Friday, February 29, 2008

Learning the Science and Art of Medicine

Please realise that the study of clinical medicine is unlike any other schooling you have gone through before.

Here you are called on; you are asked a question; you answer it.

Why don't I just give you a lecture? Because through the questions, you learn to teach yourselves. By this method of questioning-answering, questioning-answering, we seek to develop in you the ability to analyze that vast complex of facts that constitutes the relationships between health and illnesses.

Now, you may think, at times, that you have reached a correct and final answer. You are assured that this is a delusion on your part, there is always another question; there is always a question to follow your answer. Yes, you are on a treadmill.

The questions spin the tumblers of your brain. You are on an operating table; the questions are fingers probing your mind, urging you to think clearly and rationally. We do brain surgery here. You teach yourselves the scientific facts of medicine and we train your minds to think like a doctor.

The Facts of Medicine is the SCIENCE of medicine, How to think like a competent doctor is the ART of medicine. You need both.

HT: Punna


picture credit

Learning the Science and Art of Medicine

Please realise that the study of clinical medicine is unlike any other schooling you have gone through before.

Here you are called on; you are asked a question; you answer it.

Why don't I just give you a lecture? Because through the questions, you learn to teach yourselves. By this method of questioning-answering, questioning-answering, we seek to develop in you the ability to analyze that vast complex of facts that constitutes the relationships between health and illnesses.

Now, you may think, at times, that you have reached a correct and final answer. You are assured that this is a delusion on your part, there is always another question; there is always a question to follow your answer. Yes, you are on a treadmill.

The questions spin the tumblers of your brain. You are on an operating table; the questions are fingers probing your mind, urging you to think clearly and rationally. We do brain surgery here. You teach yourselves the scientific facts of medicine and we train your minds to think like a doctor.

The Facts of Medicine is the SCIENCE of medicine, How to think like a competent doctor is the ART of medicine. You need both.

HT: Punna


picture credit

Community Spiritual Formation

James C. Wilhoit (2008), Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christlikeness through Community, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic

Spiritual formation has become a catchphrase in churches and is gathering as much attention as churches that are ‘emerging.’ Unfortunately, different people understands spiritual formation differently. To some, it is the practice of spiritual disciplines, to others the introduction of ancient spiritual practices, while in yet other churches, it is adding candles to the church service. James C. Wilhoit is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College. He explains that “Christian spiritual formation refers to the intentional communal process of growing in our relationship with God and becoming conformed to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit” (2008, 23). The key words of note are Christian, intentional, communal, process, Christ-likeness, and the Holy Spirit.

Wilhoit proposes a ‘curriculum for Christlikeness’ which have the following dimensions (1) receiving, (2) remembering, (3) responding, and (4) relating. Each dimension has a few ‘community practices’ to achieve it. This curriculum is for community spiritual formation. Receiving is to be open to the grace of God and involve ‘worship, confession, sacraments, and prayer’ as community practices. Remembering means ‘tranformational teaching’ leading to knowing that we are part of God’s community. The community practices are ‘teaching, preaching, evangelism, meditation, spiritual guidance, and small groups’. Responding is in service and involves ‘discernment, honouring relational commitment, setting aside prejudices, ministries of compassion.’ Relating is living in a faith community and involves ‘hospitality, handling conflict well, honouring relationships, Sabbath observance, (and) attending to pace of life.’ The community practices are similar to that of the Christian practices as suggested by Dysktra, Dorothy Bass and Diana Bass (Bass 1997; Bass 2004; Dykstra 2005).

Wilhoit recognises that we are all being spiritually formed all the time and that formation through the work of the Holy Spirit occurs before conversion (2008, 27). He builds upon and interacts with Dallas Willard’s work on spiritual formation (1988;1998; 2002). However he did not interact with Willard’s psychosocial transformation of the soul as spiritual formation (2002,38-39). Instead, he uses the concept of the ‘imitation of Christ’ as the means and ends of spiritual formation (Meye 1994). Also, he did not expand on how different this is from discipleship.

Growing in Christlikeness through community implied that community is the context in which spiritual formation takes place. However, aside from naming the community practices, Wilhoit did not explain how the community become the means of spiritual growth. Are the community practices the only means of spiritual formation? Are there any weightage to the community practices? Are any practices more important than others? Who is to practise these community practices? Does it involve only the pastors, leaders or everyone? It must be recognised that it is unrealistic to expect all the members of the church to practice all the community practices. Community practices are also spiritual disciplines practiced by individuals (Foster 1989; Whitney 1991; Tan and Gregg 1997). Whitney has shared on some ways how some of these disciplines can be used for both individual and the church (1996). However both Wilhoit and Whitney has not indicated whether there is a critical level of participation of members of a community before that community becomes a context for spiritual formation. What is this critical level?

The weakness of this model based on community practices is the danger of legalism. The Pharisees in the bible epitome legalism in spiritual practices. Though theologian Roy Zuck has written in length on the role of the Holy Spirit and educator Parker Palmer of the importance of the teacher, the danger is real as the community practices become the end rather than the means (Zuck 1984; Palmer 1998). It may become another ‘church activity.’ It will have been useful if Wilhoit has explained how his community spiritual formation model can be sustained.

Baptist Jeff Woods concludes from his meta-analysis of recent congregational studies done in the United States that there are five factors of influence in a congregation that is spiritually vital. They are (1) a willingness to change, (2) right theological thinking, (3) appropriate organisational metaphors, (4) clarity of purpose, and (4) missional leadership (2003). Wilhoit in his survey of the bible discovered that there are three families of images or metaphor for spiritual formation; nurture, journey and resurrection (2008, 24-25). These organisational metaphors are appropriate as church does matter in spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is not about a lone wanderer but a people journeying together.

