- - Monday, August 29, 2016

1| American Hostage Kayla Mueller Remembered for Defending Her Faith before ISIS |CBN

***Revelation 12:11 speaks about those who conquer over the Devil: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (ESV).

Here is a word about what Kayla Mueller experienced, and expressed, during her captivity leading to her death at the hands of the Islamic State.

…’Oh, this is Kayla and she has been held all by herself. And she is much stronger than you guys. And she’s much smarter. She converted to Islam.’ And then she was like, ‘No, I didn’t,’” Rye said.

“I would not have had the guts to say that. I don’t think so,” he continued. “It was very clear that all of us were impressed by the strength that she showed in front of us. That was very clear.”

ABC News reports that what is known about Mueller’s time in captivity comes from the eyewitness accounts of fellow Western hostages and a Yazidi teenager who was also held captive by ISIS.

“She was amazing. She was a really strong girl,” said fellow hostage Patricia Chavez, describing Mueller.

2| Mark Tooley: “Christianity, Trump & Nationalism

***Take time for this one. With intelligence and Candor, Tooley consistently writes with wisdom and candor, providing theological reflection about “nations” and how they relate to the Kingdom of God.

…Nationalism, American or otherwise, is similarly often mischaracterized or maligned as a form of idolatry intrinsically at odds with the Gospel. It can be, of course, but is not necessarily. Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo were nationalists. So were Mandela, Gandhi and Washington. Nationalism can be a malignant and even murderous form of chauvinistic dictatorship. Or it can be a unifying alternative to tribalism and bigotry.

Nationalism need not worship the nation or the state nor deny or minimize national sins. The Mandela-Gandhi-Washington form of nationalism heeds transcendent authority, affirms human equality, and readily admits national failures while pursuing national ideals. This form of nationalism, or patriotism, fosters unity while protecting dissent and self-critique. Such nationalism is a noble alternative to parochialism and narrow self-interest, sustaining a wider community in which persons otherwise uninterested in mutual welfare find common purpose and fraternal bonds.

Here’s where sustaining the nation state is especially important to Christians and other persons of good will in America or any nation. It’s typically preferable to narrow tribalism and wider empire. Nation states provide manageable communities that offer accountability and familial loyalty. Modern nation states have facilitated democracy, human rights, technological advance, increased health and wealth and standards of living with decreasing poverty. They also, in contrast with tribalism or empire, are less prone to conflict and more prone to trade and treaties.

What are the preferable political replacements for nation states? What alternatives should social justice minded Christians pursue? Rarely if ever do the critics answer this question. Instead they usually assume all the benefits of the nation state, especially the American one, while boasting of their indifference if not contempt for it. This approach is neither Christian nor coherent. The pursuit of a just social order protecting human dignity requires a sustainable community that merits the love and loyalty of its citizens.

3| The Right Way to Liberate Mosul |Providence
***My friend Robert Nicholson pens some wise words to guide future actions in Syria and Iraq. Read the entire piece, and follow the journal too. Here’s an excerpt:

For the first time since 2014, the Islamic State is losing ground. All summer the steady advance of Arab and Kurdish troops backed by international forces has weakened the IS command structure and sent it scrambling to defend its empire in Syria and Iraq. No doubt the timeless and ironic words of Ozymandias ring loudly in the ears of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The war is going well for now. But on the horizon lies the biggest challenge of all: the hulking brown metropolis of Mosul, its densely-packed streets teeming with over a million civilians and thousands of desperate jihadis ready to die for Allah. We know that Mosul must fall for IS to collapse; we also know that the battle for Mosul will be a bloody one.

Yet the greatest danger will come after Mosul falls. …

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