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  • Nephilim: the Evidence & History — Nephilim, DNA & Elongated Skulls and Peru (part 1)

     

    nephilim-nephilim-evidence-aliens-nephilim-demons-nephilim-dna-nephilim-peru-nephilim-trey-smithNephilim: Are the Nephilim REAL?

    Nephilim — a brief glance at merely a few points from the physical evidence of what many call…. the Nephilim.

     

    brien-forestor-nephilim-skulls-brien-forestor-nephilim-la-marzulli-nephilim

    Brien Forestor: Brien Forestor is a man I consider a friend. He likely has more experience with the Nephilim skulls than anyone on Earth (not embellishing). Should the skulls or sites in Peru interest you as a possible future adventure… There is no-one I would personally trust more for safety, comfort and a great experience than Brien Forestor.

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  • The Berlin House of One – Muslims, Jews and Christians United

    A house of prayer for three religions, which was reported to have been thought up by the “christian side of the triangle” - (Stephen, E. BBC News Article 2014), a project initiated about two years ago by the Protestant parish of St.Petri-St.Marien.

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    The selected winning entry, out of 38 submissions proposals for the building, was from architect Wilfried Kuehn. In what was once the site of various churches through the eras, the last being taken down due to the destruction done by World War II bombings. The oldest, St. Petri’s church dating back to the 12th Century, which was densely packed with graves (3,700+ individuals). Some graves with 2 to 11 skeletons. (International Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies 2012)

    Fundraising has been put in place to get the monetary funds needed to build the building, providing the goal is reached construction is planned for 2016.

    The construction lot for now remains vacant. Aside from the pastor, the rabbi and the imam whom symbolically buried their shoes in the center of the construction site.

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    Gregor Hohberg Protestant Pastor, Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin, Imam Kadir Sanci Muslim Leader.

    “my Jewish point of view the city where Jewish suffering was planned is now the city where a centre is being built by the three monotheistic religions which shaped European culture.”

    “It is the city in which the extermination of the Jews was planned. Now, the first house in the world for three religions is to be built here.”

    - Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin, House of One

    “We quickly agreed that something visionary and forward looking should be built on what is the founding site of Berlin.”

    “Berlin is the city of the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful coexistence of believers from different faiths – they yearn to understand each other.”

    “Under one roof: one synagogue, one mosque, one church. We want to use these rooms for our own traditions and prayers. And together we want to use the room in the middle for dialogue and discussion and also for people without faith.

    “Berlin is a city where people come together from all over the world and we want to give a good example of togetherness.” - Gregor Hohberg, Protestant Pastor House of One.

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    “We want our children to have a future in which diversity is the norm,”

    “(House of One is) a sign, a signal to the world that the great majority of Muslims are peaceful and not violent” -Imam Kadir Sanci, Muslim Leader House of One.

    Floor plans, scale model. © Kuehn Malvezzi

    Floor plans, scale model.
    © Kuehn Malvezzi

    “What’s interesting is that when you go back a long time, they share a lot of architectural typologies. They are not so different,” 

    “It’s not necessary for instance for a mosque to have a minaret – it’s only a possibility and not a necessity. And a church doesn’t need a tower. This is about going back to the origins when these three faiths were close and shared a lot architecturally” - Architect Wilfried Kuehn

     

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  • On Modesty and Male Privilege: The Reason for Rape is Not V-Necks and Skinny Jeans | Luke Harms

    Recently, a fellow blogger wrote a great piece about the problems with modesty rules in Christian culture. She rightly pointed out how these rules unfairly shame women into particular behavior patterns, often resulting in lasting emotional and psychological damage. It was an honest, personal story of one woman’s struggle to reconcile her freedom in Christ with the rigid behavioral codes often handed down to women from the pulpit or from Christian culture in general. 

    It was a fantastic piece. And then there were the comments.

    The basic premise that many of the commenters were defending was that women have a responsibility to dress modestly in order to keep men from sinning through lustful thinking. Most commenters were pretty forceful in driving this point home.

    But here’s the problem as I see it: If, as many of the commenters suggest, men (even, or perhaps especially, Christian men) are incapable of looking at a woman who isn’t covered from head to toe without wanting to rape her (or at least mentally rape her), then this is decidedly not a problem that women can or should feel obligated to solve. Perhaps that bears repeating, and in simpler terms:

    If men are perverse, then that’s decidedly an issue for men to address.

    Shifting the responsibility to women simply enables men to think and act like sexual predators, rather than demand that they do the hard work of being transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12:2). Men, we shouldn’t be saying, “Her skinny jeans and V-neck are making me lust.” No, you’re lusting because your God-given capacity for sexual attraction has morphed into a distorted view of women as objects that you need to control.

    Now, before we go any further, I should say that yes, I believe that modesty is a quality that all Christians should strive for (and yes men, that includes you), but Christians often reduce modesty to a dress code for women. The fundamental question many Christians are not asking is, “Why is this notion of modesty, and the moral obligations derived from it, so lopsided?” And, “Why do we make countless proscriptions on the behavior on women, but essentially ignore the behavior of men?” To me, the answer is as simple as it is disturbing. Call it what you want: misogyny, patriarchy, institutionalized sexism. I call it rape culture.

    It’s the same culture in which college orientations teach freshmen women tips for not getting raped instead of teaching freshmen men not to rape.

    It’s the same culture that blames and shames victims of sexual assault into silence, instead of bringing the perpetrators to justice. 

    It’s the same culture that sees women’s bodies as objects to be controlled as means to men’s ends. 

    In the end, it’s about control. It’s about maintaining male privilege and perpetuating patriarchy. As the mostly male commenters approached this issue of modesty on my friend’s post, little space was given for the man’s responsibility in this cycle, and when it was mentioned, it was an afterthought. “Oh, sure, men should be modest too, and they’re responsible for their own actions, but women shouldn’t cause them to stumble.”

    I may be wrong, but I think this might be one of those speck/plank scenarios that Jesus was talking about (Matt. 7:4-5). Perhaps instead of focusing on the culturally ambiguous standard of “modest dress” for women, we should worry more about our attitudes toward, and our objectification of, women. Maybe instead of trying to place the blame on women for our own shortcomings, we should do the hard work of re-wiring our brains in order to remove the influences that continue to perpetuate our distorted view of women. Maybe instead of writing off rape culture in the church as “living in a fallen world,” we should recall that Christians live in the fallen world, but are not of it. Christians, even those raised in a culture of rape, can be conformed to the image of their creator (Col 3:10). We should focus on what it means for men to partner with God in bringing the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I suspect the kingdom of God doesn’t include rape culture.

    What do you think? How do you define modesty? How do we balance our freedom in Christ with our responsibility to our brothers and sisters in a way that doesn’t embrace institutional inequality? Do you think that rape culture informs church culture, or have I gone too far too fast with this argument?

