Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Steve, at Who With the Autumn, recently awarded me with the Mathetes Award for Excellence in Discipleship. After getting over the shock of receiving an award at this little traveled site, humbly and with great gratitude, posted the little badge that was sent with it. I then immediately went into a long THINK about who to send this award onwards to.
I've been exploring the possibilities and time has been marching by. So rather than wait any longer, I'm going to award ONE now and then award more later this week. the reason it has taken so long is that I wanted to give this particular award the seriousness of thought it so rightly deserves. I'll edit this post as I go along so that any who visit here can keep up with the list as it grows to that magic number five.
"Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do.
"In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for
(1)this post as the originator of the award ( Dan King of Management by God)
(2) the person that awarded it to you, and then
(3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.
If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition."
The rules of participating:
1. Copy this post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.
Number one on my list of recipients is Deb at PIACERE. This peace-filled and gentle woman has become a good friend to me and the thoughtful insight she provides in her comments (not to mention her own good sites) enrich my life and have given new depths of understanding to questions that I have been posing to myself lately. I hope that you enjoy her as much as I have been.
Number Two on my list of recipients is Rebecca at Cre8Tiva - A Creative and Spiritual Journy. I have only known Rebecca for a few short weeks, but the tone of her beautiful and creative blog reveal a constant threat of love of the spirit and Christ's love that I have come to much appreciate.
By SIMON CALDWELL
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.
His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.
The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.
"Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow," he said in the message entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace".
"It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
"If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations.
"Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken."
Efforts to protect the environment should seek "agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances", the Pope said.
He added that to further the cause of world peace it was sensible for nations to "choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions" in how to cooperate responsibly on conserving the planet.
The Pope's message is traditionally sent to heads of government and international organisations.
His remarks reveal that while the Pope acknowledges that problems may be associated with unbridled development and climate change, he believes the case against global warming to be over-hyped.
A broad consensus is developing among the world's scientific community over the evils of climate change.
But there is also an intransigent body of scientific opinion which continues to insist that industrial emissions are not to blame for the phenomenon.
Such scientists point out that fluctuations in the earth's temperature are normal and can often be caused by waves of heat generated by the sun. Other critics of environmentalism have compared the movement to a burgeoning industry in its own right.
In the spring, the Vatican hosted a conference on climate change that was welcomed by environmentalists.
But senior cardinals close to the Vatican have since expressed doubts about a movement which has been likened by critics to be just as dogmatic in its assumptions as any religion.
In October, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, caused an outcry when he noted that the atmospheric temperature of Mars had risen by 0.5 degrees celsius.
"The industrial-military complex up on Mars can't be blamed for that," he said in a criticism of Australian scientists who had claimed that carbon emissions would force temperatures on earth to rise by almost five degrees by 2070 unless drastic solutions were enforced.
VATICAN CITY, Dec. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org): The Vatican press office confirmed Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI received Monday Shawqi Jabriel Armali, director of the office of representation to the Holy See of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Armali was named representative of the PLO before the Holy See in November. After meeting with Benedict XVI, he met with the secretary for the relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
Armali delivered a message on behalf of the President Mahmoud Abbas in which the Palestinian leader requests an "active presence" on the part of the Holy See in the Middle East peace process.
The Palestinian diplomat recognized "the important role of the Vatican in the question of Jerusalem's status."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Vatican City - The Palestinian Liberation Organisation's new Vatican envoy urged Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting on Monday to be actively involved in the Mideast peace process, said a religious news agency.
Envoy Shawqi Armali delivered a message to the pontiff from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a "very active presence of the Holy See during negotiations taking place after the (Middle East peace) conference in Annapolis," reported the I Media news agency.
The Vatican said in a statement only that the two had met.
A steering committee of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators holds talks on Wednesday for the first time since the November conference outside Washington.
A Holy See delegation took part in the US-sponsored peace talks.
The Vatican backs separate Palestinian and Israeli states and says any sustainable peace must resolve the status of Jerusalem.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Pope: Atheism Led to 'Greatest Forms of Cruelty'
Pope Benedict XVI has strongly criticized atheism and blamed it for bringing about the ”greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” ever known in history.
Tue, Dec. 04, 2007 Posted: 15:14:52 PM EST
Pope Benedict XVI has strongly criticized atheism and blamed it for bringing about the ”greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” ever known in history.
In the second encyclical of his papacy, the head of the world’s one billion Catholics also criticized modern-day Christianity, saying its focus on individual salvation had ignored Jesus' message that true Christian hope involves salvation for all.