Soli Deo Gloria


Bibliography

Bass, D. B. (2004). The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Church. Herdon, V.I., The Alban Institute.
Bass, D. C., Ed. (1997). Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People. The Practices of Faith Series. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Dykstra, C. (2005). Growing in the Life of Faith: Education and Christian Practices. Louisville, KN, Westminster John Knox Press.
Foster, R. (1989). Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth. London, Hodder & Stoughton.
Meye, R. P. (1994). The Imitation of Christ: Means and End of Spiritual Formation. The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation. J. C. W. Kenneth O. Gangel. Grand Rapids. MI, Baker Books.
Palmer, P. J. (1998). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Tan, S.-Y. and D. H. Gregg (1997). Disciplines of the Holy Spirit: How to Connect to the Spirit's Power and Presence. Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan Publishing House.
Whitney, D. S. (1991). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs, CO., NavPress.
_____,(1996). Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ. Chicago, Moody Press.
Wilhoit, J. C. (2008). Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community. Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic.
Willard, D. (1988). The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. New York, HarperCollins Publisher.
_____,(1998). The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. New York, HarperCollins Publishers.
_____,(2002). Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO., NavPress.
Woods, J. (2003). "New Tasks for Congregation: Reflections on Congregational Studies." Resources for American Christianity Retrieved 12/1/07, from http://www.resourcingchristianity.org.
Zuck, R. B. (1984). The Holy Spirit in Your Teachings: The relationship That Makes All the Difference. Wheaton, Victor Books.

more here

.

Community Spiritual Formation

James C. Wilhoit (2008), Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christlikeness through Community, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic

Spiritual formation has become a catchphrase in churches and is gathering as much attention as churches that are ‘emerging.’ Unfortunately, different people understands spiritual formation differently. To some, it is the practice of spiritual disciplines, to others the introduction of ancient spiritual practices, while in yet other churches, it is adding candles to the church service. James C. Wilhoit is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College. He explains that “Christian spiritual formation refers to the intentional communal process of growing in our relationship with God and becoming conformed to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit” (2008, 23). The key words of note are Christian, intentional, communal, process, Christ-likeness, and the Holy Spirit.

Wilhoit proposes a ‘curriculum for Christlikeness’ which have the following dimensions (1) receiving, (2) remembering, (3) responding, and (4) relating. Each dimension has a few ‘community practices’ to achieve it. This curriculum is for community spiritual formation. Receiving is to be open to the grace of God and involve ‘worship, confession, sacraments, and prayer’ as community practices. Remembering means ‘tranformational teaching’ leading to knowing that we are part of God’s community. The community practices are ‘teaching, preaching, evangelism, meditation, spiritual guidance, and small groups’. Responding is in service and involves ‘discernment, honouring relational commitment, setting aside prejudices, ministries of compassion.’ Relating is living in a faith community and involves ‘hospitality, handling conflict well, honouring relationships, Sabbath observance, (and) attending to pace of life.’ The community practices are similar to that of the Christian practices as suggested by Dysktra, Dorothy Bass and Diana Bass (Bass 1997; Bass 2004; Dykstra 2005).

Wilhoit recognises that we are all being spiritually formed all the time and that formation through the work of the Holy Spirit occurs before conversion (2008, 27). He builds upon and interacts with Dallas Willard’s work on spiritual formation (1988;1998; 2002). However he did not interact with Willard’s psychosocial transformation of the soul as spiritual formation (2002,38-39). Instead, he uses the concept of the ‘imitation of Christ’ as the means and ends of spiritual formation (Meye 1994). Also, he did not expand on how different this is from discipleship.

Growing in Christlikeness through community implied that community is the context in which spiritual formation takes place. However, aside from naming the community practices, Wilhoit did not explain how the community become the means of spiritual growth. Are the community practices the only means of spiritual formation? Are there any weightage to the community practices? Are any practices more important than others? Who is to practise these community practices? Does it involve only the pastors, leaders or everyone? It must be recognised that it is unrealistic to expect all the members of the church to practice all the community practices. Community practices are also spiritual disciplines practiced by individuals (Foster 1989; Whitney 1991; Tan and Gregg 1997). Whitney has shared on some ways how some of these disciplines can be used for both individual and the church (1996). However both Wilhoit and Whitney has not indicated whether there is a critical level of participation of members of a community before that community becomes a context for spiritual formation. What is this critical level?

The weakness of this model based on community practices is the danger of legalism. The Pharisees in the bible epitome legalism in spiritual practices. Though theologian Roy Zuck has written in length on the role of the Holy Spirit and educator Parker Palmer of the importance of the teacher, the danger is real as the community practices become the end rather than the means (Zuck 1984; Palmer 1998). It may become another ‘church activity.’ It will have been useful if Wilhoit has explained how his community spiritual formation model can be sustained.

Baptist Jeff Woods concludes from his meta-analysis of recent congregational studies done in the United States that there are five factors of influence in a congregation that is spiritually vital. They are (1) a willingness to change, (2) right theological thinking, (3) appropriate organisational metaphors, (4) clarity of purpose, and (4) missional leadership (2003). Wilhoit in his survey of the bible discovered that there are three families of images or metaphor for spiritual formation; nurture, journey and resurrection (2008, 24-25). These organisational metaphors are appropriate as church does matter in spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is not about a lone wanderer but a people journeying together.

