Pages tagged "news"
What happens when two very different ways of looking at the world collide? It doesn’t end well, that’s what! And this unusually frank German documentary (with English and Hungarian subtitles) explores the early stages as things start to go wrong and people start to wake up.
We all know it, of course, but this hammers it home…..
Tokyo has been named as the world’s most reputable city in a survey that ranks places on safety, beauty and leadership. Paris crashed in the same survey.
The Japanese capital beat Sydney into second place and Copenhagen into third.
The study ranked London in 17th place with researchers saying it had fallen 11 places this year. The highest ranked US city is San Francisco in 20th place.
Paris fell to 26th place. The survey was carried out before this video, shot by a rather plucky Frenchman walking around his once great capital city, went viral online. Our guess is that Paris won’t be going up in the ratings next year!
As for Tokyo, surely it would do even better if only it was more ‘diverse’?
Seraphima’s Extraordinary Adventures is available online with English subtitles, and is an excellent movie for the whole family...
The year is 1943, with communists oppressing Russia and persecuting Christians. The main character, a girl named Seraphima, dreams about a Palm Sunday celebration in a church where her father serves as a priest. The dream ends with the Soviet police taking her father away, and the church being blown up.
Seraphima lives in a Soviet orphanage and secretly keeps a single reminder of her family — a cross. She finds it difficult to form friendships with the other girls, and the main teacher at the orphanage mocks and persecutes her.
Her one friend tells her the house is full of secrets, including some resident ghosts. Seraphima visits a mysterious secret chamber under the stairs, to see one of them. From this moment, Seraphima falls into a whirlpool of incredible events, allowing her to shed light on the mystery of the orphanage, and the fate of her parents.
When the teacher discovers that Seraphima is a Christian, and that she secretly wears a cross, she has Seraphima banished from the orphanage. The girl refuses to renounce her faith, and she waits in suspense to find out who will arrive to take her away . . .
Tommy Robinson has shared a photo of himself meeting Love Island’s Wes Nelson and said the ITV show “helped him through his prison sentence”.
He shared a selfie of the pair on his Instagram account on Saturday.
Robinson wrote: “Lovely lad, watching Wes on Love Island helped me through my prison sentence. They was in Love Island for as long as I was away.”
The 35-year-old told prison staff in a complaint form that “you are punishing me with no TV.”
If any TV show sums up Britain’s addiction to cheap, hedonistic, rootless trash, it is surely Love Island. A genuine ‘right-winger’ would regard being made to watch it as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’!
But Mr Robinson, of course, is a self-confessed liberal, who opposes Islam because it ‘threatens liberal values’.
Anyway, the man who the ‘patriotic right’ think will lead them to salvation, looks to Love Island for strength in times of need!
God help the Brits – though why He should is another question entirely!
The principles of Chivalry and traditional values been largely forgotten in decadent and subverted modern society. They need to be restored. It is the responsibility of all Templar Knights and Dames to represent chivalric values in their own lives, leading by example, to promote and advance our principles for the common weal.
The “Code of Chivalry” is the iconic code of conduct which was made famous by the medieval institution of knighthood. The essence of Chivalry involved bravery, skilled training, and dedication in service to others.
The French historian and archivist Emile Leon Gautier (1832-1897 AD) diligently reconstructed the authentic Code of Chivalry from the historical record, recreating the original 11th century “ancient code of chivalry.” We have in turn further developed this ground-breaking work into a Templar Code for the 21st Century. Ancient ideals for the challenges of the future!
The Ten Pillars of Modern Templar Chivalry:
Believe in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and apply them in daily life
Defend traditional Christianity, cleaving to your own confession but respecting that of others
Respect and defend the weak against abuses by the strong
Love the people and sovereignty of your country, for they are ordained by God
Do not be a coward, face the enemy, and use direct force
Fight the enemies of good relentlessly and without mercy
Perform all secular duties under the higher Laws of God
Never lie nor breach your word, be reliable for friend or foe
Give generously and wholeheartedly, striving to make a difference for the better
Always uphold right and good, against all evil and injustice
In a very real, practical and meaningful way, values are the “pillars of civilisation”. With the ‘modern’ West infected with various virulent strains of atomised and selfish individualism, cynical and ugly anti-idealism, and subverted by the worship of False Gods – from Mammon to Satan – there was never a time when a revival of the true Christian values of the original fighting Templars has been more urgently needed than today!