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  • ስኬት

    የሰው ልጅ የህይወት ዘመን ትልቅ ምኞት ዋነኛ ጉዳይ ነው ወደዚህ ምድር ለመምጣት ፣ለመወለድ ለመኖር ፈቃድ ሳይኖረው የተወለደው የሰው ልጅ ከውልደቱ በኋላ ህይወትን ለመምራት የእርሱ ፈቃድ ምርጫና ጥረት ብቻ ስኬትን ያጎናጽፈዋል የሚለው ፍልስፍና በዚህ ጥግ ፣ አይደለም የሰው ልጅ ምንም ያክል ቢጥር ቢለፋ የፈጣሪ ፈቃድ ካልታከለበት ጥረቱ ሁሉ መና ነው የሚለው በሌላ ጥግ ተቀምጠዋል፡፡የሰው ልጅ ህይወትን እንዴትም ይኑራት መጨረሻ ሳይፈቅድ ወደዚህች ምድር እንደመጣ ሳይፈቅድ በግድ ይህችን አለም ተሰናብቶ ይሄዳል፡፡የማይቀር የህይወት እጣፈንታ የሰው ሁሉ መንገድ ነውና ይሞታል፡፡የህይወት ኡደት ይቀጥላል፡፡ ሌላው ይወለዳል፣ ይኖራል፡፡ የውልደት የኑሮ የሞት ቅብብሉ ይቀጥላል፡፡
    የስነ ልቦና ባለሙያዎች የኤኮኖሚ ባለሙያዎች ፈላስፋዎች ፓለቲከኞች ሁሉም ስለህይወት ስኬት ብዙ ብለዋል ብዙ ጽፈዋል፡፡ በተለይ በቅርብ ጊዜያት በሀገራችን በርካታ መጻህፍት በሀገር ውስጥ ፀሀፊዎች ተጽፈዋል ከባእድ ቋንቋ ተተርጉመዋል፡፡በርካታ የሀይማኖት ምሁራን በሀይማኖቱ ፍልስፍና እና መርህ መሰረት ስለስኬት አስተምረዋል፡፡በርካቶች ስለ ታላላቅ የአለማችን ሰዎች የተጻፈን ግለታሪክ በማበብ የስኬታቸውን ምስጢር ለማወቅ መርምረዋል ጥረዋል፡፡ የስነልቡና ሊቃውንት ስኬትና አለመሳካት በሰው አእምሮ ውስጥ ያሉ ነገሮች እንደሆኑ፤ ሰው ለእራሱ ማንነት ለአእምሮው የነገረውንና ያሳመነውን ነገር ያንኑ እንደሚሆን ይናገራሉ፡፡ ሌሎች ደግሞ ከፍተኛ ጥረት እረፍትና የሌለው የስራ ባህል የስኬት ቁልፍ እንደሆነ ያስረዳሉ፡፡በተቃራኒው ደግሞ ስኬት ማለት ፈጣሪ ለሰው ያሰበውን እቅድ እርሱን መኖር ነው በማለት የስኬትን መነሻ ከሰው ወደፈጣሪ የሚወስዱም አሉ፡
    ለመሆኑ ስኬት ማለት ምን ማለት ነው? በምድር ላይ ተሳካለት የሚባለው ሰው ምን አይነት ሰው ነው? ብዙ እድሜ የኖረ? ጥሩ ትዳር የያዘ? ብዙ ልጆች የወለደ? ብዙ ሀብትና ንብረት ያፈራ?ባለስልጣን ?በጣምየተማረ? ሁልጊዜ የሚያሸንፍ ስፖርተኛ? የታወቀ ፖለቲከኛ? የተዋጣለት ደራሲ? የፊልም ተዋናይ? ጋዜጠኛ? . . .ወይስ ሌላ?
    የኢትዮጵያ ቋንቋዎች ጥናት ማዕከል በ1993 ዓ.ም ያሳተመው መዝገበ ቃላት ስኬት የሚለውን ቃል ሲተረጉመው፤‹‹የአላማ ወይም የድርጊት ክንዋኔ በጥሩ ሁኔታ እንደታቀደው መፈጸም፡፡›› ይለዋል፡፡ እንደ አላማር ጸሀፊ ሪክ ዋረን ትርጓሜ ‹‹ሰው የተፈጠረው በእግዚአብሐርና ለእግዚአብሔር ነው፡፡ ይህን እስካልተገነዘበ ይወት ትርጉም ያለው አይሆንም፡፡›› ሲሉ በአንጻሩ ደግሞ የህይወት ስኬት አስተማሪው Joseph Murphy(PHD,DD)) (የአእምሮ ብቃትን በመጠቀም መልካም ህይወትን መምራት ቁልፍ ሚስጥራት በሚል ርእስ ታትሞ በእስክንድር ስዩም በተተረጎመው የስነልቦና መጽሀፍ የህይወት ስኬትን በሰው ውስጣዊ የአእምሮ ሐይል መረዳት ጋር ያዛምደዋል፡፡ ጸሐፊው  እንዲህ ይላሉ ‹‹ለአንድ ሰው የጸሎት ምላሹን የሚሰጠው ግለሰቡ የሚያምንበት ነገር አይደለም፡፡ይልቁንም ምላሹን የሚያገኘው የግለሰቡ ድብቅ የአእምሮው ክፍል ግለሰቡ ለሚያስበው ነገር ወይም አእምሮው ውስጥ ለተቀረጸው ምስል ምላሹን መስጠት ሲጀምር ነው፡፡›› በማለት ስኬት ሰው የአእምሮውን ሐይል በመረዳት በሰው ውስጣዊ ሀይል እንጂ በውስጣዊ ኃይል ላይ በመደገፍ የሚመጣ አንዳልሆነ ያስተምራሉ፡፡ አክለውም ‹‹ምንም እንኳ በእምነቶቻቸው  መካከል ብዙ ልዩነቶች ቢኖሩም ክርስቲያኑም፣ሙስሊሙም፣አይሁዱም፣ሆነ ቡድሀው ሁሉም ለጸሎታቸው ምላሽ ሊያገኙ ይችላሉ፡፡ይህ እንዴት ሊሆን ይችላል?›› በማልት ይጠይቁና ‹‹ይህ የሆነበት ምክንያት ምላሹ በኃይማኖት፣ በአንድ ተለየ እምነት፣ በባእድ አምልኮ፣በድግምት ፣በቤተክርስቲያን ስርአት፣ በቀመር፣ በወገንተኝነት፣ በመስዋእት፣ ወይም ስጦታ በመሰጠት . .  ላይ ሳይሆን በሚጸልዩት ነገር ላይ ባላቸው እምነትና የመቀበል ስሜት ላይ ብቻ ተመረኮዘ መሆኑ ነው፡፡ ይህ የእምነት ህግ ነው፡፡›› (ገጽ 11) በማለት ይገልጻሉ፡፡  ‹‹ከልክ በላይ ደክሞ እና ላብን ጠብ አድርጎ ሃብት ለማፍራት መሞከር መቃብር ስፍራ ላይ ካሉ ሃታሞች አንዱ እንደመሆን ነው፡፡ በጣም መድከምና መልፋ የግድ ላይሆን ይችላል፡፡››(ገጽ 86) ሲሉ ስኬትን እረፍት ከሌለው የስራ ባህል እና ጥረት ጋ የሚያገናኙትን ወገኖች በተቃርኖ ይቆማሉ፡፡
    አንዳንድ የmotivation አስተማሪዎች ሀብት፣ንብረት፣ትምህርት፣ውበት፣ ዝና፣ ስልጣን በአጠቃለይ ቁሳዊ ነገሮች በራሳቸው ለሰው ልጅ ደስታን አይሰጡም ይላሉ፡፡በማለት ‹‹እነዚህ ነገሮች አንተ ባለህ ነገር ውስጥ የምታገኘው እና የምትሰራው ነገር ወይንም የምንፈጥረው ነገር ነው›› በማለት ይናገራሉ፡፡በዚህ ፍልስፍና መሰረት የሰው ልጅ የሚኖረው የሚሰራው የሚሰጠው ሌሎችን የሚረዳው ለራሱ ደስታ እንጂ ከሌላው ጋር ህይወትን ለመካፈል አይደለም፡፡ይህ ደግሞ ሰው ሁሉን ነገር መተርጎም ያለበት ከራሱ የደስተኝነት እርካታ ትርፍ አንጻር ነው ወደሚል ድምዳሜ እንዳያደርስ ያሰጋል፡፡ምክንያቱም እራስን ማዕከል ወዳደረገ ጽንፍ የተጠጋ ይመስላል፡፡ መስጠቴ፣መኖሬ፣መስራቴ፣ቤተሰብ መመስረቴ፣ማገልገሌ. . . ደስተኛ ካላደረገኝ ለሌላው ምንም አላደርግም ወደሚል ድምዳሜም ሊያደርስ ይችላልና፡፡
    በመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ላይ በመመርኮዝ ስኬትን የሚያስተምሩ አንዳንድ ወገኖች እግዚአብሔር ለስኬት ጠርቶናል፡፡ ራስ እንጂ ጅራት መሆን የለብንም ለበረከት ተጠርተናል ክርስቶስ የሞተልን በዋናነት ለሃጢአት ስርየት እና ዘለአለማዊ ህይወት ሊሰጠን ቢሆንም መስዋእትነቱ ስለ ስጋችን ፈውስ ስለምድራዊ ህይወታችን ብልጽግና እና ደስታ ነው፡፡ በማለት ይገልጻሉ፡፡ ሌሎች ደግሞ የለም የአዲስ ኪዳን አስተምህሮ ስለሰማያዊ በረከት በክርስቶስ ስላገኘነው የጽድቅ ህይወት እና ዘአለማዊ ህይወት እንጂ ስለምድራዊ በረከትና ብለጽግና ምንም የሚናገረው ነገር የለም በማለት ይናገራሉ፡፡
    እንደ መጽሐፍ ቅዱስ እውነት ሰው ለተፈጠረለት የህይወት አላማ ለህይወት ጥሪው ካልኖረ ስኬታማ አይደለም የሚለው በርካቶችን የስማማል፡፡ ምክንያቱም በመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ውስጥ ታሪካቸው የተጻፈልን ሰዎች አንዳንዶቹ በንግስና፣ በዝና፣ በሃብት፣በጀግንነት፣ በመንፈሳዊ አገልግሎት ጣሪያ ላይ ኖረው ዘመናቸውን ሲጨርሱ(ሊፈጽሙት የተገባውን የእግዚአብሔርን ሐሳብ አገልግለው ወይንም ሳያገለግሉ)፤ ሌሎች ደግሞ በድህነት በስደት፣ በመገፋት፣በመናቅ፣ በድንጋይ መወገር፣በሰይፍ ስለት መበገደል፣ በመጋዝ በመሰንጠቅ፣ በጉድጓድ እና በምድረበዳ በመንከራተት  አልፈዋል፡፡  በየትኛውም የህይወት ገጽታ የእግዚአብሔርን ፈቃድ አገልግለው አልፈዋል ወይ የሚለው ሚዛን ላይ ተቀምጦ መመዘን አለበት፡፡ በዘፍጥረት መጽሀፍ ስንመለከት ያዕቆብ በበግ፣በግመል፣በእስሳት፣በሚስቶች ተባርኮ ሌላ ስኬትንና ሌላ በረከትን መሻቱ ስኬት እና በረከት ቁሳዊ ነው ወይ? የሚል ጥያቄ ማስነሳቱ አይቀርም፡፡ ስለዚህ የስኬት መለኪያ ምድራዊና ቁሳዊ ነው ወይንስ ሌላ ብሎ መጠየቅ ብልህነት ነው፡፡ ሰላም! 

