Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Faith Under Fire

January 7, 2012
Faith Under Fire

Faith Under Fire

Don’t take care, take risks. — Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Donald Coggan

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

There cannot be any such word as ‘can’t’ here in Iraq. We have to persevere, and we do. And in everything we see the glory of God. — Canon Andrew White

When religion goes wrong, it goes very wrong. — Archbishop William Temple

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — 1 John 4:18

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:17

Anaesthetist, curate, parish priest, head of peace and reconciliation unit at Coventry Cathedral, Middle East peace negotiator, Vicar of Baghdad, not bad for a CV.

Some people are lucky, or so those who consider themselves unlucky bemoan, but it is not that, it is taking risks, drawing upon what life gives us.

If we look at the Life of Charles Darwin, Origin of Species did not just happen, nor was it because he happened to be at the right place at the right time (though that helped). It was because he took what life offered, he drew upon the experience gained in his earlier life.

The same is true of Canon Andrew White, he takes risks where others would hesitate, he draws upon the experience life has given him, all done with a love of God and love for those who he serves, underwritten in the faith in the One God, or G-d as he would write.

Much of my work in religious sectarianism is simply about showing love to the unlovely.

Those who commit the worst atrocities are usually those with nothing to lose.

It is easy to talk to the good guys, not so easy the bad guys, those whose hands drip with the blood of the innocents. But to make progress we have to talk to everyone.

The founder and leader of Hamas was beyond the pale. He changed from a man of violence to an advocate of peace. When he died, even Members of the Knesset attended his funeral.

At the age of ten Andrew White knew what he wanted, knew where he was heading. He wanted to be both an anaesthetist and a priest.

You cannot be both, he was told, and in any case, with your background, Pentecostal and Baptist, you cannot be a priest as they do not have them.

Needs will or looked at another way, God provides. He became both, first an anaesthetist, then an Anglican priest. Part of his theological studies were spent in Jerusalem studying Judaism. All of which has prepared him well for the work in the Middle East.

The world I occupied then is vastly different to the one I occupy now, but nevertheless I learnt some important lessons – not least the ability to react quickly in situations. When a patient goes into cardiac arrest you have to react immediately. When someone points a gun at you, you must also react immediately. If you have to think about dodging a bullet, it has already hit you. On the streets of Baghdad, my medical training has probably been of more use to me than my theological training at Cambridge.

Christianity in Iraq has a long and proud history. It is not an alien religion brought in or imposed by the West. Christian Fundamentalists who rode in on the coattails of the Americans like modern day carpet baggers did a huge amount of damage. It made Christians seem tools of the West. The Crusades are still in common memory. Conversely Iraqis were surprised to find American soldiers were Christians with crosses around their necks as they thought Christianity a Middle Eastern if not Iraqi religion.

House of Lords debates the plight of Christians in the Middle East
Crass stupidity by Christian fundamentalists leads to persecution and massacre of Christians in the Middle East
Christianity A History: The Crusades

St George’s in Baghdad was built by and for the Brits. It now serves Iraqis, all are welcome.

Those who can, have long fled Iraq. Those left are the poor and dispossessed. When all is lost, faith is all that is left.

Lord Hylton on a visit to Baghdad described St George’s as a church of the future. A church that welcomes everyone and everyone is made welcome, be they Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, be they Christian or Muslim, where everyone is loved and shares their love. A place where angels appear. A place of peace and tranquillity in a war-torn country.

Angels? The angels first appeared in 2007, and have remained since.

Another of our ‘gains’ has been the visible presence of angels. I had read of angels in the Bible, of course, and I, and others, had regularly prayed for their protection in Iraq. But until three years ago I had never actually seen one. Towards the end of 2007, quite suddenly, we started to see angelic forms. They look very much like we’d expect angels to look – like males with wings – but they are strange figures, large and translucent. We take them very seriously.

Occasionally strange objects like wheels within wheels are seen. They only appear within St George’s, at some other churches in Iraq and at Ezekiel Tomb.

Wheels within wheels

It is not known what they are, they are very prolific. In photos they appear as blobs.

Ezekiel saw something similar (Ezekiel 1:15-21):

As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.

When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.

Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

St George’s used to cost $600 a year to run, it now costs $175,000 a month to run. It is not only the running cost of the church, there is an associated clinic, education, food and welfare. All of which has to be raised through fund raising and donations.

Why do people suffer, why is Iraq descending into Hell, why is Canon Andrew White afflicted with multiple sclerosis?

