Asia Bibi : Christian Jailed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi, Pakistani Christian

The Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was arrested and jailed in 2009 for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Muhammed. She was sentenced to death.

In fact, Asia Bibi extended hospitality and friendship towards her Muslim coworkers by sharing water and conversation. Rumors then circulated, and false accusations, claiming that she had defamed the prophet of Islam.

Asia Bibi’s case has been appealed. She has been waiting (in jail) for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to hear the case and render a final verdict.

Jesus fought for Spiritual Freedom : Lightworker

Jesus himself was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be united with God. No matter our religion, all of us have the right– like Jesus–to enjoy such intimacy with God. We ought to openly declare or speak about our faith, peacefully, without incurring retribution by a dogmatic orthodoxy or a strident majority.

Not Just about Religion but about Human Rights

While Asia Bibi’s imprisonment involves persecution on religious grounds, her case goes beyond sectarian differences between religions. Instead, the case puts on trial freedom of speech and basic human rights.

Pakistan, a country which claims to protect religious minorities, ought to uphold the freedom of a person (Asia Bibi) to speak and associate freely with Muslims even while practicing her own different culture and mode of faith.  Is one free, respectfully, to declare one’s own faith (as a Christian) without thereby being accused of allegedly insulting the religion of the Muslim majority?  The charge of blasphemy, if it should ever be legitimate, is illegitimate, here.

This case has not to do with protecting a Christian person, merely, but rather with the democratic right of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

More Information about the Asia Bibi Case 

A journalist risked her life so that she could get Asia Bibi’s story. The book can be found here: Blasphemy: A Memoir

Here are updates about her case:

Update Asia Bibi Appeal Pakistan

Prayer Support 2018

Advertisements

When Prophecy Fails (or Seems to)

2012 Prophecies: the Shift 

What ever happened to the golden age, which was supposed to be impending, long predicted by the Mayans and other ancient seers? On December 21, 2102, it was said, we would shift to a higher dimension or the 5th dimension. Suffering would dissolve, at least for those who cooperate with the process.

Since the world did not transform in an instant, in the aftermath of the shift predicted for 2012, many explain that no miracle had ever been predicted. A new heaven and new earth would not suddenly descend and be made real. Quite the contrary, the shift predicted would be an ongoing and gradual one.

Can’t you feel it? We are living in a new time, a quickening, aren’t we? The prophecy has come true, at least for those who have a heart to experience it.

A statement that can meaningfully be true, in logical terms, must be falsifiable, capable of being true or false. Prophecies are not always falsifiable which means that they cannot, necessarily, be verified logically.

It may be that prophetic speech is less like a prediction – which can be verified and falsified — than like a warning, which people may heed or ignore.

Biblical Prophets: No-Win 

Biblical prophets have faced a dilemma from at least the time of Jeremiah. If a prophet’s teachings are accepted because they prophesy good times and prosperity, they are likely to be false; the prophet has conjured an auspicious forecast in order to flatter the ruling establishment and to garner popularity for him or herself.

If the prophet forecasts doom, however, he or she may be regarded as a false prophet if the doom and disaster do not happen as planned. Under such conditions, it may seem that the only way a prophet can earn a reputation for accuracy is by forecasting a horrible fate that, in fact, transpires just as foreseen — (in which case, naturally, the prophet suffers because he or she will be assaulted and attacked for stating a dire predicament from which none can escape).

No wonder many prophets argue and protest when they are called to the office of  prophet!

Biblical Prophecy: Prediction or Warning?

The prophet’s fate may be rosier if he or she gives others the chance to repent and change their future.  Prophecies may be intended less as predictions than as warnings.  Does the prophet predict a future that will happen with undeviating precision? Or are prophecies aimed at moral reform, in which case the prophet serves to alert people that they ought to change their ways, lest there be unfortunate consequences?

The latter option — that prophecy aims at repentance and a change of heart — makes sense of the prophet’s role as a grim supervisor of morality.  If a painful outcome is avoided, the people may have been fairly warned and may have changed their ways in order to avert the negative outcome. Conversely, if the golden age has not yet arrived, perhaps people must change their hearts before being capable of receiving it.

So what do you think, Lightworkers? Did we undergo a shift or turn of the ages with 2012? What does that prophecy mean to you? (Send along your thoughts.)

See this classic treatment of failed prophecies:

http://Book: When Prophecy Fails 1956 Online Full Text

See this article about the prophecies of Nostradamus at the millennium. The article discusses Delores Cannon, one of the prophets of the new age.

1996 article on failed doomsday prophecies

God and UFO’s

Dear Lightworkers,

In previous posts, we’ve delved into the testimony of a researcher whose conversations with extra-terrestrials (Arcturians) have resulted in a spiritual philosophy and even a new understanding of Jesus Christ.

Today, we go beyond such individual reports to look at how the Church as an institution is accommodating our galactic friends.

Now that the New York Times has produced an investigative report on the Pentagon’s UFO program (see: NY Times on Pentagon and UFO), it is thought-provoking to consider the theological implications of extraterrestrial contact.

The Vatican’s Br. Guy Consolmagno replies to such questions on his blog, The Catholic Astronomer (see: Vatican’s Brother Guy). See also this summary article (Summary Article on ET’s and Interdisciplinary Research).

Consider, too, whether Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus might have been caused by a falling meteor (see article: Falling Meteor on Road to Damascus).

Be like a Child

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

What makes a beloved childhood adorable, to so many of us, may be the child’s exuberance, creativity, playfulness, and imagination. A child’s emotional honesty is also compelling. While adults harbor complicated infatuations, children respond to kindness with openness and generosity — from wherever it comes. Although children will shrink from cruelty,  usually they keep no record of wrongs (unless their trust is betrayed) nor do they play the victim.  Adults hold grudges, propelled by self-righteousness and victimization.

