Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Redeemer Lives- Team Hoyt



Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son.... and God's relationship with us. Imagine that we are the son and the Father has been carrying us who are crippled by sin.

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St.Ignatius of Loyola: Contemplative in Action


Will the Real Ignatius Please Stand Up?
Ron Darwen SJ

On the 31st of July the Church celebrates the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, one of the founding fathers of the Society of Jesus and its first Superior General...

Ignatius, I cannot help but feel, would have been enchanted to read those words. They seem to sum up for me who he really was: mystic and militant, or, as Nadal put it: a contemplative in action. A hundred years after Ignatius's death, a Belgian Jesuit, suggesting an epitaph for his grave stone, grappled with the same notion. It is in Latin and not easy to translate, but I will have a go:


Non coerceri a maximo, contineri tamen a minimo, divinum est.


(Not to be daunted or held back by the greatest challenge and yet to be concerned with the nitty-gritty, that is the path to holiness.)

Ignatius had an uncanny feel for the big picture. He could see the wood for the trees and at the same time realised the importance of the trees. William Blake's words could well have come from Ignatius: "if you would do good, you must do it in minute particulars". Ignatius the man of vision, the man of order, could do both at once. That is what modern Jesuits still try to do.


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The New Asian Hemisphere

Kishore Mahbubani (2008), The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, New York: PublicAffairs

Kishore Mahbubani is the Professor of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. His previous books carry the interesting titles of Can Asian Think? and Beyond the Age of Innocence.

In this book, Kishore, a former diplomat explores the reaction of the West especially the United States towards the shift of global power to the east. By 2050, the world's three largest economies will be in Asia: Japan, India, and China.

Kishore's thesis is that the east like to replicate, not dominate. This was always so with Asian and Western countries. However much depends on the response of the United States. If the United States are willing to share and not dominate, then there will be much benefit to everyone. However if the United States decide to try to dominate the rising economies, there will be much chaos.

History unfortunately has shown that the Western response when threatened by the east was always a retreat into protectionism and attacks. The Japan-bashing of the 1980s, have been replaced by India-bashing of the 1990s (due to outsourcing) and now we have China-bashing in the 2000s. Looks like we are in a stormy ride.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Batman: Gotham Knight

Some of Hollywood's hottest writers lend their talents to this richly animated Batman anthology, featuring entries by David Goyer (BATMAN BEGINS), Josh Olson (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE), and Alan Burnett (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES). With six stories in all, GOTHAM KNIGHT offers thrilling interpretations of the Caped Crusader, rendered in a style that recalls the dark and lurid lines of Japanese anime. Together, these interconnecting tales trace Batman from his early days battling evildoers in crime-plagued Gotham, to his later years as the metropolis's trusted defender. Along the way, the Dark Knight has shadowy showdowns with some of his most fearsome enemies, including Scarecrow, Killer Croc, and Dead Shot. Chock-full of explosive action sequences and bat gadgets, this continuation of the Batman saga is sure to bowl over both comic book nerds and fans of the feature films. source

The two DVD set offers a wonderful refreshment after the intense movie The Dark Knight. The six interlinked stories are beautifully drawn with each artist adding their interpretations of the Batman. This is similar to the Animatrix of the Matrix trilogy.

The second disc contain a great documentary on Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story. Bob Kane created Batman at the age of eighteen. Also interesting is a documentary on the villains in the Batman mythos, A Mirror for the Bat: A Featurette exploring Batman and the evil denizens of Gotham City. The writers of the six stories offers their comments on the bad guys and gals in the Batman stories. There is also 4 bonus Batman: The Animated Series episodes.

"I love it" said the Joker

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wanna Attend a Second Life Church?

The First Church of Second Life
What is the role of real Christians in a virtual world?

by Angie Ward


Second Life is—well, for the uninitiated, it is hard to explain. Some call it a game, but in reality it is ultimate virtuality: a virtual, 3D, online world that is continually created and updated by its residents. Originally introduced to the public in 2003 by the company Linden Lab, Second Life now boasts over a million members from around the world.

These members, 50,000 or more of whom are online and “in-world” at any given time, create their own names and “avatars” (virtual identities with infinite combinations of customizable human and nonhuman “looks”) that can own merchandise and property (bought with real U.S. dollars) and interact with any anyone else in-world via Second Life chat or instant messenger. Residents can walk, fly, or teleport to various destinations, including lush beaches, raucous dance clubs, trendy restaurants, seedy strip joints, bustling malls—and churches.

As of this writing, there were around 100 churches listed in Second Life. Some were obviously created as a joke (The Church of Apathy), but dozens of others advertise legitimate doctrine, membership, and church functions. But why would anyone start a church in a place that isn’t real?


read more


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Come I This Day



COME I THIS DAY

Come I this day to the Father,
Come I this day to the Son,
Come I to the Holy Spirit powerful;
Come I this day with God,
Come I this day with Christ,
Come I with the Spirit of kindly balm.

God, and Spirit, and Jesus,
From the crown of my head

To the soles of my feet;
Come I with my reputation,
Come I with my testimony,
Come I to you, Jesu;
Jesu, shelter me.

source

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Star Trek Enterprise Theme Song



It's the Opening for Star Trek: Enterprise but with Rod Stewards Version of Faith of the Heart



It's been a long road,
To get from there to here.
It's been a long time,
but my time is finally here.

And I can feel a change in the wind right now.
Nothing's in my way.
And they're not gonna hold me down no more.
No they're not gonna hold me down.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend or break me.
I can reach any star.
I've got faith,
I've got faith,
Faith of the heart.

It's been a long night,
Trying to find my way.
Been thru the darkness,
Now I finally have my day.

And I will see my dream come alive at last.
I will touch the sky.
And they're not gonna hold me down no more.
No they're not gonna change my mind.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend or break me.
I can reach any star.
I've got faith,
Faith of the heart.