Sorry Sir my dear Jesus , we came to you with, black gown
The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

God moves in mysterious ways.

I am aware that God trains and prepares us through all of life’s experiences. Sometimes He sees fit to impose on us things we do not see as ‘the best’ for our lives, but He sees the greater purpose and allows such things as so that we will do what He wants us to do oe go where He wants us to go.

It is often those who face the greatest adversity who share the greatest love. Canon Andrew White in Iraq is a good example of this.

St Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn from his side, God responded (1 Corinthians 12:19):

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

God speaks in quiet whispers, we have to listen with care.

I often recommend to people three books, well I actually recommend far more than three books, but these three books are special because they compliment and support each other – Love Wins, The Shack, Aleph – to which I now add a fourth, Faith Under Fire, as what we read in the first three and at times seems mystical, not real, far-fetched, is an everyday occurrence in Iraq.

Aleph is a strange mystical book, it cannot be for real, we think, and yet Canon Andrew White recounts far stranger mystical happenings.

Love Wins tells of the love God has for each and everyone one of us. Canon Andrew White tells of the love in Baghdad.

In The Shack we see the mystery of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness. We see this happening in Iraq.

Faith Under Fire has been shortlisted as the Christian Book of 2012. It is open to vote on-line for your favourite book, but somewhat dumb you have to vote for a childrens book too even though you may have no views. Also badly designed website, link does not go direct to voting form.

Canon Andrew White is the vicar of St Geoge’s Church in Baghdad and President of FRRME.

The Vicar of Baghdad
Suffer the Children

Coelho’s thought rhyming with false mysticism

January 7, 2012
Neda - Latuff

Neda - Latuff

Praying doesn’t make you a saint any more than standing in an airport makes you an airplane. — Paulo Coelho

Here they come again. — Paulo Coelho

The following garbage has been posted by Iran Book News Agency:

Hojatoleslam Mazaheri Seif, writer of “The Spiritual World of Paulo Coelho” believes that Coelho follows the trend of false mysticism.

IBNA: According to Hamidreza Mazaheri Seif, a thematic study of Paulo Coelho’s works shows that his writings have the main features of false mysticism and heretic religions.

He continued: “Moreover, last year a book was published containing the names of 100 spiritual leaders of the world. The ideologies of these figures names are in line with that of the publisher and Coelho’s name is mentioned among the first top 20 leaders of the world showing that he has been globally acknowledged as a spiritual master. Many individuals insist that Coelho is their master in spiritual journeys and he was even welcomed by many Iranians during his travel to Iran. Given this situation we conclude that Coelho has consciously stepped into the realm of spirituality. However, whether he is qualified to be called a master should be assessed.”

“If you make a survey of all contemporary quasi-spiritual movements, you will realize that all leaders of them are instructing similar values to the human society. The backbone of Coelho’s thought is in line with all other false theosophical religions such as ‘Fallun Dafa’, ‘Halgheh’ InterUniversal Mysticism (in Iran), or Dialogue with God (in the US). The question that now rises here is that how all these leaders that have emerged in different locations say one word? If we trace them we come up with a single point, and that is Modern Kabbalah (a Jewish mysticism),” he added.

“Isn’t it true that Coelho’s writings are just symbolic manifestation of a universal trend of 290 years old that attempts to come up with a global religion caused by capitalism – that is, a religion concordant with liberal capitalism? The so-called religion is cultivated by spiritual leaders of the world including Paulo Coelho as the most outstanding one since he is more direct in addressing these values so much so that even Shimon Peres appreciated him.”

Mazaheri Seif then stated that in The Alchemist, Coelho has rewritten a tale from Rumi’s Masnavi’s sixth volume. Coelho is basically a master of plagiarism and this has been led to a number of oppositions. His story for Fathers, Sons and Grandsons is a rehabilitation of Golistan and Boustan, but the main problem of these adaptations is altering the plots in order to come up with his intended endings – that is the promotion of Modern Kaballah.

Mazaheri Seif added that banning one or two books would not help spreading these mysticisms as we actually face an ideology that reproduces itself in thousands of publications in millions of copies and this should not be neglected.

According to him, the best way to oppose the movement is to promote right spiritual instruction by the same means of books, fiction, novel and media in simple language.

The mysticism and spiritual insights of Paulo Coelho is a little too much for the evil Ayatollahs and Mullahs of Iran to stomach.

