Good Well Behaved Boy
Don't laugh. I actually had a mother who called me up because her son is behaving himself.
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My adventures with God,life and all these stuff.
Labels: Really Random Wacky Musings
Chinese Culture and Religions
There is one underlying cultural link. Chinese Christians might denounce Buddhism and Taoism as pagan and superstitious but not Confucianism. Even in the most Christian of Chinese families – the notable sign of which is the greater egalitarianism between church-going spouses and generally greater freedom for the offsprings – the behavioural patterns are still very much Confucian. There is still a greater sense of filial piety, a greater stress on book learning, familial loyalty, hard work, etc. than in a typical Western counterpart which(Lai 2000,132).
would cultivate greater individuality still, with more physical vigour, personal independence, romantic openness, venturesome traits, etc.
…their (Chinese Christians) Confucian way of reflecting on Christian theology shows their concern that Christians, in the pursuit of ren, be in relationship to establish their character and other people’s character as well as to live in harmony with each other and with God. Confucian values, not to mention Confucian logic and language greatly color their Christian faith. Their Confucian heritage makes them more concerned about personal and social ethics than anything else(2001, 210)
NST Online » Columns
Influencers of Christian spiritual formation in Malaysia (1)
Malaysian Presbyterian Influence on Spiritual Formation
Note: This is written from a Malaysian Presbyterian point of view and does not represent the official position of the Presbyterian churches of Malaysia.
Denominations is an important context in which to understand spiritual formation in Malaysia. Presbyterianism first came to Malaya when the Dutch captured the trading town of Malacca in 1641. The second wave came with the British colonisation of the Straits Settlement of Singapore, Malacca and Penang. These were Scottish and English Presbyterians who were traders, soldiers and missionaries from mission organisations. One such organisation was the London Missionary Society (Helms), now known as the Council for World Mission (CWM). The third wave came in 1950s, when China closed its door to foreign missionaries and they relocated to Malaya and Singapore. An English Speaking Presbytery (ESP) was formed in 1990. The first two waves are mainly English speaking while the third wave was mainly Chinese speaking. Together with this third wave came missionaries from the Inland China Mission, now called Overseas Chinese Mission (Bloomfield) which “served as the bridge between the two streams.”(Roxborogh 2001, 673). The New Zealand Presbyterians have worked closely with the China Inland Mission (Roxborogh 2001, 672). Therefore Presbyterianism in Malaysia was influenced by the Dutch, Scottish, English and New Zealanders but not the Americans Presbyterians.
The influence of Carl McIntyre and John Song caused a church split and the Bible Presbyterian Church was formed. (Roxborough 2001, 672). In Malaysia, Presbyterianism is divided into the Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Church.
The Presbyterian mission was strongly involved in education, itinerant evangelism and medical care. (Roxborough 2001, 672). However, its involvement with education is not so extensive as compared to the Methodists, Anglicans, and the Roman Catholic Church. The significance of this Christian involvement in education by building Christian schools is that “in 1950, they educated nearly half the students in the English medium schools in West Malaysia and produced nearly two-thirds of all secondary education in any medium” (Sunquist 2001, 189). The influence of Christian schools decreased after Malaysia became independent in 1957 and the newly appointed government ‘nationalised’ all Christian schools. The Presbyterian Church is still involved in higher education, especially theological education, for example, in Trinity Theological College (TTC) in Singapore. What this strategy produced are churches in Malaysia that values Western education and are English speaking.
Initially the English speaking congregations was to cater for the expatriates. Then as the number of English speaking converts increased, the church demography began to change. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Kuala Lumpur still has a large expatriate membership. Holy Light Church (English) is the largest English speaking Presbyterian Church in Malaysia. Its history dates back 125 years to J.A.B. Cook. Cook was called by the Presbyterian Church of England in 1882 to Singapore to lead the Chinese Presbyterian Church after the death of its founder, Benjamin Keasberry (Sng 1993, 104-107). After reforming the church in Singapore, Cook planted a few Chinese speaking churches in Malaya. In Johor Bahru, he was able to get grants of land from the Sultan of Johore through Keasberry’s son-in-law, James Meldrum (Hunt 2001, 215). It is on one such plot of land that Cook started the Holy Light Church (Chinese). In a series of events which will be repeated all over the country, the Chinese speaking congregation started an English speaking service which grew and in time developed into an English speaking church. In this case, Holy Light Church (English) was started and today both the churches occupy the same premises.