So join together with us and help to write a glorious new chapter in the long and illustrious history of the Knights Templar!
’Fields of Mud, Seeds of Hope’ is made from mud from Passchendaele and earth from a Great War military camp.
A landscape gardener and an illustrator have joined forces to create a unique memorial to mark the centenary of the First World War coming to an end.
The artwork, entitled ’Fields of Mud, Seeds of Hope’, is made from soil and slowly reveals itself as the mud dries out.
The piece has been composed of mud from Passchendaele and earth taken from a Great War military camp in Ripon.
Millions passed through this camp over the years, including the likes of Wilfred Owen and J. B. Priestley.
It has taken Dan Metcalfe, the artist, four years to make. Speaking about the artwork he said:
“THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT SOIL THAT IS VERY VERY EMOTIVE AND SOMETHING THAT SITS DEEP WITHIN OUR PSYCHE”.
Watch how a soldier silhouette emerges from a puddle of mud:
Mr Metcalfe described the process of how the piece has been created:
“The artwork starts life as a 9 meter by 3 meters muddy puddle, and over the period of a few days and a few weeks the moisture evaporates from the mud and cracks begin to appear and we’ve managed to manipulate the way the cracks appear, so they form the silhouette of a troop of personnel returning from the front.
“IT’S QUITE A MAGICAL EXPERIENCE, IT’S AMAZING WHEN YOU GO BACK, REPEAT VISITS ARE ALWAYS GOOD, YOU GO BACK AND YOU SEE THE CRACKS GROWING DAY BY DAY AND YOU SEE THIS LINE OF PERSONNEL GRADUALLY EMERGING FROM THE EARTH. IT’S QUITE MOVING.”
The first challenge Mr Metcalfe faced was finding the mud. The soil needs to be set in the right conditions and the moisture levels need to be monitored
Millions of ungerminated poppy seeds have also been sowed in the artwork.
There have also been several different drafts of what the piece of work should look like.
The project illustrator, Jeanne Munday, first drew a soldier looking towards the future and looking for hope, but this was decided to be too jolly.
Jeanne then used her son and daughter as models for her sketch of the troop returning from battle.
When the artwork is decommissioned, segments of the sculpture comprising of the dried earth and seeds will be made available to the public to create their own artworks or memorial gardens, therefore allowing the legacy of the work to continue in another form indefinitely.
Mr Metcalfe will now dismantle the sculptural piece and recreate the work at Ripon Cathedral, in Yorkshire, where it will be on display from 3 October to 14 November.
The project has also started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds.
Have you heard of the Jesus Prayer? From deep within the ancient and holy Orthodox tradition, his meditative prayer (like the Rosary) calls upon the name of the Lord in an act of repentance. In this video, Matt Fradd explains how it can help us “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
There have been increasing signs of a real and sustained revival of Christian-themed enthusiasm in Europe, hardly reported and barely noticed in press across the Pond or, for that matter, in Europe itself.
Since the 2007 publication of Philip Jenkin’s “God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam and Europe’s Religious Crisis,” observers of religious trends in European culture have been keeping a close eye on developments that might validate his sanguine view that Europe could see a revival in Christian belief. Richard J. Neuhaus, in his review of it in First Things at the time, thought the view was “too roseate.”
The Manif Pour Tous demonstrations in favour of traditional marriage attracted hundreds of thousands of traditionalists in France – many of them young Christians
That was then. In the ten years since Neuhaus taking his final leave of the stage of this world, there have been increasing signs of a real and sustained Christian revival in Europe, hardly reported and barely noticed in press across the pond. Taking a look at the landscape and starting in far west, there are signs of revival in Spain, as Filip Mazurczak noted.
