Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Eric Metaxas interviews the "Vicar of Baghdad," Canon Andrew White

May 5, 2014

This delightful 45 minute full-length interview at the 2014 Wilberforce Award Ceremony will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Eric Metaxas prods Canon White with humor and curiosity in his inimitable "Socrates in the City" style - and the vicar gives as good as he gets.

Covering everything from the unbelievable experience of ministering to the only Anglican church in the violent Red Zone in Iraq to the high plains of joy found in following Christ's footsteps his entire life, this is an interview you will not forget. Canon White also chronicles his own remarkable experience with MS, and the medical clinics he has founded in that city, all the while light-heartedly trying to convince Eric to get dental treatment there.

When Joy Is Hard to Come By...

Pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian
posted May 7, 2014

Do Evangelicals Have Room for Prophets?

Canon Andrew White lives dangerously for God. Why we need more leaders like him.
Gary Burge
May 6, 2014

Andrew White is a favorite speaker at Wheaton College, and he was with us again last week. He is an Anglican priest whose parish is in downtown Baghdad. Yes, Iraq. He's affectionately called the "Vicar of Baghdad," and it's a rough job: In the past ten years, some 1,200 of his church members have been killed. When he travels on pastoral visits, he is accompanied by a couple truckloads of armed guards. Just in case.

I've heard Canon White address our students now three times. And in every case he ends the talk with his pastoral mantra. The students know it so well, they finish it before he can.

White tells how many times people caution him while he's in Iraq. They say "Take care." It annoys him; taking care is the last thing he wants to do. So he thunders to all 2,600 of our students, "Don't take care . . ." and they chime in: "Take risks." He currently has a Wheaton graduate as his personal assistant. One of my students, Sally, may join him this summer as an intern. Imagine telling your parents that your 2014–15 summer internship will be in Baghdad. "But don't worry—the church will supply armed men."

As I walked back to my office after another Canon White chapel, I began to think about risk-takers and how important they are to the vitality of the church, or any organization: a ministry, a college, perhaps any gathering that desires to have vision. We need risk-takers. Sometimes they're called prophets. Andrew White is both a risk-taker and a prophet. And like most biblical prophets, he lives large—and dangerously. He is quite happy to speak boldly and forthrightly about what he believes. He is not a cautious man.

It seems most organizations have a variety of leaders who serve somewhere along a continuum between what I call "custodians" and "prophets."... the rest
However, when prophets and custodians work within the same organization, they have to figure out how to forge a constructive, helpful relationship. Leaders who eventually become presidents, CEOs, editors, and lead pastors assume a role of preserving the legacy of the institution they serve. They are now in management. They understand the cost of upsetting the constituency (or the congregation). They know how much easier it is to lead without prophets distracting them. And they are often constitutionally cautious and careful. It's not that they dislike change; they just change things slowly.

Prophets, on the other hand, push. They make proclamations. And quite often they are right. But quite often the vessel they sail in cannot handle how they'd like the boat to change course. Custodians need to avoid silencing their prophets. Prophets need to keep from subverting their custodians.

Boko Haram slaughters hundreds in latest attack...more

Wednesday May 7, 2014

Boko Haram slaughters hundreds in latest attack
A terrorist group who kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria has slaughtered hundreds of people after storming a town in the north of the country.

Boko Haram are said to have gunned down groups of unarmed civilians and set fire to a number of buildings, including a police station, during the rampage in the lawless Borno State.

A local politician described how the 'hoodlums' arrived in armoured cars and threw explosives throughout the deadly 12-hour attack on Gamboru Ngala....

Boko Haram Threatens To Sell 165 Kidnapped Christian Girls to Traffickers
...International outcry over last month's kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls during final exams has grown large enough to make terrorist group Boko Haram a trending topic on Twitter. But even as efforts like "#BringBackOurGirls" gain steam, few of the students have been found...

Nigeria offers $300000 reward for information on missing girls
Nigerian police offered a 50 million naira ($300,000) reward on Wednesday to anyone who could give information leading to the rescue of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels.

Last month's mass kidnapping by militant group Boko Haram triggered an international outcry and protests in Nigeria, piling pressure on the government to get the girls back...

Western feminists should speak up for the kidnapped Nigerian girls Guardian

Nigerians in US Rally for Kidnapped Girls Back Home

Niger arrests 14 suspected Boko Haram after troop ambush

 Tue May 6, 2014

Fourteen suspected members of the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram were arrested in neighboring Niger on Tuesday after an attack on an army patrol in the eastern region of Diffa, the regional governor said.

