Tuesday, January 31, 2006

School Fees increase again

Hickory Dickory Dock
The student went up to the notice board
The board read: "School Fee Increase!"
The heart came down
Heartedly downwardly Drop....
Tick tock!

That's life as a poor student. Another fee increase, this time it really makes me feel for students who have already taken on a loan. Imagine. Future pastors and church leaders feeling heavily in debt after Bible school. Something is wrong indeed. What can we do? Spend less? Earn more? (but how can one do well fulltime and yet finance the very expensive studies?) I do not know. $430 per credit. That's a lot of money! Wonder what will happen if fee increase caused students to drop out of Bible School? Is it only the rich can study and prepare for the ministry? Though I must thank God that I am not poor to the point of starvation, any fee increase is a heart-dropping experience. Hope that at least at the end of my course, I still have enough money to buy a ticket home. Cannot imagine that at the end of my course, my new course of direction will begin with my bank account near zero, almost broke and only depending on grace. Is that what life is all about? But put it this way. Better broke in the pocket than a broken household. We are grateful that during this period, our family has bonded together even more. That's what we sometimes do not realise. Back home, I guess in our busyness to earn money, we forget to see our kids growing up. Here we constantly marvel at the little peculiar habits of all our growing up stages. Guess though we might be nearly broke, there will be jobs available back home for us when we get back.

It can be an extremely tough time to finish the Regent program not ASAP but AFAP (As fast as possible). Hey maybe ASAP should be "As Speedily As Possible" or "As Spiritually as Possible"?


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Heb 12 and suffering

Today's message was on Hebrews 12. The estimated number of people here is around 60 adults. The preacher took a brave stance today, after sharing about the need to see discipline as a divine effort to help us grow spirituality.

Once individuals started sharing about suffering and difficulties, some tears flowed, and some agony followed, as there seemed to be no good explanation on why would God allow suffering? I guess one reason it touches the human soul, especially the Christian is the fact that suffering epitomizes the tension between the 'Goodness of God' and the 'Pain of evil'. Why would a good God allow evil? Hebrews certainly points to a positive outset, to be hopeful and be able to persevere in the midst of suffering and difficulties. Some pointed out that one should not be too quick to jump to that conclusion as one needs to consider the reality of evil itself.

I think that is insightful too, as there are times in which we need to see God allowing us to see 'how evil' the consequences of sin can have. The problem of evil is certainly a problem that many have grappled with over the years. To think one can resolve it in 1 weekend is simply folly. What remains is the memory that God is Sovereign and in control. As long as we hold this mystery, maybe we should allow this mystery to keep us in faith. It is that fleshly deception that the 'right to know' the answers to mysteries in this world, that in itself blocks the path of faith.


Chinese New Year: Year of the Dog.

For people of Chinese ethinic origin, Chinese New Year is the major event of the year. In countries where there is a sizeable population of Chinese, there will always be that familiar ring of "Kong Hee Fatt Choy", "Xin Nian Kuai Le", wishing one another another year of prosperity and good fortune, with Happy New Year and every good returns.

In Vancouver, one would have thought that with a large Asian community, the atmosphere will be wonderful as well. It is different. Depending on where one lives, there are 'pockets' of greetings. There is a big difference. Not many people are even aware that today is Chinese New Year Day 1. CTV last night screened a little of the countdown at Chinatown's International Village. This is so different compared to a pervasive atmosphere back in countries like China, HK, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and many other large Chinese communities around the world.

I miss the family and friends where we would enjoy the full 15 days of celebrations, chatting, eating and simply enjoying the togetherness. The festive spirit need people of like mind and interest to spread. I think of Bak Kuah (groan), pineapple tarts (groan), peanut candy (groan), waxed duck (groan), lo-hei (groan), and of course 'ang pows'!

At least, for the net surfer, when one goes to google.com, one can see the LUNAR NEW YEAR 2006 with a dog image. That is great.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Some Theological Links for the Serious Theological Student

#1 - Full text by reputed scholars [link]

#2 - Stanford Dictionary of Religion [link]

#3 - All-In-One Bible Versions [link]

#4 - Great Greek Site with parsing [link]

#5 - Church Fathers [link]

#6 - Online Resources for Biblical Studies [link]

#7 - Great Hebrew Site for Hebrew Exegesis

#8 - Another Greek Parsing site [link]

Somewhat Controversial Topics

Biblical Manhood from one evangelical standpoint [link]

Happy New Year!

[Aaron's Gingerbread House]

Hope you have a great year ahead!

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