BlackBerry is Making me Mad

Really. I’ve got no service. Day 2:

The Blackberry Internet Service was disrupted for the second time in two days in South Africa on Tuesday.

The service interruption was felt in Europe, the Middle East, India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Africa, said Research in Motion (RIM) – the company that manufactures Blackberry.

The company would not give details on the cause of the problem or how long it was expected to last.

“We are working to restore normal service as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused,” RIM said.

On Monday, Blackberry users experienced a similar outage.

The service was restored for several hours on Monday, but faltered again on Tuesday.

Many users vented their frustration on social media sites like Twitter.

One said: “Ok, this BlackBerry thing is ridiculous now. And if I see one more tweet from a smug iPhone user…”

Others sought solace in humour.

“Its thoughtful of BlackBerry to honour Steve Jobs by having two days of silence,” said one tweet.

“Flight attendant just said to switch all our phones off, this includes all Blackberries… everyone chimes ‘dont worry they keep themselves off’,” said another. – Sapa

Anway, that’s it. Can’t blog like this. I’m off to bed. Goodnight!


Bible Archaeology

Ritual bath Discovered at Biblical Zorah

A Jewish ritual bath has been discovered at Biblical Zorah:

A report today from the Israel Antiquities Authority announces the discovery of a Second Temple Period ritual bath. This means the Herodian Temple that was standing at the time of the ministry of Jesus. Many Bible students think of the Herodian Temple as the Third Temple.

  1. Solomon’s Temple (built about 966 B.C.). Destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians.
  2. The post-Babylonian Exile temple built 520-516 B.C. This temple fell into decay and was rebuilt and vastly enlarged by Herod.
  3. Herod’s Temple (begun about 19/20 B.C. Destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans.

Archaeologist Pablo Betzer, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said,

“This is the first time that any remains dating to the Second Temple period have been exposed in this region. We knew from the Talmud and from non-Jewish sources that on this ridge, as in most of the Judean Shephelah, there was an extensive Jewish community 2,000 years ago that existed until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Yet despite the many surveys and excavations that have been carried out to date no remains from this period have been discovered so far”. According to Betzer the name of the Jewish settlement that the ritual bath belonged to is still unknown.

Second Temple Mikveh from Zorah. Photo by Assaf Peretz, courtesy IAA.

Zorah is know to Bible students as the area of Samson’s birth and activity (Judges 13-16). Manoah, Samson’s father, was a Danite from Zorah (Judges 13:2).

Questions about purification were common during the ministry of John and Jesus. This is the “Second Temple” period.

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.  (John 3:25 ESV)

The NET Bible uses the phrase “ceremonial washing” instead of “purification.”

The full press release may be read here.


Bring ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Tactics to Church, Theologian Suggests

Catholic Culture reports:

Tom Beaudoin, a Fordham theology professor and contributor to the Americamagazine site, suggests that dissident Catholics should mirror the tactics of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators.

“This could be the Catholic version of the Arab Spring, to combat the long Catholic winter,” writes Beaudoin–who seems to view the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon in an entirely positive light. He believes that the New York demonstration may “embody visions of a possible future that influence the larger social imagination,” and opines that protests can “become like religious ritual.”

‘The Catholic version of the Arab Spring’?! What a wicked thing to say.

His comments in full are here.



Not a Single Christian Church Left in Afghanistan

So says the US State Department:

( – There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

“There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church’s claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March [2010],” reads the State Department report on religious freedom. “[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned.”

In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department…

“Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity,” said the report. “The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.”

Most Christians in the country refuse to “state their beliefs or gather openly to worship,” said the State Department…

Rest here.

That’s Islam for you!



A Summary of St Dominic’s Prayer

On the blog Beginning to Pray:

The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic presume a connection between the body and the soul, devotion and prayer. Each of the ways speaks to the importance of what is called “vocal” prayer. Such prayer goes beyond words that are said out loud. Bodily though it is, such prayer reaches for that true and total spiritual worship advocated by St. Paul in Romans 12:1-2. It take up gestures of the body which move the soul with devotion so that the grace filled and Holy Spirit imbued soul might move the body in such true worship to Christ-like sacrifices of love:

– The bowing of one’s head and heart with humility at the beginning of prayer before the crucifix, at the altar, in the Name of the Trinity;
– The throwing down and prostrating of one’s whole body with tears of compunction for the sins of others when one can find no more tears for his own;
– The welcoming of all the physical difficulties and the patience endurance of all kinds of bodily discomforts during prayer as part of prayer itself, as a way of offering one’s body to God in praise;
– The fixating of one’s gaze on Christ crucified while kneeling and standing with bold petitions filled with confidence in the indescribable goodness of God and sober acceptance of one’s own weakness;
– The raising of one’s hands to heaven with eyes wide open in the ancient orans of the first Christians;
– The stretching out of one’s arms cruciform with a cry for help in heartbreaking situations;
– The standing strong with hands folded in prayer like an arrow shot into the heart of God;
– The sitting in holy reading and contemplation – that ancient practice of lectio divina; and
– The frequent quest for solitude in which one resists fantasies and evil thoughts like flies and prepares for spiritual battle against diabolical malice by the sign of the Cross.


Egypt Destroying Churches, One at a Time

What clearer sign that Egypt is turning rabidly Islamist than the fact that hardly a week goes by without a church being destroyed, or without protesting Christians being attacked and slaughtered by the military?

The latest chaos in Egypt—where the military opened fire on unarmed protesters, and ran armored vehicles over them— killing 35 and injuring over 300, with the count still rising –originated in Edfu, a onetime tourist destination renowned for its pharaonic antiquities, but now known as the latest region to see a church destroyed by a Muslim mob.

This destruction, which spurred the unrest in Egypt, is itself eye-opening as to the situation in Egypt. To sum it up, St. George Coptic church, built nearly a century ago, was so dilapidated that the local council and governor of Aswan approved renovating it, and signed off on the design.

It was not long before local Muslims began complaining and making various demands, including that the church be devoid of crosses and bells—even though the permit had approved them—citing that “the Cross irritates Muslims and their children.”

Coptic leaders had no choice but to acquiesce, “pointing to the fact that the church was rebuilt legally, and any concessions on the part of the church was done for the love for the country, which is passing through a difficult phase.”

Acquiescence breeds more demands: Muslim leaders next insisted that the very dome of the church be removed—so that the building might not even resemble a church—and that it be referred to as a “hospitality home.” Stating that removing the dome would. Most likely collapse the church, the bishop refused.

The cries of “Allahu Akbar!” began: Muslims threatened to raze the church and build a mosque in its place; Copts were “forbidden to leave their homes or buy food until they remove the dome of St. George’s Church;” many starved for weeks.

Then, after Friday prayers on Sept. 30, some three thousand Muslims rampaged through the church, torched it, and demolished the dome; flames from the wreckage burned nearby Coptic homes, which were further ransacked by rioting Muslims.

This account of anti-church sentiment in Egypt leads to several sad conclusions…

Read about them here.

Islam: A religion of terror. God help the Copts!