    Written by  Samuel Assefa

    ምኝጭ:semayawithought

     

    ሳሙኤል አሰፋ፡ የስነ መለኮት ተማሪ ሲሆን የመንፈሳዊ ሬድዮ ፕሮግራም አዘጋጅና አቅራቢ በመሆን ሰርቷል፡፡ በተጨማሪም በመንፈሳዊ መጽሄቶች ላይ በተባባሪ አዘጋጅነት የተለያዩ መጣጥፎችና ፊቸሮችን የሚጽፍ ሲሆን፤ በነጻው ፕሬስ መጽሄቶች ላይ በአምደኝነት በየሳምንቱ ጽሁፎችን ያቀርባል፡፡ 

    Email sami1844@gmail.com - See more at: http://www.semayawithought.com/social-issues/item/380-%E1%88%B5%E1%8A%AC%E1%89%B5%20.html#sthash.wcV8lTBJ.dpuf

    ሳሙኤል አሰፋ፡ የስነ መለኮት ተማሪ ሲሆን የመንፈሳዊ ሬድዮ ፕሮግራም አዘጋጅና አቅራቢ በመሆን ሰርቷል፡፡ በተጨማሪም በመንፈሳዊ መጽሄቶች ላይ በተባባሪ አዘጋጅነት የተለያዩ መጣጥፎችና ፊቸሮችን የሚጽፍ ሲሆን፤ በነጻው ፕሬስ መጽሄቶች ላይ በአምደኝነት በየሳምንቱ ጽሁፎችን ያቀርባል፡፡ 

    Email sami1844@gmail.com - See more at: http://www.semayawithought.com/social-issues/item/380-%E1%88%B5%E1%8A%AC%E1%89%B5%20.html#sthash.wcV8lTBJ.dpuf
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  • የክህደት እምነት

