Thursday, 31 December 2009

goodbye to old year & blessed new year to all...


saying goodbye to the old year of 2009 (it was a good year...) and welcoming 2010...

the reb's working tonight. preaching at TUMC watchnight covenant/holy communion service at 10pm. the reb and christabel (the worship leader) have planned the service in 2 parts.

1st part focuses on the theme of 'Remember'. we sing first, have scripture reading from Deut 8, then the reb shares Part 1 of the reflection, all pause to remember and we conclude the first part by renewing our covenant with God (ala John Wesley's Covenant Service).

2nd part focuses on the theme of 'Giving Thanks'. we sing again, have scripture reading from Deut 11, then the reb shares Part 2 of the reflection, we pause to give thanks and we celebrate holy communion.

the last part of the service is open to all church members to share in thanksgiving and make a commitment to God.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2009, the year in review, by jib-jab

jib-jab, the crazy producers of flash videos that lamblast almost anything, has the annual year in review video on 2009. watch it below:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

new article

the reb and his wife co-wrote a 5,000 word article entitled 'Using the Bible in the Family as a Guide for Life' for the ISG (international study guide) Vol. 41 on Understanding and Using the Bible, edited by Christopher J.H. Wright and Jonathan Lamb (SPCK: London, 2009).



Residential building from the time of Jesus exposed in Nazareth

Residential building from the time of Jesus exposed in Nazareth
21 Dec 2009
The remains were discovered in an archaeological excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority near the Church of the Annunciation.


The excavation, next to the Church of the Annunciation (Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)
(Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)

An archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority recently conducted has revealed new information about ancient Nazareth from the time of Jesus. Remains of a dwelling that date to the Early Roman period were discovered for the first time in an excavation, which was carried out prior to the construction of the "International Marian Center of Nazareth" by the the Association Mary of Nazareth, next to the Church of the Annunciation.

According to the New Testament, Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in Nazareth together with her husband Joseph. It was there that she also received the revelation by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. The New Testament mentions that Jesus himself grew up in Nazareth.

In 1969 the Church of the Annunciation was erected in the spot that the Catholic faith identified with the house of Mary. It was built atop the remains of three earlier churches, the oldest of which is ascribed to the Byzantine period (the fourth century CE). In light of the plans to build there, the Israel Antiquities Authority recently undertook a small scale archaeological excavation close to the church, which resulted in the exposure of the structure.

for the rest of the article read here:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early+History+-+Archaeology/Residential_building_time_Jesus_Nazareth_21-Dec-2009.htm

Saturday, 12 December 2009

it's coming.



it's coming. the 300 million pounds 3D blockbuster-to-be is coming out on dec 17th in its world premiere and the movie previews already give it a four thumbs up. read about it below:

http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/blog/article/10123/avatar-first-opinions-after-the-premiere.html

see the trailer in HD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1_JBMrrYw8

Thursday, 10 December 2009

'langham partnership 1910 centenary scholarship' for developing world

Langham Partnership is working with OCMS to offer one PhD scholarships starting in 2010, as a way of marking the centenary of the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910. The scholarships are for PhD students from the Majority (Developing) World.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have outstanding academic potential, be strategic Christian leaders, and have strong backing from established Christian leadership within the Majority World. Full eligibility criteria can be obtained from the Langham Partnership website www.langhampartnership.org,

Starting in September 2010 this scholarship for a student from the Majority World is tenable for up to six years of part-time PhD study at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, depending on satisfactory progression. It will cover course fees at OCMS, and provide up to £4,000 towards expenses and maintenance. The applicant’s sending institution must commit to contribute at least a further £2,000 per year towards support. The student will be required to raise extra sums required to meet the support levels required by the UK Borders Agency for student visa application. Before commencement of the award students must have completed the OCMS research induction course, and obtained registration with the University of Wales. OCMS and Langham Partnership welcome applications from students wishing to study in ‘Mission-related’ research in various areas. Applicants should apply both to OCMS and the Langham Partnership, and on each separate application indicate clearly that they intend to apply for the OCMS / Langham Partnership ‘1910 Centenary Scholarship’.

A form for the Langham Partnership Scholarship scheme, and the eligibility criterion, can be found on the UK scholarship pages of the Langham Partnership website: www.langhampartnership.org.

what type of logic is used?

CHRISTIAN FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA
(PERSEKUTUAN KRISTIAN MALAYSIA )
Address: 10, Jalan 11/9, Section 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan , Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 7957 1278, (03) 7957 146, Fax: (03) 7957 1457
Email: cfmsia@yahoo.co.uk


9 December 2009


CFM STATEMENT ON THE EXORCIST III movie shown on NTV7 on 5 Dec 2009 SATURDAY at 11PM


THE EXORCIST III MOVIE DOES NOT REFLECT CHRISTMAS MESSAGE


The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) strongly objects to the recent showing of the movie The Exorcist III by NTV7 on 5 December 2009 at 11pm which was promoted by the network as a “Christmas Special”.

The CFM, which represents the Christian community in Malaysia, views with disdain the decision of the network to broadcast a satanic and horror movie for public viewing and to say that it is in connection with the season of Christmas. Such a programming decision is utterly incomprehensible and wholly inappropriate.

If indeed it is the genuine desire of the network to broadcast movies as part of a “Christmas Special”, we feel that the network should be screening movies that exemplify the Christmas spirit of love and sharing rather than a satanic and horror movie. We wonder what message the network is trying to portray to the public about the true meaning of Christmas.

The world is full of violence and horror on a regular basis. Let us at least set aside the season of Christmas, when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as a time to promote love, joy and peace.


signed


Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee of the
Christian Federation of Malaysia

------------------------------

dr alex asked what type of logic is used to come to the conclusion that The Exorcist III is part of the Christmas message.

the reb says it is actually very simple logic for those up in higher authority!

exorcism => deliverance

deliverance => christians

christian => christmas!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

screencamera

playing with new program from free giveawayoftheday called screencamera. here's a picture of my notebook taken from the webcam.



and here's a picture of my desktop screen taken with the same program.



the program can use your existing webcam to take an 'inside' shot of your notebook screen. quite useful to take snaps of your work.

for the link, go here (offers expires soon):

http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/screencamera/

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

phd scholarships

St Mary's College, The School of Divinity
Six New Scholarships to Celebrate 600 Years of Divinity in St Andrews
The School of Divinity at St Mary's College, St Andrews, Scotland is offering six PhD scholarships to be taken up in the Autumn of 2010, or as soon as possible thereafter to work in the following fields:

1.The Matthew Black Scholarship: for a student interested in Old Testament / Hebrew Bible
2.The Donald M. Baillie Scholarship: for a student interested in Theology;
3.The Richard Bauckham Scholarship: for a student interested in New Testament;
4.The Emanuel Tov Scholarship: for a student interested in Old Testament / Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism;
5.The Queen Margaret of Scotland Scholarship: for a student interested in any field of Divinity;
6.The Lady Kenmure Scholarship: for a student interested in any field of Divinity.
The scholarships cover home fees for a UK or EU student, or a contribution of around £3500 per annum towards overseas fees. An additional stipend of £3000 (or £1000 for the fourth scholarship) is offered to the recipients. Recipients of the scholarships (1-4) will be asked to teach one language class in their second and third year of residency or do equivalent work.

