The Appeal of the Gospel

Dec 11, 2023

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What makes a person decide to become a Christian, especially in a country where they face persecution. Some Sunday thoughts on the appeal of the Gospel.

Timestamps, Links, & Resources

Shiite cleric asked the Taliban to punish Hosseini Mazari for unjustly slandering the people of Kabul
https://www.afintl.com/202311276294?shem=sswnst

December 9, 2023: Texas Supreme Court pauses lower court’s order allowing pregnant woman to have an abortion
https://apnews.com/article/texas-abortion-ban-supreme-court-decision-10767891a475e7ce2c82b1404450908a

October 30, 2023: Attorney General Ken Paxton’s securities fraud trial set for April 15
The charges stem from accusations that in 2011 Paxton tried to solicit investors in a McKinney technology company without disclosing that it was paying him to promote its stock. The attorney general has pleaded not guilty.
https://www.texastribune.org/2023/10/30/ken-paxton-securities-fraud-charges-trial/

I mention that my friend, Annie Nardone, has written about losing a child. What is not in this and the following essays is that she also experienced multiple miscarriages. In a discussion on contraception, she said she could not have handled another miscarriage emotionally.

Deepest Wonder, Remarkable Beauty: Sonnets in Praise of Life and the Imago Dei
https://anunexpectedjournal.com/deepest-wonder-remarkable-beauty-sonnets-in-praise-of-life-and-the-imago-dei/

I carried our daughter until she died at seven months gestation as a result of her “life-limiting” condition. She has always been a beloved and valued member of our family, and our relationship with her wasn’t cut short by abortion. The impact of her brief life on our family started a ripple effect of blessing on hundreds of people and continues thirteen years after her death. She had a tiny ‘narrative’: conception, life, and death in a little over seven months, but her earthly story is complete, and we loved her through her life, bringing closure to our grief.

Annie Nardone, “Deepest Wonder, Remarkable Beauty: Sonnets in Praise of Life and the Imago Dei,” An Unexpected Journal: Image Bearers 4, no. 1. (Spring 2021), 215-228.

Thomas Aquinas: Understanding Evil
https://anunexpectedjournal.com/thomas-aquinas-understanding-evil/

Nearly seven centuries later, C.S. Lewis also grappled with this crisis of belief in his book, A Grief Observed. After the death of his wife, his Christian faith offered little consolation. He writes, “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.”[1] Lewis makes a good point. Until you find yourself in the darkness of grief and questioning God, you truly cannot understand. The faith that you relied upon seems hollow and questions trickle into your mind. Lewis asks, “Is it rational to believe in a bad God? Anyway, in a God so bad as all that? The Cosmic Sadist, the spiteful imbecile?”[2] What an encouragement to know that Lewis struggled through the same doubt.

Annie Nardone, “Thomas Aquinas: Understanding Evil,” An Unexpected Journal: Medieval Minds, 3, no. 3. (Fall 2020), 119-126.

What Makes Us Human – Observations on Blade Runner
https://anunexpectedjournal.com/what-makes-us-human-observations-on-blade-runner/

The mystery of human-ness is grace.

I feel compassion far beyond myself.

Benevolence may mark itself in tears.

Your hurt and joy compress against my heart.

The empathy behind the gaze revealed

Sets us apart from beast or humanoid.

Look deeply into eyes, they write the tale,

That shows Imagination from without,

And infinite complexity within.

Annie Nardone, “What Makes Us Human?,” An Unexpected Journal 3, no. 2. (Summer 2020), 175-194.

The Power in Pain
https://anunexpectedjournal.com/the-power-in-pain/

Do we laugh at how ridiculous life seems at this point? I ask, “God, how is this a good idea?” I am overwhelmed. Drowning. Rapid-fire tragedy we cannot control, cannot fix, and certainly don’t understand. I am numb and only reacting, fatigue so intense that my brain feels like I’m riding up in a sky-high elevator, just to plummet to the ground — over and over. I’m so dizzy and scattered, maybe I have a brain tumor too. Isn’t that how it starts? No, now I’m being irrational; but nothing has made sense for months, so who knows.

My soul is imploding on itself, crumbling like a tower of cards, crushed.

It has to end. It doesn’t end.

Annie Nardone. “The Power in Pain.” An Unexpected Journal 1, no. 3. (Fall): 103-112.

