Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kids Holidays Begin

Summer holidays are here? Not exactly. School holidays are here is more accurate. Now us parents will need to scratch our head how to keep them occupied for the next 2.5 months, that is assuming the teachers do not strike again in September.

Maybe we'll watch TV...(no, it will affect their creative moods)
Maybe we'll bring them out. . .(no, it might cost lots of money over time)
Maybe we'll let them invite their friends over. . .(no, that'll mean more housework)
Maybe we'll feed them more...(no they will grow fat and it will cost us)
Maybe we'll bring them to library. . .(no, they'll get bored fast)
Maybe we'll just let them play with themselves. . .(no, then they'll fight)
Maybe we'll make them study. . .(no, they'll complain it's holidays.)
Maybe, we do not know what to dooooooooooo.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Giving: Too tightly controlled by expectations

A friend of ours has returned home recently after completing their studies. Along with it also ended some of the financial support they have been receiving. The message was clear. "As a student, you need some support. Once no longer a student, you do not need any more financial support."

It is easy to make decisions on support when one is working in a professional well paid job or studying. For the former, one certainly is able to support himself or herself financially, so there is no need for any charity. As a student without income, the giving is justified. What about the in-between? What about those who choose to work in a socially needful environment, a church, a mission field where the pay is extremely low (if any) and the expectations of charitable work is ultra high?

Expectations rear its ugliest head for this go-between situations. I have heard stories about people entering into the ministry and struggle even to maintain their current level of living. In some situations, the church have to resort to a bank loan just to pay the salaries of the pastor! Giving should not be primarily geared towards one's level of expectations. Instead, all giving must be prayerfully considered, and offered firstly to the Lord as an act of worship. Any expectations is not what the Christian worker ought to do for the cause, but how much the person trusts the Lord to use that money. Giving is an act of worship. It is also an act of faith. Certainly we have read about news on financial mismanagement by certain groups. However, these are never the majority. When CNN plays one scandal over and over again, it does not mean that ALL of the charitable organisations are scandalized!

My understanding of true giving goes like this. Firstly consider the amount one is prepared to give. Second, offer it to the Lord. Third, then consider where to give to. It is when we reverse the order, that giving resembles a rich man giving pennies to a beggar. Even worse, under the weight of unhealthy expectations, the Christian worker may become too bogged down by the need to please the donor, that the Christian cause suffers as a result.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Why Religion declines....

How I love this statement.

"Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its meaning becomes meaningless." (Abraham Heschel)

Another Quote from Barbara Brown Taylor

Another of my favourites. A gentle reminder that those of us seeking to be ministers of the Word to beware, that we take time to feed, to drink and to eat, and to do them well.

"We are people too, after all. We get hungry too, and some of us are starving. The problem is that nourishing words are so hard to find—words with no razor blades in them, words with no chemical additives. Most of the words offered to us have been chewed so many times there are no nutrients left in them, or else they have been left uncovered on some shelf until they are too hard to bite into. Meanwhile, people look at us with hungry eyes. . . . They do not know how many of us are down to our last handful of meal, our last tablespoon of oil. They do not know that we cannot give them more than we get." (Barbara Brown Taylor, When God is Silent, 23-24)


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Diet Coke + Mentos Experiment

Fellow readers,

This video perhaps will remind us not to swallow Mentos immediately after drinking Diet Coke. Click the PLAY button near the lower left to start.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Assaults on Words and Language

Barbara Brown Taylor, voted one of the greatest preachers in the English speaking world continues to marvel me with her insight and brilliance at the pulpit. In her book When God is Silent, she lamented about the deterioration of the use of words and language due primarily to 3 assaults.

#1 - Assault of consumerism
This refers to the way words have been forced to make promises that they cannot keep. Moreover, due to the rising aggressive ads, many words are chosen not for their truthfulness but for their seductiveness. For example, by naming the name of a high-rise apartment "Harbour View" even when the nearest beach is hundreds of miles away.

#2 - Assault of journalism
Even newspapers have contributed to the deterioration of the language of communication. The headlines of today can simply become rubbish tomorrow, as huge chunks of unread news gets thrown away because people simply have no time to read all of them. In essence, the word and language used has become cheap. Just look at how many credible news providers are there nowadays. Tabloids are among the biggest culprit to cheapen and mutilate the word.

#3 - Assault by the sheer proliferation of words
It is a growing trend that people see language and words as not as important as long as the message is transmitted across. People who do not know the right vocabulary wil create their own, often twisting and turning original words to say something they were not originally intended to say. SMS language is one contribution to the deterioration of the word. b4 replaces BEFORE. CU replaces SEE YOU. LUV is a short for LOVE. The list grows. The queer thing is that the speed of language and words proliferation has outgrown the human capacity to listen and process what was being said and heard. As a result, we become poor listeners. When that happens the whole communication chain disintegrates.

So what are we to do with the three assaults on words and languages?
I will venture to suggest that we should learn to cultivate silence. Turn off the radio. Take a walk in the park. Listen more. Be not anxious when there are no words to fill in a silent moment. Sometimes in life, what is needed is not another word, not another sentence, but simply to be a recipient. In communication, the language of no words is also a profound language of its own.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup Soccer Underway

Soccer. The greatest sport on earth. Is that disputed?

Some say the NHL, the Superbowl, NBA.
I will then say it is largely restricted to North America and some other parts of the world

Some will yet say it is the Olympics, which gets the highest viewership ever.
I will then say even if that is true, it is a combination of many different sporting events.

So is Soccer the most popular sport on earth?
Definitely. Just one sport, it spans the globe. All continents except Antarctica are represented. Africa, Asia, Europe, North & South America, Middle East, Central America are all represented.

Soccer is indeed the greatest sport for there is no other sport that I would devote nearly 6 hours every day for 30 days! I believe I am not alone.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Regent College Postcard

Received a postcard to thank me for the help at the Convocation 2006. Great experience doing the usher duties.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

World Cup 2006

Yes. The World's greatest sporting event is about to begin. Cannot wait for it to get started. Here in Vancouver, ALL 64 games will be shown LIVE! Hooray!
TV Schedule here!

Other web sites to note:
A) FIFA World Cup
B) Official Web Site
C) Sky Sports UK
D) Soccernet
E) Canada TV Schedule
F) TSN Canada
G) World Cup Scorechart Intelligent Excel Spreadsheet
H) Firefox Browser World Cup Soccer Extension

The last link about the Firefox extension is certainly another solid reason to migrate to Firefox browser. It is simply fabulous, showing me at a click all the games scheduled for the day, according to the correct time zone too!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Great Quote - E Stanley Jones

One of the greatest Methodist missionaries who ever lived said this memorable words which we sorely needed today, for us to recognize and stop sinning.

"Seven deadly sins: politics without principle; wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice" (E. Stanley Jones).

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