He comments specifically on the growth in the Catholic Church, which is recovering after years of decline in commitment and attendance:
ACCORDING TO CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIONES SOCIOLÓGICAS (CIS), THE PROPORTION OF SPANIARDS ATTENDING MASS HAS INCREASED FROM 12.1 TO 15 PERCENT BETWEEN 2011 AND 2012. IN ABSOLUTE TERMS, THE NUMBER OF SPANISH CATHOLICS ATTENDING MASS WEEKLY GREW BY AN ASTONISHING FURTHER 23 PERCENT BETWEEN 2012 AND 2013, ACCORDING TO CIS. MEANWHILE, BETWEEN 2007 AND 2013 THE NUMBER OF SPANIARDS CONTRIBUTING PART OF THEIR TAXES TO THE CHURCH ROSE FROM EIGHT TO NINE MILLION.
Eastern Europe, barely a generation after the destruction of that atheistic totalitarian monstrosity known as the Soviet Union, is experiencing a renaissance of both Protestant and Catholic Christianity.
What about France? You know, the cradle of modern secularism? That country where raving anti-religious hordes turned wholesale murder by torture of priests, nuns and monks into a spectator sport in the opening days of that glorious “Enlightenment”? Well, let’s hear from someone who lives there, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who wrote this article in The Week back in 2015:
ON A RECENT SUNDAY, MY FAMILY AND I ONLY SHOWED UP 10 MINUTES EARLY FOR MASS. THAT MEANT WE HAD TO SIT IN FOLD-OUT CHAIRS IN THE SPILLOVER ROOM, WHERE THE MASS IS RELAYED ON A LARGE TV SCREEN…. THIS IS BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR MY CHURCH IN PARIS, FRANCE.
I POINT THIS OUT BECAUSE ONE OF THE MOST FAMILIAR TROPES IN SOCIAL COMMENTARY TODAY IS THE LOSS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH IN EUROPE IN GENERAL, AND FRANCE IN PARTICULAR. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL RECENTLY FRETTED ABOUT THE SALE OF ‘EUROPE’S EMPTY CHURCHES.’
COULD IT BE, INSTEAD, THAT FRANCE IS IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A CHRISTIAN REVIVAL?
Yes, it could. He adduces further evidence in that the numbers for vocations, calls to the priesthood and religious life in the orders, have stabilized in France and are seeing an increase (which has also been reported in Spain in Mazurczak’s article cited above). The recent growth in evangelical churches in France and Spain also supports answering Gobry’s question in the affirmative.
Enthusiasm Is Gaining Traction in Europe
That was just one, relatively small event, though. Europe is rife right now with public mass worship and evangelism events, like Awakening Europe events, in which Trachsel and other international revivalists such as the New Zealander Ben Fitzgerald, the American Daniel Kolenda, Germany’s Reinhard Bonnke and Todd White, another American, participate.
They draw a much younger body of attendees than many large-scale Christian events, and their focus is not on merely building up the faithful, but on empowered evangelism, with outreach on the streets of these major European cities being a key element of each meeting. Last summer’s Awakening Europe saw more than 1,000 declare new faith in Jesus in Prague, the Czech Republic.
That was the third Awakening Europe event. The fourth will be in Riga, Latvia this fall. The second, in 2016, was held in Stockholm, Sweden and saw similar results to those reported, as did the first one, which was held in Nuremberg in 2015. That is to say, all of them had attendance in the thousands and reported conversions in the hundreds or thousands. In Sweden, that alone could rightly be called miraculous.
Now these events are signs of vitality in the European church, but are there signs of a revival in terms of church growth or even mere stability in their numbers? Here I will focus on the German-speaking nations of central Europe, since I know them best. Here, one can speak of real and growing revival.
Not so much in the state Lutheran Church, the Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands, though there the news for the most recent reporting year, 2016 was also good: In 2016 180,000 new members joined the EKD through baptism and 25,000 through regular acceptance. This marked the first time in three years that the number of those joining the church exceeded those leaving. There was an overall decline in membership, admittedly, of 1.57 percent. Yet the reason for the overall decline was mortality, not voluntary abandonment of church membership. For those who read German, the full report can be found here.
Shake, Rattle, and Roll
In the “free” evangelical churches, especially those on the charismatic and pentecostal end of the non-denominational Protestant spectrum, there is continued growth. In fact, the growth in the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (Federation of Evangelical Pentecostal Churches) saw steady growth for half a decade now, with growth in the 6 percent range for the last two reported years (2016 and 2017 see the BFP’s report herefor details in German).
