Monday, November 30, 2009

Conscience of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement

An interesting article from Christianity online on an insider view of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement and their excesses.

'A Voice for Sanity'
J. Lee Grady doesn't want your gold. The journalist wants a 'Holy Ghost housecleaning' of the charismatic movement.

J.Lee Grady didn't wait for an economic recession to battle the prosperity gospel. He has been fighting it for years.

Grady is the editor of Charisma, the magazine that serves as a gathering tent for Pentecostal and charismatic Christians. Its columns and advertisements feature some of the most prominent names in the movement—and some of the most frequent targets of Grady's criticism.

Other evangelicals have long criticized the teaching that God promises his followers wealth and happiness. But few within the movement have made their calls for repentance so public.

"Martin Luther had to say something, or they were going to keep selling indulgences. Now we have that going on in our midst," Grady told Christianity Today in his Orlando office. "If someone says, 'Send your $100 to be saved,' that is selling indulgences, and there are people doing that on Trinity Broadcasting Network." The TV corporation's fundraising appeals have been among Grady's most frequent targets.

read more

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who are You Preaching For?

A valuable lesson I always caution myself about...

Preaching for the Nod

It's easy it is to “speak prophetically” when you know it's what people want to hear.

Every once in a while I find myself preaching for the nod. That’s when we try to hard wire a bit of ego-stroke into a Sunday morning message. We do it a lot, and it’s so easy—insert that small comment, that little aside, or even that main point that we know will appeal to the sensibilities of certain listeners. You know, the left-leaning (or right leaning) political comment. The doctrinal aside that scratches the itch of that person so prone to give up the "Amen" or the vigorous head nod.

Preaching for the nod has less to do with what we see in the biblical text and more to do with what we want people to see in us. And there lies the danger.

The most God-centered, John Piper-esque sermon or community-centered dialogical discussion can be completely me-centered if my intention is to get certain people to tell me, “Good words today, Pastor!” If my intention is to get certain people to see me as sufficiently hip and relevant (or standing against the tide of culture), or progressive (or appropriately conservative), or doctrinally adventurous (or steadfastly orthodox), then I have traded the proclamation of God's Word for the proclamation of myself, regardless of how I dress it up.

And all for that little nod.

read more

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Manhattan Declaration of Christian Conscience

We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image. We set forth this declaration in light of the truth that is grounded in Holy Scripture, in natural human reason (which is itself, in our view, the gift of a beneficent God), and in the very nature of the human person. We call upon all people of goodwill, believers and non-believers alike, to consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues we here address as we, with St. Paul, commend this appeal to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

read more (from First Things)

Also read

Also: advocacy groups gear up for the Christmas shopping season with politics and compassion.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coffee Fellowship

One in Christ or Coffee?

The danger of replacing Communion with a coffee bar.

It's very difficult for many contemporary Christians to recognize how much we have been shaped by the consumer culture in which we live—it is in the air we breathe and the water (or coffee) we drink.

Consider that in many churches the coffee bar has displaced the Lord's Table as the place where real community happens. Due in part to the neutralizing of sacred space that has been popular since the 1980s, churches began removing or deemphasizing the Lord's Table and introducing coffee bars. Without doubt the desire has been to build community by offering people a culturally familiar setting to engage one another. But we must ask: What formative message does a coffee bar convey?

A coffee bar mostly carries the values of our culture. We've come to expect coffee bars to offer a number of choices to meet our desires (decaf, tea, hot chocolate), and the setting is one of leisure and comfort. We usually gather in affinity groups. We sip the beverages not because we're thirsty but because we're conditioned to want them.

read more

Read the full article at

Paul Louis Metzger is professor of Christian theology & theology of culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Deadly Viper deadly to Chinese Culture?

President and CEO Moe Gerkins says the book's contents, which used Chinese characters and illustrations, 'are offensive to many people despite its otherwise solid message.'

by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Zondervan President and CEO Moe Gerkins apologized on behalf of the company for publishing Deadly Viper: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership, a book that uses Chinese characters and images for illustrations.


Gerkins said the company will remove the book and curriculum from stores permanently, according to an email to North Park Theological Seminary professor Soong-Chan Rah.

Rah called for an apology on November 3 on his blog because of what he perceived as insensitivity to Asian culture and to the Asian-American community.

