Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Workers Struggle to Get Food, Water to Bangladesh Storm Victims
- Jewish Group Protests at Israel's Treatment of Christian Delegation
- U.S. Theologian: Africans Understand Old Testament Better than Westerners
- Adopt-a-Terrorist: New Ministry Promotes Praying for Enemies
Workers Struggle to Get Food, Water to Bangladesh Storm Victims
According to the Associated Press, rescue workers have struggled to get food, fresh water and shelter to hungry and exhausted survivors of Cyclone Sidr this week. At least 3,100 people have died, and more lives may be claimed. International aid worth about $120 million has been promised, but relief items such as tents, rice and water have been slow to reach most survivors. "At this time we will welcome support from the international community," the Foreign Ministry said. "We are doing as best as we can do ourselves." The American Red Cross said it will provide $1.2 million to help get clean water to the survivors and build emergency shelters. "The problem is that aid workers need hours to reach these remote areas. Poor communications are also hampering our work," said Anwarul Huq, a spokesman for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.
Jewish Group Protests at Israel's Treatment of Christian Delegation
A reports on Ekklesia.com states that the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations has asked the Israeli government to investigate the circumstances surrounding a group of Austrian Catholic clergy who were prevented from paying their respects at the Western Wall recently. In a letter to Yitzhak Cohen, the Minister in Charge of Religious Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister, IJCIC expressed concern over international negative impact on Israel and Jewish-Christian interfaith relations as a result of the incident, which occurred when a delegation of bishops declined to remove their crosses before entering the wall area.
U.S. Theologian: Africans Understand Old Testament Better than Westerners
The Christian Post reports that Christians in Africa understand the Old Testament better than their Western counterparts, according to a respected evangelical scholar. Dr. Philip Jenkins, a distinguished professor of religious studies and history at Pennsylvania State University, told fellow members of the Evangelical Theological Society that the culture of African Christians better assists them in understanding stories in the Old Testament. Jenkins believes Africans can understand ideas and concepts difficult for modern Westerners such as animal sacrifice, dietary restriction, polygamy, and sacred rocks. “Teaching people [in the developing world] to obey the Bible if it means the Old Testament is not difficult,” Jenkins said. “In fact, for many of the new Christians in the world today the big problem is... telling people that the old law must be made subordinate, must be treated as inferior, to the new law.”
Adopt-a-Terrorist: New Ministry Promotes Praying for Enemies
Does loving your enemy mean you have to love terrorists? A new movement challenges Americans and provides tools for something counterintuitive: praying for them! According to an entry on the National Pastors Prayer Network, the new non-profit, doing business as MyATFP.com, features a website linking to information on FBI wanted and detained terrorists and State Department identified terrorism sponsors. The A-T-F-P stands for Adopt a Terrorist For Prayer. "We hope to be fully operational for registering and tracking prayer commitments before this Christmas," Dr. Thomas Bruce, spokesman for MyATFP, said. Plans call for a web site through which sponsors can connect with others who are praying for the same terrorist. The new organization wants to see half a million Americans praying for the salvation of their sworn enemies by this time next year, "If I had been raised and indoctrinated in Saudi Arabia or Gaza, I doubt I would be any different from them," said Dr. Bruce, who expects this movement to impact history and demonstrate fundamental differences between fundamentalisms.