Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random Glimpses from Narita Airport


Karl Barth, Confucius and Korean Theology

Myers in his blogpost

On Korean theology, and Karl Barth's reception in Korea

in Faith and Theology gave a fascinating perspective of Karl Barth and his influence on Korean theology.

There’s an extremely valuable analysis of all this in the excellent study by Young-Gwan Kim, Karl Barth’s Reception in Korea: Focusing on Ecclesiology in Relation to Korean Christian Thought (Peter Lang 2003). Kim provides a broad account of the institutional and denominational contexts of Barth’s reception in Korea. He argues that the distinctiveness of Korean Barth-reception has much to do with the culture’s deep Confucian heritage, and with the intimate connection between Confucianism and the rise of Christianity in Korea. (It was Confucian scholars who first translated the Bible into Korean: Confucianism is already entwined with the roots of Korean Christianity.) After tracing the broad history of Barth’s reception in Korea, Kim provides an extensive analysis (pp. 225-324) of the work of Sung-Bum Yun. Although he is critical of Yun’s tendency towards philosophical abstraction (it becomes hard to see where the salvation-event fits into his elaborate system of Tao, jen, and filial piety), he concludes: “we cannot deny Yun’s insistence that Korean Christianity is strikingly a Confucian-influenced Christianity and that therefore the indigenization of Karl Barth’s theology within the Korean Confucian context is a viable theological enterprise” (p. 324).

read more here

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiritual Formation Institute Seminar on Chinese Beliefs and Culture

SFI Seminar 2011/2

The Christian Approach to Chinese Beliefs and Culture

Date:             2.00pm - 9.30pm, Saturday 9 April 2011

Place:            Berea, Holy Light Church
                     11-C, Jalan Gertak Merah, 80100 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Speaker:         Canon Daniel Tong

Cost :              RM 20.00 (inclusive of seminar materials, refreshment and dinner)

Registration:     Please register with Sister Grace Soon of HLCE (Tel:07-2243285)

Synopsis of seminar

Session 1: Chinese Traditions
Believers in Christ desire to honour and please Him, but do often struggle with doing so while yet respecting and continuing to uphold the ethnic cultural heritage that is ours as Chinese. This struggle between faith and culture is not something new. In this session, principles with which to evaluate the acceptability or not of a cultural belief and practice to the teaching of the Bible will be presented. A number of Chinese festivals will be explored so to help participants understand how these principles are to be applied. 

      Session 2: Ancestral Veneration
The call to honour our father and mother is universal. In Chinese tradition, this thought has been extended to the care of and obedience to our dearly departed. What does the Bible have to say about this? What are we to make of the traditional practices of venerating our departed ancestors? In this session, we will seek to better understand the Chinese perspective, and determine that which is acceptable or unacceptable for us who believe in Christ. 

                          Session 3: Feng Shui 

The Chinese have practiced Feng Shui for thousands of years, but how much do we really understand this practise? Is it really a science? Why do people engage in this practise? Feng Shui has enjoyed renewed interest in South East Asia in recent years. In this session, we will explore the origin of this practise and seek a deeper understand of its primary principles. This will provide us with a better basis with which to decide on whether or not we should engage in Feng Shui.

Biodata of speaker:
Canon Daniel Tong is Vicar of the Chapel of the Resurrection – a Parish under the Diocese of Singapore (Anglican), the Chaplain of the Saint Andrew’s Junior College and author of three books – A Biblical Approach to Chinese Traditions and Beliefs, A Biblical Approach to Feng Shui and Divination, and Praying Right

all are invited.

Other forthcoming SFI seminars

12 March 2011 - Spiritual Formation Seminar by Dr Alex Tang

14 May 2011 - Spiritual Formation in Children by Dr Alex Tang

20 August 2011 - Training for Teachers in Children Ministry by Mona Chia

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spiritual Formation Institute Seminar on Stories Jesus Told

Spiritual Formation Institute Seminar 2011/1

The Stories that Jesus Told -Exploring the Challenge of His Parables

Speaker: Rev Dr Lim Kar Yong

Synopsis of Seminar
Jesus is a master storyteller. But the parables he tells are more than interesting plotlines that captivate his audience. They reveal the character of God and his kingdom, announce the expectation God has for his people, and challenge the assumptions of the hearers in order to orientate their lives in the light of the coming of the kingdom. We will carry out an in-depth study of selected parables of Jesus to learn afresh the impact and challenge they have in our lives today.

Date :
Saturday 2.00pm- 9.30pm, Saturday 26 March 2011
Place :
Berea, Holy Light Church,           
11-C, Jalan Gertak Merah
Johor Bahru, Malaysia


Session 1 Why did Jesus tell parables?

The Parables of the Kingdom:
Sower or Sowing? (Mark 4:1-20)

Session 2 Parables of the Revelation of God:

The Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18:21-35)
The Complaining Employees (Matt 20:1-16)

Session 3 Parables of Discipleship and Christian Life:

Who is my Neighbour? (Luke 10:25-37)
Who is my Lost Brother? (Luke 15:1-32)
What is my Prayer? (Luke 18:9-14)

About the Speaker:
Rev Lim’s research interests include Pauline studies, the Corinthian correspondence, narrative criticism, social-scientific approaches to the New Testament, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and the integration of New Testament studies with mission. He spends the rest of his free time stalking his friends on Facebook, reading and enjoying a cup of coffee.

(Seminar cost RM20.00 includes refreshment,dinner and seminar notes)
Please register with Sister Grace Soon of HLCE (Tel:07-2243285)

Other forthcoming SFI seminars

12 March 2011 - Spiritual Formation Seminar by Dr Alex Tang

09 April 2011 - Christian Approach to Chinese Beliefs and Culture by Canon Daniel Tong

14 May 2011 - Spiritual Formation in Children by Dr Alex Tang

20 August 2011 - Training for Teachers in Children Ministry by Mona Chia


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lenten Focus: Following Jesus (3)

Batman, Inc and Spiritual Multiplication

I first came across Batman Incorporated in my Christmas 2010 reading.