Compared with the vicious personal attacks in the West masquerading as book reviews this garbage published by the Iran Book News Agency is actually quite mild.

Paulo Coelho is very popular in Iran, which must upset the corrupt Ayatollahs and Mullahs, religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women. A pity the revolution of a few years ago failed to overthrow them.

The Zahir was first published in Iran. Copies to then be promptly seized by the Thought Police.

It was Paulo Coelho who brought to world attention the brutal killing of Neda, the face of the revolution, during the failed revolution.

Paulo Coelho is banned in Iran, it would not do for Iranians to be encouraged to think.

Paulo Coelho has made his books available for free download in Farsi. Spread the word to all your Iranian friends.

Less we forget, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs not only shed blood in Iran, they are one of the principle agents of the sectarian violence and shedding of blood in Iraq.

Aleph in Farsi
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books
The persecution of Hoder
Change in Iran
Arash Hejazi Interview for BBC
The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Palestinians are Christians too

January 5, 2012

We tend to forget Palestinians are Christians too, that Palestine was Ground Zero for Christianity.

How many over Christmas thought of Bethlehem today, an open air prison, still under occupation 2,000 years on?

In Faith Under Fire, Iraqi Christians ask: have they forgotten us?

Why do churches in the West turn a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the place from which Christianity grew?

In Iraq, they still use in church Aramaic, the language Jesus used.

Sorry Sir my dear Jesus , we came to you with, black gown
House of Lords debates the plight of Christians in the Middle East
Fresh mood in Bethlehem, but little joy
Christmas in the Middle East
Israel blocks Christians going to Bethlehem at Christmas

Protest the dominant theme of 2011

December 30, 2011
St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

here to stay

here to stay

root out usury

root out usury

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

As 2011 draws to a close, Occupy and Arab Spring were the defining moments. Historians will note the date when one world changed to another, no longer were ordinary people prepared to be kicked around by corrupt politicians in the pocket of Big Businesses.

Strictly speaking the Arab Spring started in Tunisia as 2010 drew to a close, but it really took off in Tahrir Square at the beginning of the year. Mubarak has gone but the job is not yet finished, the ruling military elite has yet to be toppled. In Libya a job well done, but unfortunately much blood was shed. In Syria, work in progress, Assad has a simple choice, hand himself over to the ICC or leave with a bullet in the head. In Yemen, unfinished businesses. In Saudi Arabia the corrupt House of Saud has yet to be toppled or the Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran.

Syria troops ‘clash with Damascus activists’

Occupy started in Spain when the young unemployed occupied the centre of Madrid. It quickly spread to New York, then around the world. Brutal crackdowns in the US. In the UK St Paul’s in-the-Camp has spread to an estimated 60 camps around the country. Contrary to the smear stories in the media, it never was the camp v St Paul’s and the clergy are working closely with the camp. St Paul’s in-the-Camp has revitalised the church, made them recognise the core values of Christianity. Contrary to smears in the media, church attendance up not down.

Freedom to protest
St Paul’s plans for lasting legacy of Occupy protest
Archbishop of Wales urges church to ‘get hands dirty’ in the fight against poverty and injustice
The origins of Christmas
The Nativity of Our Lord
Attendances prove Christmas surprise

On Christmas day the Bishop of London delivered a box of chocolates to the camp outside St Paul’s. The year will end with a reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at 6pm this evening on the steps of St Paul’s.

Protesters celebrate Christmas, as judge postpones decision
An Occupy reading of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’
Occupy London presents a reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – 6pm Friday 30 December at the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol especially adapted for Occupy London
New Year’s Eve Weekend at Occupy London – Make it count!

As Dickens’ bicentennial approaches, it seems only fitting for Occupy London to stage a public reading of A Christmas Carol at St Paul’s Cathedral. Dickens was compelled to write A Christmas Carol out of a strong desire to comment on the enormous gap between the rich and poor in Victorian Britain. It is a similar strength of conviction that has motivated the growth of the Occupy movement to work to transform the growing social, economic and political injustices of our time. As Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral said:

Christmas is the most political of the Church’s festivals … all politics is about people, and without a fundamental sympathy for the plight of other human beings, and in particular for the dispossessed, no political movement for social change is ever going to capture the heart. For Dickens, Christmas was the emotional centre of the big society. Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Arab Spring and Occupy have become key words and phrases of 2011. St Paul’s in-the-Camp picture of the year for Time Out. Time Magazine proclaimed this year’s Person of the Year to be “the Protester”. Five of the Top 10 Most Commented Stories this year in the New York Times were about Occupy wall Street!

