Sunday, September 28, 2008

Orissa Finally in the News

Thank God! The persecution in Orissa finally made the U.S.News.

Here is a report in today's Chicago TRibune:,0,2301134.story

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Article on the Violence in India

This article is from the Indian magazine India Today. It helps one understand the context all the violence is happening in.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Orissa Is Not Out of the Woods

The violence continues in Orissa. Please watch this video...

You can find out more at:

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Pictures From Orissa

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Answering Rob Bell

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Rat Saga Continues...

Steve - 2
Rats - 0

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Friday, September 12, 2008


In my last post on this subject, I was sharing with you, my faithful readers, how I set traps in my shed to try to catch the rodent population that is taking over my back yard. You must imagine my surprise when after several days I still had no customers, despite using peanut butter.

Then I realized... they were not coming into the shed because I had so cleverly sealed up the grass seed and bird food for so long that they had left that neck of the woods.

Still, they are building a subway system under the foundation of the shed, near the bird feeder, so I knew they remained a problem.

I realized I needed to revise my strategy... I needed to place the trap outside, near the entrance to their nest.

Needless to say, it worked. I awoke this morning to a FREAKIN' HUGE rat, quite dead next to the trap. There was a bit of mystery to make things interesting, however. Somehow this freak of the rodent world managed to get out of the trap. But he didn't make it far, as these images will show...

Aahhh... life in the city.

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At What Point Do We Call This Guy a Heretic?

We live in a free country, so I suppose Brian is free to come up with any belief system he likes. He is free to revert to some warmed over form of Pelagianism or Neo-Orthodoxy or even a spiritualized turn-of-the-century theological Liberalism.

But please, Brian, don't call it new and don't call it Christianity...

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remember 911

It's way too easy to forget...

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What Is Prosperity?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Orissa Update

This is from our Brother Santanu Patro.


Dear Brothers and Sisters, The latest information is that the violence is now contained and killing has been stopped. However people are crowding in relief camps and from relief camps they move to the jungles in the nights for safety. They are still under fear and stress. As transportation is made available many are moving to cities away from the actual riots. Vision Orissa [Santanu's organization] has received several riot victims, who are not willing to deny Christ as force is put on them in relief camps. They are put in different houses in Berhampur with the help of the local churches. When we provided shelter to 35 people in a church, Police came and removed them from the church and sent them to relief camps established by Govt.

The people donʼt feel safe and they want to run away. Many are put in houses of believers. Vision Orissa staff are threatened. It is much the same as refugeesin your own land. They need food, clothes, medicine and shelter. We arecollecting from people and distributing to them. No amount of relief would helpthem, but it is a small and helpful beginning.

Again these are urgent but temporary needs. I am advised not to visit Orissa atthe moment, therefore I am going to receive few believers of Orissa and takethem around the churches and church leaders in Chennai to make the churches to move as well as put pressure on Govt. to help Christians who have become refugees. Please write to World Vision International office why they cannot help persecuted Christians. If they think Govt is putting pressure they must find alternative, like channeling their relief through other agencies.

Most of them are coming out as they refuse to be converted back to Hinduism. Itis a very bold step which may have further suffering. They have to start all over again by literally being on streets for the sake of Christ. I am hearing reports that many are refusing to deny Christ and some of them are withstanding all kinds of torture even to the point of death.

Yesterday I had called to a friend with whom I went to the Seminary, a Baptist leader as well as someone who is deeply involved in politics and fighting forthe political rights of the people of Orissaʼs tribes. I could talk to him after the riots for the first time. He now lives in a relief camp. He was saying that the people are planning to retaliate by attacking the high castes Hindus who have come with blue colour jobs and businesses in order to revenge the death and destruction. This seems to be very dangerous. Yes, they are angry, but Christ reminds us the Cross as symbol of persecution and the Resurrection the hope of New Life. If you are led to support our efforts of relief you may send your support to Armitage Baptist Church, Chicago by visiting their website. Or send me money through western union and inform the money transaction details.


Rev. Dr. Santanu K Patro

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rat Hunting

Consider this an update...

Some of you remember my old, whimsical post about rats. Well, September is here again and the time has come to get the little critters out of my grass seed and bird food. We go through this ritual each fall...

Tonight I set my traps with peanut butter by lantern light in my shed.

I'll keep you posted.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Pray for Orissa

A humanitarian crisis is looming in India, with militant Hindus trying to "cleanse" their province of Christians. I got the following e-mail this morning from my friend Santanu Patro in a neighboring state, begging for wisdom, advice, and help.

Please read it, and pray for the believers, the Hindus who persecute them, and what we might do to help.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the most precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you very much for your prayers and we rely in God who is going to answer all our prayers. But it is becoming hard and testing for us to understand the faithfulness of God's people. Like me many of us are broken and we want God to intervene immediately.

