Baptist missionary among at least 21 dead in Philippine airport attack
Southern Baptist missionary William P. Hyde, who has been a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board for 24 years, was at the airport in Davao, on the troubled Philippine island of Mindanao, to pick up another missionary family when a bomb exploded.
Hyde and at least 20 others were killed in the blast; some of the missionary family—Barbara Stevens and her 10-month-old son, Nathan—were among the 170 wounded.
"I just heard it explode to my side," Stevens told the Associated Press. "I was carrying my infant son, so I grabbed my daughter and picked her up and ran away. I was afraid there could be more bombs."
"Our hearts go out to these families and their coworkers," said International Mission Board spokesman Larry Cox. "We are moving quickly to assist the missionaries affected by this tragedy. We ask Christians everywhere to pray that God would show himself strong for these families, their coworkers and the other members of the Southern Baptist missionary family."
Though the Philippine military initially blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the bomb, which was reportedly hidden in a backpack, the group denied it. The Abu Sayyaf has since claimed responsibility for the attack. That's the Muslim terrorist group that held American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham hostage for more than a year. Another Associated Press story reports that Hyde and his family were close friends with the Burnhams.
"They really knew it was not safe," said Hyde's sister, Barbara Brooker. "We've always been afraid of the danger. My mother always worried that we would get a call some day."
"They were aware of the risks, but their purpose for being there—to share the love of Jesus Christ—was far more important," Ross Robinson, associate pastor of evangelism and missions at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, where Hyde and his family were members, told the Plano Star Courier. "Their purpose brought them great joy. They loved being there, they loved the people. And their lives, the life of Bill and Lyn, reflected it."
"I remember both Bill and [his son] Steve as being alike: big physically, with big smiles and big hearts and just always looking for a way to help somebody else," Dan Crawford, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor of evangelism and missions, tells the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "I wasn't surprised when I learned that it was Bill Hyde who went to the airport to pick up this missionary family. It was the kind of thing that he would have volunteered to do."
Making ashes: not as easy as you think
Tradition holds that the ashes on Ash Wednesday are from the burned palm fronds from the previous year's Palm Sunday. But burning the palm fronds isn't as easy as it sounds, reports the Detroit Free Press.
"The first time the Rev. David Eardley tried to make ashes a few years ago, he fired up a hibachi stoked with dried palm leaves inside a United Methodist church. … He nearly smoked out his congregation," writes David Crumm.
"It was a mess—really smelly," Eardley recalls. "I didn't even like the consistency of the ashes I got. And the church had that smoke smell for days."
The lesson: don't do it inside. Eardley now gets ashes from a parishioner who runs a crematory. And he's had trouble too. "The ash is so dry that, the first time I did it, I opened a door and—boom! the ashes shot out like a cloud," he said.
Many churches are forgoing the burning altogether and are simply buying their ashes from church supply companies. But even that can be a messy business. Crumm notes this advice from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's website: "Like sin, ashes are very dirty and go a long way."
Ash Wednesday and Lent:
- Today's ashes symbolize repentance, inner renewal | The use of ashes as a sign of penitence pre-dates Christianity (San Antonio Express-News)
- 4 of 10 Americans fast for Lent | Slightly more than a third of Protestants have fasted at least once (Scripps Howard News Service)
- Lent in war's shadow is time for mother's prayer | Ash Wednesday finds mom fearful for soldier daughter (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)
- Plea for peace on Ash Wednesday | Chance of war prompts new focus for Lent (Arizona Daily Star)
- Self-denial of Lent can bring calm liberation | For nuns, Lent is a way of life. (David Waters, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)
- 'Lent is a time when we're supposed to slow down' (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)
- Don't give up pretzels and hot cross buns | A look at food and abstinence during Lent across the centuries (The Beacon Journal, Akron, Oh.)
