The subordinate goes to each of his boss’s debtors and writes off his own commission from what they owe. In so doing, “his master was not out any money rightfully his, the servant himself absorbed the loss, amends for previous wastage were partially made, and the man gained new friends who would care for him after his firing”It's a pretty brilliant explanation, but I'm still not totally convinced. Thoughts, anyone?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:1-6, NIV)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Does anyone else watch this video and feel like they're being thrust into a horror movie? I found the scene where they slaughtered the lamb, then cheered and rejoiced, extremely disturbing. Animal cruelty organizations should come down on this.
"Animal sacrifices are a very heavy thing... The only thing that gives life meaning is the recognition of death, and doing animal sacrifice correctly, recognizing that could be me... that what I owe God for is my life. It's a very powerful experience (not for God, He's not going to eat the steak) - It's for us. It's my recognition that I've done something that damages the world. This animal should be me."
I wonder, then, why they didn't just use human sacrifices. If someone died, would you rejoice or mourn?
Q: "Can you receive the forgiveness of sins without the shedding of the blood of animals?"
A: "No. It says in Leviticus that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.."
Now, before the rest of the world thinks that the Bible is a book for savages, and all Christians are blood thirsty creatures, let me clarify this. This ritual was stated in Leviticus. In the Old Testament. Before Christ came, there was no other way of atonement for sins. Blood for blood. It sounds cruel to use an animal's life to substitute your own, I know, but that was exactly what it was. But wait, didn't Jesus come to be the sacrificial lamb for the rest of eternity?
Are we falling into that trap of following a ritual blindly, without ever wondering why they came to exist in the first place, and whether such a ritual is relevant now?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Let's make a difference today!
I'm impressed, I really am. I've friends who have given their 101% to serve wholeheartedly in mentoring the music ministry while holding on to their full time jobs to pay the bills. Others have given up their holidays to help out youth ministry, or taken huge pay cuts in well paying jobs to serve in church.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
So today I set out with the goal of trying to get my blog a little more spruced up, and to slowly move away from my customized Blogger template settings :P
It was, let me just say, a painful process. Five hours later, I've finally gotten my little buttons up, and I'm still on the awful customized template. *hides face*
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Swedish elections are underway, and voting ends this Sunday! Unlike Singapore, where the majority aren't very hyped up (or perhaps even unaware) about who gets a seat in the parliament, Swedes are actually rather passionate and concerned about who they're voting for. You can almost feel an undercurrent of electric tension pulsing through the city. It's amazing, because Swedes are generally very temperate creatures - if you can feel their emotions churning, something big is definitely up!
On my way to work today, I passed by approximately 15 police cars/trucks/motorcycles. That's more police seen in one day than in the past 8 months! Every corner I turned I saw the neon blue and yellow trucks, and for once I was really afraid of exceeding the speed limit. I thought - there must have been a bomb threat! But in peace-loving Sweden?? How could that be??
Well, it turns out that the leader of Sverigedemokraterna, a controversial political party who's against immigrants, had a speech at Sergelstorg just a few streets away from my office. So much hassle and bustle for one man! I later learnt that many people fear that Sverigedemokraterna would get enough votes to get a seat in the parliament, and that several appearances had already been canceled earlier this week because the audience got violent. So, the huge army of policemen weren't undeserved.
A quick line about the Sverigedemokraterna party - They started off on the same track as Hitler and the Nazis, have evolved since, but have kept their implacable opposition to immigration and multiculturalism.
It's interesting, though, how people possessively claim countries as their own. After all, someone had to first migrate here, right? Who gave us the right to say that 'this land is ours, and we have the right to buy/sell/rule it"?
Sometimes, in my daydreams, I think about the past where the Red Indian tribes would take whatever they needed - not more, not less. They took enough to sustain and survive, and whatever they took was later returned to the earth. They didn't claim more - that would take extra manpower to maintain and that simply didn't make sense. If there was a lack of food, they would share. The whole tribe was like one big family, one large corporation withOUT the politics.
But then the Whites came in, drawing territorial lines and introducing technology. Bargaining power came into place and the whole "just be self-sustaining" thing just went pfft! out of the window.
Sad, isn't it, how we've evolved? Technology was supposed to make life simpler and better, yet we now seem to have made life more complicated. We've come to think that we can do anything. And we've come to 'play God'.
We dictate, we rule, we create, we destroy. We want power. But, most of all, we want freedom. We want to overrule God's dominion over us, to be greater than God, to disprove God's existence.
Has our pride grown so great?
But then again, what if there's no God?
Photo courtesy flickr user Heinrock
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Technology's a wonderful thing, but can we adapt fast enough to use it?
This video reminds me of my dear mum, who's fantastic but (used to be) computer illiterate. I remember asking her to hibernate my computer once - only to have her press the power button. I didn't save my work, so pfft! it all disappeared. If that happened today, I'd probably throw a fit :P [Hint: Ctrl+S is your best friend :D]
Sometimes, I wonder how many people will get used to Voxbiblia's new style of navigating the Bible. It's a terrific concept and I love it, but people take time to grasp new concepts, even if there's helpdesk :P I wonder how many people would have the time or patience to fiddle with Voxbiblia...
