Sheep, Shepherds, and Wolves

nazareneMuch has been said this week, some of it here, about ISIS and the Christians of Mosul. It is right for us to weep, and gnash our teeth over the fate that is overtaking our brothers and sisters. Many of us lay much of the blame at the feet of our politicians, I think that also correct. But understand this, we, especially in Britain and America, elected them, they are our representatives, and they act, or don’t act, in our names.

We have other leadership though, and that is the leadership of our churches. And where are they? These are our brothers and sisters, literally in Christ at risk. We are taught, all of us, to turn the other cheek, yes. But they self identify as the shepherds of the flock. I grew up around, not so much shepherds, per se, but around cattlemen, who are not very different. One thing I know, is that cattlemen detest wolves, there is a reason why it is nearly always an open season on wolves and coyotes in our societies. they are destructive of our herds and flocks. And so, they must be destroyed.

That is part of the role of the shepherd. usually and ably assisted by the sheepdog, and I think nearly all of my readers will know who self-identifies in that role. They are there, and they are ready, but it is not their decision to make, that is for the shepherd, and if they vacillate, and prevaricate, and attempt to placate and live with the wolves, the flock shall suffer the losses.

Usually, I find Judge Jeanine Pirro, a bit strident for my taste, which is why I don’t usually run her videos here, and also I like to lighten-up a bit on the weekends when her videos become available. But this week she is correct. She is Catholic, and faults the Pope, I don’t disagree but her net is too narrow, where is the Church of England, where are the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals, the Fundamentalists, and yes, the Orthodox as well, all the rest who comprise what was once called Christendom, and was the force that made men not only Holy, but free?

We can speak of The Church of the East, that never believed in earthly power, it was a glorious church, spreading from Nineveh (close to Mosul) all the way through China and India, as well as Eastern Russia. But it is gone, lost nearly even to history, and now we in our time, are perhaps witnessing its final destruction. In many ways, it is comparable to the fall of Constantinople, except that the Orthodox faith was able to continue.

And so, as you watch Judge Jeanine, ask yourself if this is what our faith teaches, or if our shepherds, and yes, our sheepdogs, are meant to protect the flock, or merely to lie down with wolves, and coyotes. I know my answer. What is yours?

 

As my co-author, Jessica, so eloquently reminds us this morning on her blog. We are not condemning all of Islam here. Like any large group of people, Islam has its bad actors, wolves and coyotes if you will. The problem seems to be that the predators have taken over their sheepfold and are attempting to take over ours as well.

 

This is from the old version of the Lutheran Service Book, as printed in the old Lutheran Hymnal, from General Prayer I

All who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity, especially those who are suffering for Thy name’s and for Thy truth’s sake, comfort, O God, with Thy Holy Spirit, that they may receive and acknowledge their afflictions as the manifestation of Thy fatherly will.

Audacity

The audacity to aim for a new apogee

The audacity of a civilized people to defend themselves.

Make no mistake, the IDF is on the front line, in defense of all civilized people, for truly

There are barbarians at the gates.

I have been told that the friend of a friend, a young woman who, in college, married a Muslim, is very distressed that she has received bad comments on the street. As I said last night, her distress distresses me, but these are becoming hard times, when western civilization has little leadership, and so the barbarians are restless. I recognize that in years past, the chasm between Christian and Jew on the one hand, and Islam and the secular humanist on the other, did not seem so wide. But I am afraid, unless she can find a way to recant her choice, she will have to live with the consequences of choosing darkness. May God have mercy on her, for it may not be possible for man to.

It bothers me to say that because I think many, likely including her, made this choice lightly, thinking that joining Islam was a cultural choice, like going to the Methodist church instead of the Lutheran, that in many ways it was the same. In truth, the leadership of the Christian churches have encouraged this, all the while knowing, or at least they should have known, that Christianity, like Judaism, is a religion of life, while Islam is a religion of death. We are now starting to see that decisions have consequences, even when we didn’t think so when we made them. God help us all.

On a lighter note, for it is indeed Saturday

The audacity of proper English

 

The audacity of silver linings at perigee.

 

This week has felt a good bit like this hasn’t it?

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

 
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats

 

 

Islam’s War on Women

sharia freeGood News First

I would guess you remember Meriam Ibrahim. She’s the 27 year old Sudanese, married to an American, who gave birth a few weeks ago while shackled in a Sudanese prison. That sentence was averted some time ago but she was denied permission to leave the country. Yesterday after belated efforts by the Department of State (pressured by Congress) and with a huge assist from the Italian government, she received a blessing in Rome from the Pope, himself. Reports say she is resting up and soon will be traveling to the United States. Thanks be to God.