- Tone of Lent prayers becomes more personal | Turmoil adds significance to 2003 observance (Houston Chronicle)
- For many, Lent means self-denial | Fasting during Lent has long been considered a Catholic tradition, but now other Christians are choosing to follow the practice of limiting themselves to one full meal a day (The Sacramento Bee)
- Fasts for health, spirit | There are valuable health benefits, as well as spiritual ones, to be gained from fasting (The Washington Times)
- Evangelicals: In power, on the air and next door; here like never before | When the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) holds its annual meetings this week in Eden Prairie, it will find new evangelical dominance and power in the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- Also: What makes someone an evangelical? | Q&A on evangelicalism (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- Evangelical Christians play a large role in every aspect of our culture | Nicholas D. Kristof not only displays the kind of ignorance such people like to attribute to evangelicals but also will reinforce in the minds of many what might be called the "evangelical bias" that causes so many Christians to distrust the mainstream media (Cal Thomas)
- Ridicule the believers | Evangelical Christians top the list of groups that can be safely targeted without apology or regret (Al Knight, Denver Post)
War with Iraq:
- Is war with Iraq just? | There is nothing in the Catholic tradition of just war that prefers multilateral to unilateral use of force, unless you subscribe to the belief that the United Nations—that struggling collection of mostly tyrannical sovereignties—is the only legitimate political authority (Maggie Gallagher)
- Pope sends peace appeal to Bush (UPI)
- Also: Pope urges world to avoid 'dramatic conflict' | Called on all Catholics to observe a day of prayer and fasting in the hope of averting war (Reuters)
- Also: Pope steps up pressure for peace (BBC)
- Also: Pope takes a stick to a war in bad faith | George Bush and his advisers are finding it difficult to ignore the opposition of the Vatican to an attack on Iraq (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Also: White House rejects Pope's Iraq argument | "The president thinks the most immoral act of all would be if Saddam Hussein would somehow transfer his weapons to terrorists who could use them against us," says Ari Fleischer (Associated Press)
- Why does President Bush crave war? | He's a contradiction of the compassionate Christ (James Haught, The Charleston [W.V.] Gazette)
- Chaplain prepares to serve spiritual needs of troops | Part of his unit is in Mideast already. (The News-Sentinel, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)
- Group seeks cash to help soldiers' kin | Operation Home Fires, a project of the Christian Service Center, on Tuesday called on area churches to help support military families who are sometimes unprepared to face the difficulties of going from two incomes to one when a spouse is called to active duty (The Orlando Sentinel)
- Bush's inspiration: Scottish preacher he reads before breakfast every day | His selection of Oswald Chambers as a source of guidance provides further insight into his beliefs and also has strong historical echoes (The Scotsman)
- Also: The Scottish preacher whose wartime writings inspire Bush's faith (The Times, London)
- In God he trusts | George Bush and the Bible (Rupert Cornwell, The Belfast Telegraph)
- Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy's script | Under Bush we have had a great deal of horizontal prayer, in which we evoke the deity at political events to send the sideways message that our enemies had better look out, because God is on our side (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
- God & W. at 1600 Penn. | How his faith defines the 43rd president (Paul Kengor, National Review Online)
Representatives walk out on Muslim prayer:
- Two Washington state lawmakers spurn Muslim's prayer | Republicans step off House floor; one says, "It's an issue of patriotism" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- Under fire for prayer stand | Decision by a GOP lawmaker to forgo an Islamic service at state House angers many (Los Angeles Times)
- Lawmaker backs off on why she walked out | Republican leaders are putting distance between themselves and state Rep. Lois McMahan and her decision to walk out of the House of Representatives before a Muslim cleric delivered the daily prayer (The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.)
Politics and law:
- Aceh's Sharia court opens | It will apply to property and family law, and some cases of criminal law, but the exact overlap with the existing district courts was still unknown (BBC)
- Also: First Sharia court for Aceh | The mainly Muslim province was involved in civil conflict with Jakarta (BBC)
- Two Amish men resort to rare activism | They organized a petition drive to change a zoning ordinance so each could keep a horse on his property (Associated Press)
- Hispanics to wield clout at union rally | But some evangelical insiders wonder if pastors' involvement is merely a political move by the union in order to muster public support and exploit economic rage (New Haven Register)
Texas newspaper investigates televangelist's funds:
- Profit in the pulpit | A Denton televangelist who says his mission is to rescue people from poverty is living lavishly, while the ministry he founded spends most of its money on overhead, an examination finds (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Also: Ministry's board had minimal role (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Blurring the line | Denton televangelist Mike Murdock makes few distinctions between his resources and those of the ministry he founded. Some critics question whether his actions are proper (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Also: Ministry gives money to Murdock's relatives (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Behind the hype | Mike Murdock exaggerates his accomplishments and cites dubious statistics. Critics say his goal is to keep donors from questioning his authority. (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Murdock uses 'love bonding' to reach donors (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
Zimbabwe police arrest clergy:
- Police hold 21 clerics in Zimbabwe protest | The churchmen, from the Zimbabwe National Pastors' Conference and representing Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists and evangelical churches around Harare, had marched through the capital to police headquarters in the city center (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Harare police arrest protesting clerics | Chanting officers in riot gear round up church leaders (The Guardian, London)
- Protesting pastors arrested (The Daily News, Zimbabwe)
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