Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tapscott: Grown Up Digital

Don Tapscott (2009) Grown Up Digital : How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, (New York, NY: McGraw Hill)

This is a much anticipated book and I have been looking forward to reading it. Don Tapscott is Chairman of nGenera Innovation Network which is a research company and adjunct professor of management at the Joseph L. Rahman School of Management, University of Toronto. Tapscott is well respected for insightful comments in his books which include Wikinomics, Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy and Growing Up Digital.

Grown Up Digital is a followup on Tapscott’s earlier 1997 work, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation in which he clarified how different the present generation is from the previous ones because of the improvement in communication technology especially the Internet. Now a decade later, there are enough data to confirm his hypothesis.

This present book is based on the findings of a $4 million research project, “The Net Generation: A Strategic Investigation.” More than 10,000 people were interviewed in 2007 and at least 40 reports have been generated. From his findings a clearer picture of this Net generation is emerging.

Where there are many areas of interest touched upon in this book, almost all are based on the eight “norms’ characteristics of the Net generation. These may be summarised as:

1. They want freedom in everything they do, from freedom of choice to freedom of expression
2. They love to customize, personalize
3. They are the new scrutinizers
4. They look for corporate integrity and openness when deciding what to buy and where to work
5. They wants entertainment and play in their work, education, and social life
6. They are collaboration and relationship generation
7. The Net Gen has a need for speed
8. They are the innovators

Using these descriptive behavioural norms, Tapscott seeks to explain their effect on culture, work attitudes, markets, family, learning and education. The section on the need to adapt learning and education to these norms are especially helpful.

While Tappscott paints an overall positive picture of the Net Gen, it must be pointed out that he is dealing with a particular narrow segment of the North American privileged group of young people (and he seems to model heavily on his own children). It will be interesting to know about the characteristics of the Asian Net Gen or South American Net Gen. One also needs to take into account the digital divide in the Net Gen itself.

Together with the launch of the book, Tappscott has created a website, Grown Up Digital in which a new initiative Net Gen Educator Challenge was also launched. To visit the site, click here.

This is a good book to read about the younger generation and indispensible for educators. Highly recommended.


Four Generations: From 1946 to Present

1. The Baby Boom generation: January 1946 to December 1964 – 19 years

2. Generation X January 1965 to December 1976 – 12 years

3. The Net Generation: January 1977 to December 1997 – 21 years

4. Generation Next: January 1998 to present

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Darwinism makes Agnostics or Atheists

From Christianity Today, January, 2009

The scientist's problem with God did not spring from his theory.


Julie Andrews and her favourite things

Dame Julie Andrews

To commemorate her 69th birthday , actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan 's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP.
One of the musical numbers she performed was 'My Favorite Things' from the legendary movie 'Sound Of Music'. Here are the lyrics she used:

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,

I simply remember my favorite things,

And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Note: She's 74 now.


Friday, January 30, 2009

50 Years After the Second Vatican Council

The latest from Thinking Faith...

A hermeneutic of discontinuity
25th January 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. John Moffatt SJ looks at how we can understand the changes in the Church since the Council: do certain developments constitute a rupture with tradition, or should they be embraced as examples of growth in the life of the Church? Read >>


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can you read my webpage?

As some of you will know, I have a website, Kairos Spiritual Formation which I have been slowly and painstakingly building up for the last 3 years. I hope to develop it into a ministry resource centre for teaching, training and research into Christian spiritual formation. I update weekly or sometimes more frequently using Microsoft FrontPage 2003.

Recently I discovered to my horror that only those using the Microsoft browser Internet Explorer was able to read what I have posted on the website. Other browser like Firefox have problem showing the whole webpage. Listening to some online forum it was alluded to that the html writer program, FrontPage "purposely" write some code into the page so that only Internet Explorer browser users can read the webpages. I do not know how far this is true.

Do other website owners have this problem with different browsers?

Can anyone help me to make my website, Kairos Spiritual Formation readable to all browsers?


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Tozer on Fear

The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there's nothing I want, and in the will of God there's nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will. If I'm out of his will that's another matter. But if I'm in His will, He's sworn to keep me."

