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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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“The work of the Spirit can be compared to mining. The Spirit’s work is to blast to pieces the sinner’s hardness of heart and his frivolous opposition to God. The period of the awakening can be likened to the time when the blasts are fired. The time between the awakenings corresponds, on the other hand, to the time when the deep holes are being bored with great effort into the hard rock.
To bore these holes is hard and difficult and a task which tries one’s patience. To light the fuse and fire the shot is not only easy but also very interesting work. One sees “results” from such work. It creates interest, too; shots resound, and pieces fly in every direction! It takes trained workmen to do the boring. Anybody can light a fuse.
…the Spirit calls us to do the quiet, difficult, trying work of boring holy explosive materials into the souls of people by daily and unceasing prayer. This is the real preparatory work for the next awakening. The reason why such a long period of time elapses between awakenings is simply that the Spirit cannot find believers who are willing to do the heavy part of the mining work. Everybody desires awakenings; but we prefer to let other do the boring into the hard rock.”
--Ole Hallesby, Prayer (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortess, 1994 printing of the 1931 original), pp.77-78
Major steps toward the dis-establishment of Norway's state church, the (Lutheran) Church of Norway, were passed by the government on March 16 in its weekly session with King Harald V.
Expected to be adopted by the Parliament (Storting) in May or June this year, the proposals will make changes in the country's constitution as well as in other church legislation, the Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs announced.
"I hope we have now prepared a good basis for the Church of Norway to be an open and inclusive national church, also in a multicultural and multi-religious setting," Minister Rigmor Aasrud (Labour Party), said in a news release.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Church/State Matters * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Norway * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Lutheran
At the age of 15, Breivik apparently chose to be baptized and confirmed into the state church. However, the writings left behind by the 32-year-old radical also stress that he does not hold traditional Christian beliefs or practice the faith. Instead, he carefully identifies himself as a "Christian agnostic" or a "Christian atheist (cultural Christian)." In his manifesto, Breivik emphasizes his identity as a Free Mason, his interest in Odinist Norse traditions and his role as a "Justiciar Knight" in a new crusade against Islam.
"If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian," he wrote, in a passage that found its way into a few media reports. "Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian."
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A Norwegian bishop addressing the recent bombing and shooting attacks in Norway said his country has “countered this insane terrorism by demonstrating love and solidarity.”
“We have brought out a social capital we maybe even did not know was there. We must rebuild our trust in human beings as fellow human beings,” said Church of Norway Bishop Tor Singsaas of Nidaros at the opening of the annual St. Olav Festival in Trondheim...[last]Thursday.
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The Oslo bomber, Anders Behring Breivik, was a self-appointed Knight Templar tasked with freeing Europe from the scourge of ‘cultural Marxism’ and Islam, according to his 1,518-page manifesto posted on Stormfront.org, a white supremacist internet forum.
Initially tagged as a “Christian fundamentalist” by Norwegian police, Breivik’s apologia shows only a passing concern with religious belief, but professes a fanatical faith in European culture.
On 22 July, the 32-year-old Norwegian detonated a car bomb in central Oslo, killing at least eight people. He then proceeded by ferry boat to Utoya Island where he shot and killed 68 people attending a youth camp organized by the Labour Party.
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"It's going to have a deep, long-lasting impact," said Atle Dyregrov, director of Norway's Center for Crisis Psychology, which has helped other countries recover from disasters such as the 2008 China earthquake and this year's Japanese tsunami.
"Our innocence is lost," he said. "We used to think that these things only happened in other countries, not here. Now that illusion is shattered forever."
He predicted that Norway's relaxed security policies and reluctance to impinge of civil rights will give way to familiar restrictions already in place in other Western nations, including limited access to government facilities and increased surveillance of suspected extremist groups. He likened the changes to Sweden's security tightening after the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.
