Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1803, in a house overlooking Plymouth harbor, a 14-year-old boy lay dangerously ill. Before this time, he'd never given much time to serious thought about the course his life would take. But during his year-long convalescence, he began to reflect on the possibility of future fame. Would he be a statesman, an orator, or a poet? An eminent minister of a large, wealthy church? Where did true greatness lie? He was shocked out of his reverie—and very nearly out of his bed—by a mysterious voice that uttered the words "Not unto us, not unto us, but to Thy name be the glory."

Adoniram Judson would remember that startling revelation for the rest of his life. With his strong academic training, keen intellect, and linguistic abilities, he might well have become a prominent theologian, scholar, or politician in 19th-century America. But his profound desire to do the will of God led him down a very different path.

"The motto for every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be 'Devoted for Life.'"
Adoniram Judson

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eternal God, we offer thanks for the ministry of Adoniram Judson, who out of love for thee and thy people translated the Scriptures into Burmese. Move us, inspired by his example, to support the presentation of thy Good News in every language, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

This is happening in two countries separated by well over 1,000 miles of Indian Ocean - Burma and Sri Lanka. It is puzzling because neither country is facing an Islamist militant threat. Muslims in both places are a generally peaceable and small minority.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/BurmaSri Lanka* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsBuddhismIslam

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Posted May 3, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They have seen how trouble starts from the smallest things. They have seen the police powerless before mobs fired with religious zeal and armed with bricks and swords. They have seen on TV and in newspapers the burning homes of people just like them light up the night. And so they have erected rusted barbed-wire barricades and volunteered to sit on street corners, 10 men at time, watching through the night.

Fear courses through the streets of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, especially among its Muslim minority. They have watched as the sectarian violence threatening to destabilize the country's fragile democracy creeps closer to home. With little faith in the government's ability to protect them and a growing movement of Buddhist extremism, some feel they have little choice but to try to defend themselves.

Residents in some neighborhoods have started their own patrols.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted May 3, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Philip Freier, who led a team to Myanmar in February, is now promoting efforts – incorporating organisations and individuals beyond the diocese - to follow up the two week visit to the country which is only now emerging from 60 years of isolation under a military dictatorship.

In April, he hosted at Bishopscourt a diverse group of 35 people, including several Burmese clergy and other leaders, to discuss priorities in building on the links now established – which has already triggered further networking to plan action.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted April 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After decades of grinding poverty under successive military dictatorships, Myanmar’s rice farmers have a chance at a better future through rural reforms ushered in by the country’s quasi-civilian government. Microfinance is at the root of it.

The guarantees of small, low-interest loans to this least developed country’s debt-ridden farmers turn a page in the ledger of rural credit, which had virtually dried up within the small agriculture banking system during the 50 years of military rule, forcing farmers to borrow from money lenders at usurious interest rates.

Small loans ranging from 60 to 600 dollars are being offered to the agriculture sector by organisations like the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), a Western donor-backed microfinance initiative facilitated by the introduction last November of a microfinance law in Myanmar (also known as Burma).

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted September 12, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Monks who played a vital role in Burma's recent struggle for democracy have been accused of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country by calling on people to shun a Muslim community that has suffered decades of abuse.

In a move that has shocked many observers, some monks' organisations have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them. One leaflet described the Rohingya as "cruel by nature" and claimed it had "plans to exterminate" other ethnic groups.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted July 27, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Myanmar has warned that political change is happening so fast that his country could be swamped by consumerism and competition.

During a visit to the USPG offices in London, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo said he welcomed change in his country – but also urged caution.

He said: ‘We want change, but it’s happening too fast. Many people are coming into the country – business people in search of profits, tourists, and many others – and restrictions are opening up. This will change the lifestyle of the Burmese people.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted May 18, 2012 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent gestures by Burma's political leadership offer a glimpse of optimism for future reform. Still, many Burmese remain cautious as fighting continues in ethnic minority regions where most of the country's Christians are located.

The nation's military-backed leadership reached a cease-fire agreement in January with a major ethnic Karen army and freed hundreds of political prisoners. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released last year from 15 years of house arrest, plans to run in a parliamentary election in April.

"You can see evidences of people being joyful," said Vision Beyond Borders founder Patrick Klein, who has seen photos of Suu Kyi on billboards and t-shirts and businesses opening in Burma. "Because so much of the world is watching Burma, it's going to be a lot harder to have a sham election."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

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Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An investigation into commercial online filtering technology reveals the prevalence of devices from Blue Coat, an American firm, being used to censor the Web in Syria and Burma. Ron Deibert of Toronto's Citizen Lab discusses the report's importance.

If you live in Burma or Syria, good luck trying to access pro-democracy websites, overseas news networks, even dating websites. Thanks to devices made by Blue Coat Systems, portions of the Net are inaccessible to residents in these countries, and a recent report reveals how a number of these filtering devices have been found in the regions, despite the manufacturer claiming they never sell their products to embargoed countries.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/BurmaMiddle EastSyria

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Posted November 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the BBC she is ready for talks with all groups to achieve national reconciliation.

A day after her release from house arrest, she said it was time to "sort out our differences across the table".

Ms Suu Kyi also said she intended to listen to what the Burmese people and her international supporters wanted as she planned her next steps.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention.

World leaders and human rights groups have welcomed her release.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted November 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The instruction to priests accompanying fleeing Burmese refugees was simple: go if you must, but do not contact us. Concerned about danger to themselves, the Anglican diocesan officers did not wish to risk the ire of Burma’s military government. An exception could be made if there were deaths, and then the bishop would come to bury the dead.

This play-it-safe approach was typical in the past of the Church of the Province of Myanmar (CPM), also known as Burma, according to the Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, the current Anglican archbishop there.

“The church in Myanmar needs revival,” Than said. “In the past, we just emphasized what could be done with human means.”

Representing a church that had been effectively walled off from the rest of the world for decades, the Anglican Archbishop of Myanmar spoke this week at the New Wineskins for Global Mission conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Commentary* Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:37 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Burma and a Burmese priest who is visiting the UK have described the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis in their country. One aid worker called the scene he found there a “nuclear landscape”.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Archbishop of Myanmar, the Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, said that the official number of deaths was 78,000, and more than 56,000 were counted as missing. Aid agencies estimate that deaths are nearer to 128,000, and the UN says that 2.4 million people are in grave need of aid.

The Archbishop said that the Church had formed a relief committee and had sent four teams to the affected areas. “In some places, entire villages have been devastated, with few if any survivors. In other places, survivors have huddled together in makeshift shelters awaiting aid.

“Travel in that area is very difficult, and villages are often in very isolated and remote areas, accessible only by boat. The overall situation is still relatively fluid, with government policy shifting in response to new developments.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest News* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted May 23, 2008 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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