Success and the Christian, 80.

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Playing Halo 3 on XBox 360

Since getting a Xbox 360, I have played Ninja Gaiden 2, a third person fighter and Gears of War 3, a third person shooter. Encouraged that a baby boomer can still play Xbox games, I next turned my attention to Halo 3, a first person shooter video game.

I soon discovered that playing a first person shooter is different from the others. It demands a more rapid respond time, lightning fast hand-eye coordination and good peripheral vision. I find that after a steep learning curve I was able to handle the game well. This is personally very encouraging. This means that my neuro-pathways are still malleable to changes. The old school of neurosciences taught that our brain have a fixed number of neurons and neuro-pathways at birth and the rest of our lives is a period of gradual degeneration of neurons and neuro-pathways. Newer findings now find that our brains continue to grow new neurons and develop new neuro-pathways throughout our lives. This is encouraging.

Halo 3 is a well designed game by Bungie for the Xbox 360 platform. The game play is good with seamless merging of game play and cut scenes. The graphic in the cut scenes are fantastic and I almost feel I am watching an interactive movie. I play the role of Master Chief who is a soldier in a Spartan body armour, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier, as he wages war in defense of humanity, assisted by human Marines as well as an allied alien race called Elites, which is led by the Arbiter. The universe-building mythos of Halo is good though at times confusing. Halo 3's story centers on the interstellar war between 26th century humanity, led by the United Nations Space Command, and a collection of alien races known as the Covenant.I am glad I have read five Halo novels (The Flood, First Strike, Fall of Reach, The Cole Protocol and Contact Harvest ) before playing this game.

Aside from acting and shooting as a soldier, I get to drive bikes, jeeps, planes and of course, save the universe from a fate worse than death. What more could a guy ask for? It was with a satisfied grunt that I finished the game over the three days of the Chinese New Year (my daughter helped a bit). I have not played the other two games but apparently Halo 3 completes the events started in the other two thus concluding the trilogy.


The Philosophy of Battlestar Galactica

Evolve or Die
Battlestar Galactica: New life impossible without death.

Battlestar Galactica
SciFi Channel

Evolve or die—that is humanity's dilemma as Battlestar Galactica enters its final season. It's a familiar concept to those who devoured Eckhart Tolle's Oprah-baptized The New Earth, a compelling, winsome song of freedom that appeals to our inner survivor. If we marshal our resources, we can leave all our cares behind. We may even transcend death itself. But Galactica dares to suggest that freedom isn't what we might think it is.

read more

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Postcards from the Edge (2)


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rediscovering Centeredness

©Andris Piebalgs |

I started a journal to pair with reading this book. It’s the first such journal I have consistently written in. What strikes me, is the fact that journaling is too a lost practice among many Christians. Which has prompted me to find the reason for disappearance of these disciplines. The only answer I can find is the trend to become more free-spirited in our religious pursuits, trading what benefits us for what feels better, what is more enticing. The idea of prolong stretches of silence in a church service equates to the unexpected interruption of a blockbuster movie at the theater. We leave, we check out.

Moments of silence, of stillness offer us the opportunity to reflect, to consider, to digest what we’ve seen, heard, and emotionally felt. Instead we tend towards the side of annoyance, disparaged by the halt in “entertainment” which what so many evangelical churches have become. I know they, the pastors and church staff, mean well. Still, how can I really implement anything they teach if I don’t quiet myself long enough to hear the expressed and implied meaning of the message?

read more

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Clint Eastwood in Kelly's Heroes

Revisited an old 1970 Clint Eastwood movie today. Despite the passage of years, Kelly's Heroes remains as lovable as I first watched it many years ago. The movie includes a large cast of odd characters played by Telly Salavas, Don Knotts and Donald Sutherland. It is a military comedy about a laid-back platoon of soldiers committing the perfect crime-robbing a bank of gold bullion belonging to the German army in German held territories.

And the theme song, Burning Bridges is catchy.