From Wiki

Batman Incorporated (also known as Batman, Inc.) is an American comic book ongoing series, written by Grant Morrison and featuring Batman, that began in 2010. The debut of the series follows the events of Final Crisis, Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne where, after being stranded in the distant past and believed dead, Bruce Wayne has returned to the present day DC Universe and is prepared to take his war on crime to the next level, by essentially "franchising" it and drafting, training and commanding a global team of heroes who will answer to Batman himself.
According to an article in the New York Post and DC Comics themselves, Dick Grayson will retain the role of Batman in Gotham City as Bruce Wayne travels across the world, seeking to use the symbolic power Batman has on a global scale. Wayne will also be featured wearing a new costume designed by David Finch, to further distinguish him from Grayson. Batwoman, who had previously guest-starred in Morrison's Batman and Robin series, will appear in issue #4 as part of a lead-in to her new ongoing series.
I still cannot get over the idea of Batman starting a franchise. For a man who is not super or meta powered, not invulnerable but dependent on his wit and gadgetry to survive, he has been doing well. However part of his ethos is that he is a loner, a creature of the night so that he strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. Coming into the light and organising a franchise of 'batmans' is just not in his character. Also many of his wards or apprentices that he has take on especially the Jason Todd Robin and Stephanie did not fare well. Dick Grayson was literally forced to become the Batman of Gotham when he was doing so well as Nightwing. Batman/Bruce Wayne is not able to produce another crimefighter like him. He was not doing too well in the mentoring department.

Often, what started as a one person enterprise may not translate well into a multi-persons organisations. While the present fad in management is succession planning, not every leader is good in training or equiping his or her successor. When I was a young in faith Christian I was 'trained' by a campus ministry with a strong emphasis on disciplemaking. I was taught a 'principle' that allegedly is from the apostle Paul. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timthy 2:2  "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others". In this verse, Paul allegedly gives Timothy a vision of success that depends on succession. Specifically, this vision spans four spiritual generations. The faith is passed from Christ to Paul; Paul to Timothy; Timothy to reliable men; reliable men to others. This vision is one of natural spiritual reproduction: make disciples who can make disciples.

I was taught how to be a disciple (note that I did not automatically become a disciple when I was born-again but have to be fulfil certain criterions to become one!), some Bible study and ministry skills and told to make more disciples like me. I actually bought into the disciplemaking multiplication table and believed that I could help to make the whole world Christian in 34 years!

Unfortunately I was never able to make disciples beyond the second generation (guess it must be my fault the world is not Christian yet). After 20 years I begin to question the disciplemaking paradigm. I now believe that the apostle Paul never meant 2 Tim. 2:2 to become a principle but as descriptive of Timothy's ministry. I also learnt that disciplemaking and discipleship is not about learning skills but about following Jesus. Discipleship is not following other disciples but following Christ himself. It is in the following of Jesus that I become like him.

Why do I follow Jesus? To become like him.

Meditation: We become like Jesus by following him


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Will Karl Barth Do?

§ 7.2 Dogmatics as Science and § 7.3 The Problem of Dogmatic Prolegomena are the conclusion of Karl Barth’s section § 7 The Word of God, Dogma and Dogmatics. In this long introduction to the series (prolegomena which means long long long introduction) Barth sets out his thoughts on the Word of God and Church proclamation. His concern is how closely does Church proclamation matches the Word of God. He took issue with the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox traditions who presume that both are identical.

Is Karl Barth a mystic? No one who has read his readings will in any way link him with the great mystics of the Church. Yet there is a sense of mysticism in the reverent and distance he places on mystery of the Word of God and how it is inadequately proclaimed and interpreted by the Church. At one stroke he shook the epidemiological and ontological foundations of systematic theology like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan.

Barth divides dogmatics into regular and irregular. Regular are the curriculum-based approach in theological schools and colleges. Irregular dogmatics is what happens out of these formal institutions of learning and happens at the grassroot levels. Barth seems to be more sympathetic to irregular dogmatics being done by the people of God in the context of their communities in their space and time.

For example, I wonder what Barth will do concerning the situation in Malaysia. In Malaysia, Islam is the dominant religion while the constitution guarantees the freedom for people to practice other religious traditions. Muslims makes up approximately 70% of the population while Christians about 10%. Most Christians are living in East Malaysia and are mainly of indigenous tribal people. The government is lead by a Muslim dominated political party and its officials are mainly Muslims. There is a steady erosion of the freedom for other religious systems in the years following the nation’s independence.

The Christian community is represented by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (which includes Protestants and Catholics). The Christians is also represented in another multi-religious committee in dealing with the government. The interactions can be described as firefighting. The Malaysian government will propose an action that impinges on the religious rights of others. The representatives respond often by press statements and then some backdoor negotiations. The government offers a compromise which is accepted by the representatives. Often the compromise involves the religious bodies giving up more than they receive.

One notable case is the use of the word “Allah”. For the last 31 years, the Christian community has been fighting for the right to use the word “Allah”. My review of Miroslav Volf ‘s Allah: The Christian Response. The Muslims claimed that Allah refers to their God and no one else can use this term except them. In fact, Allah has been used by Arab Christian before the Islam was founded. This has resulted in the government seizing and impounding Bibles and Christian books with this word. The Malay Bible (Alkitab) uses Allah and all shipments were impounded and detained by the Home Ministry. The matter come a head when the government refused a license for the Catholic Church to print its Malay language weekly gazette Herald which uses the word Allah (see timeline here). The Catholic Church took the case to court. The Catholic Church won, allowing the Herald to use the word Allah.

The government appeals against the court’s ruling and the appeal is still pending. After waiting patiently for another year, the Christian community applied pressure on the government to release the Alkitab. The government responded by releasing it after unilaterally placing a stamp on the inner cover of the Alkitab notifying that is for Christian use only by “order of the Home Ministry”. There are various reactions from the Christian community from “Praise the Lord” to cries of desecration of the Bible (see here and here).

What will Karl Barth do?

I will suggest the following that Karl Barth will advocate for the following:

(1) The Christian community should stand for God
Karl Barth will be careful to point out that a printed text such as what is call the Bible is distinct from the Word of God though it is a means by which the Word of God is revealed. However, he will be the first to point out that any attempt to restrict or insult the Word of God is not acceptable. Note his response to the Bible burning in Nazi Germany.

(2) The Christian community should address injustice
Social justice figured prominently in the Word of God. Though church proclamation has understood social injustice in different ways and hence their different responses, their commonality is to address social injustices. Justice includes the right to choose. The Word of God reveals a God who offers humankind the right to choose even though they may choose to reject him. Though Barth was dealing with the State Lutheran Church in Germany, his principles of social justice is applicable in Malaysia. Citizens of Malaysia have freedom of worship as guaranteed by their constitution and this freedom includes the freedom to have copies of their sacred texts without any addition by the authorities.

