Culture

Hamas Executes Dozens of Civilians in Gaza

I saw this link on Fr Rob’s Irishanglican Weblog:

Hamas has executed scores of Gazan civilians over the past few days, according to several separate reports.

Yisrael Hayom quotes Arab news sources that report that Hamas has executed some 30 Gazan civilians for allegedly collaborating with Israel.

Human rights groups report that some were executed after being caught ‘red handed’ while marking targets for the Israeli Air Force. All the alleged collaborates were summarily executed without trial.

A separate report by several new sources describes protesters in Beit Hanun who were shot in the street by Hamas on Sunday for demonstrating against Hamas’ leadership and the destruction caused to the Gaza Strip. They blamed Hamas for the calamity which has befallen the civilians of the Gaza Strip. Some 20 protesters were rounded up and shot in front of a crowd.

Hamas has previously been harshly condemned by the international community after being accused by local Gazans of summary executions of alleged collaborators who were shot on the basis of mere rumors or who confessed after being horribly tortured and were shot.

 

Church

The Mark of a Christian Today

Crisis Magazine:

Christian House Marked

The recent siege of systematic targeting of Christians in the Middle East should spur us to action in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. While separated from them geographically, we are called to unite ourselves with them in spirit: praying for their safety and an end to the widespread anti-Christian violence in that region. We should do our part to educate those around us, informing our communities and making the seriousness of this situation and our position known to our leaders and representatives. The truth about this tragic and fearful situation must be understood with honest clarity. Our readiness and ability to identify with our fellow “Nazarenes” who have been branded as subjects for oppression and victimization is truly a test of our own Christianity. If we are unmoved by their plight and do not feel compelled to act on their behalf, we fail to live out our calling to be “members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).

Perhaps we should also ask ourselves, at this critical juncture, whether or not we would be marked as Christians by those around us. Would our lifestyles, attitudes, and actions identify us as followers of Christ? Would we be found worthy to bear the title “Nazarene,” as our persecuted brethren in Iraq have been, labelled as such in a context reminiscent of the betrayal of our savior who, “knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, ‘Whom are you looking for?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus the Nazorean.’ He said to them, ‘I AM’ ”(Jn. 18:4-5). How often do we hide away, preferring our own security and social acceptance to the demands of discipleship? We regularly cower in secrecy, seeking our own comfort while concealing our Christian identity as Peter did, warming his hands by the fire while denying that he even knew Jesus.

Read on here.

 

Church

You Might Want to Fact-Check Your Pastor’s Sermon

[This illustration I heard is a…] great story about the power of a good deed. There’s just one problem: Almost nothing about this story is true. It’s one of the most popular myths about Churchill, according Snopes.com and the Downers Grove, Illinois-based Churchill Centre.

How do I know this?

During the sermon, I stopped listening to the pastor and instead turned my eyes on my cell phone. Something about the story just didn’t sit right — it was too good to be true. So whatever spiritual lesson I was supposed to learn in the sermon was soon overshadowed by the wisdom of a Google search.

Things get even worse when a pastor starts quoting statistics…

Read on here.

Preachers love to drop statistics and historical tidbits into their sermons. Too bad so many of their facts are untrue.