Tearfund Iraq Appeal
Christian Persecution

ISIS one year on: Christianity brings hope in the midst of suffering

 

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, Islamic extremists calling themselves ISIS (/ISIL/Islamic State) seized control of Mosul and its surrounding provinces following the rapid capitulation of the Iraqi military. In the face of imminent danger to their lives, 500,000 people fled the city, including almost the entire Christian population. It was the moment when the world fully woke up to the menace of Islamic State’s ambition.

Now, a year on, three million Iraqis are homeless and eight million are in urgent need of aid. The violence has had a disastrous impact on every ethnic and religious group, including Christians, Yazidis and Muslims. But proportionately, religious minorities have been hit the hardest by far. The Christian population in Northern Iraq is now extinct, having been widespread in the region for the best part of 2,000 years. Over 250,000 deserted the plains of Nineveh knowing that to remain would lead to a horrific death at the hands of ISIS.

Secretly filmed footage released by the BBC last night shows houses in Mosul marked with ‘Property of the Islamic State N’ – N being for Nasrani. These homes singled out as belonging to Christians have been confiscated and ransacked. They will most likely never be returned to their rightful owners.

“With the world’s attention focused on the militants and the response against them, we are at risk of forgetting the families who have lost everything they have in this crisis,” says Kathleen Rutledge, Tearfund’s Middle East Response Director, in a press release to mark the anniversary of Mosul’s conquest.

“People who fled atrocities last summer are still stuck in a state of limbo, living in tents and unfinished buildings, desperately hoping for news of loved ones held captive. They’ve had to flee executions, sex slave markets and forced religious conversion. Many of them are educated people who had jobs and a decent standard of living, but now they have no way of providing for themselves and are forced to depend on outside support like ours.”

Khalil from Sinjar, now living in the Kurdish region of Iraq, has told Tearfund: “I studied accounting and was working with an oil company before. My brother and I built our own house. We were working for many years to build one house. ISIS came and destroyed it in one minute. I cried when we left our home. We spend our days just sitting, not working. We have no income and cannot make plans for the future. The situation in Iraq is a bad one. I lost relatives and still don’t know what happened to them.”

The plight of the millions of Iraqis now living as refugees may have slipped from the headlines, but their need is just as great as ever. Prayer is always the place to start, but financial support is urgently needed too.

The UN has reported that humanitarian efforts are currently critically underfunded, so in response Tearfund is launching an emergency appeal to provide basic assistance to thousands of families in need. It is a very practical way to ensure enough food and shelter for all those who are living with very little hope for what lies ahead.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali wrote last week in the Spectator of his visit to a Kurdish refugee camp at the invitation of the Chaldean Catholic Church. When you have nothing, every small thing becomes precious, and despite all the struggles he saw, he was greatly encouraged by the courage fuelled by the faith of the refugees. He remarked:

They are living ‘on the very edge’ of survival in tents, converted containers, old schools and unfinished buildings. Apart from material needs, there are huge social needs such as unemployment, a lack of educational facilities, overcrowding in the camps and shortages of electricity and water, leading to public health issues.

Such sad experiences and such difficult conditions cannot, however, be the last word about these people.  I have visited many refugees, in different parts of the world, and I can honestly say that I have rarely found such a high morale anywhere else. In many cases, this is explicitly linked to people’s faith.  Again and again, we  heard that their faith was all they had left but that it was vital as they sought to resurface from the vicissitudes that have overtaken them with ‘heads bloodied but unbowed’. For them the question is not why evil exists but how they have been saved from it.

The churches (Chaldean, Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox and Assyrian) seem to have worked together very well. The camps, run by the churches, are well organised and clean. There are clear rules about what is socially unacceptable and the pastors of the different churches seem to have important roles in organising and directing the life of the camps. Every camp has facilities for worship, education and medical care, showing clearly Christianity’s abiding concern for these areas of human life and of society.

Not that the camps are limited to Christians; the churches have also helped Yazidis, Shabak and Kakoyeiah people on  an equal basis. As a Yazidi leader, in one of the camps, said to me, ‘our religion hasn’t got the structures to help us in this situation. The churches have and we are grateful for all their help.’

In the face of persecution, hope is still able to triumph. The scourge of ISIS has drawn the oppressed minorities together and allowed relationships and understanding to grow and develop. When Saul of Tarsus pounded the fledgling Christians, it was as if a fire had been beaten causing sparks to fly out and start more fires beyond it. What we are seeing once again is that the persecuted and dispersed Church is spreading God’ s love and message to new people in new places. And as with Saul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus, God is using the oppression of His people to turn their enemies towards Him.

There was a story told a few days ago by Youth With A Mission, of one of its workers who met a former member of ISIS who was given a Bible by a Christian about to be killed. He went away and read it, and following a dream in which he met Jesus, he chose to convert. There is also growing evidence that, faced with the atrocities of ISIS, record numbers of Muslims are turning their backs on their religion and becoming Christians despite the rejection they expect to face as apostates.

Even in the despair of Iraq’s turmoil, hope is alive. Those of us Christians living in comfort in the West must not forget our brothers and sisters in Christ, and ask that God blesses those who are fighting to remove ISIS from their positions of power; and that He might turn to good what the enemy has meant only for evil.

  • The Explorer

    A point I used to make, back in the days when I was an atheist, was that if the Christian God had existed, he would not have allowed Islam to flourish and overrun the lands in the Middle East that had once been Christian. Now, it seems, Christianity may be expunged altogether from the areas in which it first arose. That may be part of the divine plan: one can view the prospect differently if one believes that there is a God in ultimate control of history.

    From Europe’s perspective, the great benefit of Islam was to keep a Christian Europe on the alert. What the role of Islam is for a post-Christian Europe remains to be seen. That, too, may be seen from the perspective of the divine plan.

    On the other hand, if the Crusades were also part of the divine plan, then active resistance is called for quite as much as passive acceptance.

    • Ivan M

      It has nothing to do with God. Exactly this outcome was foreseen by the main Christian leaders back in 2003 during the Iraq War, including the Pope and the Bishop Williams. At that time their concerns were dismissed as those of shrinking violets. Now it is all too clear how prescient they were. It also explains why Tariq Aziz was such a fan of Saddam Hussein.