The successful candidates will join a rapidly expanding School of Divinity postgraduate program.


Candidates for these scholarships are required to fill out the normal post graduate application forms. Special attention will be given to the PhD proposal.

Further details can be obtained from: Ms Margot Clements, Postgraduate Secretary, School of Divinity, St Mary's College, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9JU, Scotland, Email: mc41@st-andrews.ac.uk

The closing date for applications is January 15, 2010.

2011 is 400th anniversary of KJV

since the reb has previously blogged about the KJV, this is to mention that the year 2011 will be the 400th anniversary of this great bible translation. there are already great plans made to celebrate (see the link below):

http://www.2011trust.org/

SBL will hold its SBL international conference in england to commemorate this event.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

world cup football craze is starting...

FULL DRAW:

GROUP A
1. South Africa 2. Mexico 3. Uruguay 4. France

GROUP B
1. Argentina 2. Nigeria 3. South Korea 4. Greece

GROUP C
1. England 2. United States 3. Algeria 4. Slovenia

GROUP D
1. Germany 2. Australia 3. Serbia 4. Ghana

GROUP E
1. Netherlands 2. Denmark 3. Japan 4. Cameroon

GROUP F
1. Italy 2. Paraguay 3. New Zealand 4. Slovakia

GROUP G
1. Brazil 2. North Korea 3. Ivory Coast 4. Portugal

GROUP H
1. Spain 2. Switzerland 3. Honduras 4. Chile

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

dynamic tag cloud

placed a new widget right at the bottom of the blog. called dynamic tag cloud. quite nice change to see a summary of rss feeds.

Monday, 30 November 2009

another write on the KJV

claude mariotini has a great write on the KJV and modern translations that is worth reading many times.

we do not deny the beauty of the KJV. as i always mention in my classes, the closest english equivalent to classical hebrew is the king james/shakespearean language. nothing in the english language capturs the beauty and heights of the hebrew like the KJV.

yet, the KJV was translated in 1611 when hebrew manuscripts (mss) were not abundantly found and therefore was based on mostly 10th century AD hebrew mss. today we have discovered older hebrew mss like the Dead Sea Scrolls mss (1st cent BC-1st cent AD). our modern translations have an advantage that the translators of the KJV don't have.

but this is not a case of 'either or' but more of a case of 'what is it for'. if you want a translation to read for its poetic beuty, KJV. if you want to get to an accurate translation of the actual hebrew used, tried some of these:

older ones: NASB, RSV, NIV, JPS
newer ones: CEV, NLT, ESV, NET


http://www.claudemariottini.com/blog/2009/11/defending-bible-king-james-version.html

Friday, 27 November 2009

BTN and 1Malaysia

http://themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/44775-btn-taught-me-the-chinese-are-the-jews-of-asia

this is worth reading again and again. everyone knows the truth about BTN and the countless thousands of students and civil servants who are made to go through it silently. it takes a brave guy to openly criticise it. many cannot speak up openly or else they will lose their scholarship if they are students or be transfered or ostracized if they are civil servants.

if this is what 1Malaysia is, no wonder there is little hope for malaysia. and for the DPM to openly say that BTN is what 1 Malaysia is all about, either he knows nothing about it or he has truly revealed what 1Malaysia is really all about - continual dominance of one race over others. BTN must go too like ISA.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Monday, 23 November 2009

new laptop? lifespan around 3 years only!

1 in 3 laptops die in first three years
Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:31PM EST


So your new laptop computer died in inside of a year. "I'll never buy a computer from [insert manufacturer name here] again!" I've heard the protests time and time again.

Yeah, maybe you got a lemon, but no matter which brand you bought, you truly are not alone in this situation: An analysis of 30,000 new laptops from SquareTrade, which provides aftermarket warranty coverage for electronics products, has found that in the first three years of ownership, nearly a third of laptops (31 percent) will fail.

That's actually better than I would have expected based on my experience and observations on how people treat their equipment.

SquareTrade has more detailed information (the full PDF of the company's study is available here) on the research on its website. But here are some highlights about how, why, and which laptops fail:

> 20.4 percent of failures are due to hardware malfunctions. 10.6 percent are due to drops, spills, or other accidental damage.

> Netbooks have a roughly 20 percent higher failure rate due to hardware malfunctions than standard laptops. The more you pay for your laptop, the less likely it is to fail in general (maybe because you're more careful with it?).

> The most reliable companies? A shocker: Toshiba and Asus, both with below a 16 percent failure rate due to hardware malfunction.

> The least reliable brands? Acer, Gateway, and HP. HP's hardware malfunction rate, the worst in SquareTrade's analysis, is a whopping 25.6 percent.

None of the numbers are overly surprising. As SquareTrade notes, "the typical laptop endures more use and abuse than nearly any other consumer electronic device (with the possible exception of cell phones)," so failures are really inevitable.

Want to keep your notebook running for longer than a few years? Ensure your laptop is as drop-proofed as possible (use a padded bag or case, route cords so they won't be tripped on, lock children in another room), and protect it as best you can from heat and dust.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

macc talk of neutrality

detention of 6 members of umno youth division johor proof of MACC's neutrality.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/44176-detention-of-umno-members-offered-as-proof-of-macc-neutrality

laughing stock. who are those detained? small fish fry! macc go for the big fish first. then we see whether netrality claim is justified.

all the talk about former mb of negeri sembilan suspended for 2 years for money corruption goes down drain when he makes political comeback and gets re-elected becos his 'wrong' was only a 'technical wrong'.

better read the good doctor's response to macc here:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/opinion/breaking-views/44144-macc-biting-the-political-neutrality-bullet--dr-lim-teck-ghee

Thursday, 19 November 2009

f.o.c. hebrew/greek bibles!!!

for stm and hebrew/greek students only. the reb managed to get a few copies of the hebrew/greek bible f.oc. but they are too heavy to carry back. if students are interested, the bibles will be shipped back by seamail and you only pay the postage when they arrived!!! will take about 2-3 months by sea.

for details of the bible, see the info below and the website link. go the website and click on 'non-english' on the left column and when the screen comes up, scroll down to 'original biblical langauges'. click on it and you can see a picture of the bible. it is black vinyl board with gold lettering. even if the postage of each bible come sup to £3 each (~RM16.50), it is still worth it because each bible costs £19.95 (~RM110)!!!!


update:

sorry, my mistake. the bible came up to 0.739 kg (plus wrapping) and the cost to post it back to malaysia by sea mail was 4.89 pounds. using the current conversion rate of 5.6 to 1, that would be rm 27.40 for the bible. still, for a bible that comes up to a total length of 2,290 pages, that is about 1 sen per page!!!!

only 4 copies available!. found that i have 1 more packed up in my boxes. first-come-first-serve. so far, 3 grabbed already.


