Thursday, 16 October 2008

socrates, aristotle and king solomon

socrates and aristotle in 'dialogue' with king solomon? that would make a very interesting debate on wisdom.

an article in biblical archaeology review mentions the discovery in the city of pompeii (more known for its erotic images) in a house called 'the house of the physician' of a wall mural of a painting of king solomon delivering his judgment for the two mothers who both claimed the child as theirs.

in the far left are two figures with representations that scholars think are socrates and aristotle. if so, the mural makes an interesting point for debate - what would socrates and aristotle think of king solomon's wisdom? can it stand on par with Greek philosophical wisdom? would they both have agreed with his decision to pretend to cut the child into two in order to expose the real mother and the false one? what would Greek philosophical wisdom have to say to OT Solomonic wisdom? which is better? would socrates and aristotle be able to determine who is the real mother using their type of wisdom?

depending on time, i would probably write something on this later.

to read this interesting article, go to the link below:

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

ecclesiastes 10

in the midst of this busy week of invigilating exams, marking assignments, and preparing for graduation, the reb still has to preach this coming sunday in wesley methodist church segamat.

been doing a series of expository sermons based on the book of ecclesiastes and we are at chapter 10. the title of the sermon for this sunday is 'wisdom, folly, and risk'. one may wonder what sort of title that is and how the reb is going to preach from it.

chapter 10 can be divided along 2 main themes - wisdom and folly. the chapter nicely works out into 5 parts:

vv. 1-3 - wisdom and folly
vv. 4-7 - ruler
vv. 8-11 - no advantage in wisdom, only risk
vv. 12-16 - wisdom and folly
vv. 17-20 - king

the 1st and 4th sections are on folly and the lack of it. wisdom is thus the absence or avoidance of folly. the 2nd and 5th sections are about ruler/princes/king, about people in high places. on the surface, the theme of wisdom/folly and ruler/king may seem unconnected but the link is there - even rulers/kings can be fools in high places. or if they exercise wisdom, they can become wise in their rule over people.

the centrepiece is the verses that speak about there being no advantage even in wisdom. at best, wisdom gives us a little advantage over folly. at other times, the edge disappears. thus, in most times, one has to take risk, calculated risk (v. 10). why? because in life, sometimes fate overrules. at least with wisdom, we can learn to grasp the opportunities when they come and make the most out of every moment (Latin: carpe diem or 'seize the day' ).

Monday, 13 October 2008

a hectic week to come indeed

STM is into the final week. this is exam week for the rest of the students. so, everyone except final year students is zombie-like and red-eyed (from lack of sleep obviously)!

by thursday afternoon, every exam will be finished. the students will celebrate their year end with a farewell party on thursday evening. it's time to let their hair down and bid farewell to the graduating students as well to one another.

on friday, it will be the commissioning service at 11am. this is the traditional sending-off service where the principal gives his farewell message to encourage and send off the would-be graduates. the service will have a holy communion as well as a time for the lecturers to pray with the graduates. a small gift is given to the graduates from the student body. a community lunch at 1.00pm marks the end of the service.

in the afternoon, it is down to business with rehearsal at 2pm for those involved in the graduation. this is to make sure the graduates know when to stand and where to walk to in the front to receive their scrolls. the marshall for this year is allen mcclymont. see whether he has a badge ot his two shooters on saturday.

by friday evening 7pm, it is the annual graduation dinner at Min Kok restaurant. this year promises to be a special one. all stm student and staff are in 'uniform'. a specially designed collar t/shirt has been designed for the occasion. so watch out! during the dinner, book gifts will be given to the graduating students. the stm alumni fellowship will also give the best academic awards to the best english and chinese department student.

by saturday, it is preparation time for last minute hall arrangements, and preparation for the afternoon tea at 3pm. the guests will rolling in around 2pm. parking is always a perenial problem but this year we have created more parking bays. graduation service will begin at 4.00pm and probably end around 6.00 pm or slightly later. this is followed by photography session according to batches and denominations. after that, it is free-for-all.

after all the euphoria, the faculty comes back on monday-tuesday for the annual faculty retreat/consultation to evaluate the present year and plan for the next year. it will also be marking papers and exam questions all through the month of october. lecturers also have a dateline to submit in the students' grades. there is no rest for the faculty (i was going to quote from isaiah ' there is no rest for the wicked').

p.s. and the reb has to run down on sunday morning 19th oct to preach and conduct holy communion in wesley methodist church segamat!! no rest indeed....