Churches such as New Life Church in Düsseldorf, the Gospel Forum in Stuttgart, and the ICF (International Christian Fellowship) churches in Munich and Karlsruhe all record thousands of members and report regular conversions, with New Life recording on average 100 new converts weekly. Then there’s the Christus Gemeinde in Wuppertal, home church to “Der breiteste Pastor Deutschlands” (“the broadest pastor in Germany,” referring to his shoulders—the guy benches 175 kilos), Marcus Schneider. He’s something of a social media sensation. Don’t mind the tattoos.
These are young, vital, and effective churches, each with international outreach, a focus on life in community, and a strong sense of Christian mission that has been absent from the mainline churches for a generation at least. And they are only part of the story.
Where Prayer Never Ceases
The other part is the 24/7 prayer movement. The movement is driven largely by Christian young people who know the importance of prayer to spiritual life. The movement is at home in Houses of Prayer, which in European terms are inheritors of the Moravian Prayer Movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some of these, such as the Prayer Mountain of the FCJG — the “Free Christian Youth Community” in Lüdenscheid—are long established.
Accompanied by a powerfully effective ministry to drug addicts and the homeless, there has been prayer with the FCJG since the mid-1970’s. Others, such as the Rund um die Uhr (“‘Round the Clock”) House of Prayer in Berlin, or the “Open Skies” House of Prayer in Freiburg, are relatively new. The most influential, though, is the “Gebetshaus Augsburg” the Augsburg House of Prayer.
Located in the Göggingen neighborhood of Augsburg, the “Gebetshaus” completed its sixth consecutive year of uninterrupted prayer and worship last fall. It grew out of a young prayer group led by Johannes and Jutta Hartl in the early 2000s and recently celebrated the eleventh of its MEHR Conferences.
“Mehr” is German for “more” and the focus of these conferences has been also on experiencing more of Jesus. It’s held every year during Epiphany, and this year’s saw more than 11,000 attendees. This is a 100-fold increase from the first such conference in 2008, and 100-fold growth in, well, any movement within a single decade is growth of remarkable magnitude.
What do people do at MEHR? Mostly praise and worship expressing love to God in guitar-driven rock. Or dub step. Or something like it. This year there are 16 different bands performing the worship music, including “Könige und Priester” (Kings and Priests) of Cologne, a well-known group in German-speaking Europe. There is also near-constant intercessory prayer for European and worldwide concerns.
Since the House of Prayer is a house for all who put their faith in Jesus—Catholic, evangelical, Eastern Orthodox, or Messianic Jewish—this commitment is reflected in offering both mass and communion, as well as the sacrament of reconciliation for Catholics.
A Style of Church that Befits the Young
There are also teaching times, the majority given by Johannes Hartl. Hartl has a doctorate from the University of Munich, and it shows in his breadth of erudition. He also has an honesty to and about Christian culture that is both refreshing and (lamentably) uncommon. In the first teaching, he took on the lack of joy all too common among people who profess to believe in a God in whose presence one finds the fullness of joy. Not the fullness of moralizing or of self-emptying contemplation. Joy.
He was not the only speaker, of course. This year the teachings were given by Father James Mallon of Halifax-Yarmouth, Canada, Indian philosopher and author Vishal Mangalwadi, and Leo Bigger of the International Christian Fellowship of Zurich. There’s that name again, “ICF.” You’d think they’re having an impact or something, these young leaders in the body of Christ. And you’d be right.
Klaus Kelle, a Christian activist and conservative commentator who writes the “Denken Erwünscht” (“Thinking Desirable”), put it this way (translated into English):
AT THE OPENING OF THE MEHR LAST NIGHT [THURSDAY JANUARY 4TH], ONE OF THE MODERATORS ASKED THE 10,000 CHRISTIANS IN THE BUILDING WHO OF THEM WAS YOUNGER THAN 22. ALMOST HALF OF THE ATTENDEES STOOD UP. THEN HE ASKED, WHO WAS BETWEEN 22 AND 60 YEARS OLD. ALMOST ALL OF THE OTHER HALF STOOD UP. THEN HE ASKED WHO WAS OLDER THAN 60. A SINGLE ATTENDEE STOOD UP IN THE GIGANTIC EXHIBITION HALL AND, SMILING, GAVE A HEARTY WAVE TO THE CROWD. THE CHURCH OF JESUS IS YOUNG, AND ALMOST NO ONE HAS NOTICED.