Hope in Dystopia
https://anunexpectedjournal.com/hope-in-dystopia/

Hope

Where once there was community, it’s gone.
The life they wove together is unstrung.
Those cords create a hard and cold garrote.
Now Newspeak strangles sense, we’re left with none.

All hope dissolves in isolation’s grip.
Dismissing all, so now we just relent.
Pure Truth is realigned and now we slip,
To numbly move through chaos, we’re content.

But then a whisper rises through the din.
It says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
A mighty force who is our battle Sovereign.
Brings reckoning to Evil by the sword.

Amidst an endless deadness we must rise,

And set our sights on reaching Paradise.

Annie Nardone. “Hope in Dystopia.” An Unexpected Journal 2, no. 3. (Fall 2019): 139-144.

Afghanistan: Hazaras
https://minorityrights.org/minorities/hazaras/

January 18, 2023: Christian Persecution in Afghanistan 

Christian Persecution In Afghanistan

#NoCommentNecessary

October 22, 2023: Minnesota leads nation in new effort to welcome refugees through private sponsor groups
The state already is home to 10 private sponsor circles in the new Welcome Corps program.
https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-leads-nation-welcome-corps-refugees-private-sponsor-groups/600314030/

December 6, 2023: Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb: Every Illegal Alien Crossing Border Received $5,000 Gift Card (VIDEO)

Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb: Every Illegal Alien Crossing Border Received $5,000 Gift Card (VIDEO)

March 15, 2023: Everything’s Bigger in Texas, Including Asylum Denial Rates

Everything’s Bigger in Texas, Including Asylum Denial Rates

This is probably what the paid @CIS_org accounts were squawking about yesterday … Minnesota is leading the nation in Welcome Corps sponsor circles … a whole whopping 10 circles in the state

Muting every single one of the accounts pushing that ignorant redneck in a hat that is claiming “illegals” get gift cards and plane tickets. Get new material @CIS_org .. a bunch of xenophobic Nazis

And the ignorant redneck is running for Senate! Do you want to know what “illegals” actually get? Two months in a @CoreCivic detention center & then released to wait months for an asylum hearing. If they are given anything it is from CHARITIES.
=== At this point, I’m not sure what is worse … Corrupt Pakistanis and the Taliban, or ignorant MAGA

Matt 25:44-46

Do you know what I think this crap is? I think it’s propaganda to get MORE desperate people to come to the border thinking that they will get all this help & to exacerbate and completely overload and break our asylum process!
== This already happens w/idiots @ @FoxNews saying there are “open borders!” Desperate people w/their lives at risk in other countries hear that & think they have a chance. Despicable jackasses! You will ALL roast in hell.

@Punk319 Official sources of Panjshir Province have reported the sound of an explosion at 7:30 tonight and the Freedom Front has taken responsibility for this explosion.

The target of this explosion was Seyed Hakim Agha, the so-called governor of the Taliban for Panjshir province.

@BWBailey85 Afghan women face inordinate difficulties in Afghanistan, but also have struggles in the U.S.

Sarah Cady discussed @reactdcorg support for Afghan women in the DC metro area in Ep. 35 of The Afghanistan Project Podcast.

Find the full episode here:

@submarine_lemon Yet another deplorable hostage situation in Afghanistan. Taliban complain about brain drain, but persist in grave violations of the fundamental human rights of the people they say they want to retain. The international community must unite and mobilise to secure the release…

@RaisedtoWalk “We study justice, but we did not see justice in action in Afghanistan. We wait for the harvest of justice.”. – 🇦🇫 Christian

🙏 Amen

Amos 5:21-24

@RaisedtoWalk .. Ultimately, the God who can breathe life into a person, that is the God we have access to when we pray to him.” – the Afghan equivalent of Indiana Jones encouraging underground Christians in Kabul

@RaisedtoWalk “Every day, when I hear news from Kabul … More and more people are being baptized.

There are more Christians now than there were when the Taliban took over.”

@RaisedtoWalk Do you know what is crazy? There is not a single report of religious persecution in Afghanistnn on this Frank R. Wolf Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List by @USCIRF

https://uscirf.gov/victims-list/

@StephanAJensen The Taliban claim that “there is no abuse against women” in Afghanistan, because husbands are only allowed to beat their wives “softly”.
Madness and evil goes hand in hand.
== Under the rule of #PakProxyTaliban, husbands can beat their wives ‘softly’. If it’s harder, the wives can go to courts. And we all know these ‘courts’ are full of uncivilized men and how they treat and punish women (See comment).