Jolly good fun


Postcards from the Edge (1)


Welcoming the Year of the Ox

Wishing all of my readers a Happy and Prosperous Chinese Lunar New Year and
Japanese readers a Happy New Year


Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 11, Number 04

The Heavenly Priestly Activity of Christ
An Article
By: John Murray
Webpage PDF Word

Hebrews 12:18-29
A Sermon
By: Scott Lindsay
Webpage PDF Word

To the Church in Smyrna
An Article
By: Kim Riddlebarger
Webpage PDF Word


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Conversations on Emergent, Missional and Monastics

Missional, Monastic, Emerging: A Traveler's Guide in the August 2008 issue of Next-Wave Ezine.

It’s helpful to characterize the four conversations as Sine did, with four streams denoted by emerging, missional, monastic and mosaic (Find Andrew Perrimann’s summary HERE). It’s even more interesting to observe the convergence of these energies, all birthed by the Holy Spirit. Each brings their own renewal dynamic to the broader church, and I’m convinced that the convergence zone is where some of the most creative experiments will occur. Convergence is evident in places like Life on the Vine, where monastic is meeting missional and emergent, or in kingdom initiatives like ALLELON, where a similar dynamic is at work...

After these observations I was left running a structural taxonomy in my head, so I created it in PaintShop. What this requires is some kind of consensus on essential characteristics of each stream...

Worthwhile to read the whole article.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Gears of War 2

Completed the game Gears of War 2 in 4 days. Gears of War 2 is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games. It was published by Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360 . I am quite satisfied with our performance. My daughter and I played a two person team and we managed to complete the game without using any cheats or walkthrough (ahem).

No, I am not entering my second childhood or becoming senile. Though in a couple of years I will be eligible to watch movies at half price which may not be a bad thing. I want to understand the younger generation and one of the ways to do that is to do what they are doing. I have been exploring their use of the Internet (hence bloggings, Facebooks, etc). Now I have included exploring their computer videos games.
Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the detonation of the Lightmass Bomb at the end of the first game. Though most of the Locust Horde was destroyed, the explosion also caused much of the liquid Imulsion underground to vaporize, causing a fatal disease called rustlung to spread among the diminished human population. After months of peace, the cities of Tollen and Montevado suddenly and mysteriously disappear underground, leading the COG to suspect the resurgence of the Locust. Soon after, the once impenetrable Jacinto, one of the last remaining safe havens for humans, begins to show signs that the same fate awaits it. In order to stop the fall of Jacinto, the COG responds with a large-scale counter-offensive against the Locust. Senior Producer Rod Fergusson says "In order to save Jacinto, [the COG] have no choice but to take the war to the Locust." source
The gameplay is not easy. I find that I have to train myself to use the XBox console which consists of little colored buttons. It is also a high adrenaline fast moving game so in my excitement I always pressed the wrong buttons. It is stressful too and maybe I should check my blood pressure. Compared to my daughter I find that my response time is slower. I take longer to analyse fast moving color images and formulate a response. However that become easier later in the game as I completed my learning curve. I am gratified that it is still possible to learn to play computer games at my age. I guess the neuro-pathways I use will be different from those my daughter is using but we achieve our objective in the end.

I discovered that it is a fallacy that gamers are interested in the violence and the bloody gore. I do not deny that these are present. Nevertheless I discovered that gamers are more interested to achieve their mission goals or defeat the 'big boss.' They will try a many different approaches as possible until they have achieved their goals. I believe that this is a mode of learning, maybe different from the mode of learning we older folks are used too.

In the final analysis, it is fun and I get to do a team gameplay with my daughter.

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The Nightmares of Iron Man

There have been numerous comic stories about Iron Man since the phenomenon success of the Iron Man movie. Previous Iron Man stories are good such as The Armour Wars and Demon in a Bottle. However the newer stories are better. Unlike other superheroes, Iron Man is a highly sophisticated suit. These means than anyone may steal, duplicate or improve on its technologies. The man inside the suit is also important These leads to the 5 nightmares Tony Stark has:

#1:That he get drunk.Tony Stark is a recovered alcoholic. These means that he is always in danger of becoming one again. The stress of being Iron Man and being the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. may yet drive him off the edge.

#2: That Iron Man technology become cheaper and easily duplicable. This means that anyone may have their own Iron Man suit.

