Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Theresa’s Faith

The most recent Time Magazine has an article about Mother Theresa. The article is based on various letters she wrote in confidence over much of her lifetime. In those letters she expressed doubts about her faith, felt that Jesus was not with her, and described how she experienced a sort of darkness of the soul for a good part of her life. I recommend reading the article because it gives some insight into what was apparently going on deep inside of this godly woman who devoted herself to doing God’s work. I have a few comments on Mother Theresa’s “darkness” and her doubts for your consideration.

First of all, I’m no shrink but it seems to me she may have been suffering from clinical depression. Being a devout follower of Christ does not, unfortunately, make us immune from the bad things that can happen. Many godly people have suffered from clinical depression, including Oswald Chambers, who wrote the devotional book My Utmost for His Highest among others. Descriptions of what earlier saints experienced seem to point to depression. Martin Luther is another example of a godly person who experienced depression.

Second, most, if not all, believers experience some sort of doubt about various aspects of their faith. That doesn’t mean your faith is weak, but that you have questions. For example, why does a supposedly “good” God allow bad things to happen to “good” people? Why is there so much suffering in the world? In addition to these practical matters, people have doubts about various doctrines: the Trinitarian nature of God, how Jesus can be both truly human and truly God, the nature of the Eucharist, heaven and hell (and how you get there), how can there be salvation by grace through faith. The list goes on.

I think everybody who has prayed for something feels that God hasn’t heard their prayers, God is absent, or God doesn’t care. Nevertheless, we are encouraged in the Bible to pray. Jesus prayed and exhorted us to pray, bringing our requests before God (Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the persistent widow).

Sometimes the answer God gives us is different from what we wanted, but it is still an answer. The Apostle Paul prayed to God to have his “thorn in the side” removed, and here’s what happened according to 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NRSV):

Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Third, Mother Theresa witnessed terrible suffering among the world’s poorest. How can you be upbeat when all you see, day after day, is misery? Yet she continued in her grueling work, including a regimen of daily prayer, and that could only happen because of God’s supernatural strength working within her. Maybe she didn’t “feel” the Holy Spirit enabling her and empowering her, but he was there, upholding her. Otherwise she would have burned out or given up years ago.

Fourth, like many believers, I suspect she was trying to experience God through her feelings and emotions. I believe one of the reasons the Pentecostal churches are so successful is because they provide an emotional experience of God on a weekly basis. She experienced a “spiritual high” when Jesus spoke quite clearly to her early in her ministry, telling her that she was to give up teaching and go into the streets to care for the poorest of the poor (see Matthew 25:31-46). Nothing can compare to such a clear experience of the presence of God. In comparison, God seems absent on a day to day basis, even though God is with us continuously in the form of his Holy Spirit.

So don’t feel bad if you have doubts, questions, or sometimes feel God isn’t there. We are told frequently in the Bible to persist in the faith. There are unanswerable questions, there are tensions between the various attributes of God, and there are doctrines that make us uncomfortable. But that’s why it’s called “faith.” If it were easy, no faith would have to be involved, only logic or reason. I encourage you to do what God through St. Paul tells us in Colossians 2:6-7 (CEV):

You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

First Amendment Update – New Book Out

In a series of postings in early July I discussed the First Amendment and how it has been misused and abused in the courts since 1947. I recently read about a book that has been published on the topic. It is called Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America ... and What’s Happened Since. The author is Stephen Mansfield, and below are some of his comments on the so-called establishment clause of the First Amendment:

Ten words from the U.S. Constitution have intensely impacted the freedoms of Americans: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

“I find the history of this one sentence to be such an astonishing tale of folly,” said author Stephen Mansfield in an interview. “I also don’t think you can exaggerate the impact or the distortion of this sentence in modern America. In fact, I don’t think I know of another sentence that has proven as important to our country or is as wrenched from its original meaning and context. ... To put it simply, the Founding Fathers’ intended this sentence to tell the federal government that it could not build an official state church or prefer one religion over another in its laws. This sentence originally was not understood as a ban on religion in government. In fact, it didn’t even apply to the states. It was meant to contain the federal government only. Even then, though, it did not mean the federal government could not support religion in general. Early generations of Americans watched their government print Bibles, call for days of prayer and fasting, and even pay for missionaries to the Native Americans.