Apparently, not so, at least right now…

There was a report yesterday that made the rounds very quickly, and appeared to be legitimate, that ISIS had issued a regulation (or Fatwa, depending on source) requiring all females in Mosul to undergo FGM by Saturday. Apparently, it was a fake report, which is fine. Thing is, though, the fact that it was picked up so widely (I first saw it on “the Other McCain”) basically means that we have become so accustomed to the Islamic War on Women, that we assume the most horrendous rumors are true. I know that’s true for me.

When I read that report, the one reaction I did not have was that it was so barbaric that no government would do such a thing. To me it’s of a piece with Hamas hiding behind women’s skirts and carrying infants on fire missions (both confirmed) in Gaza. But still the media (especially the European media, including the BBC and The Telegraph) wants to blame Israel for the deaths of children, notwithstanding the thousands of rockets that have rained down on Israel, and the missiles taken from schools by the UN and returned to Hamas.

And along that line: This

My friend, Isabella Rose, on her site Reclaiming the Sacred, wrote yesterday on her experience, living amongst Muslims, in Europe. It is a story that should shock and dismay you. Here is an excerpt.

I really could not believe that the Muslin religion was definitely intended to be one of violence and war.

After all, in undergrad school, I had met a very kind Muslim girl, who was beyond polite to me, and I never had any thought but that she was but a good person, devoted to God, only under some different “path” than what I had come to know.

Yet during the course of one of my first few weeks abroad, a Coptic Christian from Egypt, who worked for a group of local Muslims, separate from the ones that I lived with, invited me out for a drink one night.

As we sat across from one another, in the dimly lit pub, he explained to me how much he supported my country.

I was shocked.

Aren’t all Europeans against America? I thought.

That was what I had always been told, at any rate.

But no, to him we were anything but the bad guys.

“You have no idea what the Muslims have done to my people,” he explained, as he recounted his family history and that of many others.

In so many words he went on to say:

“These Muslims that I work for here – they are nice people. They will be polite to you, and very kind. But if they could, they would me and they would kill you.”

via Reclaiming the Sacred

She will also tell you about, and show you, if your stomach is strong enough, the fate of this girl, actually a young Christian woman..It is not for the faint of heart. Isabella also quotes her Coptic friend as saying

They were only prevented by the laws of Christian nations – at least, until one day they could overturn those laws, and convert them to the laws of a Muslim state.

I completely agree with her, and if we are correct, there are three, and only three solutions.

  1. Surrender. You can if you want to. I and many others will not.
  2. Quarantine/Embargo Essentially cut off all contact between civilized people and Islam, this is essentially what we did from the repulse at Vienna until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It is a difficult, and wearying method of life
  3. Conquest. In a war of biblical horror, It would be very like the war in the Pacific during World War II, because we will be able to take very few prisoners.

The day before yesterday, here, I spoke of the end of Christianity in Mosul, which will for the first time, since the time of Christ, Himself, be free of Christians in the next week or so.

Some of my friends in the United Kingdom think that this should be a common war for us with Russia, I don’t really disagree with them but, I find it unlikely that Russia will see it. Russia, like Europe, is a dying society, it is no longer reproducing itself, most likely, within 50 years it will be owned by China, just as within a hundred years, Europe will be part of Islam. Unless we change it. Demography is after all, subject to change by the people being studied themselves. But I see no sign of it.

Crossposted to The Conservative Citizen

For the First Time in the History of Iraq, Mosul is Now Empty of Christians

nazareneOne of the most horrific stories to come out of the ISIS conquest of central Iraq is the story of the Christians in Mosul (and the rest of the conquered area). There is no good parts of this story. Mafqud wa-Mawjud tells us some of the history of Christianity in the area. If you aren’t familiar with “The Church of the East” you will be amazed.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS has consolidated its hold on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq and is busy converting the metropolitan center to its own extremist brand of Sunni Islam.  Last week the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now styling himself Caliph Ibrahim, issued an order for Christians in the city to a convert to Islam, b pay the jizya tax on non-Muslims at an unspecified rate, or c be killed, although some awareness of the option to leave was displayed in the order as well.  Reports that a church was torched are of uncertain veracity see a careful analysis of the photos circulating around the web at this blog, but images showing an Arabic ن for نصارى, nasara, meaning “Christians” spray-painted on various houses indicate that these houses were available to be seized.  Nor are Christians the only ones to suffer: reportedly some Shiite men have disappeared, Shiite families have been told to flee or be killed, and Shiite homes have been emblazoned with another Arabic letter, ر for رافضي rafidi something like “heretic scum,” while reports are also circulating that ISIS has destroyed the Sunni shrine and tomb of Nabi Yunus the biblical prophet Jonah in the ruins of ancient Nineveh to the east of the Tigris.  In this climate, most Christians chose to leave Mosul for the comparatively tolerant lands of Iraqi Kurdistan to the north, although refugees have reported being robbed of all their belongings at the checkpoint leaving the city.