#3: That someone other than Tony Stark and Rhodes (Warmachine) start piloting Iron Man. A powerful weapon like that in the wrong hands may be castrotrophic.

#4: That Iron Man becomes disposable. Cheap and replaceable like a cell phone.

#5: That someone who is smarter than Stark will come along and make better Iron Man armours.

In this graphic novel which collects Invincible Iron Man #1-7 shows how Tony Stark's nightmares came true - in the form of Ezekiel Stane, the son of Obadiah Stane. As all true blue Iron Man movie goer will know, Obadiah Stane was Tony's former partner and enemy who was killed in the movie. Ezekiel is younger and smarter than Tony Stark. This story was written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Salvador Larocca.

A truly enjoyable read and beautiful illustrations.

'Nuff said!

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New Wave: Ten Years of the Emerging Churches

As Next-Wave turns ten years old with its January 2009 issue, it provides a good opportunity to look back over the short history of the emerging church in North America. Next-Wave, after all, is the publication most closely associated with the emerging church conversation and many of the movement’s most prominent leaders have contributed articles to the online journal over the years.

Ten Years Out: A Retrospective on the Emerging Church in North America

Brian McLaren – Named by Time Magazine as one of The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America and often considered the father of the emerging church, Brian’s books A New Kind of Christian and Generous Orthodoxy are considered by many to be two of the most important books published within the conversation.

Jordon Cooper – Canada’s Jordon Cooper is an influential emerging church blogger., which Jordon began in 2001, was an important early clearinghouse of emerging church information.

Tony Jones – Tony, the author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, until very recently was National Coordinator of Emergent Village and has been engaged in emerging church conversation since the famous Dallas Pappasito’s Cantina meeting in August of 1998.

Scot McKnight – Scot, an author who serves as the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago, is a prolific blogger who has been participating in the emerging church conversation for many years. Scot also serves on the Creative Team of The Origins Project.

Andrew Jones – Andrew is a New Zealander pastor and missionary who currently lives in the United Kingdom and serves as Director of the Boaz Project. An A-list ec blogger, Andrew was an early leader in Emergent Village and spent several years ministering in the United States.

Dan Kimball – Dan, who serves Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California as their Pastor of Mission and Teaching, wrote The Emerging Church. Dan’s also one of the founders of The Origins Project.

A Retrospective on the Emerging Church in North America Pt. 1

A Retrospective on the Emerging Church in North America Pt. 2

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Islamic Perspectives on Psychology of Personality

Amber Haque & Yasien Mohamed (ed.) Psychology of Personality: Islamic Perspectives, Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd

The articles in this book is contributed by Islamic scholars from around the lslamic world. The book is divided into three sections:
1. Cosmic Anthropology and the Innate Disposition of Man
2. The Islamic concept of soul, spirit and heart
3. Human motivation and personality types in the Quran

I find these articles interesting as I am also reading LeRon Schults' Reforming Theological Anthropology which examines anthropology from the Christian perspectives.

There are many similarities in the approaches to anthropology.

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Blown2Bits: A Digital Explosion

This 2008 book is written by Hal Abelson, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT, Ken Ledeen, Chairman/CEO of Nevo Technologies and Harry Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard.

The question this book seeks to answer is how the digital explosion will affect life, liberty and happiness. Since this book is written for the North American context, it nevertheless gives some answers to the rest of the world.

Much of the book deals with the tremendous technological leap that took us from there to here. It also identifies two groups of people in North America; these before and after the Internet. Obviously the new generation is more computer savvy and more at home on the Net.

The book raises the issues of copyright (intellectual properties, movies, songs etc) and of personal privacy. The free availability of information (bits) has in many cases forces us to redefine copyright and privacy. Again, the younger generations is more relaxed with these two issues. Note the amount of files being exchanged and the amount of personal information that is being uploaded voluntarily to social networking sites, blogs and websites. This is an interesting book, while not providing trends or answers, gives we something to think about as we run for cover in the digital explosion.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Theological Guide to Calvin's Institute

David Hall & Peter Liliback (Ed)(2008) Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing

One of John Calvin's greatest legacy is his book, Institutes of the Christian Religion. In its final edition (1559), it was a great piece of writing in systematic theology. This year, the 500 anniversary of his birth, one of the Calvin 500 project was to engage and update the Institutes.

