Saturday, May 31, 2008

Random Musings on St.Paul Footsteps (3)

The Meteora is situated in the northwest Plain of Thessaly and is made up of numerous giant rocks amidst a flat plain. Often called a stone forest, these rocks became a wonderful place for ascetic monks to be so that they may be close to God. By the late 11th century, there were records of monasteries being built in Meteora.

Meteora means ‘in the air’ because it seems to be suspended between heaven and earth. During the peak of monasticism during the 16th century, there were many monasteries. Today there are only six living monasteries left in Meteroa. They are called living monasteries because there are still monks and nuns living and praying in them. These monasteries are open to the public are the Great Meteoron or of the Transfiguration, Varlaam, St. Stephen, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholaos Anapafsa and Roussano. We visited the Great Meteoron and St. Stephen monasteries.

Monastery of Varlaam

Monastery of Saint Nicholaos Anapalsas

Monastery of Roussanou

Monastery of Holy Trinity (where a James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, has a scene there)

The Monastery of Great Meteoron

The Monastery of Aghia Triada

Monastery of Saint Stephen

I have never ceased to be amazed by the devotion and dedication of the men and women who devoted themselves to God. It must be very costly to build these monasteries in terms of time, effort and of the cost to physical and mental health. Yet these ascetics left behind everything they had, or relate to in the world so that they can spend their days and nights praying, lectio divina, and trying to be close to God. Their life must have been brutally and uncomfortable and harsh. I am told their lifespans were very short.
Immediately after my return to Malaysia, I have to prepare a sermon for the Sunday service, and also have to conduct a funeral service for a church member. Again I am reminded of how precious life is and how it important it is for us to make the right choice of what we do with our lives.

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Star Trek Excelsior and Captain Sulu

This is an interesting novel by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels on some untold history of the Star Trek universe.

The story is about how the two groups of klingons- smooth forehead and ridged forehead became one group of klingons. It is also about how Hikaru Sulu became captain of the USS Excelsior.

Easy reading and fill the gaps of klingon history that starts in the televison series Enterprise, Star Trek classic and The Next Generation.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Musings on St. Paul's Footsteps (2)

What makes the spiritual director goes Ahhh in Greece?

now find out

What makes the ladies go Ohhh in Greece ?

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Indiana Jones is back in Indy 4

Indiana Jones is finally back on the big screen! Indy 4 is named Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Dr Henry Jones II, Junior was last seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which is still my favourite Indiana Jones movie even though the trilogy is now a tetralogy. I guess nothing can beat a Harrison Ford and Sean Connery teamup.
[this review may contain spoilers]
We last saw Indiana Jones in 1938 (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).
This movie was set in 1957, many years after the last movie and Indiana Jones is a tenured professor of archaeology. In the time between the last movie and this, Jones was involved as a spy for the United States.
The enemy now is not the Nazis but the Russians. The 1950s was a time of Communist paranoid and the movie reflects this. The Russians want a particular crystal skull that when returned to its owner will reward the one who do so with incredible power. What is fascinating is that the skull belongs to an alien (yes, Indiana Jones finally meets X-files) and the kingdom of the crystal skull is El-Dorado-the city of God of the Mayan legend in Peru.
Skulls are humanity's foremost symbol of death, and a powerful icon in the visual vocabularies of cultures all over the globe. Thirteen crystal skulls of apparently ancient origin have been found in parts of Mexico, Central America and South America, comprising one of the most fascinating subjects of 20th Century archaeology.

These skulls, found near the ancient ruins of Mayan and Aztec civilizations (with some evidence linking the skulls with past civilization in Peru) are a mystery as profound as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Nazca Lines of Peru, or Stonehenge. Some of the skulls are believed to be between 5,000 and 36,000 years old. (read more about crystal skulls)
While the beginning of the movie was slow moving, it finally erupted into the Indiana Jones magic on screen. There are clever references to the previous three movies. And of course all the ingredients are there; fear of snakes, Jones being beaten up, fantastic fights on moving vehicles, use of his whip, ancient buildings with traps, Jones' familiarity with ancient languages, his ability to solve encrypted puzzles within a few minutes, and falling down tall cliffs or waterfalls without any crippling injuries. Knowing that he will not be injured or killed leaves one able to relax and enjoy all his escapades. Clearly Harrison Ford's age have not masked but instead enhanced his acting as Indiana Jones.

Two things come out clearly in all Indiana Jones movies which makes us love this character. First is his sense of morality. For him, something is either good or evil and there are no gray areas. Another is his sense of loyalty to his friends; even those who betrayed him. He would reach out to them to try to save them.
I love the final piece of the puzzle of El-Dorado which has to do with exegesis of the ancient Mayan language. El-Dorado is often translated as city of gold. However as Jones explained, it may also be translated as city of treasures and the greatest treasure is knowledge.
It is incredible fun for Indiana Jones fans. However some of the settings and violence may not be suitable for young children.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Random Musings on St.Paul's Footsteps (1)

Arrived back to Johor Bahru last night after a long tiring journey from Athens-Dubai-Kuala Lumpur-Johor Bahru. Was with the "Following the Footsteps of St.Paul" Greece Study Tour 2008 organised by Seminari Theologi Malaysia (STM) under the spiritual direction of Dr Lim Kar Yong (anyone who take photos of his food is okay in my books) .

Sunday May 18: Athens arrival
Monday May 19: Athens-Corinth-Cenchreae
Tuesday May 20: Athens-Delphi
Wednesday May 21: Delphi-Meteora-Kalambaka
Thursday May 22: Kalambaka-Berea-Thessalonica
Friday May 23: Thessalonica-Philippi-Kavala-Thessalonica
Saturday May 24: Thessalonica-Athens
Sunday May 25: one day cruise to the Greek islands of Poros, Hydra and Aegina
Monday May 26: Free day (I took a side trip to Mycenae)
Tuesday May 27: depart Athens
Wednesday May 28: Arrive KL

in front of Panathenian Stadium in Athens

I have had a wonderful trip with a group of wonderful people. It is wonderful to feel the love of Christ experienced through his people. I believe the apostle Paul would have had the same experience travelling with Silas, Luke and Timothy along these routes. Coincidently we also have a few medical doctors in this tour.

