Saturday, 26 April 2008

maps and geography in biblical studies

as usual, our good friend, dr david instone-brewer, at tyndale house, has assembled together links to websites and programs for getting good pictures and geographical sites for the OT and NT. visit the link above.

if you wish to subscribe to his emails, scroll down the webspage to the bottom and register yourself and keep abreast with his latest news. he is a technie. had a good time interacting with him at tyndale house cambridge last year.

on the left column are previous emails which are extremely valuable. see the one about backups and he gives suggestions on how to go about it and where to find some backup programs.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

rites of passage

i subscribe to the bible society uk's magazine The Bible in Transmission. this is free-of-charge. there are 4 issues a year. all you need to do is send in your email request to them. go the their website below:

in the latest issue, there is an interesting article by michelle guinness, who was born into a practicing Jewish family, and later became a Christian. she laments the fact that in the christian church, we have thrown away a lot of the good practices that the jewish people have.

for example, in a jewish wedding, there is a canopy placed over the heads of the bridal couple as they take their vows, a symbol of the shared house or drinking from the same cup to symbolize their sharing of suffering and joy together or to stamp and break the cup afterwards to symbolize how fragile their relationship can be etc.

or consider the bar-mitvah and bath-mitzvah ceremonies that the jewish boys and girls go through compared with our confirmation/catechism/baptism services for our youths.

or think about our christian wake and sending -off services compared with those of the jewish people. see this link about a jewish funeral:

read the article by michelle found here as a doc file:

or as a pdf file

the challenge for us Christians is to re-discover some of these wonderful rites of passage that can give more meaning to our christian pilgrimage on earth. as i always tell my students in the OT class, our christian worship services in the majority of the denominational churches are too 'sterile' and devoid of colour, taste, hearing, and smell.

OT worship involves all 5 senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. imagine, seeing the lamb slaughtered for our sins, hear the priest pronounce the restitution of our sins, smell the roast thank offering, taste it with your family members and friends, and touch it with our hands. and all we do in most of our church services is 'rise up' to sing a hymn and 'sit down' for prayer, 'rise up' to sing the doxology and 'sit down' for the sermon etc.