Soli Deo Gloria


Bibliography

Bass, D. B. (2004). The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Church. Herdon, V.I., The Alban Institute.
Bass, D. C., Ed. (1997). Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People. The Practices of Faith Series. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Dykstra, C. (2005). Growing in the Life of Faith: Education and Christian Practices. Louisville, KN, Westminster John Knox Press.
Foster, R. (1989). Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth. London, Hodder & Stoughton.
Meye, R. P. (1994). The Imitation of Christ: Means and End of Spiritual Formation. The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation. J. C. W. Kenneth O. Gangel. Grand Rapids. MI, Baker Books.
Palmer, P. J. (1998). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Tan, S.-Y. and D. H. Gregg (1997). Disciplines of the Holy Spirit: How to Connect to the Spirit's Power and Presence. Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan Publishing House.
Whitney, D. S. (1991). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs, CO., NavPress.
_____,(1996). Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ. Chicago, Moody Press.
Wilhoit, J. C. (2008). Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community. Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic.
Willard, D. (1988). The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. New York, HarperCollins Publisher.
_____,(1998). The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. New York, HarperCollins Publishers.
_____,(2002). Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO., NavPress.
Woods, J. (2003). "New Tasks for Congregation: Reflections on Congregational Studies." Resources for American Christianity Retrieved 12/1/07, from http://www.resourcingchristianity.org.
Zuck, R. B. (1984). The Holy Spirit in Your Teachings: The relationship That Makes All the Difference. Wheaton, Victor Books.

more here

.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Questions about Child Development






Questions about Child Development






Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life

Henri Nouwen (2007) The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books (originally serialised in Sojourners magazine 1981)

Henri Nouwen, in this simple little book points that the way to spiritual growth is not in doing great things but in letting go of great things. All our lives, we have all been upward mobile-better jobs, better houses, better education, better social contacts and bigger incomes. Nouwen suggest that the path to spiritual growth is the path used by Jesus- the path of downward mobility.

Nouwen writes that the path of upward mobility is filled with three temptations (as exemplified by the temptations of Jesus). These are the temptation to be relevant, be spectacular, and be powerful.
Downward mobility involves the self-emptying of the heart through the disciplines of the church, the word and the heart. Nouwen himself has walked the path, moving from the glamour and power of Harvard Divinity School to looking after a retarded man in L'Arche.


This is a book for reading, meditating and lectio divina.


.

Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life

Henri Nouwen (2007) The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books (originally serialised in Sojourners magazine 1981)

Henri Nouwen, in this simple little book points that the way to spiritual growth is not in doing great things but in letting go of great things. All our lives, we have all been upward mobile-better jobs, better houses, better education, better social contacts and bigger incomes. Nouwen suggest that the path to spiritual growth is the path used by Jesus- the path of downward mobility.

Nouwen writes that the path of upward mobility is filled with three temptations (as exemplified by the temptations of Jesus). These are the temptation to be relevant, be spectacular, and be powerful.
Downward mobility involves the self-emptying of the heart through the disciplines of the church, the word and the heart. Nouwen himself has walked the path, moving from the glamour and power of Harvard Divinity School to looking after a retarded man in L'Arche.


This is a book for reading, meditating and lectio divina.


.

I Honestly Love You

a wonderful collage of a beautiful lady


I Honestly Love You
Olivia Newton-John
(Peter Allen/Jeff Barry)

Maybe I hang around here
A little more than I should
We both know I got somewhere else to go
But I got something to tell you
That I never thought I would
But I believe you really ought to know

I love you
I honestly love you

You don't have to answer
I see it in your eyes
Maybe it was better left unsaid
This is pure and simple
And you should realize
That it's coming from my heart and not my head

I love you
I honestly love you

I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable
I'm not trying to make you anything at all
But this feeling doesn't come along everyday
And you shouldn't blow the chance
When you've got the chance to say

I love you
I honestly love you

If we both were born
In another place and time
This moment might be ending in a kiss
But there you are with yours
And here I am with mine
So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this

I love you
I honestly love you
I honestly love you

.

I Honestly Love You

a wonderful collage of a beautiful lady


I Honestly Love You
Olivia Newton-John
(Peter Allen/Jeff Barry)

Maybe I hang around here
A little more than I should
We both know I got somewhere else to go
But I got something to tell you
That I never thought I would
But I believe you really ought to know

I love you
I honestly love you

You don't have to answer
I see it in your eyes
Maybe it was better left unsaid
This is pure and simple
And you should realize
That it's coming from my heart and not my head

I love you
I honestly love you

I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable
I'm not trying to make you anything at all
But this feeling doesn't come along everyday
And you shouldn't blow the chance
When you've got the chance to say

I love you
I honestly love you

If we both were born
In another place and time
This moment might be ending in a kiss
But there you are with yours
And here I am with mine
So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this

I love you
I honestly love you
I honestly love you

.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Scot McKnight's Hermeneutics Quiz

The Hermeneutics Quiz

Your biblical blind spots and what you tend not to see.

by Scot McKnight


For some reason of late, I have become fascinated with the portions of the Bible we don't tend to read, passages like the story of Jephthah. Or how God was on the verge of killing Moses for not circumcising his son, and his wife stepped in, did what needed to be done, and tossed the foreskin at Moses' feet, and God let him alone.
I'm curious why one of my friends dismisses the Friday-evening-to-Saturday-evening Sabbath observance as "not for us today" but insists that capital punishment can't be dismissed because it's in the Old Testament.


I have become fascinated with what goes on in our heads and our minds and our traditions (and the latter is far more significant than many of us recognize) in making decisions like this.
What decisions? Which passages not to read as normative. The passages we tend not to read at all.


If we're all subject to selective perception, at least to some degree, it's important to recognize what we tend to miss or gloss over, especially if we're church leaders.
This quiz is designed to surface the decisions we make, perhaps without thinking about them, and about how we both read our Bible and don't read our Bible. Some will want to quibble with distinctions or agree with more than one answer. No test like this can reveal all the nuances needed, but broad answers are enough to raise the key issues. On a scale of 1-5, mark the answer that best fits your approach to reading the Bible. (If you fall between response 1 and response 3, give yourself a 2.) Your score will reveal where you land on our hermeneutical scale.


Take the Hermeneutics Quiz

The scores divide you into conservative, moderate, and progressive.

My score is 61 which makes me a moderate. What's yours?