I shall be blogging about my musings about the tour over the next few weeks.

There were 28 of us in the tour. We visited the following places and the links are to Kar Yong's posts.
• Philippi (part 1, part 2[Lydia], Part 3, part 4, part 5)
• Thessalonica (part 1, part 2)
• Berea
• Kalambaka
• Meteora
• Delphi
• Athens
• Corinth and Cenchreae
• Greek islands of Poros, Hydra and Aegina

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Johor Church gets okay to convert land after 16 years

The Star Newspaper
Wednesday May 21, 2008

Johor church gets okay to convert land

JOHOR BARU: The congregation of Holy Light Church here had reason to rejoice last Sunday – they finally received approval from the Johor government to convert its land from agricultural to religious use after a 16-year wait.

The state executive council met on April 9 and approved the application, said Bar Council member Roger Tan, who is also a congregation member of the 56-year-old English church.

Last Sunday, Tan handed the official letter of approval to senior pastor Rev Nicholas Yeo.
“We are grateful that the Mentri Besar personally intervened in this matter,” said Tan who had highlighted the church’s plight to Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

“Within two hours, the mentri besar called back and asked me to inform the church that the government would consider favourably our application after the election. True to his word, our application has been approved.”

In 1989, the church bought the agricultural land in Mukim Plentong, next to the Ponderosa Golf Course. When they applied for the conversion of the land use, they discovered that the state government had other plans for it.

The church then filed a suit against the government in 1995, and the government subsequently withdrew from the land acquisition.

In 1999, the church applied again for the use of the land, which was sub-divided into two lots, to be converted for institutional and religious purposes. In 2000, the state government only approved one piece for institutional use.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Went to Greece and bought Achilles' Armour


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Future of Education

The excellent report THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION by Thomas Frey is the result of a study done by the DaVinci Institute.

The pace of change mandates that we produce a faster, smarter, better grade of human being. Current systems are preventing that from happening. Future education systems will be unleashed with the advent of a standardized rapid courseware-builder and a single-point global distribution system.

Information is growing at exponential rates, and our ability to convert that information into useful knowledge and skills is being hampered by the lack of courseware. We refer to this phenomenon as a courseware vacuum. The primary reason we lack courseware is because we haven’t developed a quick and easy system for creating it.

Once a rapid courseware-builder has been created, and the general marketplace has put its stamp of approval on it, a series of standards will be developed.

With tools for producing courseware becoming widely available, people around the world will begin creating it, and we will see a courseware explosion similar to the dramatic rise of content on YouTube and iTunes.

As part of the rapidly developing courseware movement we will see education transition from:

  • Teacher-centric to learning-centric
  • Classroom-based teaching to anyplace, anytime learning
  • Mandated courses to hyper-individualized learning
  • A general population of consumers to a growing population of producers

Learning will become hyper-individualized with students learning what they want to learn, when they want to learn it. Most of today’s existing learning impediments will eventually go away.

As a result of this shift we will begin to see dramatic changes in society. The speed of learning will increase tenfold because of a combination of the following factors:

  • Confidence-based learning will significantly increase learning speed and comprehension
  • Learning what we want, when we want - shifting away from a prescribed course agenda to one that is hyper-individualized, self-selected, and scheduled whenever a student wishes to take it will dramatically change levels of motivation
  • Technology improvements over time will continually improve the speed and comprehension of learning

The speed of learning will increase tenfold, and it is possible that the equivalent of our current K-12 education system will be compressed into as little as one year’s worth of learning.

In the future, we predict students entering the workforce will be ten times smarter than they are today.


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Monday, May 26, 2008

Questions about a creating a "human-animal" Hybrid

In Greek mythology, Chimera is a monstrous creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, which was made of the parts of multiple animals. It was said to have the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of dragon. Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

A Chimera is however made of parts of multiple animals. What if we mix 50% human genetic material and 50% chimpanzee genetic materials. What we get is not a chimera but a hydrid, a "humanzee". We have the technology. The question is "should we do it?"

Shall we create a humanzee?

David Albert Jones, Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham answers the following questions:

1. Without appealing to religion, is there any reason to think that from fertilisation there is a new human life? Isn’t the early embryo just a ball of cells?

2. How can anyone seriously believe that the early embryo has the same moral status as a twenty-four week foetus or as a newborn baby? Isn’t it obvious that there is a gradual growth in value or moral status from fertilisation to birth?

3. If you can now create embryos from parthenogenesis (i.e. without the need for male fertilisation of the egg) – and potentially from any cell in the body by de-differentiation – don’t we have to think now about all human cells being ‘potential’ human lives? Doesn’t this fatally undermine the idea that there is something ‘special’ about the embryo?

4. Surely if the human-animal embryo is not human then it is better to use it than a human embryo? Shouldn’t you be welcoming this rather than objecting to it as a way of avoiding the creation and destruction of new human life?

5. Isn’t talk of live born animal-human hybrids scaremongering? No one is planning to bring them to birth and, as long as they are destroyed before 14 days, there is no problem.

6. Is the human-animal embryo even an embryo? After all, it does not originate from fertilisation in the ordinary way and it has no potential to develop if we do not implant it.

7. Is there any new moral issue here? Haven’t scientists been combining animal and human material for years? What about the ‘hamster test’?

8. In a pluralist society what right has a religious minority to impose religious views on everyone else?

9. Should those who oppose this research refuse to use any medical treatments that it produces?

10. Don’t we have an ethical duty to pursue this research if it might lead to cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s? What real, ethical objection is there to keeping all avenues open, provided that all the research is done on very early-stage embryos?

picture credit

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

N.T.Wright on the Sacraments

N.T. Wright on "Space, Time, and Sacraments" at Calvin College on January 6, 2007.


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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Storyline of Iron Man

Friday May 9, 2008 Star online/print
Heavy metal
Worlds of Wonder by KALEON RAHAN

HAVING watched the Iron Man movie twice, I have nothing but repulsor-powered praises for the script, the cast, the CGI effects and the armour! However, if you are one of those new converts who feel that it’s the “armour that maketh the hero,” this review hopes to prove otherwise as we re-trace the last four-and-a-half decades of the armoured avenger’s adventures.

