New book alert: Identity Crisis

The folks of the Lausanne Movement recently have let us know about what appears to be a valuable, new book: Identity Crisis: Religious Registration in the Middle East (Gilead Books, 2016) by Jonathan Andrews (likely a pseudonym, I’m guessing).

The books addresses an important issue I noted on multiple occasions in Living among the Breakage, especially in my chapter on liberation theology in the texts of ex-Muslim Christians (Chapter 5).

I have not yet read the book, but I did read the Lausanne synopsis which looks promising. Here is a section from that synopsis:

It is often claimed that Islam is a religion of peace. What is meant by ‘peace’? Armed conflict can be stopped by one party surrendering unconditionally to the other. This brings ‘peace’ in the sense of an end to conflict, although the victors are able to impose whatever conditions they choose on the vanquished. It does not guarantee peace in the sense of stable, harmonious, and respectful community relations.

In Egypt, inter-communal strife is often followed by a ‘reconciliation meeting’. In situations involving Christians and Muslims, what typically happens is that Muslims seek draconian terms that marginalise and disadvantage the Christians, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the situation. In such cases, criminal behaviour is overlooked, even exonerated. Religious registration is at the root of such practices, creating a context in which those who think of themselves as the majority feel that they are entitled to exploit others. The system undermines the rule of law.

This is indeed accurate and happens not only in Egypt but also in Israel-Palestine, and probably elsewhere too. The difficulty is that the system of organizing Muslims under Muslim rule into dhimmis is as old as Islam itself.

Anyway, I’m always happy to hear about new research about the challenges facing ex-Muslim Christians and the issue of religious registration is one of the main ones.

Read the whole Lausanne synopsis HERE.

David Roseberry interviews me for LeaderWorks

I sat down with the Rev. Canon David Roseberry some time ago for this interview, which he titled “Are Muslims really coming to faith in Christ?”

For those of you who have followed my research on this topic, you know the answer is yes. We also talk about the role of Anglican Christianity in relation to converts from Islam to Christianity.

Do also check out David’s fine website, LeaderWorks. You will find it well worth your time.

Fred Farrokh reviews ‘Living among the Breakage’ in IJFM

Fred Farrokh recently reviewed Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians for the International Journal of Frontier Missiology (33:3, Fall of 2016).

I am happy to see such positive and insightful comments. Here is a brief section:

Duane Miller has entered the world of ex-Muslim Christians. It is not a simple world, but a complex one of trauma and breakage, trial and triumph. Through his research, Miller must be commended for not only identifying the key issues facing CMBs, but probing the very pain and open shame that sets the backdrop against which CMB life is painted. Indeed, Miller has painted a picture of CMBs who share with Jesus both the fellowship of His sufferings and the irrepressible power of His resurrection. (p. 141)

Read an entire PDF of the review at the IJFM website.

Oxford History of Anglicanism, Vol 3

I am happy to share with you all that volume 3 of the Oxford History of Anglicanism is now available. My own chapter is ‘Anglican Mission in the Middle East up to 1910’.

Volume 3 focuses on the partisan era and Anglicanism’s expansion into a global community up to 1910. Volume 4 concentrates on Anglicanism in the contemporary period and its history after the 1910 EdinburghWorld Missions Conference.

More info on volume 3 can be found at the OUP website and much of my own chapter can be read at books.google.

Why tradition is central to education

My girls are doing arts and crafts here at the Southwest School of Art and I’m catching up on blogs.

Happened across this brilliant article arguing for more tradition and less relevance in education.

Here is one particularly excellent section:

The real objection to relevance is that it is an obstacle to self-discovery. Some sixty years ago I was introduced to classical music by teachers who did not waste time criticizing my adolescent taste and who made no concessions to my age or temperament. They knew only that they had received a legacy and with it a duty to pass it on. If they did not do so the legacy would die. They discovered in me a soul that could make this legacy its own. That was enough for them. They did not ask themselves whether the classical repertoire was relevant to the interests that I then happened to have, any more than mathematicians ask whether the theorems that they teach will help their students with their accounting problems. Their assumption was that, since the musical knowledge that they wished to impart was unquestionably valuable, it could only benefit me to receive it. But I could not understand the benefit prior to receiving it. To consult my desires in the matter would have been precisely to ignore the crucial fact, which was that, until introduced to classical music, I would not know whether it was to be a part of my life.

Enjoy!

The Virtue of Irrelevance

My review of Peter Heller’s ‘The Dog Stars’

The Dog StarsThe Dog Stars by Peter Heller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main strength of this book is that it is beautifully written. One really feels like he is fishing or flying with the protagonist.

The weaknesses are substantial. The plot moves along very slowly. If you are glad to enjoy beautiful prose without much action, this book is for you. If you like apocalypse and action, check out Lucifer’s Hammer.

It is difficult to envision a post-apocalyptic setting like this without a person–especially a literature man like our protagonist–reflecting rather deeply on the question of God and the ultimate (or primordial) nature of humanity. But aside from a brief narrative about meeting a fundamentalist, anti-Semitic Christian on a ski lift, there is almost nothing. I relished the brief reflections on Ecclesiastes in Earth Abides, not to say anything of brilliant, devastating theological tome A Canticle for Leibowitz. Heller was capable of more.

While the book does end with a slight hint of hope, what we are waiting for is new life from his new Eve. Why does the author not provide this? Is he so negative about the nature of humanity? Is it his way of promulgating the late modern narrative that one can be happy while denying their biological drive to procreate? The same late modernity that led to the near-eradication of humanity, I would note.

The book was worthy of my time. It represented to me a slow induction into the uncertainty and precariousness of existence in Heller’s wasteland. The loneliness is palpable. The depravity of Heller’s demonic humanity is painful. He reveals to us the paradox of the human state: our profound depravity and our ability to venture forth in humble heroics. But he fails to even humbly suggest an explanation.

View all my reviews