“It was Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, writing the majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education, who made fashionable — and legally enforceable — the phrase ‘wall of separation between church and state.’ He took it, not from one of America’s founding documents, but a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a group of appreciative Baptists — and, even worse, Black applied it out of context to suggest religion had no place in public life.

“I was a pastor for 20 years and worked in politics, so I knew about these trends. But what really moved me to write [this book] was that, as good as some of the books are out there on the subject, I couldn’t find any that tracked the story — from the Founding Fathers to the 1947 (Everson) case into the modern chaos — that were accessible to people, that were not intended to be written for lawyers.

“That’s why current (U.S.) Rep. Walter Jones is proposing a piece of legislation that would exclude churches from that IRS code, that would allow churches to address political matters if they want to.”

For a full, intriguing interview with Stephen Mansfield, visit http:// To visit his Web site and learn even more about the book and the author, link to

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why They Hate Us

In my last posting, I responded to the news that a Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands had suggested that we all refer to God as Allah to help relieve tensions with the Islamic world. That sort of begs the question, why do they hate us?

I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject, and it is quite complex. I think most Muslims just want to live their lives like anybody else, but then there are those fanatics whose lives are devoted to the goal of eliminating Christianity and western civilization. They view Christianity and Judaism as corrupted, with the evidence being the trashy culture being exported by western countries and their overall moral decline. Moreover, the Qur’an calls for a struggle against unbelievers, for them to be subjugated or converted (Sura 2:190-193, Sura 9:5, Sura 9:29, Sura 3:106 ff, Sura 4:101 among others). By fighting against the infidels, the jihadists are doing Allah’s will.

Whether we want to believe it or not, this is a religious struggle. In the Islamic world, culture, religion, and often government are frequently closely aligned. They view the West as Christian, and of course we do have a Christian history, although most of Europe is in the post-Christian era. Because this is a religious struggle, I suspect nothing less than conversion to Islam would satisfy the jihadists.

Other reasons for the enmity between Islam and the West are the Crusades, American foreign policy, especially our support of Israel, our having troops in Saudi Arabia (bin Laden’s pet peeve), western cultural hegemony that jeopardizes the purity of Islamic culture, and now, of course, the Iraq war.

If you are interested, there are a number of books out on the subject. This posting didn’t even scratch the surface, but I hope it gave you the desire to learn more about the main struggle of the 21st century. That way you can separate fact from fiction.

In addition, if you understand this to be a religious conflict as the Muslims do, then perhaps you will turn to God as I mentioned in my last posting. Why should we think God will protect us when we have ignored God and marginalized him in our society? God allowed his Chosen People to be captured by the pagan Babylonians because they continued to be unfaithful. Why should God spare us?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Call God Allah?

In the Sunday Poughkeepsie Journal I read in Kathleen Parker’s column (page 11A, August 19) about a Dutch Catholic bishop who suggested that we all start referring to God as Allah. He believes it would ease tensions with Muslims. What a ridiculous statement!

I’m sorry, but when I see such ignorance and naiveté from somebody in a responsible position, I can’t help but get incensed. I can see such a suggestion coming from a far left liberal Protestant, but a Catholic bishop? I wonder what the pope is going to do with this bozo.

What’s scary about such a suggestion is that its goal is to appease Muslims at the expense of Christianity. Now there is nothing wrong with the word “Allah” if you are Arabic-speaking. It is the Arabic word for God, and Arabic language Christian Bibles use the word “Allah” where our English language Bibles say “God.” But to suggest that non-Arabic speakers call God “Allah” is to put Islam above Christianity, saying, in effect, Allah is superior to God, and ipso facto, superior to Jesus Christ. Where does that leave Christianity, which is based on the uniqueness of Jesus who died for our sins?

