Random Musings from a Doctor's Chair
My adventures with God,life and all these stuff.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Critique Schooling Paradigm as Spiritual Formation
In the last century, certain concerns have arisen concerning the effectiveness of the schooling-instructional paradigm, especially in Christian spiritual formation in Christian faith communities. It is the aim of this article to critique whether the schooling-instructional paradigm are still effective as the chief means of pedagogy in Christian faith communities in Malaysia or whether a new formative approach is needed. The strength of the schooling-instructional paradigm is in gathering people together in one place specifically for the imparting and acquiring of content or knowledge.
Snapshots from Japan (2)
Book Notes on I, Sniper
This 2009 novel about former Marine Corps sniper Bob Lee Swagger is the best of the Sniper stories by Stephen Hunter so far. It has a well developed plotline which makes for interesting reading with plenty of information about guns, politics, commentary on journalism, sniping and the sniper community thrown in.
Aging but not aged, tougher than steel Bob Lee Swagger is called out of retirement to help his friend FBI assistant director Nick Memphis to solve four murders. This brought him into confrontation with several young well trained mercenary snipers and high tech snipering equipment.
Labels: Book Review
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Marvel Superheroes Stamps
This collection is published by the Australian Post. Unfortunately I am unable to find the month and year of publication. I loved it as it has 10 of my favourite comics superheroes.
Who are the favourites of your favourite among this 10 Marvel superheroes? My list in descending order is this
- Captain America
- Silver Surfer
- Iron Man
Here are some gems from the Leadership magazine.
An interesting take on a missing leadership quality by John Ortberg. I think it is known by another name by the church fathers.
Today's Most Devalued Virtue
Why is a once honored leadership trait now despised?
What's the most undervalued, under-discussed commodity on the leadership stock exchange today? What's the item that is currently on no one's list of desired qualities in a leader that once would have been consistently in the top four?
| Finish the article |
A reminder from Gordon MacDonald about anger management.
The Volcanic Spirit
One eruption can contaminate your inner space for a l-o-n-g time.
I—and millions more—had never heard of Eyjafjallajokull, the Icelandic volcano, until it blew up a few days ago and belched ash and dirty ice into the atmosphere at a rate of 750 tons per second. Now, days later, this ugly volcanic "garbage" floats over much of Europe and is the cause of thousands of flight cancellations. Entire national economies are being humbled by this unexpected event.
| Finish the article |
A more critical looking at organic church...beyond the hype.
The Dirt on Organic
Small volunteer-led congregations are gaining popularity and making an impact. But they require more spadework than you realize.
I tried it; I started an organic church.
It began in my living room in 2005 with a small group of Milwaukee 20-somethings—most of whom wouldn't be caught dead in "church." Then I pitched the idea of doing church where the rest of life happens: in living rooms, kitchens, Starbucks bistros—anywhere solid conversations could take place. The people grew, the group grew, the number of houses grew, and off I ventured into the world of organic churches.
| Finish this article |
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Paul Long on Just Do It!
Another superb meditation from Paul Long
JUST DO IT
Chapter 28 of Alex Tang's Spiritual Formation on the Run
First the chapter, then my ramblings ...
I have always been fascinated by the Desert Fathers and Mothers
who lived in the fourth century. These men and women left behind everything they had to live in the hostile deserts of Egypt, and later Syria and Palestine. The desert is a deadly, unforgiving environment. In the day, the sun bakes the land mercilessly while the nights are freezing cold. Yet these people left behind comfortable, secure lives and loved ones to live alone in the desert. They moved there to fight the demons in the desert, and the demons within themselves. Like Jesus' temptation in the desert, these elders sought the purifying furnace of the desert to encounter God. Though we are separated by 1500 years, cultural, social and linguistic differences, the teachings and sayings of these elders have much to teach us.
A brother said to Abba Poemen, "If I give my brother a little bread or something else, what happens when the demons spoil these gifts by telling me that it was only done in order to please people?" The old man said to him, "Even if it is done to please people, we are still obliged to offer what we can." He told the following parable.
