in the course of his service. According to him, “my being elected as Bishop of Sokoto was seen by some in the then House of Bishops as a way of humbling me but God used our time in Sokoto to expose us to the international community.

And, when Kaduna Diocese was going to be vacant, efforts were made to send me to be bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf; this was to get me out of the country. The form was filled and my signature forged without my knowledge. In Cyprus for an interfaith meeting, the Lord revealed it to me through Australian missionaries who volunteered to host me for the conference and the plot was confirmed by the then Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

After my first five years as the first ecclesiastical Archbishop of Kaduna province, again, the powers that be felt that I was too close to the then Archbishop of Canterbury and the Communion at large, that I was promoting Western relativism and that I was going to sell the province of Nigeria to the West. Two bishops were specially commissioned to sell me as a convert to Islam and that Fearon is a Muslim, drinking tea with the Sultan and that Fearon was promoting homosexuality in Nigeria.”

The Road to Lambeth

Idowu-Fearon’s journey to Lambeth as Secretary General at the Canterbury did not come on a platter of gold. Although he applied for the position, along with 31 others from various countries, Idowu-Fearon believes that God made it possible for him to use his undergraduate and graduate studies in the United Kingdom to make contacts that ultimately laid the foundation for his nomination after beating three other candidates who made the shortlist.

According to him, in the years after 1990, opportunities started to open up for him in Britain and the United States of America during which he served on various commissions within the Anglican Communion. Idowu-Fearon was a founding member of the Canterbury’s Compass Rose Council, a foundation member and one of the first three presidents of the Network for Interfaith Concerns.

He was also member of the 13-man committee of the Archbishop of Canterbury that looked into the responses to Lambeth Resolution 1; 10 of 1998 as well as member of the committee that produced the Windsor Commission Report of 2003. According to Idowu-Fearon, “as I was thinking and praying about taking an early retirement in order to spend the rest of my active life to build an army of well-informed and articulate Christian leaders to constructively engage their Muslim neighbours and build a culture of respect and peaceful co-existence, the Lord opened a new world of service to me.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

[NAIJ] Boko Haram: Archbishop Accuses Nigerian Christian Leaders Of Complicity

…Perhaps it is no surprise that Archbishop Idowu-Fearon decided to leave Nigeria and take up his new role as secretary-general of the Anglican Communion.

He also revealed that his attempts to promote unity between Christians and Muslims in the face of Boko Haram’s attacks were not always welcome, even as he said the Church of Nigeria distanced itself from him when he was appointed in his new role.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

(BBC) The inspiring story of Jason Day, PGA Championship winner

When Jason Day fell flat on his back at the US Open in June, his head swimming with debilitating vertigo, the first person to help him to his feet was the most important man in his life.
Colin Swatton is much more than just a caddie to the Australian star who broke his major duck with victory at the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Sunday.
Swatton’s support helped his ailing boss complete the US Open at Chambers Bay. Within two months Day fulfilled his golfing potential in brilliant style with a record-breaking major championship score of 20 under par.
To have risen from such a stricken position to the top of the golfing world, reflects the journey Day has taken in life with Swatton as mentor, coach and caddie.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Australia / NZ, Men, Sports, Young Adults

(GR) An ISIS 'Theology of Rape' ”” strong New York Times story retreats from Quran details

It would be hard to imagine a story much more hellish than the lengthy New York Times piece that is racing around the Internet today that ran under this blunt headline: “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape.”

However, it is the second piece of the double-decker headline that will be the most controversial and discussed part of this piece: “Claiming the Quran’s support, the Islamic State codifies sex slavery in conquered regions of Iraq and Syria and uses the practice as a recruiting tool.”

The bottom line: To make that statement, the Times team needs to show readers specific references in the Quran, by quoting them, and then show proof of how ISIS leaders are interpreting those passages, perhaps through a lens from earlier expressions of the faith. It would then help, of course, to show how mainstream Islamic scholars, and experts outside of Islam, read those same passages today.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Islam, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Terrorism, Violence

Kendall Harmon–Throttling the Blog Way Back for a needed break from now to August's end 2015

This is our second break for the summer–I know you understand. Posts will be catch as catch can but there will be updates so do check back. I am seriously considering an occasional open thread on an edifying subject so if you have suggestions for such threads please post in the comments below. Suggestions for any general thread discussions are welcome–the summer reading thread in July was a huge success. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Mountain

O God, who hast brought life and immortality to light by the gospel, and hast begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Make us steadfast and immovable in the faith, always abounding in the work of the Lord, who died for our sins and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

–Psalm 106:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept–20 of the most spectacular newspaper corrections ever

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, History, Humor / Trivia, Media

(Telegraph) Poet RS Thomas was full of interesting contradictions

RS Thomas’s poetry “reduces most other modern verse to footling whimsy”, said Kingsley Amis. It is simple in expression, powerful, and sometimes bleak, which is the feeling of his parish of Aberdaron ”“ he was an Anglican priest ”“ on the windswept Llyn peninsula in Wales. It is the last stop on the pilgrims’ route to Bardsey Island, where holy men sleep in their tombs.

I found Aberdaron last week. I had gone in search of Thomas’s places: the medieval church, in earshot of the crashing waves, where he preached to the minority in the village who were not “chapel”; the cliffs and beach; and (which took detective work) Thomas’s vicarage. It looms vast and austere on the hill behind shrubs grown wild, the walls clad in slate that has flaked off in patches, exposing the Welsh stone underneath. Two doctors bought it as a restoration job but have given up, perhaps daunted. The neighbour said I could wander down the grass-covered lane and look.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, History, Poetry & Literature, Theology

(WP via SDUT) Robert Scales–The Army is broken

The Obama administration just announced a 40,000 reduction in the Army’s ranks. But the numbers don’t begin to tell the tale. Soldiers stay in the Army because they love to go into the field and train; Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently said that the Army will not have enough money for most soldiers to train above the squad level this year. Soldiers need to fight with new weapons; in the past four years, the Army has canceled 20 major programs, postponed 125 and restructured 124. The Army will not replace its Reagan-era tanks, infantry carriers, artillery and aircraft for at least a generation. Soldiers stay in the ranks because they serve in a unit ready for combat; fewer than a third of the Army’s combat brigades are combat ready. And this initial 40,000 soldier reduction is just a start. Most estimates from Congress anticipate that without lifting the budget sequestration that is driving this across-the-board decline, another 40,000 troops will be gone in about two years.

But it’s soldiers who tell the story. After 13 years of war, young leaders are voting with their feet again. As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.

To be sure, the nation always reduces its military as wars wind down. Other services suffer reductions and shortages. But only the Army breaks. Someone please tell those of us who served why the service that does virtually all the dying and killing in war is the one least rewarded.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults