Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Monday, August 11, 2008

10 Things Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

  1. Allah and Jehovah are NOT the same God
  2. Jihad, or holy war, is prescribed in the Koran and Hadith
  3. There are specific protocols in Islam (e.g. women are not to go to Jihad)
  4. Islam does not believe in religious freedom
  5. Islam has a lower view of woman than Christianity
  6. Islam has a low view of Jesus
  7. Islam has a low view of the Bible
  8. Islam is the most work-based religion in the world
  9. Islam is divided among denominations
  10. Many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ

Dr. Emir Caner came to faith in Christ in 1982, and travels the world defending the faith and persuading audiences of the truth of Jesus his Saviour.

He is currently dean of The College at Southwestern (TCS) on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the largest seminary in the world.

Dr. Caner recently spoke to 1400 evangelical Christians at an apologetics conference in America. During his talk he listed the above ten points he believes everyone should know about Islam in order to better understand who Muslims are and how to reach them.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Labour MP calls on government to discriminate against Christians

Labour MP Diane Abbott has tabled a motion calling on the UK Government to change the law to permit religious discrimination against Christians and those of other faiths.

The motion proposes, "That this house believes that no public servant should be allowed to discriminate on this arbitrary basis and, should this case not be reversed on appeal, calls on the Government to clarify and amend the law to guard the public against discrimination and prejudice by public servants in the future."

The motion, while masquerading as an anti-discrimination measure, would remove from public servants their right to freedom of religious conscience and comes following pressure from those who follow the religion of homosexuality.

The Gadfly Project

American protester paints Beijing hotel rooms

BEIJING (AP) — An American pastor checked into upscale hotels in the Olympics host city this week, filmed himself painting two of his rooms with slogans like “Beijing 2008 Our world Our nightmare” and then disappeared. Without paying.

Eddie Romero’s unusual protest, now making the rounds on YouTube, shows foreigners can still sneak through the tight security measures China imposed to keep potential troublemakers away from the games, which start Friday.

The net tightened even more Thursday.

A Hong Kong lawmaker said immigration officials deported three U.S.-based Chinese democracy activists after denying them entry to the territory, which is the site of Olympic equestrian events. A second protest by three Americans in Tiananmen Square, including anti-abortion activist the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, was stopped by security agents who led them away.
Locals who threaten to take some of the shine off the games get tougher treatment.
At least two women who have protested being evicted from their homes near Tiananmen were rounded up late Wednesday and early Thursday and taken to a police station, one of them told The Associated Press.

In a telephone call, Zhang Ma said she was being held with the other woman, Zhang Wei, and several other residents but could not give other details. She hung up quickly, saying she was being watched and was not supposed to talk to reporters.

Romero’s friends said the preacher was in hiding, but planned to surrender to Chinese authorities as soon as the Olympics end Aug. 24.

They said he began thinking about his elaborate, one-man protest of China’s human-rights abuses when Beijing was selected as the host for the 2008 Olympics seven years ago.
On Tuesday, in a sometimes unsteady hand — he had to teach himself how to paint — the California-based pastor splashed the walls of his two hotel rooms with demands for the release of five Chinese activists. He slashed pillows and staged mock killings with stuffed people propped on the bed, red paint spattered like blood on the headboard.

“One down,” Romero whispers, looking into the video camera. Bespectacled and gray-haired, he holds up a finger in his transformed Novotel Peace Hotel room. “One down.”
Romero, who appears to be alone, tells the camera he doesn’t want to disrupt the games. He talks about religious freedom for groups that remain highly sensitive with the Chinese government — Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
“Freedom’s a scary thing for them, and by them I mean the Chinese communists,” he says.
Before starting work on the second hotel room, he prays.

After finishing his protests, Romero, who is a part-time philosophy professor at Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, Calif., taped the door keys to the rooms’ “Do Not Disturb” tags, hung them outside and had supporters tell journalists by e-mail where to find them.
The four-star Novotel and the Traders Hotel, both part of international chains, said the case was in the hands of police. A Beijing police spokeswoman said she knew nothing of it.
“We really don’t understand why he did this,” said Lanny Liu, communications manager at Traders. Romero apparently slipped out of room 417 before dawn Wednesday, leaving damage that Liu said cost nearly $1,500 to clean up. “We just want to find the person and ask him to pay the bill.”

At the Novotel, room 1602 already was restored Thursday afternoon, with machines drying the carpet and a smell of cleaning fluid in the air. Downstairs, manager Marc Cherrier spread his hands and shrugged hugely. “I have no idea,” he said of what happened.
Romero’s friends said he had planned to paint four hotel rooms, but skipped two because of security concerns.

At one hotel, he found the lobby full of security agents and left after telling officials he had walked into the wrong building. At the second, he found two security agents searching his room, but convinced them there was nothing suspicious about the paint he had.
“That was a close one,” he says later into his camera.
The protest is heartfelt, said Bob Fu, leader of the Texas-based China Aid Association who is among a group of Romero supporters monitoring the protest from California.
“This is not like middle-age crisis, craziness,” Fu said. “He’s very genuine, a caring, loving pastor. And very creative.”

