Charity and wisdom

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
- St. Francis of Assisi

The abyss

No abyss of evil can hide from [Jesus] through whom the world is reconciled with God. But the abyss of God's love encompasses even the most abysmal godlessness of the world.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
in Meditations on the Cross
as quoted on God's Politics

"Christian" Nigeria letter

A form of spam that's been floating around for some years is the so-called Nigeria letters. They are, of course, a kind of con, trying to get greedy people to pay out a medium amount of money in order to get a great amount of money. Usually, the story is that some millions are just sitting in a bank account in Nigeria or some similar country, but the sender of the letter lacks the funds for the necessary stamp tax or bribes or whatever to get at it - please send the money and I'll split the loot with you!
Yeah, right!
Most people on the Internet are aware of this kind of confidence trick, but apparently it sometimes works, since the letters keep coming. And why wouldn't it work? "A fool and his money are soon parted" - and there are plenty of fools around. Since the brighter fools usually aren't all that interested in divulging their folly, relatively few cases are reported to the police...
I recieved a new version of Nigeria letter last week. To me, it was particularly heinous, since it was coated in Christian terminology and reeked of Christian faith - but since the letter was sent with a criminal intent, it was more or less blasphemous!
But judge for yourself. I enclose the (slightly censored) letter; its bad English naturally makes it all the more believable. Also note that the letter does not ask for money; that will surely come later...
From Mrs N.N.
[Street address]
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

ATTN: DEAREST ONE OF GOD

I am the above named person from Kuwait. I am married to Mr N.N., who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in the year 2004. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.
Before his death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $2. 5 Million (Two Million Five Hundred U.S. Dollars) in the bank here in Abidjan in suspense account.
Presently, the fund is still with the bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that i have serious sickness which is cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church or individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, propagating the word of God and to endeavour that the house of God is maintained.
The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don't want my husband's efforts to be used by unbelievers. I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision. I am not afraid of death hence i know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the Lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband's relatives is around me always I don't want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank here in Abidjan. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the Lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
Contact me on the above e-mail address for more information, any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another church or individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein. Hoping to receive your reply.

Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs N.N.
Arrggh!
I've been conned like this before, but on a much smaller scale ("Hello, Pastor! Would you pray for me, please - oh, and I could use a fiver!") but this lays it on so thick that I'm afraid someone with a good heart will fall for it! Please don't!

Heroes and celebrities

Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities.
- Daniel J. Boorstin

Schoolboy Howlers 2

John Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

What shalt thou do?

What shalt thou do? ... Do good. Do all the good thou canst. Let thy plenty supply thy neighbour’s wants; and thou wilt never want something to do. Canst thou find none that need the necessaries of life, that are pinched with cold or hunger; none that have not raiment to put on, or a place where to lay their head; none that are wasted with pining sickness; none that are languishing in prison? If you duly considered our Lord’s words, "The poor have you always with you," you would no more ask, "What shall I do?"
- John Wesley
"On Worldly Folly"
as quoted on God's Politics

Tutu does it again!

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a person I have the utmost respect for. He has been stalwart in battling for human rights and human dignity, first during the apartheid regime of South Africa, and now during the homophobic regime of the leaders of the Anglican church. For the first, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and for the second, he also recieved a prize last spring.
A report states:
The former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu is to be honoured by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. [...]
He will [...] accept the OUTSPOKEN Award "in honour of the unprecedented impact of his leadership as a human rights advocate."
In November 2007 Archbishop Tutu told the BBC that if he believed that God was homophobic, he wouldn't be a Christian. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said he was ashamed of his church because of its treatment of gays. [...]
"Our world is facing problems, poverty, HIV and AIDS, a devastating pandemic, and conflict," Tutu said. "God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another.
"In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality."
[...] "If God as they say is homophobic I wouldn't worship that God."
"It is a perversion if you say to me that a person chooses to be homosexual.
"You must be crazy to choose a way of life that exposes you to a kind of hatred. It's like saying you choose to be black in a race infected society."
In December he apologised to gay people all around the world for the way they have been treated by the Church.
When he accepted the award in April,
Archbishop Tutu said that for his part it was impossible to keep quiet "when people were frequently hounded ... vilified, molested and even killed as targets of homophobia ... for something they did not choose - their sexual orientation."
Archbishop Tutu has vocally challenged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a 2004 article in The Times of London, he condemned persecution on the basis of sexual orientation, comparing it to apartheid.
"We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about - our very skins," he wrote. "It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups."
Amen to that! Thank you, Archbishop!
Tutu calls on Ugandans to protect LGBT community (PinkNews 27.2.08)
Tutu to accept award from LGBT rights group (PinkNews 29.2.08)
Tutu Speaks Out On Gay Civil Rights (365gay 9.4.08)
Tutu inspires gay audience in San Francisco (PinkNews 10.4.08)

Going through hell

If you are going through hell, keep going.
- Winston Churchill

Sure sign of intelligence

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
- Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes)

Schoolboy Howlers 1

A fairy tale is something that never happened a long time ago.

"Behead all gays," says Gambian president

The Gambia is the smallest country on the African continental mainland and is bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, and has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The country, with an area of 10,380 sq.km. and a population of 1,7 million, is ruled by president Yahya Jammeh (born in 1965). He took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and was elected president two years later.
The president likes to be portrayed as a devout Moslem, and has done some interesting stunts to prove his spiritual worth. The most dangerous of these are his alleged healing of people with AIDS and his recent threat to behead any homosexuals that hadn't left the country within 24 hours.
To my knowledge, his threat hasn't been fulfilled - yet - but it can't have any positive impact on the human rights situation in his country or in Africa in general. Moreover, if he goes ahead with his homophobic plans, the Gambia's economy will suffer, with a decline in foreign aid, in trade, and in tourism. Two Spanish tourists have already been arrested.
But that hasn't stopped madmen before. What remains to be seen is whether president Jammeh is one or not.
Sources:
President plans to kill off every single homosexual (Afrik.com 19.5.08)
President Jammeh Gives Ultimatum for Homosexuals to Leave (Gambia News 19.5.08)
Doom awaits gays in Gambia (Gambia News 21.5.08)
Gambias president tar bladet från munnen (Antigayretorik 21.5.08)
Gambias president hotar döda landets homosexuella (Dagen 22.5.08)
Gambia gay death threat condemned (BBC News 23.5.08)
Two Spanish caught in the Gambia after President called for the death of Homosexuals (Afrik.com 2.6.08)
Two Alleged Homosexuals Arrested (Gambia News 2.6.08)
Update 5.6.08: The Spanish tourists have been released, Advocate News reports.

Protesting injustice

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
- Elie Wiesel

Good Methodist news and bad

Ecumenical News International (ENI) reported on May 1st:
The United Methodist Church, meeting for its once-every-four-years church-wide gathering has approved an agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for full communion between the two U.S.-based denominations. At the same meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, the 12-million-member United Methodist General Conference, its main governing body meeting from 23 April to 2 May, turned down efforts to change denominational rules on homosexuality.
This is good news, in that the two churches are coming together. The same process is underway here in Finland, too, and I welcome that.
This is bad news, as far as gay Christians are concerned. They still won't have full and equal rights within the Methodist church - or in the Lutheran church for that matter - which I think is sad. But given time, perhaps...
More news:
United Methodist Church Adopts Full Communion Proposal with ELCA (ELCA News Service 30.4.08 - more links there)
"Diskussionerna gick över gränsen" (Dagen 9.5.08)