The tensions between the English speaking and Chinese speaking Presbyterian churches are an influencer in the Malaysian Presbyterian ethos. This sibling rivalry disrupts the harmony in church relationships and provides a bad model of inter-community relationships. The more hierarchical Chinese speaking churches regard their younger English speaking brethrens as disrespectful. Basically it is a conflict of worldviews. Church historian John Roxborogh explains, “The English speaking have already made a break from their home culture and at the same time are in contact with a wider range of Christian thought and activity. Chinese speaking congregations feel that there will be a place for them in Malaysia of the future and believe that English will lose some of its importance.” (Hunt, Lee et al. 1992, 76). One effect of this is that the English speaking congregations are wider in their outlook and look towards the West for ideas, while the Chinese speaking congregations are more inclusive and looks toward Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.
Though the Synod is the main governing body, Presbyterian churches are by its nature independent, led by ruling and teaching elders. A lot of responsibility was placed on the ruling elder to interpret the Presbyterian/ Reformed ethos. In recent years, many of the pastors do not subscribe fully to Calvinism. Some are also Arminian in their thinking. Most of them are evangelical in their thinking. There is also a charismatic influence in some churches. Obvious this will have some influence the spiritual development of its members.
Another inherited problem is the role of youth and women in church ministries. In some, but not all Malaysian Presbyterian churches, women are not allowed to preach from the pulpit. This problem with the role of women in ministry and leadership were not unique to Malaysian Presbyterians. The Presbyterian Church of the United States (PCUSA) first ordained women elders only in 1920 after years of debates. (Smylie 1996, 113). Four ladies were appointed to the Board of Managers of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in 1957 (Cummings, 1964). Since then there are some hopeful signs in some churches in Malaysia where some women are being appointed deaconess and elders. Youth are not appointed to be deacon or elder and are often not represented in the upper leadership echelons. In the Presbyterian ethos, youth is not a priority. Again, there are hopeful signs that a few new Presbyterian churches are formed for youths. Concerning the response to the Charismatic revival, Roxborogh comments, “The Charismatic movement influenced many English speaking congregations in the 1970s, but despite pleas for a more pastoral approach the Chinese speaking majority introduced constitutional changes in 1984 requiring that all baptisms be by sprinkling and discouraging speaking in tongues.” (Roxborogh 1992, 99). This reflects the conservatism of the Chinese speaking congregations and their relationship with the English speaking congregations.
Denominational distinctive, while not so important as it once was, is a major influencer in societal corporate spiritual formation. There is not much emphasis on Calvinism and one can be a member of a church for more than 10 years without knowing about Presbyterianism and the Reformed tradition. There is a chapter on Presbyterianism in the baptism class and after that was never mentioned again. The issues of the role of youth, women and of the Holy Spirit need to be addressed because these issues are important in corporate spiritual formation.
Bloomfield, F. (1983). The Book of Chinese Beliefs. London, Arrow Books.
College, T. T. (2006). At the Crossroads: The History of Trinity Theological College 1948-2005. Singapore, C.O.S. Printers Pte Ltd.
English-Work-Committee (1977). Christ Our Life: A Communicant's Manual. Kuala Lumpur, Geraja Presbyterian Malaysia and The Presbyterian Church of Singapore.
Helms, H. M., Ed. (1982). Fenelon: The Royal Way of the Cross. Brewster, MA, Paraclete Press.
Hunt, R. (2001). Cook, J.A.B. A Dictionary of Asia Christianity. S. W. Sunquist. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans publishing Company: 215.
Hunt, R., K. H. Lee, et al., Eds. (1992). Christianity in Malaysia: A Denominational History. Kuala Lumpur, Pelanduk Publishers (M) Sdn Bhd.
Roxborogh, J. (2001). Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. A Dictionary of Asian Christianity. S. W. Sunquist. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. EerdmansPublishing Company: 672-675.
Smylie, J. H. (1996). A Brief History of the Presbyterians. Louisville, KN, Geneva Press.
Sng, B. E. K. (1993). In His Good Time. Singapore, Graduates' Christian Fellowship.
Sunquist, S. W. (2001). Colleges and Universities. A Dictionary of Asian Christianity. S. W. Sunquist. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: 185-191.
Tan, R., Ed. (2002). Holy Light Church (English): 50 Years of Grace (1952-2002). Johor Bahru, Holy Light Church (English).
Trinity-Theological-College (1999). Our Heritage Our Future. Singapore, Armour Publishing Pte Ltd.