(3) The Christian community shall be proactive and visible.
The Christian community is often perceived by the other communities as being negative by usually taking a stand against but rarely taking a stand for. The Christian community must be seen to be united and be proactive in nation building. In response to the Alkitab banning and detention, the Christian community should make visible their protest. While emails and a few blog posts are helpful, a mass Christian prayer rally will make a greater impact and create greater public awareness of the Christians’ plight. The Word of God directs Christians to pray for those who are against them. The Church proclamation should involve not just itself but also the other communities it is part of. Barth's involvement with the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany is an example of this.

This is how I would envisage Karl Barth’s response to the situation in Malaysia by trying to see his response through the prolegomena of the Church Dogmatics.


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The Seven Aspects of True Prayer

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Godspace Lenten Series

Christine Sine in her blog Godspace has a synchroblog for Lent. She has graciously included one of my meditations in per blog

Following Jesus – Lenten Focus by Alex Tang

Today’s post comes from Alex Tang, a senior consultant paediatrician at the Johor Specialist Hospital, Johor Bahru and an adjunct teaching faculty of Monash University School of Medicine in Malaysia.  His books include Random Musings From a Doctor’s Chair.  He is founder of the Spiritual Formation Institute at the Holy Light Church in Johor Bahru.  His special interests are in theology, philosophy, spiritual formation, Christian spirituality and biomedical ethics.

This post first appeared on Alex tang’s blog: Random Musing’s From a Doctor’s Chair


You ask me to follow you? To be a fisher of men? Aren’t you just a carpenter? And the son of a carpenter? What do you know about fishing? Who do you think you are? And why should I follow you?

What? Yes, I must admit that I have heard rumours of your so-called miracles; the blind can see and the deaf can hear. Me? I’m seeing and hearing just fine. I have a thriving business here and have branches in Tarsus and Derby. That’s in Greece, you know. I have a beautiful wife and many children. Yes, children are a gift from God and my quiver is full. Too full, I sometimes feel. I am a respected leader in the community. In the evening I sit at the gate with the other leaders of this community and share my wisdom with them. In the synagogue I have a honoured place by the eastern wall. I serve my God well. I am not fanatical as the Pharisees in following rules. Well okay, sometimes I bend them a bit. Then I am not so crazy as the Essenes with their monastic ideals. I am seeing and hearing just fine.

Erh? You want me to follow you and leave all these behind? Do you know how much work I have put in to become who I am today? You do? Stop looking at me with those piercing eyes! Sometimes I feel that you are looking directly into my soul. I am a good man I am. Well maybe there are a few dark secrets I keep. Okay, okay, more than a few. But then who hasn’t? Well maybe I play too easy with the rules in my business. You know what they say, as long as you don’t get caught… Will you stop looking at me that way? Yes, I am sometimes a hypocrite in my dealings others and sometimes I pretend to know when I don’t. But I do have to keep their respect, don’t I?

Again with the following. You don’t exactly live in five-stars hotels in your wandering. I like my comfort. I deserved it after working so hard, don’t I? What, you want me to shake your hand? Oh, to see your hands. Man, your hand is so hard and rough. So many scars and calluses. Must be hard being a carpenter, eh? No power tools. Okay, okay, you work hard too. Who is going to look after my wife and kids when I am following you? Who is going to take care of my business when we are gone? Your Abba in heaven. You mean the One whose name we must not say. Your Abba? Woh, let me get out of the way. Lightning strike time.

Follow you, Jesus of Nazareth? Give me one good reason why I should. What do you mean I have to give you reasons why I should not?

Thanks, Christine. Here are some of the other contributors and their posts

The posts for this Lenten Series on Following Jesus What Difference Does it Make have been both thought provoking and inspiring. and readers are loving it.  I hope that you will continue to read along with us through the following weeks.   Here is the list for those of you that have missed them.A prayer for the Second Sunday of Lent
Eugene Cho - Giving Up Coffee or My Life
Tim Dalton – Following Jesus What Difference Does it Make
Paula Mitchell – The Grace to Trust
Jeff Johnson – Christ Has Walked this Path A Lenten video
Christine Sine – Where is God in the Midst of Disaster?
Keith Giles – Nobody Follows Jesus So Why Should You?
Ron Cole – Leaving to Find Church
Jon Stevens – You Do Not Need To Go To Seminary to Follow Jesus
Christine Sine – Earthquake In Japan How Do We Pray?
John Van de Laar – Into The Desert
Lynne Baab - Freedom From Fear of Death
A Lenten Prayer by Ignatius Loyola
Another Ash Wednesday Prayer
Ash Wednesday Prayer 2011


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One liners for Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics

Wanna read Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics in a week? Over at the Faith and Theology blog, Benjamin Myers gives us a shorter version.

Church Dogmatics in a week

Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics is one of the longest theological works ever written. The work was published as 13 massive tomes; and although Barth had planned to divide the work into five main volumes, he did not live long enough to complete even the fourth volume.

With that disclaimer aside, let me now heartlessly betray Barth by offering a sort of fast-food version of the Church Dogmatics....

  • Ode to Church Dogmatics (a poem)

  • Church Dogmatics: summary of the whole work

  • Church Dogmatics I/1

  • Church Dogmatics I/2

  • Church Dogmatics II/1

  • Church Dogmatics II/2

  • Church Dogmatics III/1

  • Church Dogmatics III/2

  • Church Dogmatics III/3

  • Church Dogmatics III/4

  • Church Dogmatics IV/1

  • Church Dogmatics IV/2

  • Church Dogmatics IV/3

  • Church Dogmatics IV/4 (fragment)

  • Church Dogmatics: more to come

  • Church Dogmatics: some personal choices

  • Church Dogmatics: more personal choices

  • read more

    HT: Sivin


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    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Why Defacement of the Alkitab is Desecration

    nkw expands on his earlier post 

    Why Defacement of the Alkitab is Desecration
    By nkw

    Some government officials have claimed that Christians are making an unnecessary fuss over the recent stamping of the Alkitab seized in Port Klang and Kuching. After all, they say, the Government also requires copies of the Quran to be chopped/stamped with a notice of government approval before they are sold in the shops.

    Even some Christians also wonder why such a big deal is being made about the stamping since Christians, unlike Muslims, do not regard printed copies of the Bible with reverence. It is just a printed text. What matters is the message conveyed by the Bible.