"Two farmers lived in the same town. One of them sowed and reaped only a small and poor crop, while the other did not even take the trouble to sow and, as a result, reaped absolutely nothing. If a famine comes upon them, which of the two will find something to live on?" The brother replied, "The one who reaped the small poor crop:' The old man said to him, "So it is with us: we sow a little poor grain, so that we will not die of hunger."
Abba Poemen has given us two important lessons on serving or ministry. First is that no matter what we do, it will always come out of impure motives because of our fallen nature. There is no such thing as pure altruism. Everything we do will be tainted by our sinful nature. Somehow, pride and a desire for power, glory and affirmation will dog our every action. Does this mean we do not do anything? Abba Poemen said even if our motives are impure, we still need to serve others. This reminds me of the disciples who complained to Jesus that some people were baptising people in His Name. Jesus' answer is illuminating - so what, they are also doing God's work! (paraphrased Mark 9:38-39)
The second lesson is that we have to sow even if the harvest will be meagre. In the parable, Abba Poemen did not elaborate on the soil condition in the town. The soil must have been so infertile that the second farmer did not even bother to sow. Yet the elder said, "So it is with us: we sow a little poor grain, so that we will not die of hunger." There are times when our service seems to fall on such hard ground. For all that we put into our labours, the outcome is so discouraging. We became frustrated because we do not see the fruit of our labour. Those whom we serve do not appreciate us. Our loved ones misunderstand our calling. We burn ourselves out in an effort to generate "results." As we look at our own service or ministry situations, we maybe tempted to give up like the second farmer. Jeremiah, often known as the "weeping prophet;' never did see the fruit of his labour. In spite of his preaching, his people refused to repent and he saw the destruction of his beloved country. Yet Jeremiah persisted until the end. Explorer and missionary Dr David Livingstone made one convert in all his years of hard work in darkest Africa. Yet his explorations opened the way for others to follow, and the years after his death saw the opening of Africa to see the Light.
Abba Poemen's message is simple: Just serve the Lord as faithfully as you can. Sometimes we can be so hung up on the whys and wherefores that we lose sight of our calling. We are called to be faithful servants.
It's okay to want to set an example for others. It's not necessarily pride - though a bit of pride is in a way involved.
It's okay to blog about my life and joys and successes, and to preach using positive personal lessons I am learning .Yes, there is the danger of becoming puffed up but it is also truth in real life. It's okay for me to be tired and discouraged and even a bit grumpy (occasionally). It's part of being a flawed human, and it's okay as long as I also repent and learn and grow to be a better person in Christ.
It's okay for me to grab hold of the many opportunities that have the potential to further the kingdom of God. Yes, even positions that put me into positions of greater authority than I am fully comfortable with. It is a good thing to be willing to serve in such positions when one enters with a deep awareness and fear the temptation of power and glory.
The second lesson is that we have to sow even if the harvest will be meagre.
Other Paul's reflections
Keep in Step
Why the Hulk should be red not green
How expensive is your church?
How heavy is your burden?
Shout to the world
The silence in the noise
Omission and Commission
A Burning Bush
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Jesus Prayer
Prayer is something we talk about a lot but seldom practice. Few of us have set times of daily prayers and even fewer keep to them. Our most intense period of prayers is when we or our loved ones are in grave needs. After that period is over and the crisis resolved, many of us find it difficult to lead a consistent prayer life. For many of us, the concept of persistent prayer blows our mind. The reason is that many of us find it difficult to pray for long periods without running out of words or repeating ourselves. What do we pray about when we have gone through our “prayer lists”? Many of our prayer lists are actually “want lists” or “shopping lists” to be presented to God. Yet the apostle Paul unapologically asks us to pray “unceasingly” or “continually”(NIV) (1 Thess. 5:17).
One of the prayers which I find most helpful in helping me to pray unceasingly is the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer was a common prayer of the early church. This prayer is still a favourite prayer of the Orthodox Catholic Church or commonly known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The apostolic church was a single church until 1024 when it was split into the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Catholic Church by an event appropriately named the East-West Schism. The Protestant movement, of which the Presbyterians are one of the inheritors, came out of the Roman Catholic Church. In many ways, the practices of the Orthodox Catholic Church reflect the practices of the early church.