Mk 1 – 1963 to 1970

Debuting in Tales of Suspense (TOS) #39, Iron Man is a collaborative effort involving Stan Lee (plotter), Larry Lieber (scripter), Don Heck (artist) and Jack Kirby (comics supremo). In Stark/Iron Man, Lee envisioned the concept of a businessman-cum-ladies’ man superhero with a heart-aching secret. Hence, with a touch of Howard Hughes and a sprinkle of Kirby, Marvel witnessed the birth of its most complex character.

Seen as a breakthrough in the 60s, Iron Man’s selling point was technological advancement. Beginning with bulky grey armour (TOS #40), the next “wardrobe” change occurred eight issues later, with a slicker red-and-gold piece. TOS ends with #99, paving the way for a new regular series.

The formative years focused on technological advancement, national defence and Stark’s ongoing battle with his heart problem. The twist came in Stark’s gradual change in moral stance as he reconsiders his political opinions and the morality of manufacturing weapons for the military.

Amidst the various incarnations, deviations are noted on the war in which Stark got captured. While the original 1963 story used Vietnam as the ill-fated setting, the 90s version cited the Gulf War, and the current movie uses Afghanistan. What remains constant is Yinsen, who remains instrumental in the co-creation of the first made-from-scrap armour.

Outside his personal and business exploits, Stark also funded and co-founded the Avengers.

Mk II – the 70s

The 70s was occupied by the villainy of the Mandarin, Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Firebrand, Spymaster and the Black Widow. Milestones include Iron Man (vol. 1) #55 (Thanos’ first appearance), #100 (vs Mandarin), #103-107 (Midas takes over Stark Industries) and #118 (Rhodey’s first appearance).

It was the #120-128 run that defined the era, with Stark confronting Justin Hammer and his personal demon – alcoholism. The run begins with a classic Namor battle, followed by Hammer’s manipulation of Iron Man’s armour to assassinate the Carnelian ambassador. Having to clear Iron Man’s name – Stark “sacks” his bodyguard and takes on Hammer’s posse (comprising Melter, Blizzard and Whiplash).

While Stark succeeds in redeeming the credentials of his armoured “bodyguard,” his personal life is a wreck, as the Demon in the Bottle story (#128) portrays him at his drunkard-womanising worst – resulting in Jarvis (Avengers’ butler) almost resigning, the Avengers mansion becoming a “chick” pad and SHIELD gaining a controlling stake over Stark Industries.

Mk III – the 80s

The 80s started off with a classic Hulk battle (#131 & 132) and the introduction of “Space Armour” (#142). Topping this is the time travelling encounter with Dr Doom (#149 & 150) as both tech geniuses craft their wits in medieval Camelot.

“Stealth Armour” was introduced in #152, followed by victories against the Living Laser, Mauler, Diablo, Serpent Squad and AIM. The victories were hollow as Stark once again fell victim to his addiction to the bottle, this time losing his armoured identity to Rhodey and Stark Industries to Obaidah Stane! Stane is no “daddy’s best friend” but rather a ruthless megalomaniac who succeeds in pushing Stark to the brink.

As for Rhodey, his stint as Iron Man is short-lived when his relationship with Stark becomes tumultuous, paving the way for a showdown in issue # 192.

In the “Iron Man v Iron Man” battle, Stark re-dons his classic grey armour and succeeds in upsetting Rhodey’s slick armour. Despite the battle, the duo remained as friends, focusing their attention on bigger matters like reclaiming Stark (now Stane) Industries.

The #200 anniversary features the showdown between Stark and Stane, with both combatants in new armour gear: Stark with new silver centurion armour and Stane in his Iron Monger creation. It ends with Stark regaining control of his business while Stane commits suicide.

Stark’s rebuilding process hits a tech bump when he discovers that his armour technology is being infringed on. In the classic “Armour Wars” story arc (#225-233), Stark hunts down armoured friends and foes to reclaim his tech. The exercise upsets Cap and the Government – prompting direct confrontations. The Feds unleash their own armoured enforcer named Firepower, who almost kills Iron Man. Eventually, Stark emerges triumphant but the “armour wars” incident sparks off paranoia and distrust amongst Stark, the Avengers and the Feds.

Plunging the 80s into disarray, Stark’s womanising ways finally gets the better of him – as jilted teenager Kathleen/Kathy Dare shoots and cripples him from the waist down (#243). Stark recovers from the “fatal attraction” ordeal in record time and even succeeds in regaining mobility via a nerve-chip invention.

Mk IV – the 90s

The highlight of the 90s was not the sequel to the Armour Wars (#258-266) nor Stark’s fake death (# 284) but the introduction of War Machine (#281). What started off as a “Variable Threat Response Battle Suit” to overcome his nervous system problems leads to another fallout between Stark and Rhodey (due to the “fake death”), with the latter claiming ownership of the War Machine armour. The duo eventually bury the hatchet with a superior display of firepower against Ultimo in #300.

Next came “The Crossing” (#329-335), arguably the worst Iron Man story line. This Avengers-crossover reveals Iron Man as Kang’s “sleeper-agent.” His acts of betrayal include killing Marilla and Yellowjacket 2, prompting the Avengers to time-travel to recruit a teenaged version of Tony Stark. The shock encounter between Young Stark and Old Stark forces the latter to revert to his “good side”. He sacrifices his life to stop Kang. Young Stark later builds his own armour and gains legal control of “his” company.

Together with the Avengers and X-Men, “Young Iron Man” battled Onslaught (#332) and was transported into a pocket “Heroes Reborn” universe by Franklin Richards. For a 13-issue period, Iron Man had a new regular series (vol. 2) that represented his origins with an “Image” twist. Subsequently came “Heroes Return” (vol. 3), which spanned 89 issues (from 1998 to 2004).

Mk V: The 21st Century

The 21st century began with a Y2K glitch as Stark’s armour turned sentient (vol. 3 #26-31). Joe Quesada delivers a “grue-awe-some” tale whereby Stark discovers that his armour is alive and dictates his actions. The two finally face-off on a deserted island, with a startling outcome.