First, the conservative hermeneutic group scores 52 or lower. The strength of this view is its emphasis on the authority, ongoing and normative authority, of all of Scripture. It tends to operate with the line many of us learned in Sunday school: "If the Bible says it, that settles it." Such persons let the Bible challenge them with full force. Literal readings lead to rather literal applications. Most of the time. The problem, of course, is that very few people are completely consistent here. At times one suspects something other than strict interpretation is going on when the conservative is willing to appeal to history to suspend the commandment to observe a Saturday Sabbath, but does not to appeal to history on other issues (e.g., capital punishment or homosexuality).


The moderate hermeneutic might be seen as the voice of reason and open-mindedness. Moderates generally score between 53 to 65. Many are conservative on some issues and progressive on others. It intrigues that conservatives tend to be progressive on the same issues, while progressives tend to be conservative on the same issues. Nonetheless, moderates have a flexible hermeneutic that gives them the freedom to pick and choose on which issues they will be progressive or conservative. For that reason, moderates are more open to the charge of inconsistency. What impresses me most about moderates are the struggles they endure to render judgments on hermeneutical issues.


The progressive is not always progressive. Those who score 66 or more can be seen as leaning toward the progressive side, but the difference between at 66 and 92 is dramatic. Still, the progressive tends to see the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned, and yet most still consider it the Word of God for today. Following a progressive hermeneutic, for the Word to speak in our day, one must interpret what the Bible said in its day and discern its pattern for revelation in order to apply it to our world. The strength, as with the moderate but even more so, is the challenge to examine what the Bible said in its day, and this means the progressives tend to be historians. But the problems for the progressives are predictable: Will the Bible's so-called "plain meaning" be given its due and authoritative force to challenge our world? Or will the Bible be swallowed by a quest to find modern analogies that sometimes minimize what the text clearly says?

read rest of article here

Scot McKnight's Hermeneutics Quiz

The Hermeneutics Quiz

Your biblical blind spots and what you tend not to see.

by Scot McKnight


For some reason of late, I have become fascinated with the portions of the Bible we don't tend to read, passages like the story of Jephthah. Or how God was on the verge of killing Moses for not circumcising his son, and his wife stepped in, did what needed to be done, and tossed the foreskin at Moses' feet, and God let him alone.
I'm curious why one of my friends dismisses the Friday-evening-to-Saturday-evening Sabbath observance as "not for us today" but insists that capital punishment can't be dismissed because it's in the Old Testament.


I have become fascinated with what goes on in our heads and our minds and our traditions (and the latter is far more significant than many of us recognize) in making decisions like this.
What decisions? Which passages not to read as normative. The passages we tend not to read at all.


If we're all subject to selective perception, at least to some degree, it's important to recognize what we tend to miss or gloss over, especially if we're church leaders.
This quiz is designed to surface the decisions we make, perhaps without thinking about them, and about how we both read our Bible and don't read our Bible. Some will want to quibble with distinctions or agree with more than one answer. No test like this can reveal all the nuances needed, but broad answers are enough to raise the key issues. On a scale of 1-5, mark the answer that best fits your approach to reading the Bible. (If you fall between response 1 and response 3, give yourself a 2.) Your score will reveal where you land on our hermeneutical scale.


Take the Hermeneutics Quiz

The scores divide you into conservative, moderate, and progressive.

My score is 61 which makes me a moderate. What's yours?

First, the conservative hermeneutic group scores 52 or lower. The strength of this view is its emphasis on the authority, ongoing and normative authority, of all of Scripture. It tends to operate with the line many of us learned in Sunday school: "If the Bible says it, that settles it." Such persons let the Bible challenge them with full force. Literal readings lead to rather literal applications. Most of the time. The problem, of course, is that very few people are completely consistent here. At times one suspects something other than strict interpretation is going on when the conservative is willing to appeal to history to suspend the commandment to observe a Saturday Sabbath, but does not to appeal to history on other issues (e.g., capital punishment or homosexuality).


The moderate hermeneutic might be seen as the voice of reason and open-mindedness. Moderates generally score between 53 to 65. Many are conservative on some issues and progressive on others. It intrigues that conservatives tend to be progressive on the same issues, while progressives tend to be conservative on the same issues. Nonetheless, moderates have a flexible hermeneutic that gives them the freedom to pick and choose on which issues they will be progressive or conservative. For that reason, moderates are more open to the charge of inconsistency. What impresses me most about moderates are the struggles they endure to render judgments on hermeneutical issues.


The progressive is not always progressive. Those who score 66 or more can be seen as leaning toward the progressive side, but the difference between at 66 and 92 is dramatic. Still, the progressive tends to see the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned, and yet most still consider it the Word of God for today. Following a progressive hermeneutic, for the Word to speak in our day, one must interpret what the Bible said in its day and discern its pattern for revelation in order to apply it to our world. The strength, as with the moderate but even more so, is the challenge to examine what the Bible said in its day, and this means the progressives tend to be historians. But the problems for the progressives are predictable: Will the Bible's so-called "plain meaning" be given its due and authoritative force to challenge our world? Or will the Bible be swallowed by a quest to find modern analogies that sometimes minimize what the text clearly says?

read rest of article here

Chickenpox


Chickenpox


Monday, February 25, 2008

Unless...


Unless the eye catch fire
The God will not be seen.

Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.

Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.

Unless the heart catch fire
The God will not be loved.

Unless the mind catch fire
The God will not be known.


(Anon)

Unless...


Unless the eye catch fire
The God will not be seen.

Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.

Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.

Unless the heart catch fire
The God will not be loved.

Unless the mind catch fire
The God will not be known.


(Anon)

Cliff Richards Sings

Cliff Richards Sings

You're so vain


You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


You had me several years ago
When I was still quite naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?



You're so vain


You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


You had me several years ago
When I was still quite naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?


Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and


You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey Dude, What Happening to My Blog Post?

Picked up this interesting post from Bill Reichart of The Provocative Church blog.

Wired magazine: issue 16.02

The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You
By Frank Rose 01.22.07 3:00 PM

You have a blog. You compose a new post. You click Publish and lean back to admire your work. Imperceptibly and all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you've written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested, from fellow bloggers to corporate marketers. Let's say it's Super Bowl Sunday and you're blogging about beer. You see Budweiser's blockbuster commercial and have a reaction you'd like to share. Thanks to search engines and aggregators that compile lists of interesting posts, you can reach a lot of people — and Budweiser, its competitors, beer lovers, ad critics, and your ex-boyfriend can listen in. "You just need to know how to type," says Matthew Hurst, an artificial intelligence researcher who studies this ecosystem at Microsoft Live Labs. Here's how the whole process goes down during the big game.

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Hey Dude, What Happening to My Blog Post?

Picked up this interesting post from Bill Reichart of The Provocative Church blog.

Wired magazine: issue 16.02

The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You
By Frank Rose 01.22.07 3:00 PM

You have a blog. You compose a new post. You click Publish and lean back to admire your work. Imperceptibly and all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you've written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested, from fellow bloggers to corporate marketers. Let's say it's Super Bowl Sunday and you're blogging about beer. You see Budweiser's blockbuster commercial and have a reaction you'd like to share. Thanks to search engines and aggregators that compile lists of interesting posts, you can reach a lot of people — and Budweiser, its competitors, beer lovers, ad critics, and your ex-boyfriend can listen in. "You just need to know how to type," says Matthew Hurst, an artificial intelligence researcher who studies this ecosystem at Microsoft Live Labs. Here's how the whole process goes down during the big game.

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The Christians' Responsibility to Vote

The Christian’s Response to Government

Introduction

On February 22, 1986, Saturday evening in Manila, Philippines, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Armed Forces Chief Lieutenant General Fidel Ramos announced over the radio that they were quitting the Marcos government saying that Marcos did not win the February 7 election fairly. They holed up in Camp Aguinaldo (later transferring to Camp Crame across the road), with only a few hundred soldiers to defend them. Over the Roman Catholic Radio Veritas the call was issued for a large number of civilians to surround the military camps to serve as a buffer between the rebels and the Marcos forces that were sure to come.

Many Christians are in a quandary. Would not participation in a barricade be equivalent to armed rebellion against the Marcos government? Is it not better to simply pray in our homes and in our churches? As it turned out, many Christians elected to pray as the main and only response.

There are Christians who did not hesitate to join the barricades. They have no intention of toppling the Marcos government by force of arms. Their reason for joining the barricades was simple and straight-forward: by providing a civilian buffer between the Enrile/Ramos forces and the Marcos soldiers, a shooting war would be prevented from breaking out and a peaceful resolution of the conflict could hopefully be worked out. The Christians know that their lives were in danger should the Marcos forces decide to attack. Their faith were in God.

read complete sermon here

The Christians' Responsibility to Vote

The Christian’s Response to Government

Introduction

On February 22, 1986, Saturday evening in Manila, Philippines, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Armed Forces Chief Lieutenant General Fidel Ramos announced over the radio that they were quitting the Marcos government saying that Marcos did not win the February 7 election fairly. They holed up in Camp Aguinaldo (later transferring to Camp Crame across the road), with only a few hundred soldiers to defend them. Over the Roman Catholic Radio Veritas the call was issued for a large number of civilians to surround the military camps to serve as a buffer between the rebels and the Marcos forces that were sure to come.

Many Christians are in a quandary. Would not participation in a barricade be equivalent to armed rebellion against the Marcos government? Is it not better to simply pray in our homes and in our churches? As it turned out, many Christians elected to pray as the main and only response.

There are Christians who did not hesitate to join the barricades. They have no intention of toppling the Marcos government by force of arms. Their reason for joining the barricades was simple and straight-forward: by providing a civilian buffer between the Enrile/Ramos forces and the Marcos soldiers, a shooting war would be prevented from breaking out and a peaceful resolution of the conflict could hopefully be worked out. The Christians know that their lives were in danger should the Marcos forces decide to attack. Their faith were in God.

read complete sermon here

The Knights of Islam

James Waterson (2007) The Knights of Islam: The Wars of the Mamluks, London: Greenhill Books.

Many of us are aware of the formidable legendary armies of the Greeks, Romans, Mongols, and Persian. Few of us will have heard of the Mamluks, the legendary armies of Islam of slave soldiers. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered a book on them at my local MPH bookstore.

The Mamluks were the greatest military force during the Islamic era of the Middle Ages. These soldiers were trained from boyhood when they are either purchased or kidnapped from the steppes of present day Turkey. From this tender age, they were brought up in a military lifestyle that rivals that of the Spartans. To ensure their loyalty to their sultans, they were isolated from the rest of society; living in their own cities and military camps. They developed their own caste system and had a military code that rivals that of Western chivalry and the Japanese Bushido.

They were the first army to defeat the Mongols and effectively contained and destroyed the armies of the Crusaders and the Ottomans. At the height of its influence, the Mamluks established a powerful Mamluk sultanate under Baybars.

Interesting reading.

The Knights of Islam

James Waterson (2007) The Knights of Islam: The Wars of the Mamluks, London: Greenhill Books.

Many of us are aware of the formidable legendary armies of the Greeks, Romans, Mongols, and Persian. Few of us will have heard of the Mamluks, the legendary armies of Islam of slave soldiers. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered a book on them at my local MPH bookstore.

The Mamluks were the greatest military force during the Islamic era of the Middle Ages. These soldiers were trained from boyhood when they are either purchased or kidnapped from the steppes of present day Turkey. From this tender age, they were brought up in a military lifestyle that rivals that of the Spartans. To ensure their loyalty to their sultans, they were isolated from the rest of society; living in their own cities and military camps. They developed their own caste system and had a military code that rivals that of Western chivalry and the Japanese Bushido.