    ክርስቲያንነት ምዝገባ ሆነ እንዴ? እንዴት ማለት ያው ስመ እግዚአብሔርን ጠርቼ፣ የሚባለውን የኑዛዜ ዓይነት አድርሼ፣ ወይም ከእናት ከአባቴ የወረደልኝን “ስሜ ነው፣ መጠሪያዬ ነው፣ አለሁበት” ብዬ ወይም ቅዳሴውን፣ መዝሙሩን፣ ቋንቋውን ጓዳውን አጥንቼ የቤተክርስቲያን አባልነቴን አረጋጬ ሂደቱ (ፕሮሰሱ) ሲያልቅ ካርድ የምቀበልበት የክለብ ዓይነት ሆነ ወይ ማለቴ ነው፡፡
    በነገር ለመጋረፍ ዳር ዳር ማለቴ አይደለም፤ ማን ማንን ይገርፋል? ይልቁን፤ ዙሪያ ገባችንን የልቡናችንንም ዓይነት ስንፈሽ የሚፋጠጠንን እውነታ እንድንነጋገርበት ወዲያውም መጽሐፍ ቀዱሳዊ መልስ እንድንፈልግ ሜዳ ለማበጀት ነው፡፡ ይህን ያህል አሳሳቢ አነጋጋሪ ሁኔታ አለወይ የተባለ እንደሆነስ? አሳሳቢና አነጋጋሪ ብቻ ሳይሆን አስጨናቂ አስተካዥ ሁኔታ ላይ መሆናችንን መመልከት ይቻላል እላለሁ፡፡ ማዕድ ፊታችን ሲቀርብ ቡራኬ የምንሰጥ ቢሆንም፣ ሰላምታችን እልፍ ጌዜ “ጌታ ይባረክ” በሚል መፈክር ቢያስገመግምም በጓዳ ጸሎታችን ግን “የወንድም ቀበኛዬን ዶግ ዐመድ አድርገህ አሳየኛ” እያልን የምንራገም ነን፡፡ ጸሎታችን አንዱ ታዛቢ እንዳለው የሟርት ጸሎት ሆነ፡፡ “እሷ ዓለማዊት ናት ክርስቲያን?” እያልን የማኅበራችንን ወንበር የምንነፍግና የምንመጻደቅ ብንሆንም “ዓለማውያን” ከሆኑት ይልቅ ዓለም በደንበኝነት የምታውቀን እኛኑ ሆነ፡፡ ምክንያቱም ዓለማዊነት በዓለም ውስጥ መኖር ሳይሆን በገዳምም ሆነን ዓለም በእኛ ውስጥ መኖሯ ነው፡፡ መዝሙሮቻችን ደጋግመው “አምላኬ ጌታዬ” እያሉ የታላቁን አምላክ ስም ቢጠሩም ቁርጡን ስንጠየቅ ዕቃ አምላኪዎችና የገንዘብ ሎሌዎች መሆናችን እስከዚህም ድብቅ አልሆነም፡፡
    ሟች ስንሸኝ ስለዘላለም ቤት፣ ስለ ሰማይ መንግሥት ብናወራም የየዕለት የሕይወት ዘይቤያችን ግን ያላዩት አገር አይናፍቅም፣ የሚያዋጣኝ የዛሬውንና የእዚሁን አጥብቄ መያዝ ነው፤ የሚመጣውን ሲመጣ እናያለን፡፡ የሚል ይመስላል፡፡ አበሳችንን እያበዛሁ ክስ እያጠራቀምሁ ለማሳቀል አልፈልግም፣ ፋይዳ የሌለው አዙሪት ውስጥ ስለሚከተን፡፡ ይልቁን እንዲህ ያደረገን ምንድነው? እንዴትስ እንድንሆን ተጠርተናል? መባባል የተሻለ መንገድ ነው፡፡
    እኛ አማኞች ነን፡፡ ያመንነው በጌታችን በኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ እርሱ በገለጠውም የእውነት ትምህርት ነው፡፡ እርሱ ያለ አንዳች የሰው ጥረት፣ ያለምንም የኛ አስተዋጽኦ እንዲያው በጸጋው አዳነን፡፡ መጽሐፍ አረጋግጦ እንደሚነግረን፡- “ጸጋው በእምነት አድኖአችኋልና፣ ይህም የእግዚአብሔር ስጦታ ነው እንጂ ከእናንት አይደለም፡፡ ማንም እንዳይመካ ከሥራ አይደለም፡፡” በከንቱ አልባሌ ኑሮ፣ በጨለማ ድንብርብር ሕይወት፣ በታላቅ መንፈሳዊ ድንቁርናና ልበ ድፍንነት የኖረ ማንም ዐመፀኛ የአዳም ልጅ የጌታችን የፍቅር ጥሪ ሲገባውና አለኝታውን በእርሱ ሲያደርግ አመንሁህ ብሎ እጅ ሲሰጥ በዚህ ብቻ ከሞት ወደ ሕይወት ተሻገረ፡፡ እንዴት ያለ ታላቅ ጸጋ ነው! አድርግ፣ አታድርግ በሚሉ ሺህ ደንቦች ክስ ሥር የወደቅን ጎስቋሎች በጸጋ ብርቱ ክንድ ተነሣን፡፡ ምንም ምን ክፋት እንዳላደረግን ተቆጠርን፡፡ ወንጀለኛነታችን በእንከን የለሹ ክርስቶስ ላይ ሲያርፍ እኛ ጻድቃን ሆንን፡፡
    ይህ ከመዓት ያተረፈን ጸጋ ሥራው እዚያ ላይ ተደምድሟልን? ከትቢያ ካነሣን በኋላ “እንግዲህ ዕወቁበት” ብሎ ትቶን ሄዷልን? መጽሐፍ እንደርሱ አይልም፡፡ ይልቁን አዳኙ ጸጋ አሠልጣኙም እርሱ ራሱ እንደሆነ አረጋግጦ ይነግረናል፡፡ “ሰዎችን ሁሉ የሚያድን የእግዚአብሔር ጸጋ ተገልጦአልና፤ ይህም ጸጋ ኃጢአተኝነትንና ዓለማዊ ምኞት ክደን የተባረከውን ተስፋችንን እርሱም የታላቁን የአምላካችንንና የመድኃኒታችንን የኢየሱስ ክርስቶስን ክብር መገለጥ እየጠበቅን ራሳችንን በመግዛትና በጽድቅ እግዚአብሔርንም በመምሰል በአሁኑ ዘመን እንድንኖር ያስተምረናል” (ቲቶ 2÷11-13)
    የጸጋን ድነት የተቀበልን ሁላችን የጸጋን ሥልጠና የምንሸሸው ስለምንድነው? ጸጋ ኮ ሲያድነን ጉልበት እንደሆነን ሁሉ ሲያሠለጥነንም ዐቅም የሚሰጠን ከነስሙ ባለጸጋ ነው፡፡ እርግጥ ትምህርቱ ቆፍጣና ነው፡፡ በወለም ዘለምታ የሚያዝ አይደለም፡፡ ምን ያስተምራል የተባለ እንደሆነ ጳውሎስ እንደሚነግረን አንዱ ዋና ኮርሱ ክህደት ነው፡፡ እኛ የምናውቀው የእምነት ትምህርት ቢሆንም እምነት የሚጸናው የማይታመነውን በመካድ ነው፡፡ የነፍሴን መድኃኒት መድኃኔአለምን ሙጥኝ አልኩት፣ ታመንሁበት የሚል አንድ ምስኪን የአዳም ልጅ ወዲያው አያይዞ ነፍሴን አውዳሚ መርዝ የሆነውን ኃጢአተኛነትንና ዓለማዊ ምኞትን እክዳለሁ እንዲል ጸጋ ይጠይቀዋል፡፡ በደባልነት ሊኖሩ ለማይችሉት ለእነዚህ ለሁለቱ ቁርጥ መልስ መስጠት ይጠበቅበታል፤ ለአንዱ አመኔታ ለሌለው ክህደት፡፡ በእሁድ ጧት ስብከታችን “ጌታን ለማመን የወሰናችሁ ወደፊት ኑ” እንደምንል ሁሉ “ዓለማዊነትን ለመካድ የቆረጣችሁ ወደፊት ኑና ይጸለይላችሁ” ማለት የሚገባን ይመስለኛል፡፡
    በአሁኑ ዘመን እያንዳንዱን አማኝ እና ቤተክርስቲያንን በጥቅሉ እየናጡ ካሉ ከፍተኛ ኃይላት መካከል ምናልባት ዋነኛው ዓለማዊነት ሳይሆን አይቀርም፡፡ ይህች ዓለም አሮጌ ብትሆንም፣ ዘዴዎቿ ድሮ ገና የታወቁ ቢሆንም፣ “እኔን ያየህ ተቀጣ” የሚሉ እርሷ ወግታ የጣለቻቸው አያሌ ቢሆኑም÷ዛሬም እንኳ ወይንጠጇ ያንገዳግዳል፤ ዛሬም የደጃፏ ድጥ ሙልጭልጭ ነው፡፡
    ዓለማዊነትን ብርቱ ያደረገው ምንድነው ቢባል አባባይነቱ ነው፡፡ የደስታና የርካታ ገበታ አቅርቦ ማስጎምጀቱ፣ የባልጀራ የአጫፋሪ ብዛት አሳይቶ ማባባሉ፣ የዋስትና የአለኝታ ዜና እየለፈፈ ማሳሳቱ፣ የክብር የዝናና የታዋቂነት ሥዕል እየሳለ ማማለሉ፣ ይህን ይህን የሚመስል ደመነፍሳዊ፣ ሥነ ልቡናዊና ማኅበራዊ ፍላጎታችንን ተገን ያደረጉ ብዙ ማባበሎች እንደ ሠራዊት በፊታችን ማሰለፉ ነው ያርበተበተን፡፡ ጉልበቱ የእኛ ልዩ ልዩ ዐይነት ራብ ነው፡፡ እንግዲያው ዓለማዊነት የማይደፍረው ወይም ቢቃጣም የማያንበረክከው የጠረቃውን ሰው ነው፡፡ በልቶ የጠገበ፣ ጠጥቶ የረካ፣ እግሩ የፈረጠመ፣ ልቡ ሙሉ የሆነ፣ ዓይኑ ያተኮረ፣ ልቡናው የሰመረ ሰው ሲያገኝ ትግሉን አይችለውም፡፡
    የዓለማዊነት መርዝ ማርከሻው እግዚአብሔር መሰልነት (Godliness) ነው ይህም ማለት እውነተኛ መንፈሳዊነት ማለት ነው፡፡ ከእርካታ ሁሉ ምንጭ ከሰማዩ አምላክ የሚያገኘውን የመንፈስ ቅዱስ ፍስሓ ያገኘ ሰው ሌላው ሌላው ፈንጠዝያ ተራና አልባሌ ይሆንበታል፡፡ በሰው ቋንቋ ከመገለጽ በላይ ከፍ ያለውን የክርስቶስን ፍቅር የሚያጣጥም ሰው የዓለም ፍቅር መናኛ ይሆንበታል፡፡ ከማርና ከወለላውም የሚጣፍጠውን የቃለ እግዚአብሔርን ማዕድ የቀመሰ ሰው እንቶ ፈንቶ የሆነውን ያሁኑን ዓለም ትዕይንት ይንቃል፡፡ በሕይወት መጽሐፍ ስሙ መጻፉን የተገነዘበ ሰው ለአላፊ ጠፊ የዚህ ዓለም መዝገብ እጅግም አይጨነቅም፡፡ “ሰላሜን እሰጣችኋለሁ፣ እኔ የምሰጣችሁ ሰላም ዓለም እንደሚሰጠው አይደለም” “አእምሮን ሁሉ የሚያልፍ የእግዚአብሔር ሰላም ልባችሁንና አሳባችን በክርስቶስ ኢየሱስ ይጠብቃል፡፡” ተብሎ የተነገረውና ይኸው ተስፋ የዘለቀው ሰው ዓለም ዋስትናና መተማመኛ እያለች የምታቀርብለትን ሁሉ ዝቅ አድርጎ ለመመልከት ጉልበት ያገኛል፡፡ ወዳጆቼ ዓለማዊነት “ዞር በል” በማለት ብቻ የምንረታው ጠላት አይደለም፤ እኩይ መሠሪ ስለሆነ በየራባችን ቀዳዳዎች ሁሉ እየገባ “አለሁ” ይለናል እንግዲያው ሥራችን ራብን ማጥፋት ሊሆን ይገባል፡፡ ለቅልውጥ ችግር አብነቱ ይኸው ነው፡፡ እቤት በልቶ መሠማራት፡፡ የእግዚአብሔርን አርኪነት በዝርዝር እየገባን መረዳት፤ በዚሁ ርካታ ውስጥ ለመኖር ራሳችንን ማሠልጠን፡፡ የእግዚአብሔር ቤት የእርካታ ቤት እንጂ ጠኔ ያጠላበት የተራቆተ ቤት እንዳይሆን የፍቅርን ገበታ፣ የሰላምን ማዕድ፣ የደስታን ዘይት ቶሎ ቶሎ ከመንፈስ ቅዱስ እየተቀበልን ሲጎድል እያስሞላን ማዕዱ እንዳያጥጥ፣ ራብተኛም እንዳይደነግጥ መትጋት የጊዜው ዋና ጥሪ እንደሆነ አምናለሁ፡፡