-------------------------------

HEBREW/GREEK Original Language BIBLE
Unique Trinitarian Publication - The Hebrew and Greek Texts underlying the Authorised Version
Black - Vinyl covered quality hardback, Head and Tail Bands. Page size: 174 x 117mm (6¾"x 4¾"); Thickness: 37mm (1½")
Product Code: HEGRB
ISBN: 9781862281165

£19.95 VAT sales tax not applicable

http://www.tbs-sales.org/

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

settling into oxford






reached uk at 4pm monday uk time. got into oxford at 7pm. not that cold unless the winds howls. slight drizzle here and there but temperature manageable.







settled into the room where the rent is 90 pounds a week. a basement room with lots of space! here are some pictures of the double metal bed and a nice sofa to cuddle into to read on cold nights. behind is the radiator.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

silence till monday night

it will be silence for the next 24 hours. until the reb gets into oxford on monday night. but for now, still in stm office pounding away at the thesis! when will it ever get finished?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

getting ready for oxford

getting ready mentally and physically for oxford uk. flight at 10am on monday 16th nov and will touch down in heathrow on same day at 4.15pm. by the time getting out from terminal 4 to central bus station and catching bus to oxford, arrival time in oxford will be past 8pm onwards.

just checking a 10 day weather forecast for oxford. going to be cold brrr..... especially friday!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

what would seminary education be like in the near future?

in any seminary, there is always the struggle on how to cater to the needs of the students especially those who find difficulty in quitting their present jobs and coming in to study full-time for 3 or 4 years. seminaries like stm have TEE courses where full-time professionals do not have to quit their jobs to study.

there are other ways like hybrid programs in some seminaries where a certain amount of courses are to be taken in-campus but the majority of it can be done off-campus or online.

what would seminary education be like 20 years from now? 40 years? 60 years? the cartoon from rev.org says it all (maybe more for the US context!):

Sunday, 8 November 2009

'God was an Englishman'

some people would go to the extent to argue that God was an Englishman. why? because he spoke in King James language!

the joke is often quoted: 'the apostle Paul argued in King James language' or as one american said in his southern drawl, 'if the King James was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!'

so, how did the KJV get to its elevated status in bible translations?

here's a good article to read about 3 books commenting on the KJV:

http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=179

Friday, 6 November 2009

time flies

about a week to go before the reb flies off to UK to prepare for his thesis pre-viva on 7th dec. but still a lot of academic work to be finished here in STM.

also got to represent STM tomorrow at the MBS graduation service at 4pm in klang. then preaching and conducting holy communion this sunday in TUMC and we have about 60 guests from Whispering Hope outreach point PJ visiting us. it will be a packed sunday service.

it's a matter of balancing and juggling whatever little time that is left!!!

p.s. myhomilia colleague off to tyndale house cambridge to do research for his 2nd book. we'll catch up in cambridge as the reb's 1st supervisor has moved to teach in hughes hall cambridge and that means a few days in cambridge is needed.

Monday, 2 November 2009

TEE OT Background




2 missing from the picture.

front row; charis tan, irene wong, benita cheng, elaine teh, choy quin, sarah yap, vivian ngu, rosaleen goh, angeline tan, florine mathew, caroline samuel.

middle row: voon fui, danny chiew, david low, michael lim, anthony loke, peng keong, wai kit, doreen yeoh, francis ponniah

last row: sian peng, jonathan chan, kia sing, richard lai, dr simon wong, yee seng, dr joseph rasiah, aaron tham, christopher toh, david ting, victor tham, james peter, raymond sim.

not in picture: wesley wong, andrew tiong

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

22nd anniversary of Operation Lalang

it happened one night on 27th october 1987! never forget!!

---------------------------------------

Monday, 26 October 2009

TEE class OT Background

this week the reb is teaching a TEE class in seremban on 'OT Background' aka 'Intro to the OT' (in-campus module). this is an elective and offered only for the 2nd time (the first was in baptist church pj joined with their program many years ago).

the module stretches from wed morning till saturday lunch around 28 hours intensive. well, either the reb survives or the students survive or the reverse!!

------------------------

for this elective course, i will put up a series of urls that will be useful for the course assignments as well as resources to keep for the future:

http://www.lifeintheholyland.com/

useful site to look at old and new pictures of israel to get an idea of what life was like.

http://blog2.bibleplaces.com/

another interesting blog with lots of archaeological news and pictures of israel.

http://www.findadig.com/

for those interested in archaeology and cannot go to join an actual dig, here is a website that is informative.

http://www.mfa.org/egypt/explore_ancient_egypt/index.html

for those interested in the magic and mystic of egypt.

http://www.hadashot-esi.org.il/index_eng.asp

israel's antiquities authority (IAA) website. lot os informative stuff about archaeological discoveries that are ongoing.

http://www.otgateway.com/

for OT resources, look at OTgateway (counterpart to NTgateway).

------------------------------------


on another note, the reb's itinerary from oct till dec is up. it's that busy time of the year.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

drama broght HOME

Film screening: HOME [drama + documentary]





Presented by SUARAM
[HOME] the drama

HOME is a short drama about the journey of Burmese refugee Roi Roi's search for a home in Malaysia.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8EGmIOnQYo
[HOME] the documentary

Many Burmese refugees seek to flee from the tyranny of the military junta.
Despite surviving a grueling journey across the borders of Thailand and Malaysia, they find themselves victims of human rights abuse and human trafficking in Malaysia. This is a documentary that unveils the heartbreaking stories of Burmese refugees in Malaysia through testimonials of their horrific experiences.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAo5bM7840g

Directed by Desiree Lim
The screening will be followed by a discussion with one of the producers of HOME and SUARAM.
Date: Friday, 23 October 09
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Admission: FREE
Enquiries: 03-77843525 (SUARAM)

IMPORTANT: Please e-mail refugee.suaram@gmail.com to register for this event.
Provide details such as full name and the names of those you are bringing along.
Those who have not registered will not be allowed in.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

product testing

normally the reb doesn't do product testing but since he is a computer geek, there's no harm trying to test and write about a product:

http://www.digeus.com/products/snapit/snapit_screen_capture_3_5.html

got an email from digeus to test out their program called snapit screen capture. the reb uses the free program called FS capture.

for snapit screen capture, it does what it is called: capture a screen on the computer. installation was smooth and without difficulty. the site allows one to test the product for 14 days with full functionality. during installation, there is an option to change the directory to install the program.

when installed, the program will have an icon in the task below below. on right click, it will reveal a pop-up window with some choices. the help files are in the 'documentation' link. one can opt to go to 'properties' to make changes in the setting.

snapit allows one to save the screen capture under 5 different picture formats and allows one to automatically save the files incrementally (1.jpg, 2.jpg etc). there is also a choice to change the capture button. the reb changed it to the less-used function F12 key. pressing the capture key changes the cursor to a cross-bar (which shows that the snapit screen capture is on). then right click and drag the rectangle area to what is to be captured. once that is done, one can right click the icon at the bottom to 'save as'. the pictured captured (in this case under jpg) was opened by irfanview (the reb's default picture viewer) and the capture was crisp and clear.

in all, the program was simple and straight-forward. should be useful for people who wish to capture images off the computer screen and load them onto facebook, their blogs, etc. so, snapit is worth a try to see whether it meet your needs.