The Jesus Prayer in its commonest form is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This prayer has two essential components. The first is the acknowledgement of the supremacy of Jesus Christ as described in the great Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11. The second component is the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, in which the Pharisee demonstrates the improper way to pray by exclaiming: "Thank you Lord that I am not like the Publican", whereas the Publican prays correctly in humility, saying "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner" (Luke 18:10-14). The Jesus Prayer is a prayer addressed to God asking for mercy.
The Jesus Prayer is also known as the prayer of the heart. The Song of Solomon's passage from the Old Testament “I sleep, but my heart is awake” (Song of Solomon 5:2) declares that for persons in love, their beloved is never far from their hearts. The analogy being that as a lover is always conscious to his or her beloved, people can also achieve a state of “constant prayer” where they are always conscious of God's presence in their lives.
The prayer is repeated slowly and prayerfully. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Repeatedly proclaiming the divinity of Christ and asking for mercy is not vain repetition. It is different from chanting a mantra or a self help technique. It is “continuous” worship in invoking the name of Christ and acknowledging our dependence upon Him. Mercy here is not just for salvation only but also for our spiritual well being. Unlike mantras, the Jesus Prayer may be translated into any language.
Initially you may need to find a quiet place to pray the Jesus Prayer. To pray the Jesus prayer is to repeat “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner” as many times as your time period allows. Gradually, as you become more used to it, you find you will be able to pray it while you are doing other things. The Jesus Prayer may be prayed anywhere. There are no special postures associated with it.
In this multi-tasking form, you can pray unceasingly while you do other things. People who have been praying the Jesus Prayer for many years will tell you that they are able to work, play, love and rest while part of their minds are praying the Jesus Prayer. There is also a story told that when a certain devout Orthodox Church lady was coming out of anesthesia after an operation, the surgical nurses heard her praying the Jesus Prayer before she herself became fully conscious!
The spiritual teachers of the Orthodox Church claim that initially you pray the Jesus Prayer but soon the Jesus Prayer prays you. The continuous invoking the Name of God and petitioning for mercy has a power effect on our spiritual formation. It makes us sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and empowers the “renovation of our hearts.” The Jesus Prayer is one prayer I pray constantly and I sincerely invite you to pray it too.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thomas Merton on Distractions
Suppose that my "poverty" be a hunger for spiritual riches: suppose that by pretending to empty myself, pretending to be silent, I am really trying to conjole God into enriching me with some experience - what then?
Then everything becomes a distraction. All created things interfere with my quest for some special experience. I must shut them out, or they will tear me apart. What is worst - I, myself am distraction. But, unhappiest of all - if my prayer is centered in myself, if it seeks only an enrichment of my own self, my prayer will be my greatest potential distraction. Full of my own curiosity, I have eaten of the tree of Knowledge and torn myself away from myself and God.
I am left rich and alone and nothing can assuage my hunger: everything I touch turns into distraction.
Thoughts in Solitude, 93
Friday, April 23, 2010
Help, Someone Hacked My Website!
Someone hacked into my website Kairos Spiritual Formation a few days ago and Google and Firefox showed this dreaded message everytime someone try to access my URL.
This is the first time I heard of an "attack page." An attack page, I found out is, when someone hacked into your website and install some malicious software that either changes your website or redirect your readers to other websites. I immediately emailed my website host server which immediately replied that it has nothing to do with them.
I next tried to find out the extend of the attack by using Google Webmaster Tools Diagnostic. It was very helpful in identifying all the codes that the hacker/hackers has inserted into my website. Then followed many tedious hours of deleting the said code from my website. Thank God that I was able to remove all these code because Google and Firefox restored access to my website.
I felt sad and disappointed that people will do something like that. It is like someone breaking into your house and desecrating it. Kyrie eleison.
