Church

‘God Will Deliver Me From This,’ Doctor Infected With Ebola Says

Please pray for Dr Kent Brantly as he battles this deadly virus.

Kent Brantly

Dr. Kent Brantly is fighting for his life after being infected with the Ebola virus while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. The doctor is listed in grave condition but remains hopeful that God will deliver him from the disease’s grip.

“God’s going to deliver me from this but even if he doesn’t, I have lived my life for him and I have no regrets,” Brantly told Kent Smith, an elder at the South Central Alliance Churches in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It’s a very stressful time,” Brantly’s mother, Jan, told Daily Mail. “Kent is a fine young man, very compassionate, doing what he’s prepared all his life to do. He’s placed his life in the hands of a loving God and our love in that God that sustains us. We pray constantly for him and we solicit the prayer of the whole world. He’s a brave man. He’s doing what he’s doing to serve his God and we are asking people to pray.”

Brantly and wife Amber were working as medical missionaries in Liberia; she recently returned to the states with their two children for a planned visit with family. He has remained in Liberia, where he is receiving medical treatment.

“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital, where Brantly completed a four-year residency. He also asked for prayers for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who has also been affected by the disease.

“Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,” Jan told the Associated Press. “His heart is in Africa.”

An investigation is currently being held in order to determine how Brantly contacted the disease, which is spread through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.

 

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Church

Anglicans Joining Ordinariate Are Like ‘Hobbits In Search of Treasure’

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (CNS)

So say the Ordinary, Msgr Keith Newton:

Anglicans joining the Ordinariate are like Bilbo Baggins and the other hobbits going in search of treasure, Mgr Keith Newton said on Sunday.

Speaking in Portsmouth Cathedral, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham began his homily by mentioning The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, which he described as “one of (his) favourite children’s books… the exiting story of a hobbit together with a band of dwarves searching for dragon guarded gold,” before adding that the true treasure is to be found in Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.

“To discover Christ and his kingdom is more of a lifelong treasure hunt,” he said. “We need God’s grace to do this because it needs courage to make sacrifices and to take risks for Christ if we try to faithfully seek his kingdom and his righteousness. It is part of making choices in seeking of the kingdom that has led some former Anglicans to enter full communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.”

He said that people sometimes asked members of the Ordinariate why they couldn’t become “proper Catholics”. “What they mean”, he said, is “why can’t you just be absorbed into the wider Catholic Church so that what you bring disappears like sugar dissolved in water”. But, he added, “Christian Unity is not about Christian uniformity”.

“It is about exploring the possibility of sharing a common faith in communion with the successor of Peter and yet having different liturgical, devotional and pastoral practices which enrich the wider Church. When Catholics and Anglicans first began talking about unity they used the phrase of being ‘united but not absorbed’. In the Ordinariate that idea has been put into practice – the possibility of Unity of Faith and diversity of expression,” Mgr Newton said.

“Pope Benedict encouraged us not to leave our history behind but to take it into the Catholic Church and to share some of the distinctive aspects of Anglicanism which are consistent with the Catholic Faith.” The Ordinariate Mass has elements taken from the Book of Common Prayer – “a treasure to be shared.”

An Ordinariate “exploration day” event in Portsmouth is just one of 40 different events being held on September 6 by Ordinariate groups across the country, to help people to understand the Ordinariate better. Pope Francis last week sent his good wishes, saying he is praying for the success of the day.

For the full text Mgr Newton’s homily go here.

Church

Why Did ISIS Destroy the Tomb of Jonah

Over at First Things:

On Friday, the media reported that ISIS, the Islamist group that has established a “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq, had destroyed the centuries-old Tomb of Jonah in Mosul, Iraq. Present-day Mosul encompasses the site of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, where, the Bible teaches, the Prophet Jonah preached. Although this is disputed, a tradition holds that Jonah was buried within the city, on Tell Nebi Yunus, or Hill of the Prophet Jonah.

An Assyrian church stood over the tomb for centuries. After the Muslim conquest, the church became a mosque; the structure that ISIS destroyed last week dated to the 14th century. In addition to the tomb, the mosque once held the supposed remains of the whale that had swallowed Jonah, including one of its teeth. At some point, the tooth disappeared. In 2008, the U.S. Army presented the mosque with a replica.

Last week, ISIS closed the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering. Then it wired the structure with explosives and reduced it to rubble. You can see a video of the explosion here, taken by a Mosul resident, who mutters, in Arabic, “No, no, no. Prophet Jonah is gone. God, these scoundrels.”