Issue #56 finally allows Stark to come clean on his “bodyguard” identity – by suiting up as Iron Man in public to save a dog from going splat! The disassembling of the Avengers (#89) also results in the end of volume 3, with the present volume 4 offering a more machine-than-man version of Iron Man. The “Extremis” story-arc (vol. 4 #1-6) has Stark injecting his nervous system with a modified techno-organic virus (the Extremis process) that fuses his armour to his body. Extremis increases his body’s recuperative and healing abilities whilst enabling him to connect to satellites and computers throughout the world.

The last two years have been tumultuous for Stark, courtesy of instrumental roles in Civil War, World War Hulk and Secret Invasion. In Civil War, Stark and Captain America divide the Marvel Universe into two camps – those for and those against the Superheroes Registration Act. Stark’s support for the Act and Cap’s eventual self-defeat prompts the launch of Stark’s (50-state) Initiative which dictates the way heroes behave and save the world.

Before the Initiative starts, the Hulk returns from his Illuminati-imposed exile in World War Hulk, with the green goliath thrashing the Illuminati (comprising Stark, Mr Fantastic, Dr Strange and Black Bolt). While Stark succeeds in nullifying the Hulk-threat, an unexpected encounter with an Elektra-Skrull corpse amplifies his Extremis-ense, sparking an All-Points-Bulletin for a Skrull outbreak.

While the present Secret Invasion is expected to redeem and redefine Stark’s status as a bona fide hero (especially after the negative perception generated by Civil War and Cap’s death), the rebuilding process is expected to be a tough one. Of course, you can expect Stark to capitalise on his present role as SHIELD Director.


Friday, May 23, 2008

The Giving Tree

read by Brennan Manning

does it tell us of God's love?


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Metropolitan Museum of Art Superhero Exhibit 2008

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First-century Church in the Twentieth-first Century

source: Leadership Journal Spring 2008


Spiritual Formation for Leaders

Direction Journal Spring 2005 · Vol. 34 No. 1 · 54-63

The Great Work to Be Born: Spiritual Formation for Leaders
Vange Willms Thiessen

[Vange Willms Thiessen received her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 1990 from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California, and is currently in the Doctor of Ministry program in Leadership and the Emerging Culture at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon. She is the Clinical Director of the Master of Counseling program at Associated Canadian Theological Schools, a consortium of six denominational seminaries located in Langley, British Columbia. She teaches courses in spiritual formation, supervises interns and graduate therapists, and maintains a private practice.]


Early last spring I attended a seminar with Bill O’Hanlon titled, Integrating Spirituality and Brief Therapy.
7 He described what he called the 3C’s of spirituality—connection, compassion, and contribution. I find his approach helpful in formulating a framework for understanding spiritual formation. Teilhard de Chardin’s assertion that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience,”8 is also significant. How would our concepts of spiritual formation expand if we viewed humans as spiritual beings capable of cocreating with God in these three distinct ways: connection, compassion, and contribution?

The Pathway of Connection
Connection speaks of attachment and relationship. Our Christian view of a trinitarian God presents a model for connection and relationship. Perichoresis is the Greek term used to describe the circle dance of the Trinity: God, Father and Holy Spirit. This image portrays a rela-tional, connected, ever-present, passionate Creator who is inviting us, as leaders, to join the divine dance. Connection is the basic step in the creative dance of spiritual formation...

The Pathway of Compassion
Buber’s angel strikes out in confidence but without true understanding and compassion. Likewise, if we only minister to each other out of our strengths, knowledge, and illusions of perfection, we base our spirituality upon a false understanding. Our language of victory is only a shallow pretense if our success stories suppress the realities of our pain and anguish. As leaders, our positions of power and authority may inhibit us from being honest, both in self-evaluation and in ministering to others. We need to ask, “Where, O God, have my power and judgment been lacking?”...

The Pathway of Contribution
Service has been elevated to sacramental levels in the Anabaptist tradition. It is not new to our understanding and practice of spirituality. Spiritual formation that emerges from a sense of connection and compassion will, I believe, express itself in contribution. Not only is there an existential reach for God within us, we also long for earthly justice and mercy. Booth described spirituality as an “inner attitude that emphasizes energy, creative choice, and a powerful force for living.”
17 Spiritual formation is concerned with a search for value, meaning, and purpose which includes actions of inclusion, care, and compassion toward all humankind....

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Philip Yancey reviews Pain

Books & Culture, May/June 2008

That Hurts : An interdisciplinary study of pain
review by Philip Yancey

Pain and Its Transformations, The Interface of Biology and Culture
Edited by Sarah Coakley and Kay Kaufman Shelemay
Harvard Univ. Press, 2008439 pp., $49.95

When I called a physician friend for advice on an adverse reaction to anesthesia after minor surgery, he made the offhand comment, "You know, veterinarians don't have that problem. They measure out the dosage, give the injection, and the horse or dog or whatever responds according to the book." That simple observation could serve as a summary of what prompted Harvard conveners to bring together molecular biologists, neuroscientists, pain clinicians, psychiatrists, anthropologists, musicologists, and scholars of religion for the conference that spawned this book. Physiologically, pain in humans may resemble that of horses and dogs, but there the similarity ends. In many ways, culture trumps biology.

Consider the phenomenon of Couvade, documented in many places worldwide. In some societies in Micronesia and the Amazon Valley, for example, the mother shows no indication of suffering during delivery. She may break from work a mere two or three hours to give birth, then return to the fields. By all appearances the husband bears the pain: during the delivery and for days afterward he lies in bed, thrashing about and groaning. Indeed, if his travail seems unconvincing, other villagers will question his paternity. A journalist or anthropologist who tried to explain, "Sir, there's no reason for you to feel pain because, after all, it was your wife who bore the child," would doubtless meet a hostile reaction. For months the father has struggled with such symptoms as nausea, weight gain, constipation, headache, and other signs of distress, not to mention the agony of the "delivery" itself. For him, the pain is as real as it is for the Manhattan socialite demanding her epidural.