 The two streams refer to the English speaking and the Chinese speaking Christians. These two streams still exist today. They exist in the same church or in separate churches.
 Trinity Theological College started on 4th October 1948 started as a joint venture between “The English Presbyterian, The Church of English and the Methodist Church.” Trinity-Theological-College (1999). Our Heritage Our Future. Singapore, Armour Publishing Pte Ltd. p.30. The idea for an ecumenical theological college were mooted during discussions among Rev. Hobart B. Amstutz (Methodist), Rev.Gidson (Presbyterian), and Canon Adams (Anglican) when the three were interned at Changi Camp during the Japanese Occupation. College, T. T. (2006). At the Crossroads: The History of Trinity Theological College 1948-2005. Singapore, C.O.S. Printers Pte Ltd.p.39
 It is argued that the initial English speaking service started in Holy Light Church (Chinese) was for the Meldrum family and not truly a church service. This English service was stopped after James Meldrum died. It was revived in 1952 by Rev. Hood and it was claimed that this was the real start of Holy Light Church (English). See Tan, R., Ed. (2002). Holy Light Church (English): 50 Years of Grace (1952-2002). Johor Bahru, Holy Light Church (English). p. 15
 Personal communications with members of a few English Speaking Presbyterian churches.
 The instruction manual for Baptism classes is English-Work-Committee (1977). Christ Our Life: A Communicant's Manual. Kuala Lumpur, Geraja Presbyterian Malaysia and The Presbyterian Church of Singapore. A personal survey with the pastors and elders of the English Speaking Presbytery revealed that most churches are not using this manual, and are not teaching about Calvinism and the Reformed tradition.
Labels: Really Random Musings
In his blog, the homilia of a budding NT scholar, our very own, not just budding, but also blooming NT scholar with a sense of humour (you don’t see many of these around) posted another “sick project”. The discussion is about the quality control of Malaysian building projects and also of the quality control of theological education.
Can you think of any other factors that can influence spiritual formation in Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese Christians? Please let me know.
I am conducting a research on this area and will great appreciate your input.
Christianity Today, July, 2007
20.6.07 ASIA UCAN Document - Joint Statement Of CCA, EFA, FABC: 'Our Common Witness'
The lives of Francis and Clare (of Assisi) are themselves seasons of every soul, and it has something to do with Assisi in the spring becoming summer, surrendering to the gentle mists of fall, lying seeming dead in winter, and waiting for the poppies of another spring...
Labels: Really Random Musings
A pilgrim looked at the reflection of a mountain in still water. It was the reflection that first caught his attention.
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Labels: Books and Reading
Something I shared with a Youth Group yesterday
Things that are impossible for God
Part 5: It is impossible for God to fail us
A lot of us think that God has failed us in some way. Usually when something bad happens to us we love to blame God for it. When we have no hope, it can easily lead to discouragement and feeling that life is being sucked out of you. This can lead to drugs, sex, or hanging out with people that seemingly can give us what we’re missing. The truth is that God created us as original masterpieces and today’s pain is only temporary. His will is someday you would step away from the world’s way and be reconciled to him and trust in the promises He gives us.
(1) God knows us very well.
PS 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
PS 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
PS 139:15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
PS 139:16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Who am I ?
Nobody understands me
I don’t like how I look
I want to be smart
Why am I so shy?
I hate pimples
My parents do not understand my needs
Why can’t I have a PSP/PS3/X-box/iPod/3G phone/notebook/car/dog?
(2) We are on a journey of life. Some roads are rocky, some roads are smooth.
Who am I becoming?
Will I do well in my exams?
What job do I want to do?
Will my life be okay?
Does she/he like me?
Will I continue to be a Christian?
(3) God will always give us another chance if we fail.
1 Cor 10:13
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Oops, sorry. Try again.
· Why can’t I get anything right?
· Why is my mother/father always angry at me? Don’t they know I must be me?
· Why do I always fail?
· Does God always forgive?
· How do I find God’s will?
· What happens if I fall out of God’s will?
(4) God’s plans for our lives will succeed.
2 Cor. 1: 20-22
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Money back guarantee
· God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
· God never fails.
God loves us and it is impossible for Him to fail to help us become who He created us to be.
How To Raise A GENIUS Child
Labels: Conference Information
New Guidelines Issued for Evaluating Physical Abuse in Children
Thanks to Kar Yong for referring to this interesting article
BOOKS & CULTURE CORNER
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