Friday, 16 October 2009

stm graduation dinner

at the stm graduation dinner, the mcs tee group had a great time, poking fun at some lecturers! no need to guess who's kena - ye olde knight of the OT and ye olde knight of the NT!!! one wields the mighty red pen while the other wields the mighty Bibleworks v. 8.0.

so at the end of the dinner, the olde knight of the OT conferred on them the sign of their graduation to higher things of the OT. see the photos for yourself.









Thursday, 15 October 2009

last few hours to the end of the term

in less than 2 hours, stm will hold its commissioning service for the graduating students. dr john roxborogh, a former lecturer in the 80s, will be sharing.

at 2pm is the graduation rehearsal. students will practice where to stand and receive their diplomas.

then at 7pm, it is graduation dinner at min kok restaurant. students have been told to wear their national costumes. let's see how that will turn out.

tomorrow at 3pm is the tea function and graduation service will begin sharp at 4pm. 63 students are graduating with different certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

last tutorial group meeting









as usual, we end the tutorial group with a big breakfast at min kok dim sum! the photos say it all.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

last week of the semester

last week of the second semester and for the academic year.

wednesday

gotong royong/gardening at 5pm to clean up the place

thursday

commissioning service at 11.00am for all graduating students. Dr John Roxborogh, former lecturer, will be sharing.

graduation rehearsal at 2pm

graduation dinner at min kok restaurant at 7pm. students in traditional costumes (now, what shall the reb wear?)

friday

graduation tea at 3.30pm
graduation service at 4.30pm

Saturday, 10 October 2009

end of department of biblical studies at uni of sheffield?

latest: 16/10/09

http://jwest.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/university-of-sheffield-statement-on-the-department-of-biblical-studies/

The University of Sheffield has today confirmed its position with regard to the future of the Department of Biblical Studies. In the light of concerns regarding inadequate consultation, as well as feedback from staff and students, the Department of Biblical Studies is no longer under review and a proposal that it should be reconfigured as a Postgraduate Centre has been withdrawn.

Instead the University has asked the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to consider, as a matter of urgency, a short, medium and longer term plan for the Department. With regard to the undergraduate intake for 2010, the University can confirm that it will recruit students for this year onto single and dual honours degrees in Biblical Studies. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities are working with colleagues to ensure that these students are appropriately supported, including through the recruitment of additional staff.

Looking to the future, the University recognises the outstanding reputation of the Department of Biblical Studies in Sheffield for scholarship and a superb student experience, and has confidence that all concerned will work together to enhance this for future students.

Professor Mike Braddick
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

-------------------------------------------

latest 15/10/2009:
the department of biblical studies will not be closed after student protests!!

-------------------------------------------

undergraduate department of biblical studies in university of sheffield to be closed. news have come down that one of the best recognized department of biblical studies will be closed. below is a letter from cheryl exum, OT professor at university of sheffield, that explains what is happening (from jim west's blog):

------------------------------------

End of Biblical Studies at Sheffield

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing you, in a personal capacity, to ask for your support in preventing the destruction of the Department …of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield.
In its meeting on 7 October, the Senate of the University of Sheffield was asked to approve the following (copied from the Senate papers):

(a) that the 2009-10 entry to undergraduate programmes involving Biblical Studies should be the last and that the Department should cease to function as a single entity: (b) that undergraduate programmes involve Biblical Studies should be maintained for existing students, and that measures should be taken to ensure that they receive the high quality education and student experience which they have been promised; (c) that the Department’s academic staff should be transferred to the departments in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities most suited to supporting their longer term careers; (d) that the development of a Biblical Studies research centre be progressed with a view to providing a focus for postgraduate study and research and a continued point of contact and collaboration for academic staff irrespective of their new home departments, thus ensuring the continuation of scholarship in this area.

These proposals were made in the light of a review of the Department, conducted in the spring and summer of this year, for which I would like to give you a brief background. The Department had lost two members of staff (Loveday Alexander to early retirement and Jorunn Økland to a post in Norway), but had been given permission to fill a post with a senior New Testament scholar in 2009-10. Although this meant a change in staffing from 8 to 6, this kind of fluctuation in staffing has been typical in the Department over the years, and we had hopes of additional staff in future years. Difficulties began when the University decided, at the beginning of the 2008-9 academic year, not to make any appointments in the Faculty of Arts until reconsideration of the University’s financial position in the light of the national Research Assessment Exercise. So we were not allowed to proceed with the New Testament appointment. Then, in the second semester, the University decided to review the Department, citing the reduction in staff and the Department’s fluctuating undergraduate numbers and as major concerns (at the same time, deciding to cap the number of new students we could accept at 20). In fact, undergraduate numbers in the Department have always fluctuated, but Level 3 (i.e. final year) classes in the last two years have had the highest numbers ever.

Another problem for the Department arose when the University, in June of 2009, introduced a Voluntary Severance Scheme as a means of coping with the current economic downturn. Three members of staff are leaving. As someone within only two years of retirement, I am one of them; the others are Keith Whitelam and Barry Matlock. This leaves the Department with three permanent members of staff: Hugh Pyper, and Diana Edelman in Hebrew Bible and James Crossley in New Testament. We have also been given a two-year appointment in New Testament, Mark Finney.

These are the events that led to the proposals above. I did not know until today that the transferal of staff to other departments was being proposed, since I have been excluded from any formal discussions of the future of the Department. At the meeting of Senate, the vote on these proposals was postponed thanks to the intervention of the Sheffield University and College Union and the Union of Students. Our students are currently mounting a strong protest and you can find information about this on a number of sites on the web ( try, for example,
http://savebiblicalstudies.weebly.com/). As I understand it, the decision has already been made to suspend undergraduate admissions for the coming academic year while the above proposals are being reconsidered. But suspension of the undergraduate programme, in effect, means the end of it. And the notion that there can be any postgraduate ‘centre’ or programme without the existence of an independent Department of Biblical Studies is not wishful thinking, it is a way of subtly dismantling the Department, since the Department and its reputation depends on its distinct identity and its vibrant research culture based on its outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

I am writing to ask you to support the efforts of our students, alumni/ae, colleagues and friends to reverse what could be the end of an outstanding department by writing to the Vice-Chancellor to urge him not to dismantle the Department (1) by destroying an excellent undergraduate programme, which will inevitably be the effect of a suspension of admissions for the 20010-11 academic year and (2) by setting up a Biblical Studies ‘research centre’ that cannot succeed without an undergraduate programme and its contribution to the Department’s research culture, when one appointment of a senior scholar would enable the Department to maintain its strength in attracting postgraduates.