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Friends in a Broken World

Dr Tan Soo Inn, from whom many of you have been receiving his Grace@Work devotions, have published a small booklet this month, May 2008 in which he writes about his passion about spiritual friendship and how he will leave his pastoral work to concentrate on this in a new organisation named Graceworks. This he will do in a teamwork effort with his wife, Bernice who have extensive experience in publishing.

"True friends tell us what we need to know and not what we want to hear" p.27

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Vesak Day

Vesak Day, the full moon day of the fourth lunar month, is the most important annual event for the Buddhist community. It commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Final Nirvana of the Buddha. The meaning of Vesak lies with the Buddha’s universal peace message to humankind. It has become a festival for rejoicing and goodwill to all – and a moment to reflect on our spiritual development and gratitude towards everyone

On Vesak day, some buddhists observe the Eight Precepts, while others may join the communal observances by going through the ceremony of taking the Threefold Refuge (in the Buddha, Dharma- the Buddha’s Teachings and Sangha-the community of monks and nuns), observing the Five Precepts of respect for life (not to kill); respect for personal property (not to steal); respect for personal relationships (not to indulge in the senses); respect for truth (not to lie); and respect for mental and physical well-being (not to take intoxicants); making offerings at shrines and chanting of sutras. They may also participate in processions and circumambulation, and listen to sermons of the Buddha’s Teachings.

Many Buddhists also take vegetarian meals on this day as they recall the teaching of universal Compassion. This is a day when temples are colourfully decorated with Buddhist flags and lights, and shrines filled with flowers, fruits and other offerings.


卫塞节, 农历四月十五的月圆之日, 是佛教团体每年最重要的一个节日。它纪念了佛陀出生、悟道及涅槃的三件大事。这天世界各地数以万计的佛教徒都会庆祝这个节日。卫塞的意义在于佛陀传达给全人类普遍性的和平讯息。这是一个让大家喜悦及互相祝福的美好节日,也是我们检讨自己在灵修上的进展与感恩大众的日子。

对于一些佛教徒而言,卫塞节的庆祝仪式始于早上到佛寺去受八关斋戒。有些信徒可能会集体接受三皈依 (皈依佛、法及僧)、受五戒 (尊重生命即断杀、护生;尊重个人的产业即不偷盗、乐于施舍;尊重人际的关系即不邪淫 、知足;尊重真相即不妄语、诚实; 尊重精神及身体的良好状态即不服用麻醉品)、供养三宝及诵念经文,他们也可能参加绕佛仪式并听闻佛法。

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brennan Manning: Kingdom Works 1999

Sermon by Brennan Manning

"What it means to be cool in Jesus"

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Narnia 2 : Prince Caspian

Synopsis: (warning spoilers)

The characters of C.S. Lewis's timeless fantasy come to life once again in this newest installment of the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, in which the Pevensie siblings are magically transported back from England to the world of Narnia, where a thrilling, perilous new adventure and an even greater test of their faith and courage awaits them. One year after the incredible events of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the Kings and Queens of Narnia find themselves back in that faraway wondrous realm, only to discover that more than 1300 years have passed in Narnian time. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz, who rules the land without mercy. The four children will soon meet an intriguing new character: Narnia's rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian, who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne. With the help of the kindly dwarf, a courageous talking mouse named Reepicheep, a badger named Trufflehunter and a Black Dwarf, Nikabrik, the Narnians, led by the mighty knights Peter and Caspian, embark on a remarkable journey to find Aslan, rescue Narnia from Miraz's tyrannical hold, and restore magic and glory to the land. Directed once again by veteran director Andrew Adamson, screenplay by Andrew Adamson and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and produced by Mark Johnson, Andrew Adamson and Philip Steuer, the film reunites the original cast and creative team behind the blockbuster first film in the series. --© Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media

The movie is fast moving and briskly paced that there is hardly time for anyone to catch his or her breath, let alone wonder what is happening. Those who have watched the first movie would have seen some imagery referring to the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As a movie, it is entertaining with the special effects (CG) taking all the limelight from the actors who appear wooden and at times seems to be posturing for effects. I tried hard to capture some themes from C. S. Lewis's book on which this movie is based. The two themes that came to me as I read Lewis' book were courage and faith. Unfortunately this did not translate well in the movie.

Instead of courage, High King Peter and Prince Caspian appear as foolhardy adolescents leading their army to slaughter. Lucy may have faith because she saw Aslan while the others did not. Yet without reading the other series in the chronicles, one will be hard pressed to see why Aslan had to appear only when Lucy seeked him out in the woods. The way he destroyed the Telmarines using the river was pathetic. One also wonder where was Aslan all this time when the Telmarines were taking over, and committing genocide of the Narnians.

Needless to say, I was not too impressed by this second offering of the Narnia Chronicles. Especially if I am to use it for teaching my children about faith. Saying Lucy can see Aslan and the others cannot because Lucy is the youngest may be pushing the metaphor of faith of children further than it was meant to be.

It is an enjoyable movie if one watches to see the action. There is a plenty of fighting but strangely no blood or flying body parts (oh, yes, it is a Disney movie). The comic relief comes from the short folks. After watching the marching armies of the orcs in the Lord of the Rings, the stamping of the Telmarine armies seem anticlimax.

It is a good entertainment for a family outing but do not expect too much from it.

two and a half star


Friday, May 16, 2008

What in the World is Going On?



This is a paper presented several weeks ago by Herb Meyer at a Davos, Switzerland , meeting which was attended by most of the CEOs from all the major international corporations- - a very good summary of today's key trends and a perspective one seldom sees.

Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers. Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S.Government official to forecast the Soviet Union 's collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S.National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community's highest honor. Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he is also the author of several books.


1. The War in Iraq
2. The Emergence of China
3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
4. Restructuring of American Business

read more

This is a very insightful perspective on the present and future world situation. Well worth reading.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

You Raise Me Up

I love watching this especially when I am tired or depressed.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Contemporary Issues in Biomedical Ethics

I have been invited to teach a course on Contemporary Issues in Biomedical Ethics in the Malaysian Church by a local Seminary. It will be for pastors, Church workers, seminary students and interested Christians.
I am undecided whether to accept or not, and I hope you can give me some feedback.

As a pastor or Christian leader in your church, do you think this course (see below) will be useful to you?