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Visitors joined regular members of the congregation at St Edmund’s Anglican church in Oslo on Sunday 24 July as their 11am service focussed on the massacres two days ago in the city and at a youth camp on an island nearby
Canon Janet HeilParish Priest, Canon Janet Heil says that leading the prayers for relatives and friends of the many people affected (the death toll is currently 93 and may rise still further) was a very emotional time. The church was thronged with people after the service and clergy stayed there to welcome anyone who came seeking comfort and prayer help. Flowers and candles have been left on the steps of the church which is on the outer edge of the police cordon around the city centre.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Pastoral Care * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Europe Norway * Theology Pastoral Theology
Bishop David [Hamid]’s letter says:- Dear Bishop Helga, dear Bishop Ole
On behalf of the clergy and people of the Church of England Diocese in Europe I want to send this message to express our sorrow and to convey our deepest condolences to our sisters and brothers in Norway, following yesterday’s massacre in the centre of Oslo and on the nearby island of Utoya. We are aware that there has not been such an act of violence to strike your nation since World War II, and that in a nation of just under 5 million people, a tragedy of this dimension will affect the whole population. That the gunman sought to attack the nation’s youth, gathered to think and reflect together about issues concerning the future of the country, adds to the pain of this immense tragedy....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Bishops Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * International News & Commentary Europe Norway * Theology Pastoral Theology
Eternal God, we come to you with our fear and great unrest. We are struck, God, by violence and terror. We have known the great joy of an open and safe society. Now we are experiencing devastating bomb attacks and people being shot. Many people are killed and many injured. God, how can such things be? It is so unbelievably bad that society and innocent people are affected by blind violence. God, look to all who are in grief over having lost their own. Look at all those wounded and those with intrusive memories of what has now happened. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
Jesus Christ, you are always close to us in our suffering; look to all the young people who were on Utøya. Be near to all relatives and injured. See us, God, when we cry over anyone who is affected.
Give us strength to face each other with comfort and closeness. Help us to walk together through all this evil across both religious and political divides. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
God, give strength and perseverance to all who work with the wounded and survivors. Thank you for the solidarity and willingness to be there for each other. Help all believers to show love and kindness and give courage to work against hatred and terror. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
God, you created us to manage life and community. Help us build a society where pleasure and safety are secure. We pray for our king and his house. We pray for our government and all those in the community. Give strength and comfort to our leaders who are badly affected by Friday's terror. Help us to build our country in peace and contribute to the respect and confidence between peoples and nations. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
“Everyone thought that he was a Muslim, a Pakistani, or someone with dark skin,” says Titio-Maria Sesay, a teenager who lives in Oslo, “but he was Norwegian and he did this to his own people.”
In Oslo and throughout the nation, flags remained at half-mast in morning for the 92 so far confirmed dead. Despite the drizzling rain, crowds formed along the intersections leading to the bombed-out square where police said a powerful car bomb smashed windows and ignited fires in government buildings that included the prime minister's office. The explosion killed seven and wounded more than a dozen.
“At first, I thought it was thunder,” says Mina Bonful, another teen from Oslo who felt the bomb rock her home. “I’m still shocked.”
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The first page of the first chapter of Henning Mankell’s latest (and apparently last) Wallander novel The Troubled Man is sheer misery. Inspector Kurt Wallander, divorced for 15 years, lives in a flat “where so many unpleasant memories were etched into the walls”; he “reminded himself over and over again of his father’s lonely old age ... now it seemed as if his father was taking him over ... he had no religious hopes of anything being in store for him ... nothing but the same darkness he had once emerged from ... he would be dead for such a long time ... he had seen far too many dead bodies in his life”.
Wallander novels might be prefaced by the sign Dante imagined above the gates of Hell – “lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’ intrate”: “all hope abandon, ye who enter here”: for in these books, the descent is often through deepening layers of horror. The same could be said for much of rest of the now enormously popular, critically acclaimed school of Scandinavian noir – for noir they are, set in the bleakness of towns and forests, dark for much of the year. The cult BBC hit of the year so far, the Danish-made Copenhagen-set The Killing, which ends this weekend, is shot almost wholly at night....
...the most striking commercial success in novel writing in the past five years has come from Marxists who write of people beset with misery who either commit or must deal with acts of extreme sadistic violence. It is not a development that a publisher or an agent would naturally have arrived at as a formula for success. So what explains its extraordinary appeal?
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The United States, a nation of 300 million, won nine gold medals this year in the Winter Olympics. Norway, a nation of 4.7 million, also won nine. This was no anomaly. Over the years, Norwegians have won more gold medals in Winter Games, and more Winter Olympics medals over all, than people from any other nation.
There must be many reasons for Norway’s excellence, but some of them are probably embedded in the story of Jan Baalsrud.
In 1943, Baalsrud was a young instrument maker who was asked to sneak back into Norway to help the anti-Nazi resistance....
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