N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Religion and Politics

75 Years Since Liberation…Are we turning our backs?

The survivors of the concentration camp, Auschwitz, were liberated by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945. What they found shocked the world and yet, even today, the Jews of the world are still being persecuted. Why?  The horror of these and many other photographs only tell part of the story.  Does the world want to endure such atrocities again?

It is difficult to look at this picture, but it is included in this particular blog because we must NEVER FORGET the tragedy forced upon the millions of Jews and non-Jews during this period.

A Liberator Remembers:

MOSCOW (AFP) — It was the silence, the smell of ashes and the boundless surrounding expanse that struck Soviet soldier Ivan Martynushkin when his unit arrived in January 1945 to liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

As they entered the camp for the first time, the full horror of the Nazis’ crimes there were yet to emerge.

“Only the highest-ranking officers of the General Staff had perhaps heard of the camp,” recalled Martynushkin of his arrival to the site where at least 1.1 million people were killed between 1940 and 1945 — nearly 90 percent of them Jews. “We knew nothing.” But Martynushkin and his comrades soon learned.

After scouring the camp in search of a potential Nazi ambush, Martynushkin and his fellow soldiers “noticed people behind barbed wire. ‘It was hard to watch them. I remember their faces, especially their eyes which betrayed their ordeal,’ he said. The unit found roughly 7,000 prisoners left behind in Auschwitz by fleeing Nazis — those too weak or sick to walk. They also discovered about 600 corpses. Ten days earlier, the Nazis had evacuated 58,000 Auschwitz inmates in sub-zero conditions over hundreds of kilometers towards Loslau (now Wodzislaw Slaski in Poland). Survivors later remembered the “death march” as even worse than what they had endured in the camp. 

Prior to that retreat, Nazi units had blown up parts of the camp, but failed to destroy evidence of their genocidal work. Among items discovered by Martynushkin and other Soviet troops were 370,000 men’s suits, 837,000 women’s garments, and 7.7 tons of human hair, according to Sybille Steinbacher, a history professor at the University of Vienna.

January 27, 1945 — now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — had begun as a normal day for the 21-year-old Martynushkin and his company, until the order was given to move towards the Polish town of Oswiecim, where Nazis had set up a network of concentration camps.

That led to the machine gun commander and his peers taking Auschwitz, liberating its survivors and discovering the nightmarish crimes that had been committed in the camp.  (Moscow AFP)

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland. The Germans had already fled westward, leaving behind the bodies of prisoners who had been shot and thousands of sick and starving survivors. The Soviet troops also found gas chambers and crematoria that the Germans had blown up before fleeing in an attempt to hide evidence of their mass killings. But the genocide was too massive to hide. Today, the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau endures as the leading symbol of the terror of the Holocaust. Its iconic status is such that every year it registers a record number of visitors — 2.3 million last year alone.

Auschwitz today is many things at once: an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.

AP Pictures of Auschwitz 75 years later: 

Pictures show places where prisoners were crowded into tight spaces, wired prison and crematorium where they were gassed and burned.

Has the world not learned the lessons of history? Is it repeating history by “turning it’s back” on the Jews or any other group of people enduring hate and torment?” If so, this is a warning that should not be ignored. Charges have been made that modern-day Iran is the “most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.”

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Holocaust survivors and world leaders that the world turned its back on Jews during the Holocaust, teaching the Jewish people that under threat they can only rely on themselves.

Speaking at the World Holocaust Forum’s memorial to commemorate the 75th liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at Yad Vashem, Netanyahu said the world was similarly failing to unify against Iran, which he charged was the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.

‘Israel is eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by the Allies. Without that sacrifice, there would be no survivors today. But we also remember that some 80 years ago, when the Jewish people faced annihilation, the world turned its back on us,’ Netanyahu said.”   (article by Raoul Wootliff and Toi Staff Jan.2020)

Over and over, we hear “NEVER AGAIN”…Yet in one form or another, genocide is part of many cultures and places around the world. We must not forget…and we must not turn our backs on any place where the people are helpless victims to the evils of their leaders.

“It was my privilege to take American high school students to Auschwitz and because we went to see this place of evil, their lives will never be the same…and neither is mine.”  N. Boyer of Boyer Writes

VIDEO OF THE 75th YEAR SINCE LIBERATION OF AUSCHWITZ from the location at AUSCHWITZ in Poland

(This video is full length. It is worth watching even if it can only be watched in short intervals.)  Turn up sound:


The fury…and Responsibility

Throughout history, there has been religious groups spreading their mayhem into lands where innocent people have been brutalized.  One only needs to read the Holy Scriptures to find what happened when the Jews took revenge on their enemies.  The Muslims invaded territory after territory with slaughter.  The Christians were also brutal during The Crusades.  On and on it goes if we look into Genghis Khan and tribal warfare around the world.

christian-crusaders

Christian Crusades

muslim-army

Muslim Warriors

ghingis-khan

Genghis Khan

amalekites-and-midanitesmuslim-army

Christians were burned at the stake during the Inquisition.  Today, in the Middle East,  they are being murdered for their faith.   Jews were murdered by the millions in World War II.

burning-at-stake-of-old-believer-leader-avavvakum-1682mass-murder-of-jews

There has never been a peaceful world since sin and evil began.  Will there ever be peace or will the fury remain?   We’ll attempt to answer this at the end of this blog.

Great anxiety is happening as nations in our modern day time deal with the potential of nuclear warfare and even the possibility of space warfare as more deadly inventions are developed.  Should people be more than a little anxious…you bet they should be!  Who then is responsible for the fright that people feel?    Is it the actions of a new administration which swears to protect the people?    Is it our own imaginations and thoughts that pity the people who try to flee to a safer place regardless of their religious beliefs and actions of tyrants?

