Friday, October 24, 2008

One-Anothering: A Communal Gospel

I just finished listening to this talk from the Total Church Conference, having picked it at random since the title looked helpful. I'm blown away - it's outstanding and challenging, and also scary on one level actually! Dave Fairchild, the speaker, shows how the gospel and community relates to one another in fresh and convicting ways. I was struck by how much "one anothering" is there in the NT: love one another, care for one another, forgive one another, don't pass judgment on one another, spur one another to good deeds etc., and how that's intricately related to the indicatives of the gospel. So often the construction in the NT goes along these lines: "As I have loved you, so love one another".

If you have an hour or two, this is worth listening to. Don't worry about the first 5 minutes, where there's some audience interaction, as the talk only really gets going after that. The Q&A is pretty long and I think starts around the 55 minute mark.

One Anothering: A Communal Gospel

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just clocked off after 7 consecutive days of work, and am really feeling it. Yesterday was particularly tough, and all I kept humming and singing this song to myself all day yesterday to help keep me going.

Because I'll never hold the picture
of the whole horizon in my view
Because I'll never rip the night in two
It makes me wonder
Who am I and great are You

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Free (UCCF Gospel Project)

400,000 Gospels handed from student to student at over 150 universities and colleges in the UK. Imagine that! As someone who is and will be reading Mark's Gospel with internationals (at the moment, particularly Japanese) this term, I think it's great to imagine it finding its way into the hands of many students who perhaps would otherwise never open a Bible.

(Some of my readers might spot a familiar face)

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

The wrap

Looking back, I think I had a pretty good week. A tiring one for sure, as I've had something going on every single night, and in some cases, had no break between the afternoon and the evening, but God was good in granting me enough energy and helping me to pace myself. Tuesday morning, for instance, I was simply peopled out and so I made sure I got some time to myself during lunchbreak, chomping on a wrap while walking along small, lonely alleyways, which really helped for that evening, where I would have been engaging lots of new faces.

So that's the personal update. Here's an internet roundup update of sorts! Here's some good stuff on the web:

Greg Gilbert at 9Marks has done some reflecting on what the gospel is. It's stimulating. Kingdom language gets thrown around a lot nowadays when it comes to defining the gospel, often over and against a "repentance of sin" gospel. And yet I think the two must hold together, and we must be clear on what we mean by "kingdom". But I accept it's quite hard to be able to articulate it clearly, simply because I guess the gospel is both simple and yet so comprehensive in scope it's hard to say everything in a short soundbite!

The Cruciform Life. I am grateful to those who first exposed me to worldviewish thinking, and how a Christian worldview has helped me in seeing the world with new glasses, as it were. But there is also a danger that the language of worldview devolves into an intellectual game with no corresponding desire to grow to be more like Jesus. But as Jimmy Davis points out in this article, ""my worldview was not biblical until it was also cruciform". (Cruciform simply means cross-shaped). One book that does a great job of showing us the entire shape of the Christian worldview is J. Mark Bertrand's (Re)Thinking Worldview.

I was really fascinated by English professor's Mark Edmundson's observations about my generation (though in an American context) in Dwelling in Possibilities. A snippet:
"They want to study, travel, make friends, make more friends, read everything (superfast), take in all the movies, listen to every hot band, keep up with everyone they've ever known. And there's something else, too, that distinguishes them: They live to multiply possibilities. They're enemies of closure. For as much as they want to do and actually manage to do, they always strive to keep their options open, never to shut possibilities down before they have to."
There are some other startling observations too, like the one about people going to parties only to whip their mobiles out, or the advent of the age of the iPod, which allows us all to have our own personal soundtracks. Well worth reading. I suspect that even non-American readers will be able to recognise hints of similar things in their own contexts.

Mission in the 21st Century. The title is indicative of its content! A survey of what the current mission situation looks like globally, and some brief reflections on how to adapt and engage new realities and challenges.

After Lehman Brothers: Desperate City wives. ("The City" in London refers to the central financial district like Wall Street does in New York). I know it's fashionable at the moment to treat all investment bankers with disdain and to rejoice at their comeuppance. And I don't doubt the fact that in many, many cases, they've been a showcase for greed. But they've also been a convenient mirror for many to project their moral superiority on. I thought this was a very well-done feature, simply getting us into the shoes of the spouses of the (formerly?) wealthy, and also perhaps giving us occasion to reflect on our own habits without being preachy.

Novelist Margaret Atwood looks at the cultural history of debt. A very interesting exploration and a model of how the tools of literary analysis could be applied!

A Conversation with Tan Twan Eng in the Far Eastern Economic Review on the state of Malaysian writing and other things. Tan Twan Eng's novel The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the Booker last year. Haven't read it, and not quite sure if I will. There's another novel by a Malaysian writer which has gotten good press this year - Preeta Samarasan's Evening is the Whole Day. I'm wondering too if I should tackle that one, looks like it would not be light reading though.

I think all the above have substance, so do go have a look! :)

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Call for Malaysian Christian leaders / thinkers

A plug on behalf of Dave / The Agora:

The Church in Malaysia urgently needs to develop a thoughtful and comprehensive answer to contemporary challenges to its life and mission. In response to this task Kairos Research Centre was set up in 1993 by a group of evangelical leaders...

We are in the process of setting up a committee of people who are keen
  • to form study/research groups,
  • organize events/forums that encourage and facilitate Christian reflection on issues relevant to Malaysian Christianity,
  • do research/write
  • make available the rich library resources at Kairos to contribute towards the development of Christian leaders and thinkers.

    So if you know anyone who would be keen to join and participate on a voluntary or salaried basis. Do let us know at hedonese at yahoo dot com or enquiries at kairos-malaysia dot org

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  • Friday, October 03, 2008

    Before and after?!

    This ad amuses me to no end. Somehow, I don't think any skin lotion is that potent...

    Don't you just love the disclaimer? :D

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