Deadly Viper authors Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite have removed materials from their website, but their Facebook fan page is still up and Zondervan still has two chapters of the book on its website.

Several bloggers had weighed in on the issue, and several are now praising Zondervan's decision.

read more

My comment: "huh?"


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Onward Christian Doctors

Congratulations to the pioneer batch of Christian doctors (some are not in the photo) from the Monash University Malaysia. They graduated this week and will start to serve in the medical profession soon. Some will start their house officer jobs in Australia while others will remain in Malaysia. God's blessings to them all.

Lord God, giver of all good things,
may we who share at this table,
like pilgrims here on earth,
be welcomed with Your saints
to the heavenly feast.


(A Hebridean Grace)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Reformed Perspectives Magazine (November 22 to November 28, 2009)

Reformed Perspectives Magazine Volume 11, Number 47 (November 22 to November 28, 2009), is now available. The following articles are featured in this issue:

The Doctrine of the Word of God
God’s Revelation Through Words: the Divine Voice
By: John M. Frame
Webpage PDF Word

The Immeasurable Love of God
An Article
By: William Harrell
Webpage PDF Word

Five Sacramental Sermons
Sermon II
By: John Willison
Webpage PDF Word

The Ten Commandments, Part VII
Sermons from the Heidelberg Catechism
By: G. Van Reenen
Webpage PDF Word

Freedom of the Will, Part XXVII
An Article
By: Jonathan Edwards
Webpage PDF Word

It’s Not Our Thing
An Article
By: Jim Williams
Webpage PDF Word


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Themelios November 2009

Themelios Issue 34-3 is available online here

An International Journal for Pastors and Students of Theological and Religious Studies
PDF Version
Volume 34, Issue 3
November 2009


Second Printing of Spiritual Formation on the Run

My book, Spiritual Formation on the Run has been selling steadily since it's launch in January this year. Many persons have been blessed by reading it and I am so happy. I pray that the Lord will continue to use the book to touch lives.

2nd print of the books arrived today.

I hope you will support the ministry by buying copies for friends to give as Christmas presents.
I do not receive a single cent from my writing and publishing. The proceeds for this book goes to support the 1st Johor Bahru Boys Brigade's activities.

You can order copies from your local bookstores (it will help me if you ask them to order if they do not have stock), or from me via


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Church Crisis: It's all about Money

This report was published in the Star newspaper in Malaysia

Crisis rocks Calvary Church


THE Calvary church in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, is rocked with controversy over alleged mismanagement of funds.

A group of church members, who call themselves the Truth, Transparency and Good Governance Group (TTG), is demanding for accountability and transparency over the use of church funds from the Calvary Church’s Board of Deacons (BOD) led by senior pastor (SP) Rev. Tan Sri Prince Guneratnam...

Futuristic: An artist impression of space ship-like Calvary Convention Centre (CCC) , a project by Malaysian architect Datuk Dr Ken Yeang.

The CCC, the TTG claims, has been dogged by controversy right from the beginning. The project was supposed to cost RM50mil, excluding land cost, but this has now ballooned to RM150mil.

Although the project started with much hope for a new beginning for the Calvary Church, work on the project subsequently took a bad turn.

The project, which was scheduled to have been completed by October this year, is now left temporarily abandoned due to the stoppage of work by the main contractor since April this year. Two Sundays ago, the pastors announced that the church had issued a Notice of Default to the main contractor,

“The church commenced the project, knowing right from the start that there were not enough funds to complete it. Despite selling some properties and obtaining a bank loan, the church still has to continue raising a lot of funds to finish this extravagant project.”

read more

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Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Elsewhere

Christianity Today embark on a Global Conversation on the Prosperity Gospel.

Did Jesus Wear Designer Robes?
The gospel preached in Africa's New Pentecostal Churches ends up leaving the poor more impoverished than ever.

Video: The Prosperity Gospel in Ghana

Joseph Wore Designer Robes, Too! |
Redeeming Prosperity |
The Gospel of Greed |

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marketplace Faith

The latest from Thinking Faith...