PADERI-Run With The Horses 3
FROM BROKENNESS TO WHOLENESS
15-18 JULY 2010 (Thursday-Sunday)
METHODIST CENTENNIAL CHEEFOO CENTRE,
Welcome to another PADERI “Run with the Horses” annual conference. This is the third in our series of conferences for pastors and Christian leaders in pastoral ministry. The theme calls us to seek the Lord as we reflect on pastoral development and renewal in
CONFERENCE SPEAKERS – PLENARY SESSIONS
FROM BROKENNESS TO WHOLENESS - Dr. Monty Barker
Because of sin and psychological brokenness, all of us carry baggage of some kind into our ministries. Many pastors and church leaders are unaware of, or unwilling to face up to their own insecurity, brokenness and weakness. Careful analysis of our human condition is needed to help us arrive at a proper self-understanding. This enables us to move towards healing and wholeness. In dealing with these issues, Dr Barker will seek to integrate psychological analysis with biblical and theological insights.
Dr Monty Barker will address the whole area of our psychological brokenness and how these become our baggage that we carry into our lives, marriages and ministries. Our concern is to provide pastors and lay leaders in the church opportunity to process our own upbringing, growing-up years, and subsequent life experiences! Dr Barker will speak over four sessions.
GOD’S FATHERHOOD AND THE HEALING OF BROKEN LIVES – Bishop Dr. Hwa Yung
The Bible expositions will focus on the Fatherhood of God in the Christian life. To know that I am God’s child, loved, forgiven and accepted, is the most important identity of a Christian in the New Testament. It is also key to healing and wholeness in the Christian life, precisely because it addresses critical issues such as our personal identity, insecurity, fear of rejection, confidence in prayer and spiritual authority. Rev. Hwa Yung will have two sessions with us.
PLENARY SPEAKERS’ PROFILES
DR. MONTY BARKER, MB, ChB; FRCP, FRCPsych; DPM
Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist
Dr Monty Barker graduated in Medicine in 1960. He then specialised in Psychiatry. For over 40 years he combined treating patients, directing clinical services, teaching undergraduates and training post-graduates, as well as speaking to theological students and pastors. He has lectured in
Dr Barker is married to Rosemary and they have two adult children and one grandson. He is now retired, and spends a portion of each year teaching and conducting seminars in seminaries and churches in
BISHOP HWA YUNG
Hwa Yung is the Bishop of the
Labels: Conference Information
Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 12, Number 17
Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 12, Number 17 (April 25 to May 1, 2010), is now available. The following articles are featured in this issue:
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, Part VIII
By: Martin Luther
Webpage PDF Word
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Book Notes on The Kingdom Life
Alan Andrews (ed.), (March 2010), The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation, Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
It is heartening to note that there are many new books on spiritual formation that moves beyond teaching spiritual disciplines and a contemplative life to engage on the theology of (Christian) spiritual formation. In September 2002, a group of theologians, pastors, authors and church leaders got together to form the Theological and Cultural Thinkers (TACT) group to serve as a think tank on spiritual formation. This book which is a collaborative effort of some best in the field which reads like a list of who’s who in spiritual formation and discipleship: Dallas Willard, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, Keith Andrews, Bill Hull, Keith Meyer, Peggy Reynoso, Paula Fuller, Bruce Demarest, Michael Glerup, Christopher Morton, Richard Averbeck and Alan Andrews.
TACT defines seven process elements of spiritual formation and three theological elements in this book. Each of these elements is expanded upon by one of TACT’s members as a chapter in the book. The process elements of spiritual formation are:
The gospel of the kingdom is the realm of God’s active goodness in forming us in Christ as we follow Him. The
Spiritual formation is rooted in relationship with God and one another. Communities of grace and trust open the door to gaining permission to share truth among fellow believers and the unbelieving world.
Spiritual formation into Christlikeness involves an intentional public, personal, and communal commitment to living as Jesus’ disciples who are being transformed into His image in all aspects of our lives as we learn to obey His commands.
Spiritual formation is a lifelong pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ from the inside out and not a matter of external activity alone.
Spiritual formation is a continual process of transforming the whole person, including the healing of woundedness and rebellion, by the power of God, not to be confused with mere technique or program.
Spiritual formation occurs when God, in His grace, invades the destructiveness of suffering that result from the fall of man and uses the pain of suffering that results for His redemptive purposes in His people. There is also unique suffering that shapes the formation of believers as they enter into the call to love a lost world and the inevitable suffering that result from that love.