      The least the bloody Americans who claimed to be on a mission from God, could have done was to have ensured the safety of Christians, who were seen by many Muslims as collaborators of the West. Instead their actions have destroyed Christian communities that trace their roots to the time of the Apostles; just as these same blunderbusses destroyed the Nagasaki Christians who clung on in spite of everything in Japan.

      • Anton

        If the USA had wished to remove the deeply corrupt Saddam Hussein and run Iraq – or at least part of it – on a colonial basis, I would have had no problem with that (although I believe British support should not have gone beyond the diplomatic). That action would have given the USA a priceless permanent base in the turbulent Middle East from which to challenge growing Russian and Chinese influence and ensure the West’s oil supply, while removing US troops from Saudi Arabia (which had been bin Laden’s main grouse) so that no further delicate negotiations with its irksome royal family were necessary; and meanwhile providing better government and infrastructure to the people of Iraq. Unfortunately that is not what happened. Starting from the disbanding, rather than the co-opting, of the Iraqi military – thereby flooding the place with disaffected unemployed men with guns – the USA showed that it did not know how to run a colony properly. Brits might be tempted to get satirical over this point, but the truth is that it is a very great shame indeed for everybody.

        I do not agree that there is a valid comparison with the deployment of nuclear weapons against Japan. Today we look at nuclear weapons with a “cold war” view that they mean the end of the world (a view that might receive correction soon), but at the time they were simply a new and more powerful weapon that had been developed during the course of the most destructive war in history – so use it. What were the alternatives? Invasion of Japan would have cost millions of American lives – far more than the number of Japanese who perished in the two cities incinerated. Blockade and conventional bombing would have enabled Stalin – who had opportunistically declared war against Japan a few days earlier – to snap up territory for the Soviet empire. Given the situation at the time, I believe the least worst thing happened.

        • Old Nick

          Good points. Long and periodic residence in the US of A suggests to me:
          1) that very few Americans thoughts about colonies have proceeded beyond the year 1776. This perspective on the Empire is reinforced twice a year at Thanksgiving and on the 4th July and is now being imported into England by the BBC (e.g. last night Mr. Clive Anderson on the Home Service saying that the British Empire relied entirely on slavery) and
          2) in 2002 a certain number of American Christians were not particularly bothered about the Church of the East and the Chaldaeans because they were not ‘real Christians’ (I exempt obviously those who knew of the work of Canon White and the amazing hmml.org/

      • carl jacobs

        Ivan

        The island hopping campaign in the Pacific served only one purpose – to move the logistics train closer to Japan. The war against Japan was won by three things:

        1. The destruction of the Japanese Merchant Marine which deprived Japan of raw materials and food.

        2. The fire raids that burned out of he Japanese economy and displaced vast numbers of workers away from industry.

        3. The atomic bombings that convinced the Emperor he couldn’t bleed the Americans into suing for peace.

        Those are all strategic objectives that ruthlessly impacted the Japanese population – Christian or not. War isn’t a child’s game. It involves the intentional infliction of deprivation, suffering, and death. If you know some way of ending that war, yet somehow kindly, I’d love to hear it. Because I haven’t ever heard of any other way that wouldn’t have multiplied total casualties by a factor of 25.

        • Ivan M

          I believe the hobglobin of “unconditional surrender” had something to do with it. Total defeat of Japan and Germany was what the Allies had decided upon. This it seems was to ensure that none of the Ameicans, Soviets or British settled for a separate peace. It is not at all clear that leaving the Japanese with a rump stake, say in Northern China or IndoChina or Indonesia would have left them with any choice but to leave in a few years. Since a) they would be swimming in a smaller pond, under a humiliating American aegis and b) those other guys, the Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesians would have driven then out in a few years c) the Japanese peace faction would have been strengthened immesurably

          • carl jacobs

            There was no “peace faction” in Japan in 1945. There were a few people in the Japanese government secretly talking among themselves about peace terms. And then there was the Army which possessed the only tangible power remaining in Japan. The Government had no formal or actual authority over the army. In fact, the army would have had your “peace faction” shot it the army had discovered those conversations. So, no the “peace faction” would not have been immeasurably strengthened. The army was the only power center that mattered and it wasn’t looking for peace. Not one Japanese military unit surrendered as an organization during the entire war until the Emperor ordered it. The army wasn’t going to surrender. To suggest otherwise is pure fantasy. The army almost successfully preempted the emperor’s surrender speech. And that after two atomic bombings and while in full possession of knowledge of the Emperor’s will,

            And, yes, the allies were bent on tearing out the militaristic gov’t root and branch by demanding unconditional surrender. There was no way that gov’t was going to remain in power by virtue of some kind of face-saving peace. That was wise policy as the subsequent course of Japanese history has amply proven. The military that started the war was disgraced and humiliated. It did not remain in power to harbor a burning desire for revenge. That was a good thing.

          • Anton

            What terms do you think might have led to Germany suing for peace, and how in view of Hitler’s mentality?

          • Ivan M

            I have no terms at all since it is silly to do counterfactuals, that can be argued on all day. But I do know that the logic of unconditional surrender is what held the Allies together. Since I see Josef Stalin and the Communists as an equal if not greater menace than the Nazis, my mileage will always differ from those who see the Nazis as the greater evil.

            For example Uncle Joe was paranoid that the Western Allies would sue for a separate peace with the Germans, while the Whermacht was still in action inside the USSR. His suspicions were never really allayed by Churchill’s deference to General Secretary Stalin which can be seen in his obsequious letters.

            On the other hand, Stalin made a show of rebuffing any attempts by the Japanese to sue for a separate peace. Some would say: look how great the Georgian is ! On closer examination it lacked substance, since he expected the Chinese and Americans to take care of his Far Eastern flank. For this reason the boorish Americans were always pushing Chiang Kai-Shek to throw his forces against the Japanese. But from Chiang’s point of view an all out war against the 3 million strong Kwangtung Army would only decimate his forces to the detriment of any future conflict with the Communists. There are some more examples along these lines that I can offer, but it will only bore you.

            Suffice it is to say, that JV Stalin has earned his place in history as the mightiest dictator the world has ever seen.

          • Anton

            If you “see Josef Stalin and the Communists as an equal if not greater menace than the Nazis” then you correctly understand how evil they were, but they weren’t a greater menace to Britain in 1939-45. A full 3/4 of the Wehrmacht went down on the Eastern Front and I doubt that D-Day would have been a success against German forces four times the size.