    This article seeks to address the failure to understand the reason for rejecting the stamping of the Alkitab.

    read more


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    Lenten Focus: Following Jesus (2)

    The crowd was beginning to be restless when the man sitting on the mountainside started to speak. His voice was quiet and gentle yet carry with it power and authority. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5). Slowly and carefully, he explained the beatitudes. The he said, " For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:20). The rest of chapter 5 is about the Scribes while chapter 6 deals specifically with the Pharisees in aspect of giving, prayer and fasting. While talking about prayer, the man suddenly sidetracked.

    "This, then, is how you should pray:

    " `Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one. '(NIV)

    What a beautiful and  inspiring pattern of prayer this man has given us. This prayer contains the seven 'A' approach to prayer.

    1. Approaching God in a direct and intimate way
    2. Adoring of the Creator and Almighty
    3. Acknowledging his work and his worth, in praise and worship
    4. Accepting from God one’s own situation as he has shaped it
    5. Admitting sin, and seeking pardon
    6. Asking that needs be met, for ourselves and others
    7. Adhering to God in faithfulness through thick and thin

    What a wonderful model prayer! So complete and comprehensive. This man, Jesus Christ, must be a master in praying. It is comforting to know that at his moment, he is up there in heaven praying for us directly to the Father.

    Why I follow Jesus? He is a master at the art of prayer and I want to learn to pray like he does.

    Meditation:  Are you happy with your prayer life? How do we pray like Jesus?

    picture source

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    Iron Man Anime

    This 12 episodes only Iron Man anime is clearly a class above the other animated Marvels and D.C. series. The animation is so fluid that it is a delight to watch. The storyline is also good. That it is an anime and is Japanese in nature is clear. The dialogue is in Japanese so I was only able to understand by the subtitles only. The translation too is well done.

    From Wiki

    Iron Man (アイアンマン Aian Man?) is the first show of the series with 12 episodes. The series was directed by Yuzo Sato with Warren Ellis writing the story. A special preview ran on Animax on September 25, 2010, before the series began airing on October 1, 2010, and ended on December 17, 2010.

    Tony Stark goes to Japan to produce a new arc station and showcase the Iron Man Dio, a new prototype armor, that will replace him when he retires. However, the Dio goes out of control and it is up to Tony as Iron Man to stop it along with an organization called the Zodiac.

    Marvel Anime is a four-part anime project with collaborations from both Marvel Entertainment and Madhouse. The project will take famous Marvel characters and reintroduce them for a Japanese audience in a 12-part series. The announcement was confirmed at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. The other two is Wolverine and the X-men and also take place in Japan. The fourth is still not announced yet.

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    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Sweet Hour of Prayer

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    Lenten Focus: Following Jesus (1)

    You ask me to follow you? To be a fisher of men? Aren't you just a carpenter? And the son of a carpenter? What do you know about fishing? Who do you think you are? And why should I follow you?

    What? Yes, I must admit that I have heard rumours of your so-called miracles; the blind can see and the deaf can hear. Me? I'm seeing and hearing just fine. I have a thriving business here and have branches in Tarsus and Derby. That's in Greece, you know. I have a beautiful wife and many children. Yes, children are a gift from God and my quiver is full. Too full, I sometimes feel. I am a respected leader in the community. In the evening I sit at the gate with the other leaders of this community and share my wisdom with them. In the synagogue I have a honoured place by the eastern wall. I serve my God well. I am not fanatical as the Pharisees in following rules. Well okay, sometimes I bend them a bit. Then I am not so crazy as the Essenes with their monastic ideals. I am seeing and hearing just fine.

    Erh? You want me to follow you and leave all these behind? Do you know how much work I have put in to become who I am today? You do? Stop looking at me with those piercing eyes! Sometimes I feel that you are looking directly into my soul. I am a good man I am. Well maybe there are a few dark secrets I keep. Okay, okay, more than a few. But then who hasn't? Well maybe I play too easy with the rules in my business. You know what they say, as long as you don't get caught... Will you stop looking at me that way? Yes, I am sometimes a hypocrite in my dealings others and sometimes I pretend to know when I don't. But I do have to keep their respect, don't I?

    Again with the following. You don't exactly live in five-stars hotels in your wandering. I like my comfort. I deserved it after working so hard, don't I? What, you want me to shake your hand? Oh, to see your hands. Man, your hand is so hard and rough. So many scars and calluses. Must be hard being a carpenter, eh? No power tools. Okay, okay, you work hard too. Who is going to look after my wife and kids when I am following you? Who is going to take care of my business when we are gone? Your Abba in heaven. You mean the One whose name we must not say. Your Abba? Woh, let me get out of the way. Lightning strike time.

    Follow you, Jesus of Nazareth? Give me one good reason why I should. What do you mean I have to give you reasons why I should not?

    Meditation: Too many excuses, too little following.

    picture source

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    Friday, March 18, 2011

    The Martyrs of our Modern Church

    From Thinking Faith
    18 March 2011
    Photo by rosaamarilla at

    Photo by rosaamarilla at

    Michael Campbell-Johnston SJ

    Next week, the 31st anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero will be marked by people around the world to whom he remains an inspiration – in his life and death – as they strive for justice. His country of El Salvador saw many other lives lost as members of the Church were targeted by the authorities as a result of their protestations against an oppressive regime. Michael Campbell-Johnston SJ, who worked with many of these martyrs, tells their stories and gives an insight into the Church teaching that lay behind their deep commitment to justice.

    read more


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    Reformed Perspectives Magazine for March 20 to March 26, 2011

    RPM Volume 13, Number 12 (March 20 to March 26, 2011), is now available. The following articles are featured in this issue:
    A Mutliperspectival Endeavour Against Free-Will
    An Article
    By: Tobias Alecio Mattei
    Webpage  PDF  Word
    An Article
    By: Gardiner Spring
    Webpage  PDF  Word
    Not Corrupting the Word
    An Article
    By: J.C. Ryle
    Webpage  PDF  Word
    The Gospel and Repentance
    An Article
    By: William Webster

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    Malay Bibles Desecrated by Malaysian Authorities

    Here is a posting from nkm which I have reproduced in full. For more read here

    Malay Bibles Desecrated by Malaysian Authorities

    By nkw
    “Oh No! They killed our loved ones even though we paid the ransom.”
    This is the worst nightmare experienced by people who paid ransom to kidnappers  only to find their loved ones returned to them executed.

    “Oh No! They desecrated our beloved Holy Bibles.”