I know the wind's so cold,
I've seen the darkest days.
But now the winds I feel,
Are only winds of change.
I've been thru the fire,
And I've been thru the rain,
But I'll be fine.

'Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul.
And no one's going to bend or break me.
I can reach any star.
'Cause I've got faith,
'Cause I've got faith,
Faith of the heart...

Faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe.
And no one's going to bend or break me.
I can reach any star.
'Cause I've got faith,
'Cause I've got faith,
Faith of the heart...

It's been a Long Road...



featuring Russell Watson in three of four versions of the Faith of the Heart Soundtrack. Faith of the Heart, sometimes known as 'Where my Heart will Take Me," is the song used in the popular scifi series, Star Trek Enterprise.

1. Russell Watson Live (from Enterprise Soundtrack Album) revised by fisnationstate
2. Enterprise tv series intro Season 1-2 3. Enterprise Soundtrack (from Enterprise Soundtrack Album)

Enterprise Intro S3-4 (tv series) is not featured in this video.

It's been a long road, getting from there to here.
It's been a long time, but my time is finally near.
And I can feel the change in the wind right now. Nothing's in my way.
And they're not gonna hold me down no more, no they're not .
gonna hold me down.

Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe. I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or break me.
I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.

It's been a long night. Trying to find my way.
Been through the darkness. Now I finally have my day.
And I will see my dream come alive at last. I will touch the sky.
And they're not gonna hold me down no more, no they're not
gonna change my mind.

Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe. I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or
break me.
I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.
I've known the wind so cold, I've seen the darkest days.
But now the winds I feel, are only winds of change.
I've been through the fire and I've been through the rain.
But I'll be fine ...

Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe. I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or
break me.
I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.
Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I've got faith to believe. I can do anything.
I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or
break me.
I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The X-Files: I Want to Believe Review


THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE is a new motion picture based on the phenomenally popular, award-winning series The X-Files. Long-anticipated, the film reunites series stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson under the direction of series creator Chris Carter, who co-wrote the screenplay with Frank Spotnitz.

Former FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), a believer in alien abductions, paranormal phenomena and government conspiracies, and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a more pragmatic physician with forensic expertise, team up to find a missing FBI agent by following a trail laid out by a defrocked Catholic priest (Billy Connolly), who's a self-proclaimed psychic.



[warning: may contain spoilers]

The coming together of Fox Mulder and Dr Dana Scully is expected. What is unexpected is that they have become romantically involved which came as a surprise to me. I guess I was not watching the television series as closely as I should.

This movies The X-files: I Want to Believe is about faith. Its story telling is convoluted and at times confusing. However it asks some basic questions about faith for Scully, Mulder, the FBI agents and of the audience.

First, Scully is a non-practicing Catholic who desperately wants to believe in a loving God but was unable to do so because of her rational mind and sufferings in her life. In the movie she is presented with a convicted homosexual paedophile defrocked Catholic priest, Father Joe, who claims to receive God's visions that will help to solve the case. To Scully's mind, it is inconceivable that God should forgive this paedophile priest who abused his power over his choir boys. What is more gulling is that God will use such a person to help them find the missing FBI agent. Even when Father Joe cried tears of blood it fails to convince her. She desperately want to believe but is not able to.

Second, Mulder's faith in the unexplained and paranormal gives him faith to be open to the unknown. However this openness can be dangerous because it leads him to be vulnerable to exploitations and manipulations. It alienates him from many who considers him weird. Mulder's faith is based on a presumption that "the truth is (always) out there". That may not be true but may be based on his subconscious need to find his sister.

Third, the faith of the FBI agents who believe only in things they can see. This Cartesian belief gave them closed minds, unwilling to believe that there is a possibility that Father Joe actually sees visions. Their mind remains closed in spite of fact that Father Joe have proved many times that he knew things he should not have known. Instead their conclusion is that Father Joe is the guilty one. After all he is a known paedophile. Their faith is in their own righteousness.




Finally, the faith of the film-makers in the gullibility of the movie goers. Scully looks for cure for an incurable disease in a child by using google! And when she found that a Russian facilities has used a stem stem technique on dogs, she proceed to use it on her patient. Hello...what happened to informed consent, field testing. etc? And we were led to believe that she is a competent scientist and doctor!

That the viewers will believe in unethical Russian scientists experimenting on human beings in the United States. They obtain their subjects by kidnapping people (which includes an FBI agent) and doing head transplant? I guess that's what they were doing because the movie was not clear on that part. I do not know what transplanting heads have to do with stem cells research.

There are a lot of interesting themes in the second X-files movie about faith. I really want to believe that it could be a better movie.

What others say

Jeffrey Overstreet from Christianity Today movies.com

To their credit, Carter and Spotnitz take Father Joe seriously enough to consider the possibility of God's forgiveness for his heinous crimes. And as Scully's spiritual journey progresses through questions about forgiveness, faith, and reason, only this repentant priest offers meaningful counsel: "Don't give up." But Joe's character deserved more detail and attention. We don't learn much about him. And as both he and the other religious figure in the film, the unpleasant Father Ybarra (Adam Godley) who works with Scully at the hospital, are both suspicious characters, moviegoers are likely to walk away with the impression that Catholics are creepy. The film's general disapproval of faithful Christians becomes even more obvious during the film's closing moments. As Scully tries to decide between active hope and a fearful surrender, Father Ybarra and other Christians stand by scowling, making it clear they'd rather she gave up. Nevertheless, X-Files fans should leave the theater with Father Joe's counsel in mind—"Don't give up." Mulder and Scully are alive to continue exploring that mysterious territory between truths we can prove, and spiritual Truth that's still "out there." Perhaps they needn't "fight the future" after all. They look ready to take on grand new adventures, and if Carter and Co. can cook up some good stories, the franchise might be worth revisiting. Is it possible? You knew I was going to say this: I want to believe!