The contributors of this book is a formidable list of who's who of Reformed theologians. (Why is there no female?) Each is a specialist in Calvin's Institute. It is a pleasure to read as each engages with the Institute with his expertise and context.

This book is an excellent example of the motto of the Reformed tradition, Reformed and always reforming.

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Pew Forum: USA Abortion Views

Thursday, Jan. 22 marks the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade (1973). Abortion remains a divisive issue in the U.S., with a slim majority (53%) in favor of keeping it legal in all or most cases and four-in-10 in favor of making it illegal in all or most cases. However, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that most religious traditions in the U.S. come down firmly on one side or the other. Religious beliefs and practices also influence views on abortion; individuals exhibiting high levels of religious commitment are much more likely to oppose legalized abortion in all or most cases than those who are less-observant.

For an overview of the abortion debate in the U.S., public opinion trends, religious groups' official positions on the issue and more, go to the Pew Forum's abortion resource page »

abortion chart
Data on "Total U.S. Population" from October 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. All other data from the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. For question wording, see the survey topline.

1"Other Faiths" includes Unitarians and other liberal faiths, New Age groups and Native American religions.

HT; Kansas Bob

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lamentations in Gaza

Sirs, the gunfire are getting closer,

the screams are getting louder.

Sirs, my sisters and I are cowering,

under our dining table we are shivering.

Sirs, our playground and school are smashed,

as your tanks through them have crashed.

Sirs, you said we fired missiles at your homes,

actually we are too young to tie our shoelaces alone.

Sirs, we at night often hear our mother crying,

no food, no education, no hope she is sighing.

Sirs, we are scared when papa arrives home insulted,

working your factories; at your roadblocks humiliated.

Sirs, you say our God is terrorism and fanaticism,

that our family and our life is all one fatalism.

Sirs, you said your God is love, hope and light,

but so far we see Him teaching might is right.

Sirs, we are the victims not the aggressors,

do not punish us for the actions of our oppressors,

Sirs, have you no mercy as your bombers dive,

no threat to you I will die before I am five.

picture source


Report of Euthanasia Talk on The Christian Post

Ministry Leader Speaks of Euthanasia, Actually

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 Posted: 3:50:00PM HKT

The three panel speakers at GCF's Euthanasia Forum held yesterday: Dr Alastair Campbell, Dr Alex Tang, and Rev Dr Tan Soo Inn. (Photo: CPS)

For the three panel experts at a Christian Euthanasia forum conducted yesterday, there was no question about whether the community of believers should oppose its legalisation - it was more an issue of definition and scope.

One of them felt that in the midst of extensive debate euthanasia had lost its original meaning of a 'good death'.

Coming against conventional understandings of euthanasia as refusing treatment, an opportunity to get rid of old folks, the Advanced Medical Directive, or doctors as killers – he added that doctors have a license only to save – Dr Alex Tang, the Director of the Spiritual Formation Institute, Malaysia, and a paediatrician at the Johor Specialist Hospital, redefined it in the light of what Scripture approves.

Citing the figure of Jacob as the example of someone who had died a good death, Tang pointed out three characteristics.

“Jacob accepted his death at the appointed time,” he said, framing physical death as one of the realities of life on earth.

Secondly, the patriarch was able to place his life in the context of the ongoing history of God’s salvation. Finally, he perceived earthly death as the point of entry into another life to fulfill God’s purpose.

Emphasising that Christians should not cling on to life, Tang used the model of Jesus Christ, who gave up His life as a redemptive act, and who also died as an act of surrender.

“Euthanasia for Christians is to live well and to die well at the appointed time,” he said.

The forum, entitled Euthanasia: A Christian Perspective, was organised by the Graduates’ Christian Fellowship (GCF), an inter-denominational ministry consisting of professional groups including doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists, counselors, and marketplace professionals to help Christians see and reach their workplaces as mission fields, and also provide a biblical voice via such forums.