    የጸጋ ሥልጠና የራስ መግዛትም ሥልጠና ነው፡፡ ለካ ራስ መገዛት ያለበት ነገር ነው፡፡ ያልተገዛ እንደሆነ አፈትልኮ ወጥቶ አምባውን ሁሉ ያሸብራል፡፡ የሚይዘውን የሚጨብጠውን እንደማያውቅ ድንጉላ ፈረስ ሜዳውን ሁሉ ይጎደፍራል፤ አጉራ ዘለል ይሆናል፡፡ ክልክል የሚባል እንደሌለ እያመነና እያሳመነ አገሩን በማን አለብኝነት ይሞላል፡፡ የድፍረቱን ዕዳ ጽዋ እያንገሸገሸው እስኪጠጣ ድረስ ማረፊያም የለውም፡፡ አዳኙ ጸጋ ከዲያብሎስ ባርነት ነጻ እንዳወጣን ሁሉ ከራሳችንም ሊያድነን ነው የመጣው፡፡ የራስን ገናን ጉልበት የሚያንቀሳቅሰውን የሥጋ ሞተር በመንፈስ ቅዱስ ብርቱ ኃይል ሊተካው ነው የተዛመደን፡፡ ወዳጆቼ ራስ በምን ይገዛል በጌታ ቃል እውነት ብርሃን ያገኘ ኅሊና በመንፈስ ቅዱስ ዐቅም ካላንበረከከው በቀር! “መንፈስ ይሙላባችሁ እንጂ በወይን ጠጅ አትስከሩ… የጌታ ፈቃድ ምን እንደሆነ አስተውሉ እንጂ ሞኞች አትሁኑ፡፡” የተባለው እኮ የራስ ፈቃድ እየገነነ በሚያቅራራበት ክፉ ዘመን ዐውድ ውስጥ ነው፡፡ እንግዲያው ወገኖቼ በራስ እንዳንሞላ፣ ናላ በሚያዞር በነገርና በምናምንቴው ሁሉ እንዳንሰክር የልባችንን ማድጋ ተሸቀዳድመን ቅዱሱን መንፈስ እናስሞላው፡፡ የዘመናዊው ሰው አንድ በሽታ የዐይኑ መቃበዝ ነው፤ የዙሪያ ገባው ውልብልብታ እረፍት አልሰጠውምና ውልብ ያለውን ሁሉ ለማየት ሲዟዟር የአንገቱ ዋልታ ላላ፡፡ የገበያ ጋኔን ከሁሉ ሳይከፋም አይቀር፡፡ የዕቃ፣ የአስተሳሰብ፣ የቄንጥ፣ የአላፊ አግዳሚ ወረት ሁሉ ልቡናችንን አቅበዘበዙት፡፡ ትክ ብሎ የሚታይ እየጠፋ እይታ የአፍታ የአፍታ ብቻ እየሆነ ሕይወት አዙሪት ጨዋታ ውስጥ ወደቀች፡፡ የጸጋ ትምህርት የትክታ ትምህርት ነው፡፡ አትኩሮ የማየት፤ ጸንቶ የመጠበቅ፡፡
    “የተባረከ ተስፋችንን እርሱም የታላቁን የአምላካችንና የመድኃኒታችንን የኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ክብር መገለጥ እየጠበቅን እንድንኖር ያስተምረናል፡፡” አትኩሮት ለመላ አካላችን ቅርጽ ይሰጣል፤ ወደ አተኮርንበት አቅጣጫ እናዘምማለን፡፡ ከሰማይ የሚመጣውን ይህን ክቡር ጌታ ስንጠብቅ የተነጣጠረ ሕይወትና ደማቅ መስመር እናገኛለን፡፡ ዓይናችንም መንከራተቱን ይገታና ሁነኛ ነገር ላይ ይውላል፡፡ የየዕለት እርምጃችን ከየስላቹ በሚያንባርቅ ጥሩምባ ሳይሆን በሰማይ ቅኝት ይመራል፡፡ ባለ ክቡር ዓላማ ገስጋሽ ሠራዊት እንሆናለን፡፡ ጸጋው አማኞች ብቻ ሳይሆን ጠባቂዎችም ያደርገናል፡፡ ክርስቲያንነት ጥበቃ ነው፤ የዘወትር ተጠንቀቅ ነው፤ ሁሉ ነገር ያው የሆነበት ምድር ዓለሙ ሳይቋረጥ የሚጓዝበት የሰው ልጅ ታሪክ ዞሮ እየገጠመ እንደገና ዝንተዓለሙን የሚዞርበት ሽክርክሪት ሳይሆን ታሪክ ሁሉ ወደ አንድ ሁነኛ መድረሻ የሚገሠግስበት በዚህም ሳቢያ አማኙ ሰው “በኋላዬ ያለውን እየረሳሁ፣ በፊቴ ያለውን ለመያዝ እዘረጋሁ” የሚልበት ንቁ (active) ሕይወት ነው፡፡ እነዚህ ቆፍጣና የጸጋ ትምህርቶች መነሻቸው የክርስቶስ ሞት ዓላማ ነው፡፡ ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ ከጸጋ መገለጥ ከጸጋም ሥልጠና ጋር አያይዞ የሚያነሣ መሠረቱና ድምድማቱ መስቀለ ኢየሱስ ነው፡፡ “ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ የሞተው ለምንድነው?” የሚለውን ዋና ጥያቄ ለወትሮ በምንመልስበት “የሰማይ ቤት ሊያወርሰኝ” በሚል ወደፊታዊ መልስ ብቻ አያቀርበውም፡፡ የጌታችን ሞት ፋይዳ የዛሬም ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ የዛሬ ኑሮ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ “ከዐመፅ ሁሉ ሊቤዠን” ሞተ ይለናል፡፡ የዐመፀኛነት፣ የመለኮትን ሃሳብ የመቃወም የራስን ሃሳብ የማግነን የጌታችንን ትዕዛዝ የመግፋት፣ የእንቢታ፣ የሽፍትነት ባሕርያችንን ሊለውጥልን ከዚህ ዲያብሎሳዊ ክፉ ዐመል ሊያላቅቀን ሞተ ይለናል፡፡ “መልካሙን ለማድረግ የሚቀና ሕዝብ” ፈልጎ ሞተ ይለናል፡፡ በመስቀሉ የተዋጀው ሕዝብ ሥራው ባያድነውም ከዳነ በኋላ ግን ብርቱ የመልካም ሥራ ዐርበኛ እንዲሆን ተፈልጎአል፡፡ “በጎ ሥራ የት ይገኛል? ብሎ በዓይኑ የሚማትር ሲያገኘውም በትጋት የሚፈጽመው ቅን ኅብረተሰብ የመስቀሉ ምርት ነው፡፡ “ገንዘቡ የሚሆነውን ሕዝብ ለራሱ እንዲያነጻ” ሞተ ይለናል፡፡ የክርስቶስ ሞት አንድም የግዢ ውል ነው፡፡ በደሙ ስለገዛን የባለቤትነት ሙሉ መብት አለው፡፡ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ የራሱ ሕዝብ፣ ለወደደው ዓላማና ተግባር የሚያሰማራው ሠራዊት ፈልጎ ነው የሞተ፡፡ ታላቁ ጠቢብ በዚህ ሙዐለ ሕይወት (ኢንቨስትመንት) ሊከስር አይሻም፡፡ የተባለው ሁሉ ተብሎ እንደ አንድ የክርስቶስ ተከታይ እንደ ቤተክርስቲያንም ልናስብባቸው የሚገቡ ሁለት ዋና ነገሮች ይታዩኛል፡፡ የተያያዙም ቢሆኑ በየስማቸው ቢጠሩ ይወዳሉ፡፡ መጀመሪያ ነገር እስከዛሬ ስንማር ስናስተምር የቆየነው ስለማመን ስለመቀበል ጌታን እሺ ስለማለት ነበርና አሁን ደግሞ ጨምረን ክህደትን እንማር፣ እናስተምር፡፡ ያው እንደተባባልነው በወደር የለሹ ክርስቶስ ላይ ያለንን እምነት ለማጽናት ተፎካካሪ ገናኖችን ልክ ልካቸውን ነግረን ቦታቸውን እናሳያቸው፣ ለአንድ ጌታ ሎሌነት ማደራችንን እናስታውቃቸው ብዙ የሚካዱ ኅሳዌ መሲኃን (እንደዚህ ሲባል ሥጋ የለበሱ ሰዎችን ብቻ ለምን እናስባለን) ከጽድቅ የሚያፈናቅሉንን የራሳችንን አጓጉል ምኞቶችና ዐመፀኛነቶች እንዳሉ ለባልጀሮቻችን ሁሉ እንንገር፡፡ ክፉውን ደግ ደጉን ክፉ የሚያደርገውን፣ ክቡሩን ቀሊል ገለባውን ፍሬ የሚያስመስለውን የዓለሙን የተዛባ ሥራተ እሴት አንቀበልም ብለን እንካድ፡፡
    ሁለተኛ ነገር ይህን ዓለም ማሸነፊያ ዮሐንስ እንደነገረን በእግዚአብሔር ልጅ ላይ ያለ እምነታችን ነውና በእርሱ ያለንን እምነት ስንኖርበት የሚያዩ ሁሉ “ውይ እንዴት ያማረ እንዴት የሰመረ ሕይወት ነው” እንዲሉ በጌታ ዘንድ ያለውን ሀብት እንጠቀምበት፡፡ “ባለቤቱ ያቀለለውን አሞሌ” እንደተሰኘው ተረት እንዳይሆንብን ከመለኮታዊ ጸጋው የሚመነጨውን ደስታ፣ ፍቅር፣ ሰላምና ርካታ የሚያጣጥም ምላስ እናዳብር፡፡ ጤነኛ አፒታይት (የምግብ ፍላጎት) እንዲፈጥርልን የነፍሳችንን ጌታ እንለምነው፡፡ እናምናለን በመስቀሉ እንቆማለን በወንጌሉ ሕያው ሆኖ ይሠራል አልተለወጠም ቃሉ፡፡

