Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Opening the Next Chapter - Regent Library is Open!

"It will be opened in 5 mins time." said Rod Wilson, President of Regent College.

We all clapped and cheered. No more stressful wait for reference books and delays in writing our papers. Led by the library staff, all of us walked from the chapel and entered into a spanking new library. Just like the groundbreaking ceremony where we all sang the doxology last year, we sang the doxology in the new library together.

It was amusing to see students immediately checking out books like an eager beaver sifting through logs to find the best wood. The superlatives were plenty, described audibly in 'Wow', 'Superb', 'Fantastic', 'Wonderful', and visibly by some slouching on couches, sleeping on nice clean carpets and occupying the brand new cubicles. Many were visibly happy with the arrangement of desks and study tables. Every table comes with a power outlet as well!

The Regent-Carey Library is now open (30 Jan 2006 at 12PM), only the library. The wind tower and the rest of the new building is still not unveiled. Official opening will be sometime in Sep 2007. Stay tuned on this blog for photos later.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good news or Bad news.... (to the iguana)

Life is hard (no pun intended). Tell that to this iguana....

ANTWERP, Belgium (Reuters) - Mozart, an iguana with an erection that has lasted for over a week, will have his penis amputated in the next couple of days.

Veterinarians at Antwerp's Aquatopia had sought to treat the animal's problem, but decided removal was the only solution because of the risk of infection. The good news for Mozart and his mates is that male iguanas have two penises.

Mozart, sitting on the shoulders of his keeper as camera crews focussed on his red, swollen erection, seemed unperturbed by the news.

"It doesn't bother him. He doesn't know what amputation means," said vet Luc Lambrecht, adding that Mozart's sexual activity should be undimmed by the operation.

"I don't think so. That's all in his head."

(Thu Jan 25, 12:04 PM ET, Reuters News)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Missions Fest 2007

Today I dropped by Missions Fest Vancouver 2007 at Canada Place. It resembles the exhibition and convention center at Suntec City in Singapore, except that instead of the electronics and technology companies on display, this time, it was a whole potpurri of Christian based organizations that showcased different aspects of missions involvement. There were organizations that provide training (eg Briercrest College, Trinity Western Uni, and of course Regent College. There are those which serve through the teaching ministry, and the helping ministry. Some are humanitarian focused and others are country focused. For those who are keen to know about missions, the exhibition is a great place to gather information and to determine one's level of involvement in global as well as local missions. I met a friend who came from Edmonton, volunteering in the Mission of Mercy Canada. His dad is also actively involved in the mission for Christ. It dawned upon me the wonder of God using two generations of a family in the common service for God. I am encouraged that both the father and son are serving the Lord in their respective manner.

I looked through the brochure for Missions Fest and realized that Gracia Burnham is one of the keynote speakers. It would be great to listen to what she has to share about her experience with New Tribes Missions (NTM) when she was there with her husband for 17 years. For those who do not know, the Burnhams was one of the victims kidnapped by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the South-East Asian region. The Burnhams were kidnapped and detained for 376 days, before a fatal rescue attempt , which left her husband dead. Gracia was mercifully spared and was able to return to the US. You can read more about her biography here.

I am touched by the energy and enthusiasm missionaries like Gracia Burnham is able to continually share her love for the Philippines, despite her tragic encounter there. Live like that humble me. Other speakers this year include Os Guiness and Bruce Milne. The missions fest ends this Sunday.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Food for Thought (and action?)

Suffering is often quoted as one of the most difficult problems pertaining to faith in God. Lest such talks of suffering degenerates into a purely philosophical domain or a mere exercise of intellectual gymnastics, it is important to link arguments with the heart. The following is food for thought and action. In Professor John Stackhouse's book: "Can God be Trusted?", Stackhouse calls for any response to evil to include a sense of sharing responsibility. (p67)

Mother Teresa was once asked by a reporter, "Where is God?", pointing to an example of a baby dying alone in an alley in Calcutta. Her response is arresting.

"God is there, suffering with that baby," she said. "The question really is, where are you?"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tuesday's Chapel - Ken Smith and others

I am glad I attended Tuesday (22 Jan 2007) chapel session. There were several guests who stood up to give thanks, and we were given more insight in the past, to be careful about our present, and to be hopeful towards the future. It was not planned out that way. It is simply my perception.