The Vice-Chancellor is Professor Keith Burnett and his email address is vc@sheffield.ac.uk. Please copy your message to Professor Paul White (P.White@Sheffield.ac.uk), who, I understand, will be in charge of the ongoing review. For those of you who are willing to write on our behalf, I would be grateful if, in order for us to have a record of the level of response to our plight, you could either send me a blind copy of your message (bcc) or simply reply to this email that you have written to the Vice-Chancellor. Please also consider sending a copy of your letter to the website listed above.
If might be helpful for you to know that the Department ranked 6th in the national Research Assessment Exercise (higher, depending on how one reads the figures), quite an achievement for a small department. We achieved the highest mark in the national Teaching Quality Assessment, and our rating in the national Student Satisfaction Survey was, to my knowledge, the highest in the University, well above that of the Faculty of Arts and the University as a whole. We were at the time the review was undertaken (and may still be) also one of the few departments in the Faculty of Arts not in deficit.

I apologise for any cross-listings. I have combined and split various email lists I have in the interest of reaching as many colleagues as possible. Please feel free to forward this letter to anyone you know who might be willing to help.
Thank you for any support you can offer us,
Cheryl

J Cheryl Exum
Professor of Biblical Studies
Director, Sheffield Phoenix Press
www.shef.ac.uk/bibs
www.sheffieldphoenix.com http://www.shef.ac.uk/bibs

-------------------------------

society of biblical literature (SBL) is also taking action. read here below:

http://sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=849

Friday, 9 October 2009

what or who is a serious scholar?

what or who is a serious scholar? interesting question and interesting answer from OT scholar Niels (from biblical-studies list)

---------------------------------------------------

'...Sometimes we continental Europeans bang out heads against the difference between the meaning of "scholar" in the Anglo-Saxon world and the European "Wissenschaftler" -- somebody who provides new knowledge. "Scholar" has the taste of a passive knowledge -- a learned person, guarding his knowledge like a Faffner his treasure -- in many ways the same meaning as the German "Gelehrter" (I do not say that an Anglo-Saxon scholar will always be a passive "scholar" in this sense only, nor that a central European Wissenschaftler will always provide new knowledge). A Wissenschaftler is linked to Wissen, and has since the beginning of the modern university been engaged in the production of new knowledge. Here we get to another point: Science alias Wissenschaft is in my world not limited to natural science. A scientist is in the Anglo-Saxon world primarily engaged in providing new knowledge but is he automatically a scholar? Of course such distinctions are getting blurred now-a-days. And it is becoming more and more common to limit the term "Wissenschaftler" to the natural scientists only. A hundred years ago the historian Theodor Mommsen was awarded the Nobel-prize, in literature. This does not happen today. So it is more and more becoming the general opinion that scholars are handling "dead knowledge." Happily this is not the case but it takes some time to tell the public.

Ten years ago, as member of the University research council, I was asked by the chancellor to give an input on different categories of university "scholars." I mentioned three categories of "scholars": the top the ones who create new paradigms, the second group consisting of people who work on such paradigms and expand them, and a third group who does nothing of the kind but only transmits what other people have said. Any university should go for the first group and also accept the second but should scorn the third one. The third group will do as college (Gymnasium) teachers without obligation to do research. They might know as much as any Wissenschaftler but are not supposed to expand their knowledge by pointing at new ideas or venues. If they do, they automatically move into one of the first two groups.

Serious scholars as I define them belong to the first two groups...'

by Niels Peter Lemche

Thursday, 8 October 2009

claus westermann's birthday



yesterday was the 100th anniversary of claus westermann's birthday. claus is a famous german OT scholar and very prolific writer. he has written many key commentaries and books on different areas in the OT including prophets, wisdom literature, psalms and pentateuch. he is also well known as an OT form critic. the reb has been interacting with his works for many years and part of the doctoral studies is a critique of westermann's form-critical work on isaiah 40-66.

long live westermann!!

http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/2007/10/claus-westermanns-birthday.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claus_Westermann

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

when is corruption only a technical offence?

the million dollar (or ringgit) question for the week is: when is corruption only a technical offence? is corruption not a moral offence too?

and the BN tried to control the press to muzzle them in: no reporting from the press of former MB Isa's suspension from UMNO due to corruption.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/114291

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/114366

and on a lighter note, here's an interesting write-up about the 'sleepy hollow' seremban:

http://cruzinthots.blogspot.com/2009/10/development-of-mr-isa-aka-umnos.html

Sunday, 4 October 2009

time for laughter

a timely reminder from my ex-dean of ocms before the reb's own viva (coming soon next year). a good time to laugh to begin the week tomorrow:

--------------------------------------------


Call Me Doctor

The title, ‘brother’, once I wore,

But that can satisfy no more,

Since on my journey up to fame,

They added M.Div. to my name.

But still it did not seem quite right,

What could give me true delight?



Now they call me ‘Doctor’—how I love it!

No other title is above it!

Never was I thrilled like that before,

As on that day upon my door

They added ‘Doctor’ to my name,

Now I’ll never be the same!



So call me ‘Doctor’,— Man Alive,

On my ego I must thrive.

And at conferences I will shine;

Praise the Lord, the title’s mine!

Once I was humble, now I’m proud,

Walking erect with the Doctor crowd.

Surely the world hath need of me;

A man of the learning with a grand degree!



The apostle knew no such bliss,

For he had no title equal to this!

I tell you my brothers, I’ve never been the same

Since I added Doctor to my name.


David A. Beam adapted by Bruce Winter

Saturday, 3 October 2009

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Friday, 2 October 2009

i.h. marshall's Pocket Guide to NT Theology


many will remember professor i.h. marshall's little pocket book on the NT called A Pocket Guide to New Testament Theology. biblical training (by william mounce and team) have uploaded the book's content onto their website and is now available for reading online:

http://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/pocket-guide

Thursday, 1 October 2009

martin goldsmith's 2 talks in stm

martin and elizabeth goldsmith were in stm this week and martin shared on tuesdsy morning to the stm students.

martin's 2 talks on Tuesday morning are uploaded to a website called mediafire as mp3 files. you can download than using the links below (copy and paste to browser).

