christianity

September 11, 2001. That was twenty years ago. I used to read international news in the Stockholm City library’s newspaper room. There were , among other things, articles about some Christian missionaries in Afghanistan who had been arrested by the Talibans on suspicion of violating Sharia laws on proselytism. This was in August 2001.

And I was distracted by the terrorist attack on September 11, when I tried to follow up on that matter ! It almost fell into oblivion.

Now, however, I found those old articles. They were published by the New York Times, among others (at the time, the newspaper was called the “International Herald Tribune”).

There were at least two missionary organizations whose staff had been arrested. One of them was the Germany-based “Shelter Now“, and as some of its captured employees feared during the interrogations, their words spread around the world, as they carefully sought to avoid identifying some of the Afghans who had been the subject of their outreach activities. . On August 26, 2001, the New York Times published their “Confession”: “We gave two copies of a book about Jesus to a family. We have not given anything else, no other books or any material to anyone else. We sang alone one song about God, not about Jesus. They did not sing with us. We drank green tea ”.

The paper continued: “This may not exactly sound like the centerpiece of some grand collusion, but today a Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hal Mutmain, said that the first phase of the investigation was complete, and that the tentacles of a far-reaching Christian plot had been found to clutch not just Kabul, the capital, but other cities as well. The inquiry will now extend elsewhere“. So it had stirred up international attention, especially from the United States, Germany and Australia, that had individual citizens in Afghanistan who were involved in “Shelter Now”.

George Taubman, Margrit Stebnar, Kati Jelinek and Silke Duerrkopf from Germany, Diana Thomas and Peter Bunch from Australia and Dyane Curry and Heather Mercer from the United States spent nearly four months in detention in Afghanistan before being rescued. The Guardian wrote about the matter on November 16 of the same year, recalliing the evacuees’ words: “They also told of their dramatic night rescue, when women in the group set fire to their body-masking burqas so American Special Forces pilots could find them. .. they were airlifted to safety by the US helicopters …

And I also found that in 2002, a book was published in which this their story is developed, a book written by the two American women in the group.

So I got it, and read it. “Prisoners of Hope” thus tells about difficult questions that need to be answered before going to a country like Afghanistan to spread the message of Jesus Christ, and about even more difficult questions asked by the Taliban interrogators.

The stay in three different prisons is described in realistic detail, and individual Afghan life stories are highlighted with great empathy. The sparse contacts with relatives means that information about events in the outside world, even about the terrorist attack on 11/9, comes only in small portions. And the appalling realization that the great United States has gone to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan comes in a very awkward position for these captured Christian missionaries from the West.

And the message about “praying for Afghanistan” feels more urgent than ever.

The Hill about the situation today

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The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 28, verse 2:” And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it

Or what impression could you get ? Here is an excerpt from a recent post (in english translation) from a blog written by the Russian Orthodox theologian  Andrey Kurayev:

 

Three Russian attempts to convene a General – Ecumenical – Council to Russia

Already in 1397 there was an idea of ​​convening a General Church Council to Rus. It was actually a Lithuanian idea.

The Metropolitan of Kiev and all of Russia, Kirian (who had lived in Moscow), turned to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Antonio, along with the Lithuanian prince Jagello from Smolensk. Then the purpose of the Church Council was to unite with the Catholics.

The Patriarch was not against it, but said that times were rebellious and warlike, and that no one would come (especially not from Egypt). “Yes, and even in peaceful times, Russia (“Rosias” in Greek) is an inappropriate place for a General Church Council”.

The second attempt to convene a General Church meeting took place in 1448.

And now before our eyes, Moscow is conducting a third approach to the theme – in the form of a call to gather an All-orthodox Church Council to address the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchy in Ukraine…

 

 

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(This post is reblogged from: http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/01/moscow-to-follow-attack-on-jehovahs.html )

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 6 – Aleksandr Panchenko, a specialist on religious minorities in Russia who lost his job at St. Petersburg State University when he failed to find the texts of Pentecostals extremist, says that Moscow’s massive attack on the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be followed by attacks on other groups that the authorities consider unacceptable “sects.”

            There is no legal definition of “sect” in Russia or anywhere else, largely because the authorities want to define it as fits their needs, including some groups while excluding others that are very similar. But for 20 years, the scholar continues, the Russian government and the ROC MP have promoted “an anti-sectarian mythology” (svoboda.org/a/29655864.html).

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In the midst of all the heavy processes and more or less subtle particularities that are taking place in Orthodoxy, between Moscow, Kiev and Constantinople, there are some fatal factors that, maybe, should not be ignored.
One of them may be these words of Feodor Dostoevsky from 1877, which are sometimes heard about:

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“Одним словом … рано ли, поздно ли, а Константинополь должен быть наш, и хотя бы лишь в будущем только столетии! Это нам, русским, надо всегда иметь ввиду, всем неуклонно. Вот что мне хотелось заявить, особенно в настоящий европейский момент .. ”
(Достоевский: “Дневник писателя Январ – Август 1877 года)
Transl:  In one word … if it happens soon or if it is delayed, but Constantinople must become ours, if only in a coming century! We should, all Russians, all without exception. always have this in mind. That is what I would like to say, especially in this present,  European moment ..
(Dostoevsky: “The author’s diary Janua
ry – August 1877″)
What was the “European moment” 1877 ?? There were new, promising winds blowing  at that time, however, not so much in Russia, even though the serfdom had been abolished.

 

A general, “unifying church council” for Orthodox believers in Ukraine, with Constantinople’s envoy as moderator, will start on November 22, according to Credo.press.

 

112.International

 

 

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