read more

Christian Hamaker from Crosswalk.com

Scully wants to believe. “I’m a doctor,” she tells Mulder. “I can’t look into the darkness any longer. I don’t want that darkness in my home.” “I think maybe the darkness finds you,” he tells her later. But as Scully opens herself to the idea that God is communicating with her—even through a pedophile priest—her eyes begin to fill with hope. Such ideas will be challenging to Christian viewers as well. We believe God uses weak human vessels to serve himself, but when confronted with the vileness of Father Joe’s crimes, how easy is it to let our suspicions overtake those convictions? The X-Files: I Want to Believe, is at its best in examining Scully’s slow awakening to the idea that God may be trying to tell her something.

read more

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Cool Batman Gadgets

10 Batman gadgets you can (almost) get today


Besides being in tip-top shape and having a detective's intuition that rivals Sherlock Holmes, billionaire Bruce Wayne has an arsenal of high-tech toys and vehicles that would make even James Bond's Q drool. It's part of the Caped Crusader's major appeal. He's not faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound — he's just a man. A man with sweet, sweet gadgetry.

So just how realistic is Batman? Could you fill the Dark Knight's cowl if you had his arsenal of wonderful toys? We took a look at all of batman's incarnations — from the comics to the movies to the super-camp '60s farce — and gave 10 of Mr. Wayne's most popular tech toys a reality check.




(1) The Batarang
What is it? Batman's metal bat-shaped boomerang has served him in many forms: with a line attached to it for scaling walls, as an explosive, or as a boomerang with an electric charge, just to name a few. They've since evolved into the razor-edged quasi-shuriken featured in today's movies, comics and cartoons.
read more



(2) The Grapple Gun
What is it? The grapple gun Batman uses actually debuted on the silver screen in 1989's Batman, where it appeared as a spear-tipped, spring-loaded projectile. Since then, the grapple gun has been in pretty much all of the shows and comics in one form or another. In Batman & Robin it could be loaded onto Batman's belt, and in it's newest incarnation it's fired by compressed air, is magnetic, and can launch a hook as well as the classic dart.
read more


(3)The Goo-gun
What is it? As seen in Batman Forever in 1995, Batman's sparkly blue goo-firing gun represents one of the Caped Crusader's more modern nonlethal options. It fires a sticky, adhesive substance that gunks up evil doers and disables them.

read more

(4) The Bat-Shark Repellent
What is it? A spray that makes sharks go away. Proof positive that no technology, no matter how ridiculous, is useful in Batman's line of work.

read more



(5) Heels Propellers
What are they? Comic fans can thank Batman: Hush for giving Bats a great new look, but not for impressive gadgetry. It included one of Batman's lesser known tricks up his sleeve heel: built-in boot propellers. That's just lazy.
read more


(6) Memory Fiber Cape
What is it? First seen in Batman Begins, when Batman charges his cape with an electric current, the material becomes rigid and takes on a shape mimicking bat wings. He can then use his cape like a glider and, next to his grappling hook, it's the closest he comes to actually flying.

read more



(7) Jet Boots
What are they? Rather than swing using the grapple gun or batarang, the leading man of the sadly-short-lived-cartoon Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis, had a pair of jet boots that allowed him to soar instead. We'll roll with it since the show took place in the future, and because it was so good besides. Terry's suit, pictured above, features a long list of high-tech improvements, but jet boots are probably the most game-changing compared Batman's modern equipment.
read more




(8) The Batmobile
What is it? Batman's sweet ride. The Batmobile has evolved a ton from the 1966 Lincoln Futura-inspired roadster Batman and Robin zipped around in, becoming more sleek and sinister for Tim Burton's Batman movies, and imposing for Batman Begins. It's been equipped with everything from machine guns to autopilot, a jet engine, a rear-firing tack launcher, an oil slick nozzle and, in Batman Forever, it could even tip up its nose and climb sheer surfaces.
read more



(9) Sonic Bat-Call
What is it? For anyone else, it'd be a nightmare. For Batman, it's like a smokescreen. He's got an emitter, usually located in the heel of his boot, that'll call forth of swarm of bats to surround him and cause a general ruckus.

read more



(10) The Batpod
What is it? At first glance, you may think the Batpod is simply a motorcycle. It is, but with a few of the kind of quirks we like here at DVICE. The new vehicle will roll onto the screen this Friday in Batman: Dark Knight, and it has motors located inside the tire cavities as well as steering controlled by Batman's body rather than a set of handles. It's armed to the teeth with machines guns, cannons, grenade launchers and grappling hooks, though we're sure ol' Bats still wouldn't hurt a fly with any of it.

read more


Read the complete article here

Cool. I gonna get me some of these...do they come in black?

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Certificate in Child Studies (6)


Teaching a module in child studies again reinforce a conviction that I am beginning to understand in the last few years of the importance of the spirituality and spiritual formation of children. Somehow, in our busy churches, we have neglected the spirituality and spiritual formation of children, relegating them to a few volunteers running children ministries.

First, I believe that children are as important as adults in our churches. Our churches are inter-generational churches but somehow the majority of resources are given to adult focused ministries. Children ministries are sometimes not more than child care, where the children are taken care of when their parents attend worship service or church programs.

Second, I believe that children's spiritual formation starts in their mother's womb. This means that children's ministries starts at marriage counselling and continues into adult spiritual formation. In order to develop the spirituality and spirituality of children, children's ministry should include the following

  • antenatal classes where the spirituality of the mothers are deepened (one cannot underestimate the role of the mother in the development of the unborn child)
  • parenting classes
  • ministries to 0-2 years old
  • ministries to 2-5 years old
  • ministries to 5-8 years old
  • ministries to 9-12 years old
  • ministries to teens
  • ministries to university students
  • ministries to young adults

There is a need to divide into these smaller groups because ministries much be appropriate to their mental and spiritual development. Age-appropriate ministries is important because of development in our understanding of stages in development of the human person. No longer must we utilise a 'one size fit all' children ministry.