Spiritual formation in Christ is a process of growing in kingdom living and participating in God’s mission. This begins with our personal reconciliation with God and results in an irrepressible manifestation of God’s good news. Disciples of the kingdom labor in community for reconciliation with God and one another as a central priority of mission. They also pursue justice and compassion for all people and work to correct institutional sin inherent in human structures.
The theological elements of spiritual formation are:
The theology of spiritual formation emerges from the Trinitarian nature of God – relational, loving, gracious, mutually submissive, and unified in will.
Spiritual formation takes place by the direct work of the Holy Spirit, regenerating and conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ as the Spirit indwells, fills, guides, gifts, and empowers people for life in the community of faith and in the world.
Spiritual formation is based upon the Bible as God’s reliable and authoritative revelation. The Bible, our primary source of truth, guides and informs the use of spiritual disciplines and models of spirituality as they have emerged worldwide and throughout time.
These key process elements of spiritual formation as highlighted by TACT is an intentional lifelong process that transforms with suffering as one of the agents of learning and with healing of “woundedness and rebellion” of a person from “inside-out” to the image of Christ. This involves “kingdom living and participating in God’s mission” and is lived out in communities and in relationships with others. The basis is the nature of the Trinitarian God and is the direct work of the Holy Spirit with the Bible as God’s revelation. While it is crafted by Evangelical authors based upon churches in the
A comparison of TACT’s elements of spiritual formation may be made with A Call to Spiritual Formation drafted by another study group on spiritual formation and proclaimed during the Renovaré International Conference in June of 2009, at
Christian spiritual formation is the process of being shaped by the Spirit into the likeness of Christ, filled with love for God and the world.
God calls us all to become like Jesus. Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”* We experience this abundance of life – here and now – as our passions, character, understanding, and relationships are increasingly aligned with those of Christ. This lifelong transformation within and among us is the continual gift of God’s Spirit. We are called to be renewed into the likeness of Jesus – but we do not always fully embrace this calling. Sometimes we seem content to be known as “Christians” without intentionally engaging with this work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Other times we desperately long for a new way of life, wanting to grow in our walk with Jesus, but needing help and encouragement. We, therefore, commit to pursue passionately and to receive joyfully God’s grace to be more fully transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (John 7:37–39;*John 10:10;Romans 8:29;1 Corinthians 11:1;1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 3:17–18;2 Corinthians 4:16–18; 2 Corinthians 5:16–21;Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 3:16–19;1 John 3:2;1 John 4:17)
As we are rooted in Jesus and in the kingdom he proclaims, we are progressively transformed. Jesus is the center of all life and history, both the source and goal of all creation. God shaped this universe as a place where the love and life of Jesus Christ might flourish. Because we are formed in the divine image, we have the capacity to receive and express this life and love. Although human disobedience corrupts the divine image in us, God still forms a people able to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves. Jesus makes this possible through his life, death, and resurrection. In him we experience a restored relationship of love with God and one another, and continual transformation into his likeness. We are becoming a reconciled and renewed community – which is both the goal and the substance of life in God’s kingdom. This is the good news we proclaim with joy to the whole world. (Genesis 1:26–28; Genesis 3:1–7;Proverbs 8:22–31;Isaiah 42:5–9;Jeremiah 31:33–34;Mark12:28–34;John 1:1–18; John 13:34–35;Romans 5:9–11;Romans 8:1–11;Romans 8:19–23;Ephesians 2:11–22;Colossians 1:9–23;1 Thessalonians 5:23;1 John 2:7–11)