Faith in the Workplace
‘The capitalist system provides the opportunity to exploit others through greed and arrogance; it also provides individual and corporate opportunities to serve humanity.’ On the feast of St Homobonus, the patron saint of business people, Keith MacMillan SJ introduces us to a method of helping those in the business world to bring the values of their faith to their professional life. How can one be both a good Christian and a successful business leader? Read >>


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Monday, November 16, 2009

On Learning and the Rubbish Bin Test

Australian Educator Brian Hill writes,

Teachers spend much time measuring how much students have learnt, but that is probably the least important aspect. It is far more crucial how they learnt it, for this affects estimates of future potential for learning. Similarly why they learn it, what motivate them? This will affect their inclination to use this learning, and learn more, in the future. The rubbish bin test is relevant here. How many students consign their textbooks and projects to the bin as soon as they have taken their last exam on the subject?


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spiritual Formation for SHALOM


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Top Five Books on Life Ethics

How to Be a Christian in a Brave New World
By Joni Eareckson Tada and Nigel M. De S. Cameron

Two pioneers in defending the dignity of human life challenge the church to understand and care about efforts to remake humanity using robotics, embryo harvesting, and genetic engineering. Who better than Eareckson Tada to talk about the use of exotic technologies to heal human bodies?

* * *

Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy
By Joni Eareckson Tada and Nigel M. de S. Cameron

This volume comprises essays from top thinkers and activists in the field on topics like learning from past mistakes, new technology, genetics, and transhumanism. Get ready for the science fiction realities of the 21st century, and get involved.

* * *

Does God Need Our Help?: Cloning, Assisted Suicide, and Other Challenges in Bioethics
By John F. Kilner and C. Ben Mitchell

Designed like a field guide, this accessible book covers all the bases. Kilner and Mitchell present the major secular ethical frameworks and contrast them with biblical perspectives. They also sort out promising developments from morally dubious ones

* * *

Bioethics: A Primer for Christians
By Gilbert Meilaender

For the reader wanting to dig deeper, Meilaender—a former member of the President's Council on Bioethics—lays out the theological framework. From prenatal screening to organ donation, this volume elucidates and elaborates. A must-read for pastors, teachers,lay leaders, and thoughtful Christians.

* * *

Embryo: A Defense of Human Life
By Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen

If you have ever wanted to defend the moral value of an embryo without using the Bible, this is the book for you. Simplifying a complex issue, the authors offer a compelling case for the embryo from the perspective of systematic biology and ethical reasoning.

Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today

Shucks, he did not include any of my books *smile*

Here are some of my recommendations.


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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Child with Fits

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How to be a Mystic

Carl MacColman in his delightfully named blog/website The Website of Unknowing posted his thoughts on How to be a Mystic.

And so this is the real kicker: the most reliable path to becoming a mystic is, simply, the path of following Christ. Like Evangelicals, we need to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Like Catholics, we need to make Communion a priority. Like Lutherans, we need to nurture our faith. Like the Orthodox, we need to make sure the name of Jesus is always on our lips. We need to read the Gospels and make the stories of this wild carpenter-turned-rabbi part of our daily lives. We need to go and do what he said. We need to make his mind our mind, and open our hearts to his heart. We need to be so focussed on Christ (instead of ourselves) that we stop worrying about whether we are mystics or not.

And once that happens, we will have begun the journey.

read more

I really like his thoughts on mysticism.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rocks that Prays (1)

In this photo of a coastline, can you see two praying figures?

no ?, click here


Star Trek Online

In Star Trek Online, the Star Trek universe will appear for the first time on a truly massive scale. In this massively multiplayer online game from Cryptic Studios, players can pioneer their own destiny as Captain of a Federation starship. Or, they can become a Klingon Warlord and expand the Empire to the far reaches of the galaxy. Players will have the opportunity to visit iconic locations from the popular Star Trek fiction, reach out to unexplored star systems, and make contact with new alien species. With Episode Missions, every moment spent playing Star Trek Online will feel like a new Star Trek episode in which you are the star. Immerse yourself in the future of the Trek universe as it moves into the 25th century: a time of shifting alliances and new discoveries.

Star Trek Online's official release date: February 2, 2010, in North America, and February 5, 2010, in Europe.

How do Star Trek Online and the new movie interact, and where does the timeline diverge?

Click to see the timeline!
(Click the above image to see the entire timeline.)