First we had Ken Smith, a long time Regent donor and supporter who brought us through a riveting history of Regent College, reminding all of us that Regent was built on brokenness, poverty and humbleness. Regent College then began with more professors than students enrolled and there was some level of anxiety where the students are going to come from. With prayer and faith, they persevered. The first year of Regent College was also tragic. There were only about 5 students enrolled and two of them died in a weekend car accident, including a staff member. Soon, there were also the problem of space. In the early years, students were forced to cram not only their minds but space, as there is no proper building for Regent, simply a small basement rented from VST (Vancouver School of Theology). That year, a developer was forced to sell the piece of land (the present location), due to some unusual government legislation, and offered for sale to Regent. Another problem: Not enough money. Through prayer and faith, Regent was able to buy it. Ken then lists several other faith related events which really helped me to appreciate the history of Regent even more. This insight into the past is invaluable as it helped keep me humble.

Secondly, we have a time of giving thanks, something I thought was especially meaningful in our expression of humility. Each of us took a Thank You card, to write personal notes about ourselves to share with each and every donor to Regent College. I thought that was an excellent way, the Regent way. Sometimes I think as students, we are pampered more than we are ever aware of. The current school fees we are paying are already at a subsidized rate, and the least that we can do is to be thankful.

Thirdly, in looking towards the future, Dr David Ley reminded the student body to be wary of 'structures' as they have the uncanny ability to suppress and 'repress' student vigor and vitality. He said that Regent students in the early years have that energy and vitality to study and be faithful in their spiritual walk in spite of the lack of space, building and facilities. In order to avoid becoming complacent, he prayed that we do not become arrogant about the new facilities that will be ready for present and future students, but to let God continue to energize and revitalize the student cohort. It will be a shame if the level of spiritual energy and enthusiasm of students becomes inversely proportional to the advanced and better infrastructures.

That is indeed a good reminder. My prayer is that while the new facilities and building structures are new and nice on the outside, may the students live humbly, caring for neighbour and all the little things that matter to God. For if we are able to care for the little things that matter to him, God will surely take care of the little things that matter to us. This is not a reciprocal contract. It is faith.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Eugene Peterson's CT Interview

Here is an interview with Eugene Peterson from ChristianityToday, entitled "Why Can't I hear God?" Check it out here. For those of us who rarely has a chance to hear him, you may like to know that Eugene also has a daily reflection website.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Out of the Wet Snow Arises...

While many is complaining about the inconvenience of the wet snow, fellow Regent student Robert took the time carve out this wonderful sculpture using the wet snow. Beautiful picture. Took him about 2 hours to carve it out, while it took me less than 2 seconds to snap a picture of it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Campaign is Over.

Last Tuesday's chapel service (9 Jan 2007) was a moving one. Dr Rod Wilson, President of Regent College addressed the entire college and announced that the $14.5 million campaign for the "Writing the Next Chapter" is over. For a stunning full couple of minutes, everybody stood up, looked at the President, and naturally many eyes looked upwards to see the five vertical banners (Symbolizing: Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, Pentecost, Eschathon). There were no words spoken, simply a spontaneous and united clapping of hands, and many shed tears of delight and joy at God's faithfulness. Deep in all of our hearts, we knew this is only possible because of God.

The entire Regent Community prayed hard and that God will allow the entire project to be completed debt free. A key philosophy in the campaign is that it should not cost students additional money to pay for the cost of the project. God gave much more, through the many donors and people who believed in the Regent College ethos and vision. This is even more amazing simply to think that this campaign is over and above the existing financial giving required for the operational needs of the college. As a Regent student, I am proud to be a part of this very spiritual experience. I am glad that even though we as a community went through ups and downs, experiencing deaths and life, heartaches and joy, challenging yet rewarding circumstances, despite the disappointments encountered (we are still human), we are still glad to be a part of the legendary Regent experience. Some people may say that the Regent name itself commands a premium. I think $14.5 million raised even before the project has been completed, in a non-profit institution, tells us that there is no way a name in itself can ever achieve the target. It is absolutely because of the faithfulness of God, expressed through the fruits and lives of Regent graduates, staff and faculty, past, present and future.

Today's chapel builds up momentum to the launch of the New Library, with Sarah Hall giving us a short summary of her design of the wind tower. The wind tower comprises of several layers of glass. The first layer opens up like a book, reminding us that Regent College is an institution that is academic and lives and breathes by the Word of God. The second layer comprises of twelve shiny crosses, made up of photovoltaic cells that collects energy from the sun and lights up the surrounding of the library. The third layer has the Lord's prayer etched in Aramaic. Completely transparent, the wind tower allows light as well as reflect light in all its spectral beauty to the library surroundings. This project even captured the nationwide attention when it was first announced.