    Written by  Negussie Bulcha

    ምኝጭ:semayawithought

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  • "What the Ethiopian Church Can Teach Us"

     

    Often when leaders return from mission trips, they exalt the areas of strength in the churches they just visited over the apparent shortcomings in their own church. Sometimes this comes across as a form of manipulation to get their church to “behave correctly,” but other times, that difference stands as a contrast and a helpful, convicting reminder. My intent here is to highlight that reminder. Read more »
  • Boko Haram largely responsible for rise in African terror attacks - report

    Nigeria’s Boko Haram militant group has been one of the main causes for an increase in terrorist attacks in Africa, according to a US Department of State report on terrorism. The report found that global terror attacks last year fell to their lowest level since 2005, but increased significantly in Africa.

    Africa experienced 978 attacks in 2011, an 11.5% increase over the previous year. Boko Haram conducted 136 attacks in 2011, up from 31 the previous year, according to the annual Country Reports on Terrorism.

    The Country Reports on Terrorism noted that in Africa, foreign fighters, a small number of al-Qaeda operatives, and other indigenous violent extremists continued to pose a threat to regional security throughout East Africa in 2011.

    “Al-Shabaab continued to conduct frequent attacks on government, military, and civilian targets inside Somalia while the group’s leadership remained actively interested in attacking US and Western interests in the region,” the report said.

    It added that in the Trans-Sahara region, “al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continued kidnap for ransom operations against Western Europeans and Africans. AQIM conducted small-scale ambushes and attacks on security forces in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Regional efforts to contain and marginalize AQIM continued, as did capacity building efforts of military and law enforcement personnel. Conflict in Nigeria continued throughout the northern part of the country with hundreds of casualties as indigenous terrorist attacks increased. The Nigerian extremist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for some of these attacks.”

    Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said that he was very concerned about the activities of Boko Haram. “We have been working to address the issue of insecurity in northern Nigeria. And this is a top priority for the Department. We’re concerned about Boko Haram's activities. We’ve been engaging with the Nigerian Government in particular at the highest levels to move them towards greater engagement with communities that are vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying political and socioeconomic problems in the north.”

    Nigeria experienced a steady increase in terrorist attacks in 2011, particularly in the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, and Kaduna as well as in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Elements of Boko Haram increased the number and sophistication of attacks in six northern states and the FCT, including two vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) suicide bombings in Abuja, the report said. In the latter half of the year, the lethality, capability, and coordination of suspected Boko Haram attacks rose steadily. Incidents included:

    · On January 28, five suspected BH gunmen killed the Borno State All Nigerian People's Party (ANPP) gubernatorial candidate and six others, including two plain clothes policemen and the younger brother of the incumbent governor of Borno state.

    · On May 12, unidentified gunmen kidnapped two engineers (British and Italian nationals) from their residence in the city of Birnin Kebbi (Kebbi state), about 30 miles from the international border with Niger. A German employee of an Italian construction company managed to escape the same attack. BH had not released these hostages at year’s end.

    · On June 16, a terrorist detonated VBIED in the parking lot of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) headquarters in Abuja, killing a police officer, the driver of the car that exploded, and at least two others. The blast damaged at least 50 vehicles and shattered windows on the south side of the NPF headquarters building.

    · On August 26, a terrorist rammed two exit gates of the United Nations (UN) headquarters compound in Abuja and crashed into the lobby of the building before detonating his VBIED, killing 24 persons and injuring over 120 persons. BH claimed responsibility via BBC-Hausa radio.

    · On October 16, suspected BH members killed one policeman during a pre-dawn bomb attack on the 34th mobile police force base in Gombe state. Assailants burned 15 vehicles, destroyed a building, and looted an armory that police had recently re-stocked with weapons and ammunition.

    · On November 4, multiple VBIED and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Yobe and Borno states targeted security force offices, including the NPF, SSS, and the Military's Joint Task Force (JTF) offices, as well as several markets and 11 churches. At least six attacks occurred in Yobe and four in Borno, including a failed VBIED attempt at the JTF headquarters in Maiduguri. Terrorists killed over 100 people, including nearly 70 bystanders at a major traffic circle in the center of Damaturu, Yobe state.

    In response to the growing terrorist threat, Nigeria made several legislative and legal efforts to combat the scourge, including the introduction of the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011 in June, which included provisions prohibiting terrorist financing and providing for the seizure of funds and property held by individual terrorists or terrorist organizations. Nigeria also cooperated closely with the US Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance programme and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) programmes, which provided training to bolster the capacity of Nigeria's law enforcement agencies to address terrorist incidents.

    Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb militants were also active in Niger, and conducted kidnap for ransom operations there. “Porous borders and the huge expanse of Niger not under full government control provided opportunities for terrorists to move about the area,” the Country Report on Terrorism noted. “The presence of Boko Haram (BH) in northern Nigeria also posed a threat. Niger was committed to fighting AQIM and BH, but without external support and greater regional cooperation, Niger will likely remain vulnerable to terrorist activity.”

    Niger was a victim of AQIM attacks, kidnappings, and anti-government operations. On January 7, two French citizens were kidnapped from a restaurant in Niamey. The two hostages died during an immediate rescue attempt by French and Nigerien forces near the Malian border. On February 24, AQIM released two Africans and a female French national who had been kidnapped in Arlit in September 2010. Four male French nationals taken in the same incident remained in AQIM captivity at year’s end.