They were the first army to defeat the Mongols and effectively contained and destroyed the armies of the Crusaders and the Ottomans. At the height of its influence, the Mamluks established a powerful Mamluk sultanate under Baybars.

Interesting reading.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Conversation With Eugene Peterson 2007

An interesting conversation with Eugene Peterson.

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Conversation With Eugene Peterson 2007

An interesting conversation with Eugene Peterson.

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How To Look Death in the Face



Dr Raudy Pausch a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University has incurable pancreatic cancer. This is his 'farewell lecture' to 400 of his students at Mc Conomy Auditorium.

What do you say when you know that you are dying? What you say when you are dying reflects on what you believe and act upon when you are living.


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How To Look Death in the Face



Dr Raudy Pausch a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University has incurable pancreatic cancer. This is his 'farewell lecture' to 400 of his students at Mc Conomy Auditorium.

What do you say when you know that you are dying? What you say when you are dying reflects on what you believe and act upon when you are living.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Reunion with Dr Brian Hill



Some former participants of the Master of Theology (MTh) programs of the Asian Graduate School of Theology (AGST) met up with their Professor in a recent reunion dinner in a Japanese restaurant in Singapore. Professor Brian Hill is a retired Professor of Education in Murdock University, Perth, Australia. There is a certain amount of communion and fellowship amongst students and their professors that cannot be described but can only be experienced. This is akin to the bond between apprentices and their master craftsman.


Of course, the sashimi dish helps too.



More details about the AGST programs here

Reunion with Dr Brian Hill



Some former participants of the Master of Theology (MTh) programs of the Asian Graduate School of Theology (AGST) met up with their Professor in a recent reunion dinner in a Japanese restaurant in Singapore. Professor Brian Hill is a retired Professor of Education in Murdock University, Perth, Australia. There is a certain amount of communion and fellowship amongst students and their professors that cannot be described but can only be experienced. This is akin to the bond between apprentices and their master craftsman.


Of course, the sashimi dish helps too.



More details about the AGST programs here

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is Our Gospel Too Small?


I love this cover, don't you?

Is Our Gospel Too Small?


I love this cover, don't you?

Soulcraft: Spiritual Formation


Eugene Peterson is the retired Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. This is a series of videos of his lecture series on Soulcraft: Spiritual Formation.

I am enjoying the DVDs. It is so nice to attend lectures from the comforts of my own home. You can pause, replay and rewatch. Not to mention popcorns. Excellent series of lectures. I believe watching a lecture beats listening to one because without the visual cues and nuances, we often miss important points.

Disc 1: God & Predestination
Disc 2: God & Predestination (cont)
Disc 3: Paul & Soulcraft
Disc 4: Grace & Great Love
Disc 5: Cross & Cornerstone: Mystery & Glory
Disc 6: Saints & Church
Disc 7: Gifts & Growth
Disc 8: Gifts & Growth (cont)
Disc 9: Truth & Forgiveness: Love & Worship
Disc 10: Family & Society: Prayer & the Devil

Great stuff. This and other lecture series can be ordered at Regent Bookstore online.

.

Soulcraft: Spiritual Formation


Eugene Peterson is the retired Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. This is a series of videos of his lecture series on Soulcraft: Spiritual Formation.

I am enjoying the DVDs. It is so nice to attend lectures from the comforts of my own home. You can pause, replay and rewatch. Not to mention popcorns. Excellent series of lectures. I believe watching a lecture beats listening to one because without the visual cues and nuances, we often miss important points.

Disc 1: God & Predestination
Disc 2: God & Predestination (cont)
Disc 3: Paul & Soulcraft
Disc 4: Grace & Great Love
Disc 5: Cross & Cornerstone: Mystery & Glory
Disc 6: Saints & Church
Disc 7: Gifts & Growth
Disc 8: Gifts & Growth (cont)
Disc 9: Truth & Forgiveness: Love & Worship
Disc 10: Family & Society: Prayer & the Devil

Great stuff. This and other lecture series can be ordered at Regent Bookstore online.

.

Be a Clown, Be a Clown, Be a Clown


For those who are interested to be a clown for God, the Holy Light Church (Chinese) in Johor Bharu has started a clown, not clowning ministry. I like their motto

We don't do clown, we deliver joy

For more information read here
Send in the clowns
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Be a Clown, Be a Clown, Be a Clown


For those who are interested to be a clown for God, the Holy Light Church (Chinese) in Johor Bharu has started a clown, not clowning ministry. I like their motto

We don't do clown, we deliver joy

For more information read here
Send in the clowns
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The End of HD DVD


Toshiba quits HD DVD business
Decision hands victory in DVD format battle to Sony-backed Blu-ray technology.

TOKYO (AP) -- Toshiba said Tuesday it will no longer develop, make or market HD DVD players and recorders, handing a victory to rival Blu-ray disc technology in the format battle for next-generation video.

"We concluded that a swift decision would be best," Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida told reporters at his company's Tokyo office.

The move would make Blu-ray - backed by Sony Corp (
SNE)., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, and five major Hollywood movie studios - the winner in the battle over high-definition DVD formatting that began several years ago.

read more

Anymore want to trade a second hand HD DVD player and a HD DVD collection?


picture credit

The End of HD DVD


Toshiba quits HD DVD business
Decision hands victory in DVD format battle to Sony-backed Blu-ray technology.

TOKYO (AP) -- Toshiba said Tuesday it will no longer develop, make or market HD DVD players and recorders, handing a victory to rival Blu-ray disc technology in the format battle for next-generation video.

"We concluded that a swift decision would be best," Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida told reporters at his company's Tokyo office.