Some students lamented to me that Regent College without the library is like a newspaper without words. It is indeed strange that classes are ongoing, yet we are not able to access the library. I said to my friends: "It is well worth the wait." I have seen the library and it is a real beauty. If there is one more reason to come to Regent College, I must say, it is the new Regent Library: God's library.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Warwick University News

Incredible news from my alma mater. A top university having to reject many top students. Check it out here.

THOUSANDS of teenagers with straight As in their A-levels are set to be rejected from Warwick University because there are so many top-grade applicants.

So many teenagers have straight As or are predicted to get straight As that the popular university is set to reject 4,500 of them.

More than 5000 hopefuls will also be applying to faculties limited to 500 only. The good news is that Warwick has the benefit of choosing the cream of the crop. The problem is they are also rejecting a lot of other top students. Warwick has become a victim of its own success.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Memorial Service for Maureen Rose Morley

Yesterday, I attended the memorial service for a dear sister in Christ. Maureen Morley passed away peacefully on early Monday on 11 Dec 2006 in Warrenton, Virginia. I like the way the bulletin puts it: "Celebration of Her life and Faith." This is in stark contrast to what the world generally think about death and dying. Indeed, people have often avoided any references to death like a detestable plague. Even some Christians do not want to talk about death. In Chinese society, there is a superstitious bad luck associated with death and dying. Since coming to faith in Christ, I have learnt that in Christ, death and dying is not something to be afraid of, as Christ's resurrection shows us death has no hold on us. Some of her profound thoughts can be found in her blog.

The way the service was conducted yesterday is a clear affirmation of what Maureen Rose Morley stood for, all of her life, especially her last few years in Vancouver and Virginia. Her eternal words are etched in many of our hearts: "Whether I stay or go, I'm still alive! This is not a tragedy!" Her words also led to one brother in the Church writing a song dedicated and sung in the church for her several months ago, before she died.

The service was more than 2 hours long, with individual persons representing her family, her friends, the MarineView Church family, her husband's sailing group, her cancer group as well as many people from Regent College, including a sizeable number of professors and staff of Regent College. John Lunn sang a solo "Come to Jesus", with piano accompaniment from Julie. It was a beautiful call for all attending the service that the memorial is not simply one of Maureen's but that everyone of us present, need to come to Jesus too. Her brother and husband's testimony and eulogy respectively touches my heart, as it showed deep thanksgiving to all present for being a part of Maureen's life. It is important to take this time to remember and to let the grieving process take its place. This is no time to rush. The unhurried manner of the service is a point in itself. There is no need to hurry. We must progress not at high speed but human speed.

The recurring theme throughout the service was one of "Be Strong and Courageous", a reflection of Maureen's last days where she consoled others instead of being consoled, loving others more than herself, bringing comfort to others in spite of her own discomfort and pain. Her life itself is an amazing testimony in life, and the memories of her faith, is an elegant testimony in death. What made the service beautiful was that she had planned the whole service together with her husband Steve, before she died. Her best years were the ones spent with her husband Steve in Vancouver/Virginia.

Incidentally, I have been reading into death and dying, grief and grieving these past weeks, especially in the works of Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross. One of popular works is the stages of grieving which I believe provides us a way to locate our feelings and loss whenever we encounter grief.

  1. Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
  2. Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
  3. Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
  4. Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
  5. Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
  6. Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
  7. Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

Spending time with people who are dying made me more aware not only of the short life we have on earth, but the precious meaning that life is indeed a gift. For Maureen, thank you for sharing your life and touching many hearts with your words of encouragement, of strength, of weaknesses and of genuine faithfulness. For Steve, we want you to know that our hand of friendship extended to both Maureen and yourself, will remain extended to you. Indeed, by learning how to die gracefully and courageously, Maureen Rose Morley has taught us how to live.

We will miss you.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blackout at Regent

Today's class on Pastoral Care literally led us to a dark tunnel in a dark room. We were talking about becoming as lights shining in a world of darkness. Giving care is something we need to constantly do as a community. It has to be done in a humble manner, and yet remain biblical and theologically sound. Then came the college building blackout. All that remains are laptop computers running on batteries.