Our engagement with God’s transforming grace is vital. Renewal into the image of Christ is not a human attainment; it is a gift of grace. God mercifully uses all our experiences, including our suffering and trials, to teach and transform us. Even so, transformation requires our involvement and effort. We need to make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit’s work in all our life experiences, particularly through intentional engagement with historical Christian disciplines, including Word and sacrament. These practices open us to the presence and grace of God. As a result, we become, through time and experience, the kind of persons who naturally express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Matthew 5:43–48; Matthew 11:29–30; Luke 6:40; John 7:38; John 15:5–17; Romans 12:1–2; Galatians 5:16–25; Philippians 2:12–13; Philippians 3:12–16; Titus 2:11–14; Hebrews 5:13–6:1;Hebrews 12:7–13; James 4:7–8;1 Peter 2:2;1 Peter 4:1–2)
Spiritual formation happens in community. As we long to know and follow Jesus and be formed into his likeness, we journey with those who share this longing. God is calling the church to be a place of transformation. Here we struggle to fulfill our calling to love. Here we learn to attend to the invitations of God’s Spirit. Here we follow the presence of God in our midst. Spiritual community is the catalyst for our transformation and a sending base for our mission of love to the world. (Matthew 18:20; Luke 6:12–19; John 17:20–26; Acts 2:42–47; Romans 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 12:1–7; Galatians 6:1–2; Ephesians 4:1–16; Hebrews 10:23–25;1 Peter 2:4–10)
Spiritual formation is, by its very nature, missional. As we are formed into the likeness of Christ, we increasingly share God’s infinitely tender love for others. We deepen in our compassion for the poor, the broken, and the lost. We ache and pray and labor for others in a new way, a selfless way, a joy‐filled way. Our hearts are enlarged toward all people and toward all of creation. (Isaiah 60:1–4; Matthew 5:14–16; Matthew 28:18–20; John 3:16–21; John 20:21–23; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Galatians 6:10; 1 John 4:7–21)
We invite all people, everywhere, to embrace with us this calling to become like Jesus. By God’s grace, we will seek to become lovers: lovers of God, lovers of people, and lovers of all creation. We will immerse ourselves in a lifestyle that is attentive and responsive to the gracious presence of God. We commit ourselves to the community of Christ’s beloved, the church, so that we can learn this way of love together. We entreat you to join us. (Matthew 5:1–10; Matthew 13:44–46; Mark 1:15;Luke 9:23–24;Romans 12:1–2; 2 Corinthians 6:1; 1 Timothy 6:11–12; Revelation 21:2;Revelation 22:17)
The elements of A Call to Spiritual Formation are similar to those suggested by the TACT group. Again, the weakness seems to be the lesser role of the Christian faith communities as compared to the role of the individuals involved. The role mentioned is that the “church to be a place of transformation.” The church or Christian faith community is not just a place for transformation but should be a transforming agent itself. Unlike the TACT group, the drafters of A Call did not give any theological grounding except numerous biblical references. For more details, see my Critique of A Call to Spiritual Formation
This book The Kingdom Life deals mainly with defining the nature and process of spiritual formation. The question a discerning reader will ask is how these process elements of spiritual formation may be applied in a church setting. In the epilogue, Alan Andrews and Christopher Morton mentioned some guiding principles of what they called ‘spiritual-formation church.’ These guiding principles are:
Guiding Principle 1:
Spiritual formation occurs in believers as they engage in intentional personal formation, community formation and missional formation. These three dimensions of spiritual development must not be compartmentalized or separated but organically connected.
Guiding Principle 2:
The center of the spiritual-formation church is Jesus and His kingdom. The Bible is a Christocentric book. Jesus’ primary message was about the immediate nearness and availability of His kingdom to us.
Guiding Principle 3:
Every spiritual-formation church must be rooted in the soil of the lost, the vulnerable, and the least.
Guiding Principle 4:
The spiritual-formation church should seek to create an environment of grace that welcomes everyone who will come to the “rivers of living water” (John 7:38, NASB) that resides in the culture of God’s kingdom.
Guiding Principle 5:
The spiritual-formation church must seek to reach, teach, and practically engage the people in spiritual formation. This means intentional spiritual formation must be the central passion of the church.
Guiding Principle 6:
Equipping people for ministry is critical to the health of the spiritual-formation church.
Guiding Principle 7:
The spiritual-formation church develops new leaders for the advancement of the gospel and the spiritual formation of the people of God.
Guiding Principle 8:
The Bible uses multiple metaphors to describe the people of God, but the primary descriptors are organic – for example, body and family (p. 301-312).