    Somalia was another terrorist hotbed, with near-daily IEDs, grenade attacks, and assassinations targeting government security forces and African Union troops leading to the deaths of hundreds of civilians as well as security personnel.

    Although the security situation in Somalia remained dire, the State Department noted that in 2011, with the assistance of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia’s neighbours, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) made significant gains in degrading al-Shabaab capability and liberating areas from al-Shabaab administration. “However, foreign fighters and al-Shabaab members remained in many parts of south and central Somalia and continued to mount operations within Somalia and against neighbouring countries.”

    “A multi-front offensive commencing in February by the TFG, AMISOM, and TFG-allied forces against al-Shabaab resulted in significant territorial gains in the capital city of Mogadishu and key cities of southern and central Somalia. Ethiopia, Kenya, and associated Somali forces liberated areas from al-Shabaab control in the Gedo, Lower Juba, and Hiraan regions of Somalia. In August, al-Shabaab withdrew from many Mogadishu districts, leaving the TFG and AMISOM in control of the majority of districts in Somalia’s capital for the first time since the Ethiopians left in 2009. By the end of 2011, the TFG and its allies were poised to make further territorial advances against al-Shabaab in southern and central Somalia,” the report continued.

    “Al-Shabaab remained in control of much of southern and central Somalia, however, providing a permissive environment for al Qaeda operatives to conduct training and terrorist planning with other sympathetic violent extremists, including foreign fighters. The capability of the TFG and other Somali local and regional authorities to prevent and preempt al-Shabaab terrorist attacks remained limited.

    “Al-Shabaab’s withdrawal from conventional fighting in and near Mogadishu resulted in a change of al-Shabaab tactics to asymmetrical attacks against AMISOM and the TFG. These attacks resulted in the increased use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that became more advanced. In late 2011, al-Shabaab with increasing frequency employed IEDs against Kenyan and anti-al-Shabaab Somali forces in South/Central Somalia.

    “In 2011, al-Shabaab and other violent extremists conducted suicide attacks, remote-controlled roadside bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations of government officials, journalists, humanitarian workers, and civil society leaders throughout Somalia. Al-Shabaab also threatened UN and other foreign aid agencies and their staff. Two examples of high-profile al-Shabaab terrorist attacks included a truck bomb that detonated in Mogadishu on October 4, killing over seventy.”

    Neighbouring Ethiopia was threatened by instability in Somalia, as well as domestic groups, such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Despite the Ethiopian government’s peace agreement with the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF) and a faction of the ONLF in 2010, elements from both groups, as well as the OLF, continued their attempts to target Ethiopian government officials and infrastructure.

    Kenya suffered a number of terrorist incidents in 2011, including:

    · On October 14, two Spanish nationals working for a non-governmental organization were kidnapped in Dadaab refugee camp, in northeastern Kenya, where they remained in captivity at year’s end.

    · In the early morning of October 24, a hand grenade was tossed into a night club in downtown Nairobi, injuring 14 Kenyan patrons. Later that day, another grenade exploded at a crowded bus stop, killing one and injuring 16 others.

    · On October 27, in the northeast, a vehicle carrying officials from the Ministry of Education was attacked, leaving four dead.

    · On October 28, a police vehicle was heavily damaged after driving over an explosive device.

    · On November 5, suspected al-Shabaab militants hurled grenades into a Pentecostal church in Garissa town, killing two people and seriously injuring five others. The same day, a police vehicle escorting a UN convoy to the Dadaab refugee camp sustained minimal damage when it hit an improvised explosive device.

    · On November 22, two police officers were injured when their vehicle was ambushed by suspected al-Shabaab militants near Liboi (near the Somali border).

    · On November 24, a military truck patrolling on the outskirts of Mandera struck a land mine, killing one soldier and seriously wounded five others. Later on the same day, a hotel and a shopping center in the northern town of Garissa were attacked with hand grenades, killing five and injuring several others.

    In response to a series of kidnappings of Westerners, Kenya initiated military action in Somalia against al-Shabaab militants on October 16, 2011. “Al-Shabaab responded to the Kenyan incursion into Somalia by threatening retaliation against civilian targets in Kenya. Arms smuggling, reports of extremist recruiting within refugee camps and Kenyan cities, and increased allegations of terrorist plotting enhanced recognition among government officials and civil society that Kenya remained vulnerable to terrorist attack,” the report said.

    Elsewhere in Africa, the Country Reports on Terrorism document said that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there were three principal foreign armed groups that posed a threat to security and stability: the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (known by its French acronym as FDLR) and two Ugandan armed groups, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF/NALU). 2011 witnessed numerous attacks by the LRA, FDLR, and ADF. The ADF remained active but has suffered setbacks due to a number of FARDC offensives. MONUSCO attributed 32 attacks to the LRA in the month of June, making it the most active month, while September was the least active with only five registered attacks.

    The report noted that the DRC's inability to control its porous borders and its lack of authority over remote areas provided opportunities for terrorist organizations seeking safe havens. “The Government of the DRC lacked complete control over some areas of its territory, especially in the East where various armed groups operate, and had very limited capacity to monitor and disrupt potential terrorist threats,” the report said.

    Insecurity also affected the DRC’s neighbour Rwanda, with at least six reports of grenade explosions or attacks in Kigali or along Rwanda’s border with the DRC in January, March, and July 2011. The grenade attacks typically targeted areas where Rwandans congregated, such as transportation hubs and markets, resulting in up to 61 people injured and two killed.

    Mali experienced a significant uptick in terrorist activity during 2011, including:

    · On October 23, an AQIM-affiliated group kidnapped three aid workers – two Spanish and one Italian – from a Polisario-run refugee camp near Tindouf. AQIM are suspected of holding the hostages on Malian soil.

    · On the night of November 23-24, armed individuals possibly affiliated with AQIM kidnapped two French nationals in Hombori, Mopti Region, and reportedly delivered them to AQIM, which is believed to be holding them on Malian soil. Malian security forces arrested two suspects involved in the kidnapping; investigations continued at year’s end.

    · On November 25, armed assailants possibly affiliated with AQIM kidnapped three European tourists and killed a fourth in Timbuktu city, Timbuktu Region. The hostages – Dutch, Swedish, and South African/British nationals – were reportedly being held on Malian soil; the individual who was killed, a German national, died while resisting the kidnapping attempt. Malian security forces reportedly arrested two of the assailants. The investigation continued at year’s end.

    Mali’s law enforcement efforts have increased over the past year, including the arrest of Bechir Sinoun for the attempted bombing of the French Embassy in Bamako, the detention of two individuals affiliated with AQIM in Bamako, and the arrest of two individuals implicated in the Hombori kidnapping.

    Mauritania continued to address terrorism threats proactively, according to the US State report. AQIM remained a threat, which was most visibly demonstrated by the group's attempt to mount a coordinated attack in the capital in February. Other incidents included the December 20 abduction by AQIM of a gendarme from his post in Adel Bagrou, following a series of successful Mauritanian military operations against AQIM.

    On July 5, the Mauritanian military successfully repelled an AQIM attack led by a 17-vehicle convoy against a garrison in Bassiknou, near the southeastern border with Mali, and killed six terrorists. AQIM stated the strike on the outpost was planned as retaliation for a joint Mauritanian-Malian raid on June 26 in Mali, known as Operation Benkan, which killed 15 AQIM members and left two Mauritanian soldiers dead.

    “While these events occurred in the border zone with Mali, Nouakchott was the target of a foiled truck-bombing plot on February 1-2. The Mauritanian military successfully interdicted three vehicles attempting to attack the French Embassy and assassinate President Aziz. Mauritanian forces captured one vehicle containing 1.2 tons of explosives, munitions, and logistics equipment roughly 200 kilometers south of Nouakchott, along with two of the three individuals involved. The Mauritanian military then neutralized a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) 12 kilometers southeast of Nouakchott, killing both terrorists involved. This was the third attempted suicide attack in Mauritania after AQIM attacked the military barracks in Nema by VBIED in August 2010, and a lone suicide bomber targeted the French Embassy in Nouakchott in August 2009,” the report stated.

    Mauritania continued its efforts to convict major terrorist suspects in judicial proceedings. The Mauritanian judiciary convicted 33 terrorists in 2011, bringing the number of convictions to a total of 140 since 2009.