Some commentators have explained the destruction of the tomb as part of ISIS’s anti-Christian campaign. Scholars Joel Baden and Candida Moss point out that, in Christian interpretation, the Old Testament story of Jonah prefigures the death and resurrection of Christ. “The destruction of his tomb in Mosul is therefore a direct assault on Christian faith, and on one of the few physical traces of that faith remaining in Iraq.” Another scholar, Sam Hardy, told the Washington Post that the destruction of the tomb shows that ISIS is willing to destroy “pretty much anything in the Bible.”

On this analysis, ISIS destroyed the tomb because of its Christian associations. But that mistakes ISIS’s motives in this case. True, ISIS has no respect for Christians or their sites of worship and, in fact, has driven Mosul’s Christians from the city. The fact that the tomb was sacred for Christians as well as Muslims—and contained a present from the US Army—cannot have endeared it to ISIS. But something else is going on here. The shrine was, after all, a mosque, and Jonah figures in the Quran as well as the Bible. To understand why ISIS destroyed the tomb, one has to appreciate something about the version of Islam the group espouses.

ISIS is part of the Salafi movement, a branch of Sunni Islam that seeks to return to the practices of the earliest Muslims – the salaf— who lived at the time of the Prophet Mohammed and just after. The movement rejects the centuries of subsequent developments in Islam as unjustified innovations–pagan accretions that adulterated the faith. In particular, the movement opposes the veneration of the graves of Islamic prophets and holy men. Salafis see this practice, which is associated most frequently with Sufi Islam, as a kind of idolatry, or shirk, that detracts from the absolute transcendence of God.

Salafi Islam prevails in Saudi Arabia, where it enjoys the patronage of the royal family. On the Arabian Peninsula, as now in Iraq, Salafis have destroyed the tombs of Islamic holy men. Indeed, when the Saudi royal family captured the city of Medina in the 19th century, Salafis systematically destroyed the tombs of several of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions and family members, leaving only the Prophet’s tomb itself unmolested. There is some thought that the Saudi government plans on dismantling even that tomb, but hesitates to do so because of the uproar that would result in other Muslim communities.

In short, one should see ISIS’s destruction of the tomb of Jonah as an act principally directed at other Muslims, not Christians. That doesn’t make it any better, of course. Will the outside world do anything in response? Unlikely. Besides, as Professor Hardy told the Post, “If we didn’t intervene when they were killing people, it would be kind of grotesque to intervene over a building.”

 

Church

Holiness in Life

It is not necessary that you live the way I do. But in order to become happier than you are keep these rules:

– think of God at least as much as you think of men
– fear God at least as much as you fear men
– honor God at least as much as you honor men
– pray to God at least as much as you entreat men
– hoping God at least as much as you hope in men
– ask God for help as least as much as you ask men
– fulfill God’s law at least as much as you fulfill the law of men
– be thankful to God at least as much as you are thankful to men
– glorify God at least as much as you glorify men!

– St. Nikolai Velimirovich (From an anonymous Egyptian hermit)

Source

 

Church

Court Says Ground Zero Cross Can Stay, Atheists Weep and Gnash Teeth

On the Creative Minority Report:

I don’t think the atheists really had a prayer with this lawsuit. The atheist group, American Atheists, pretended to be so horrified by the sight of a cross at the 9-11 museum that they filed suit for it to be removed.

“Atheists died on 9/11, members of our organization suffered in lower Manhattan on that day, and our members helped with the rescue and recovery efforts, yet we are denied equal representation in the National Museum,” American Atheists President David Silverman reportedly said.

But the suit just got tossed out of federal court and the atheists don’t know if they’re going to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or not.

The Daily Caller reports:

A federal court ruled Monday that the existence of a cross at Ground Zero does not violate the Constitution, slamming the appeal filed by the secular activist group American Atheists.

The famous cross, formed by two intersecting beams left standing after the 9/11 attacks, has been a powerful spiritual symbol for many since and even during the tragedy. Frank Silecchia discovered the cross while helping recover bodies from the site. “It was a sign,” he later said. ”a sign God hadn’t deserted us.”

American Atheists felt differently. In July 2011 they filed suit over the cross, which had been included in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, saying members of their group found its presence there “offensive and repugnant to their beliefs, culture, and traditions, and allege that the symbol marginalizes them as American citizens.”

“Many of American Atheists’ members have seen the cross, either in person or on television, and are being subjected to and injured in consequence of having a religious tradition not their own imposed upon them through the power of the state,” the suit read.

The Franciscan priest, Father Brian Jordan, who reportedly originally had the cross pulled from Ground Zero. “In a way, we’ve been vindicated,” he said. “I’m satisfied and gratified that this will go down as a piece of history — as a reminder.”

But the Second Circuit stated that the “actual purpose in displaying The Cross at Ground Zero has always been secular: to recount the history of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath.”

The court said the cross tells “the story of how some people used faith to cope with the tragedy.”

Faith is a real part of people’s lives and it shouldn’t be ignored…