The move would make Blu-ray - backed by Sony Corp (
SNE)., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, and five major Hollywood movie studios - the winner in the battle over high-definition DVD formatting that began several years ago.

read more

Anymore want to trade a second hand HD DVD player and a HD DVD collection?


picture credit

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your Rights and the Law

Teo Say Eng (2007) Your Rights and the Law, Malaysia: LexisNexis

Teo Say Eng presently holds the post of Judge Advocate General, Ministry of Defence, Malaysia. In this interesting book written in non-legal jargon, Teo sets out to explain to us our rights as citizens of Malaysia. It is horrifying to note the misconceptions many of us non-lawyers have about the law. The book is written in simple language and is easy to read. Some questions answered are


-What must you do when stopped by the police for questioning?

-What are your basic rights when the police arrest you?

-Under what circumstances can a person be detained under the preventive laws?

-Can a husband be charged for marital rape?

-To what extend is corporate punishment allowed in schools?


Worth reading.

Your Rights and the Law

Teo Say Eng (2007) Your Rights and the Law, Malaysia: LexisNexis

Teo Say Eng presently holds the post of Judge Advocate General, Ministry of Defence, Malaysia. In this interesting book written in non-legal jargon, Teo sets out to explain to us our rights as citizens of Malaysia. It is horrifying to note the misconceptions many of us non-lawyers have about the law. The book is written in simple language and is easy to read. Some questions answered are


-What must you do when stopped by the police for questioning?

-What are your basic rights when the police arrest you?

-Under what circumstances can a person be detained under the preventive laws?

-Can a husband be charged for marital rape?

-To what extend is corporate punishment allowed in schools?


Worth reading.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Learning Imaginative Praying

Leadership Journal, Winter 2008

Learning Imaginative Prayer
by Greg Boyd

Prayer is foundational in spiritual transformation. So we interviewed Gregory Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the author of Seeing is Believing: Experiencing Jesus through Imaginative Prayer (Baker, 2004).

How do you introduce imaginative prayer to a church unfamiliar with the practice?

Carefully! Differentiate imaginative prayer from the New Age movement. Imaginative prayer is focused on biblical truth; whereas New Age uses the imagination to go on shamanistic journeys.
This is simply thinking about God in concrete and vivid ways. It's rooted in the biblical tradition.

What are examples from Scripture?

In Psalm 27 David says he wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord in his temple. What kind of gazing is he talking about? A physical scene, or a spiritual scene? Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. This is spiritual seeing. All of this requires the imagination.

I often use 2 Corinthians 3 to introduce imaginative prayer. Paul talks about a veil over the minds of unbelievers, and the veil being removed so we can behold the glory of God. The whole passage is about what goes on in our mind. He identifies what we see in our mind as the key to transformation. As you see the beauty and the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, you take on that glory from one degree to another. We become what we see.

So imagination is key to spiritual formation?

It's the main place where we encounter God. I call it the inner sanctum. When a person is not surrendered to Christ, that inner sanctuary is darkened. There's a veil. But when we turn to Christ, the veil is removed and we have a capacity to see and be transformed by something that we didn't previously have.

How do you guide people into imaginative prayer?

I first encourage people to make a date with Jesus simply to enjoy the beauty of Christ. Intercession is important, but so is resting in Christ. While in a space conducive for prayer, I have them ask the Holy Spirit to help them experience Jesus; to make him become real to them. Then I invite them to imagine Jesus speaking to them what we already know he has said about us. I print Bible verses out, and have people imagine Jesus saying these words to them. The goal is to sense as vividly as possible Jesus communicating these truths. They may already know them, but they may never have experienced them. That is the goal.

What has been the impact in your own church?

Many people tell me it's been life transforming. It makes their faith come alive. They tell me stories of healing. One guy, for example, in prayer saw himself as a little boy sitting on a curb and crying. He remembered it was the day his father left their home. He remembered feeling so abandoned and alone. His relationship with his father was never healthy after that. But in prayer he saw Jesus put his arm around him and say, "Sometimes people in life leave you, but I never will.

I will never leave you or forsake you." I get touched just repeating it.

read more

Learning Imaginative Praying

Leadership Journal, Winter 2008

Learning Imaginative Prayer
by Greg Boyd

Prayer is foundational in spiritual transformation. So we interviewed Gregory Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the author of Seeing is Believing: Experiencing Jesus through Imaginative Prayer (Baker, 2004).

How do you introduce imaginative prayer to a church unfamiliar with the practice?

Carefully! Differentiate imaginative prayer from the New Age movement. Imaginative prayer is focused on biblical truth; whereas New Age uses the imagination to go on shamanistic journeys.
This is simply thinking about God in concrete and vivid ways. It's rooted in the biblical tradition.

What are examples from Scripture?

In Psalm 27 David says he wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord in his temple. What kind of gazing is he talking about? A physical scene, or a spiritual scene? Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. This is spiritual seeing. All of this requires the imagination.

I often use 2 Corinthians 3 to introduce imaginative prayer. Paul talks about a veil over the minds of unbelievers, and the veil being removed so we can behold the glory of God. The whole passage is about what goes on in our mind. He identifies what we see in our mind as the key to transformation. As you see the beauty and the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, you take on that glory from one degree to another. We become what we see.

So imagination is key to spiritual formation?

It's the main place where we encounter God. I call it the inner sanctum. When a person is not surrendered to Christ, that inner sanctuary is darkened. There's a veil. But when we turn to Christ, the veil is removed and we have a capacity to see and be transformed by something that we didn't previously have.

How do you guide people into imaginative prayer?

I first encourage people to make a date with Jesus simply to enjoy the beauty of Christ. Intercession is important, but so is resting in Christ. While in a space conducive for prayer, I have them ask the Holy Spirit to help them experience Jesus; to make him become real to them. Then I invite them to imagine Jesus speaking to them what we already know he has said about us. I print Bible verses out, and have people imagine Jesus saying these words to them. The goal is to sense as vividly as possible Jesus communicating these truths. They may already know them, but they may never have experienced them. That is the goal.