In the movie, two characters travel back in time from the year 2387. When Nero arrives in the year 2233, he disrupts the time continuum, creating an alternate reality from the point of his arrival. Star Trek (the new movie) takes place in this alternate reality. This is explained in the film in a conversation between Uhura and Spock on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Star Trek Online is set in the "prime" Star Trek reality. This is the timeline of the five television series and the first 10 movies. It is the world in which the Gorn attacked Cestus III, Kirk fought Khan in the Mutara Nebula, Picard explored the galaxy, the Federation fought the Dominion War, Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant and Captain Archer and the crew of the NX-01 showed us how it all began.

Events in the movie that happened in the prime timeline (the destruction of Romulus, and the disappearance of Spock and Nero) have affected STO. You can learn more about the aftermath of these events in the Path to 2409 and in STO itself.

So how can the movie and STO be in different realities? When working on Star Trek, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman referenced the theory of quantum mechanics, which allows for the simultaneous existence of parallel timelines and universes. Parallel universes are self-contained, separate realities that exist as a consequence of different choices and outcomes. This concept was explored in the TNG episode "Parallels," in which there were thousands of alternate timelines (and thousands of Enterprises!). It also is seen in the Mirror Universe, which is a darker take on the world of the Federation.

There are many, many stories to tell in the prime universe. The fallout of the destruction of Romulus and the upheaval that causes in the Alpha and Beta quadrants creates storytelling opportunities that we at Cryptic didn't even imagine when we first began working on STO. We're excited by the possibilities, and fans should be as well. The best is yet to come.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zhan Zhuang Water Village

Memories of Shanghai #5 - Zhen Zhuang Water Village

Apparently the last few scenes of the movie Mission Impossible 3, after the scenes in Shanghai, were shot here. This information is from the tour guide but I was not able to verify this.

Imagine Tom Cruise running along the banks of Zhan Zhuang Village. Cool.



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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Star Trek Movie DVD

Bought my Special 2 Disc Star Trek movie. The deleted scenes are worth the price and give a rich texture and depth to the movie.

we have come a long way since this November 28, 1994 TIME cover

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Why the Hulk should be Red not Green

Another reflection by Pastor Paul Long on my book, Spiritual Formation on the Run. As you will know from reading his reflection, both of us are hard-core comic fans.

Why the Hulk should be red not green (Spirtual Formation on the Run) and some not so spiritual ramblings too

It has been a tiring few weeks. One major reason has been a problem with my prescription glasses. *sigh* Makes my eyes so tired that I literally have to shut them. And of course it is hard to focus. Hope the new ones are ready soon. I tend to sleep a little earlier too as I literally can't keep my eyes opened but I dream a lot and get up often as my "brain is not happy" to be asked to power down when it has a lot on its mind :-) The human mind is really a wonder!
Anyway, I have finished this Sunday's sermon early, which is good as I have a lot to do this week. And this time I am not going to work harder in resisting the temptation to look at my sermon before Saturday. And since I have a birthday party on Saturday, that might help as well :-)

It's a good time to pause and do some re-centering. Been a while since I posted up anything on my slow but steady "run" with Dr. Alex's book so here's one ... under his 'HEROES AND SUPERHEROES" category"

Quick preliminary note ... I suspect when Dr. Alex wrote this particular chapter, Marvel had not yet come out with the RED HULK or RULK story line :-) Interesting read ... click HERE for a summary. I am still waiting in line for my turn (booked it online at my local library) to check out Vol 2 of the Red Hulk graphic novel compilation. Vol 1 was interesting. First the chapter from the book ... Spiritual Formation on the Run, not the Red Hulk!


The fictional comic book character, the Incredible Hulk, was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962. The Hulk is the alter ego of a mild-mannered physicist, Dr Bruce Banner, who is accidentally irradiated by gamma radiation. Whenever he gets angry, he will turn into the Hulk, a creature of pure rage that is invincible and incredibly strong. The angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger and bigger he becomes. I guess he is green because of the gamma radiation. Why green and not red? The English expression for becoming angry is "seeing red." A red Hulk will be more appropriate.

Many of us are aware of the beast within us. And of the thin veneer of civility that makes us respectable citizens. Occasionally, someone snaps and the beast breaks out. Then we are horrified by the violence done to persons and properties. Sometimes, it is not a person but a mob or a nation that rages. In the aftermath of the carnage, we are again reminded of the evil that lurks in the heart of human beings. In our hectic, chaotic and stressful lives, anger is a constant emotional companion. While some of us are aware of it, others are not. Many try to repress their anger. In doing so, they become impatient, irritable and aggressive. Repressing anger does not make it go away. Like energy, emotions can be converted into other forms. Repressed energy is converted into hatred, bitterness and anxiety.