Will you take the time off to attend?

Here are some of my rudimentary thoughts about the course:

Learning Objectives
1. To identify biomedical issues that the contemporary Malaysia church are facing or will face in the immediate future
2. To examine the contemporary social response to these issues
3. To examine the biblical and theological response to these issues
4. To help participants develop a theological way of thinking through these issues
5. To help participants develop action plans for their own Christian faith communities

Course Content
1. The basics of biomedical ethics

a. Sanctity of human life
b. Personhood
c. Solving ethical dilemmas
d. Thinking theologically

2. Infertility and the technology of reproduction
a. Perception of infertility in Malaysia
b. Is infertility a disease?
c. Problems with reproductive medical technologies
d. What shall we do with the extra embryos?

3. Issues with cloning
a. Lessons from Dolly
b. Potential applications

4. Why the fuss about stem cell research?
a. Does the ends justifies the means
b. Making a human-animal hybrid. Frankenstein in Malaysia?
c. The science in the science fiction

5. Reviewing new medical treatment modalities
a. Gene therapy
b. Anti-aging: the cult of youth
c. Cord blood storage
d. Vaccine for prevention of cancers

6. Remaking man in his own image
a. Should Christians go for cosmetic surgery?
b. Building or rebuilding self image

7. Choosing sex
a. Baby boy or girl?
b. Homosexuality
c. Transexuality
d. Hermaphrodites

8. Contraception and the Genesis cultural mandate
a. Sex: recreation or procreation?
b. ethical issues in choosing a method of contraception
c. morning after pills

9. Abortion in the local church
a. Victims of incest and rape
b. Early prenatal diagnosis: what are you going to do about it?
c. Teen pregnancy
d. Sex education in churches

10. Healthcare costs and resources allocation
a. Elderly care
b. Are most of medical investigations and treatments necessary?
c. Billion dollars pharmaceutical industry
d. Healthcare as an industry
e. Insurance
f. Privatisation of public hospitals

11. When to stop treatment?
a. Is giving food treatment?
b. DNR-do not resuscitate order
c. Living will
d. Active and passive euthanasia
e. Dying with dignity
f. Hospice care

12. Saving lives by organ donation
a. Opt out or opt in organ donation
b. Using organs from prisoners
c. Organ rejection

13. Lessons from eugenics
a. Second class human beings
b. Use of scientific data from coerced human experimentation: should Christians use drugs derived from such sources?

14. Doctor patient relationships-the lost art
a. Patient charter-rights of patients
b. Communication-what the doctor says and what the patient hears
c. Tasks of Christian doctors
d. Visiting the sick-redefining a pastoral role

15. Faith healing and medical therapy
a. Complementary or conflict?
b. Miracle or medicine?

[yes, it is a long course and students get credits for it.]

What do you think? Should I do it?

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Facts about Chikungunya Fever

With the recent outbreak of Chikungunya fever at Kampung Ulu Choh in Johor Bahru, I think I need to post some facts about the disease.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya is a viral fever that is transmitted by the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It resembles dengue fever. Chikungunya fever is characterised by fever, joint pains and rashes. It is rarely life threatening. Chikungunya is a Makonde word (one of the local languages in Tanzania) meaning ‘that which bends up’, and describes the symptoms caused by the severe joint pains that usually accompany the infection.

The Chikungynya virus (CHIKV) belongs to the family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus. It is found in Africa and Asia.

Mode of Transmission
The virus is transmitted through the bites of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus). Aedes albopictus may also play a role in human transmission is Asia. Epidemics usually occurs during rainy seasons.

The Chikungunya virus was first isolated between 1952-1953 in Tanzania where the disease was first reported. However, a similar outbreak could have happened as early as 1824 in India and elsewhere. This disease is seasonal and may disappear for 7-8 years or as long as 20 years before reappearing elsewhere. It appear in Bangkok in the 1960s; in Sri Lanka in 1969; Vietnam in 1975; Myanmar in 1975; Indonesia in 1982 and 1999; and in various parts of India including Vellore, Calcutta and Maharastha in 1964 and 2006.

Clinical Presentation
The incubation period is 1-12 days (average 2-3 days). Most cases are asymptomatic. The disease is self-limiting. Most patients usually recover within 1 week. Other features are
• Fever- rapid rise with chills.
• Joint pains – many joints, mostly small joints. May have joint swellings.
• Rash – maculopapular, may be itchy. Appears first on body, limbs, face, palms and soles.
• Muscle aches
• Conjunctivitis
• Headache, photophobia, retro-orbital pain
• Sorethoat
• Nausea
• Petechiae on skin
• Bleeding gums
• Seizure may appear in children

Laboratory investigation
• Blood count: low white cell count with raise lymphocytes count (common inviral infection)
• Raise ESR, CRP (non specific)
• Virus isolation
• IgM detection (ELISA)
• Haemagglutination Inhibition (HI) antibodies – positive by day 5-7

There is no specific treatment. Management is mainly supportive. Antipyretic for fever and analgesic for joint pain.

Most patients recover fully over a few weeks. About 5-10% develops chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling. However there has been no permanent joint deformity reported.

Control of breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Prevent mosquito bites – repellent, mosquito netting.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seeing is Believing

“What is it this time?” asked Abba Ah Beng as senior disciple Ah Kow dragged junior disciple Ah Lek into his meditation cell. “Why are you interrupting my meditation on the gospel of John?”

“I caught this thief stealing food from the kitchen,” shouted Ah Kow, “he must be punished. Greedy pig!”

“Ah Lek, what have you to say for yourself?” asked Abba Ah Beng, his serenity of biblical meditation shattered.

Silence. Ah Lek just looked at the ground.

“Young man, tell me the truth. Are you stealing food from the kitchen?”

Again silence.

“Go to your cell and stay there for three days! You will only have water but no food. You will confess and fast and pray for forgiveness” Abba Ah Beng ordered.