Third, ministries for spirituality and spiritual formation for children should be holistic. It must be age-appropriate and relevant to the stages of their needs. Children are not little adults and should not be treated as such. Children should be introduced to Scripture, their awareness of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit through contact with God fearing adults. This means we screen our volunteers and not accept just anyone who volunteers. This also means we do not manipulate or indoctrinate the children. We must not use guilt or shame to get their co-operations.

Finally, we must be sensitive to making children 'accept Christ'. Children should be allowed to grow into their 'conversion' rather than forced either through peer pressure or adult pressure to 'accept Christ' without fully comprehending what this implies. While it will be wonderful to report on the number of 'decisions made for Christ', it will be even more wonderful to see the work of the Holy Spirit work in the lives of children.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Shadow of Your Smile

Today I met someone who reminded me of this song.



Theme from The Sandpiper
sang by Barbara Streisand and Johnny Mathis

One day we walked along the sand
one day in early spring . . .
You held a piper in your hand
to mend it's broken wing
Now, I'll remember many a day
an' many a lonely mile
The echo of a piper's song
an' the shadow of a smile!

The shadow of your smile
when you are gone . . .
will color all my dreams
and light the dawn . . .
Look into my eyes, my love, and see
all the lovely things you are . . . you are to me!

Our wistful little star
was far too high . . .
A teardrop kissed your lips
and so did I . . .
Now, when I remember spring,
all the joy that love can bring . . .
I will be remembering,
the shadow of your smile!

Now, when I remember spring,
all the joy that love can bring . . .
I will be remembering,
the shadow of your smile!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Batman the Dark Knight

The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins starts in the time frame a year after the first movie ends.
[warning: contains spoilers]

With Batman patrolling the streets at night, Captain Gordon with a new District Attorney, Harvey Dent going all out to enforce the law, the crime lords are running scared and Gotham may soon become a respectable city.

Then came Joker, a man with a dark past, a psychopath who have no moral standards who calls himself "a agent of chaos" who wants to bring "crime in Gotham up to a new level."



I watched this movie at the imax screen at a cinema in Vivo-City in Singapore. The extra large screen brings out the details, supported with an excellent audio system was truly a cinematic experience.

The movie has all the dynamic features of a fast paced adventure story, with fancy car chases, explosions and damage to buildings, fights with fists and weapons, and many of Batman's fancy gadgets. The only complaint I have is that too much is compressed into the film.


While the first film explores the reasons why a man will wear a mask and become a vigilant in Gotham, this movie explores a few themes.

The first is Batman's resolution to continue to be the Batman. I guess the initial thrill has worn off and being the Batman is taking a toll on Bruce Wayne. He begins to realise that he has to give up a normal ordinary life. He starts to look for a way out. He beginning lookig for a reason why Gotham will not need a Batman and found that in Harvey Dent, a fearless crusader for justice that the press dubbed as the 'White Knight'. In the story, he is willing to reveal his secret identity when forced to by the Joker but was prevent to by Harvey. Again I am reminded that often we charge in "where angels fear to tread' and are stuck in such situations. We have to keep in mind that this is a young and inexperience caped crusader.

Second, the criminals Batman has been battling so far are normal human beings. With success, Batman began to feel complacent. Along come the Joker with his dark personality and scars on his face. He is a liar (he gave many stories about how he got his scars and about his father), a man totally without scruples, a genius for improvising and literally is evil incarnate. Batman who trained himself to fight human criminals is totally out of his depth to deal with this type of evil; blowing up a hospital, turns innocent people into potential mass murderers in order to save their own lives, and uses hostages as cannon fodder. He is so extreme a psychopath. However, I do not think that he is insane.

Third, the Batman's code of not killing anyone saved the Joker twice in the movie. However by not killing the Joker, Batman inevitable allows the Joker to continue killing other people. Comic readers will know that Joker will go on to kill the second Robin, Jason Todd and paralyse Batgirl, Babara Gordon. The Batman's argument is that when he allows himself to start killing, he will be no better than the criminals he catches. I still have problem with the code of Batman. As Ra's Al Ghul said in the first movie, compassion is the flaw in Batman's logic.

Finally, the fall of Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent became scarred in the right side of his face and became Two Face. He obsessed with the death of his girlfriend and he starts murdering those he thinks is responsible for her death. The White Knight of Gotham has become the Dark Knight.

Then there is the cover-up. In order to keep Harvey's name clean, Batman confesses to Harvey's killing thus becoming an outlaw. Hence the Dark Knight. I like the play on words here on the movie's title.

Personal tragedy changes people. The murder of his parents make Bruce Wayne, the Batman. The murder of Rachel moved Harvey into his dark side. No one knows about the dark past of the Joker.

This movie stands out in this year's summer season blockbuster releases because it is a rare combination of good story telling and cinematic showing. A good movie, like good books, should not only entertain. It should also forces us to think.

This may not be a suitable movie for children as there is a lot of violence or what a New York Times reviewer calls "consistently violent but not bloody."

What others say:

Erik Amaya of Comic Book Resources

Christopher Nolan never meant to be a director of titanic tent-pole films, but he delivers them with grace, confidence, and power. The fights are true to Batman and the chase scenes are electric. If "The Dark Knight" were simply an action film, it would be one of the best. However, what makes the film truly amazing is how it grows beyond its basic remit as a summer action film. The story, guided by the Joker's antics, reveals a dark rumination on the Western World in the twenty-first century. It suggests the line between upstanding citizen and a homicidal clown is not very well defined. The film has a sense of relevance in a way no other superhero movie can claim to suggest. This is a truly amazing feat for any film, never mind one which features an actual building exploding.

Todd Hertz of Christianity Today Movies.com

There is hefty story material here. Can decent people walk in a land of indecency without being crushed, tainted, or turned? At what cost should good men fight evil? How do you stop a terrorist with no limits, no real motive, and no rules? If Batman Begins shows why a grown man would dress up like a bat, its sequel shows why that figure can't really be a white-hat hero—but something far darker.

