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Faith is in the astounding wonder of a human soul when it realises and cannot but see that it is part of and arising out of an awe-inspiring power  that incorporates an eternal infinity, out of which, the entire Universe rises, from numena to phenomena: out of no time-space onto time space and having made the appearance, fall back onto no time space again; no time space, that what is eternally and infinitely beyond our grasp and at this point, it 'kneels in wonder', in awe and in praise so that it makes sacred music, it creates sacred art, it writes hymns and it creates temples and makes further temples of learning and seeking and of work so to be able to to be and do good. Or in one word: Love. The Humanion







Image: University of St Andrews



Faith and Food: Christian History Magazine Delves in the History of 2,000 Years of Feasting and Fasting


|| March 22: 2018 || ά. Christian History Institute is the publisher of Christian History Magazine. It has published the latest issue of the Magazine on Faith and Food: 2,000 Years of Feasting and Fasting. The entire issue explores the intimate intersection of food and faith, as well as, many traditions involving feasting and fasting over the course of 2,000 years since Jesus Christ lived, dined on earth. This issue, 125, is packed with tid-bits of information about foods mentioned in the Bible and Christianity’s holiest meal, the Lord’s Supper.

Many more meals and meal traditions have been documented, among them, potlucks and fellowship meals, soup kitchens and church gardens, Christian cookbooks and Christian diets, the temperance movement, feasting, fasting and practices of hospitality. According to the issue’s Managing Editor, Ms Jennifer Woodruff Tait, ''Whenever Christians spend time together, they eat or, in the case of fasting, don’t eat and have something faith-filled to say about it. One of the first councils in church history, the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, was concerned, partially, with whether Christians needed to follow Jewish dietary regulations.”

Over the centuries, Christians continue to observe how and when to fast, what Christians should eat and not eat, how to serve food and to whom. If, food were removed from weekly church activities, many of those activities would look very different or they would disappear. Answers as to why some Christians avoid alcohol or meat or some churches host covered-dish suppers or some monasteries make cheese are contained in this issue.

A special feature in the issue is a collection of full-page images, artist depictions, even, photos of food items and produce, that help guide the reader along the path of the editor’s theme, 2,000 years of feasting and fasting. There is included, a few recipes from Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic traditions.

This issue contains seven features and five short articles, a chronology time-line, an archive of rare art work and photos, a ‘letters to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CH editorial staff. The magazine is available on-line and can be conveniently read, on screen.

“Christian history has been largely removed from the American public education system, that Christian leaders began in the early years of this nation.” said Mr Michael Austin, a Christian Commentator. “After years of decline, our public schools no longer teach the Bible’s founding contribution to Western Civilization. Christians have influenced our culture’s values regarding faith, freedom and mercy. Yet, today, faith in God is being openly questioned and attacked.”

Christian History Institute is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. CHI publishes Christian History magazine and produces books and videos featuring important Christian history, including, Torchlighters, an animated history series for children. CHI is a donor-supported organisation providing church history resources and self-study material to make Christian history accessible to the widest possible audience, via video and the Internet.

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Exeter Academics Present the Faith of the Mandaeans to the Modern World


|| February 26: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. The leaders of an ancient religion threatened with extinction by conflict in the Middle East have allowed their highly complex water-based rituals to be recorded by outsiders, for the first time. The Mandaeans believe running water has spiritual qualities, which purify the mind, body and soul. Their rituals involve elaborate baptisms using rivers or swimming pools, not only of people but, also, of utensils, pots and, even, holy scriptures, which are specially engraved on metal sheets for the purpose.

The Mandaean communities have lived by the great rivers of Southern Iraq and Iran for 2,000 years. In recent years war and persecution have forced this community of 60,000 people away from their homeland and they are now dispersed across the world. The numbers practising the religion are declining as young people grow up away from the Middle East and marry outsiders, a practice not accepted by traditional Mandaeans. Many of the 42 priests fear the religion will soon die out or change forever.

They have worked with academics from the universities of Exeter and Leiden, to create an online database, which features documentary footage, recordings of the unique rituals and interviews with Mandaean priests around the world. An exhibition at the University of Exeter shows images and objects used by the Mandaeans. This cultural preservation project is supported by the Arcadia Fund.

Followers of the religion began to leave their villages and settle in larger cities forty years ago. Many were persecuted and suffered human rights abuses after the West invaded Iraq in 2003. The largest communities worldwide are in Sweden and Australia. There are around 20 families in the UK but no priest to perform baptisms, weddings and death rites.

The Mandaeans, also, known as Sabians, believe the soul only spends a small period of time in the human world before moving on and the aim of people should be to help their soul move to the 'Light World', by doing good and living peacefully. They, may be, baptised as often as four times a year.

The priest dips them under the water, baptising them ‘in the name of Life, in the name of the Knowledge of Life’ in Aramaic and, then, anoints them with sesame oil and gives them bread and water. The symbol of the Mandaean religion is a white cloth draped on cross of wood hung with myrtle, a holy plant, which, also, plays a key role in wedding and baptism ceremonies.

Professor Christine Robins, from the University of Exeter’s Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, who led the research, said, “We hope this project will raise awareness of this endangered religion. Over the next generation, it, may, change radically or even become extinct. This work is a small step in giving a snapshot of the community at this crucial moment.

We have recorded important rituals and interviewed as many priests as possible about their life and role. We are so grateful to the Mandaeans, the priests and the lay people, who made time to see us and let us into their homes and we hope our database will be a resource for their grandchildren and ours in years to come.”

Caption: Image: University of Exeter: ω.

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