            An earlier conclusion to the war certainly meant that much of eastern Europe would have been spared rule from Moscow. But it also meant that Germany would remain undivided, as it did after the first World War and it did not deter them from starting another.

            Churchill wanted a major offensive northeast from the eastern shore of the Adriatic, but Washington insisted on Normandy. History might have been very different and rather better had Churchill’s view prevailed.

          • Ivan M

            As they say without Stalin the Soviets probably would have lost the war, but then they would not have needed to fight the war in the first place if it were not for him.

      • carl jacobs

        The American election in 2008 had as much to do with the failure in Iraq as anything. It’s an interesting counterfactual to ponder. What if the market hadn’t crashed in October 2008 thus turning the election for Obama?

        • Ivan M

          I don’t blame the American populace for not finishing the job. They were sold the war as a cakewalk. When it turned out otherwise with many returning dead, and the soldiers facing a thankless job, they naturally wanted to go home. I don’t go with the crowd that claims that war was about oil (the Chinese have all the major contracts) or about Israel (since their strategic situation is in no way helped by removing a counter to iran.) Like all large countries, the Americans have many factions. I was referring to that faction that went to war for no good reason, over the advice of their military – who wanted 500,000 men – merely because they could.

          • carl jacobs

            The US didn’t go to war “merely because [it] could.” Nations don’t work like that. The US had sound strategic reasons for going to war. The aftermath of the war was badly handled because Americans tend to have a naive and excessively optimistic viewpoint about how post-war conditions are supposed to progress. Even so, the situation was recovered. But the new administration was not committed to the effort. And with the economic crash in 2008, the public turned inward. The present outcome was not fore-ordained in 2003.

          • Ivan M

            The cabal around George Bush made up their reasons as they went along. It wasn’t about terrorism, the single biggest sponsor of which is Saudi Arabia, a US ally. The second biggest being Pakistan, another US ally. It wasn’t about nation building, as the American populace has no reason to go and build schools in another country, when that money could be spent at home. It wasn’t about WMDs, the claims of which were consistently refuted had the Bush-Blair duo listened. They engaged in tunnel vision which they expected their intelligence services to support. Not the least of the damage this duo had done, was the compensatory search for the “good Muslim” which opened the gates to hostile populations.

          • Anton

            It wasn’t about WMDs that Saddam had at the time, for those were chemical horrors rather than engineered bugs or nukes, and they were smuggled out to Syria under the guise of aid to an earthquake-hit disaster zone. But Saddam was developing nukes. Perhaps those were Carl’s “strategic reasons” but I also wonder if Bush Jr wanted to make a public point to his father who failed to finish the job in 1991.

            Nobody is going to weep for Saddam, but while Washington won the war it has, sadly, lost the peace – and lost an invaluable asset, namely a colony in the Middle East from which to challenge Russian, Chinese and jihadist ambitions in the region.

          • Ivan M

            There were no nukes or WMDs. The Americans became so desperate to come up with something, that they picked on any random PhDs or MScs in biochemistry or microbiology, and dubbed them Dr Deaths or Black Widows. By this reckoning there are thousands of potential Dr Deaths graduated from the universities every year. The IAEA team under Dr Blix concluded that Saddam didn’t have a nuclear program, but their conclusion was too inconvenient for Bush and Blair. The poor man’s chemical weapons can be made in the backyard with insecticides.

            Gen Powell seems to be the only one of the Bush – Cheney – Rumsfeld – Powell combine who showed remorse at the stupidity of it all.

            Frankly why would the average American care to challenge the Russians, whom they had largely surpassed or the Chinese from whom they buy their stuff.

          • Anton

            There are many strands to this issue. I have no problem of principle with the USA deposing Saddam and taking Iraq over; others might, but that’s not my topic here. Nor do I wish to discuss British participation just now. As to why the Americans might wish to challenge Russian or Chinese influence – for the same reason as during the Cold War, when we Brits were brought up in freedom thanks (and a big thanks) to American participation in the NATO doctrine. Western Europe was not defensible from a Soviet invasion without a nuclear deterrent, and since the Iron Curtain fell we have learned what was obvious to all but the Left, that the Russians would have done it if they could.

            Regarding WMDs, we agree that Saddam had no nukes. As to whether he was developing them, he had already had one go at that but the Israelis bombed his nuclear reactor facility in 1981 shortly before it began operation. So he regarded these as desirable, and his country had significant nuclear expertise. I don’t know exactly what quote of Hans Blix you are referring to but are you sure that he was talking about nuclear rather than bio/chemical WMDs; and if so then was he making a distinction between aspects of a nuclear program that can be used only in bombs, and those that could also have peaceful application in medicine and nuclear power? I recall regularly reading that Blix’s inspectors were denied access to various sites, at least for some days after their request to visit – days that could be used to move kit out.

            Regarding biochemical WMDs, you said that his “chemical weapons can be made in the backyard with insecticides.” I am unsure whether that is true of sarin or V-agents but these are deadly in tiny amounts and count as chemical weapons in international treaties. The UN Inspectorate found that Saddam had them in the 1990s, which is hardly surprising as the West had sold him the means to make them (recall that we were on his side in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war); see

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

            Remember also that he gassed the Marsh Arabs in the south and the Kurds in the north, presumably using a bit more than gardening products thrown together. Why was Hassan al-Majid known as Chemical Ali?

            If you read the 2006 book Saddam’s Secrets by Georges Sada, who was senior in his Air Force, you will find a detailed account of how, once Saddam had become convinced that Washington was serious, he flew out and trucked out his biochemical WMDs to Syria; knowing that these movements would be detected by the Americans, he called them disaster relief convoys for a region where a large dam had bust on the Orontes River in northwest Zeyzoun on 4th June 2002.

            Nevertheless there is no evidence that Saddam was close to nuclear capability or had a delivery system capable of threatening the West, nor any wish to. I do wonder whether in going further than the first Gulf War in which Saddam had been left in place, George W. Bush privately wished to make a public point to his father. Not that I mind; it is what happened after the US invasion that is problematic.

    • Martin

      TE

      Everything is part of God’s plan for God is in control of all things. We are not promised that things will get better, rather the reverse until Christ returns. The Church will remain small compared to the World and persecution will continue to cause it to grow.