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Certificate in Child Studies (5)

Session Four: Basic Communal Health Care Skills in Minstering to Children for the Purpose of Community Development.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Discernment in Decision Making

Leadership Journal, Summer 2008

An interesting article by Ruth Haley Barton on discernment in decision making in churches and as part of spiritual leadership.

Can You Hear God Now?
Your most important leadership role: discerning and obeying God's voice. Together.
by Ruth Haley Barton

What is it that distinguishes spiritual leadership from other kinds of leadership?
At the heart of spiritual leadership is discernment—the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God both personally and in community.


The Israelite journey is really a story of ongoing discernment—learning to recognize the presence of God and then following that Presence wherever it went. For Moses as their leader, this involved entering into God's presence regularly, asking God what he should do, and then leading the people in that way. Moses' ability to trust God and listen and respond obediently to his instructions was so crucial to the Israelites' survival that the one time he failed to follow God's instruction fully, there were grave consequences (Num. 20:10-13).

Unlike Moses, we don't get to talk with God face to face. We must listen deeply.
It is no wonder that when Moses recapped the Israelite journey, he emphasized how important discernment had been to the whole operation. He reminded the people of the time God told them to choose leaders to serve as judges under Moses and that the heart of their spiritual leadership was the ability to be wise and discerning (Deut. 1:13). Later he spoke about wisdom and discernment as defining characteristics that distinguished them from other nations.

read more

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Certificate in Child Studies (4)

Session Three: Signs and Symptoms of the Malnourished Child



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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Certificate in Child Studies (3)

Session Two: Causes of ill health in children





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Following the Footsteps of St. Paul (18)

The Cybelen cult, named after Cybele, goddess of Asia Minor, was officially recognised by Rome in 200B.C. Its rites include sacred prostitution. Perhaps a form of this cult lowered the scruples of the Corinthian believers by leading them into temple prostitution ( 1 Cor. 6:12-20). The ruins on top of the hill is the acrocorinth. At one time, legend has it that its was home to one thousand prostitutes.





Here are two views of the acrocorinth from different parts of ancient Corinth. It is a long way and steep climb. Me wonders if the devotees of this cult, after climbing the hill will still have the stamina and energy to perform?

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Certificates in Child Studies (2)

Session One: Childhood Health and Nutrition




read more



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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Certificate in Child Studies

Yesterday, I was privileged to teach a module on Child Health and Nutrition (CCS16) for the Certificate in Child Studies conducted by the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary.

I love to teach because I find it a joy when students learn or discover some new insights. In the process, they are also helping me to discover new knowledge and insights.

And I enjoy the fellowships of like minded Christians...




There were four sessions:

Session One: Childhood health and nutrition
Session Two: Causes of ill health in children
Session Three: Clinical signs and symptoms of malnourishment in children
Session Four: Basic communal health care skills in ministering to children for the purpose of community development.

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One Thousand Post


The post of the Following the Footsteps of St. Paul (17) with some photos of the awesome Corinth canal is my 1,000th post.

It's been two and a half year of blogging and I hope you have enjoyed the posts as much as I have enjoyed posting them. If I have offended you in any way i.e. in my comments or statements on your beliefs or conviction, I hereby apologise. It is not my intention to offend anyone for my purpose to blog is to learn from one another.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope in the process we have enriched each.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Following the Footsteps of St. Paul (17)

Some photos of the Corinth canal. Imagine in the old days, they have to drag their ships across the isthmus on rollers




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Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Soul's Healer


MY SOUL'S HEALER

My soul's Healer,
Keep me at even,
Keep me at morning,
Keep me at noon,
On rough course faring,
Help and safeguard
My means this night.
I am tired, astray, and stumbling,
Shield me from snare and sin.



source

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blessed are They


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time Travel in Star Trek


July/August 2008 issue reveals the top 10 ways to time travel in Star Trek.

(1) The Guardian of Forever (Star Trek " The City on the Edge of Forever")

(2) The Krenim Time Ship (Voyager "Year of Hell")

(3) The Slingshot Effect (Star Trek "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

(4) Federation Timeship U.S.S. Relativity (Voyager)

(5) The Atavachron (Star Trek "All our Yesterdays")

(6) Future Guy (Enterprise)

(7) The Orb of Time (Deep Space 9 "Trials and Tribble-ations")

(8) Spatial/Temporal Rifts (Star Trek "The Alternative Factor")

(9) The Nexus (Star Trek Generations movie)

(10) Chronotons (Deep Space 9 "Past Tense")


Whatever happened to H.G. Wells' time machine?
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Monday, July 14, 2008

The Peace of God, the God of Peace



The Peace of God, the God of Peace
Text: Philippians 4:4-9

Text
PHP 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

PHP 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (NIV)

Sermon statement
A life of peace (shalom) and joy is possible because of the fruit of the Holy Spirit which gives peace (shalom) and joy, Jesus Christ who became our peace (shalom) on the cross and our God who is a God of peace (shalom)

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology

Burke Lecture by Lewis Lancaster at University of California Berkeley



A distinguished scholar of Buddhism, Lewis Lancaster founded the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative to use the latest computer technology to map the spread of various strands of Buddhism from the distant past to the present. Series: "Burke Lectureship on Religion & Society" [6/2008]

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Reformers, Sex, and Contraceptions

Children of the Reformation
A Short & Surprising History of Protestantism & Contraception
by Allan Carlson

It is a reckless analyst who risks reopening sixteenth-century disputes between Roman Catholics and the Protestant Reformers. I do so in the interest of a greater good, but my purpose is not to say who was right or who was wrong. I would simply like to explore why the Protestant churches maintained unity with the Catholic Church on the contraception question for four centuries, only to abandon this unity during the first half of the twentieth century.