Moreover, the Islamic concept of Allah is quite different from the Christian concept of God. As Ms. Parker pointed out in her column, Christianity and Islam are both monotheistic religions (along with Judaism) but they don’t necessarily worship the same God. So for non-Arabic speaking Christians to start using Allah is to essentially buy into the Islamic understanding of Allah and to deny the traditional Christian belief in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Qur’an Islam specifically rejects the Trinitarian understanding of the godhead (Sura 4:168-173).

Typically Westerners are naïve when it comes to enemies they don’t know or understand, and Bishop Muskens is a good example of this. Chamberlain took an appeasement approach with Hitler, and it led to the conquest of most of the continent by the Nazis. Appeasement doesn’t work, especially when you are dealing with fanatics whose sole reason for being is terrorism, conquest, violence, and power. Simplistic and naïve solutions won’t work because you are dealing with fanatics whose lives are devoted to destruction of the western way of life, who are coming from a position the God is on their side, who keep looking back to history to justify their aggression, and who are convinced their way is far superior. That is a dangerous combination, and compromising our own faith will do nothing except help their cause.

Perhaps we Christians should repent and turn back to GOD, the God we have been abandoning to our own detriment. Listen to what 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. NRSV

If we turn back to our God, then God will be with us. If we don’t, then we may find ourselves in some sort of Babylonian captivity just as the people of Judah experienced because of their unfaithfulness.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Salvation Through Faith – Part III

This is the continuation of an answer I gave to a friend’s email question about Christianity:

Now the question of what happens to people who are of other religions. What about the devout Muslim or Hindu? What about a villager in rural China who never heard about Jesus? Are they condemned because they haven’t received Christ as their Lord and Savior?

A strict reading of the verses I quoted above would say yes. However, we also know that God is merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Would God condemn a person who never even had the chance to make a decision for Christ? I don’t think so.

As a Christian, I believe that following Christ is the sure way to heaven. Everybody else is judged based on how they lived and honored God given what they knew. If somebody consciously rejects Jesus, that’s a different story. But for the villager in rural China and the devout Buddhist, I suspect God judges him or her on what light (revelation) he or she has been given, such as our God-given conscience, religious instruction, etc. See Romans 1:20, Romans 2:14-16, Romans 4:15, Acts 17:26-28. This is my opinion, and I know there are some who do not agree with me on this.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Salvation Through Faith – Part II

This is the continuation of an answer I gave to a friend’s email question about Christianity, especially as it relates to salvation:

If we don’t have faith in Christ in that we reject him and what he has to offer (eternal life), then obviously we won’t be spending eternity with him. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33:

“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.” (NRSV)

If you didn’t want to have anything to do with God or Jesus in this life, why would you expect to have anything to do with him in the next? Again, it’s not a matter of works, sin, or anything else. It is a matter of faith in Christ.

If you have truly turned your life over to Christ, you will be a better person. That’s because you have repented (turned your life around) and the Holy Spirit is working within you in the process of sanctification (improving you). We all still continue to sin, but it should be less and less so that eventually you are dead (unresponsive) to the temptations and allures of this world. As the bumper sticker says, “Christians aren’t perfect – just forgiven.” Since we aren’t perfect, the church is “full of hypocrites” but these “hypocrites” are hopefully striving for perfection, with God’s help.

Those who have decided to follow Christ will try to emulate Christ, who was the perfect man, and will also try to comply with God’s moral law as written in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New. Notice I said “moral law”. That concerns our behavior, but does not include the ceremonial or ritual law such as the dietary laws, animal sacrifices, etc. Jesus did away with all of them. But to glorify God and be pleasing to him, followers of Jesus are expected to live as God has directed in the Bible (not to earn our way to heaven, but to please God because we love God).