      And of course, there is very little different between IS or any other Islamic Jihad organisation and the Atheist PC brigade, both demand subservience to their beliefs by everyone.

  • Thanks for this update – good to be reminded of those who have lost so much.

  • Orwell Ian

    The Christian population in Northern Iraq is now extinct……

    Not quite.

    Only four miles from the front lines of Islamic State, three monks and six students have determined to remain in St Matthew’s ancient monastery in Iraq’s Nineveh province until there are no Christians left in the country. “We can see the battles and the airstrikes from here in front of us,” says Yousif Ibrahim, one of three remaining monks living in the monastery. “The sky lights up at night, but we of course are not scared. God protects us.”
    With only the Kurdish Peshmerga military left to protect a monastery that has withstood the conquests of the Ottoman and Persian empires, the nine Christians who have chosen to stay are only too aware that IS could reach St Matthew’s at any moment. “We are not scared, because our teachers give us a feeling of peace here,” says student Sahar Karaikos, “but we know we are on the front lines… I don’t even want to think or speak about the destruction the Islamic State would cause if they took our monastery.”

    Spare a prayer for these beleaguered brothers.

    Is this to be the last stand of Christianity in Iraq?

  • elizabeth sadler

    Brilliant article. God has His ways……

  • alternative_perspective

    They will be in the front rows of heaven.
    We must remember we are all God soldiers lining up against the forces of evil. But God’s weapons are not violence and destruction rather, sacrifice, humility, a broken heart and mercy.
    I salute you my brothers and sisters over there for your perseverance and love, you are an inspiration and I feel thoroughly humbled by your continuing sacrifice.
    Heavenly Father I thank you for the grace you’re pouring out on those who are suffering and on those whom you are bringing to salvation. Comfort and protect your people and give them the strength to endure in the face of continued persecution.

    • sarky

      “Sacrifice, humility, a broken heart and mercy”

      That is why christianity is disappearing, it is weak.

      • The Explorer

        Let us accept your logic, and assume that Christianity will disappear from the West (which cannot forgive it for violent stuff like the Crusades).

        That will leave Secular Humanism facing Islam. Does Secular Humanism have the strength, the urge to breed, and the readiness to die for its beliefs that will enable it to prevail?

        • sarky

          People fight for their country not religion. Are our soldiers ready to die for us – damn right they are and I for one am proud and grateful to them.

          • The Explorer

            Not strictly true. Muslims fight for their religion rather than their country. (After all, any one else’s country is simply a country that isn’t yet Muslim, but ought to be; or was Muslim once (like Spain or Israel) and must become so again.

            And always assuming, of course, that Europe’s current countries continue in their present form rather than as EU provinces. Far fetched? Look at the map of Europe in 1912, 1919, and 1946.

          • sarky

            But we were talking about secular humanism. ……

      • MisterDavid

        Very Nietzsche of you – he couldn’t understand how mercy, kindness, and self-sacrifice could be considered virtues.

      • Anton

        How come it’s doing so well in China then?

        • sarky

          Numbers doesn’t equal strength.

          • Anton

            What sort of strength are you thinking of? Jesus said that “my kingdom is not of this world”.

          • sarky

            Which is why you are weak. What happens in this world has no consequence, so why fight it.

          • Anton

            I do not agree with your criteria for weakness and strength. Stalin once asked rhetorically how many divisions the Pope had, but a Pope was instrumental in bringing down the Iron Curtain.

  • preacher

    We Christians who have so much to thank God for must now show practical support for our Family who are suffering such great hardship with a stoicism that is admirable. Not only that but as reported, the sparks of their faith are lighting fires that hatred & murder can never extinguish.
    Dig deep Today. Before the night falls & no man can work, this is our chance to show the love of our God & change the future for thousands of souls, without even leaving the country.
    Give & Pray are the words for today!.

    God Bless. P.

    • sarky

      Think they would rather have your guns than your prayers.

      • The Explorer

        Could prayer result in guns, in your view? The Viennese prayed for rescue from the Turks, and John Sobieski’s army arrived in the nick of time.

        • sarky

          Obviously I don’t believe in prayer.

          • The Explorer

            Yes of course. Badly expressed on my part. If prayer did work because there was someone to pray to, could it result in a rescuing army?
            When the Israelites were troubled by Goliath, God didn’t deal with Goliath directly. God sent David with a sling. For believers, a human agency is how prayer is answered a lot of the time; although not always.

          • sarky

            To me it’s a hypothetical question to which I could only give a hypothetical answer.

      • IanCad

        They should have both.

  • len

    I S glories in death and destruction and by this it announces its creator because Jesus said ;The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;(John 10)
    I S may be the reason that many Muslims are turning away from their faith and this may be’ the good'(I hesitate to call it that) that comes from this barbaric death cult known as IS..
    Christians must pray for and support our brothers and sisters in Christ in whatever manner we can.

  • David

    I agree wholeheartedly with Len’s post below.
    Christians should pray for all those who wish to convert, both at home and abroad. It is a very difficult journey for them to make. If possible they should also consider supporting by more earthly means, the resources, including safe houses, that they need to undertake the journey. It’s supporting a specialised form of evangelism if you like.
    Christian Concern run safe houses, as well as doing much else that is commendable for Christians.
    Apparently Muslim to Christian and Muslim to atheism conversion rates increased after 9/11, and increased again markedly after the Isis atrocities started.
    It is not a cliché to recognise that God does indeed move in mysterious ways.

  • jawjaw2013

    And in the West’s idiocy it turns its back on Christian refugees while effectively importing tens of thousands of Muslims ones, because “to make a distinction between religions” offends those secularists who fail to grasp either the Christian roots of their own culture, or the Islamic roots of the crisis engulfing the ME; who view all religions as equally invalid; and most of all who in their imperialist, racist arrogance fail to grasp that Islam is stronger than they are, will not “become civilised” by exposure to their values, on the contrary will seek to remain apart when it is not imposing its values upon them, if not in this generation, then the next.

    And it is happening remarkably quickly, historically-speaking. The fact that we should invite into our homes a people who have little but contempt for our values (and who, on the whole, do not make a secret of it – Islam is de facto contemptuous of all other cultures and insists on taking primacy over them, for example as almost any Muslim will be disowned by their family if they reject their faith) has to be one of the greatest acts of lunacy in recorded history, and future generations will pay dearly for it.