    This is the heart wrenching experience of Malaysian Christians who found their Holy Bibles returned to them defaced and desecrated. Malaysian Christians have earlier out of courtesy and grace agreed with the government to print the Alkitab (Malay Bible) with the symbol of the cross on the front cover along with the caption “A Christian Publication” [ The claim by the Minister of Home Affairs that Christians have earlier agreed to have the phrase, "For Christians only" stamped on the Alkitab is a lie. There was no such agreement. His statement, "We stamped the Bible based on amalan (practice) before… during Abdullah Badawi and even Tun Dr Mahathir’s time,” is also a lie].

    Nevertheless, the authorities proceeded to detain 5000 copies of the Alkitab for the last two years.
    Malaysian Christians  waited with guarded optimism when the government recently announced that it will release the Alkitab that have been confiscated but to their horror they were suddenly informed that the authorities have hurriedly and unilaterally stamped all the Alkitab with an ugly notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs. See picture below.

    The English translation reads: Reminder: This ‘Al Kitab Berita Baik’ is for the use of Christians only. By order of the Home Minister.”

    Notice the official chop/stamp (Bottom Left) and the serial number that is to be imprinted onto the Bible (Upper Right).

    The defaced Bible is now imprinted with a serial number, obviously to facilitate the authorities threatening to track every copy of the Alkitab used by the community.

    Christians are horrified by the arrogance of the officials. The contemptuous act of defacing the Alkitab is nothing less than sacrilege.

    The Christian Federation of Malaysia rightly expressed that they felt “deeply hurt”. I think it is being polite. “Outrage” would have been a more appropriate word.

    I think the only proper thing for the government to do is to make immediate amends: Apologize for its callous act. Return the Alkitab back to the publisher and replace them with new Alkitab. Under no circumstances should these defaced Alkitab be destroyed – that would be another act of desecration. The government should bear all costs and give written assurance that such desecration will never happen again.

    O God, your Holy Scripture has been desecrated, your name and reputation defiled! When will you rise up and judge all these arrogant offenders for their blatant act of sacrilege?

    read more


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    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Review of Miroslav Volf's Allah: A Christian Response

    Volf, Miroslav.  (2011). Allah: A Christian Response, New York, NY: HarperOne. Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at the Yale Divinity School and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

    Using "political theology", Volf's main thesis is that the God of Christians and Muslims is the same. His approach is from that of a Christian but he is able to balance that with a few quotations from the Koran and Hadith. He argues persuasively that since "normative" Christianity's description of God's attributes is similar to "normative" Islam's description of Allah's attributes, therefore both religious traditions worship the same God.

    When it comes to the issue of the Trinity (Muslims believe that Christians worship three gods instead of one), Volf brings in the masterful argument set forth by theologian Nicholas of Cusa (1401 – 1464) and that of Reformer Martin Luther. Volf gave a good summary of the explanation of Nicholas of Cusa of the Trinity to the Muslim so that there is "no dispute between Christians and Muslim about God's unity" (51). One part of his explanation is that "[n]umbers are for creatures. God is not a creature. Therefore God is beyond number - beyond the number one as much as beyond the number three" (52). It must be noted that Nicholas of Cusa came up with this ingenious explanation of the Trinity after the fall and rape of Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslim armies of Sultan Mehmed II and the Christians were trying to sue for peace. The argument by Martin Luther as explained by Volf was a bit confusing except that "the main emphasis of Luther's theology: God's unconditional love" (73). However it must also be noted that Luther's thinking was in the context of Sulaimen the Magnificent capturing Hungary and laying siege to Vienna. If Vienna falls, then the whole of Europe will follow. The Christians were again trying to find common grounds.

    Having set the groundwork by appealing to Nicholas of Cusa and Martin Luther, Volf set forth to argue in the second half of the book that the common attributes of the Christian God and Islam's Allah are the same thus concluding that both are the same. All other points of differences are then explained under "eternal and unconditional love". Though I appreciate Volf's attempt to set a common ground for dialogue, and suspect his affirmation that "If Muslims and Christians have a common God, are not Islam and Christianity just two versions of the same thing?" (191), I am not comfortable with his approach.

    As Volf himself has pointed out, the Apostle Creed reveals two essential aspects of Christianity - who God is  and what He has done. One cannot explain away so easily the Trinity- God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit in one Godhead (Christians believe in one God, not three Gods). Also the work of Jesus Christ on the cross cannot be explained away by just using the term "unconditional love" without going into atonement and Jesus' words "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). In the index of this 314 page book, there is only three references to Jesus' death on the cross.

    The second sentence Volf's introduction chapter almost broke my heart. He writes, "Christian responses to Allah - understood here as the God of the Quran - will either widen the chasm or help bridge it "(1). In Malaysia, the Christians have been trying to appeal against the government who wants to restrict the use of the word Allah to Muslims only. In one sentence, Volf gives away all that the Malaysian Christians have been fighting for all these years. Volf is aware of this issue in Malaysia (80-81). Allah has been used as synonymous with God by the Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) speaking Christians in Malaysia long before Malaysia became a country. Allah is an Arabic word meaning God.

    This book is an excellent scholarly monograph in bridge building between two religious traditions. If it is from the Christian perspective, then one must be careful not to give away the basic tenets of one's faith.


    @sivin asks an important question. How does Volf "gives away" the battle for the name "Allah" for the Christians in Malaysia. This was at the very beginning of the book. Volf in naming his significant terms gave the term "Allah" to the Muslims and "God" to the Christians. We know what he is trying to do and if his thesis is correct it does not matter.

    But if he is wrong then as a Christian he have given away the term to the Muslims. The general reading public may not understand 'significant terms". All they will know is from this book, Volf suggests Christians and Muslims worship the same God which the Muslims call "Allah, and the Christians "God". It is likely most Muslims will reject this statement. However, they will be happy to point out that a prominent Yale scholar ane theologian has used the term "Allah" exclusively to refer to the God Muslims worship and differentiated the term from the Christian God.

    While I appreciate that he is writing from the North American context, however he must realise that the world is very interconnected and he has to be sensitive in his use of terms. Especially when he is aware of what is happening in Malaysia.

    Related posts

    A Voice across the Great Chasm: An Interview with Miroslav Volf

    Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

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    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Karl Barth in TIME

    Karl Barth made the cover of Time magazine on April 20, 1962.

