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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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Correcting, Rebuking and Encouraging – and Getting the Rough End of the Pineapple

For the last 10 months I have been a fan of a Christian blog that I personally believe to be one of the best around. It is Heal Your Church Website, run by Dean Peters, a computer engineer and Sunday School teacher (and, apparently, opera singer).

Regularly, with skill, tact and humour, Dean instructs the technical dummies and design bunnies among us how to run a Christian website, or, in his own words:

…to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction on how to design church and para-church websites that are effective, fast-loading, informative, edifying and hopefully a bit of fun….I want you to look at the church sites out there today and ask yourself this question: are we giving God our best, are we influencing the culture, is the message of the Gospel clear, do people want to visit our churches and hear our sermons?...We have hundreds of years of beautiful sacred songs, art and literature as the result of the artistry that was once the Church's. Why can't we have the same for websites?

As the person who launched the original list of Christian blogs, I felt excited when Dean contacted me last year with suggestions for turning it into a new Christian outreach, called blogs4God.

From a tiny start, my list had grown enormously, was taking up too much of my time, and clearly needed skilled management. I was delighted to be able to pass it over to him and his team.

I assumed he would add a few sorting functions, and leave it at that. Instead, working with a growing number of moderators, he has transformed it into a significant Christian ministry, highly user-friendly, with heaps of information and regular commentaries from some of the best Christian writers on the net.

Rules are necessary. I had been allowing onto the list anyone who asked, even if their sites seemed to have no Christian content, or weren’t even blogs. I actually included this guy, because he asked nicely and because he was writing about Christianity, even though it was from an atheist’s perspective. (And also because he was a fellow Aussie.) But as the list grew I knew some guidelines were needed.

So the reason I’m writing this commentary is that Dean has been under attack for his ruling that for the time being he can’t accept to the list an anonymous blogger.

There are always going to be issues on the edge. The key point is how well you sort them out. It seems to me that Dean – a hugely busy guy - is doing just that with great tolerance and patience, and with his customary humour. I reckon these attacks are unfair. Or, to use an Australian idiom, I think that Dean’s been getting the rough end of the pineapple.

I’ll go further. With his exemplary work on Heal Your Church Website and blogs4God I reckon Dean is helping build the Kingdom in a way that few other Christian bloggers can match.

I’ll go further still. When they start canonising the Christian internet saints I reckon Dean will be up there in the pantheon.

Rebuke on, mate.

March 16th, 2003


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