    • The Explorer

      Interesting to think how the history of the future may be recorded. Allah blinding the eyes of the Western Infidel?

      • Anton

        The truth is that Jesus who has all authority in heaven and earth, is permitting the rise of Islam as impending judgement for the sins of the West – predominantly in my opinion family breakdown.

        • The Explorer

          Yes. God used the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Persians. “My servant, Cyrus”. Cyrus might have fulfilled that role without even being aware of the fact. Ditto the Muslims.

    • sarky

      Remember, it’s because of our ‘christian roots’ that we are so welcoming.

      • The Explorer

        If that’s true, why did we keep the Muslims out when we were Christian, and only invite them in when we became politically correct?

        • David

          When we were Christian we defended ourselves and the faith, and we were more realistic about the nature of other cultures.

          Now as secular relativists we don’t value our Christian heritage or even acknowledge where the residual “kindnesses” came from. Even worse we now consider it morally wrong to discriminate against even cultures that despise us, or support ones that respect our ways. The only thing that is wrong is to judge. So relativism has robbed us of the ability to recognise hostility and to defend ourselves from it, which was always its Marxist purpose of course.

          Unless the instinct for self defence is allowed to resurface, by us rejecting the notion that it is wrong to favour one culture over another, we will perish, not just culturally, as is happening now, but even perhaps physically. Even in terms of cold evolutionary atheism we are living in a perilous and unnatural state.

  • Phil R

    “ISIS, which has already killed thousands in the region, is
    terrifying the faithful in Aleppo,” he wrote in a message to Aid to the
    Church in Need.

    “After [attacks on] Maloula, Mosul, Idleb and Palmyra, what is the
    West waiting for before it intervenes? What are the great nations
    waiting for before they put a halt to these monstrosities?”

    Archbishop of Aleppo

    He doesn’t get it does he.

    1. The West is weak

    2. The West is not Christian

    3. The West does not care

    4. The West will not help you.

    The options are.

    Do nothing and die, covert and live, or fight and probably die.

    BTW if we continue as we are our children will soon face the final three options.

    Even if we accept it is true, do we care? It seems we care far more about loving our neighbour’s lifestyle than caring about our neigbour’s future.

    Carl or some other will no doubt post in a moment with an eloquently argued post as to why the situation is hopeless and we can and should do nothing.

    Like Andrew who argued that feeding the 5000 was impossible.

    • The Explorer

      “Our children will face the final three options.” Even now, I talk to pep[le who would be baffled by a statement like that. That is why it is so likely to become true.

  • DanJ0

    This is a reminder that we’re so incredibly lucky to be living in the UK and at this point in time.

    • The Explorer

      Until it becomes like other places?

      • dannybhoy

        And why might that happen do you suppose?

        • The Explorer

          1. Another twenty years of ECHR judgements and Brussels edicts.
          2. Population change. By 2050, the population of the British Isles (whatever they are called by then) will be profoundly different. By 2095, much more so. That need not be a bad thing (was it a bad thing that the Anglo Saxons displaced the Celts? Yes, if you’re a Celt) but it might be.

          • dannybhoy

            Exactly.
            I was thinking those superheroes Atheism and Humanistico marching under the banner of Human Rights wearing the breastplate of rationalism, and waving the sword of equality might save us…
            Then I remembered Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Germany’s Nazis, Pol Pot…

          • DanJ0

            Have the two of you thought of joining the Jehovah Witnesses at all?

          • sarky

            Don’t say that. I’ll have to cross them off my christmas card list!

          • The Explorer

            I’m afraid the relevance of the question escapes me.

          • dannybhoy

            Me too DanJ0.
            I’m sure it made sense to you, but I remain a Pooh of little brain, and require a little help from time to time.

  • not a machine

    Your Grace posts on a hope in a war ravaged area , and the churches work and presence in refugee camps , I am reminded of how difficult work of the Christian faith can be , compared to the simple but flawed victories of firing squad and beheading .
    Allah s only son Jesus Christ works his love .

  • Inspector General

    Christianity does indeed bring hope, from the Christian West.

    We shall triumph, of sorts. Death comes raining down from the sky. Be it towards ISIS men, ISIS women or ISIS children. Weapons do not discriminate.

    The men must be destroyed, for they are evil. The women must be destroyed because they bear the next evil generation and the children must be destroyed because they are the next evil generation albeit at present in formation.

    Sobering stuff. This is the human condition that Christ tried to save us from. He has saved many, and will continue to do so. But the others, they must perish. There is no place for them on this earth. There is no other way.

  • dannybhoy

    I find one of my dilemmas as a Christian is what to do with people like these wicked ISIS people. As an individual I am commanded to forgive and pray for those who would persecute/torture/kill me.
    Tough enough Lord!
    But to read and see what these guys do to innocent people, I would willingly join up and shoot them, because at a national or community or even family level, evil must be opposed. As it was with the Nazis. Whether we be Christians or not a real physical evil must be physically resisted.
    When you think about what these poor Christian brothers and sisters of ours are experiencing is the same as experienced by the Jews in Europe; persecution torture and death simply for being Jews.
    I still believe that the CofE is not making enough fuss about it.

    • David

      Totally agree with all that.

      • IanCad

        Same here.

    • not a machine

      I also find it difficult , to a point I recall listening to someone about the white poppy and that how much better off we would be if we supported the white poppy. I have relatives who fought and served in ww2 and I quickly realised that the persons age ment , that they were born after the war and I pointed out that they would not be here if others had not fought .
      Poor theology is something we perhaps something we all have eulogise at certain times in our life to quote one mp now passed away “to defend ones country is the most interesting of questions” , and it is when you think about it from a Christian perspective , for it is interpreted in some branches of thought that you are accepting a heathen understanding.
      whilst I don’t entirely agree with the inspectors approach , I perhaps can accept that freedom requires confrontation with what opposes it and as much of a contradiction that appears to be ,if reason does not make your enemy consider there approach , you only have the alternative .
      That’s why we are perhaps slightly better off in that modern elections tend to elect informed governments and leaders , although clearly even large countries can still elect bad ones .

      • Phil R

        “That’s why we are perhaps slightly better off in that modern elections
        tend to elect informed governments and leaders”

        How do you work that one out?