An article was written recently that had a number of responses from readers.  A reader challenged the author with the following words about the raw nerves and anxiety of people concerning extreme vetting of refugees who may or may not be Muslim because the entire world is worried about terrorism in all forms.  He wrote the following,  giving specific examples of why extreme vetting may be the only answer to finding out the motives of people who  come to a country other than their own:

“…the US isn’t responsible for anxiety about Muslim refugees. Who is actually responsible? People such as Somali Muslim migrant Mohammad Barry, who in February 2016 stabbed multiple patrons at a restaurant owned by an Arab Christian; Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghan Muslim migrant who in September 2016 set off bombs in New York City and New Jersey; Arcan Cetin, a Turkish Muslim migrant who in September 2016 murdered five people in a mall in Burlington, Washington; Dahir Adan, another Somali Muslim migrant who in October 2016 stabbed mall shoppers in St. Cloud while screaming ‘Allahu akbar’; and Abdul Razak Artan, yet another Somali Muslim migrant who in November 2016 injured nine people with car and knife attacks at Ohio State University. What’s more, all of the Islamists who murdered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had just entered Europe as refugees. In February 2015, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 Muslim refugees. The Lebanese Education Minister said in September 2015 that there were 20,000 jihadists among the refugees in camps in his country. Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all. So why are they claiming to be Syrian and streaming into Europe, and now the U.S. as well? An Islamic State operative gave the answer when he boasted in September 2015, shortly after the migrant influx began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadists had already entered Europe. He explained their purpose: ‘It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.’ These Muslims were going to Europe in the service of that caliphate: ‘They are going like refugees,’ he said, but they were going with the plan of sowing blood and mayhem on European Crusader streets. As he told this to journalists, he smiled and said, ‘Just wait.’ On May 10, 2016, Patrick Calvar, the head of France’s DGSI internal intelligence agency, said that the Islamic State was using migrant routes through the Balkans to get jihadists into Europe…”

jihad-in-islamic-world

Radical Muslim Jihadist

 

Most people that I know have a great deal of empathy for those people caught in war and are persecuted for their beliefs. They are not against people for their religious beliefs as long as they are ones of peace and tolerance.  Unless the reasons for coming to America or any other country are for these reasons, people neither want to be enslaved to another religion or murdered for their beliefs. We are all responsible to not allow that to happen. Unfortunately, it will be hard for us to know exactly who those with evil in their thoughts really are unless we actually hear or observe someone spouting these thoughts and goals. We’ve been told “See something…say something.”   Otherwise, we are at the mercy of those professionals in our countries who watch out for us.

 

 

How many  people eager to arrive on our shores and settle in among us are a risk to our safety? This is a difficult problem…as it is in Europe and throughout the free world.
One priority in vetting, should be looked at.  Many people who have been willing to risk their lives in helping the American forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places by serving as language translators and in warfare intelligence, must not be thrown back in the “lion’s den”.  Most of these are Muslim.   They should also, when allowed to immigrate with their families, should not be settled in dangerous communities of the U.S. as some have been.   Read one story of a father of a fallen soldier who is fighting for the translator of his son. 

translator-for-american-soldiers

Translator’s  face, blurred for his protection, was an Afghan interpreter who worked for the U.S. military. He poses with Afghan commandos in front of a controlled explosion. He worked closely with American Jonathan Schmidt, in the dark tan shirt and a baseball cap (in the center). The translator was with Schmidt when he was killed in a 2012 firefight.  He is now seeking a U.S. visa.

Courtesy of Phil Schmidt

So is there any hope?     Will there be peace on earth?   It begins with us for certain and every individual.  The Holy Scriptures tell us some  disheartening news:

 “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.”   Matthew 24

“Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.”   Proverbs 12:20

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
  Romans 12:17-19
Most Americans are not against the immigration of peaceful Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or any other religion faith.   America is made up of many faces, beliefs, and origins.  As we are told, “A house divided against itself will not stand.”    We must stand for the rights of our American people and live with our neighbors who truly come to live with us in peace.  These…and these only  will be welcomed with open arms.
We, as adults, and leaders of every country must work together to assure that our future generations can live in peace as much as is possible.  We owe it to them.

Deception is Possible…Trumpeting a Warning

trumpet and clouds

Deception is  an act or statement intended to make people believe something that is not true.  Recently I was sent an email that gave a long, flowery presentation on how one political presidential candidate may be God’s messenger to save the United States…and maybe even the free world. The email was directed at Christians.  I could not help but think that all people, especially Christians, may want to consider carefully that deception is a great possibility when following one who decides to lead or comparing one to divine intervention.  This is risky business for who knows the mind of God outside of His divine word.

Everyone wants evil to go away. We would like someone or some leader to fix things, but this is truly wishful thinking. There is great fear when one learns  about a beloved Christian priest being brutally murdered in his own church, in front of the altar and cross of Christ. The Scriptures have told us that we will be hated for being followers (Mark 13:13) and there will be great anguish in the world (Mark 13:19), but there is hope and we should not be deceived or listen to deceivers.

Below are some verses from the Holy Scriptures, book of Mark and chapter 13.  Pay close attention to Mark:13:22 about deception.    If one is interested in the world’s future, he or she may want to read what Jesus, Himself, had to say about this.   Be wise and be alert to “off the wall” things being written and said in this modern world.   God would not have us be deceived.