@Punk319 How much does the Taliban care about the people? Obviously, not enough. In Kabul, a Talib hit a cycler.

@Punk319 Reliable sources informed Afghanistan International that the Taliban set fire to the house of Shakila Hashemi, a former member of the Afghan House of Representatives, in Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul.

@BWBailey85 Hasib Dellawar from @reactdcorg had important insights about the mental health struggles Afghans face when immigrating to a country where people are socially disconnected in Ep. 35 of The Afghanistan Project Podcast.

Please listen, share, & subscribe:

@Bagh_eBabur The artificial borders of Afghanistan, drawn by the British, is proving disastrous for the country.

The “Afghan” people (i.e. Pashtuns, Taliban), are found further south of the Hindu Kush Mountains yet continue to settle, occupying &steal lands of non-Pashtuns with brutal force.

@amnestysasia Afghanistan: Civil society activist, Shaifa Mowahedizada shares how Afghan women have expertise and knowledge which should be used in all forums and avenues focusing on Afghanistan.

@MajeedQarar The Afghan government had always claimed that Taliban and the Haqqani network who killed Afghans and Americans had the direct support of the Pakistani state institutions. Pakistan has been targeting Afghans and internationals with impunity because the west has always turned a blind eye to the tons of facts supporting Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism. The fact that Pakistan exposes herself today as an effort to distance herself from Taliban doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that Pakistan is disowning Taliban. Pakistan does this to rebrand its image from a sponsor to a victim of terrorists to gain financial and moral support but taking distance will never mean a complete disown as this kind of tactical distancing has happened in the past too but has never weakened the ideological, institutional and cultural strategic bounds Pakistan has with Taliban. This bound has stood the test of time.

@Moni_Kakar In the shaky mobile phone footage, women’s voices can be heard panicking. The camera moves in and out of focus, positioned through a crack in a door frame.

December 5, 2023: Afghan Hazara refugees live in fear of being deported by Pakistan
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-67474187

@SR_Afghanistan Together with othe experts, I call on Pakistan to continue to provide critical protection for Afghans. We are concerned about their current treatment in Pakistan, and risks associated with refoulment when forced to leave to Afghanistan. Read more here 👇

December 6, 2023: UN experts call for protection of Afghan nationals in Pakistan
https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/12/un-experts-call-protection-afghan-nationals-pakistan

@YaarGuruu Shocking details in program of ASKKS. PTI govt issued passports to Taliban leadership and most passports were issued from KPK and Sindh for Afghan nationals including Siraj ud din Haqqani.

And BIDEN carried out the Doha Agreement made by Traitor Trump when the Taliban have NEVER held up to their part in the agreement in ANY WAY. Attacks from the Taliban NEVER decreased after the Doha signing … They INCREASED.

=== 👉 And the @CIA has CONTINUED to release Taliban members.

👉 The @StateDept white washes the Taliban & their atrocities claiming they are our “partners in counter terrorism” while the Taliban SUPPORTS Al Qaeda!

== 👉
@VOANews should be called the Taliban press office at this point!

👉 The Taliban kill what they claim are ISIS-K militants, when they are actually our former Afghan allies (I have video & audio footage).

== 👉 And the Taliban can ID our Afghan allies because we left both the data AND equipment to do so!

The Taliban Have Seized U.S. Military Biometrics Devices

=== The Doha “Agreement” was a traitorous, loser deal of EPIC proportions by Taliban apologist & Haqqani affiliate @realZalmayMK & @mikepompeo, made bc Trump wanted something he could sell as a “win.” Total joke, but Americans are ignorant
== What you also forgot to mention is that Trump tried to escalate the withdrawal immediately after he lost the 2020 election in an act of petty, malicious, and vindictive spite to cause maximum chaos
https://militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2022/10/13/trump-ordered-rapid-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-after-election-loss/

==👆 All of those things are true. It doesnt mean that @JoeBiden isn’t responsible for what happened from 2021. Do ÑOT tell me “he didn’t have a choice.” Have you even READ the Doha agreement? It’s a bunch of nothingness, a word salad thrown together

== @JoeBiden has been involved in international affairs for over HALF A CENTURY. He found ways to get student loan forgiveness in spite of all the opposition against it. He’s gotten what he wanted in the face of a hostile Congress. He could have found a way around those 3 pages

== But he didn’t because he didn’t WANT to. And now he has to own that decision. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a CATASTROPHIC DEBACLE. There is no way to call it anything else. That is on him. Gaslighting isn’t going to cut it. Own your own sh%t.