    Other flashpoints in 2011 included South Sudan, which suffered about twenty-five Lord’s Resistance Army incidents.

    The Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 document included a statistical annex prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the US intelligence community, that showed that the overall number of terrorist attacks worldwide fell to 10 283 last year from 11 641 in 2010.

    The number of worldwide fatalities fell to 12 533 last year from 13 193 the year before, according to the statistics, which NCTC issued in a report published on June 1. That was the lowest level since 2005, when there were more than 11 000 attacks and more than 14 000 fatalities. The general decline in terrorism-related fatalities - which peaked at more than 22 000 in 2007 - reflects, in part, less violence in Iraq.

     

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  • North Korea: God’s Light Shines In The Darkest Night

    Christian media often describe North Korea as "the worst place on earth to be a Christian." According to the leader of one ministry working with North Korean underground Christians, however, that's not how the Christians of North Korea themselves feel.

    Eric Foley, CEO of Seoul USA, says that North Korean underground Christians are among the least likely group to defect since they feel their existence in North Korea has divine purpose.

    "Our reckoning that North Korea is the worst place to be a Christian says more about our own understanding of Christianity than it does about North Korea," says Foley.

    Foley offers his own list of "10 Reasons North Korea is not the Worst Place to be a Christian" in a recent press release.

    #1

    Romans 8:28 still applies inside of North Korea.

    #2

    If you are a Christian in a country where no Christians are suffering for Jesus you probably ought to be more concerned than if you are a Christian in a country where nearly every Christian is suffering for Jesus.

    #3

    Jesus said, "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you... For your reward is great in heaven" (Matthew 5:11–12).

    #4

    We Western Christians sometimes confuse God with Mammon. North Korean Christians daily see the difference clearly.

    #5

    For Western Christians, our biggest theological preoccupation seems to be not trying to earn our way to heaven. North Koreans are long past thinking they can do anything to impress God.

    #6

    North Koreans daily pray and see God move miraculously. We are either theologically or practically convinced that God quit answering prayers for his miraculous intervention somewhere around Acts 28:30.

    #7

    We Western Christians also have a hard time believing in Satan. North Korean Christians have no such hangup.

    #8

    They understand through their hunger that man does not live by bread alone. Meanwhile, most of our prayers as Western Christians are variations on John 6:34, "Sir, always give us this bread."

    #9

    Most North Korean Christians find Luke 16:19-31 very comforting and are longing for that day. Not us.

    #10

    Christians are ambassadors. If one truly understands one's identity as an ambassador, one glories in that identity rather than grumbling about the country where one got posted.

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  • Some More Remarks on Submission (Compliments of Phil Payne)

    The last half of Philip B. Payne’s book Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters begins an exegesis of Paul’s later writings in Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Timothy and deals with some of the most contentious passages dividing the Church over the role of women.

    Chapter 15 “Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19: Husband-Wife Relationships” focuses upon the text of Ephesians, though Payne shows that the parallel expressions in both of these passages indicate they are addressing the same issues. Thus, whatever bears upon the one passage must bear upon the other. Payne chooses to deal primarily with the longer passage of Ephesians.

    After noting differences between family life in Paul’s day with that of contemporary culture, Payne opines “While Paul’s wording was framed in order to speak to people in his own social structure, one must not assume that he intended to make those social structures normative for all societies. If Paul were writing today, he would probably give different commands to uphold the same principles.” As I understand and have experienced, what traditional, complementarian-minded Christianity has done is make normative what was not intended, thus missing the principles that Paul was actually getting at in the text. This is a very insightful hermeneutical principle: commands issued may be culturally relative, but the principles behind them could be timeless. Moreover, while complementarians (a term that, with some slight nuances, merely denotes a hierarchical structure of male authority over the female in the home, in the Church, and in some cases in the world) charge that cultural background is overused by biblical egalitarians to support their case, Payne implicitly suggests complementarians underuse it, which results in an inconsistent hermeneutic. Of course, inconsistency begets inconsistency and the outworking of this in life becomes clear. Payne states:

    "Advocates of a hierarchical structure in marriage of wives to their husbands in effect endorse the patriarchal structure of marriage that was pervasive in Paul’s day. If they were consistent, they probably would also advocate the corresponding dictates of the patriarchal structure (as many used to do) that children, even much older children, ought to be subordinate to their parents, and that slaves ought to be subordinate to their masters…The risk in interpreting “the husband is the head of the wife” as establishing an authority structure in the context of these “house codes” is that one thereby embraces “a very odd understanding of what marriage is: a relationship in which a wife is basically a person controlled by her husband in every respect in the same way as children and slaves.” (quoting Howard Marshall, “Mutual Love and Submission in Marriage: Colossians 3:18-19 and Ephesians 5:21-33,” in Discovering Biblical Equality, all of which is an essential read for those wishing to engage the many issues surrounding biblical egalitarianism.)"

    Payne lays out Paul’s vision of marriage showing that it was in sharp contrast to the culture of the day and warns readers to “consider the evidence [laid down by Payne, pp. 113-139] for reading this passage without reading back into Paul’s words the association of ‘head’ as ‘leader’ that fits English, but is dubious for Greek.” Unless and until this can be done, then there is little hope that a different model can emerge other than the traditional hierarchical one so prevalent in today’s Christian churches and households.

    Paul spends a great deal of effort emphasizing unity and love as major underlying themes for the ethical precepts he issues for house codes; principles that are in direct opposition to first-century practices. “True love for one’s wife,” says Payne, “is not compatible with a husband completely controlling her life, just as true love is not compatible with a master completely controlling his slave’s life or for a parent completely controlling his mature child’s life.”

    In fact, if Paul were supporting hierarchical structures so prevalent in the first-century, then he likely would not have written Eph 5:21 “submitting to one another” using the reciprocal pronoun. Even if it is conceptually incoherent for reciprocity in relationships to be aligned with hierarchical structures, it is practically inconceivable in the first-century. Payne goes to great lengths to show the “combination of ‘to place oneself under’ with the reciprocal pronoun defies social stratification, but [the reciprocal pronoun] fits perfectly with Paul’s view of mutuality in the body of Christ in Ephesians.” And, contra Wayne Grudem who argues for a one-directional model of submission, Payne insists that reciprocity applies equally to all parties involved, not merely to some while others are excluded. “If Paul had intended ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Gal 6:2) to be always one way, the same people always bearing the burdens of others but their burdens never being borne by others, he would not have used the reciprocal pronoun.” Thus, mutuality inheres in Paul’s use of the reciprocal pronoun; to deny it violates the essence of reciprocity and defies Paul’s grammar.

    When “submit” is taken to mean “under the authority of another” and “head” is understood as “leader” instead of “source,” it is easy to continue advocating hierarchy in relationships as the”natural reading” (pace Grudem) of Ephesians 5. What we must not assume, Payne suggests, is that the notion of authority is what Paul intended when using ὑποτάσσω (hypotassō) in Ephesians 5:21ff. Instead, what we should discern from the context is that submission means “voluntary yielding for the sake of love.” [It's noteworthy that 1 Corinthians 16:15 shows τάσσω (tassō), the root of ὑποτάσσω (hypotassō) indicates "devotion," not "under the authority of."]

    Payne’s proposal, that we take “submit” to mean “voluntary yielding for the sake of love,” fits all relationships addressed in Ephesians 5:21-6:4: everyone to each other (5:21); wives to husbands (5:22), the Church to Christ (5:24), husbands to wives (5:25-33), children to parents (6:1-4), and slaves to masters (6:5-9). Incidentally, the logic of this suggests: 1) If Paul’s injunction for every believer to submit to one another involves husbands (and clearly it would), then 2) husbands loving their wives is tantamount to submitting to them, given Payne’s definition of submission as “voluntarily yielding for the sake of love.” The basis for and grounding of Paul’s appeal beginning in 5:21 and extending through 6:9, therefore, is not authority but love. Thus, all acts of Christian love expressed toward Christians must be mutual with no hint of “under the authority of another.” Otherwise, Christian teaching hardly offers anything unique for house codes, since it does not extend past the cultural mores of the day.

    There is far more in this chapter that I would like to address, but space and time do not allow. I encourage you to read it for yourself. For a full summary review of Payne’s book, see my 10-part series.

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