New Living Translation   Holy Scriptures  Mark 13

  1.  Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”
  2. Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
  3. Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him,
  4. “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”
  5. Jesus replied, Don’t let anyone mislead you,
  6. for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.
  7. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.
  8. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
  9. “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.
  10. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.
  11. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
  12. “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.
  13. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
  14. “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.
  15. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.
  16. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.
  17. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.
  18. And pray that your flight will not be in winter.
  19. For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again.
  20. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of His chosen ones He has shortened those days.
  21. “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it.
  22. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.
  23. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!
  24. “At that time, after the anguish of those days,the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light,
  25. the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
  26. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
  27. And He will send out his angels to gather His chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
  28. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.
  29. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.
  30. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place.
  31. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
  32. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
  33. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
  34. “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.
  35. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak.
  36. Don’t let Him find you sleeping when He arrives without warning.
  37. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for Him!”

Trust in God with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5,6

universe and hands

GREAT is the FAITHFULNESS of GOD to give WISDOM,

not DECEPTION, to ALL AGES, RACES, and PEOPLES 

Turn on sound


What does it take to heal a nation?

There are many voices saying what is right or wrong with the United States.  These voices come from every walk of life. They are strongest often during an election year.  The worst and the best come out in the candidates for the highest honor in our government and in those who would speak for or against those candidates.  Regardless of this, there are also spiritual leaders within our country that speak out with warnings that many will reject.  This warning is that our nation must be healed or it has dire consequences to follow.

Recently an article was written by Michael Chapman,who quoted The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the renowned evangelist, Billy Graham.  Franklin  Graham has been leading open-air prayer meetings throughout the United States called Decision America.  He has seen the cross-section of Americans and what they believe.  During these trips, Rev. Graham reports that over 2,021 people have indicated that they have decided that they needed a spiritual awakening and have made a decision to follow Christ. He is asking them to not only pray for themselves, but for our nation.  Here are a few of Rev. Graham’s words worth paying attention to as we face the future:

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They come to Decision America because they are angry or dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Then they hear the Gospel ( of Christ) preached, fall under conviction, repent of their sins, and turn to Christ. Praise God!….There is no doubt that the tens of thousands who have attended know that America is in deep trouble and on the verge of total moral and spiritual collapse—unless God intervenes. …They know our only hope is in Almighty God. In this secular age, the influence of Biblical principles and values has diminishing impact upon education, government and politics.  More young people than ever before claim no religious affiliation at all. We Christians are not just simply tolerated—we are under constant, unrelenting assault for our beliefs and practices.

 

Rev. Graham continues, “We are a people and nation in imminent danger,” said the reverend. “We mock God, ridicule His Word and 
His ways, and flaunt gross 
immorality.”

In conclusion, said Franklin Graham, “Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”

Rev. Graham wonders if the handwriting may be on the wall for America as it was in older days for the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, that foretold a doom unless the people changed their ways.

He added that the United States may be in a situation like that of the Babylonian king Belshazzar, who saw the mysterious handwriting on the wall foretelling his doom but did not change his ways.   They did not and his kingdom was handed over to a new world order.

As for politics, Rev. Graham has stated that he has been greatly disappointed by both the Democrat and Republican parties. This is why he refuses to endorse any candidate. He knows that the people throughout the United States must turn to God in order for our country to be healed.

“I think Americans across the board are fed up with the shenanigans that go on, politicians who go to Washington to benefit themselves, who promise one thing and deliver another…..Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”

Samaritan's Purse Franlin Graham  Uganda

Rev. Franklin Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and also heads up Samaritan’s Purse, which ministers to the needs of people around the world through relief.  “Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. We specialize in meeting critical needs for victims of conflict, disaster, famine, and epidemics throughout the world, often working through ministry partners on the ground. We provide food, water, shelter, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ.”    These acts show the love of God and the healing of nations.

 

Franklin Graham’s  father, Rev. Billy Graham is now 97 and lives in North Carolina.  The video below is what Rev. Graham would  like to say to the nation, calling it his last address to our country.

It is how to be healed…individually and as a nation. It is the story of how God takes individuals and makes them new.  This is the message that people in our country and throughout the world need to hear.  This is how our nation can be healed one person at a time.

 

 

 


Reprimanding Americans on Tolerance

The following article was written by David Harsanyi.

He is the senior editor at The Federalist  February 5, 2016   The National Review     (President meeting families in overflow room at Baltimore Mosque.Photo credit: Drew Angerer )

Obama’s Baltimore Mosque Speech Was a Dangerous Fantasy

For seven years now, the president has reprimanded the American people for their attitudes about Islam.   Barack Obama’s big speech to the Islamic Society of Baltimore — granted, filled with many harmless platitudes — was no different, leaving little room for any honest dialogue about ideology or faith.

Many of the president’s ideas about “tolerance,” in fact, are antithetical to the American experience, and not something to celebrate. Acceptance of outsiders is an American virtue, yes. Do we have to embrace all ideas, as well? Obama has conflated tolerance of individuals and groups with tolerance of a select belief system — one that he demands be immune from criticism.

We certainly don’t want people attacking peaceful Muslims, but it’s irresponsible and intellectually obtuse to act as if the pervasive violence, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, tyranny, anti-Semitism, bigotry against Christians, etc. that exist in large parts of Islamic society abroad has absolutely nothing to do with faith. This week, Obama spoke about the evils of Islamophobia to a group that featured women covered, subordinated, and segregated from men. I’m happy he’s open-minded about that sort of thing.

Americans are free to practice their faith in any way they choose. But I’m not sure why all of us should feel obligated to celebrate this kind of narrow-mindedness. You will remember how offended liberals get when presidential candidates visit Bob Jones University or Mormons fund campaigns they find objectionable. Why is this different? Most liberals won’t even allow that terrorism and extremism have something to do with Islam. We don’t need the president gratuitously attacking an entire religion.  Obama hits this note quite often.

