Fred's Note

Ol' Fred had been a religious man and was now in the hospital, near death. The family called their preacher to stand with them. As the preacher stood next to the bed, Ol' Fred's condition appeared to deteriorate and he motioned frantically for something to write on.
The pastor lovingly handed him a pen and a piece of paper, and Ol' Fred used his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then he died. The preacher thought it best not to look at the note at that time, so he placed it in his jacket pocket.
At the funeral, as he was finishing the message, he realised that he was wearing the same jacket that he was wearing when Ol' Fred died.
He said, "You know, Ol' Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven't looked at it, but knowing Fred, I'm sure there's a word of inspiration there for us all."
He opened the note, and read out loud, "Hey, you're standing on my oxygen tube!"

Seven deadly socials sins

Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Commerce without morality
Pleasure without conscience
Education without character
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
- Gandhi

Bangladesh: Christians Suffer Extortion, Beatings

Two Christian women in Bangladesh’s northern district of Jamalpur said village officials extorted relatively large sums of money from them – and severely beat the husband of one – for proclaiming Christ to Muslims.
Johura Begum, 42, of Pingna village said a member of the local union council, an area government representative and the father of a police officer threatened to harm her grown daughters if her family did not pay them 20,000 taka (US$283). The police officer whose father was allegedly involved in the extortion was investigating a fabricated charge that Christians had paid Muslims to participate in a river baptism on May 26.
Begum had invited seven converts from Islam, including three women, to be baptized on the occasion, she said. Only six men among 55 converts were baptized by the leaders of the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Bangladesh (PHCB), Christian leaders said, as the rest were intimidated by protesting Muslims; the next day, area Islamists with bullhorns shouted death threats to Christians.
Begum said her husband is a day-laborer at a rice-husking mill, and that 20,000 taka was a “colossal amount” for them. She was able to borrow the money from a Christian cooperative, she said.
“I gave the extortion money for the sake of our safety and security,” Begum said. “It not possible to say aloud what abusive language they used against me for inviting people to God.”
Villagers backed by a political leader of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League party also allegedly extorted 250,000 taka (US$3,535) from another Christian woman, 35-year-old Komola Begum of Doulatpur village, whose husband is a successful fertilizer seller.
The villagers claimed that she and her husband had become rich by receiving funds from Christians. After the baptisms, local Muslims beat her husband to such an extent that he received three days of hospital treatment for his injuries, she said.
Komola Begum, who had invited 11 persons including three women to the baptisms, told Compass that her husband’s life was spared only because she paid what the Muslims demanded.
“My husband is a scapegoat – he simply does business,” she said. “But he was beaten for my faith and activities.”
For three days after the baptism ceremony, Jamalpur district villagers announced through bullhorns the punishment Christians would receive for their activities, chanting among other slogans, “We will peel off the skins of the Christians.” They also shouted that they would not allow any Christians to live in that area.
Johura Begum said that when she became a Christian 20 years ago, area Muslims beat her and forced her to leave the village, though she was able to return three years later.
“Local Muslims bombarded us with propaganda – that when I became a Christian, I would have to be naked in the baptism before the Christian cleric,” said Johura Begum. “Recently they are bad-mouthing Christianity with these kinds of disgraceful and scurrilous rumors, and my daughters cannot attend their classes.”

Wiesel on neutrality and silence

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Finland: Schismatic bishop defrocked

In March, 2010, I reported:
On March 20, 2010, D.Th., pastor Matti Väisänen (76) was consecrated bishop by the Swedish Mission Province, that thus expands into Finland. Up till now, it has been the Luther Foundation (Luther-säätiö) that has embodied the opposition to the humane ideas of the ELCF, but now it seems that the schism is acute.
On 11 August, the Chapter of the Diocese of Tampere, under whose jurisdiction Väisänen falls as a pastor, decided to strip him of his pastoral rights (pdf in Finnish). In essence, the motivation is that Väisänen tries to eat the cake and have it, too, just as I wrote in March. This is a logical and welcome step that clears tings up. The conservatives scream bloody murder, but that is their problem.
As a footnote, it can be noted that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE) is theologically akin to the Luther Foundation and to the Mission Province, despite its name being very similar to the ELCF and the ELCA. The ELCE doesn't even belong to the Lutheran World Federation, as main stream Lutheran churches generally do, but to a conservative parallel organisation called the International Lutheran Council (ILC). This is their right, of course. Other members of the ILC are e.g. the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the USA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, where Walter Obare is Archbishop.
I recently had reason to research the ELCE in the line of duty, so I wanted to share some of my findings here.

Some media reports:
Lutherstiftelsens Väisänen förlorar prästämbetet i lutherska kyrkan (Kyrkans Tidningstjänst 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiön piispaksi vihitty Matti Väisänen menettää pappisvirkansa luterilaisessa kirkossa (Kirkon Tiedotuskeskus 11.8.10)
Lutherstiftelsens Väisänen förlorar ämbetet i lutherska kyrkan (Kyrkpressen 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiön piispa menettää pappisvirkansa (Helsingin Sanomat 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiö pitää erottamista vääränä (Helsingin Sanomat 11.8.10)
Finsk biskop definitivt avstängd (Dagen 12.8.10)

Quotation from Bailey's Buddy

You only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough.
- Joe E. Lewis
as quoted on Bailey's Buddy

You know that your dog has trained you well when ...

... no matter how large your bed is, it is not large enough for you and your dog(s).