In last week's post, I argued that because the apostle Paul commended the work of Phoebe-a deacon (Romans 16:1-2)-the tradition of female deacons continued throughout the early centuries, as noted both by the archaeological evidence and also in Christian literature preserved from this period.
Mauritania is a land of striking beauty, with sand dunes lined against the sky, Bedouins riding camels in the countryside, and flying beetles that look like they come straight from the abyss of the Apocalypse. Mauritania is also a land of extremes-extreme beauty, extreme hospitality, and lately, extreme religion.
Last Sunday I got a call at 11 a.m. It was Rachel Pater calling from her home town church (denomination to remain unnamed). It took several minutes before she could form a proper sentence through her sobs. Finally in a shaky voice, this came out: "I'm at my parent's church ... they are doing communion ...
There is the Islam of the dictators and their religious allies, used to keep people in their place, used to justify their own power, used to shame and threaten those who question their authority. And there is the Islam of the protestors, calling out to God in hopes of liberation. Whose prayers are heard? Which group has a more true vision of God?