Feelings flow through children: sadness, anger, or boredom can give way, relatively rapidly, to joy, peace, and rapt interest. If only the hearts of adults were not so frozen over by despair, disappointment, and even (occasionally) deceit, they might regenerate their joy in life,  easily.  Children, attracted by a joyful heart, would visit them, unhiindered, to play games or to rest and to be renewed.

Besides the expressive and emotional qualities of children, which are enlivening and rejuvenating, the miracle of a child is that he or she enters the world already equipped with an intact personality and innate gifts. How do such well-formed persons emerge from invisible dimensions? Biology can trace the material foundations of life, and describe the human person in terms of DNA, without ever touching upon the mystery of the incarnation of life (in earthly and visible from) from a transcendent source (which is heavenly and invisible). Astonishing.

Children generally show a benign indifference to their own limitations — (at least until they are much older or until they are socialized to inhibit themselves). For instance, one child I know draws elaborate maps of neighborhoods in his native city. After doing so, every afternoon, he moves onto singing while making videos of his performances. After these activities, he has a snack and takes a rest. Next, this curious child mops the floor of the kitchen. Fascinated to experience this thing, too, he slides on suds of soap. What may be a chore to an adult is fun and a game for a child. The child reads or acts out a skit. At dinner time, he helps the adults to cook by cutting vegetables.

By way of contrast, consider how adults behave.  Clutching to their talents and contributions, adults develop an identity in the world from which to derive their  self-esteem. In the longer run, this identity may deprive them of spontaneity and joy.

Let us suppose that an adult proficient at maps becomes an engineer or graphic design specialist. Thanks to awards, this hypothetical person gets jobs based on such skills. Once commodified, however, the skill in question is liable to become something clung to for fear of loss. Furthermore, as the engineer in question compares his or her talents to those of others in the field, this act of comparison may tempt her or him to indulge in arrogance or envy.

Once talents are defined, owned, and commodified by people and economies, people can become burdened by their gifts by losing flexibility. The graphic designer with expertise at visual art holds him or herself back from performing songs: “After all, I’m a graphic artist not a musician. And by the way, I will hire somebody to mop my floor and cook for me since those chores are no fun.”

Let us as adults become like children. We shall move to the center of our being– to that spontaneous, creative place. Letting go of ideas of who we are, and who we should be, we dispense with limiting beliefs about our talents and our deficiencies. We explore our joys and interests. Experimental, playful: such are qualities of children. Freedom.

 

 

Come Alive !: The Secret and Life Abundant

Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The Secret, the 2007 mega bestseller by Rhonda Byrne, provokes divided reactions. The basic message of this book — and the accompanying DVD – can be life-affirming. The teaching of The Secret, it may be argued, resonates with the teachings of Jesus in some respects. Both support people to come alive in ways that are natural to our hearts, given our unique talents and desires.

Contrary to the message of the New Testament, however, The Secret can encourage rank materialism, which deviates from moral or generous aims.

Life Abundant

In the New Testament, we are to enjoy life abundant (John 10:10) by making use of our gifts for the benefit of all.  If we follow our goals and dreams, according to The Secret, while envisioning success with faith and right intention, then life will assist their realization. Surely, from a spiritual perspective, our hopes and goals for life — which make us come alive — ought to be respected and nourished. If we come fully alive, then we can assist the world likewise to be alive. The Secret may be a tool toward this end.

Many believe themselves to be prisoners or victims in life. The Secret offers those who feel like victims tools for self efficacy, so that they may chart their own destiny. Similarly, the teachings of the New Testament–for instance, concerning prayer– give us power to decide our fate and our happiness while assisted by an infinite and creative intelligence.

Morally Dubious and Deluded

Some, however, criticize the concept of the law of attraction, which is substantially the message of The Secret, as being simplistic or even deluded. (See, for instance, this critique: Mark Manson The Secret.) The empire behind The Secret, furthermore, has been riven by law suits, arguments, and betrayal, thus seeming to vitiate the message of ethically rigorous and pure-minded positivity, championed by its architects. (On lawsuits, see: Lawsuits and the Secret NYTimes and The Australian Critique Rhonda Byrne.)

Testimonials: Benefits in People’s Lives

Those who are inspired by The Secret, however, attest that its message has helped them to change their lives. Proponents and converts report that they wake up through this book to the reality that they are no longer victims in their lives but instead creators of them. The Secret restores our personal power, as one advocate describes, which is endowed by God.  (See, for instance: How the Secret Changed the Life of Jewel     Manifesting Goals and Spirituality.)

What gives people hope about this message is its affirmative vision of life. What if life is actually amenable, malleable, and responsive to our deepest desires, aspirations, goals and wishes? Whether our desire be for a wonderful love relationship, for financial success, for healing, or for the capacity to carry out a humanitarian project, The Secret affirms that these desires are good and may be realized so long as we remain focused and positive in our approach to realizing them.

Furthermore, if life can be trusted to carry us forward toward self-realization, then we need not struggle by pushing against the current of life. Instead, we may jump into the life stream and let it carry us to our highest good.

Conclusion

The Secret can, indeed, encourage wishful thinking and a superstitious fear of negativity. The emphasis, in the movement around it, on material goals may lead to ethically dubious results.

Yet, in a different way, the message of this book confirms the gospel promise of life abundant. The gospel message says that life is generous and abundant. Our individual goals and dreams may be realized through right intention and faith. After all, God cares for each of us. We are guided, easily and joyously, toward the glory of our own flowering and fulfillment — like the lilies of the field which neither toil nor spin.