Diffa, some 1,400 km east of Niger's capital, Niamey, borders the Nigerian state of Borno, the center of Boko Haram's uprising. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the fighting to the arid region, and local Niger officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over Boko Haram infiltration.

Yacouba Soumana Gaoh, the regional governor of Diffa, said the army had detained two Boko Haram suspects who had robbed a man at gunpoint early on Tuesday in the commune of Chetimari. the rest

American Anglicans Show Solidarity with Persecuted Nigerian Christians

by Faith McDonnell
May 6, 2014

A resolution expressing support for Christians in Nigeria, under siege by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, passed unanimously at the Annual Synod of the Missionary Diocese of CANA East on Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Wayne, PA. The Synod was the second annual gathering of the diocese, one of four missionary dioceses in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) led by Missionary Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs.

Thousands of Nigerian Christians, including Anglicans, have been killed or injured by Boko Haram, which was finally designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department last November. The radical Islamist group seeks the eradication of Christians and the total Islamization of Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s latest and possibly most despicable action was to abduct (new estimation) 276 school girls, mostly Christians, from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, northeast Nigeria, on April 14. Reports indicate that the militants are selling these teenage girls and otherwise enslaving them. The abductions followed a declaration by Boko Haram leader, Abubaker Shekau, made just weeks before that “in Islam, it is allowed to take infidel women as slaves and in due course we will start taking women away and sell in the market.” Prayer at the CANA East Synod focused on this tragic event.

This resolution showing solidarity with persecuted Nigerian Christians has a special poignancy because the Diocese of CANA East is a missionary diocese of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and many of its members are Nigerian Americans. And for disenfranchised former members of the Episcopal Church in the United States, such shows of solidarity might be considered a demonstration of gratitude to the Church of Nigeria that offered them a home... the rest

Rallies Worldwide Call on Nigerian Government to “Bring Back Our Girls”

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

As one of His redeemed ones...

The Good Shepherd 35 CMB - Cicely Mary Barker
As one of His redeemed ones, you are His delight, and all His desire is to you, with the longing of a love which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench. His heart yearns after you, seeking your fellowship and your love. Were it needed, He could die again to possess you... His life is bound up in yours; you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you ever can know. ...Andrew Murray image

Boko Haram terrorists kidnap 8 more girls, hours after leader issues threat

May 06, 2014

Militants from the Islamic terror group Boko Haram have made good on their leader's chilling threat, kidnapping eight more girls from a Nigerian village late Monday, authorities said.

The abductions came hours after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was seen on a widely-circulated video vowing to continue kidnapping the daughters of Christians, forcing them to convert to Islam and selling them into slavery. The kidnappings brought to more than 300 the number of girls who have been taken, according to Nigerian police.

Police said the girls, reportedly ranging in age from 12 to 15, were taken on trucks, along with livestock and food from the village of Warabe, in the nation's northeast.

"They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army color. They started shooting in our village,'' Lazarus Musa, of Warabe, told Reuters. the rest

Pakistani Girl Forced to Marry as Compensation for Uncle’s Crime
Eight months ago, 11-year-old Amna was married off to a man three times her age to settle a crime her uncle had committed.

The uncle had raped another girl in the village, according to tribal elders. Following tribal custom prevalent in highly conservative parts of Pakistan, the elders gave Amna and her 17-year-old cousin, Zulhaj, to that girl's family. Nobody asked their opinion.
Such "compensation marriages" are technically illegal under Pakistani law. But in a country with fraying central authority, the formal judicial system with its slow, corrupt course is often abandoned in favor of traditional tribal justice...

"I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life." -then films her abortion

May 6, 2014
By Kathy Schiffer

Emily Letts is a patient advocate (or more accurately, an abortion counselor). The 25-year-old works at Cherry Hill Women’s Centre in New Jersey, where she counsels women who are about to end the life of their children.

When Emily got pregnant, she made the same decision that she encourages other women to make: to cut short her baby’s life because she “wasn’t ready to be a mother.”

I’ve got news for you, Emily: You ARE a mother. You’re the mother of a dead baby. the rest
Letts made headlines this week in social media, in The Blaze, in the Huffington Post, by releasing a YouTube video of her own abortion, which she calls a “special memory.”
(The video is at the link, but there's no way I could watch the actual murder of a baby-PD)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Supreme court ruling favors prayer at council meeting

Mark Sherman

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court said Monday that prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity.