NB: these talks are for private circulation only.


http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=3d6b35ef410ecbca61d4646c62b381cbe04e75f6e8ebb871


goldsmith 1.mp3 on Jewish view of Gospel of Matthew

http://www.mediafire.com/?odt211k7zun

goldsmith 2.mp3 on Jewish view of Epistle to the Romans

Saturday, 26 September 2009

another busy week

another busy week have passed. firstly, came back from speaking at a church family camp in PD. had to unwind by sleeping most of the time on tuesday!

resumed work on wednesday with tutorial group meeting and tons of admin work - next year's time-table, course offerings, course load, academic calendar etc.

thursday was last class on isaiah and faculty meeting in the evening from 4.30 till 8.00pm!!!

friday was invigilating exam on isaiah for final year students and meeting a UK scholar who will come in 2011 to teach a mmin course. then back to marking all the assignments and exam papers for the final year students.

these next two days, saturday and sunday, have to be in kl in berjaya times square. markus is having scrabble competition with the msa youth tourney to pick the reps from malaysia for the year-end world youth scrabble competition in jb. so, the reb is stuck in times square for 2 days. first stop after sending markus to the tourney is starbucks where there is free wifi. at least, got some connection to the outside world while finishing marking all the exam scripts for isaiah. then work on thesis while on 'enforced waiting'.

anyone passing by here can drop for a chat! be here until lunch time with markus and then back again by 2pm till 5pm.

Monday, 21 September 2009

busy weekend finsihed

the weekend was busy. on friday evening and saturday morning, had to go with the stm principal to meet someone from cms australia to work out the m.o.u. for a new OT lecturer coming to work in stm next year.

then off to PD on saturday for the TUMC leaders retreat with dr chew tow yow as speaker. also had a good time of discussion wrestling over some difficult issues of church leadership. but God broke the tension and deadlock and things were settled and as a church we can move on.

then off at 6pm to speak at holy light lutheran church camp in PG glory beach resort. took three talks with mrs reb doing one.

camp is finally over, lunch now before proceeding home to seremban and later in the day after a good nap to begin marking papers for final year students!). yes, there is no rest for the wicked (Isa).

Thursday, 17 September 2009

peter, paul and 'no longer' mary

one of the reb's favourite folk groups, peter, paul, and mary, has lost one of its members:

---------------------------------------

BOSTON – Mary Travers, one-third of the popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary who were perhaps best known for their hit "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," died in a Connecticut hospital after battling leukemia for several years. She was 72.

The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, said Travers died Wednesday at Danbury Hospital.

Bandmate Peter Yarrow said that in her final months, Travers handled her declining health with bravery and generosity, showing her love to friends and family "with great dignity and without restraint."

"It was, as Mary always was, honest and completely authentic," he said. "That's the way she sang, too; honestly and with complete authenticity."

Noel "Paul" Stookey, the trio's other member, praised Travers for her inspiring activism, "especially in her defense of the defenseless."

"I am deadened and heartsick beyond words to consider a life without Mary Travers and honored beyond my wildest dreams to have shared her spirit and her career," he said.

Mary Allin Travers was born on Nov. 9, 1936 in Louisville, Ky., the daughter of journalists who moved the family to Manhattan's bohemian Greenwich Village. She quickly became enamored with folk performers like the Weavers, and was soon performing with Pete Seeger, a founding member of the Weavers who lived in the same building as the Travers family.

With a group called the Song Swappers, Travers backed Seeger on one album and two shows at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared (as one of a group of folk singers) in a short-lived 1958 Broadway show called "The Next President," starring comedian Mort Sahl.

It wasn't until she met up with Yarrow and Stookey that Travers would taste success on her own. Yarrow was managed by Albert B. Grossman, who later worked in the same capacity for Bob Dylan.

In the book "Positively 4th Street" by David Hajdu, Travers recalled that Grossman's strategy was to "find a nobody that he could nurture and make famous."

The budding trio, boosted by the arrangements of Milt Okun, spent seven months rehearsing in her Greenwich Village apartment before their 1961 public debut at the Bitter End.

Their beatnik look — a tall blonde flanked by a pair of goateed guitarists — was a part of their initial appeal. As The New York Times critic Robert Shelton put it not long afterward, "Sex appeal as a keystone for a folk-song group was the idea of the group's manager ... who searched for months for `the girl' until he decided on Miss Travers."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090917/ap_en_mu/us_obit_mary_travers

tolerance in religion

when our world famous cow-head protesters learn something like this?

----------------------------------------------------------
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/9/17/nation/20090917144221&sec=nation

US synagogue serves as mosque during Ramadan

RESTON, Virginia: On Friday afternoons, the people coming to pray at this building take off their shoes, unfurl rugs to kneel on and pray in Arabic.

The ones that come Friday evenings put on yarmulkes, light candles and pray in Hebrew.

The building is a synagogue on a tree-lined street in suburban Virginia, but for the past few weeks - during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan - it has also been doubling daily as a mosque.

Synagogue members suggested their building after hearing the Muslim congregation was looking to rent a place for overflow crowds.


In this Sept. 14, 2009 photo, people participate in Ramadan prayers held at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, Va. The prayers are organized by the All Dulles Area Muslim Center, who rent the space in the synagogue for the month of Ramadan.

"People look to the Jewish-Muslim relationship as conflict," said All Dulles Area Muslim Society Imam Mohamed Magid, saying it's usually disputes between the two groups in the Middle East that make news.

"Here is a story that shatters the stereotype."

Magid, who grew up in Sudan, said he did not meet someone who was Jewish until after he had moved to the U.S. in his 20s, and he never imagined having such a close relationship with a rabbi.

But he said the relationship with the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation has affected him and his members.

Beyond being tolerant, the synagogue and its members have been welcoming.

He said one member of the mosque told him, "Next time I see a Jewish person I will not look at them the same."

Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, who leads the Reform congregation of about 500 families, said the relationship works both ways.

"You really only get to know someone when you invite them into your home ... you learn to recognize their faces. You learn the names of their children," Nosanchuk said.

The actual prayers are held in the building's social hall, which is used by the synagogue for a range of activities from educational programs to dance classes and receptions.

Both the synagogue and the mosque have a history of sharing space with other religious groups.

People coming to Friday night services at the synagogue sometimes park in an adjoining church's parking lot; on Sundays, sometimes churchgoers park behind the synagogue.

And the mosque has rented space from others since it was founded in 1983.

Members have prayed in a recreation center, a high school, an office building and, for a long time, a church.

As the mosque has grown, however, it has needed more space. In 2002 the community opened its own building in Sterling, Virginia.

It holds 900 people for prayers, but the community has satellite locations to accommodate more people: a hotel, a banquet hall and even a second synagogue, Beth Chaverim Reform congregation, in Ashburn, Virginia.

The community began renting space at the two synagogues in 2008.

They began holding daily prayers at the Ashburn synagogue and prayers on Friday afternoons, the week's main prayer service, at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation.

This is the first year, however, they have rented space at the synagogue for the daily prayers for Ramadan, which began at the end of August.

More than 100 people come to the daily services, which are held from 9 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. except for Friday, when the services are in the afternoon.