Strange, the professor was talking about many people facing the darkness of hopelessness. All of us stayed in the lecture room for an additional half hour, in the dark! My mind was racing to see how the literal and the spiritual meaning of light shining in the darkness at work. Indeed, all of us are lights in every sense.

I walked home battling the cold wind and snow hailing. The sky is dark and the night is getting colder. Nice to think that a hot dinner is waiting for me back home. Praise God!

You Never Walk Alone

Liverpool was soundly beaten this week, first they lost 3-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup on 6th Jan 2007. Then they lost 6-3 to the same team in the Carling Cup on 9th Jan 2007. What made it more humiliating is that both defeats were at Anfield, Liverpool's home!

Looking at it retrospectively, I think we can learn a few things for Liverpool team, as a Liverpool supporter and as a human person. Points of Learning for:
1) Liverpool team
- the higher the stake, the greater the pressure to perform. This leads to a greater temptation to be impatient, to want to get at the opponent as soon as possible, leading to a lack of concentration on defending, resulting in a lapse of defense and concentration.
- the morale is key to any team performance. When the opponents scored a goal or two in succession, morale dips and failure to convert chances deepen that gloom.
- playing at home, with home support, often the players play their hearts out, often leaving the brains behind. Football is not merely passion and heart. It require players to think, adapt and above all be patient.

2) As Liverpool supporter
- Never give up. The legend is that Liverpool supporters will always stick with the team, for better or for worse. Just as we cheer the team in good times, we need to rebuke the team performance where needed. This week, we need to let the team know that lack of patience and the overconfidence in fortress Anfield perhaps caused the downfall.
- Never give up. Live to fight another day. Losing one/two games is not a disaster. It simply means, wait it out and concentrate on the game. Remember, brains and brawn are both needed.

3) Personally
- Keep playing according to strategy. A little patience is better than hasty action that leads to regret
- Never lose hope. There will be ups and downs. But behave lowly, yet looking upwards to heaven in hope. Stay the way towards consistency.
- Do not let statistics deceive. Whether the odds are 10-1 or 100-1, every game is the same: They all starts with 0-0.
- Never read statistics first. See it only after everything else is over.

Cheer up, Liverpool, Liverpudlians. You Never Walk Alone.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Never start class on Mondays

Today I receive a shocker. Winter term 2007 officially began today instead of next week. I have already planned out all the different things I had wanted to do this week, but alas, they have to be cancelled. Is it of my bad planning? Or is it another indication that my absent-mindedness is a result of me getting older?

I scanned the time table. Whew. My first class starts Tuesday, which is tomorrow. God had mercy on me. The moral of the story? Never start class on Mondays, if ever possible. Instead of trying to review five books for the next week, I will try to cramp them in one day!

I picked up the Spring/Summer 2007 brochure from Regent. Lots of great classes. Marva Dawn, Gordon Fee, Christopher Hall, Susan Phillips, and many others will be teaching. I am also contemplating whether to sign up for the uniquely Regent's "Education on a Sailing/Rowing Boat"? Mmmmmph. Tempting.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's Super Seven!

Today is 07-01-07. The 7th of January, 2007. The Canucks have made it seven in a row. They beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in an exciting shootout. What a way to end the weekend. It would have been awesome if it happened on 7th July 2007, 07-07-07. Way to go, the Vancouver Canucks!


Lunch today

Today we wanted to try something different for lunch after church. So we decided to try the highly recommended DimSum restaurant in Richmond called "Top Gun". It was a 15 min wait for a seat. Many of the customers have bought a $50 membership which entitles them for a discount. We declined that as we do not think we will be frequent patrons. After all, full time students like me do not always eat at restaurants like these. The food is good, but is a little pricy. So we carefully ordered a few dishes so that we can sample them. The kids enjoyed the Beef noodles in special XO sauce. The Siew Mai and Har Kow is excellent. They serve very good chinese tea (not diluted), freshly prepared leaves, which leaves a nice tea aftertaste in the throat. I think their Dim Sum is one of the best we have tried so far.

I still remember those days where fine dining for me is standard fare, having to entertain clients frequently. Those days, I need to watch my tummy. Nowadays, I need to watch my budget.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Go! Canucks! Go!

The Vancouver Canucks are on a five-game winning streak. Can they make it six when they play the Edmonton Oilers today?

Go Canucks Go!

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