This week, John Kerry, the Imam of Beacon Hill, said this about ISIS: “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.” Kerry has no more theological authority to brand someone an apostate of Islam than King Salman of Saudi Arabia has to consecrate the Eucharist. Not even moderate Sunni clerics make this claim. Yet, over and over, leftists try and detach the branches of Islam they dislike from the trunk so they can call you a bigot for attacking their idealized conception of Islam.

Yesterday, the president explained that an “attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” Christian communities, often older than Islam itself, have been devastated by Islamic groups and left unprotected by moderate Muslim governments for decades. These attacks are aimed at Christians. We have done nothing to help them. It is then completely rational for Christians to be apprehensive about Islam. We can see Europe’s assimilation problems — which the Muslim community here has largely avoided — and wonder how this theology and culture will adapt to secularism. It’s not narrow-minded to do so. It would be reckless not to.

“We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” claimed a president who believes forcing nuns (and everyone) to buy birth control comports with American values. There is no law in this country that inhibits the freedom of Muslim Americans to practice their religion freely. Not one. I’m unsure that the president understands that hearing things you don’t like does not constitute an attack on freedom. People say ugly things all the time. No crime is acceptable, but Muslims have experienced far fewer hate crimes than blacks, Jews, or gays. Any way you want to parse the numbers, there is no epidemic of Islamophobia. But Obama likes to create the impression that some great injustice is occurring.

Take this CNN headline: “Obama rebuts anti-Muslim rhetoric in first U.S. mosque visit.” What does it mean? In the piece, we learn that the president reacted to “young Muslim parents whose children are worried about being removed from the country.” I know of no Republican candidate — or anyone of note on the right, or anywhere else for that matter — who has ever suggested any policy resembling this. Not even Donald Trump.

A president who wanted to bring people together would have dismissed this as a preposterous idea. He would have explained that no one in American politics is plotting to kick Muslims out of the country. He could have pointed out that in the United States, these children will enjoy more religious freedom than any Islamic nation offers, and be free of virtually any religious or factional violence — but that in this country, people still have the freedom to be critical of one another’s beliefs and even denounce them. This freedom is a lot more useful than dangerous notions about “tolerance.”

written by:  David Harsanyi


Oldest Christian Monasteries in Syria Under Attack

Mar Takla Christian Monastery in Syria

Mar Takla Christian Monastery in Syria

According to the AP:

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighters from the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra or Nusra Front and the Qalamon Liberation Front still control Maaloula, an ancient village that is home to two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria. Rebels captured this village on Saturday and it is reported that nuns are trying to find safe places for the orphans that they care for. Priests are also  being tortured by extremist Muslim rebels. 

Situated about 40 miles northeast of Damascus, Maaloula had until recently been firmly under the regime’s grip despite sitting in the middle of rebel-held territory east and north of the capital.

St. Theclas (Mar Takis) in Syria

St. Theclas (Mar Takis) in Syria

MTC_3770a mar-takla-ican

Maaloula Syria

Maaloula Syria

The village was a major tourist attraction before the civil war. Some of its residents still speak a version of Aramaic, a biblical language believed to have been used by Jesus. Maaloula is known as the last surviving place where Western Aramaic (Aramaic of Jesus) is still spoken.

Some History facts:

 For many centuries, the desert has provided escape and isolation for those who have left their normal life, to be alone with their God. From the beginning of the first millennium, it has been a sanctuary inhabited by monks and hermits which, in the 3rd century AD, became the birthplace of Christian monasticism.I 
 Mar Sarkis is one of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria. It was built on the site of a pagan temple, and has elements which go back to the fifth to sixth century Byzantine period.
Mar Sarkis is the Arabic name for Saint Sergius, a Roman soldier who was executed for his Christian beliefs. This monastery still maintains its solemn historical character. Mar Taqla St. Thecla Monastery  holds the remains of St. Taqla (Thecla); daughter of one of Seleucid princes, and pupil of St. Paul.( according to author, James Gordon)

Maalula, Syria

Maalula, Syria

Modern-Day Tragedy for Syrian Christians:

The savage attacks on  the village of  Maaloula highlights fears among Syrian Christians that the alternative to Assad’s regime — which is made up mostly of Alawites, followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam — would not tolerate minority religions.  The spotlight now is  on the deep-seated fears that many of Syria’s religious minorities harbor about the growing role of Islamic extremists on the rebel side in Syria’s civil war.   This very fear should be a focus that every Senate, House Member and Americans should be asking when looking at Syria.  Would we enable those terrorizing the Syrian Christians to  take control in this Civil War?

40078-maalula-monasteriesThe video below shows scenes from Maaloula Monastaries.



GOING IT ALONE …tiny Israel and the “trickle effect”

Flag of Israel

Flag of Israel

Yesterday, our prayers  at church were that the U.S. Congress will do what is best when voting whether to strike Syria.   It is a very tough situation…and the proposal to do something in a “limited” response may not deter anything at all. It is an area that is already devastated and now its people have been attacked with chemical weapons.  Nevertheless, the world is watching and waiting to see if we have any spit left in our mouth at all.  (that is an old N.C. saying…as to guts).

 July 31, 2013 Picture shows a devastated street in the Khalidiyah district of Syria's central city of Homs.

July 31, 2013 Picture shows a devastated street in the Khalidiyah district of Syria’s central city of Homs.

An article by Jeffrey Heller and Angus McDowall said  “…Tzachi Hanegbi, a Netanyahu confidant who sits on the Israeli parliament’s defense committee, complained that Obama’s statements had delivered further proof to Iran – and North Korea – that “there is no enthusiasm in the world to deal with their ongoing defiance regarding nuclear weaponry…To us in Israel, it says one thing: …‘If I am not for myself, then who is?'” …  

 For all the unease that Israel has about Syria’s rebels, who have at times fired into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, it is pushing hard against Assad now after learning to live with the Syrian leader and his father over the past 40 years… The message from Netanyahu was clear:”There is a man in nominal control of Syria who is using chemical weapons against civilians. That has to be stopped.”   

Abdullah al-Askar, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Shoura Council, said that U.S. strikes should aim to end Assad’s rule…Askar said “If the attack is just a punishment to show that the international community will not stand for chemical attacks, Assad will just remain in his place and do his bloody work. The second scenario is to finish the business.”

Another report on August 28 said, “An unnamed senior Syrian army officer told the Iranian news agency Fars: “If Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors.” Israel is “prepared for every scenario” and will respond forcefully if necessary, Netanyahu said.”

In looking at future threats to tiny Israel, Iran has already said they want to wipe Israel off the map.  When their nuclear weapons are ready, they intend to make this attempt.  There is no way that tiny Israel will sit back and wait for a chemical or nuclear attack on its people. They now have decided that they can not depend on Washington to “watch their back” and may have to go it alone!     

An Israeli soldier is seen next to an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery deployed near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, AP photo

An Israeli soldier is seen next to an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery deployed near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, AP photo

Going it alone, as we know, is impossible.  Someone will have to step up to the plate with them.  When the American war ships were sent to the Syrian coast…the Russians sent some of their own to keep an eye on what is going on.   Can we ever believe that the Russians would defend Israel if they should be attacked with any form of weapons?   Never!  There is too much involved with Russia’s oil interest with Syria….not to mention the oil interests of the United States and Europe.

For those who say, ” It is not our war…the Middle East has been fighting one another for thousands of years…”  This is a new day. We are connected one nation to another through our own cyber abilities.  Radical terrorism has spread across the globe.  Any time a war breaks out…especially on a big scale or a limited one…there is an impact on most everyone in the world.   The stock markets in major countries go ballistic…gas prices sky rocket…air freight and truckers  take a great hit…and so do we in our own homes...for it is a trickle-down effect that no one can deny.

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal

Economies around the world will not recover for years even if dictators are toppled…so others can take their place.   There is also the Suez Canal to consider along with human lives from any disaster.  The rest of the world depends on keeping this open.   Yes, it is all a huge mess.  No nation can be perfectly right in any decision made.

 

Only God knows what will happen by the decisions to be made now…and in the long run.  The  world cannot expect Israel to go it alone ….for they can’t.    Every church, temple,  synagogue, and  mosque should be pleading for God’s help!

We are all in it together like it or not.

israel wailing wall

israel

israeli worship


LEADERS and THE CONSTITUTION with surprising PERSONAL NOTES

constitution and feather pen“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America….”

A Democracy will only be as good as its LEADERSHIP.   This was true in the beginning of our country and is true today.

After the War for Independence was over, the very thing that had held the confederation together was now struggling to endure.   This new United States….this Union was in terrible danger.    They had to prove that this step that had been taken was correct.  The world needed to also see that this was true.

AN OVERVIEW OF CHALLENGES TO THE LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • TIME-FRAME     There were several committees appointed: One to draft the Declaration of Independence and the other to  form a confederation.   There was back and forth discussion in congress for over a year.  They prepared a plan…and then  amended it, sending it to the states for ratification  This took three years to get the approval needed.
  • A UNIFORM POLICY:   Whether it was a matter of commerce; raising funds to run a government or other matters, it was most difficult to get all states involved to see things in the same light.   Selfishness abound from every angle.   “A uniform policy was necessary, and while a pretense was made of acting in unison to achieve a much desired end, it is evident that selfish motives frequently dictated what was to be done.” (Max Farrand)

Example:   If a state happened to be a coastal state with ports of entry such as North and South Carolina and Virginia…taxation or not of other states who used their ports would be a way of cutting off their life-blood.    There could not be an interference with the “arteries of commerce.  “Virginia and Maryland had come to a working agreement regarding the navigation of Chesapeake Bay….requesting the cooperation of Pennsylvania and Delaware.” Sounds good?     Hold your horses!   The Article of Confederation specified that Congress  must first consent.   This had not been done.

Having given this small example of only this many states and only a problem within commerce to build a nation, one can see how this type of problem multiplied by many such matters could cause a great deal of grief; confusion and even a stalemate. Public opinion was to be added into the equation.  A French representative put it this way in a letter he wrote home about this young, fledgling country and those who governed:   “….there is no expectation and no intention that anything should be done by the convention beyond preparing the way for another meeting and the report has been hurried through before sufficient states could be represented…”    

It is amazing to us in the 21st Century, 2013…looking back at the 1780’s…that anything was accomplished at all.   Yet, the men who stepped forth to lead….and I emphasize the word LEAD… were up to the task.   They had to call a meeting…with a fixed time to meet in Philadelphia.  With the approval of congress, it was set for the second Monday of May, 1787.

  • WHO WERE SOME OF THE MEN WHO LED THIS YOUNG NATION?

The men shown below are not all the leaders or signers of the Constitution, but are a few, interesting men who were not afraid to be leaders.  As we look at their lives, we may be surprised that they would not fit into political correctness today….as some were holders of slaves…fought duels…and met with other problems.  For some, their personal lives and problems could have been a detriment to their willingness to help forge a nation.    Not so.   They were TOUGH…DEDICATED..PATRIOT LEADERS.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton born  1757 , on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. In 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s  assistant. In 1788, he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the U.S Constitution. He then served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, from 1789 to 1795.