"Please don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" are well-known words from the Hulk television series. They turn up in every comic, TV programme and movie involving the not-so-jolly green man. What makes you angry? Could it be social injustice, exploitation of the poor, religious intolerance, and maybe abuse of political privileges? My reasons for getting angry are often not so righteous. I get angry because I do not get my way: Why do people not behave the way I expect them to? Why do projects not go the way I plan? Why does the universe not happen the way I want it to? I get angry and then I feel guilty. I remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26-27). Paul was referring to Psalm 4:4, "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent'

I also remember an old Cherokee story named "The Two Wolves.' An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me;' he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego:'

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too:'

The grandson thought for a minute and asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed:'

As I reflect on this story, I draw out some wisdom. The psalmist, the Apostle Paul and the old Cherokee did not deny the existence of anger or being angry. In fact, they all acknowledged it. They also taught me that the only way to deal with anger is not to feed it. The only way to deal with anger is to starve it of attention and other emotions. The Hulk is pure rage - violent raw energy - and red is an appropriate colour. Green reminds me of leafy meadows, peacefulness and calm. Methinks the Hulk should be red. Or even better, blue...

Reflecting on the subject matter of this chapter is not easy for me as I have a problem with anger. However at the same time has also been an encouraging time of reflection as while I am still an angry person by nature, there I can see by the grace of God that there has over the years been a clear positive difference in my life in the area of anger.

In a "tensed" counselling session last week, it was interesting that this person reacted in surprise when I mentioned that I have an ongoing struggle with anger. Made me realize when I had time to think about the reaction that it is nice to know that by God's grace, people notice!

I do agree that repressing our anger doesn't help. So one way I deal with my anger is to talk about it or let it out quickly so that it can be a controlled anger release. Another way is to try to tackle an issue that is making me angry quickly so that it doesn't build up. As the Hulk would say "You wouldn't like me when I am angry". Not that I destroy things but it is not a nice look for me :-)

But I do think it is okay to get angry for certain reasons. Of course the Ephesians 4 passage is an important reminder and guide that unless carefully managed, anger leads to sin. (BTW, it is another interesting coincidence that in 2 weeks time, my sermon text is Psalm 4). Over the years (as part of my very long term on-going life reflection :-)) I have come to the realization that God has used my anger (in response to certain situations) to help mold me into who I am today. For example, some incidents during my secondary school years that made me angry (soci-economic and racist attacks by a certain teacher against some students) became seeds of a dream to help build and pastor a multi-racial, socio-economically diverse church community. It encourages me that even outbursts of anger can be used by God for some good.

I also like that old Cherokee story. It has remained with me from the first time I read it umpteen years ago - sure fire sign of a good story. One great lesson I learnt from Henri Nouwen helps. it is to focus on the lovely (i.e. Jesus) and everything else will fade away in comparison. For me, counting my blessings too is a related helpful way that eliminates or at least reduces any anger build up.

But proper rest too seems to play a big role in how I manage anger. If I am tired, I find it harder to keep my anger in check. Reminds me that as a human being, I cannot separate my physical, emotional and mental condition from my spiritual.

One aspect that I disagree with Dr. Alex is ....

... the Hulk should not be red but remain green. LOL.

The Green Hulk may get angry and smash things but essentially he is violent not because he is evil and wants to destroy things. He has the mind of a child and just wants to be left alone but everybody except a handful of people do not understand or respect his wishes and keep trying to imprison or hurt him out of fear. The only time he was deliberately evil was in the World War Hulk storyline when he was driven by rage and wanted revenge for the death of his wife (yup, he actually fell in love and got married).

BTW, if you are truly bored and have loads of time on your hand, and you want to figure out the HULK storyline, click HERE. Be warned, it is confusing as there are many manifestations of the Hulk. I have scanned though the article before but wasn't that interested as I hated the Grey Hulk story lines.

The Red Hulk on the other hand is maliciously evil and selfish, deliberate in his wanton destruction.