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Sako, who is presently the highest ranking ecclesiastical official of any denomination in Iraq, commented on the expulsion of the Christians, “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”

This comment may strike many Americans as odd, because they presume that Iraq and the Middle East more generally are necessarily Muslim regions, and Christianity there must be a recent European importation.  But that is far from the case.  Since the study of Iraqi Christianity is an area of expertise, I thought I would present here a brief timeline of Mosul and its Christians.

In antiquity, whatever settlement or fortification existed on the site of the center of modern Mosul was overshadowed by Nineveh, the old Assyrian capital.  It is unknown when Christianity first arrived in Nineveh, although it had an important bishop by 554, when its bishop was one of the signatories to a council of the Church of the East.  At that time, the bishop was under the authority of the metropolitan archbishop of Arbela modern Erbil to the east of Nineveh, and the patriarchate was in the capital of the Sasanian Persian Empire, south of modern Baghdad.  By the early seventh century, there were also Syriac Orthodox Christians in the region we know of as Iraq, with their regional headquarters in Tagrit modern Tikrit, and an important monastery of Mor Matay outside Mosul.  There was also an important monastery of the Church of the East outside Mosul, the monastery of Mar Gabriel and Mar Abraham, also called the “Upper Monastery,” which later became an important center for liturgical reform in the Church of the East.

via The End of Christianity in Mosul | Mafqud wa-Mawjud.

I also note that Jessica’s co-author Chalcedon451 has written on this as well, here, and here. In addition there is a category there that deals with the history of The Church of the East, if you would like to know more of its history, it is quite fascinating, that category is here.

A short quote from Chalcedon451 will explain the symbol that is illustrated with this article. This is from his first linked article.

Upon the walls of the houses in Mosul, the Islamic symbol for ‘N’ (Nazarene) has appeared, (see the picture at the top of the piece) used, just as the Star of David was by the Nazis, as a sign that this place can be looted and its people attacked. The forces of ISIS have confiscated more than thirty churchesburning down one which goes back to antiquity. There were no twenty four hour news channels when the forces of Mohammed swept through the region in the seventh and eighth centuries, but even his forces were not this brutal. Across the whole of the Middle East, Christian communities as old as any that exist in the world are being exterminated.

I have come to have some doubts about the second war with Iraq, although I was a strong supporter of it. But, notwithstanding my, or your, beliefs on the validity of the war, it happened. What also happened is that America ran away from what we had wrought, thereby causing all the death and injuries to our soldiers and those of our allies, like the British who stood with us to be in vain. In addition, I see no reason why the martyrdom of the Iraqi Christians should not also be laid at the door of those who decided we should, in the inelegant military phrase, “bug out”. May God have mercy on their souls.

Frankly, at this late date there is little to do other than pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq, while sadly noting that many have been martyred and no doubt more will be.

Gaza, Israel, and Respect for Life

Israel-Flag-Flying2-2009So we are starting to see a few Palestinians die. Without being overly hard about it, why are you surprised? I did a little checking yesterday on just how big Israel is. It’s almost the same size an Maryland. That’s pretty damned small, hard to understand why anyone thinks they should cower forever in their shelters while 2000+ artillery rockets go off on the civilization they built.

Here you go.

Name Area in square Miles
Nebraska 77,358
Maryland 10,455
England 50,346
Israel 10,425
United States 3,140,000

Seems to me the British tried that one time in Maryland, some lawyer wrote a song about it, it starts, “O, say can you see…”. And the thing is the British, honorable people that they are, were attacking Fort McHenry, not Baltimore. Nor did the Americans pack the population of Baltimore into the fort, and leave them sitting on the powder magazines.

And just how long should the Israelis sit in their shelters with the economy more or less stopped, trading $60K anti-missile missiles for $1000 artillery rockets?

The closest comparison I can come up with is the German’s V weapons campaign in 1944 against the south of England. What was the response? United States 8th Air Force, and 9th Air Force, and RAF Bomber Command all diverted much effort from the air war to hunting the launch sites, and there was no attempt to limit civilian casualties. It was marginally effective at best, the problem was solved by infantry on the ground, and the complete suppression of Nazi Germany.

For me this cartoon summarizes the whole thing:

Juice2

It is admittedly difficult to root out combatants who attempt to hide behind women and children. At least without harming aforesaid women and children.