Another friend, British-based pastor Tony Thomas, said Romero had no special connection to China, but he had a vision for the project in 2001 after watching Beijing win the right to host the games.

Thomas said Romero hatched the protest plan — which he eventually named “The Gadfly Project” — after consulting with a few close friends at his Hacienda Christian Fellowship church and talking with American activists who campaign for Chinese rights.
“It’s gone quite amazingly well,” Thomas said. “From the outset, it was considered an almost impossible thing to happen unless God was in it.”

The friends said Romero was occasionally logging on to make blog posts while in hiding. He speaks little Chinese, but has dodged authorities so far, and even managed to shop at a Wal-Mart.

“Can you believe it? I’m in Sam’s Club in Beijing!” Romero says in one Internet posting. “Will be relieved when all is complete,” he says in another.

Associated Press writer Audra Ang contributed to this report.

The unbroken full length 20 minute video of the gadfly project can now be viewed at the following sites:

“Gadfly in Beijing, A Voice For The Voiceless”
“Gadfly in Beijing, A Voice For The Voiceless”

call to action:
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Thinking of Starting a Disability Suport Group?

Thinking of Starting a Disability Suport Group?

By Daniel J Vance

About three years ago, I helped start an adult disability support group. It wasn't anything splashy or fancy. No mud flaps or whistles: just two middle-aged men talking about their daily lives and experiences with disability. It met weekly at our church and was a faith-based group, so we also prayed.

I was one, and "Greg", who has chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, the other. He used a manual wheelchair back then. Two weeks later, our third member said she was recovering from cancer and had ongoing soft tissue pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Over three years, we've had people with schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury, a mobility disability, another with fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury, another with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, blindness, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Quite the gamut.

Gradually, most of us have become involved in each other's personal lives and become good friends. Greg needed encouragement and support when his wife divorced him due to his disability. Another member went through difficult shoulder surgery, twice. Another almost died from an infection doctors couldn't find, and another needed help re-establishing a relationship with an estranged father. At least one had been abused as a child.

Our collective list of past problems, and current challenges, must be ten miles long. And yet our group usually doesn't have any whiners. We often laugh, and joke, and take comfort in feeling normal, if only one night a week.

We started our group for adults only because hardly any churches anywhere have any groups for adults with disabilities. On the other hand, it's much easier starting and maintaining a group for children. Perhaps that's because children with disabilities often easily receive and give affection.

But adults come with adult-sized needs, and that makes them not so appealing.

I wish I could say our group is perfect. It is not. We have had people get upset at each other. But so far, the overall rewards far outweigh any emotional cost.

Somewhere, someone reading this newspaper column has the desire to begin an adult disability support group, either at his or her church or school, or in the neighborhood or among friends. You have not done it because you are afraid of something. I encourage you to act: You live only once. Somebody out there really needs your laughter.

Daniel J. Vance's weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in about 250 newspapers. Disabilities is the nation's best-read weekly column featuring people with disabilities. It's sent free to newspapers because of grants from Blue Valley Sod, Palmer Bus Service, and All American Foods.

Mr. Vance is the editor of Connect Business Magazine and the author/co-author of ten books, including his newest 172-page history collection called Unique Mankato! Unique Mankato! relives eight great forgotten stories of Mankato, Minnesota, including ones involving U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Julia A. Sears, Harry Truman, Moses Wickersham, Sinclair Lewis and Maud Hart Lovelace.

Vance and his wife homeschool a 12-year-old daughter with spina bifida and an 11-year-old son. A Cincinnati native, he moved in 1995 from Baltimore to Minnesota, where the weather gets plenty cold.

Contact Vance via

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Banking in the Marketplace

A tiny bank in a former butcher shop is serving thousands of people right in the center of Blantyre's marketplace - that is Blantyre, Malawi.

Only four people staff the mini-branch of the Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM), which opened in March 2007. It is already in high demand: over 3,000 people have already opened savings accounts, some of them from cities as many as 100 kilometers away. It also offers loans and insurance to clients.

Although it is located in one of the poorest countries in the world, the bank averages 18 account openings and 30 transactions per day. 70 percent of its clients are women. They no longer have to make expensive, risky trips to the main branch of the bank in Limbe, because the mini-branch is located right in the area where they live and work.

Almost 100 percent of the bank's loans are repaid on time. Tabia Chibale, who runs a small business making and selling necklaces, plans to pay off her loan before the end of its eight-month term. If she does, she will be able to take out a larger loan and expand her business.
"It's a great bank," she said. "I have 100% [higher] profit now than before."

The mother of three girls, Chibale travels to Zimbabwe twice every month to purchase raw materials for her business.

Mrs. Jabalasa, who buys and sells potatoes, believes her money is safer in the bank than it was when she hid it in her home. She recently opened her very first savings account after learning about the bank from friends.

Malawi is an extremely poor country, with 76 percent of the population living on less than one dollar per day. Almost 14 million people live in Malawi, and tens of thousands of them die of HIV/AIDS every year, according to the CIA. Opportunity International has over 17,000 active loan clients in the country.

Opportunity International strives to reach the world's poorest people through its micro-enterprise development programs.