One week later, Ah Kow spotted Ah Lek sneaking out of the kitchen window with a bag of roast beef. “Gotcha,” Ah Kow thought to himself as he followed Ah Lek at a distance. “Where are you going? I’m gonna catch you with food in your mouth”

Ah Lek walked briskly to the village. It was a cold winter evening. Reaching the edge of the village, he looked fugitively around before ducking into a small hut. He was there for an hour before he came out. A pretty young girl came to the door and waved goodbye to him. Watching from behind a bush, Ah Kow’s jaw dropped to the ground.

“Is this true? Senior disciple said you are keeping a mistress in the village. Tell me the truth or I will expel you.” Abba Ah Beng’s face was turning a crimson red as he struggled to keep his temper. The other disciples cowered in the background.

Silence. Ah Lek continued to look at the ground.

“Go to your cell until I decide what to do with you! You are a disgrace to our community”

That night, Abba Ah Beng cannot find peace as he tried to meditate. His soul was in turmoil. He dressed and went to the house by the village. He knocked on the door. A pretty young girl opened the door. “Abba sir. I had wanted to come to see you but my father is very sick and I cannot leave his side. He is a strong man but he fell down last month . Now he cannot move his arms and legs. Your disciple is very kind to bring food for us. I have planned to come to thank you personally when my father is better.”

Abba Ah Beng looked into the shack through the door and saw a shrunken paralysed man lying on the bed. Compassion filled his heart and he felt a strong stirring of the Holy Spirit. Abba Ah Beng strode to the bed and commanded, “In the Name of Jesus be well!” The man sunken on the bed blinked as he felt strength returning to his limbs.

“Ah Lek, why didn’t you tell us you are helping this sick man and his daughter?” Abba Ah Beng said, facing all his disciples in the chapel the next morning.

“I..I didn’t think I should. Didn’t Jesus teach that in works of charity, do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing?” stammered Ah Lek.

“I do not think Jesus meant it so literally. It will be confusing if your right and left hand do not know what each is doing. He means we must not boast about our good deeds. At times you have to let others know or it may be misinterpreted. You could have been expelled.”

Turning to Ah Kow, Abba Ah Beng said, “And why are you so quick to judge your brother disciple? You see him stealing food and think he is a greedy pig. You see a girl and think he is having a mistress. In your mind, you have already judged him guilty before you give him a chance to prove his innocence. I wish you will have the love to judge your brother innocent unless proven otherwise.”

“Or better still don’t judge at all,” Abba Ah Beng turning to the rest of the disciples, “ Jesus said ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ Next time, think carefully before you cast the first stone.”.

more Abba Ah Beng stories

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Bonhoeffer on No More Condemnation


Deliver Us from Evil

From 16-22 August, 2000, thirty practitioners, missiologists, pastors and theologians came together in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss issues of spiritual conflicts in the "Consultation on Deliver Us from Evil" convened by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa. The consultation objective was to seek a biblical and comprehensive understanding of (1) who the enemy is; (2) how he is working; and (3) how we can fight him in order to be most effective in the evangelisation of all peoples.

The outcome is published in this book. I find this book well worth reading and very insightful.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

A Study of Islam for Christians in Malaysia

I always have the conviction that Christians should know more about Islam, the religion of the majority of their neighbours in Malaysia.

Anglican Rev. Albert Sundararaj Walters, Vicar of the Parish of St. Peter, Kuala Lumpur has just written such a book. He starts with a general survey of Islam in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Then he narrows his focus to issues between Christians and Muslims in Malaysia and concludes with some bridge building strategies.

you can order his books by writing to him at

ISBN 978-983-43378-1-0 No. of pages: 428
Publisher: Council of Churches of Malaysia Year: 2007
Price: RM35.00 US$15 GBP£12 (postage & packaging extra)



1 Arabia before Islam: Geographical and Human Setting
2 Prophet Muhammad and the Early Muslim Community
3 The Expansion of Islam
4 Christians under Islamic Rule
5 The Quran and the Hadith
6 Doctrines of the Islamic Faith
7 The Five Pillars of Islam
8 Islamic Law and Sunni Schools of Fiqh
9 The Emergence of Sunni Theology
10 Sufism: Development, Thought and Practice
11 Islamic Personal and Communal Life
12 Status of Woman in Islam
13 Modern Islamic Movements

14 Islam in Southeast Asia
15 The Introduction and Spread of Islam in Malaysia
16 Malaysia: The Context
17 Islamic Resurgence and Islamisation in Malaysia
18 Christians Respond to Islamisation

19 Christian Attitudes to Islam
20 Muslim Perceptions of Christianity
21 Christians and Muslims in Malaysia
22 The Church in Malaysia: Issues and Challenges
23 Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity

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Literature Review on Spiritual Formation

Historically the term “spiritual formation” was used to denote the training of men and women for full time church ministry (Sheldrake 2005, 309). The content of the curriculum was academic training on scripture, theology, philosophy and liturgy. It also involved training in the spiritual disciplines especially in a disciplined prayer life. However, this is not the spiritual formation referred to in contemporary discussion of the subject.

Contemporary spiritual formation is difficult to study. It is a multidisciplinary subject involving psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, education and theology. A review of the literature will show a large variety of definitions and practices associated with the subject. The language used, different philosophies and worldviews are different to different authors. Various authors differ in their approach to theology, anthropology and psychology. Others struggle between practice and theory. The fundamental commonality among the different authors is that concept of spiritual formation is about spiritual growth. However, their different basis of approach has lead to fundamental differences in their definitions and outworking of their concept of spiritual formation.