Personal facts: Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that he sustained during a duel with Aaron Burr.

Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr(Born on February 6, 1756, in Newark, New Jersey, Aaron Burr was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1791. In 1800, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. presidency, and became vice president instead. After the duel with Alexander Hamilton,  he was charged with conspiracy, which ruined his political career.) 


George Washington

George Washington

George Washington was a soldier and presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and established the position of President.  He became the first President of the United States (1789-1797).   Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism.  Of him was said, “…first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

Personal facts:   Mount Vernon was Washington’s  home and he  freed all his slaves in his final will.

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was an attorney, plantation farmer and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. He served as the post-colonial Governor of Virginia  from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.  Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech.

Patrick Henry gives speech for Liberty

Patrick Henry gives speech for Liberty

Personal Facts:  In 1771 Henry and his wife Sarah moved into their Scotchtown plantation in Virginia, along with their children.  Sarah developed a mental illness and deteriorated rapidly, becoming dangerous to herself and others, she was clothed in a ‘Quaker shirt,’ an early form of strait jacket.”

It was recommended that she be moved to the public hospital in Williamsburg.   After inspecting the facilities, Henry  “saw that if he agreed, his wife would be locked into a windowless brick cell containing only a filthy mattress on the floor and a chamber pot. There she would be chained to the wall with a leg iron. Appalled by what he saw, he instead prepared a private, two-room apartment for her in the basement of Scotchtown. Each room had a window, providing light, air circulation, and a pleasant view of the grounds. The apartment also had a fireplace, which provided good heat in the winter, and a comfortable bed to sleep in.”    She died in the 1775.    “Because of her illness  (then thought to have been caused by being ‘possessed by the devil’ ) she was denied a religious funeral service or a Christian burial.  Henry buried her thirty feet from the home they shared and planted a lilac tree next to her grave to remember her. The tree still stands there, a few steps from the door to her basement.”

Scotchtown Plantation of Patrick and Sarah Henry

Scotchtown Plantation of Patrick and Sarah Henry


Dr. James McClurg

Dr. James McClurg

When Patrick Henry refused to attend the Philadelphia Convention, Virginia’s legislature selected Dr. McClurg as a delegate. Dr. McClurg thus became one of three physicians  involved in crafting the U.S.Constitution.  McClurg advocated increased executive powers while at the Convention, but returned to Virginia in early August. He never returned, worried that his “vote would only operate to produce a division, & so destroy the vote of the state.”   He never returned, and thus did not sign the final draft of the Constitution.  President Washington later considered nominating him as Secretary of State, after [Thomas Jefferson] resigned.

Personal Facts:  

Dr. McClurg was one of the most distinguished physicians in the colonies, educated (and later professor) at the College of William and Mary; studying also at the University of Edinburgh and in London and Paris.  His Experiments upon the Human Bile and Reflections on the Biliary Secretions (London: 1772), was translated into several languages.  He was appointed professor of anatomy and medicine at his alma mater in 1779, and also served as a surgeon in the state navy. Dr. McClurg achieved renown in Richmond for his efforts to stop various epidemics, including the yellow fever in 1798. He had some set-backs in his career when he received criticism in connection with the botched toxicological work in the celebrated trial concerning the murder of Judge George Wythe, whom he initially thought suffered from cholera, not arsenic poisoning

John Blair

John Blair

John Blair’s  greatest contribution as a Founding Father came as a judge on the Virginia court of appeals and on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he influenced the interpretation of the Constitution in a number of important decisions. On September 24, 1789, Blair was nominated by President George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States.(for information on today’s Supreme Court justices.)

Personal Facts:    Contemporaries praised Blair for such personal strengths as gentleness and benevolence, and for his ability to penetrate immediately to the heart of a legal question.

James Madison

James Madison

James Madison…student of history; scholar in politics and hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution  and a key  author of the Bill of Rights.  He became the 4th President of the United States; was a slave holder  who inherited his plantation known as Montpelier, and owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime to cultivate tobacco and other crops. Madison supported the three-fifths compromise that allowed three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves to be counted for representation.

These two writings on the Constitution only give a taste of what was involved in producing this great document.   A suggestion would be to do your own study and research on a great work that is often taken for granted; thought of little and those men without whose courage and dedication to carefully think-through, pray-through and give this Constitution to us…we may not be the United States of America today.       Other great tests were to follow:   The Civil War being one, which Boyer Writes will address at a different time.

A COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED SATES OF AMERICA


York: The Shambles and International Market

IMG_0403The aromas are almost magical…spices simmering in large pots of onions, mushrooms, and sausages.  Today we visit the International Food Market in York, England.   Located close to the famous Shambles District of the city, people mill around with their families deciding which delicacy should be theirs….breads, chocolate-covered donuts, olives  and much more from every ethnic part of the world.

The Shambles, for hundreds of years, had been the place of meat butchers.  Even then, people would have come to this area to find their fresh meat.  The narrow, cobble-stone streets are now shops with a historic sign or place of some main event that had happened here….such as the martyred young wife and mother, Margaret Clitherow (shown below), who refused to give up her faith that was not sanctioned at the time.

IMG_0420
160px-Margaret_Clitherow In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harboring  Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. As a result she was executed by being crushed to death,  being the standard punishment for refusal to plead, on Good Friday 1586. ( I will write more about her another time.)

Now, enjoy the special International Market of York, England.


History and Asian Women

Recently, I saw an unusual sticker on a car.  It said “Asian Women are never spoken of in History”.   It was not clear to me what the owner of this car was trying to say, but it led me to thinking about the stories that I had heard in Mongolia about the famous women who made tremendous contributions to this Asian society.