I write as a historian, not an advocate. (I am a “cradle Lutheran,” but one who believes Martin Luther was wrong about what he called the impossibility of lifelong celibacy; I have come to know too many faithful Catholic priests to accept that.)

Orders & Disorders
To understand the change in Protestant thought and practice, we need to understand the Protestant vision of family and fertility, particularly as expressed by Luther and Calvin, and how it has changed over the last hundred years.
>>> more

“Children of the Reformation” first appeared in the May, 2007 issue of Touchstone.

November Institute 2008 on Medical Ethics



November Institute 2008
Malaysia Bible Seminary


MEDICAL ETHICS: Biomedical Ethical Issues in the Contemporary Malaysian Church

November Institute
November Institute is a week-long study conference held annually one week after the MBS graduation. This conference intends to explore and engage contemporary issues that are affecting the Church and Society at large. Pastors, church workers, missionaries and laity from all denominations are invited to enrol for the conference wither for credit or audit.

Date: November 17-20, 2008 (Mon-Thur)
Venue: Malaysia Bible Seminari,
1-11, Jalan Dendang 1, Kaw.16
Berkeley Town Centre
41300 Klang, Selangor
Tel: 03-33427482
Fax: 03-33412094
Email: mbs-ed@mbs.org.my
Speaker: Dr Alex Tang

Speaker’s Profile:

Dr Alex Tang is a senior consultant paediatrician in Johor Specialist Hospital and teaches part-time in the Monash Medical School of Malaysia in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He received his medical training in Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, and his theological training in Malaysia, Singapore and the United States. Alex has taught and written about biomedical ethics. He has contributed to numerous journals and his latest two books are; A Good Day to Die: A Christian Perspective on Mercy-Killing and Live and Let Live: A Christian Perspective of Biotechnology.

Synopsis:

Advances in medical treatment modalities, biotechnological innovations, and genetic-molecular manipulations have brought about a set of unique challenges to issues not faced by the Church before. We live in a time of tremendous rapid changes, and incredible complexity. How then, should we as a Church responds to these issues and how can we help those who are struggling to live as Christian in these difficult times?

In this seminar, we shall use a pastoral-theological approach to examine, reflect and develop responses to these difficult moral and ethical issues – test tube and designer babies, facts and fallacies of stem cell therapies, cloning, reproductive issues, abortion, mercy-killing, allocation of scarce healthcare resources, living will, gene therapy, prenatal diagnosis, aesthetic surgery, transexuality - facing the contemporary Malaysian Church. This seminar is relevant to pastors, theologians, church leaders, counsellors, seminarians, doctors, and all Christians who are committed to living ethically in these changing times.

more information and registration form




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Friday, July 11, 2008

Middle Class Life in Uncertain Times

An interesting article by Penny Carothers and Tom Sine of Mustard Seed Associates

Anticipating New Challenges Facing the Middle Class

Bill Stevens has worked very hard to adjust back to life in the US after returning from the war in Iraq. But now Bill and his wife Beth are having an even harder time adjusting to losing their home in the recent mortgage meltdown. CNN reports 112% increase in home foreclosure rates in the first 3 months of 2008.

Despite all the discussion about whether the US is experiencing a recession or is headed for one, Americans are feeling the effects. People in Britain and Australia are beginning to feel the impact of American economic troubles too. It is essential that middle-class Christians realize that following Jesus in uncertain times requires that we both reduce our vulnerability and increase our capability for compassionate response. Let’s look at some of the concerning economic trends that are putting growing pressure on many of our lives


read more

picture credit

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Designed for Sex

An interesting reminder of what sex is all about... for those who have forgotten or never known. “Designed for Sex” first appeared in the July/August, 2005 issue of Touchstone.

Designed for Sex
What We Lose When We Forget What Sex Is For

by J. Budziszewski

Midnight. Shelly is getting herself drunk so that she can bring herself to go home with the strange man seated next to her at the bar. One o’clock. Steven is busy downloading pornographic images of children from Internet bulletin boards. Two o’clock. Marjorie, who used to spend every Friday night in bed with a different man, has been binging and purging since eleven. Three o’clock. Pablo stares through the darkness at the ceiling, wondering how to convince his girlfriend to have an abortion. Four o’clock. After partying all night, Jesse takes another man home, not mentioning that he tests positive for an incurable STD. Five o’clock. Lisa is in the bathroom, cutting herself delicately with a razor. This isn’t what my generation expected when it invented the sexual revolution. The game isn’t fun anymore. Even some of the diehard proponents of that enslaving liberation have begun to show signs of fatigue and confusion. >>>more

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Lorica of St. Patrick


The Lorica of St Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.

I arise today through the power of God:
God's might to comfort me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to lead me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar,
alone and with others.

May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.



St Patrick






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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tozer on Failure

"No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.
God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy."

Renewed Day By Day, Vol. 1. March 24

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Celtic Prayer


O God, listen to my prayer
Let my earnest petition come to you,
for I know that you are hearing me
As surely as though I saw you with mine eyes.

I am placing a lock upon my heart,
I am placing a lock upon my thoughts,
I am placing a lock upon my lips
And double-knitting them.

Aught that is amiss for my soul
In the pulsing of my death,
May you, O God, sweep it from me
And may you shield me in the blood of your love.

Let no thought come to my heart,
Let no sound come to my ear,
Let no temptation come to my eye,
Let no fragrance come to my nose,
Let no fancy come to my mind,
Let no ruffle come to my spirit,
That is hurtful to my poor body this night,
Nor ill for my soul at the hour of my death;

But may you yourself, O God of life,
Be at my breast, be at my back,
You to me as a star, you to me as a guide,
From my life's beginning to my life's closing.


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source

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Monday, July 07, 2008

The Arguments for God

Christianity Today, July, 2008


God Is Not Dead Yet
How current philosophers argue for his existence.
William Lane Craig posted 7/03/2008 10:50AM

In a recent article, University of Western Michigan philosopher Quentin Smith laments what he calls "the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s." He complains about naturalists' passivity in the face of the wave of "intelligent and talented theists entering academia today." Smith concludes, "God is not 'dead' in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments."