Let the poor original Bruce Banner Hulk remain green. Though the various story lines may at times be questionable in quality, he at least is essentially a character I can feel sorry for :-)

I had a good laugh yesterday when I watched an episode of ENTERPRISE that I taped the other day. It introduced a new race, the Orions, evil to the core (they deal in piracy and the slave trade). Their skin colour? Green! Their features? Ogre like. Their temperaments? Nasty and violent. But the funny part was seeing the huge almost 500 lb wrestler, Paul Wight, a.k.a. THE BIG SHOW as an Orion slave trader.

Other Paul's reflections

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

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Doctors in Detention

Doctors in detention and the Hippocratic Oath

Meera Selvakone, MD

Family physician
Richmond Hill, Ont.

Every year, many newly qualified doctors recite the Hippocratic Oath upon graduating. But how many of us would actually put those words to the test if our own lives were in jeopardy? Half a world away, three physicians faced this dilemma.

During the first five months of 2009, an intense war played out in the densely populated coastline of northeastern Sri Lanka. More than 300 000 civilians were trapped between battle lines. A government-imposed media blackout meant the world was largely unaware of what the United Nations called a "bloodbath."

I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity. I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity.1

Doctors Thangamuthu Sathiyamoorthy, Thurairajah Varatharajah and Veerakaththi Shanmugarajah were employed by the government to work in the conflict zone. Dr. Shanmugarajah might easily have been working in a peaceful nation; several years ago, he emigrated to Canada only to return to Sri Lanka to serve the developing nation.

read more

CMAJ • November 10, 2009; 181 (10). First published October 19, 2009; doi:10.1503/cmaj.091527
© 2009 Canadian Medical Association

Image courtesy of Fred Sebastian

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Fall of the Berlin Wall

The latest from Thinking Faith...

‘We are the people’
As we prepare to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, German Jesuit Bernd Hagenkord recalls his memories of November 1989 and describes the momentous events that led to the reunification of Germany. To what extent did the Churches create a platform for the people of East Germany to find their voice, and how has the fall of the wall changed the way that Germans see themselves and their country? Read >>


Monday, November 09, 2009

For the Monday Blues- Always There

Aled Jones recorded Secret Garden's song 'Always There' at his album 'Reason to Believe' released in 2007. Aled sung at BBC program 'Songs of Praise' in the new year.
Music by Rolf Lovland
Lyrics by Brendan Graham

HT: Bernard Low


Gifts Of Healings

Text 1 Cor.12:7-11; James 5:14-18

Sermon Statement

Jesus continues his ministry using signs and wonders through the church today. The giving of spiritual gifts have not ceased. The gifts of healings and prayers of faith are for the healing of the sick. Supernatural healings are rare. God works healing through natural means.

read more


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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Billy Graham's America


Click Here
Billy Graham's America
Southern sensibilities, media savvy, denominational openness, and an expanding social vision helped turn a country boy evangelist into a cultural icon.

In slightly more than two decades—roughly from 1949 to 1971—Billy Graham moved from leader to celebrity to icon, and he retained that iconic status into the new millennium. For millions of Heartland Americans, he functioned very much as a Protestant saint. By the time he retired in 2005, reportedly he had preached to nearly 215 million people in person in more than 185 countries and territories, and to additional hundreds of millions through electronic media.

Finish this article from

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Thinking about Divine Healing

I will be preaching on 'gifts of healings' tomorrow and have discovered these books useful for my research.

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Reading Biographies

Visted the SKS Christian bookstore in Singapore yesterday and am surprised that there are fewer new biographies being published. I wonder why.

Top Story
Illustration by Amanda Duffy
Let us Tell You a Story
Recovering the lost spiritual discipline of reading biographies.

The Mushroom Hunt
How to find a good biography.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

John Piper and President Obama

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Humanizing Physician Learning

The November issue of Virtual Mentor from the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics is on Humanizing Physician Learning

Educating for Professionalism

In 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandated that residents could work no more than 24 consecutive hours and limited resident hours to an average of 80 per week over the course of 1 month. The creation of this policy was prompted by the 1984 death of Libby Zion, an 18-year-old who was admitted to New York Hospital for a high fever and died while under the care of overworked and fatigued interns. The incident led to a critical reevaluation of resident work hours. The possible harm patients could experience under the traditional training system was serious enough to provide the impetus for a large-scale reform of residency education.