For yesterday’s talk, which received a room packed with attendants from various Christian circles, GCF also invited Prof Alastair Campbell, Director of Centre for Biomedical Ethics at National University Singapore, and Rev Dr Tan Soo Inn, Chairman and Training Consultant of Graceworks, and chaplain of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF), a sectional group of the fellowship.

Rev Tan, who was formerly the senior pastor of a large church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, broadened the debate by bringing in the importance of hospice and palliative care for terminal patients. In addressing his topic, he revisited the painful personal experience of caring for a loved one – his wife – who suffered from cancer in the early 1990s and went to be with the Lord some time later.

Tan expressed his concern that Christians could tend to emphasise theological position to the extent that they neglect the day-to-day practical life issues of the care of a suffering, terminal patient who is beyond healing and recovery.

Recalling his own struggles during his wife’s ailment – his wife felt she failed her children, while he felt his world had fallen apart and his son was also burdened with worry – he spoke of the need for Christians to support the hospice movement, whose fourfold purpose is the relief of patients from pain, psychological and spiritual care for patients so they can come to terms with and prepare for death, programmes to help patients live as actively and creatively as possible, promoting autonomy and self-esteem, and helping families cope during the patient’s illness and in bereavement.

On the legalisation of euthanasia, Tang showed using a case study in the U.S. State of Oregon where the bill was passed more than a decade ago allowing for Patient Assisted Suicide that it did not lead to Oregon becoming a ‘suicide capital’ as earlier predicted; out of its large population, only 541 persons opted for it, and out of that, only 341 actually took the lethal medication.

More surprisingly, of those who opted for PAS, only 39 percent articulated fears of being a burden to their families and communities, and less than three percent took the option for ‘financial’ reasons.

“Oregon didn’t become a suicide capital,” said Tang. “No other states followed.”

The issue became a moot one, according to him, and doctors focused more on developing palliative care as an alternative, better pain control, and better diagnosis and treatment of depression, and better medications with minimal side effects.

Edmond Chua

For text of my talk, click here

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The Power of Temptation

The power of temptation is not in its appeal to our baser instincts; if that were the case, it would be natural to be repulsed by it. The power of temptation is in its appeal to our idealism.


Ian Randall: Spiritual Revolution

Ian Randall (2008), Spiritual Revolution: The Story of OM, Milton Keynes, Bucks : Authentic Media

There have been many books on the history of Operation Mobilisation (OM) but this book is unique in that it was issued on the 50th anniversary of the organisation. Randall set out to tell of God's faithfulness in the formation, ministries and sustaining of Operation Mobilisation International. It started with George Verwer's conversion as a teenager in New York. Today OM has its presence in over 100 countries with more than 5000 workers.

The book highlights the various ministries of OM; short term missions, evangelism, literature evangelism, ships and sharper of young lives. It is especially meaningful for me as it has influenced me when I was a young Christian and I am in contact with others who have also been influenced by the organisation. One of them now teaches in a Bible school in Kuala Lumpur while another is a missionary in China. There is an appendix at the end of the book which records ministries started by former OMers and also another list of books written by former OMers.

OM is truly a spiritual revolution involving a team of people dedicated to missions and in the saving of the lost. I strongly recommend this book to those who want to know more about OM.

Update: Thanks Andrew Jones for pointing out that it should be George Verwer instead of George Weaver (already corrected in the text).

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Global Catholicism

Thinking about the Council
Ian Linden, author of a new book on Global Catholicism, looks at the history of the Catholic Church in the fifty years since Pope John XXIII’s announcement of the Second Vatican Council. To what extent can the Church be described as a ‘World Church’? Read >>


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Number of Paediatricians in Malaysia

According to Professor Lee Way Seah, President of the College of Paediatrics, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, as of October 31, 2008, there are 217 paediatricians in Malaysia.
Of these 217, only 35 are in the public sector. The rest are in private practice.

The population of Malaysia is 25,274,132 (July 2008 est.) according to

This makes the paediatrician: population ratio as 1:116,470.65
That is a scary ratio!