First, some authors used the word Christian spiritual formation to differentiate it from spiritual formation that occurs in different worldviews and religious traditions. In this review, I shall limit myself to Christian authors. Second, many authors equate spiritual formation to spiritual growth in persons. However, an argument can be made that spiritual formation also occurs to communities. This will be taken into consideration in the review. Third, some authors fail to differentiate spiritual formation from discipleship or use these words interchangeably. Others use words like faith formation, spiritual transformation, Christian formation, and spiritual growth. Finally, there are not many studies done to establish an exegetical foundation for spiritual formation as currently practiced in evangelicalism. The word “spiritual formation” does not appear in the Bible. Most authors just skim around the theological aspects and focus on the practice.

read more

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles in the book of Acts, ushering in the beginning of the Church. 50 Days after Jesus' resurrection (and 10 days after Jesus' Ascension), the apostles were gathered together, probably confused and contemplating their future mission and purpose. On the day of Pentecost, a flame rested upon the shoulders of the apostles and they began to speak in tongues (languages), by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus Pentecost is a time for many Catholics and other Christians to celebrate two important realities: the Holy Spirit and the Church. Pentecost has long been a very important feast in The Catholic and Orthodox Churches because it celebrates the official beginning of the Church. It is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Eastern Church, second only in importance to Pascha (Easter). Pentecost always falls on a Sunday, fifty days after Easter Sunday (inclusive of Easter Sunday), and occurs during mid-to-late Spring in the Northern hemisphere, and mid-to-late autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

Pentecost is also the Greek name for Jewish Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), falling on the 50th day of Passover. It was during the Feast of Weeks that the first fruits of the grain harvest were presented (see Deuteronomy 16:9). New Testament references to Pentecost likely refer to the Jewish feast and not the Christian feast, which gradually developed during and after the Apostolic period.

In the English speaking countries, Pentecost is also known as Whitsunday. The origin of this name is unclear, but may derive from the Old English word for "White Sunday," referring to the practice of baptizing converts clothed in white robes on the Sunday of Pentecost. In the English tradition, new converts were baptized on Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints Day, primarily for pragmatic purposes: people went to church these days. Alternatively, the name Whitsunday may have originally meant "Wisdom Sunday," since the Holy Spirit is traditionally viewed as the Wisdom of God, who bestows wisdom upon Christians at baptism. In other parts of the world, Pentecost has other names, including "Green Sunday" in the Ukraine and "Green Holiday" in Poland. These names are derived from Pentecost customs that involve taking green plants into homes and churches as symbols of new life. These customs also may hearken back to the harvest festival themes of the Jewish Pentecost.

coptic icon

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A Child's Prayer for Mother's Day

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me a wonderful mother.
Thank you for making her healthy so that she can look after me.
Thank you for loving her so that I am loved.
Thank you for all her hard work so that I will grow up strong like my Daddy.
Thank you for making her patient when I am naughty.
Thank you for my mummy teaching me how to read the Bible.
Thank you for being a wonderful God who makes wonderful mothers.

In Jesus' Name I pray,



Mothers are a Special People

Mothers Are a Special People
A Mother’s Day sermon

Big Idea/ Sermon Statement
To affirm the institution of motherhood and the role of mothers as a special people in giving life, nurturing life and passing on life.

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Mother's Day


Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Evangelical Manifesto (2)

Evangelicals Lament a Politicized Faith
New document calls for allegiance higher than political party, nationality, or ideology.
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service posted 5/09/2008 12:04PM

Evangelical Christians should be defined by their theology — and not their politics — to avoid becoming "useful idiots" of a political party, a group of leaders said Wednesday in a new statement.

The document, "An Evangelical Manifesto," reflects the frustration of some within a movement that claims about one in four Americans over how they are perceived by others and who can speak for them. The 19-page document declares that evangelicals err when they try to politicize faith and use Christian beliefs for political purposes.

"That way faith loses its independence, the church becomes 'the regime at prayer,' Christians become 'useful idiots' for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form," the document reads.

The statement, however, resisted calls to privatize or personalize the faith, saying their is an important place for evangelical voices in the public square.
"Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology and nationality, we Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, or nationality," the document says.

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A Gentle Plea for Civility
Why America needs An Evangelical Manifesto.
Os Guinness, Religion News Service posted 5/09/2008 12:05PM

A terrible question now stalks this land: Who will step forward to lead America out of the bitterness and divisions over race and religion in public life?

Race is the older problem, and to Americans it stands as class does for the English — an abiding curse that has not healed and will not go away. Religion in public life is the newer challenge. Once thought settled through what James Madison called "the true remedy," it has degenerated sharply with the endless controversies of the past generation.

Both race and religion require healing and civility for their resolution, but in the present bitter climate, each has been used to exacerbate the other, and civility has been shouldered aside as weak and ineffectual.

Who, then, will deliver the Gettysburg Address of the American "culture wars?"

read more

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Remember John Wesley

Remember John Wesley, Wroot.
Photo by E Asterion


An Evangelical Manifesto (1)

A group of Christians who are pastors, authors, theologians and thinkers came together to draft An Evangelical Manifesto : A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment on May 7, 2008 in Washington D.C.

The Manifesto is an enjoyable read with excellent scholarship and the right choice of words and issues addressed. It is about 2o pages and may be downloaded from their website. First, it is mainly about Evangelicalism as practiced in North America, especially in the United States of America. Though it is acknowledged that Evangelicals may be more numerous in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, this manifesto set forth views mainly from the North American Evangelical worldview.

Second, the timing of the launch could not be better. The battle between Clinton and Obama is nearly over and then it is to the battle for the big seat. The religious card has used and abused repeatedly. Frequently, some Christian viewpoints are put forward as if it represent the views of all the Christians in the world. Maybe it is time to point out that there are diversities with the Christian realms and Christians may not always agree with each other.

Third, in the United States especially, there is a need to redefine Evangelicalism. Like all words in the English language, it meanings and nuances evolve our time.

The steering committee members include:

Timothy George Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
Os Guinness, Author/Social Critic
John Huffman, Pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CAChair, Christianity Today International
Rich Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary
Jesse Miranda, Founder & Director, Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership, Vanguard University
David Neff, Vice President and Editor in Chief, Christianity Today Media Group
Richard Ohman, Businessman
Larry Ross, President, A. Larry Ross Communications
Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California, Author

Finally, I like the gentle and conciliatory tone that the Manifesto has been written in. I am expecting some fireworks but I believe that this is a good start and hope others will pick it the dialogue in due time. Overall, this Manifesto is a fine piece of writing covering the major pints of Evangelical belief and practices. It also mentions politely how it differs from all the other traditions. Personally I find it a well balance Manisfesto on Evangelicalism and something to stimulate our thinking and working for the next few decades.

I have signed the Manisfesto

What others say:
Associated Press
Blogging Parson
Thoughts on the Evangelical Manifesto.
Justin Taylor
Street Prophets
Mark D. Roberts

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