In the 76-page document titled ”Spe Salvi,“ or “Saved by Hope,” Benedict said that many people rejected religious faith because they no longer found the prospect of an eternal after-life attractive.
Instead, they had put their faith in human reason and freedom in the hope that the "kingdom of man" would emerge.
In his scholarly analysis, the 81-year-old pontiff said that these ideas had originated during two periods of political upheaval – the French and Communist revolutions.
While Benedict came down heavily on Karl Marx and the 19th and 20th century atheism spawned by his revolution, the pope acknowledged that both were responding to the deep injustices of the time.
Marxism, Benedict wrote, had left behind "a trail of appalling destruction" because it failed to realize that man could not be "merely the product of economic conditions." For man to be redeemed, he also needs God's unconditional love.
"It is no accident that this idea (Marxism/Atheism) has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice, rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim", he wrote. "A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope."
Benedict also cited Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, and the "intermediate phase" of dictatorship that Marx saw as necessary in the revolution.
"This 'intermediate phase' we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction," the pope wrote.
Commenting on the pope’s latest encyclical, Monsignor Robert Wister, professor of church history at Seton Hall University in the United States, explained that the pope's concern “is that you have secularizing forces that are trying to eliminate religion from public and private life."
"In most countries, political Marxism is dead [but] philosophical Marxism is very much alive and it fuels the secularizing philosophy often seen in Europe and North America," Wister said, according to the Associated Press.
At the same time, Benedict also looked critically at the way modern Christianity had responded to the times, saying such a "self-critique" was also necessary.
"We must acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has to a large extent restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation," the pope wrote. "In doing so, it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognize sufficiently the greatness of its task."
The Christian concept of hope and salvation, the pontiff stated, was not always so individual-centric.
Quoting scripture and theologians, Benedict said salvation had in the earlier church been considered "communal" — illustrating his point by using the case of monks in the Middle Ages who cloistered themselves in prayer not just for their own salvation but for that of others.
"How could the idea have developed that Jesus' message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the 'salvation of the soul' as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others?" he asked.
While seeking to provide answers, the pope said there are ways for the faithful to learn and practice true Christian hope – in prayer, in suffering, in taking action and in looking at the Last Judgment as a symbol of hope.
"Only God can create justice. And faith gives us the certainty that He does so. The image of the Last Judgment is not primarily an image of terror, but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope. Is it not also a frightening image? I would say: it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love. God is justice and creates justice."
The first encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI was "God is Love," released last year. The third one is expected to be on ”Faith,” as it will complete the three Christian theological virtues – faith, hope and love.
Peter B. Beita
Christian Post Reporter
Saturday, December 01, 2007
By Victor L. Simpson - ASSOCIATED PRESS
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” ever known.
In his second encyclical, Benedict also critically questioned modern Christianity, saying its focus on individual salvation had ignored Jesus’ message that true Christian hope involves salvation for all.
The document, titled “Saved by Hope,” is a deeply theological exploration of Christian hope: that in the suffering and misery of daily life, Christianity provides the faithful with a “journey of hope” to the Kingdom of God.
“We must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world is not in our power,” Benedict wrote. “Only God is able to do this.”
An encyclical is the most important papal document, addressed to all members of the 1 billion-member Catholic Church.
In the 76-page document, Benedict elaborated on how the Christian understanding of hope had changed in the modern age, when man sought to relieve the suffering and injustice in the world. Benedict points to two historical upheavals: the French Revolution and the proletarian revolution instigated by Karl Marx.
Benedict sharply criticizes Marx and the 19th and 20th century atheism spawned by his revolution, although he acknowledges that both were responding to the deep injustices of the time.
“A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God,” he wrote. But he said the idea that mankind can do what God cannot by creating a new salvation on Earth was “both presumptuous and intrinsically false.”
“It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice,” he wrote.
He specifically cited Vladimir I. Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, and the “intermediate phase” of dictatorship that Marx saw as necessary in the revolution.
“This ‘intermediate phase’ we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction,” Benedict wrote.
At the same time, Benedict also looks critically at the way modern Christianity had responded to the times.
“We must acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has to a large extent restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation,” he wrote. “In doing so, it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognize sufficiently the greatness of its task.”
The Christian concept of hope and salvation, he says, was not always so individual-centric.
Quoting scripture and theologians, Benedict says salvation had in the earlier church been considered “communal” — illustrating his point by using the case of monks in the Middle Ages who cloistered themselves in prayer not just for their own salvation but for that of others.
“How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the ‘salvation of the soul’ as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others?” he asked