        • not a machine

          perhaps not best phrased , what I meant was the consequences tend to make goverments think more carefully about conflict , modern elections tend to not throw up your previous warlord type

          • Phil R

            This is precisely the problem.

            Our leaders are plastic without a single thought of their own.

            If you still think we live in a democracy read the following.

            Sir Ian McKellen, a founder of the Stonewall lobby group spoke this week, in a moment of disarming truth, of the power of Westminster LGBT lobbyists: “It’s astonishing for a Tory Prime Minister to insist on gay marriage, dragging the party behind him.

            “It’s possible because we live in a small country and you only have to persuade about 50 people, all of whom live within sight of this window, and if they agree, they can have it in law within a year. Americans have to slog through every state.”

            http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/06/09/the-lgbt-lobby-not-the-same-thing-as-people-who-are-gay/

            Make no mistake, our current plastic leaders are a lot more unpleasant than any “warrior” leader with backbone and principles.

      • dannybhoy

        I’m not sure about the informed governments and leaders bit though ‘nam.’
        We were talking earlier about George Dubyah and his shameless poodle Tony Blair invading Iraq.. Blair was in such a hurry to bask in reflected (US) glory and strut his funky stuff, he allowed our young men to go in with inadequate equipment and no clear strategy.
        That’s not being informed.

        • CliveM

          The problem with the strategy wasn’t in how to fight the war, it lacked a view on how to establish a peace.

          The war was reasonably well fought, the peace was made up as they went along.

          With regards kit, let’s just say a term including the words arse and elbow, would sum up the MoD.

          • carl jacobs

            They had a plan for peace. It was just a terrible plan rooted in idealistic notions of human nature. Basically, the US didn’t know what it was doing. It had no doctrine to fall back upon. And it used precisely the wrong tool – the military – because the military had the big stick. They might have figured it out given enough time. But the plan was always crippled by the notion that every man is western at heart. And nation-building is a long hard thankless expensive task. It’s not easy to keep a democracy committed to it.

            The right lesson is “Don’t start in the first place.” You can’t fix a culture. They have to do it themselves. What is needed is a government that can effectively govern. That reality requires some compromises with western ideals.

  • Coniston

    Islam is a religion that believes in an irrational ‘god’ who can contradict himself from one moment to the next. This was what Benedict XVI was pointing out in his Regensburg Address (2006). Islam is not susceptible to reason. Fortunately those Muslims who are good people are fairly ignorant of their faith.

  • David

    It is my opinion that our current downward trajectory, naively importing those who are totally alien to our values, cannot last indefinitely, as it unstable, perilous and exceedingly self-destructive.

    • dannybhoy

      I shall have departed this world by then.
      Either to join all the other saints awaiting judgment for what we did as earthly servants of the Most High God; or, having had my personal interview with the Almighty, head bowed ashamed and embarrassed but looking to our Lord, I shall be in my retirement bungalow tending celestial flowers..)
      Yet my love and appreciation for the country which nurtured and did it’s best to eddicate me remains strong.
      You are right. Most people with any sense know that you are right. Those who think you are wrong are like those who splash out £70 on a quality single malt whiskey.
      In seeking to share and impress others with its quality and distinctiveness, they add a little more water….
      Before long it has lost its distinctiveness and has a taste comparable to “Thunderbird fortified wine..”
      Same with societies.

  • Inspector General

    Fellows on this site will make of it that God has his plan, and this contemporary business is part of it. One disagrees. The human race is here as an amusement for the Almighty. Amusement in the full sense of the word, that is. Assuming that we are unique in the universe, and there is nothing to suggest we are not, we are the one part of the creation God has no control over. Just as He arranged it.

    • sarky

      For amusement. .. Like dog fighting or badger baiting??? Sounds like the Stephen Fry version of god.

      • Inspector General

        You continue as the superficial fool on here. Well done you…

    • ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies Your footstool.” The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’

      Christ is ruling in the midst of His enemies. If these dreadful things did not go on, we would know that the Bible wasn’t true (Matthew 24:4-14; Luke 21:16-17; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Timothy 3:12-13; Revelation 6:9-11 etc.). Rest assured that God has a high and gracious purpose in it all.

      • Inspector General

        One stands by what he has posted. So much falls into understanding if it be the case, and it is.

      • not a machine

        It is the matter of gods perfect justice and the way it works , how this works within an idea of freewill is very difficult and has even the most seasoned theology student struggling to put it into coherent words.
        At the moment I am settled that free will is like a rubber band , it contains the possibilities in a state of tension but that can grow,start pushing out in one direction and a law comes into play to return it to its previous state.

    • dannybhoy

      What an awfully gloomy, cynical and untrue picture you paint Inspector.
      Not saying I can’t see how you got to that point though.
      I remember during the breakup of my marriage how I found myself questioning everything I believed as a Christian.
      Gloom and cynicism set in big time. It’s amazing how far hurt and doubt will lead a Christian down the road of despair and personal disintegration!
      I did flirt with the idea (like Linus), that God is a human construct.
      Man has a limitless ability for rationalisation. The need to make sense of his world is a part of what it means to be human. In fact think without a sense of meaning (whatever form that takes for us as individuals) man would truly go mad.
      In the end I remained conviced that God exists, (I couldn’t see a reasonable alternative that didn’t involve an act of faith).
      Also that God is holy, morally just, dependable, compassionate and loves man (as evidenced by our Lord Jesus and His life, death and resurrection).That I could never deny my salvation or the changes wrought in me by the power of the Holy Spirit, and lastly that God wasn’t wrong; my understanding of Him was.

      ” God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written,
      That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome
      when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4

      • Inspector General

        Not gloomy at all Danny, and certainly not cynical. In fact, there is no better way to come to know God, as much as we wretches can, than being in the predicament that is being alive. And to know God brings comfort and hope for us who do, does it not…

        • dannybhoy

          Hmmm.
          Being alive is a predicament?
          One of the things that has come sharply into focus for me after twenty years in the wilderness is that God is a Creator.
          Whatever we have done. However many lives we may have screwed up as a result of our predicament, if we turn to God in true repentance and anguish of heart, He can bring something good out of our mess. We will have to endure the consequences in the remainder of our earthly lives, but God can take those situations, those broken relationships -even broken people- and bring healing.
          He just won’t do it the way we thought he would.
          That’s why He’s good at being God, and we’re good at messing up..