More of my answer to a friend’s question about Christianity in Part III.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Salvation Through Faith – Part I

A friend who lives some distance away is trying to come to grips with Christianity, especially salvation. Recently he asked me some questions via email, which I attempted to answer. Below is my response to him, which I hope will help you in understanding the uniqueness of Christianity and its views of salvation:

The question you asked gets to the heart of the Christian faith. What differentiates Christianity from other religions is Jesus Christ: that he was the divine Son of God, and that those who put their faith and trust in him go to heaven, guaranteed. No other religion makes such claims. As it says about Jesus in John 3:16-18:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (NRSV)

It also says in Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God —not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (NRSV)

Again regarding going to heaven if you put your faith in Jesus, it says in Acts 4:12:

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (NRSV)

Jesus himself said in John 14:6-7 that he and the Father are one (meaning Jesus is divine, not just a human being) and that salvation (going to heaven) comes through him:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (NRSV)

So we are saved by faith, not by works. We can’t earn our way to heaven. We receive rewards in heaven for our works, but we don’t get to heaven by our works. A very important distinction. Put another way, our works are manifestations or outworkings of our faith. I believe those who consciously reject Christ can’t earn their way to heaven by their works either. “I’m a good person” isn’t a ticket to heaven.

This answer to my friend’s question continues in Part II.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Energy Policy: Part V

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, nuclear electricity plants appear to be the answer to many of our energy and pollution problems, but the vision I laid out will take years to achieve. What do we do in the meantime?

As an interim step to begin to reduce carbon emissions and decrease our demand for imported oil, the government should institute a “gas guzzler” tax that would make buying SUVs and other inefficient vehicles very costly; offer generous tax credits for the purchase of hybrids and very efficient vehicles; and provide incentives for other forms of conservation. Regarding wind farms, the government could provide tax incentives or low interest loans, reduce paperwork, and make it difficult for opponents to carry on lengthy litigation on bogus environmental claims.

Some think ethanol is the answer, but it takes a large amount of energy to convert organic matter into fuel. Unless we use solar power, we are using up nearly as much energy to make ethanol as we get in the finished product. There are other alternative fuels being looked at, but they typically won’t be used to generate electricity, only to power vehicles. The nuclear option I described does both.

Of course most Americans would not be entirely pleased with the energy policy I’ve described, but what other choice is there? I can’t think of any, and nobody, to my knowledge, has come up with a workable plan. Distasteful as nuclear energy may be to some, we must move forward with a plan now. Importing and burning oil pollutes the air, causes an unfavorable balance of trade, and uses up natural resources that can never be replaced.

Oil will run out – let’s save it for where it will be needed the most: aviation fuel, truck fuel (I can’t see 18-wheelers running on batteries), home heating, lubrication, to name a few. Moreover, our supply of oil is at risk: we are highly dependent on the volatile Middle East, America-hating Venezuela, corrupt Nigeria, to name a few. That’s not a great choice. Although we have abundant coal for now, we should conserve our coal so that when needed, it can be converted into oil.

We, as a people, need to show some resolve and work to solve the energy problem in this country before it does serious harm to our economy, the environment, and to us personally (will affect our way of life). It won’t be easy, because powerful vested interests in the status quo (auto industry, oil industry, coal industry) have significant influence on our politicians. We must let our representatives know that if they don’t act now, they will be out of a job. Votes can speak louder than money. We the people have to get our politicians motivated.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Energy Policy: Part IV

So far nobody has suggested a workable plan that I’m aware of. Let me give you a plan in one word: nuclear. I know that word strikes fear in the hearts of many, but safe and well-run nuclear plants may be the only long-term solution. I’m not going to go into the details of justifying nuclear plants, except to point out a few facts:

Most of France’s electric power comes from nukes (I think around 78%), and they have done well, with no incidents.