New words: the official* glossary of 2011
Best of 2011: pictures of the year – Occupy London camp
The Protester

In Leeds, when the unaccountable town council announced £90 million cuts protesters stormed the council chamber, then Occupy Leeds arrived.

2011: when year of global protests became local in Leeds
Quiet in the August troubles; but Occupy looks here to stay

UK Uncut has forced tax dodging up the political agenda. A damning report on HMRC by a House of Commons Select Committee. The Head of HMRC forced to resign, with effect next year. UK Uncut and Occupy London Stock Exchange have exposed the City of London as one of the few remaining Rotten Boroughs.

The tax haven in the heart of Britain

Who would have thought Russians would have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands to call for democratic accountability and to call upon Vladimir Putin to go?

Not all good news.

There has been coups in Greece and Italy. Italy no longer has a democratically elected government, it has a government put in place by EU and German bankers. A government to serve the banks and EU not the people of Italy. In Greece the government is acting for the EU and bankers not the Greek people.

Ryanair refused to allow a passenger on his way home for Christmas to board a flight to Malaga. Hints of terrorism. Yet one more reason to boycott Ryanair.

Occupy protester ‘banned’ from flight home for Christmas

Iraq is descending into Hell.

The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Occupy has inspired poetry.

Jesus was born in an empty building
Oh St Pauls, why?

For Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho 2011 was a very good year, his latest book, the biographical Aleph released last year in Brazil, shot straight to No 1 in every country published. The noticeable exception was in the UK thanks to High Street bookshop chain Waterstone’s deliberately choosing not to put Aleph on display.

What a year!

As 2011 draws to a close there is still much unfinished business. The list is long, libraries closures, cuts in public services, Welfare to Work programmes, privatisation of the health service …

How to help disabled people fight the welfare reform bill

I will give but one example.

Lincoln City Council has decided to put a heritage site, The Lawn, up for sale. Set in a 8 acre site, this museum complex was a pioneering mental hospital, it now houses the Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory. Sir Joseph Banks was chief scientific officer on the Endeavour, established Kew gardens, President of the Royal Society. The Lawn is the ideal site for Occupy Lincoln.

Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

As we head into 2012, the fight goes on …

Happy New Year!

Egypt: Four walls divide the ruled from the rulers

December 20, 2011
Wall number three leading to Tahrir  Sheikh Rihan St

Wall number three leading to Tahrir Sheikh Rihan St

walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

Great question by @sameratrush about attacks on journalists and destruction of equipment. — Sharif Kouddous

SCAF responds by saying they have no information on attacks on journalists, will investigate … m’ok. — Sharif Kouddous

Clashes have largely ended. At least 14 killed, over 700 wounded, close to 200 arrested in four days. — Sharif Kouddous

Four walls have been built to keep the people away from parliament. The military junta deny all knowledge of violence against protesters

When you watch the video of unarmed protesters beaten by thugs remember they are armed, trained, backed, military hardware and security apparatus supplied by the United States of America.

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, SCAF, denies any of this violence took place.

None of the revolutionary demands from 25 January have been met. No security or army thugs have been put on trial. We simply have a military junta without Mubarak.

Freedom to protest
Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters
A third day of violence in Tahrir Square
Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt’s military echoes around world
Egyptian Military Kills 14 Protesters, Attacks Journalists in Brutal Crackdown in Tahrir Square

A third day of violence in Tahrir Square

December 19, 2011
wall now separates people from parliament

wall now separates people from parliament

street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

Clashes continue on front lines. Surreal scene. Rocks, Molotov cocktails, water hoses, green laser pointers, chanting. — Sharif Kouddous

For a third day Egyptian army and security thugs have been engaged in violent running street battles with peaceful protesters.

A wall now separates the people from their parliament.

Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters

House of Lords debates the plight of Christians in the Middle East

December 15, 2011
Rowan Williams addresses House of Lords

Rowan Williams addresses House of Lords

Friday of last week, the House of Lords devoted an entire day to debate the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

The debate was opened by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:

My Lords, many people these days have a short and skewed historical memory. It is all too easy to go along with the assumption that Christianity is an import to the Middle East rather than an export from it.