    In the 20th century, no man has been a stronger witness to the continuing significance of Christ's death and Christ's return than the world's ranking Protestant theologian, Swiss-born Karl Barth (rhymes with heart). Barth knows that the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection are not coherent, but he refuses to make the mystery more palatable to human reason by suggesting—as did the great 19th century Theologian D. F. Strauss in his Life of Jesus—that the story of the crucifixion is a "myth." Instead, Barth argues that the subject of this unique event is God, not man; and only God can know the full truth of his own history. Man's only road to understanding of this divine history is through faith—faith in the reality and truth of what the Evangelists so incoherently describe.

    "Do you want to believe in the living Christ?" says Barth. "We may believe in him only if we believe in his corporeal resurrection. This is the content of the New Testament. We are always free to reject it, but not to modify it, nor to pretend that the New Testament tells something else. We may accept or refuse the message, but we may not change it."
    These are fighting words and so very true.

    Essentially, Barth is a Christological theologian, whose uniquely modern thought centers around ancient realities: faith, the Bible, the church. He has a philosopher's knowledge of philosophy, but unlike such contemporaries as Tillich or Bultmann, Barth is wary of restating the dogmas of the church in nontraditional language. His thought is complex, but he nonetheless writes of doctrine in prose that is not far removed from that of the pulpit. Above all he writes of the mysterious history of Christ. Knowledge of God is knowledge of God through Christ. Faith is faith in Christ; the church is the Church of Christ; the Bible is the witness of Christ. Theologian Hans Frei of Yale calls him "a Christ-intoxicated man."
    read more


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    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Barth's The Problem of Dogmatics

    Now that I have Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics, I can join Professor Daniel Kirk's The Barth Synchroblogs Karl Barth Reading. The first thing I discovered is that the Church Dogmatics is not easy reading! The fonts are small and smaller (there are two font sizes in the text) and the sentences are not reader friendly (maybe they are for theologians). The plan is to read though the fourteen volumes in 11 years.

    This week's reading is on §7.1 The Problem of Dogmatics is an eye opener for me.

    Barth states that God's Word is "provisionally comprehensible and comprehensible in all its incomprehensibility" (249). This is as cryptic and profound as Karl Rahler's "the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity". What Barth means is that the Word of God is "provisionally" comprehensible because in our reading we can get insights from it. However it is "incomprehensible" because there are limits to our understanding of the Word. This is because when we receive the Word, we do not receive it directly but through "recollection" and "reflection". This really throws a spanner into the evangelical worldview where it is assumed that we receive it directly.

    I like the way Barth argues his theses. He argues like a scientist rather than a philosopher (or a theologian). He get straight to the gist of the thesis, presents his facts and findings and draws a conclusion. He examines the relation of the Word of God and the Church. One can get lost in his words: Bible, Church, tradition, dogma or dogmas, and dogmatics. However, instead of being caught up in terms and their usage, Barth declares that " [d]ogma is the relation between the God who commands and the man who obeys His command, the relation which takes place in the event of this commanding and obeying" (274).

    and that is so cool.

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    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Christian Spiritual Formation with some UTM students

    Did a Spiritual Formation Seminar with some Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) students with some unexpected results


    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Spiritual Formation and Christian Education: Are We Talking about the Same Thing?

    There has been some confusion regarding the term spiritual formation and Christian education. In this post I will attempt to (1) differentiate between the two and also (2) identify when the two terms may be considered synonymous.

    a. Definition of Christian education
    The meaning of the term “Christian education” or “religious education[1]” or “Christian religious education” has over the years become expansive and ambiguous. Christian education is commonly associated with classes, resources, time-limited courses, the need for more trained teachers and teaching materials; most of these activities are conducted on Sunday in the church grounds using church facilities. Many educators have tried to map Christian education over the years in attempts to appreciate the diversity of the term. American Catholic educator, Mary C. Boys, in her seminal study, Educating in Faith, tries to map it into four categories: (1) evangelism, (2) religious education, (3) Christian education, and (4) Catholic education (catechetics). She approaches the subject from a historical and conceptual framework (Boys, 1989).

    Jack L. Seymour and Donald E. Miller in their 1982 book, Contemporary Approaches to Christian Education, describe five different approaches or key metaphors in understanding Christian education (Seymour et al., 1982). These approaches are (1) Religious instruction; (2) Faith Community; (3) Spiritual development; (4) Liberation; and (5) Interpretation. Commenting on this book, Johnson has this to say,
    This book proposes formation as a decisive image through which to understand Christian education. One can detect in Seymour and Miller’s survey the nascent appearance of spiritual formation as a guiding image, though its distinctiveness disappears into developmentalism, on one hand, and the faith community model, on the other hand (1989, 103. author’s italics)

    Johnson is correct in her assessment as the theme of spiritual formation become stronger when Seymour (1997) re-examines Christian education 15 years later in Mapping Christian Education: Approaches to Congregational Learning. Here he maps Christian education into four themes: (1) Transformation; (2) Faith community (3) Spiritual growth; and (4) Religious instruction. Compared to the 1982 survey, the approaches of liberation and interpretation appeared to have been integrated into transformation. Transformation which has the goal of “assisting people and communities to promote faithful citizenship and social transformation” is a better category that includes liberation and interpretation (1997, 21).

    Other significant and representative definitions of Christian education include divine-human interactions, shared praxis and socialisation. Concerning divine-human interventions, educator Pazmiño, offers the following definition:
    Christian education is the deliberate, systematic, and sustained divine and human efforts to share or appropriate the knowledge, values, attitudes, skills, sensibilities, and behaviours that comprise or are consistent with the Christian faith. It fosters the change, renewal, and reformation of persons, groups, and structures by the power of the Holy Spirit to conform to the revealed will of God as expressed in the Scriptures and pre-eminently in the person of Jesus Christ, as well as any outcomes of that effort (1997, 87).

    Christian education according to Pazmiño is more than schooling but less than socialisation. It emphasises the intentionality of a cooperative activity between persons and God. This activity includes the efforts to share the context of the Christian faith through the power of the Holy Spirit with preaching Jesus Christ as a goal. There is no emphasis on spiritual growth of the inner person, role of the church, and building relationships with other persons though those may be implied.