The society pays the synagogue US$300 a day.

The partnership isn't entirely new.

The two communities have held occasional events together going back a decade: dialogues and community service.

Still, some members of both communities were unsure of how things would work at first.

"When they rented the place, I was surprised, but then after that when I came here and saw how nicely everything is set up and how well done it is ... I am very happy with it," said mosque member Ambreen Ahmed.

Now, mosque members sometimes greet the rabbi with the Hebrew greeting "Shalom"; he'll answer back with the Arabic equivalent, "Salaam."

Nosanchuk spoke at Friday afternoon prayers recently.

The imam spoke at Friday evening Shabbat services.

Both groups say the relationship won't be over when Ramadan ends in North America over the weekend.

The rabbi and imam are talking about possibly even making a joint trip to the Middle East, and Friday prayers will still be held at the synagogue.

Magid says some mosque members, in fact, have permanently moved from the mosque to the synagogue.

"Where have you been?" he asked one man who used to pray regularly at the mosque.

"You saw me in the synagogue," the man replied.

"All the time?" the imam asked.

"It's cozy, it's nice. Your parking lot is overcrowded ... and I like to be there," the man said.

The imam joked maybe the man should stay for the Sabbath service.

Said the imam: "That shows you how comfortable they have become." - AP

All Dulles Area Muslim Society: http://www.adamscenter.org/

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation: http://www.nvhcreston.org/

Friday, 11 September 2009

2nd temple period synagogue discovered




One of the Oldest Synagogues in the World was Exposed in the Israel Antiquities Authority Excavation

A synagogue from the Second Temple period (50 BCE-100 CE) was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at a site slated for the construction of a hotel on Migdal beach, in an area owned by the Ark New Gate Company. In the middle of the synagogue is a stone that is engraved with a seven-branched menorah (candelabrum), the likes of which have never been seen. The excavations were directed by archaeologists Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The main hall of synagogue is c. 120 square meters in area and its stone benches, which served as seats for the worshippers, were built up against the walls of the hall. Its floor was made of mosaic and its walls were treated with colored plaster (frescos). A square stone, the top and four sides of which are adorned with reliefs, was discovered in the hall. The stone is engraved with a seven-branched menorah set atop a pedestal with a triangular base, which is flanked on either side by an amphora (jars).

read the rest of the article here

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

09-09-09

today is 09-09-09 on the calendar. those who like numbers will find this date intriguing, much like the 08-08-08 last year.

of course, 08-08-08 is auspicious for the chinese as the '8' in chinese is 'pat' and sounds like 'phat' (prosperity). so, 08-08-08 is like triple prosperity!

so what about 09-09-09? '9' is 'kaw' in chinese. 'kaw' can be something concentrated or in slang something for 'good'. so, 09-09-09 is triple good!

maybe good day to get married (triple good) or good day to start a business venture (triple good). or maybe good day to finish thesis!!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

meeting, meeting, meeting!

tomorrow is meeting day!

the southern district pastors meet first at stm at 11am for fellowship and sharing with each other. then lunch break.

then district commission on ministry meets at 2pm to interview the local preachers in the southern district as well as lucy, an stm final year student, who will be applying to join trac as a diaconal minister.

finally, the southern district meeting begins at 3pm.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

merdeka? what's there to shout about? only walls!

merdeka day (31st august) has come and gone. the reb has not posted about it since this year's independence day is nothing to shout about (not that the national celebrations were deliberately toned down due to the H1N1 scarce but with the numerous scandals floating around, religious extremism rearing its ugly head again, and legitimate state governments not allowed to call for an assembly seating etc. you get what i mean).

wong chin huat (who was infamously detained for wearing black) has this interesting article about walls (and why people choose to build walls). the reb is due to share in next thursday's stm chapel service and his sermon is about wearing masks! it is along the same lines as chin huat's article reproduced here in full for those who have not read it (i know chin huat won't mind having his article reproduced in full here as he wants more people to read it and be informed):

------------------------------------------------

Walls

2 Sep 09 : 8.00AM
By Wong Chin Huat
editor@thenutgraph.com

PEOPLE could be forgiven when watching the prime minister's Merdeka address if they thought they had travelled back in time to 22 years ago and mistook Datuk Seri Najib Razak for Ronald Reagan. Reagan, the then US President, had urged Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Well done for the call, Najib, never mind the lack of originality.

But who is building these walls? I use the present tense because more walls were being built even as the prime minister spoke. A new one was in fact built two days before his speech, after the globally infamous cow-head protest in Shah Alam.

Construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961 (Public domain; source: Wiki commons)
Walls are highly symbolic in politics. Driven by the fear of threats, walls offer security and protection. They are built to keep some people in and others out. Walls are the concrete expression of boundaries, which are to lay claim of entitlement and protect ownership.

The Berlin Wall was built because the East German Communist rulers wanted to keep their subjects in. They feared that ordinary East Germans would vote with their feet and leave the state of East Germany empty. They feared freedom of movement of citizens. And the Russians backed the wall because they wanted to keep East Germany and the Warsaw Pact states from going their own independent ways.

The Golden Shield Project, more popularly referred to as the Great Firewall of China, has been built for a similar reason: to protect the one-party state from free speech and free information. The ancient Great Wall of China was built to keep Hun nomads from rampaging into Han agrarian society.

Why do Malaysians build walls?

So, why do Malaysians build these divisive walls? You can't tear down a wall unless you first address the need for the wall. The Berlin Wall was eventually torn down because Gorbachev realized that the Soviet Union just had to let go of East Germany and larger Eastern Europe.

But contrary to popular belief, Malaysian walls are not built because of the diversity in identities, or competition. Let's just use the analogy of sports for a moment. Sports are characterised by competition, and sporting teams and their fans are passionate about their identity.

For millions of sports fans, support for football clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal is an important identity in their lives. But I doubt many would refuse to live next to, dine with, or date someone supporting another team, let alone someone who likes tennis or classical music more than football.

Of course, the majority of a particular team's supporters won't storm and spit at a mascot of a rival team and threaten bloodshed just to block the rival's entry into the neighbourhood.

The protesters might wave club flags on the field, but they probably wouldn't build walls. In this metaphorical sense, cultural identity is like a sports club flag. It is real, but does not need to be permanent or encompass every aspect of life.

A more valuable characteristic of sports club identity is that diversity and competition are very much at its core. The Arsenal fanatics may fall into depression because of their team's disastrous defeat, but their life mission is not to destroy Man-U or convert all its supporters. In fact, it is only when you can exist alongside your rival teams that a championship can be held, and you have a shot at winning it.

Now, if religions, cultures and languages were supposed to be treasures we want to share with others, and by nature are not zero-sum games, why can't they deal better with competition compared to sports? After all, for some people, sports are merely unsophisticated physical games.