But well, if you're one of those people, drop me an email and I'll happily get back to you! :)
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
One of the things that we discussed today was that our values often times play a significant role in forming trends. I agree - When someone throws out an idea/product that corresponds with the values in our life, we get hooked on to it pretty fast. And when we adopt an idea/product that is in line with our goals in life, we start a trend.
But one thing our professor pointed out was that people had noticed a trend of our shifting values. Over the last 30 years (and even before), we have started to shift from having idealistic values and valuing security, to materialism and openness to change.
I was a little uncomfortable with him labeling materialism as a value. Does anyone else see the irony in this? We've shifted so far from preserving 'old traditions and values', to actually associate materialism with something of value.
One of the synonyms of value is "To regard highly". I think it's scary that we live in a society that regards money so highly, that they can abandon ideals such as justice and equality with the flick of the finger. Then again, I'm an idealist. I don't want to live for money - I want to live. And I've seen, too many times, how the pursuit of money can destroy your ultimate aim - the pursuit for happiness.
I'll end this post with a last thought - Could it be that our values aren't what's shaping trends, but that our trends are also what forms our values? In the chase to keep up with the 'next big thing', our personal values change. Michael Jackson was a trend-setter whose dance moves revolutionized today's dance forms. Back in his time, line dancing was the most extreme you could get. (Have you watched the Stylistics? It's hilarious! :P) And I bet that, when he first started, his now-famous-crotch-grabbing-with-a-high-pitch-yell move was considered unthinkable and obscene. Now, you see that dance move everywhere, especially in the hip hop and modern dance sectors. Did our values set the trends? Well, Michael Jackson's values, openness to change and exploratory mind did set the trend. But for the rest of the world, I believe that trends were what mutated our value system.
But I could be wrong - After all, I'm just a student.
[On a side note, I really liked Michael Jackson's dance moves, and I thought he looked good when he was still in his Thriller era :P]
I wonder what fathers must go through every day. My dad is the sole breadwinner in my family, yet he still finds time to plan his days around us. I remember, as a young mischievous kid, jumping on my dad when he got back from work, bouncing on his tummy and getting him to play the guitar and sing songs with my mum and sister. Sometimes I honestly wonder where he finds the time and energy to look after two kids (one of which is very hyperactive), protect us from our own mischief while supporting the family at the same time.
So imagine a father with gazillions of kids, all clamoring for His attention. All wanting to feel loved, supported, special. All wanting a healing touch. Yes, I'm talking about God. I wonder where He gets all the time to hear what we've got to say, much less respond to us. If he gets one email per prayer request, I bet His mailbox would be flooded in a split second. And yet, He's still giving out the promise that He will hear all prayer. And I haven't heard the "Due to the overwhelming number of emails that I get each day, I might not be able to respond to all of them. But I do promise to read all your emails" disclaimer yet!
"As for me, I will call upon God; And Jehovah will save me. Evening, and morning, and at noonday, will I complain, and moan; And he will hear my voice." -- Psalms 55:16-17 (ASV)
I'm quite a feminist.
The reason why I can't say that I'm a true feminist is because I don't agree with quite a number of the extremist views of feminism. I believe that man and woman should get equal rights, but not that women are the superior race. Which also means that, being a feminist, I don't expect guys to open doors for me :P
But there's one phrase in the Bible which puzzles me:
"As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?" (1 Cor. 14:33b-36 NIV)
I was watching a movie, Pope Joan, the other night. It depicted the oppression of women, particularly those in the post Roman times, perfectly. It tells the story of a talented woman, Johanna Anglicus, with great wisdom. So great was her thirst for knowledge, that she begged her brother to teach her to read and write. Yet, instead of bring praised and recognized for her abilities, she was criticized and called an abnormal creature for most of her childhood.
Later, she disguised herself as a man and, in time, became a valued aide to the pope at Schola Anglorum, a Roman church which had the ruling authority over the Roman empire. Despite being a foreigner, her wisdom impressed the people and when the reigning pope died, she was unexpectedly elected as his successor. She went on to care for the people, tending to the needs of the poor and essentially banishing the elitist system.
When she died, her identity was discovered. Despite all the good that she did for the people as well as all the societal reforms that she set in place, she instantly became the shame of Roman church, and her all her efforts were undone overnight. It was a sad story of how society's pride destroyed wisdom, and I was left with a heavy burden on my heart.
But one phrase struck deep in the movie -
"How can woman be second to man in creation? She was made out of Adam's rib. Adam, on the other hand, was molded from common clay.
As for strength of will, woman can be viewed as superior to man. Eve ate from the apple as a love of knowledge and learning. Adam ate only because Eve asked him to."
Indeed, why are woman asked to be silent? Why were women deemed as second class citizens since the beginning of time? We all have different places in life, it's true, and I do agree that the rise of feminist views are probably what's caused our current dwindling birth rates - the one thing that men cannot take the place of. But why has society categorized women as less when we can do everything man can and, dare I say it, more?
So, if anyone is reading this, let the verbal war begin :P
Wednesday, September 1, 2010