Today I have got some fresh news and it is estimated 500 to 600 pastors, evangelists and believers are killed. No one is spared including the children. Orissa is one of the most backward states and communication is so poor it is difficult to go into interior parts of the affected district. No media, Christian leader or human right activists are allowed to enter.

I am trying my best by sending mails to the authorities as well as asking Christians to pray. For next few days I will be busy in holding prayer meetings for the persecuted Christians.

I also hear that people who are in relief camps their food and water is contaminated and they are suffering with water born diseases. They come to eat in the relief camps and spend the night in jungles as police express their inability to protect them in the camps at night.

What is shocking is that now no believers are willing to go back to the village as they lost everything and they still fear that they may be killed. Some of them are trying to migrate to other states. I have been contacted to contact some organization if they can help in migration and rehabilitation in Madras.

But this is going to be large scale migration of 500,000 people at least. What is needed is immediate relief to all the Christians in relief camps. I have contacted World Vision and other organizations but they express their inability to help as Gov’t is not allowing them. I also feel when they want to migrate no rehabilitation package would help them settle in their villages.

The Hindu militant groups namely Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal (BJ) and Rashtriya Swayam Sangha (RSS) are now forcing Christians to burn their bibles and convert them to Hindu belief and put a tattoo on their body, a Hindu symbol indicating they are Hindus. Those who refuse are killed.

Out of fear many are becoming Hindu and one cannot blame them. But I am also thinking of politically mobilizing to initiate some action. It is a human rights violation as well as fundamental rights violation of right to religion. It is an ethnic cleansing and genocide. I am praying if Lord leads me to start a public forum. I need his wisdom. Please pray and give your advise.

At the moment I am not going to Orissa as situation is still tense, in fact many of my relatives and friends want to leave Orissa and come. Please continue to pray.

With the persecuted Christians, Santanu
Rev. Dr. Santanu K Patro

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gain vs. Loss

I was at the funeral last night of a young woman who served on the youth ministry staff of our West Side location. She died in her sleep at age 32, unexpectedly, after spending most of her life pouring herself out for others in the name of Jesus.

The message was preached by the pastor of that location, Jamie Thompson. I thought it was quite profound. It was essentially this:

To live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

If "to live" constitutes anything else but Christ, then to die is loss. If to live is self, or if to live is pursuit of pleasure or comfort or status or possessions... even if to live is Family, then to die is loss.

Dying is only gain if living is Christ.


This is SWEET!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And I Thought Hindus Were Peaceful

It seems our illustrious Media have more pressing issues to report about these days:

There's the hot hockey mom who may be President someday who doesn't have enough experience (even though she has more than Obama) whose daughter is pregnant...

Then there's the story about how Hurricane Gustav missed New Orleans and all that didn't happen...

And of course, are American actors manly enough...?

But what I would think is a rather big story seems to be entirely ignored by the American media, and most of the global media: Hindus, supposedly known for their nonviolence, are torching thousands of homes and killing dozens of people in Orissa State, India. People killed with axes and machetes... burned to death... nuns being gang-raped.

How do I know this? A good friend of our church is an Indian national planting churches and building Christian schools and orphanages in Orissa, and he e-mailed us and others with a plea for help. So I checked the Web for evidence of Media attention to this and found mostly blogs.

Here's one:

Human Rights Watch actually has done some work on this crisis:

There also seems to be some BBC coverage...

But the BBC report is from DECEMBER 2007, When these problems in Orissa first started. It seems that Maoists have attacked some key Hindu nationalists in Orissa and the blame has been placed on the Christian minority. The Hindus have retaliated severely, with December's anger still seething, apparently.

So where is the NEWS coverage? Do you suppose if Christians were burning Hindu temples it might make the news? What about if Christians were gang-raping Hindu nuns?

I should stop whining, I suppose. The world is not fair. I just thought maybe the great Watchdog of Justice - the International Media - or at least UN or someone would squawk about this...

And where are the Hindu leaders denouncing the violence? Aren't these the people who won't eat beef because they deplore violence against cows?

Here are their main tenets:

1. God Exists: One Absolute OM. One Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara (Shiva) Several divine forms
2. All human beings are divine
3. Unity of existence through love
4. Religious harmony
5. Knowledge of 3 Gs: Ganga (sacred river), Gita (sacred script), Gayatri (sacred mantra)

1. Satya (Truth)
2. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
3. Brahmacharya (Celibacy, non-adultery)
4. Asteya (No desire to possess or steal)
5. Aparighara (Non-corrupt)
6. Shaucha (Cleanliness)
7. Santosh (Contentment)
8. Swadhyaya (Reading of scriptures)
9. Tapas (Austerity, perseverance, penance)
10. Ishwarpranidhan (Regular prayers)

Good thing the cows are not Christians...

Nonetheless, "Pray for those who persecute you". We must pray earnestly for those in darkness - darkness is why they do what they do. So pray for the Hindu extremists and those they persecute.

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