    Catholic educator Thomas Groome defines Christian religious education “as a political activity with pilgrims in time that deliberately and intentionally attends with them to the activity of God in our present, to the Story of the Christian faith community, and to the Vision of God’s Kingdom, the seeds of which are already among us” (1980, 25). His definition highlights the intentionality of religious education, being sensitive to God, the Christian story, and the goal of the kingdom of God. The methodology of his religious education is shared praxis. There is the emphasis on community, shared practices, and working towards a common goal – shared praxis.

    b. Spiritual formation and socialisation
    Socialisation or enculturation is the approach adopted by several Christian educators. One of them, Westerhoff III, defines religious education as “all those formal and informal influences through which persons acquired their understanding and ways of living…deliberate systematic, and sustained efforts within a community of faith which aim at enabling persons and groups to evolve particular ways of thinking, feeling, and acting” (2000b, 14, 579). This is based on his theory of enculturation where a community nurtures and helps its members to develop a particular pattern of being. He calls it “catechesis” or Christian formation. Westerhoff builds on C. Ellis Nelson’s ideas about socialisation. His approach is based on the community of faith. He subsequently influences Craig Dykstra (1978) in his works on Christian practices in congregations.

    I find the Christian education model of socialisation/enculturation closest to my concept of Christian spiritual formation. I define Christian spiritual formation as the intentional ongoing process of the inner transformation of the character of a person to become like the character of Jesus Christ himself, of becoming with others a community of the people of God, and of becoming an agent for God’s redemptive purposes.

    While the elements of spiritual formation are present in Christian education, Christian spiritual formation is only synonymous with the socialisation model of Christian education.

    Boys, M. C. (1989). Educating in Faith: Maps and Visions. Lima, OH: Academic Renewal Press.

    Dykstra, C. (1987). The Formative Power of the Congregation. Religious Education, 82(4 Fall), 530-546.

    Groome, T. H. (1980). Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Johnson, S. (1989). Christian Spiritual Formation in the Church and Classroom. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

    Pazmiño, R. W. (1997). Foundational Issues in Christian Education (2d ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

    Seymour, J. L. (Ed.). (1997). Mapping Christian Education: Approaches to Congregational Learning. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

    Seymour, J. L., Miller, D. E., Little, S. P., Foster, C. R., Moore, A. J., & Wehrheim, C. A. (1982). Contemporary Approaches to Christian Education. Nashville, TN.: Abingdon Press.

    Westerhoff, J. (1976, 2000). Will Our Children Have Faith? (rev. ed. enl.). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing.

    [1] In some countries, religious education refers to education in schools. In Malaysia, there are only one or two “Christian” schools which offer the national education syllabus with one or two religious subjects and chapel services. In practice they are closer to the National Type schools than to schools offering “(Christian) religious education”.

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    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Evangelicalism and World Domination?

    There is an interesting article on evangelicalism The Possibility of a New Evangelical Movement in the U.S.A by Paul N. Markham (Western Kentucky University) published by Journal of Religion and Society, vol 12 (2010). The author started with a brief history of the development of evangelicalism and ends with its recent association with the Religious Right. However, he sees a shift of evangelicalism from the Religious Right with its association with politics. It is not a shift from social activism but into another form of social activism. The author concludes,

    The “crisis” among new evangelicals appears evident as they increasingly disassociate from the Religious Right and take up a progressive theological agenda oriented toward social justice – with an emphasis on a broad range of social issues. What is less clear is how they develop a shared narrative and means of sustained informal interaction. Despite the lack of an apparent organizational center, there are significant commonalities among the new evangelicals. The most significant of these shared aims is their growing agenda, which places an emphasis on social justice issues and the degree to which their theological expression is intimately bound to the exercise of social responsibility. 

    This description of evangelicalism is hardly compatible with another description of evangelicalism by Iain Buchanan's The Armies of God: A Study in Militant Christianity (Penang, Malaysia: Citizen International, 2010).

    The book blurb at the back reads,

    This book looks at the ways that Western politics incorporate, and exploit, religion. In particular, it examines the rise of US evangelicalism as a force in world affairs. It looks in detail at some of the most powerful agencies involved, and at the way they operate - often as US government proxies - in such countries as Iraq, Thailand, and India...Armies of God is a plea for us to realize just how pervasive (and unspoken) is the role of religion in power politics - and how destructive we have allowed it to be.

    This book offers an interesting perspectives on North American Christianity. I would not refer to it as "evangelicalism" as the author did because evangelicalism is a movement with a wide varieties of Christian denominations and groupings. The thesis that evangelicalism is a hegemony is therefore false as there is no one entity that can be classified thus. This will also means that to classify World Vision, Full Gospel Businessman's Fellowship, Habitat for Humanity, Haggai Institute and Youth with a Mission (YWAM) as evangelicals are not tenable, much less that these organizations are evangelical organizations to control the world.

    That evangelicalism as a movement and North American Christianity as a whole has been used and exploited by politicians is not surprising. That is why many Christians are leaving the Religious Right. But to insinuate that evangelicals are plotting with USA leaders to dominate the world is a bit far fetch. Religions are often the victims rather than the culprit when it comes to world domination.

    Two more comments about this book. First is who is Iain Buchanan? It is surprising that the author of such an expose did not tell the readers who he or she is. Second is that most of his or her references are from the Internet. That the bulk of his or her arguments are supported by writings published on the Internet do not give credibility to the thesis because they are not peer-reviewed and thus do not carry the same weightage as from published sources.

    From a learning point of view, I have benefited from this book. It allows me to see North American Christianity from another point of view. Though it is controversial in the way some events are interpreted, it reminds me again that different people see the world differently because of their worldview filters.


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    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Martyn Lloyd Jones on Prayer

    Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote: “Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God”

    (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 2 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, 2:45)



    Ash Wednesday 2011

    I am reposting this poem that I wrote for Ash Wednesday 2009

    Today I wear the mark of the cross on my forehead,
    visible black cross reminder of righteousness aforesaid.
    stained mark from last year's burnt palm leaves
    black on white, opportunity for repentance gives

    Repentance done for repentance needed in words and deeds,
    unconfessed sins unconfessed, sin and more sins will breed.
    Repentance for grace undeserved, begins the season of Lent,
    undeserved, unbidden, unexpected salvation was sent.

    Darkness is my heart where selfishness sings evermore,
    ego and pride above goodness and holiness soar.
    Come, Holy Spirit, come breath of God, to my sorry plight,
    Cleanse me, mould me, straighten me, to make me right.