The renaissance of Christian philosophy has been accompanied by a resurgence of interest in natural theology, that branch of theology that seeks to prove God's existence apart from divine revelation. The goal of natural theology is to justify a broadly theistic worldview, one that is common among Christians, Jews, Muslims, and deists. While few would call them compelling proofs, all of the traditional arguments for God's existence, not to mention some creative new arguments, find articulate defenders today.

some arguments given in the article are

The cosmological argument
1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the universe's existence is God.

The kalam cosmological argument
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The teleological argument
1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

The moral argument
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

The ontological argument
1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
7. Therefore, God exists.

He continues

Christians who depreciate natural theology because "no one comes to faith through intellectual arguments" are therefore tragically shortsighted. For the value of natural theology extends far beyond one's immediate evangelistic contacts. It is the broader task of Christian apologetics, including natural theology, to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women. It thereby gives people the intellectual permission to believe when their hearts are moved.

read complete article



The author's recommended reading list

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

James Bond Books are Back Again


This year will be the 100th year of Ian Fleming's birth. To celebrate they intend to issue James Bond stamps, comics, and a series of new books on James Bond. Don't you hate it when anniversaries become commercialised? Ian Fleming Publications commissioned Sebastian Faulks to write a new Bond novel entitled Devil May Care. The book, released in May 2008, is credited to "Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming".


After Fleming's death in 1964, subsequent James Bond novels were written by Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham), John Pearson, John Gardner and Raymond Benson. In addition Charlie Higson has begun to write a series of books detailing the "Young James Bond". I find John Gardner's James Bond novels the best of the all.

Having read all of Ian Fleming's books, I find Sebastian Faulks' attempt to write as Ian Fleming pathetic. Fleming was not a good writer and his James Bond books were rather dull. The movies are actually much better than the texts. Hence for Faulks to try to write as Fleming is laughable. I would have preferred Faulks to write as himself and the novel, Devil May Care may then be a better book. Also to locate the time of the novel at the height of the Cold war before the fall of the Shah of Persia, thus sort of picking up where Fleming left off is frankly boring. Following Fleming's style, the story is slow moving and have the dubious honour of a book where I fell asleep twice while reading it. Not that anyone cares but it is a record for me. Frankly I will rather wait for the coming James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.


Books on James Bond by Ian Fleming


1. Casino Royale (1953)
2. Live and Let Die (1954)
3. Moonraker (1955)
4. Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
5. From Russia with Love (1957
6. Dr. No (1958)
7. Goldfinger (1959)
8. For Your Eyes Only (1960)
9. Thunderball (1961)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
11. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963)
12. You Only Live Twice (1964)
13. The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
14. Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966)



James Bond Publications Limited

The James Bond Internation Fan Club

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The Necessity of Love



The Necessity of Love
Text: 1 Cor.13:1-3 (TNIV)


Sermon Statement

The exercise of spiritual gifts without agape-love causes us to produce, become and receive nothing of value.


The Iliad by Homer is a classic story about the Trojan wars. It was about a 10 years siege of Troy by the combined Greek armies. It is about heroism, honor and the influence of the Greek gods on human lives. The greatest hero of the Greeks was Achilles while the greatest hero of the Trojans was Hector. The recent movie, Troy starting Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom was about the Greek hero Achilles. Achilles was the greatest warrior the Greeks ever had. He was skilled in all the arts of war, smart, intelligent and invincible. He cannot be killed except at his left heel. The Greek legend had it that after he was born, his mother, the sea goddess Thetis wanted to make him invulnerable. So the mother held him by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx. Hence all parts of his body are invulnerable except for his heel. The way he dispatched the champion of the Thessalonians at the start of the movie was well worth the watching. Achilles has all the gifts and talents but he has one fault. He loved only himself. He wanted glory and immortality: that his name will be remembered forever. So Achilles used all his skills and talents to win glory for himself. Thus Homer told of this greatest of Greek hero sulking in his tent because King Agamemnon took a slave girl he liked. He sulked in his tent while his comrades were being slaughtered by the Trojans. Achilles was very proud of his skills as a warrior but he loved only himself. So much skills and talent but he couldn’t care less about his people. Later Troy was captured by the trick of the Trojan horse.

In the same way, the Corinthian church has a lot of talents, wealth and spiritual gifts. Like Achilles, they are heroes. They are spiritual heroes with their spiritual gifts. They are mighty in power. Unfortunately they were selfish, self-willed, self-seeking and were doing everything to promote themselves. They have the spiritual gifts but they do not have love. That’s why Paul has to write 1 Cor. 13. Chapter 12 deals with the different types of spiritual gifts in the Corinthian church and chapter 14 deals with how to use these gifts. But Paul has to insert in chapter 13 to show them a more excellent way to use their gifts. There is nothing wrong with spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given by God. Paul wants to show the Corinthian church a more excellent way to use their spiritual gifts.

read complete sermon

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Batman:The Ressurection of Ra's Al Ghul


Ra's Al Ghul is my favourite Batman's villain. The new Joker is scary. Ra's Al Ghul is a megalomaniac whose aim is to direct mankind's development. However his way of doing so is to create chaos and kill people. This brings him into direct conflict with the Batman. I find that I respect both of them. That is until Grant Morrison and Paul Dini took over the scripting of the Batman's comics. Somehow, I do not like what they are doing to Ra's Al Ghul's character.

This follows the story arc of Batman: RIP. We are introduced to Batman's son, Damian. This graphic novel complied Batman Annual 26, Robin Annual 7, Batman #670-671, Robin #168-169, Nightwing #138-139, and Detective Comics #838-839.

[warning, contains spoilers].