We have 102 nuclear plants in operation in the US, and except for a relatively minor (but overblown by the media) incident at Three Mile Island many years ago, they have run for years without a problem.

How would this new world of abundant nuclear power work?

First of all, we today believe science and technology can solve any problem. Science has become our god in many ways. Yet when it comes to nuclear power, this avid faith in science dissipates. Yet I believe science and technology (as well as enlightened government policies) can resolve the issues of nuclear waste disposal and safety. All we lack is the resolve to make it happen. By focusing on the objective, we built the atom bomb and we put a man on the moon. Can’t we have the same focused effort today?

One way to make nukes safe is to have only one or two standard designs for plants (as I believe the French do), have very good industry-wide government-approved procedures, intensive and frequent training, and constant monitoring and auditing by regulatory officials. These plants would also be built in less populated and safe areas (no earthquake faults). These are doable, and are prudent policies for the safety of the population. If the French can do it, so can we.

As more nukes come on line, older coal-burning plants could be retired or kept in reserve for peak demand times such as the hot summer months. Moreover, wind and solar could be more extensively used, which can start immediately. The results of this policy will eventually be abundant electric energy, much less air pollution, and slower depletion of non-renewable natural resources. As the same time, the electrical grid must be updated and modernized to handle the predicted load.

As electricity becomes more abundant, all-electric and hybrid vehicles should become the norm, with traditionally-powered cars being phased out. These new cars would recharge at night using off-peak electricity, and could continue to recharge while driving using their brakes (as hybrids now do) and solar panels. Most trips are short, such as commuting or shopping, so most travel would be well within the range of these vehicles. For long trips, batteries could be traded in and replaced on the road with freshly charged ones. In hybrids, the gasoline engine would be available as needed. More on energy policy in a future posting. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


People without faith in God marvel at those who do, believing they themselves have no faith. Yet everybody has faith of some kind. For example, some people have a strong faith in science, that it has all the correct answers. We all put our faith on the line when we go out of the house or get on an airplane, believing that we will arrive safely at our destination despite the risks involved.

I used to work with a guy who had a Ph.D. in chemistry. One time when we were having lunch together, he expressed astonishment about my faith in God. He just couldn’t imagine faith in God who is unseen, unproven scientifically, and somewhat unknowable to the finite human mind.

I asked him, “Do you believe in evolution?” He said he did.

I continued, “You buy into evolution even though the fossil record is incomplete and inconclusive?” Again he replied in the affirmative.

I asked him, “You believe despite no transitional species having been found?” Again, he said “yes.”

I said to him, “Then you have faith that is stronger than mine. You believe firmly in an unproven theory with sketchy evidence that even goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I look at creation and I see the work of a Master Designer, of marvelous engineering and design, of order not chaos. I call that Designer God.”

He had no reply.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Energy Policy Ideas: Part III

Use of energy is a stewardship and accountability issue, in my opinion. For those reasons, I believe it is immoral and unethical for our government not to have developed a reasonable and comprehensive energy policy by now for the well-being of the American population. Because I believe it is a stewardship issue, I’m addressing it in this blog.

We had wake-up calls in the 1970s with the oil crises of that era, and we did nothing. We have had massive black-outs that show how antiquated and inadequate our electricity delivery system is, and we have done nothing. We have severe problems in the Middle East, and we have done nothing. Most of our oil suppliers hate us, and we have done nothing.

What will it take? Once things get to a crisis point, government will finally act, but by then it will be too little, too late, and much too expensive. We need to put pressure on our elected officials to finally to do their job. To put the American people at such risk is, to me, dereliction of duty. Yet very few candidates for president even talk about energy policy, let alone have some good ideas concerning it. Politicians have to do more than talk and give vague ideas.

