Friday, April 26, 2013

Bethlehem is Not What Most People Expect

by Steve Ray on April 26, 2013

Bethlehem is a city of contrasts, the largest between Christian vs. Muslim. Today we spent the day touring this ancient city which in many ways has still not moved into the modern world. It is behind a wall which constrains the inhabitants. We can come and go—they cannot.

 We literally fought our way into the Church of Nativity to touch the birthplace of Christ. We did not throw any punches but the pressing crowds forced us to push back. But everyone thought it was worth the wait and the struggle.

 Lunch of falafils and schwarma, dinner of stuffed lamb with Palestinian rice and yellow lentil soup. 

With the Bishop of Jerusalem

 Mass in a cave at Shepherds Field where the angels announced the good news of the birth of a lamb, the Lamb of God. Prayer with shawl of the Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified in front of her relics caused us all to pray for holiness and sanctity. 

 The evening was also a contrast. We ended dinner by dancing to the throbbing beats of Arabic music before walking to meet the Bishop of Jerusalem. He updated us on the situation of the Christians in the Holy Land and gave us his blessing.

 Everyone had a part of the evening free but they all went to be early because tomorrow morning we pray the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa and have Mass inside the Tomb of Christ.

All is well and everyone is having a great time. For all those concerned about safety – it is a non-issue. Everything is peaceful and quiet as usual as tens of thousands of pilgrims spread out over the country to visit the holy sites.

Bethlehem and Jerusalem – Dancing and Bishops

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Islam: Not Peace, but a Sword

by Steve Ray on April 26, 2013

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“…the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims…” — Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013

Why didn’t that “inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims” in the Boston area, which is where McManus is, prevent the Boston jihad bombings? Find out in my new book Not Peace But a Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam, which is all the more timely in light of all the naive, short-sighted and self-defeating calls for yet more “dialogue” that are ringing out in the wake of the Boston jihad bombings. You can order the book here (Kindle edition here) and download a free sample chapter here.

“Dialogue with Islam may be the order of the day, but what exactly should we talk about? Before we can discuss what we, as Catholics, might have in common with Muslims, we had better be aware of the defining differences as they are understood by Muslims themselves.

This is the invaluable service Spencer provides in this book, which directs our attention to what the Islamic revelational texts actually say and how they are understood by the majority of Muslims today. With his usual clarity and insight, Spencer gets to the essence of the problems that anyone who thinks we can talk our way out of the challenge Islam presents must face. Catholics need to know this material.” — Robert Reilly, author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind

“Robert Spencer is a careful observer of Islam and a courageous voice on behalf of Christians. In his new book, Not Peace But a Sword, he shows Catholics how to take Islam seriously without falling into alarmism, hatred, or bigotry. He provides a needed corrective to the misinformation and disinformation propagated by so many media today.” — Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb’s Supper, Understanding the Scriptures and many other books

“In Not Peace but a Sword, Robert Spencer carefully examines the multifaceted challenge posed to Christianity by an increasingly militant Islam. His case is calm, lucid, accurate, and uncompromising in its presentation of the facts of history. He provides an honest and unflinching account of the roots of Christian/Muslim tensions, a robust defense of Jesus Christ and Christianity in response to Muslim claims, and a sobering wake-up call to all Christians everywhere that objects in the mirror are closer (much closer) than they appear.” — Patrick Madrid, author of Envoy for Christ: 25 Years as a Catholic Apologist and host of the “Right Here, Right Now” radio show

“As Robert Spencer clearly shows in this much-needed book, a great many Catholics know only a Disneyfied version of Islam. While Christians in North Africa and the Middle East are being exterminated in the name of Islam, Catholics in the West still cling to the dangerous illusion that Muslims and Christians share much in common. But beneath the surface similarities, as Spencer ably demonstrates, lies a deep and possibly unbridgeable gulf. This is must reading not only for Catholics but for all Christians.” — William Kilpatrick, author of Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West

This is my twelfth book — get them all!

Review by Catholic World Report

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