          • Inspector General

            For some people it is Danny. One can think of no finer example than the regular inmates who groan and wail in that part of Dante’s inferno known as Pink News…

          • dannybhoy

            If you believe you were born gay -and some do, and I have worked with some who believed that -and I have no good reason to doubt they are telling the truth….
            it can be a predicament. It will depend on their personality and how they are treated by others.
            Some may become so despondent and isolated that they develop mental health problems or even commit suicide.
            Others may be very outgoing or aggressively “in yer face!”
            They are people after all, not freaks.
            Let me make it very clear I don’t condone homosexuality, I don’t believe in gay marriage or gays with children. I really struggle with the more blatant and frankly crude stuff, the same as I do with the crudities of some heterosexuals.
            But I refuse to reject any out of hand. I will try as hard to have a friendship with them as I will with anyone else, without condoning the lifestyle.
            I believe that they face much greater difficulties than we do because there is no legitimate outlet for those feelings apart from celibacy. Or if they can, entering into an honest and loving relationship with a woman.
            Homosexuality is not what God intended, but many things are corrupted whether genetically or by sinfulness.
            God condemns the sin, not the sinner.
            Otherwise there would be no salvation for any of us.

          • Inspector General

            When you’ve finished giving that crowd the thumbs up Danny, there’s drug addicts, gamblers, alcoholics, paedophiles, thieves, liars, thugs, bigamists, idlers, the morbidly obese, and the just pain unpleasant waiting in the queue.

            Or you could suggest something called ‘discipline’ and ‘moderation’ and ‘aversion’ and a few other 19th century attitudes to life are what they need….

          • dannybhoy

            Because I see them as people first and sinners like me, that means I am giving them the thumbs up?!

            Tell me Inspector, is a husband who regularly attends church and goes to confession but who is also a heavy drinker, beats his wife, humiliates and cheats on her, less of a sinner than a gay person who struggles with their sexuality or lives a quiet life with a partner?

          • Inspector General

            It is only the activists one has a problem with. Tails that seek to wag the dog, if you like…

          • dannybhoy

            Maybe, but is the drunkard wife beating, adulterous husband less of a sinner than the gay person, and if so why?

          • Inspector General

            Who’s saying the gay person is even a sinner.

          • dannybhoy

            I am.
            Because the Bible says that all men are sinners and need to repent.
            You’re not answering my question dear fellow.
            Of course you don’t have to. I respect that, but I won’t pick on gays simply because they are gays, and I won’t accept that they are worse sinners than I am because they’re gay and I am not.

          • Inspector General

            Danny. This man has never held it against anyone their homosexuality. Never. However, the propagation of militant aims, that is a different matter. Once the condition leaves the realm of privacy, it becomes a malignant defiance of God’s intent.

          • dannybhoy

            Well now you’re changing the goal posts!
            I think I’ve said before that as I see it there is a tension between the roles of Danny the (born again) Christian and Danny the Citizen of a multicultural, secular humanistic, offense averse (except towards all who call themselves Christians) society.
            Of course my faith comes first and I actively promote working with Christians of all denominations on acts of witness, prayer meetings, outreaches etc.
            But as a citizen I recognise that my society is under the influence of the evil one, the ruler of the kingdom of darkness.
            And in this society I must oppose and stand against everything that will debase and subvert what is morally good and beneficial for all citiizens.
            So I oppose the aims of Stonewall and the brainwashing of little children, and the gay pride marches and I squirm when gay men kiss in public etc.
            But that’s the society I am a part of and I have to stand up for what I believe is righteousness.

            So who’s the greater sinner, my dear Inspector whose wit and humour I truly appreciate?
            The drunken wife beating adulterous churchgoer who regularly goes to confession…….?
            ;0)

          • Inspector General

            We have much in common in what we hold true, dear friend.

            Around forty years ago, an aunt in Ireland who was married to such a man you describe finally had enough and contacted three of her brothers. This mans uncles. They went round and beat seven shades out of him. He was not a bad man, he was an alcoholic. He was a sinner, not from God’s point of view, but from the view of his family.

          • dannybhoy

            Inspector,
            The brothers did the right thing by their sister, and I would not disagree that we have to accept the consequences of our choices -even our addictions.
            Hitting the woman who shares your life because you are an alcoholic is not an excuse.
            Alcohol easily gets a hold on an unhappy man. I’ve had my struggles with it, and smoking too. With God’s help I quit the smoking years ago and the drink is under control.
            But the reality is that though God will forgive us our sins if we turn to Him, on this earth we may still have to accept the consequences of our ways..
            We’ve wandered away from the main point, but be assured Inspector that my liking and respect for you in your AC persona remains,

          • Inspector General

            What struck one the most about that sorry episode is the ability of a woman to endure the most horrendous suffering. When the aunt finally did break, it was after 15 years of abuse, all borne in silence. But that night, she let the whole lot out.

            It was only when the man concerned died, around the turn of the century, did yours truly find out he never recovered from the beating. The marriage ended that night, that was known, but what was not were the headaches he suffered thereafter. One was told soon after the event the brothers nearly killed him. It was no exaggeration.

          • CliveM

            Something similar happened in my family. Married to a CofE Vicar she was. He periodically beat the crap out of her. Of course on that side of the family they were all pacifists, so they prayed with him.

            You can guess how effective it was.

          • Inspector General

            Better off preying on him…

          • dannybhoy

            Clive,
            I really struggle with that pacifist, handwringing, sad, suffering smile bit..
            Hurting a woman because you as a man can’t cope is despicable. Sometimes a red blooded action such as Jesus showed the money lenders in the Temple is far more effective than ‘no blame’ counselling.
            Imagine what the Old Testament would read like if God had been a pacifist…

          • CliveM

            Yes a multifunctional approach would have been better, violence and prayer!

            It does have a positive end however. His Bishop found out and intervened. They are still married and happy.

            Kids don’t like him though.

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • Inspector General

            Violence and prayer. Yes, one does like that….

          • CliveM

            In the best tradition of the Templers.