Lord Mackay was first to respond:

Today I want particularly to mention the position of Canon Andrew White as the vicar of Baghdad. He has played a very important part in maintaining Christian witness in Iraq under extremely difficult circumstances.

He went on to speak of time spent with Andrew White in Israel:

I have to say that the relationships he had with people from right across the community were very remarkable. He has shown in more recent times a fine example of Christian fortitude in the troubles that now beset Iraq.

I wish particularly to pay tribute to Andrew White’s work and I hope that he will be able to continue for a long time in his office.

This was greeted with cries of “Hear! Hear!” from the 80 Lords in the chamber.

Lord Patten urged both their Lordships and the Government to act in response to religious persecution:

There can be no walking on the other side of this road, even in the Palace of Westminster. I hope that our secular leaders in the coalition will restate religious freedom as a human right.

Lord Turnberg and Lord Palmer commended Canon Andrew White’s work, Lord Alton spoke of his “indomitable spirit and incredible courage” and Baroness Cox paid tribute to “his magnificent work in Iraq, especially in improving interfaith relations”.

Lord Carey praised Andrew’s “remarkable work [as] one of the key players in the Alexandria Declaration” bringing together parties for the religious track of the Israel Palestine peace process. He went on to state that Andrew “is currently making a powerful contribution to harmony in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Lord Hylton spoke at length about “my friend Canon Andrew White” and the work with the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq. “Lives have undoubtedly been saved as a result.”

The Minister of State, Lord Howell, stated that, in the view of the Government, religious freedom is a basic human right. He confirmed Government support for the Alexandria Declaration and “the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq, which seeks to bring together religious leaders and combat sectarian violence, and of course to continue the invaluable work of Canon Andrew White.”

Lord Howell concluded:

I end my comments by saying that, unlike Mr Richard Dawkins, I have faith in the faiths. We will continue to highlight and condemn all instances of violence and discrimination against individuals because of their beliefs, wherever they occur.

Archbishop Rowan Williams wound up the debate by thanking their Lordships for their high calibre contributions to the debate and observed:

Not the least among those was the admiration widely expressed for the work of Canon Andrew White in Baghdad, and I am happy to associate myself with that admiration.

Peter Marsden, FRRME Director, spoke to Canon Andrew White who was in the Lords for the debate:

It was wonderful that the House of Lords debated this issue and took seriously the plight of Christians in the Middle East. What really matters is that we must make sure that the political world gets behind the religious means of working at reconciliation. This is the only hope for all minorities in the Middle East.

It is good that the House of Lords devoted an entire day to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. For far too long churches in UK have turned a blind eye to what is happening to Christians in the Middle East, though they need to take care with their actions as it is the crass stupidity of Western Christian fundamentalists that have put the lives of Christians in the Middle East at risk.

End of Christianity in the Middle East?
Crass stupidity by Christian fundamentalists leads to persecution and massacre of Christians in the Middle East

Christianity is not an alien religion in the Middle East, this was was its birthplace as a Jewish sect.

House of Lords Debate on Christians in the Middle East
Christians in the Middle East: Motion to Take Note
Parliament TV coverage of debate

Crass stupidity by Christian fundamentalists leads to persecution and massacre of Christians in the Middle East

December 7, 2011


Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shall not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. — Holy Bible

Political correctness = Church in the Dark Ages. If you don’t follow the rules they burn you. — Paulo Coelho

Yes, I believe the words of the Lord to Mary Magdalene to be his most radical utterance. We are family – all of us. We belong in God’s family. There are no outsiders. All are insiders. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelic Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people. — David Seamands

Jesus said: I tell my mysteries to people worthy of my mysteries. — Gospel of Thomas

Yesterday I came across a tweet which I cannot now find of Christians bragging of several converts from Islam to Christianity.

Do these imbeciles really think this is something to be proud of, to brag about?

Do they think it earns them a few brownie points in heaven? That God is someone to be impressed: Look, we have brought along a few more converts. It is probably completely lost on them that their converts recognised the same God before and after conversion.

The Koran says to recognise all religions, especially those of Abraham.

Do these imbeciles who brag about converts not understand they are putting lives at risk in the Middle East, where memories of the Crusades are as if they happened yesterday? The First Crusade was launched to wipe Muslim contamination off the face of the Holy Land. Knights sought salvation in the blood of slaughtered Muslims.

Christianity A History: The Crusades

Like modern-day carpet baggers, Christian fundamentalists rode in on the coat tails of the US-UK illegal invasion of Iraq. Christians in Iraq have suffered the consequences ever since. Many have fled Iraq, many have been slaughtered, their homes and businesses destroyed. Christians who had been at peace with their neighbours.