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Euthanasia for Christians

Euthanasia for Christians: Why, How and Because

read more


Essential Wolverine Volume 5

I love the Marvel Essential series which is a collection of reprints of their whole run of comic titles at a reasonable price. Printed on newsprint in black and white, I can read them in the toilet and in my bathtub without fear of them being ruined by water. I am more careful with my mint collector single issues.

Wolverine volume five which collects Wolverine #91-110 & Annual 96 and Uncanny X-men #332 is my favourite among the 5 volumes on Wolverine issued so far.

Wolverine is James Howlett also commonly known as Logan, a mutant with fantastic healing power, and with unbreakable adamantium bonded to his bones. He is strong, a savage fighter and have adamantium claws coming out of his fists. He is also short and hairy, something that Hugh Jackson is not. Anyway, I am still looking forward to Hugh Jackson's Wolverine movie later this year.

Everyone always assumed that adamantium was bonded to Logan in the weapon X project to make him stronger. However to every one's surprise, when the adamantium was drawn out of him by Magneto (is adamantium magnetic?), Logan not only survived but revealed that his claws are made of bones. This led to the revelation that the adamantium was essential to Logan to help him keep his animal-side at bay. Without the adamantium, Logan degenerates into an animal - an animal with human cunning, animal strength and bloodlust. This volume documents how Logan was helped by his friends to seek the path back to his humanity.

Wolverine/Logan story lines always fascinate me. He is like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (H.G.Wells) or if you are a Pauline scholar, our old and new natures. Like all of us, Logan has a dark side, a bestial animal side. Like all of us, Logan is always aware that there is a better side, a more human side, and he is always struggling to become that better person. He often fails and gives in to his berserker self but he was contrite after and seeks to better himself. One thing I like about Logan is that he never gives up, that he always believes that he can be better than he is.

'nuff said!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Moses Tay: Born for Blessings

Tay, Moses (2009), Born for Blessings: An Autobiography of Moses Tay, Singapore, Genesis Books.

I am always curious about people who writes their own autobiographies. Moses Tay is a medical doctor who was the Director of Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore before he resigned to take up the post of the 7th Bishop of Singapore (1982-2000) and the 1st Archbishop of South East Asia (1996-2000).

In this highly readable autobiography, Moses Tay set out to narrate the story of his life. It is wonderful to read about his faith and God's bountiful blessings in each of the stages of his life. However, personally I will like to read more about the inner Moses Tay; his struggles, his formative factors and his regrets (if any).

This book will serve as a useful resource for students of Christian history in Malaysia and Singapore, and also of the Anglican community.

Worth reading.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

7 Things Teenage Boys Most Need

Interview With Spiritual Director of Adolescents

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 13, 2009 ( Being the parent of an adolescent boy is legendary for its difficulty. But according to one priest who acts as a spiritual director and confessor for high school boys, just keeping in mind seven points can make for a better relationship with adolescent sons.

Legionary of Christ Father Michael Sliney suggests the following seven necessities for parents of adolescent boys:

1. Clear guidelines with reasonable consequences from a unified front; cutting slack but also holding boys accountable for their actions.

2. Reasonable explanations for the criteria, guidelines and decisions made by parents.

3. Avoiding hyper-analysis of boys' emotions and states of mind: avoiding "taking their temperature" too often.

4. Unconditional love with an emphasis on character and effort more than outcome: Encourage boys to live up to their potential while having reasonable expectations. To love them regardless of whether they make it into Harvard or become a star quarterback.

5. Authenticity, faith and fidelity should be reflected in parent's lifestyles.

6. Qualities of a dad: Manliness, temperance, making significant time for family, putting aside work, and being a reliable source of guidance.

7. Qualities of a mom: Emotional stability, selflessness, loving service and extreme patience.

read more

These guidelines are so needful in our present society.


Festchrift to Chow Lien Hwa

Johnson Lim (ed) (2008) Take Root Downward, Bear Fruit Upward: A Festschrift Presented to Lien-Hwa Chow on the Occasion of his Eighty Eighth Birthday, Hong Kong: Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary.

Chow Lien Hwa is known as the"Father of Asian Baptists." He is a pastor, scholar, teacher and a mentor to many Baptists around the world. His untiring work of teaching and writing is based on his belief that it takes three generations before contextualisation can fully take place.

