Overheard: August 2016

 
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“Christians should be more open to other religions and not discriminate . . . against [my] faith without knowledge of its teachings. . . . there are some other sects in Islam, when you talk about Sunni or Shiite, we need to define, are we talking about this Islam or that Islam?”

Imam Dr Mohammed Bin Yahya responding to comments by the National Council of Churches that Islam should be banned in Samoa, after the Prime Minister announced he would look into amending the constitution to further recognise Christianity.—Radio New Zealand


“Christianity should not seek to exclude the LGBTIQ community nor should it merely be silent on the challenges they face. Christianity should be in the front-line defending their rights and liberties. . . . Christianity has led the charge on many great social issues. This is another opportunity for the Church to be on the right side of history. Christianity should always be a force for good, fighting not only to accept but to truly love all people. Tolerance is the first step.”

Benjamin Jones, researcher in the School of History at the Australian National University, on what he believes should be the Christian Church’s stand in the homosexual debate.
—ABC (Australia)


“It’s reckless for Christians to keep playing the decay card, and irresponsible for the Church to wring its hands and shout doom and damnation from a distance—instead of looking for the beautiful, redemptive work already happening in the world, and joining inanity today, we’re talking about a complex and pluralistic picture.”

Christian blogger John Pavlovitz arguing that society is not in moral decline any more than at any other time in history, and that harping back to the “ ‘good ol’ days’ discounts what God is doing in this place and time that is so worthy of celebrating.”
—Relevant (US
)


“Secular activists likely don’t really want the Bible banned. What they want is to point out there is a double standard that allows the Bible in but not other books, even though the Bible is a book filled with morally questionable actions.”

Ryan Cragun, a sociologist at The University of Tampa, analysing why the Bible was ranked in an American Library Association (ALA) list as the sixth most challenged book, because of its “religious viewpoint.” The ALA defines “challenge” as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”—The Huffington Post (US)


“Really it’s very important and meaningful for us as Middle Eastern to see the church with its roots deep back in history stay there and just stay to do the work of Christ there, not just to keep a name but to keep a name with a power and life and really making a difference in the lives of people and in the country, like a light in the darkness at that part of the world.”

Despite the ever-present threat of persecution by terrorist group ISIS, Pastor Edward Awabdeh returned to Syria after working as a dentist in the United States to minister to some 2000 families in the war-torn country.—Daily Express (UK)