What has been the impact in your own church?

Many people tell me it's been life transforming. It makes their faith come alive. They tell me stories of healing. One guy, for example, in prayer saw himself as a little boy sitting on a curb and crying. He remembered it was the day his father left their home. He remembered feeling so abandoned and alone. His relationship with his father was never healthy after that. But in prayer he saw Jesus put his arm around him and say, "Sometimes people in life leave you, but I never will.

I will never leave you or forsake you." I get touched just repeating it.

read more

Desiderata

Les Crane (1971)

Desiderata

Les Crane (1971)

Fire and Rain




Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Won't you look down upon me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now


James Taylor

Fire and Rain




Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Won't you look down upon me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now


James Taylor

Asian Theology Reloaded

Books & Culture, January/February 2008

Mustard Seed and Leaven
Reflections on Asian theology.
by Nate Jones

A few months ago, I left my home in Wheaton to return to Indonesia, where I was born. Besides a few boxes, my trans-Pacific baggage included a handful of stubborn expectations about the shape and substance of my future work. Above all, I carried with me the conviction that God was calling me to sojourn with him again in a new place.

As the weeks and months passed, Jakarta smeared my Wheaton polish of perceptions, opinions, and convictions. Learning again how to live in my adopted home, I was peculiarly ready to pick up and listen to some of Asian theology's foremost authors. My guides in this new (to me) theological world
began their reflections where I was—at the margins of divergent political and cultural worlds. I read how Kosuke Koyama tried to piece together his own fractured past, torn between Japan, America, and Thailand. Peter Phan taught me about theology among the in-between and "in-beyond" lives of Vietnamese Americans. Michael Amaladoss emphasized to me that Jesus himself was marginalized, articulating a Christology in which Jesus is sketched from Asian cultural reference points. Together, all three authors emphasized the marginality of Asia's poor and religious masses, declaring confidently that a theology that does not mean good news for these people is utterly inadequate to the Asian context.


Writing from this conviction, all three authors were inevitably concerned with the dynamics of power. What political and economic centers relegate Asian peoples to the margins? What theological center relegates Asian theology to the edge of acceptability and perhaps orthodoxy? What kind of power characterizes the Kingdom of God, in which the last become first and a homeless, itinerant patriarch becomes the spiritual father of all God's people? What kind of power works triumphantly through the resurrection of the crucified Christ? ...


In their eagerness to reread the gospel in light of Jesus' kingdom teaching, Asian theologians have forgotten that Jesus is also the Lamb of God, and that the God who brings in the kingdom also reserves to himself judgment for the wicked. In fact, Asian theologians have little to say to the survivors of 20th-century genocides, or the victims of the torture and war crimes perpetrated across the globe. By ignoring or denying a soteriology that has historically been strongly associated with Christianity-as-institution, Asian theologians have shut their ears to the cries of the martyrs.

Asian theology needs to reread both the Scriptures and the global context more carefully, listening for the rumble of God's not-so-distant judgment in Jesus' promises of the kingdom and remembering that the Son's incarnation and crucifixion were conditioned entirely upon sin—sin that the entire canon describes consistently in both personal and corporate terms....


read complete article

What will Asian Christians say?

.

Asian Theology Reloaded

Books & Culture, January/February 2008

Mustard Seed and Leaven
Reflections on Asian theology.
by Nate Jones

A few months ago, I left my home in Wheaton to return to Indonesia, where I was born. Besides a few boxes, my trans-Pacific baggage included a handful of stubborn expectations about the shape and substance of my future work. Above all, I carried with me the conviction that God was calling me to sojourn with him again in a new place.

As the weeks and months passed, Jakarta smeared my Wheaton polish of perceptions, opinions, and convictions. Learning again how to live in my adopted home, I was peculiarly ready to pick up and listen to some of Asian theology's foremost authors. My guides in this new (to me) theological world
began their reflections where I was—at the margins of divergent political and cultural worlds. I read how Kosuke Koyama tried to piece together his own fractured past, torn between Japan, America, and Thailand. Peter Phan taught me about theology among the in-between and "in-beyond" lives of Vietnamese Americans. Michael Amaladoss emphasized to me that Jesus himself was marginalized, articulating a Christology in which Jesus is sketched from Asian cultural reference points. Together, all three authors emphasized the marginality of Asia's poor and religious masses, declaring confidently that a theology that does not mean good news for these people is utterly inadequate to the Asian context.


Writing from this conviction, all three authors were inevitably concerned with the dynamics of power. What political and economic centers relegate Asian peoples to the margins? What theological center relegates Asian theology to the edge of acceptability and perhaps orthodoxy? What kind of power characterizes the Kingdom of God, in which the last become first and a homeless, itinerant patriarch becomes the spiritual father of all God's people? What kind of power works triumphantly through the resurrection of the crucified Christ? ...


In their eagerness to reread the gospel in light of Jesus' kingdom teaching, Asian theologians have forgotten that Jesus is also the Lamb of God, and that the God who brings in the kingdom also reserves to himself judgment for the wicked. In fact, Asian theologians have little to say to the survivors of 20th-century genocides, or the victims of the torture and war crimes perpetrated across the globe. By ignoring or denying a soteriology that has historically been strongly associated with Christianity-as-institution, Asian theologians have shut their ears to the cries of the martyrs.

Asian theology needs to reread both the Scriptures and the global context more carefully, listening for the rumble of God's not-so-distant judgment in Jesus' promises of the kingdom and remembering that the Son's incarnation and crucifixion were conditioned entirely upon sin—sin that the entire canon describes consistently in both personal and corporate terms....


read complete article

What will Asian Christians say?

.