Earlier, Ra's Al Ghul was killed when Batman destroyed all the Lazarus pits. Without the Lazarus pits, Ra' Al Ghul cannot regenerate. However, Ra's Al Ghul developed an ingenious plan. Apparent, Ra's Al Ghul still exist though without a body! He needs a body to inhabit and that body must contain his bloodline. It turns out Damian is the new body he planned for. Damian is genetically engineered and contains Talia's and Batman's genes. So this interesting story is a rampage in which Ra' Al Ghul tries to kidnap his grandson and Batman, Talia, Robin, Nightwing and Alfred tries to prevent it. Added to the fray is the Sensei who tries to take over Ra's Al Ghul's organisation when he is dead, and I Ching a powerful human who helps the Batman and his gang. There are a lots of fighting with lots of ninjas. Also an amusing sibling rivalry between Robin (Tim Drake), stepson of the Batman and Damian, son of Damian. The conclusion is a bit of an anticlimax but it is been an interesting journey.

nuff' said

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The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Bought a cloth bound copy of The Prophet during my book shopping spree yesterday. I have always loved Kahlil Gibran, and his writings were very influential during my formative teenage years. This will be my fourth The Prophet book and I look forward to reading this illustrated edition.

The picture on the front cover is that of an open hand-a traditional symbol of knowledge, protection, and peace.

read complete text here
Good multimedia presentation of The Prophet with text by Peter Dean

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Choosing and Selecting Your Embryos

This headline from the Telegraph caught my attention.

'Designer baby' to be free from breast cancer
By Joanna Corrigan
Last Updated: 7:17PM BST 29/06/2008
A British woman has made history by conceiving the country's first "designer baby" guaranteed to be free from hereditary breast cancer. Using controversial screening techniques, doctors rejected six embryos which tested positive for the cancer gene in favour of "healthy" ones to ensure the child would not contract the disease.


Actually it is not a 'designer baby' but more of a 'selected baby.' There was no designing involved and no modification of the genetic code. By a process named preimplantation diagnosis (PGD), embryos are tested for genetic defects. Those who were detected positive were rejected. In this case, it was for the gene causing breast cancer. Only those embryos who are tested free from these genes are implanted into their mother's womb.

The article continues,

If the British couple had conceived a daughter from an embryo containing the hereditary gene, called BRCA-1, the odds of her developing breast cancer would have been between 50 and 85 per cent. More then 2,000 breast cancer cases diagnosed in Britain each year are thought to be caused by either the BRCA-1 of BRCA-2 genes, which can both be detected in embryos. Many women who test positive for either of the genes go through a mastectomy to avoid developing the disease later in life.

Many people are already aborting their foetuses with Down's syndrome. However, this normally done during the first 3 months of pregnancy when amniotic fluid drawn from the womb were examined and the foetus was diagnose to have the condition. In these cases, it is obvious that these foetuses are already human beings.

Now with preimplantation diagnosis (PGD), the examination is done before the embryos or fertilised eggs are implanted into the womb. These embryos are just a mass of 4-8 cells. Will it be acceptable to reject them? They are not viable outside a womb. Are these embryos the same as a foetus who has been inside a mother's womb for at least 2 months? The former is a mass of cells while the later has began to develop recognisable head, arms and legs.

The question here is not about designer babies in which babies are selected for intelligence and looks. That is still a long way off. The question is whether preimplantation diagnosis should be allowed. Arguing from the point of compassion, it will prevent a lot of suffering in these affected embryos. Is that a good enough reason?

read rest of Telegraph's article


picture credit

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Following the Footsteps of St.Paul (16)

At the acropolis of Mycenae


what am I doing?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Virtues of Alasdair MacIntyre

First Things (October 2007).

The Virtues of Alasdair MacIntyre
by Stanley Hauerwas
October 2007

Few dispute that Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the most important philosophers of our time. That reputation, however, does him little good. It is as though, quite apart from the man, there exists a figure called Alasdair MacIntyre whose position you know whether or not you have read him—and whose name has become a specter that haunts all attempts to provide constructive moral and political responses to the challenge of modernity.

The curious result is that MacIntyre’s work is often dismissed as too extreme to be taken seriously. In fact, MacIntyre’s work is extreme, but we live in extreme times. And though he is certainly critical of some of the developments associated with modernity, Alasdair MacIntyre is also a constructive thinker who has sought to help us repair our lives by locating those forms of life that make possible moral excellence.

read more

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St Teresa of Jesus on Love

It is not so essential to think much as to love much.

St Teresa of Jesus

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Aftershocks of Postmodernism


The Aftershocks of Postmodernism in Our Leadership
By Dr. John C. Maxwell



I think about that as I look at what’s happened in the church. I think there are some aftershocks of the Postmodern movement that we need to be aware of. But before I take you into some of these aftershocks, let me go back to the “earthquake” itself: the shift from Modernism to Postmodernism. A lot changed in our culture and in the church during that shift:



  1. We went from humanism, where we’re the masters of our fate, to fatalism, wherein we have no control over what happens.

  2. We went from rationalism to relativism—a movement from truth as absolute to truth is relative, and we each have our own realities.

  3. We went from science being the ultimate that will deliver us, to technology, where applications exist to serve our needs.

  4. We went from enlightenment to narrative. It’s a shift from, “I want the facts,” to “Give me a story; paint a picture for me.”

  5. We went from universal right and wrong, what I call “self evident ethics,” to tolerance, in which everyone is tolerant of everyone else’s values.

  6. We went from materialism to spiritualism, from a mindset of believing only in what we can see, to a sense of mysticism in which we believe in invisible realities.

  7. We went from individualism, that self-made man persona, to community, being focused more on teamwork and family.

Aftershock #1: We’ve gone from Duplication to Integration.


Aftershock #2: We have gone from Achievement to Learning.


Aftershock #3: We moved from Industry to Individuals.


Aftershock #4: We have gone from Scarcity to Abundance.


Aftershock #5: We’ve had a shift from Consumerism to Stewardship.


read more



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