The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.

The ruling was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester.

In 1983, the court upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature and said that prayer is part of the nation's fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment. Monday's ruling was consistent with the earlier one.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions. the rest

Boko Haram threatens to sell kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

May 5, 2014

Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau Vows To Sell Nigerian Abducted Schoolgirls
...Abubakar Shekau, the infamous head of the Nigerian Islamist militant group, made the comments in a taped video message in which he also claimed responsibility for the mass abduction.

"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," Shekau said, according to AFP.

Armed militants abducted more than 300 Nigerian girls from their secondary school in Borno state on April 14, driving them off into the remote Sambisa forest. While some managed to escape, police said last week that 276 were still missing...

‘I abducted your girls,’ Nigerian Islamist leader reportedly says in video
...Three weeks have now passed since dozens of heavily armed men descended upon a darkened dormitory where hundreds of Nigerian girls slept, abducted them and disappeared into the night. Three weeks since authorities erroneously stated that only 100 Chibok girls were missing — when in fact it was 276. And three weeks since hundreds of parents last saw their children, since they’ve launched protests that have swept a nation, since some of the girls were reportedly sold for $12 and vanished...

276 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will be sold, militants threaten

Gene Robinson to divorce his husband, Mark Andrew

03 May 2014
George Conger

The former Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Rev. V. Gene Robinson, announced today that he is divorcing his spouse and partner of 25 years, Mark Andrew.

Writing in the Daily Beast on 3 Mary 2014, Bishop Robinson stated: “All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of ‘til death do us part.’ But not all of us are able to see it through.”

He stated that:

“Recently, my partner and husband of 25-plus years and I decided to get divorced. While the details of our situation will remain appropriately private, I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life—coming out in 1986, falling in love, and accepting the challenge of becoming Christendom’s first openly gay priest to be elected a Bishop in the historic succession of bishops stretching back to the apostles. “

Rumors of marital problems have dogged the bishop in recent years. At the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis, Bishop Robinson took to the floor of the House of Bishops to denounce what he called “scurrilous” questions asked by reporter David Virtue about the health of his marriage. In a towering rage, Bishop Robinson denounced the journalist for violating his privacy and rejected the suggestions of marital difficulties. the rest

Thoughts on Bishop Gene Robinson’s divorce
...Within the progressive understanding, marriage ultimately becomes simply a contract which can be severed at will, and any holiness Robinson and those sharing his perspective might associate with either of his unions or their own is simply the conditional happiness of either or both parties involved. The problem in his understanding of what marriage is isn’t unique to his approach to the question of same-sex unions, but a far more profound one: Robinson sees any kind of marriage as simply a contractual understanding with no inherent sanctity, no inherent theological, ontological or salvific value.

Marriage for him involves no ontological change, nor does it serve, most importantly, as what two millennia of Christian teaching have constantly understood it to be: a transformative means to both husband and wife’s salvation together in an iconographical context, through which the man is called to love and sacrifice himself for his wife, and the woman is called to love and honor her husband. Missing completely from Robinson’s public articulations on what he understands marriage to be is any notion of either spouse incarnating between and among themselves the deepest bonds of love, affection, fidelity, and godly living.

Never mind that, iconographically and ontologically, two men or two women simply cannot replicate or embody the Church’s understanding of what a marriage is, even if we were to try to raise a homosexual union up, ontologically, and somehow imagine it mirroring a heterosexual marriage in a common striving toward godliness — Robinson’s own words make such an attempt to try to do this utterly impossible. Whether applied to heterosexual or homosexual unions, the understanding of marriage which Robinson puts forth fundamentally ignores the profound iconographical, scriptural and ontological significance which the universal Church Tradition accorded to marriage for two millennia. Thus, regardless of what one might think of Robinson or his position on marriage, what is beyond doubt is that his understanding of marriage is entirely outside the mind of the Church and the Scriptures as the Church has understood them for some 2,000 years...

CANA East Synod 2014

Bp. Nazir-Ali, Chancellor Raymond Dague, Bp. Dobbs and Bp. Bena
 Photo: Holy Trinity is a connected church,  not an island alone. Here today, Friday May 2, and continuing tomorrow Trinity's delegates are gathered in Philadelphia in our synod with two dozen other congregations.  This picture shows our synod as we listen to the great bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali, as he gives a brilliant talk on what it means to be an Anglican Christian.
 Delegates listening to Bp. Nazir-Ali on what it means to be an Anglican Christian