Mongolian woman in traditional dress

Doing a little research and sending emails to my Mongolian students about this, I thought it might be educational for all of us to learn more about the women who lived in the 13th century in Mongolia.  It may be good also to clarify that outer Mongolia is part of China and the country of Mongolia is north between China and Russian Siberia for those who may not be clear on this.

Statue of Kublai Khan in Sukbaatar Square, Ullanbaatar, Mongolia

In my previous blog, I wrote about the changes that have happened in Mongolia since I was there in the 90’s. The Mongolians today continue to honor their most famous ancestor, Chinggis Khan.  We know that in reality he was probably the most vicious warrior in human history.   Nevertheless, he had a mother who contributed to some of his better aspects of character.  She sought for him an understanding of languages, religion, and politics.    Other women of his era were also influential Asian women.   Below is something of what I found concerning notable Asian women.

These edited notes were taken from a lecture by Morris Rossabi, presented as part of the lecture series in conjunction with Mongolia: The Legacy of Chinggis Khan, an exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

How did women play a role in Mongol invasions and expansion?

” In a nomadic society each member of the society was critical to the survival of the group. Another explanation for Mongol success is that women played a very important role in the economy, they took care of the animals if need be. The Mongols had total male mobility for warfare. This made the Mongols a more daunting force than they might have been. Women also played a role in the military. Many women who actually took part in battle were mentioned in Mongol, Chinese, and Persian chronicles. Women were trained for the military. Mongol women had rights and privileges that were not accorded to most East Asian women. Mongol women had the right to own property and to divorce. Although we don’t know about ordinary Mongol women, we do know about prominent Mongol women among the elite. They were mentioned repeatedly in Mongol, Chinese, and European chronicles of the 13th century.  (Below are short summaries of a few.)

Sorghaghtani Beki

Probably the most famous of these women was Kublai Khan’s mother, Chinggis Khan’s daughter-in-law, Sorghaghtani Beki. She is mentioned in so many sources as one of the great figures of the 13th century that we are assured that she was as remarkable as she is portrayed. European missionaries who visited the Mongols in the middle of the 13th century remarked that she was the most renowned of the Mongols. Persians wrote about her. A Middle Eastern physician wrote that “...if I were to see among the race of women another who is so remarkable a woman as this, I would say that the race of women is superior to the race of men.

She  set the stage for all four of her sons to become khans. Although she herself was illiterate, she recognized that her sons had to be educated. Each one learned a different language that the Mongols needed in administering the vast domain that they had conquered.

Sorghaghtami Beki  was a Nestorian Christian  (Nestorianism taught that the human and divine essences of Christ are separate and that there are two persons, the man Jesus Christ and the divine Logos, which dwelt in the man. This concept was rejected by the Church of Ephesus. Christ was considered divine in both areas.)

She recognized, however, that if the Mongols were to administer this vast empire that they had subjugated, that one of the ways of doing so was to ingratiate themselves to the clergy of these various religions. So she and her sons protected and provided support for each of the religions within the Mongol domains. She supported Muslims, Buddhists, and Confucianists. (Today we would call this Freedom of Religion)

She introduced her son Kublai to the ideas of Confucian scholars to help him understand and be prepared to rule China. Her third contribution to Mongol rule was that she recognized that pure exploitation of subjected people would make no sense. Ravaging the economy of the conquered territories would ultimately be self-defeating. Instead of turning China into one big pastureland, she supported the Chinese peasantry. If the Mongols bolstered the local economy, eventually that would lead to increased production and increased tax collections.( Perhaps the modern-day world has something to learn from this 13th century woman.)

Each of her sons followed the same philosophy. Religious toleration, support of the religions, support of the indigenous economy, and literacy–all proved crucial to her son Kublai, the man who really bridged the transition from nomadic steppe conquest to governance of the domains the Mongols had conquered.

Kublai identified with the Chinese. He realized he would have to make concessions to the Chinese in order to rule China. There was no way for the Mongols to succeed on their own. 100 million people can’t be ruled with a couple of tens of thousands Mongols. (Readers may also be interested in the fact that while China ruled for limited children in a family, the Mongolians support multiple children because of the fewer numbers in population of Mongolia to the Chinese.)

Chabi

Chabi, Khatun of Kubiai and Empress of Mongol Empire

In all of these efforts Kublai Khan was helped by his wife Chabi who played as important a rule as his mother had done. Chabi supported Tibetan monks who began converting the Mongol elite to Tibetan Buddhism. When Kublai conquered southern China, Chabi was influential in preventing revenge. She took measures to maintain the Song imperial family, to provide them with funds and a palace, not to enslave them or kill them. She too played a critical role in Mongol rule.  (It should be noted that during Mongolian history, that a message was sent out to the ruling Pope in Rome to send Christian missionaries to Mongolia to help the people understand the message of Christ.   Only two priests started the long journey to Mongolia and finally returned to Rome before reaching Mongolia.  This was when Mongolians turned to Tibet who did send missionaries and the people were converted to Buddhism.)

Khutulun

One other extraordinary woman in Kublai Khan’s era was Kublai’s niece Khutulun. She relished the military life and loved combat. She even impressed Marco Polo who described her as so strong and brave that in all of her father’s army no man could out do her in feats of strength.

Her parents were a little concerned when she didn’t marry by the age of 22 or 23. They were constantly beseeching her to enter into a marriage arrangement. She said she would only consent if a prospective suitor bested her in a contest of physical strength. She agreed to accept any challenge as long as the young man gambled 100 horses for the chance to beat her. Within a short time she accumulated about 10,000 horses. (Quite the business woman!)