    Soli Deo Gloria

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    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Preparing for Lent

    Tomorrow will be Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for 2011. I will like this opportunity to quieten and try to center myself. It has been a hectic few weeks and I believe I should not be rushing into Lent. Lent is a time of reflection, repentance and acceptance. For Jesus, it was a time of quietness before the storm. To some observers, it is a period that ends with a tragic murder. I know that it is more than this. It reminds us of a pivotal moment in creation. One that spells freedom and liberty to all who are in bondage. It is a time when chains are cast off and we regain our dignity as human beings, created in the image of God.


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    "Go, Grow, Glow" Discipleship Conference, Singapore

    "Go, Grow, Glow"

    Discipleship Conference

    12-14 May 2011

    Bukit Panjang Methodist Church (John Wesley Centre)

    About the main Speaker

    Known for his logic and wit, Stuart Briscoe has been preaching since he was just 17 years old. Now, edging close to 80 years young, he shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, he continues teaching the Bible on nearly every continent. Briscoe is credited with transforming Elmbrook from a church of 300 members to one of the largest churches in America. He has written more than 40 books and the media ministry, Telling the Truth, which he founded in 1971, continues to reach out daily around the world.

    Conference Program

    Thursday, 12 May
    7.00 - 8.00pmRegistration
    8.00 - 8.15pmWelcome & Worship
    8.15 - 9.30pmSession 1 "The Kingdom of Heaven"
    Friday, 13 MaySaturday, 14 May
    8.30 - 9.00amRegistration   Registration
    9.00 - 9.15amWorshipWorship
    9.15 - 10.15amSession 2 "The Call to Discipleship"Session 5 "How Disciples Pray"
    10.15 - 10.45amMorning Tea BreakMorning Tea Break
    10.45 - 12pmSession 3 Guided DiscussionSession 6 Guided Discussion
    12.00 - 1.00pmLunchLunch
    1.00 - 2.15pmWorkshop *Workshop *
    2.15 - 2.45pmAfternoon Tea BreakAfternoon Tea Break
    2.45 - 3.45pmSession 4 "Kingdom Living"Session 7 "Disciples & Priorities"
    3.45 - 4.00pmClosingClosing

    Friday 13 May Workshops

    1. Teach Us To Pray Jill Briscoe (DVD)
    2. The Practice and Joy of Devotions Dr Alex Tang
    3. Rethinking Discipleship Timothy Liu

    Saturday 14 May Workshops

    1. Teach Us To Listen Jill Briscoe (DVD)
    2. The Stress of Discipleship Yam Keng Mun
    3. Methodist Discipleship


    Manfredi's Spartan

    I have always been intrigued by the Spartans, their culture and warrior ethos. Valerio Massimo Manfredi gave a good account of all three in his 1988 novel which was written in Italian and was translated into English in 2002. Dr. Valerio Massino Manfredi is a historian, archaeologist and journalist. He is also the author of the Alexander the Great trilogy and the Last Legion which will soon be made into a movie. My fascination with the Spartans was given additional booster when I watched the movie 300 and also when I visited the actual battlefield site of Thermopylae and the graves of these brave warriors. This novel is about the two Spartans who survived the battle and the revolt of the Herlot, the people enslaved by the Spartans. Though the Spartans officially do not have "slaves" however they do make "slaves" of the other people near their city. These "slaves" do all the work while the Spartans trained to be warriors all the time.

    Interestingly, my other favourite historical warfare author is writing about the Warrior Ethos. This is from his website

    How the Spartans Became the Spartans

    By Steven Pressfield | Published: March 7, 2011

    Chapter 12   How the Spartans Became the Spartans
    All warrior cultures start with a great man.
    In ancient Sparta, that man was Lycurgus. He took the city from a normal society and made it into a warrior culture.
    So that no individual would have grounds to feel superior to another, Lycurgus divided the country into 9000 equal plots of land. To each family he gave one plot. Further, he decreed that the men no longer be called “citizens,” but “peers” or “equals.”
    So that no man might compete with another or put on airs over wealth, Lycurgus outlawed money. A coin sufficient to purchase a loaf of bread was made of iron, the size of a man’s head and weighing over thirty pounds. So ridiculous was such coinage that men no longer coveted wealth but pursued virtue instead.
    Lycurgus outlawed all occupations except warrior. He decreed that no name could be inscribed on a tombstone except that of a woman who died in childbirth or a man killed on the battlefield. A Spartan entered the army at eighteen and remained in service till he was sixty; he regarded all other occupations as unfitting for a man.

    Interesting culture.

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    Thursday, March 03, 2011

    Health Information Technology and Clinical Practice

    There are some good articles in this issue.

    Virtual Mentor :: American Medical Association Journal of Ethics |
    Virtual Mentor. March 2011, Volume 13, Number 3: 139-206. Full Issue PDF

    March 2011 Contents

    Health Information Technology and Clinical Practice

    From the Editor

    Some “Face Time” for Health Information Technology
    Anthony C. Rudine
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:141-143.

    Educating for Professionalism

    Clinical Cases

    Copying and Pasting Patient Treatment Notes
    Commentary by Deborah D. Nelson
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:144-147.
    Use of Electronic Patient Data in Research
    Commentary by Stephen T. Miller and Rexann G. Pickering
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:148-151.
    Limits to Patient Selection
    Commentary by Nabeel Farooqui
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:152-155.

    Medical Education

    Medical Education and Decision-Support Systems
    James B. Lewis Jr. and Kathryn Ryder
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:156-160.

    The Code Says

    The AMA Code of Medical Ethics’ Opinion on Computerized Medical Records
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:161-162.

    Journal Discussion

    Reassessing “Minor” Breaches of Confidentiality
    Timothy Hotze
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:163-166.
    Use of Bar-Code Technology to Reduce Drug Administration Errors
    Angeline Wang
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:167-169.

    Clinical Pearl

    Vancomycin in the Treatment of Pediatric Staphylococcal Infections
    Anthony C. Rudine and Jennifer P. Rudine
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:170-171.

    Law, Policy, and Society

    Health Law

    THE HITECH ACT—An Overview
    Howard Burde
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:172-175.

    Policy Forum

    Ethical Dimensions of Meaningful Use Requirements for Electronic Health Records
    Stephen T. Miller, and Alastair MacGregor
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:176-180.

    Medicine and Society

    Does Health Information Technology Dehumanize Health Care?
    James E. Bailey
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:181-185.

    History, Art, and Narrative

    History of Medicine

    Development of the Electronic Health Record
    Jim Atherton
    Full Text | PDF
    Virtual Mentor. 2011; 13:186-189.

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