== Not only was the withdrawal an embarrassing debacle, but we have betrayed both our Afghan and NATO allies who stood by us for TWENTY YEARS as well as all the military members who served. The damage is ongoing, both to the Afghans and our veterans

== And the betrayal continues. @JoeBiden, not Trump, Biden promised to stand by our Afghan allies – that has not happened. 🇦🇫 HP applications are LITERALLY BLOCKED by the
@StateDept & @SIGARHQ has estimated it will take THIRTY YEARS to process submitted SIVs https://whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/08/31/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-end-of-the-war-in-afghanistan/

== Biden made promises that not only have not been fulfilled, but has actively put up blocks to them. Even students visas for GIRLS, (you know who the Taliban have completely banned from school after age 10) have been denied. This isn’t Trump. This is the Biden @StateDept

== And why the sudden interest in Afghanistan? Is it bc ISIS-K is recruiting in the ghettos 🇵🇰 is forcing all the 🇦🇫’s w/o valid visas into? Is it bc pro-Hamas rallies are being held in Kabul ginning up a jihad to Jerusalem?

== Is it suddenly dawning on people that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to turn Afghanistan over to radical Islamists, terrorists and thugs, who turned the country into a home for terrorist groups?

== No one seems to care that the Taliban have been committing the same types of atrocities against their fellow Afghans & our former allies that Hamas committed in the October 7th massacre. Exactly. The. Same.

== Just because you have a SM following doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about.

Stay. In. Your. Lane.

If you want to join the conversation, ask someone who actually knows. Same is true of your “analysis” on religion #BadTakes #GetAnEditor

Yes, there needs to be a more immediate decision. 65% of asylum cases are denied. But the message most immigrants hear is, if you can make it here, you will be able to stay.

== Forget “security,” staff the courts to make immediate decisions so people aren’t waiting years for their case to be heard. This is currently available for some cases, but otherwise the wait is four years.

== A lot can happen in four years, and immigrants know that… Or they don’t… Maybe they are watching the jackasses on @FoxNews spreading propaganda about “open borders” that they know very well do NOT EXIST.

== But just as way too many Americans buy the fire hose of lies that @FoxNews spreads, desperate people in dangerous countries watch our media & THEY believe it’s true also.

=== @FoxNews
is spreading the lies in political information warfare to ENCOURAGE more people to come to the border, to further overwhelm a bad system that Trump broke to help the
@GOP who have NOTHING else to run on in 2024 other than “border crisis.”

== And now we have Sheriff Nimwit spreading lies about immigrants receiving $5k gift cards & plane tickets … More lies to encourage more people to come.

Y’all doing this are going to hell. No question. Jesus won’t even waste time w/a discussion on Judgment Day. #HeSaidWhatHeSaid

== But in the meantime, a more immediate response would 1) make it obvious paying the cartels is a bad investment, & 2) illustrate that just coming to the border to claim asylum isn’t a surefire bet.

== Among the immigrants from the four countries that require affirmative asylum or the CBP One app, Haiti had 100% compliance w/registering for an appt – bc Haitians have been deported back to Haiti when their asylum was denied, not just kicked back into Mexico.

== Yes, that is more time and money in the short term, but it is a message in action that showing up will not automatically get you the response that you want.

== Unfortunately, people across the world see getting into the US the way Americans see getting into a Taylor Swift concert, everyone wants to come.

Unlike Swift, we don’t deserve that rep – we are #21 in quality of life in the world – but that is why you see lines at the border

== That more come than we have the capacity to process is not an argument that we must accommodate everyone who wants to come, just like not everyone who wants to go to a Taylor Swift concert can get in.

== Do I think our immigration system is a mess & that those who are anti-immigration are not only unAmerican bigoted xenophobes, but unbelievably dumb?

https://fwd.us/news/immigration-inflation/

== Yes, but i am also very tired today. Tired of other people making decisions & then expecting me to come through & make that decision work out for them.

The day’s just starting and it’s already been one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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