The violence has spread to Egypt from where many Coptic Christians have now fled.

Jesus was a Jew. His early followers were Jews. He was the leader of a Jewish sect, one of many at the time. It welcomed all, Jews and Gentiles. Slowly, slowly, over the next century, it diverged from its Jewish roots to become a separate religion.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

St George’s in Baghdad welcomes all. Not just Christians of all denominations, but Jews and Muslims too are also welcome. Inclusive not exclusive, the same God, respect for each other. A place of peace and tranquillity surrounded by razor wire. A place where angels appear.

We have people like Canon Andrew White who work tirelessly at Peace and Reconciliation in the Middle East. His work is undermined, his life and the lives of those around him are put at risk by these imbeciles who far from doing God’s work are doing the Devil’s work.

Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

In one year, Canon Andrew White had his entire Church leadership killed, his head of security was also killed.

Will these Christian fundamentalists not be happy until the Middle East is emptied of Christians? Or maybe, as indeed some are, trying to trigger Armageddon as they think it will force the Second Coming. They of course being self-appointed as the chosen few who will be saved.

Top story The Digital Mission Daily (Wednesday 7 November 2011)!

Love Wins
What is wrong with the church?
God and real life
What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad

Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

December 4, 2011
anointing with oil

anointing with oil

books by Andrew White

books by Andrew White

Happy Second Advent, my friends. Love and peace — Rudolf Schenker

Suffer the children to come unto me. — Jesus

We are not the person other people wish we were. We are who we decide to be. — Paulo Coelho

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. — Holocaust Museum

A house has been blown up said Andrew somewhat nonchalantly after checking his phone as though commenting on the weather. Not quite an everyday conversation, but then I was not sat next to an everyday person, I was sat with Canon Andrew White aka the Vicar of Baghdad who as well as checking his phone was doodling with the children on the table cloth.

We were both at the Boiler Room in Guildford, not to be confused with the Boiler Room in Guildford. We were at a rather drab function room well passed its sell-by date at the Stoke Pub where Andrew was about to give an eagerly anticipated talk.

In the Middle East it is very tribal, it is too in the West, it is just that we do not notice.

A little girl Amy, Canon Andrew White had worked with both her grandfathers, as a medic and as a cleric.

We are at the Second Sunday of Advent. It involves a little more than getting the chocolate out of the Advent Calender, it is not preparation for Christmas, but rather to mark the return of Jesus, the Second Coming.

Isaiah chapter 40, prepare for the Second Coming, a message repeated in Mark.

On this day we also remember the birth of John the Baptist.

No matter how bad a situation there is always hope.

In Iraq today, houses blown up, shops blown up, not that we would know if we relied on the news (though try Al Jazeera which has far better news reporting).

Iraq: Muslim mob shouting “Allahu akbar” attacks, ransacks, burns Christian-owned shops and hotels
Christians Attacked in Iraq by Kurdish Extremists
Kurdish leader: Clerics ‘instigated … acts of sabotage,’ wounding 25

Iraq is an amazing place, the setting for many Biblical stories.

The Garden of Eden was in Iraq, between the Euphrates and the Tigris. Abraham was born in Iraq. Job came from Iraq and his tomb or shrine can be found in Iraq.

We know Job was in Iraq, because although it is not explicitly recorded that he was in Iraq, it is recorded that he was killed by the Chaldeans or Mandeans and they were only in Iraq.

Mandeans are followers of John the Baptist. They hold their services in water, they even get married in water.

The Second Exile (the First Exile was to Egypt) was to Babylon.

According to the children in Iraq, Jesus was also in Iraq, he was the fourth person who was seen in the flames.

If you want something, pray!

An Ayatollah sought from Canon Andrew White some meat, when told he had no meat, he said pray.

Please God, send me some meat. Amen.

Next morning at a breakfast, a burly American asked, Father, do you want some meat? How much? Over 100 tons of meat!

Think BIG!

In 2003, St George’s in Baghdad re-opened. Until then, its congregation was a few pigeons. The first service was for military and diplomats. Soon it became too dangerous. Then the Iraqis started to come. First Sunday 100, next week 200, then 300, then 400, then a thousand, then two thousand, then three thousand, then four thousand.