Clinical Cases

The Ethical Dilemma of Duty-Hour Reporting
Commentary by Mary E. Klingensmith and Katrina S. Firlik
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:835-841.

Can a Pass/Fail Grading System Adequately Reflect Student Progress?
Commentary by Bonnie M. Miller, Adina Kalet, Ryan C. VanWoerkom, Nicholas Zorko, and Julia Halsey
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:842-851.

Should Applicants’ Ethnicity Be Considered in Medical School Admissions?
Commentary by Will Ross
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:852-858.

Medical Education

The Winnowing Fork of Premedical Education: Are We Really Separating the Wheat from the Chaff?
Raymond G. De Vries and Jeffrey Gross
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:859-863.

The Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship
Ann N. Poncelet, Karen E. Hauer, and Bridget O’Brien
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:864-869.

Helping Those Who Need It Most: Medical Education Focused on Poor and Disenfranchised Communities
Charles Vega
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11:870-873.

Virtual Mentor. November 2009, Volume 11, Number 11: 829-926. Full Issue PDF

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Belief in an Age of Skepticism

Noted pastor and author Dr. Tim Keller discusses the place of exclusive truth in a pluralistic society in Wheeler Auditorium, followed by a Q&A session.

Hosted by Reformed University Fellowship, Dr. Keller's talk is part of The Veritas Forum at Cal, following Francis Collins' lecture in February on Christianity and science.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

St Kevin and the Blackbird

This is a remarkable comment by Liz Budd Ellmann of Spiritual Director International, published in the newsletter Membership Moments November 2009

For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have visited Glendalough where Saint Kevin played, prayed, and discovered his purpose. One day, the legend tells us, while Kevin the monk was praying with outstretched arms, a blackbird landed in his hand and built her nest. Imagine holding a prayer stance -- in Zen stillness -- long enough for a blackbird to build a nest and raise her young. The Irish poet Seamus Heaney beautifully teaches us about the spiritual companionship between the blackbird and Saint Kevin,

And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird,
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so
One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
And lays in it and settles down to nest.
Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the

Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked
Into the network of eternal life,
Is moved to pity; now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.

And since the whole thing's imagined anyhow,
Imagine being Kevin. Which is he?
Self-forgetful or in agony all the time
From the neck on out down through his
hurting forearms?

Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?
Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth
Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?
Alone and mirrored clear in love's deep river,
"To labour and not to seek reward," he prays,
A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird,
And on the riverbank forgotten the river's name.

Saint Kevin’s whole body became a prayer of love that recognized God in an ordinary blackbird. Now imagine me, standing across the lake from Saint Kevin’s cave. Gazing into the lake, I contemplated the blackbird resting in Kevin’s hand and the call for contemplative action in today’s world to become responsible stewards of all God’s creation. Suddenly, my soul felt seen by Saint Kevin, staring out from his cave. In that instance, a robin started singing from a branch just over my head. In that thin place, I felt Saint Kevin’s love encouraging the kind of singing presence that sees God in all things.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Logos Bible Software 4

Just when I am getting the hang of Logos Scholar with Libronix, this comes out...

Introducing Logos Bible Software 4

Today we are announcing the all-new Logos Bible Software 4, designed from scratch to accomplish our goal of helping more people do more and better Bible study.

The leading Bible software products available today (including our own Libronix DLS 3.0) are powerful tools designed 10-20 years ago. Most Bible software companies were started in a day when users owned screwdrivers for opening their computer case and knew what a DIP switch was. Our software was designed for people who liked technology and were comfortable with it...

and where have I hear this before

Logos Bible Software 4 is not an upgrade. Logos 4 is Bible software re-imagined. To help you do more and better Bible study.

Oh, yes. Windows Vista, man I hope that is not another 'Vista'

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Martin Luther and his theses

Click Here
Luther Posts the 95 Theses
An obscure monk invited debate on a pressing church issue—and touched off a history-shattering reform movement.

Sometime during October 31, 1517, the day before the Feast of All Saints, the 33-year-old Martin Luther posted theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Finish this article from

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cough in Children

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The Lost History of Christianity

Seaver College W. David Baird Distinguished Lecture Series presents Dr. Phillip Jenkins, lecturing on "The Lost History of Christianity".

Jenkins is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. His specialty is Christianity in the southern hemisphere, and he will explore the myths surrounding the history of the religion.