          • dannybhoy

            That is very sad Inspector.
            One could say that the brothers went too far, but obviously their blood was up.
            The man could have sought help, could have gone with his wife to the priest and asked for help from the church.
            It’s an all too common story of human weakness and failing.
            Somewhere though if the power of God is invited in, these cycles of tragedy can be broken.

      • len

        I used to be a confirmed atheist(literally, I went to church and got ‘confirmed ‘to please my mother) but still did not really believe.Became cynical and an atheist (the two seem to mix very well)
        Eventually which seeking spiritual truth I had an encounter with the risen Christ (sounds a bit mad I know but in reality I am a very practical down to earth person)
        I have spent the last 15 yrs trying to understand things which are far beyond my comprehension but I know that Jesus Christ is alive and real and He changed my life forever.

        • dannybhoy

          Doesn’t sound mad at all to me. I totally understand what you’re saying.
          We wrestle with questions at our own comfort level, and some see the questions much more deeply and express it in language we don’t understand!
          Yet it’s our faith in Christ which qualifies us to be members of the Body of Christ, and it’s our obedience to what we do understand that draws us closer to Him.

    • Anton

      God is not amused (in the full sense of the word) by evil and suffering, but he has given us the greatest possible thing – freedom to choose – and we choose evil. He will not let this situation persist indefinitely.

      • Inspector General

        Some choose evil and will be dispensed with, Anton. As for the situation persisting indefinitely, that’s rather up to us and the churches ability to spread the gospel.

        • Anton

          God has appointed a date. The same sources that tell us about Jesus tell us that.

    • len

      God is ‘so amused’ by our condition that He joined us in it at the Cross.

    • len

      The whole of the Bible is God revealing His Plan for humanity, it is doing God a great disservice to say otherwise.

      The human race has been taken hostage by Satan and he inflicts death disease and destruction on Gods creation that is why God Himself came to Calvary to enable mankind to be re united with God.

      To infer that God looks on in amusement at the chaos going on down here is to show total ignorance of God or indeed the whole spiritual dimension. Bless you and may God open your eyes and unplug those deaf ears.

      • Inspector General

        You what?

        You’re the one who needs his ears syringed, etc. You’re the one who goes around knifing Christians who are not born again, whatever that means…

        • Powerdaddy

          Maybe you’re all mad?

          • Inspector General

            Do expand…

          • Powerdaddy

            Doesn’t Christianity strike you as crazy?
            Or should it be why does Christianity strikes me as crazy?

          • len

            The Cross is ‘foolishness’ to those who do not believe but it is the means of salvation to those who do believe.
            It was the search for wisdom (apart from God) that led to the downfall of man so God has used’ the foolishness of the Cross’ to reveal His Wisdom to those who have the humility to seek Him.
            There are several types of wisdom, Heavenly, earthly, and demonic…be very careful which you choose……

          • Powerdaddy

            God knows full and well that I could never accept the story/ system He has set out.
            It is more than “illogical captain”, it’s batshit crazy.
            Self sacrifice for the salvation of your creations from your own eternal wrath because you made them knowingly that they would displease you so. And yet still you have to eternally torture the majority of them anyway, even after this self sacrifice.
            But the weirdest part for me is your salvation is dependent on believing the nonsense above.
            Madness I tell ye, madness!

          • len

            Man with all his’ wisdom’ cannot even sort out the predicament this world system is in, if anything this world is getting progressively worse .
            “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this
            age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in
            the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased
            God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. ”
            (1 Corinthians 1:20-21 RSV)

            Take look at this;
            http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/1-corinthians/gods-nonsense

          • Powerdaddy

            The article doesn’t make God’s system any less ridiculous. I don’t think any amount of rationalization could. At least God finds amusement in it though, that’s the important thing.

            Guilty of being made to God’s specifications and with no say in the matter. Such a crime!
            Best burn me in hell forever, that will teach me.

          • Inspector General

            Assuming we are, through evolution, the chosen animal. As you say, why would the giver of our life who designed us take such anger at its behaviour. The hell we talk about can be found in this world, manufactured by those who want no part of Jesus’ instructions to us.

          • Inspector General

            Not at all. Consider men without a divine and just creator to answer to. Now, that’s mad, and not only that, dangerous too. To be at the mercy of those men, who have no qualms about what they do. Behold, in many parts of the world you have just that…

          • Powerdaddy

            “To be at the mercy of those men”

            A whole lifetime of torture from those barbarians is not a patch on what your God has in store for me if I don’t pay him lip service……

            Some poor souls get both apparently.

          • Inspector General

            Rather hard on God, aren’t you? One cannot believe the creator of all things would have it in for you like that, and one suggests that when you’ve taken your final breath, that will be it for you. Literally, the peace of the grave. After all, that’s all you want, isn’t it?

          • Powerdaddy

            Hard on God? I think you will find he is infinitely harder on his creations…….
            So you are more happy clappy than eternal hell fire. Well done you. Other (most?) Christians would say I have described God perfectly. You Christians need to put some kind of effort into standardisation. Maybe pray and ask Jesus how to “do Christianity” properly? Do you think He will answer? Still, it all adds to the hilarity don’t you think?

            For the record….. what I, you, he, she & they *want* has never ever been up for consideration. Has it?

          • Inspector General

            Happy clappy? Certainly not. What some might say is an inconsistent standard in the church, others will point to as the various traditions thereof.

            Forgive this man if he appears obtuse, but can you give an example of God being hard on his creation….

          • Powerdaddy

            ?
            Really?
            Do you have a bible handy?

          • Inspector General

            You don’t take seriously the OT now, do you? It’s a fine narrative of Jewish history, that book, and one is quite convinced the Jews were no better or worse than other Stone Age to Iron Age tribes around. But sir, one is a Christian. A follower of Christ, not of the Jews.

          • Powerdaddy

            A strange response seeing as Jesus refers to the authority of the O.T. many times.
            Matt:22 29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
            Or is someone getting their Gods confused?
            Standardization anyone?

          • Inspector General

            Jesus referred to the OT in its capacity as the basis for holy law. No problem with it there, although warnings of avoiding shellfish are clearly out of date with refrigeration. Anyway, back to your complaint on God being hard on us all…

          • Powerdaddy

            Picky choosey as well as happy clappy?
            God being hard?
            What a sheltered life you must lead…………

        • len

          I shall put you on my prayer list Inspector (as an alleged cat owner you cannot be a total lost cause)