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Iraqi Christians greet Muslims before Ramadan

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“We need signs of dialogue in Iraq, otherwise, all is lost”. This is what the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako maintains …
[He] invites the Christian faithful of his diocese to unite themselves in prayer to their “Muslim brothers” in Iraq, during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. …
The prelate – who yesterday issued a copy of his greetings in Arabic … has published a calendar of Ramadan rites and has distributed it to over 3 thousand families in the city…
During this period – Msgr. Sako has invited [Iraqi Christians] “to respect the feelings of Muslim citizens, not to eat and to drink publicly during this month, and not to ware [sic] indecent dress, and to join them in praying for … unity, stability, and [safety for] the lives and dignity of Iraqis”…
“Ramadan” – continues his message – “is a special time of prayer and progress in virtue, reconciliation and forgiveness, compassion and peace … to realize a society of love, harmony, truth and justice…

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Bravo to Msgr. Sako, and to Christians and Muslims around the world who have the courage, wisdom and greatness of heart to honor each other despite horrific loss. This is how peace comes.

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Written by Monte

September 12, 2007 at 11:55 am

Posted in Iraq, Islam, Religion, Terrorism

Christians and war on Iran

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Chuck Gutenson is a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary (Francis Asbury, the early English-American hero for which ATS is named, was an only child, never married, and is thus, alas, no relative of mine). Chuck writes an excellent blog called Imitatio Christi, and writes occasionally for God’s Politics, where I found this much-needed post last April.

Here we are five months later; the Swamp’s tom-toms yet threaten. Gov. Romney and Mayor Guiliani have joined the rant, pitching Imminent Doom Unless (never mind that auto accidents—as with many domestic causes of death—pose a higher risk to American lives, and never mind that Iran has little to do with Islamism, and never mind that Iran hasn’t initiated a war with anybody for more than a hundred years).

It looks like the need for this challenge isn’t going away.

Chuck Gutenson: Iran, Neocons, and Christianity
By God’s Politics

There are some articles that one should not have to write. The thesis they defend should be so obvious that setting it forward should be unnecessary. However, there has been a remarkable degree of saber-rattling toward Iran over the last several months. Further, a founding document of so-called neoconservatism claimed that, “Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has” (and we all know how swimmingly our project in Iraq has gone!). So, unfortunately, it does seem necessary to make and defend the obvious claim: Christian faith is inconsistent with the central tenets of neoconservatism. Let me briefly summarize why this is so. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

September 2, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Whose conversion is this?

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Here’s a story of a Christian conversion.  Can you guess who’s talking?

So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to [a church]. And I heard [a pastor] deliver a sermon …  And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of [this church] one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross [at the church], I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works […]

Answer after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

When atheists come to church (sermon of July 5)

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C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

Last week, Jesus, pushing through a crowd, was secretly touched by a woman who’ d been bleeding for 12 years; her bleeding stopped.  She who’d been untouchable by the rules of the day touched him; she was then well, and he became untouchable.  She gets well. He takes on her “uncleanness.”

And then he touched a 12 year old girl who had recently died. He was now “unclean” twice-over (touching a dead body made him so a second time), but the girl was alive.   She gets life. He takes on her “uncleanness.”


And the next thing that happens is that Jesus, the now-famous, compassionate, but scandalously irreligious traveling teacher, goes home to Nazareth. And while he’s been amazing everyone, at Nazareth, Jesus is amazed.

What could possibly amaze Jesus? Read the rest of this entry »

How did rich and poor people vote in ’08?

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UPDATE March 8: For another analysis of the same data graphed in a different format see Rich and poor still vote differently in red and blue states

Who would have won if only rich people had voted in the last election? Or only poor ones?
Check it out:
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pewmaps.png[W]e took the Pew pre-election poll data and broke it down by state and income […]

Here’s what we got (red and blue states are those McCain or Obama would’ve won) […]

The most striking pattern is our estimate that Obama would’ve won almost all the states, if only low-income voters were counted […]

Among rich voters, Obama won in California and some northeastern and midwestern states–“blue America,” if you will. […]

The five income categories I used in the analysis are: 0-20,000; 20-40,000; 40-75,000; 75-150,000; over 150,000. The graphs above show the estimates for the highest, middle, and lowest of these five categories. I assume the numbers represent family income (as reported by the survey respondent). […]

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I’m astonished. When poor voters are heard alone, every state but two (Idaho and Wyoming) becomes blue.

Since many of my readers are Christians, allow me a religious question:

Christian, with whom did you stand?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? […] You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – from The Letter of James, chap. 2 (NRSV)

Watcha think?

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Written by Monte

March 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Politics