Finally a very handsome, confident, skillful young prince arrived at the court to challenge her. He was so confident of victory that he gambled a thousand horses rather than just the 100 she demanded. He bet he could beat her in a wrestling match. The night before the contest, Khutulun’s parents implored their daughter to let herself be vanquished. (or allow herself to be defeated)  But she would have none of that. She said that if she were vanquished in a fair contest, she would gladly be his wife but otherwise she wouldn’t do it.

So on the day of the wrestling match, the contestants appeared pretty evenly matched. The combatants grappled for quite a time. Then in a sudden movement, she flipped the prince over and won the contest. The prince took off and left the 1000 horses behind. She actually never did marry. She accompanied her father on all of his campaigns.

While some of the stories may be hyperbolic, what they are telling us is that women in the elite were confident, were not about to be bowled over by men, and played an important role in Mongol society. There is so much emphasis on women playing military, political, and economic roles in this period that we’re fairly sure this stretched beyond the elite woman. It trickled down to the ordinary women as well.

Interestingly enough by the 14th century, there are no more Mongol women playing roles as leaders. They become increasingly acculturated. In the next generation after Kublai Khan, the daughters and granddaughter of Kublai Khan are no longer as prominent. They began accepting some of the restraints imposed on Chinese women. In that sense, in that sense alone, the Mongols were very much influenced by China.”  (This may show us that where women…or men…are especially effective in one generation, it may not continue to the next.  We, in modern times, have called a previous generation  “The Greatest Generation”….and we may wonder as there has been a shift from the home to the work place, how our succeeding generations are doing?)

One of the stories that was told to me while I was in Mongolia was about a female champion wrestler.  Wrestling in Mongolia  is considered one of the manly sports.  The others are archery and horseback riding.  This woman wanted to enter the competition so she disguised herself  as a man. She won and when it was discovered that she was female, the men changed the uniform of the wrestlers.  You will notice from the picture below of a present day Mongolian wrestler that he may have sleeves, but nothing in the front.  Even though traditionally, women in Mongolia found an honorable place,  the men were determined that only this sport would remain manly.

To the woman who had the sign on her car about Asian women not making history, I hope she will be referred to this blog.  Asian women everywhere should be proud.

Mongolian wrestler in wrestling dress


Leadership DOES make a Difference

I was impressed by  a video and several  news articles that I saw during the Christmas holidays.  I think they speak for themselves.  Leadership is extremely important to a nation and to the world.  Political correctness has mired us down in the lack of ability to speak in faith and in truth.

Christmas was not a happy place for those who walked to  church in Nigeria …only to worship, not to be murdered.   In this place that was supposed to be a place of peace came the ugly reality of those who would wipe out peace.    Christians around the world are under attack.  This is the truth of persecution that has always been a part of the Christian faith throughout history.   Taking up one’s cross is exactly that.   It was never expected to be easy.   However, one needs to call it what it is and be unafraid to speak for faith and truth.

Christmas Day  in Nigeria …..Five Christian Churches bombed

Christian Church bombed

“A string of bombs struck churches in five Nigerian cities Sunday, leaving dozens dead and wounded on the holiday, authorities and witnesses said.

The blasts mark the second holiday season that bombs have hit Christian houses of worship in the west African nation. In a statement issued late Tuesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called the bombings “a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians.”

(The following news article on leadership to protect a nation)

“Nigeria lacks competent leaders to tackle its security problems”, a former military ruler said on Monday, following Christmas Day bomb attacks on churches by Islamist militants that killed more than two dozen people.

Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner who lost the last presidential election in April to incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, said in a statement in a Nigerian daily that the government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings.

The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia law across Africa’s most populous country, claimed responsibility for three church bombings, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian houses of worship.

Security forces also blamed the sect for two explosions in the north and fear is growing that Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in a country split evenly between Christians and Muslims who for the most part co-exist in peace.

“How on earth would the Vatican and the British authorities speak before the Nigerian government on attacks within Nigeria that have led to the deaths of our citizens?” Buhari said in the statement published by Punch newspaper.

“This is clearly a failure of leadership at a time the government needs to assure the people of the capacity to guarantee the safety of lives and property,” Buhari said.”

Yes, leadership is most important.   Perhaps we all need to listen again  to an inspirational message  from  a former President of the United States.


Christians Around the World SING…at the Mall or in Silence

Kim Jong Un, shown on left before the death of his father, has the opportunity to bring N. Korea out of misery into the light.  Pictures from space show N. Korea at night almost in total darkness as compared to S. Korea and Japan.    Below is a writing sent to Boyer Writes by Wanda that tells of the plight of Christians in  North Korea.  Many sing in silence.

“A group of Korean business leaders—all Christians—visited the United States
recently with news about the plight of believers in North Korea. “There has
been terrible persecution,” they reported, “and thousands have died for their
faith; yet many still worship despite danger and death threats. When they
gather, it’s in complete secrecy; and when they sing, it is done in silence. They
open their mouths in unison, but they allow no sound from their voices for
fear of being overheard.”

Imagine what it would be like to attend a Christmas Eve service this year and
have to simply “mouth” the words of our great carols. Imagine being unable
to hear the hand bells, the chimes, the swelling crescendos of the “Hallelujah
Chorus,” or the pensive harmonies of “What Child Is This?”

What a privilege to sing the songs of Christmas! Yet we’re so deluged by
Christmas music each year that we’re in danger of not hearing it at all….” (a portion of a writing on  Music      by David Jeremiah)

Even in our shopping areas and in the public places, the wonderful music of Christ and Christmas can be heard.   What a freedom!  We do not have to sing in darkness or in silence, so this Christmas sing out!     What a contrast to those who have no voice and must sing in silence.   

  Hallelujah Chorus in the most unexpected place.