Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote: Docetism and Islam

One attempt to reconcile the Gnostic doctrine [of the
unreality of evilness] of matter with the apostolic teaching
about Christ was the theory that the body which our Lord took
at His coming into the world was not a real body but a phantom
one. He only seemed to inhabit a material body, and from the
Greek word dokein ["to seem"], people who held this theory
were known as Docetists. But if Christ's incarnation was
unreal, His death and resurrection were also unreal; and the
whole gospel message was thus evacuated of its truth and
power: one unhappy legacy of this short-lived phase of
Christian heresy remains to bedevil Christian witness to
Muslims up to the present day. For when the Koran says of
Jesus that "they did not kill Him, nor did they crucify Him,
but they thought they did," we may infer that Muhammad was
indebted for this idea to a Christian source tainted with
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1991), The Apostolic Defence of the
Gospel [1959]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Early Morning Surprise: A Beautiful Falcon

Late last week I was driving the kids to school and, in the neighborhood nearby, I passed a man holding a beautiful falcon on his arm. After dropping the kids off I raced back to find the man in a 4x4 with the falcon hooded and perched on the backseat. I inquired about the bird and found the man was a driver employed by his owner who had gone back into the house. He was not going come back out as he had gone to bed and the driver was taking the falcon to the vet for a checkup. I'm guessing that the man was a local Emirati who had his bird with him at a Ramadan tent overnight and he was going to sleep since he might have been up most of the night. This is a common practice for some Emiratis during Ramadan since they are fasting during the day but can eat during the night.

Falconry is, historically, a very popular sport on the Arabian Peninsula. Here is a video of falcon hunting from Sheikh Mohammad's website.

This bird was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Very impressive.

From 2008-9-11 Phone Pics - Falcon

From 2008-9-11 Phone Pics - Falcon

And this picture is from about 5 years ago when I went to Sheikh Mohammad's (different than the current ruler) majlis.

From Sheikh Mohammad & Falcon

Modified: Cartoon of Prophet Moses and Pharaoh

Some of you may have noticed that I recently included a humorous cartoon about Moses, Pharaoh, and the Ten Commandments here. There were some anachronisms (aspects of a historical scene that were not present during the time period pictured or written about - i.e. a wristwatch on a caveman) and inconsistencies as compared with the Biblical accounts. I thought the cartoon was funny, interesting, and I didn't take it too seriously.

But a Muslim friend of mine noticed the cartoon entry here and kindly warned me that government and/or religious authorities in this region could view the posting of the cartoon about Moses as sacrilegious and offensive... perhaps as offensive as a cartoon about Prophet Mohammad.

So I've altered the cartoon to remove the image of Moses. I hope that anyone offended by the cartoon would please accept my apology. No disrespect or offense was intended. Here is the new cartoon image:


This entry and the advice from my friend have caused me to ponder the ever-present possibility of offending other's deeply held religious views. Things that I believe most definitely might offend people. I think this is possibly true for everyone no matter what you believe.

And there are aspects of what I hold to be true that I am not willing to hide or deny even if others feel that they are offensive. But the cartoon itself doesn't represent anything about which I'm willing to be willfully or knowingly offensive.

I think the Gospel itself is the only thing I'm willing to not hide or keep to myself.

As advice to my Christian friends, if there are others you are offending ask yourself the question: Is it my manner or character or is it the Gospel which is offending others around me?

And Christians, if you are offended by others by what you consider to be mocking, trivializing or demeaning Christ and the Gospel, then I encourage you to consider Christ and his response to offense and insult:

1 Peter 2:21-23

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Random Funny Video

This video had me in tears. Extremely funny. But you have to know American Football and... have a weird sense of humor :)

Pre-Game Coin Toss Makes Jacksonville Jaguars Realize Randomness Of Life

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wanna Buy a Luxury Yacht?

Back in Dubai... where luxury yachts are advertised like shampoo, phones, or chewing gum. These Ferretti yacht ads are being advertised all up and down Beach Road.

I guess that says something about the percentage of the population with lots of disposable income.

Only in Dubai :)

From 2008-9-4 Phone Pics

From 2008-9-4 Phone Pics