True Martyrs

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They’re supposed to be safe there but they’re not. They’re vulnerable. Say the holy words. Remember Issa. — Homeland, Abu Nazir

Are you a martyr? This word carries with it certain connotations today. These are not necessarily the best or most loving connotations. Especially in the wake of terrorism and jihadism in the twenty-first century, martyrdom is associated with killing (often suicidal) for a religious cause. Or it is associated with dying, being killed, for belonging to a certain religious group, persecuted, often times, by a different religious group. But it was not always defined in this manner.

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The EU and Terror

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How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized. Don’t let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared. — Salman Rushdie

It is a complicated history, one that stretches back to before the outbreak of the first World War. In seeking a genesis of terrorism, in seeking to understand what drives terror, the West must admit that it is partially responsible for its genesis. We are bound up in a network of power relations that are now turning against our citizens. We are reaping what we have sown. We have sown fear, we have sown war, we have sown desperation. We reap what we sow. How do we relate to this history and to modern terrorism that is now found in the streets of Madrid, London and Paris, as well as many other places? What, if anything, can the EU do about terror?

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Sermon Edition: Manifest in Human Life

This is the situation: a foreign people have moved into the land. They dress differently than you. They eat differently than you, and so they even smell differently than you. Some of the countrymen have taken it on themselves to oppose these foreigners, sometimes violently. And there is violence, back and forth, an unstable situation, with untold amounts of human suffering and misery. Now, given this week, this could be Paris, but in fact, it was also the same situation in first century Palestine. Only, of course, those foreigners were the ones in power, and some of the countrymen, the Jews, were complicit in the occupation, leading, of course, to more violence. The baptism of Jesus is situated in this situation, and it speaks to this situation and to human life, complicated with its politics, its ethics, and its symbols. Speaking of, let’s talk first about water here.

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