Thursday, 25 December 2008

alternative christmas message

here is the recent christmas message by President Ahmadinejad of Iran that is causing a lot of ripples around the world as reported by yahoo. some people argue that he should not have been given the privilege to offer the alternative christmas message on UK Channel 4. others argue that anyone else could have said the said message. the problem is that the messenger is tied to the message and in this case, the messenger has not been well received in many parts of the western world for his comments, ranging from denial of the Holocaust to wiping Israel off the map.

read it for yourself:

excerpt from http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2008/12/president-of-ir.html

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President Ahmadinejad of Iran says on UK Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message:

In the Name of God the Compassionate the Merciful.
Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain.

The Almighty created the universe for human brings and created human beings for Himself.

He created every human being with the ability to reach the heights of perfection. He called on man to aim to live a good life in this world and to work to achieve his everlasting life.

On this difficult and challenging journey of man from dust to the divine, He did not leave humanity to its own devices. He chose from those He created the most excellent as His Prophets to guide humanity.

All prophets called for the worship of God, for love and brotherhood, for the establishment of justice and for love in human society. Jesus, the Son of Mary is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice.

All the problems that have bedevilled humanity throughout the ages came about because of humanity followed an evil path and disregarded the message of the Prophets.

Now as human society faces a myriad of problems and succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity's rejection of that message, in particular the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

The crises in society, the family, morality, politics, security and the economy which have made life hard for humanity and continue to put great pressure on all nations have come about because the Prophets have been forgotten, the Almighty has been forgotten and some leaders are estranged from God.

If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime. The solution to today's problems can be found in a return to the call of the divine Prophets. The solution to these crises can be found in following the prophets -- they were sent by the Almighty, for the happiness of humanity.

Today, little by little, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change. This is now taking place. Demands for change, demands for transformation, demands for a return to human values are fast becoming the foremost demands of nations of the world. The response to this demand must be real and true. The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions. If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them.

Fortunately, today as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future, hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous and pious rulers who love the people and want to serve them – and this is what the Almighty has promised.

We believe, Jesus Christ will return, together with one of the children of revered messenger of Islam and would lead the world to a rightful point; to a world of love, brotherhood and justice. The responsibility of all followers of Christ and followers of Abrahamic faiths is to move towards that and to prepare the way for the fulfilment of this divine promise and the arrival of that joyful, shining and wonderful age. I hope that the collective will of nations will unite in the not too distant future and with the grace of the Almighty Lord, that shining age will come to rule the earth.

Once again, I congratulate one and all on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity peace and brotherhood for humanity. I wish you every success.'

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

season greetings and happy holidays

received this in the mail. quite a nice greeting for the 3 occasions. 

so, to all readers happy season greetings!

the reb will be around in seremban for christmas at wesley methodist church and at the watchinight service at tumc church.

Monday, 22 December 2008

article in kairos magazine


the reb recently wrote an article (turned out to be the lead article) for kairos magazine's latest issue on the church's neglected treasure. below is an excerpt and the link to the full article in pdf is available here:  http://kairos-malaysia.org/view_file.cfm?fileid=48

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There is a group of people mainly found in the Old Testament (OT) who might be considered strange or eccentric today. They have been called diverse names such as prophet, seer, visionary, man of God, and man of the Spirit. Whatever the designation, one thing stands out clearly: they were unique. They often stood out in the crowd like sore thumbs, distinct in the way they dressed (hairy mantle, e.g. Zechariah 13:4), what they ate (wild honey and locusts, e.g. 2 Kings 1:8) or what they did (walking barefoot and naked, e.g. Isaiah 20:2).

These prophets came from all walks of life – from priest (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) to herdsman and sycamore tree dresser (Amos), to royalty (Isaiah) – but the personal backgrounds of the majority were unknown. Sometimes even their patrimony was not preserved and their lineage left unspecified. The OT is not concerned with their biographical details. It clearly had little or no interest in the kinds of questions modern readers would ask. The prophets are remembered not because they lived interesting lives but because of their message. Their lasting legacy was the words they left behind. These linger long after the prophets disappeared from the scene. Who can forget some of their more memorable sayings?

‘But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an everflowing stream.’ (Amos 5:24)
‘He has showed you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?’ (Micah 5:24)

When prophets spoke, even kings stopped to listen (e.g. David in 2 Samuel 12:13). Confrontation with them often proved futile (e.g. the story of Elijah and King Ahaziah in 2 Kings 1:9-17). They were often treated as enemies of the state and the originators of trouble (e.g. Elijah was called the “troubler of Israel” in 1 Kings 18:17). Yet, people frequently sought them for advice about venturing to war (e.g. Micaiah ben Imlah in 1 Kings 22) or to look for lost donkeys (e.g. Samuel the seer in 1 Samuel 9:6) or to seek help when all seemed lost (e.g. Elisha in 2 Kings 4)...