Andrews and Morton pointed out correctly that “intentional spiritual formation must be the central passion of the church.” The central passion of the spiritual-formation church is the place for “intentional personal formation, community formation and missional formation.” This implies that the spiritual-formation church is not just a place where believers practice the spiritual disciplines and be missional. It means more than that. The question to be asked is whether the present institutional church with its formative practices is the ideal model for spiritual formation and discipleship to take place. Is there a need to reorganize the formative practices and even the structure of the church itself? These are important questions if the central passion of the church is intentional spiritual formation.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ken Robinson on Schools kill Creativity
Speakers Ken Robinson: Author/educator
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance. Robinson's TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."
A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Eugene Peterson on Spiritual Theology
I always regard Eugene Peterson as one of the modern masters of spiritual theology. I am sure he does not think of himself that way. He was one of the few early Evangelicals who was into spiritual theology before it became popular. He is the Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology of Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. His earlier books are still worth reading. These five books of a conversation on spiritual theology together are Eugene Peterson's magnum opus on the subject.
Jesus is God incarnate, a God who is immanent and transcendent. In this book, Peterson shows an immanent Christ that is present in us all and in creation. This forms the framework for the rest of the books on spiritual theology
The book is about the Bible and how we as Christians are to understand the truths that are in it. Peterson, the author of The Message which is a modern paraphrase and translation of the Bible is in a unique position to show us what teaching and learning from the Word of God is about. He challenges us from mere cognitive understanding to propositional truths to assimilating and living it out the Bible - hence eat the book.
How we do as disciples of Jesus Christ behave and live in this world is the subject of this book.
Languages are important media of communications. In this book, Peterson takes on the way we understand truth and how our culture limits our understanding. Peterson shows us the way Jesus uses languages to teach his disciples.
This is the final book in the series. Peterson wraps up his discourse on spiritual theology by exploring what spiritual growth or spiritual formation involves.
Friday, April 16, 2010
On scandal and scandals
The latest from Thinking Faith...
On scandal and scandals
Recent headlines about clerical sexual abuse in the
have focused largely on the way in which the Church has handled claims of abuse and on the postulated link between abuse and mandatory celibacy for . Psychologist Brendan Callaghan SJ looks closely at these aspects of a tragic situation, asking how the Church has arrived at a place of such suffering, betrayal and anger.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 12, Number 16
Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 12, Number 16 (April 18 to April 24, 2010), is now available. The following articles are featured in this issue:
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, Part VII
By: Martin Luther
Webpage PDF Word
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
TEDS: Growing Organs Engineering Tissues
Speakers Anthony Atala: Urologist
Anthony Atala asks, "Can we grow organs instead of transplanting them?" His lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is doing just that -- engineering tissues and whole organs (bladders and, soon, kidneys) using smart bio-materials and cutting-edge techniques.
Anthony Atala is the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where his work focuses on growing and regenerating tissues and organs. His team engineered the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human -- a bladder -- and is developing experimental fabrication technology that can "print" human tissue on demand.
In 2007, Atala and a team of Harvard University researchers showed that stem cells can be harvested from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women. This and other breakthroughs in the development of smart bio-materials and tissue fabrication technology promises to revolutionize the practice of medicine.
Two Chairs: Process of Spiritual Formation
Labels: Spiritual Formation
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Text: Eph. 4:1
When God’s calling and our living fits, we are growing up in Christ: God’s calling; our living. We can only appreciate fully the wonderful gifts of God if we are living our lives in a worthy manner.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Good to Great to Godly
VISION & DIRECTION
Good to Great to Godly
Corporate wisdom means "getting the right people on the bus," but spiritual leadership requires something more.
"We need more structure in our decision making. Without that discipline, we'll never accomplish anything."
"We're a church, not a business. We need to rely on God. We can't operate like the corporate world."
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Saturday, April 10, 2010
Life is not a straight line
In his book A Sweet and Bitter Providence, John Piper offers these thoughts about God's providence:
Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence (Crossway Books & Bibles, 2010), pp.101-102
Labels: Really Random Musings
Friday, April 09, 2010
Virtual Mentor: The Ethics of Obesity
Are obese people discriminated against? Is there a professional bias towards obese patients? These are very relevant questions that needs to be answered.
Virtual Mentor. April 2010, Volume 12, Number 4: 253-356. Full Issue PDF
April 2010 Contents
Medical Ethics Confronts Obesity
From the Editor
here are some selections