When many of the congregation were killed or fled, it was thought there would be less mouths to feed, but not so, the Christians were replaced by 500 Muslim women. For them it was the same God, the God of Abraham.

Many, many people have been killed, kidnapped, tortured.

The entire church leadership were kidnapped one night and killed.

Last October, when Canon Andrew White was in Guildford to give a talk, he heard the tragic news that 58 people had been massacred in a neighbouring Catholic Church including the priest. It was a period when many Christians were killed, their homes and businesses destroyed.

Dinner with Canon Andrew White

St George’s is no longer a church, more a city. It has an associated clinic which is better than you would find in England. It provides a school, welfare, food. After Sunday service, everyone is given a bag of groceries to take home.

The Curate at the church is the first ever Iraqi Anglican!

24-7 Prayer is run from the church.

Angels appear, or what are believed to be angels. Even when asked to go away, even if only for a few minutes in order that photos can be taken they stay and appear as blobs in photos. An example can be found in Faith Under Fire.

In Iraq, you cannot just walk down the street, knock a few doors and ask would you like to come to church this Sunday? Too dangerous.

But there is no need. They turn up anyway.

Muslims are made very welcome in the church.

In the Middle East you show respect by inviting to dinner and having plenty of food on display to eat.

Special place for children, of which there are several hundred, 21 of who form a special inner circle.

Several of these children are in the book Suffer the Children telling their stories.

One of these girls now works as Andrew’s PA.

Occasionally a few of the children are brought to England.

One of Andrew’s sons said he wished to go to Iraq. Why? He wished to update his facebook profile and wanted a picture with big guns.

His request was acceded to. He spent most of his time with the soldiers who guard Canon Andrew White. One day when asked where he had been when he vanished for three hours, he had apparently been with the soldiers learning how to strip and reassemble an AK-47!

Isaiah spoke of a chosen people: Egypt, Iraq (Assyria) and Israel.

There is a t-shirt in Iraq: Don’t worry it can only get worse

Another t-shirt shows a smiley face with a bullet hole in the head and blood dripping down the face with the slogan: Have a nice day some place else

Canon Andrew White had with him two very special objects: a little bottle of anointing oil and a very old Bible. Both had belonged to Smith Wigglesworth, who his grandfather had worked for as an assistant.

The oil was used to anoint everyone present. One person invited forward, hand held out, who then anointed those at their table.

After talking Canon Andrew White led a singing session, then chatted with the children and signed books.

I picked up three more signed copies of Faith Under Fire.

I came bearing gifts.

I gave a copy of a talk Andrew had given a few weeks earlier in Guildford.

Canon Andrew White at Guildford Baptist Church

To Andrew too a copy of the talk within a Christmas card plus to take back to Baghdad: Aleph, The Alchemist and The Valkyries, all by Paulo Coelho. As the people there cannot read English, I will see what I can do to arrange for copies in Arabic.

Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947), was a leading light in the Pentecostal Church. He was known as the Apostle of Faith, moved in mighty signs and wonders and it was even claimed raised people from the dead!

Smith Wiggleworth Prophecy for Britain Coming to Pass!

Guildford Boiler Room is a Christian community that meets at Stoke Pub in Guildford.

Creative Arts @ Costa evening Tuesday 6 December 2011 at Costa, Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas The Occam Singers evening Saturday 10 December 2011 at St Nicoals Church (bottom of High Street over the bridge), Guildford.

Guildford Boiler Room Carol Service evening Sunday 11 December 2011 at Stoke Pub, Guildford.

Keystone Spirit evening Tuesday 13 December 2011 at Keystone Pub (behind St Nicolas Church), Guildford.

The story of Palestine

November 29, 2011
free Palestine

free Palestine

People under colonial and alien domination are recognised as being entitled to the right of self-determination and to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal. — UN Resolution 2649

When the United Nations, in 1977, proclaimed 29 November of each year as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it was a clear admission of guilt towards this people. It was recognition that the Palestinian people deserve international solidarity and support, in the name of justice and rights. This was merely one small event in a long story.

The story of Palestine and its people is one that will go down in history. In fact it has already started to do just that. One might say that the victor is the one that writes history. The victor in this case will inevitably be justice, and justice is at the core of the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, colonialism and oppression. And as in every episode in history, everyone will be mentioned according to their positions, and more importantly their deeds with respect to each story.

In this day of solidarity, let us remember that.

Israeli Apartheid by Ben White
Israeli Apartheid – A talk by Ben White

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