The Israelis, member of western civilization, that they are, are risking their soldiery, by going far out of their way to protect so-called civilians in Gaza, even as they know they will simply be damned for it.

Under any moral system, they would be completely justified going in behind a wall of fire not seen since Russia took Berlin, or the Allies bombed Dresden. I’m not sure that any solution short of that will solve the problem of living next door to a state whose very constitution calls for the destruction of your country, and the extermination of your population. An American general, fighting the Indian wars in Colorado during the Civil war once remarked, “Nits grow into lice,” it strikes me as appropriate.

6a00d8341c60bf53ef017744d4c663970d-300wi

 

You know, the opponents of Israel like to compare her to the United States by referring to her as ‘Little Satan’ even as they refer to the United States as ‘Great Satan’. They think it pejorative, I think it a great compliment. And our commitment to protecting life is once again being demonstrated in Gaza, as once again Israel expends blood and treasure to protect those who would harm her.

iStock 20492165 MD - American and Israeli flags

 

Legitimate Government, Evangelical Lutheran Style

‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Hermann Sasse.

‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Hermann Sasse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I will shortly be posting an article at All Along the Watchtower (Jess’ site) on Luther’s Two Kingdoms doctrine. [It is now up, and is here.] In it I am talking about the interference we are currently seeing in our churches, both here and in the UK, from the secular authorities. I think you should read it. I will update with a link when it is available.

In any case, while researching that article, I came across an essay by Hermann Sasse entitled: THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE PRESENT This essay was originally published in the Kirchlich-soziale Blätter in 1930. In April 1928 he was called to be pastor at St. Marienkirche, Berlin, and Sozialpfarrer in Innere-mission (“social pastor in inner mission”).

[...]The assertion “The power of the state arises from the people” is false according to Lutheran doctrine, if it would be more than a formal description of the proceedings in a modern state, by which a government is formed. The power of the state proceeds from God. One last reminder of this lives on in the religious formulas and forms with which modern peoples still surround the state and civil life.

Any political power which has arisen out of anarchy may become a God-given governing authority, if it fulfills the tasks of the office of governing authority. This task is the assurance of peace and the maintenance of law through external power, the symbol of which is the sword. The governing authority is a “Servant of God, the avenger for those who do evil.” [Rom 13:4] Legal governing authority is distinguished from religious power in that it not only (as does the latter) possesses power [Macht] but uses its power in the service of law. Both belong to the essence of the state; Power and law [Macht und das Recht]. A governing authority which bears the sword in vain, which no longer has the fortitude to decisively punish the law-breaker, is in the process of burying itself [gräbt sich selbst das Grab]. A state which removes the concepts “right” and “wrong” from jurisprudence, and replaces them with “useful” and “injurious”, “healthy” and “ill”, “socially valuable” and “socially inferior”, [a state] which in the place of the principal of remuneration places the principal of inoculation [Unschädlichmachung] a state which in its civil law dissolves marriage and family, ceases to be a constitutional state and thus the governing authority.

A governing authority which knowingly or unknowingly makes the interests of social position or class the norm for the formation and definition of law, or which allows the norms of the law to be dictated by the so-called “legal consciousness” of the time, sinks to the level of raw power. This danger exists now—and this is not addressed by the Augustana—for all governing authorities, and shall for all time. It exists especially in the modern democratic forms of government and in the dictatorship. For the result of the secularization process of the last century has been that the consciousness of eternal legal norms which are not determined by man, has nearly perished. But where this consciousness ceases to exist, there God-given power is changed into demonic power, resulting in its ruin among peoples and states. But wherever on earth a governing authority—irrespective of which form—is conscious of a [civil] righteousness independent of its will, exercises the power of its office, upholds the law and guards the peace, there it is “God’s good gift”, there it is “by the grace of God.”

The essay (PDF) is available here. The paragraphs and emphasis are mine.

The German statement of where legitimate power comes from may be jarring to Anglo-American readers, after all we have been taught that the people are sovereign. I don’t find them mutually exclusive, however. God established the family for man before the fall, and government after the fall, to provide a semblance of justice in the world. It’s easy enough to see how, under God’s direction, families got together to form first cities and then states to protect themselves. It is also important for us to remember that all the revolutions in the English-speaking world (and only there, strangely) have been more counter-revolutions, than anything else, always the goal has been the restoration of “The Good Old Law“. That is also why we have never gone into the stage of anarchy that has followed all the other (French, Russian, et al) revolutions. We were going back.

The other thing here is that you see how Weimar manged to delegitimize itself. How close are our governments coming to doing the same? I’d say very close, indeed.

%d bloggers like this: