Thursday, October 30, 2008

The New Indian Martyrs

Months ago I began writing about the plight of Christians in India. Sadly the situation has only gotten worse. The extremist Hindu attacks on Indian Christians have now continued almost unabated for the past three months. The reaction of the government has been tepid at best.

The targets of the violence are not foreigners but rather the citizens of India. This is especially sad since India has taken such pride in being a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation. The attacks have been at times brutal including destruction of property, assaults, rape, attack of religious and even murder.

Since October 22 there has been 60 people killed, over 18,000 people injured and over 4000 homes destroyed. This does not include the large number of people who are missing. The violence has spread to a number of states.

What is not clear is why people around the world are not crying out for the violence to end. Christians in India and Iraq are in a perilous position. Ancient cultures are facing extinction. Partners International has described the situation in India as no less than religious genocide. The Pope has called for religious leaders to come to the aid of the Christians in India and Iraq. We must pray for peace and we must demand that our leaders speak out in defense of our brothers and sisters in India. We must also remember that this violence is the work of Hindu extremist groups and does not reflect the behavior of Hindus or Indian in general.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Been a Looooong Time!

OK, admittedly I have been remiss when it comes to my blogging. My excuse is I've been busy. I am teaching a boatload of classes and I am taking Ecclesiology. However, I have missed hearing from all of you and I have missed simply processing the news of the day. So hopefully I am back.

So many things have happened that deserved some mention. Election and government-building in the southern half of Africa have continued to be a struggle. Attacks on Christians in India and Iraq continue. Scientist have stated they believe one quarter of all mammals on the planet face extinction. So there has been a lot to discuss.

There has also been a lot of good to talk about. One of our former students is now a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan. Her experiences are inspiration. We have a student from Malaysia and it is wonderful to see America from other eyes. The seasons continue to change and so do our rivers and forests. The birds are migrating and everyday there is a new discovering to be made.

However, the belated news I want to talk about today is Campus Ministry hosting a concert by Father Stan Fortuna. You all know the good father, a Franciscan who raps and travels the world spreading the news. On September 30 (yep, I am really behind in my blogging) Father Stan performed at the University of Saint Francis. He was great. The auditorium was full and the students loved him.Filling the auditorium was no easy manner. The school had two other guest speakers that night.

I especially like his song, Everybodys Got 2 Suffer. Suffering is the human experience. It is addressed by all of the world religions. Since some of my favorite psychologists are existentialists of course I would like this song.The song also reminds me of a pilgrimage. Pilgrimages are designed to be no respecter of age, status or gender. We are all insignificant compared to God. Well, suffering is also no respecter of persons, we all suffer, the question, what will we do with that suffering.

Having said all of that, the rapping Franciscan was not a downer. The concert was positive, energetic and inspirational. I can't wait to see Father Stan again.