Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The wrap

Ho-ho-ho! Santa’s bulging sack is way over the weight limit, and he needs to chuck some stuff. And where better to dump them than on the first wrap of 2008?

In light of the recent controversy over whether non-Muslims could legitimately use ‘Allah’ to refer to God, Malaysian theologian Dr. Ng Kam Weng has written a piece defending the right of non-Muslims to use the term. It’s a fairly academic piece; if you’ll like a more layperson-friendly, journalistic tone that covers similar ground, check out What’s in a Name?. Bob Kee attempts to move beyond the polemics. I belong to the Evangelical Church of Borneo (SIB) back home and I’ve sung songs giving praise to ‘Allah’ before – as have other East Malaysian Christians. I did sometimes wonder at the rationale behind that. Now I know!

For my fellow Malaysians, an event announcement:
The Christian and the General Election: Core Issues.
Date: 26th January 2008. Speakers include Gerakan’s Dr. Tan Kee Kwong, MCA’s Loh Seng Kok, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and well-known activist, Dr. Irene Fernandez of Tenaganita. Online registration only.

Lee Chee Keat shares his thoughts on the two biggest stumbling blocks to following Christ for Malaysian Chinese.

Anthony Loke, who teaches at a Malaysian seminary, tells us a little about the current generation of Malaysian seminarians and raises some questions. Plus an interesting comment thread! (See also Dr. Alex Tang’s post 'Will You send your children to Bible school?'). On a related note, the D’Nous Academy organised by FES/SU Malaysia sounds like a good idea. I would have loved something like this back in my day!

This was quite a while ago now, but I should mention CT’s profile of Hillsong. Hillsong, of course, has had a fairly big impact on Malaysian evangelicalism.

Michael Patton offers a nuanced answer to the question 'Are all Sins really equal in God’s sight?’' Conclusion: "...while not all people sin to the same degree, we all share in an equally depraved nature." He did a great job of correcting my thinking on this!

Rhett Smith on book libraries and the Amazon Kindle.

Just how powerful is Google?

Al Mohler has written some good reflections on life in the cellular age. I think it’s important that we consider how technology shapes our lives, often in subtle ways.

There’s a great feature in Guardian Books about reading as therapy, investigating how reading might alleviate pain or distress. Meanwhile, distinguished literary critic Stanley Fish attacks the idea that the humanities can somehow save us. I don’t necessarily disagree. As Lundin and Gallagher rightly say (of literature): “A Christian perspective on reading lies between the extremes of hedonism and redemption.” Also, there’s an interesting (and slightly polemical) piece on the liberal arts curriculum at Harvard in First Things. (HT: Justin Taylor). While I was at Oxford, I would agree that the emphasis also fell on the "therapy of critique", as the author puts it, although I don’t want to overplay it either. It certainly caught me by surprise!

Oxford University study blows holes into the idea of a strict divide between ‘high’ culture and pop culture.

Would you believe it? The UK government really does have an X-Files!

Santa is off to a well-deserved break in the Bermudas!

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