I know the single attendee Kelle refers to there, and though he was not, in fact, the only over-60-attendee, attendees even over 50 were a decided minority, as they are at many of the Christian events mentioned above. The church of Jesus in Europe is getting younger, not older. Moreover, the church of Jesus is growing in Europe.
Speaking recently in Augsburg, Gerhard Kehl of the “Jordan Stiftung” (Jordan Foundation) affirmed something that has been obvious to this author for several years now: There is a spiritual shift taking place in Europe toward a renewal and growth in all branches of Christianity. A European revival has started. Whether it develops into a revival on the scale seen in 1905 remains to be seen, but the hopeful signs are there.
Originally posted at: The Federalist
Just three years before the Battle of Hastings, a small band of insanely courageous Norman adventurers won one of the most astounding victories ever a vast North African army on the Italian island of Sicily.
The Battle of Cerami was fought in June 1063 and was one of the most significant battles in the Norman conquest of Sicily, 1060–1091. The battle was fought between a Norman expeditionary force and a Muslim alliance of Sicilian and Zirid troops. The Normans fought under the command of Roger de Hauteville, the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville and brother of Robert Guiscard.
The battle was a resounding Norman victory that utterly routed the opposing force, causing divisions amongst the Muslim aristocracy which ultimately paved the way for the eventual capture of the Sicilian capital, Palermo, by the Normans and subsequently the rest of the island.
The initial battle took place at the hilltop town of Cerami, around five miles to the west of the Norman stronghold at Troina. However the main battle was joined in the valley just to the south. The Normans, numbering 136 knights with probably only slightly more infantry, were heavily outnumbered by their Muslim opponents who some sources claim were as many as 50,000 strong. The best surviving source of information for the battle is found in Geoffrey of Malaterra’s De rebus gestis Rogerii Calabriae et Siciliae comitis et Roberti Guiscardi Ducis fratris eius.
Russia’s move to embrace Christianity once more is getting stronger all the time. The proportion of Russian citizens who consider abortion unacceptable has tripled over the course of the past 20 years, from 12% to 35%.
The number that condemns adultery and same-sex relationships has also significantly increased, according to data from a recent Levada Center sociological survey. According to experts, the change in public opinion attests to the strengthening of traditional family values, Pravoslavie.ru reports.
The nationwide survey held in late December 2017 showed that the majority of Russians (68%) condemn extramarital sexual relations, while only 50% condemned it in 1998. The 2017 number includes 77% of women and 57% of men.
Those disapproving of homosexual relationships increased from 68 to 83% in the same time period, with only a 1% difference between men and women.
Those who responded that abortion is unacceptable, even in the case of low-income families, increased from 12 to 35%. Here women held a more strict view, with 37% condemning abortion in all cases, as compared to 31% of men. No difference was seen in regards to the age of the woman responding.
Levada Center sociologist Karina Pipia noted that the numbers demonstrate an overall conservative trend in the nation, although respondents from small towns and villages are more loyal to abortion due to low income.
President of the Russian Society of Obstetricians-Gynecologists Vladimir Serov told the newspaper Izvestia that abortions have decreased eight-fold in Russia over the past 25 years, from approximately 5 million to 600,000 every year.
This was facilitated by a number of measures, including state economic support for families with children, the establishment of centers to support pregnant women in difficult situations, the development of contraception, and the development of education on the dangers of abortions.
Scientific Director of the Independent Institute of Family and Demography Igor Beloborodov considers that the change in public opinion on abortion is the result of government policy and the educational work of the Russian Orthodox Church.
While there has been a positive trend towards fewer abortions, the terrible act remains legal in Russia, with about 2,000 children being killed every day. The Church and various Orthodox societies hold regular pro-life events in Moscow and throughout the country.
The For Life! movement organized an event yesterday in which 2,000 candles, symbolizing the children lost every day, were lit during a moleben. Moreover, over a million signatures were collected from throughout Russia last year, calling for a legislative ban on abortion.