This festschrift is a love-gift from Baptist theologians and pastors from around the world but mostly from Asia. It is heartening to read and appreciate the level of scholarship that is developing in Asia. These articles are mainly in the area of hermeneutics though it is heartening to read Dr Sunny Tan's (Dean, Malaysia Baptist Seminary) call for Pastor-Theologians and Dr Johnson Lim's (Research Director, Asian Baptist Graduate Seminary-Singapore) on the original sin.

great reading.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

More Batman Comics

I am looking forward to reading these two series when the current run is over and all issues has been published. I prefer to read the whole storyline at one sitting than to wait for the next installment. Same as in watching television series.

Written by Grant Morrison; Art and covers by J.G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino

As the entire world turns against them, the last of Earth's Super Heroes must face the unstoppable power of the Gods of Apokolips for the final time. Supergirl vs. Mary Marvel! Superman vs. Darkseid! The fate of the Flash! And the incredible return of the New Gods! The End of Days has come and the ultimate war between good and evil will at last be decided on the battlefield of a broken world!

And as the skies bleed, as the walls between universes crumble and fall, the ultimate threat to life makes its presence felt as an evil beyond imagining arrives to claim its prize. Mandrakk the Dark Monitor is coming and the DC Multiverse will never be the same again!

Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher and Mike Norton and Ande Parks; Covers by Jim Lee and Scott Williams;

There's war on Earth, war in space and war in another dimension. And at the heart of it all stands a desperate mission to track down and save Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman by some of their most devoted family and friends. But to save the Trinity, the rescue squad will have to defy gods as the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.


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Asian Geographic Spirituality Edition

Spend an enjoyable few hours reading this Spiritual Edition of Asian Geographic No.60. Issue 10/2008. The magazine contains articles about many religions

The Sacred City of Stone: Jerusalem, Israel
Abode of the Gods, Mount Kailesh, Tibet
Pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Curious Devotion (The Philippines' fascinating relationship with God)
Saving Angkor, Cambodia

Also an article on Caodism. Founded in 1926 by Ngo Van Chieu, Cao Dai is the third largest religion in Vietnam after Buddhism and Roman Catholicism. The religion draws on the teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism and Catholicism. Its patron saints includes Sun Yat-sen, Vietnamese prophet Nguyen Binh Khiem, Joan of Arc, William Shakespeare and Valdimir Ilyich Lenin.

Another article on The Golden Rock or Kyaiktiyo, one of the holiest site in Myanmar. Legend has it that the rock is balanced by a single strand of Buddha's hair.


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Friday, January 16, 2009

Living the Wisdom of St Francis

Francis gestured, danced, laughed, and sang; felt the earth in his skin and bones; talked with Jesus; enjoyed the company of his brothers; and preached repentance in towns along the way. From the time of his conversion, he envisioned himself as the troubadour of Christ. On occasion, he would pick up a stick and, imagining that he was playing a violin, sing about his God. He refused to suppress the energy of his soul and coaxed his brothers to sing so that they would awaken the spirit of joy in the hearts of listeners.

Living the Wisdom of St Francis
by Wayne Simsic


Dignitas Personae and a Book Review

The latest from Thinking Faith...

Dignitas Personae: a new Vatican document on bioethics
In December 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a new document about the issues surrounding IVF and embryo experimentation. Dr David Jones offers a guide to the principles appealed to and the issues addressed in Dignitas Personae, and asks how this timely teaching applies to recent debates in the UK regarding hybrid embryos and stem cell research. Read >>

Book Review: Theological Interpretation of the New Testament by Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Ed.), N.T. Wright and Daniel J. Treier (Associate Eds.)
Reviewed by Nicholas King SJ
This is a book for anyone seriously interested in the New Testament, who wants to read it as Scripture without surrendering his or her God-given critical intelligence. What this book wishes to do, without undoing the advances in scripture scholarship of the last two hundred years, is to study God and the mighty acts of God. Read more >>

Personally I find the Dignitas Personae a fascinating document to read. Will get a copy of the book reviewed for my own reading.

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