Unfortunately, the American people won’t be happy with any policy enacted, even if it is for our own good. Energy policy will have to be rammed down our throats because we, as a people, don’t particularly want to make sacrifices for the common good. For example, we continue to drive large SUVs and pickup trucks that cost a lot to buy, cost a lot to insure, and cost a lot to fuel up. Yet we don’t want to give up our beloved large vehicles. We don’t buy energy-saving light bulbs, Energy Star appliances, and don’t want to adjust our thermostats to more economical settings. We don’t want wind farms because they spoil our view, we don’t want coal-fired electrical plants because they pollute the air, and we don’t want nuclear plants because they might release radiation.

Just how are we to maintain our standard of living while conserving our non-renewable resources? The tree-huggers say we need to conserve, and that is certainly true. However, conservation will not solve our problem by a long shot. We have a serious dilemma, and it will take determination and a strong national will to resolve. God gave us this earth and its resources to use wisely. It’s time we start doing so.

See a future posting for some of my ideas.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Energy Policy Ideas: Part II

There are a number of reasons why this country should have a good energy policy in place.

First, we are dependent of foreign oil. This is a very risky position for us to be in, especially when you consider who our main sources of supply are.

Second, because we import so much oil, every month that US has a large unfavorable balance of trade. This is not healthy for the economy.

Third, we are consuming nonrenewable sources of energy. We are leaving a terrible legacy to our children and grandchildren, who will have to deal with petroleum shortages much earlier than they should. This is not good stewardship.

Fourth, by continuing to burn large amounts of fossil fuel to power motor vehicles, fly airplanes, and generate electricity, we are polluting the atmosphere. It is not healthy for us to breathe in such dirty air.

Fifth, the sheer volume of carbon we are putting in the atmosphere may be changing the climate. People differ in their opinions regarding how much human activity is affecting the climate, but logic tells me that it must be having some affect. Human activity may be speeding up an ongoing natural process.

I will discuss some specifics regarding energy policy in future postings.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Energy Policy Ideas: Part I

Regarding energy policy (or the lack thereof), there are two concepts that are involved in our use and misuse of the earth’s God-given resources.

The first concept is accountability. We are accountable for how we use what has been entrusted to us. Our politicians should be held accountable because they are supposed to represent our best interests in various law-making bodies. They have let us down when it comes to energy policy, and we as a country will pay a steep price. We will suffer because we didn’t hold them accountable and they didn’t have the foresight to see that freight train bearing down on this country.

The second concept is stewardship. Stewardship is caring for something entrusted to you that belongs to someone else. We have been entrusted with the care of the earth (or the environment) by God, to whom it really belongs according to Psalm 24:1 (NRSV): The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it… We can also say that we are stewards of the earth for future generations. What we squander now can’t be recovered by future generations.

Because I believe this is a moral and ethical issue as well as a survival issue, I want to talk about energy policy. I will go into more detail in future postings.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Korean Hostages

Twenty-three South Korean Christians went on a short-term mission trip to help in Afghanistan. Unfortunately there are those who are especially evil and don’t recognize the neutrality of people coming into the country to help. Instead, they use them as pawns to achieve certain ends. We see this in other countries as well, such as Latin America, where indigenous insurgents capture missionaries and businessmen for ransom, and occasionally kill them. Sadly, two of the Koreans have been killed so far by the Taliban.

We shouldn’t be surprised at such evil, but we still are when these things occur. We live in a fallen world (Genesis 3), but we also have to realize the power of prayer. We should remember what it says in 1 John 4:4 (NRSV): The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Through prayer let us tap into that power, and pray that these Korean Christians will be freed unharmed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I was pleased to hear that the UN finally is sending over 20,000 troops to Darfur. Of course much damage has already been done in that unfortunate region, so in a way this may be too little too late. Moreover, if there are limitations put on these troops, they will be rendered ineffective. If you’ve seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, you could see how impotent the UN forces can be (I recommend the movie, despite the violence).

Please pray that the killing and attacking in Darfur stops, humanitarian aid can freely flow into the region, and peace without oppression is established. Pray that the UN forces will be effective in preventing any more misery.