An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Does this satirical cartoon of the birth of Christ offend you?



Following yesterday's tragic events in Paris when a group of talented journalists and cartoonists who worked for the French satirical magical Charlie Hebdo were killed over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad there have been numerous debates over the legitimacy of publishing religious satirical pictures/cartoons.

As a Christian I don't find satire over Christianity offensive. The front cover of Private Eye's Xmas issue (see above) draws modern life into the birth of Jesus. There are political references and parallels drawns which turns a sombre occasion of the birth of Christ into a rather funny moment.

I am interested to hear what other Christians think. 

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Xmas letter from a Christian Pastor who is in an Iranian Jail





Christian Pastor Imprisoned in Iran For His Faith Sends Christmas Letter from Prison Cell

December 17, 2014 - 4:35 PM
Saeed Abedini
Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedin. (Image: ACLJ)
Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian American Christian pastor who was imprisoned for his faith in Christ, wrote a heartfelt and thought-provoking letter on the meaning of Christmas from his prison cell.
Just who is Pastor Abedini? Many know the story, but many more are unaware of this man’s plight.
Saeed Abedini’s official site tells Pastor Abedini’s story:
“Saeed Abedini, a 34-year-old Pastor, father, and husband from Idaho, is currently imprisoned in Rajaei Shahr prison (formerly imprisoned in Evin prison in Tehran, Iran). On 28 July 2012, during a visit to Tehran to visit family and to finalize the board members for an orphanage he was building in Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard detained Saeed, asserting that he must face criminal charges for his Christian faith…”
And it is because of Abedini’s steadfast faith that the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reminds everyone that “we must remember those who are in chains…in chains for the very Gospel – the Good News – we are celebrating.”
Feel free to download Pastor Saeed Abedini’s letter, or read it in its entirety below:
Rajai Shahr Prison 2014
Merry Christmas!
These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.
These cold and brittle conditions have made me wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.
Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.
Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.
Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.
The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!
So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.
Pastor Saeed Abedini

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Xmas (and a double Santa Wave)

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Merry Xmas to Christians everywhere.
Specially remembering and praying for those who are living in insecure conditions around the world and who live in fear for their lives.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Christmas Eve Prayer






O God
it is your will to hold both heaven and earth
in a single peace.
Let the design of your great love
shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, 
and give peace to your church,
peace among nations,
peace in our homes, 
and peace in our hearts

A New Zealand Prayer Book

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Migrant Tales of Harrowing Journeys and Bleak Survival

In the Western World when we talk about boat trips we mean this





In other parts of the world it means this




In September 500 migrants fleeing wars in Gaza and Syria set sail from Egypt for Europe. The boat was rammed by traffickers and capsized. Only 11 survived. Channel 4 News has spoken to some of them.









Sunday, 23 November 2014

I love Simple Sermons

I love those sermons which have a simple message that you can take away, ponder upon and act on. I have often been in churches where the sermon of the day has been so complicated because it has involved too many messages that do not mesh together. Today's message was a back to basics one about helping those in distress. The context for this sermon was the spread of Ebola. In fact this church is even doing a fundraising event for the Ebola crisis.

Some of you reading this will be in bewilderment about the fact that I have even blogged about simple sermons because, you may be thinking, isn't that what church is about? That is indeed what church should be about because a message that touches on the basic Christian beliefs of care and compassion is one that we can all act upon in small ways everyday. I once listened to a sermon about the mission to mars and couldn't apply it to my week, try as I did.