Fear, not diversity

It is quite clear that these "divisive walls" are built by Malaysians because of fear, not a problematic diversity. Malaysians turn to their ethno-religio-linguistic communities not because we don't share common ancestors, the same faith or the same language. We do so because we don't feel secure being individuals. We feel that we would be threatened if we don't have the numbers compared to "others".

We are always in a demographic rat race, or perhaps more precisely a rabbit race of reproductivity. After all, we care so much about our own community's reproductive rate to the extent that making love can be political rather than romantic or sexual.
When we feel frustrated by the decline of our community interests, we turn to our bedrooms and make love to produce more voters 21 years down the line, who can also alter the statistics in the next Malaysia Plan. What a wonderful alternative for democratisation or better public policy!

And is there any wonder why we are so resistant towards interethnic or interfaith marriages unless it is guaranteed that spouses and future children count as "our people" rather than "theirs"?

It's all about the numbers. Why?

The rabbit race

Some reasons are natural. First of all, collective rights require economies of scale. If your community consists of only 50,000 people, you of course can't expect to have an Astro channel catering to just your needs. You may not have even a Wikipedia site in your own language. So, you end up not complaining about not having your People's Own Language (POL) class or being classified as "lain-lain" in census forms. The question is: how big is big enough to be entitled to collective rights in religion, culture and language? This question is important, because the divisive walls are not built by Penan or Orang Laut Malaysians, are they?

Secondly, democratic politics is a numbers game. If we have to divide resources by proportionality, then we need numbers, and we need walls. In fact, we will need to keep on moving our walls outwards to occupy a larger share of the territory, not unlike the Israeli-built wall in Palestine.

The third reason is arguably also reasonable but deeply problematic. We need the numbers from our own ethnic groups or our co-religionists because we are preparing for a showdown with "the others". In this sense, the real problem with the Shah Alam cow-head protest is not about offending religious sensitivities, but the threat of violence employed.

Any mad man or woman may get up to similar antics, but there is no need for society to jump and shout. But by signalling the use of violence to draw the ethno-religious boundary — "we constitute the majority here in this area, we set the rules; you follow or be prepared for bloodshed" — we are at the edge of returning to the barbaric pre-democratic world. We would be chopping heads rather than counting heads.

Tearing them down

To tear down these walls is easy. We need only an impartial state that makes numbers irrelevant to a citizen's right. The day a lone Eskimo Malaysian (if there were one) finds himself or herself enjoying the same rights as a Malay-Muslim Malaysian, he or she would not need to breed to advance his or her interests. He or she need not dream of a divisive wall of his or her own.

Now, is the prime minister willing to build such an impartial state that would treat everyone equally and protect everyone from private violence such as that signalled in the cow-head protest? Are the police willing to pursue the case for incitement of violence rather than the vaguely defined sedition? Is the prime minister willing to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to stop the conscious partisanship of our police force, which in recent months has behaved more like a police farce? If he refuses to tear down this latest wall, then he shouldn't waste our time.

Truly patriotic Malaysians will fight to free ourselves from these walls, which the prime minister's government and party have helped to build over the years. Selamat Merdeka!

Monday, 31 August 2009

a new day

a new day for the reb and his family. not just because it is merdeka day (the nation's 32nd independence day) but that the reb's daughter is flying on her way to the US for her 4 years of studies to do a degree in biochem at brown uni. that's one half of the nest having flown and it is left to the reb's son to be at home for another few more years before he goes away too fro his studies.

Friday, 28 August 2009

some interesting 21st century facts

time for some laughter before the weekend breaks in:

21st Century FACTS

Our communication - Wireless

Our phones - Cordless

Our cooking - Fireless

Our food - Fatless

Our sweets - Sugarless

Our labor - Effortless

Our relations - Fruitless

Our attitude - Careless

Our feelings - Heartless

Our politics - Shameless

Our education - Worthless

Our mistakes - Countless

Our arguments - Baseless

Our youth - Jobless

Our ladies - Topless

Our boss - Brainless

Our jobs - Thankless

Our needs - Endless

Our situation - Hopeless

Our salaries - Less and less

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

PR - 7, BN - 1

Result for Permatang Pasir by election: Pas current majority – 4,557

Mohd Salleh Man (PAS) : 9,618

Rohaizat Othman (BN) : 5,067

Majority : 4,551

Turnout : 73.1% (14,832)

Spoiled votes: 44

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PR -7; BN -1

when will the government listen to the people? first, the DPM claims the BN will win.

by last nite, after gauging the voters' sentiments, they say a it is still a win by a reduced majority.

when the official results came in, still the lame excuses from our PM 'there were factors that cause our loss' and 'we will study why we lost'.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

on the move

the reb and his family will be on the move the next few days, leaving today for teluk intan to visit his god-parents and his daugther's god-parents before moving to penang on sunday afternoon to visit his wife's siblings and then to kampar by monday evening to visit his parents. the trip is for charis to pay a visit to relatives and kin to say goodbye before she leaves for the US on sunday 30th aug to do her studies in brown university.

depending on availability of the internet, the blog will be on leave.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

free hebrew grammar book

posted this sometime back but the authors have revised their free hebrew grammar. worth downloading and reading it if you want to study hebrew on your own.

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Biblical Hebrew: A Student Grammar
John A. Cook and Robert D. Holmstedt
(Draft, 2007; revised 2009 -- posted Aug 13, 2009)

PDF of entire textbook.

The authors grant permission for personal or classroom use. * Note: please report any typos or other errors.

---------------------------------------

on the same webpage, there are other free pdf files to download:

http://individual.utoronto.ca/holmstedt/PDF.html

Thursday, 13 August 2009

passing away of geoffrey bromiley



Fuller Mourns the Loss of Geoffrey Bromiley
Preeminent Scholar and Professor, Prolific Translator and Editor, and Caring Mentor and Friend :: 08/11/09

Geoffrey W. Bromiley, renowned church historian and historical theologian, and professor emeritus at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, passed away on Friday, August 7.

Bromiley significantly influenced English-language Christianity over the past six decades, translating and editing—from several original languages—thousands upon thousands of pages of theological works from such notables as Karl Barth, Jacques Ellul, Helmut Thielicke, and others.

Among his many translations widely used by English-language readers are the 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel; extensive portions of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics; Wolfhart Pannenberg's three-volume Systematic Theology; and Commentary on Romans by Ernst Kasemann.

Bromiley was also the English-language editor of the monumental Encyclopedia of Christianity (translated from a German language resource), the fifth volume of which he completed in 2007—past his 90th year. “His work as the English-language editor of these five volumes is without question among the most painstaking work a scholar can be called upon to do. Few there are who are equal to the challenge,” said Robert P. Meye, the former dean of Fuller’s School of Theology, who served during many of the years while Bromiley was Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Fuller.

for the rest of the article, pls read here below:

http://www.fuller.edu/news-and-events/news/bromiley-passing.aspx

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Youth Essay Writing Contest - Edinburgh 2010

Youth Essay Writing Contest - Edinburgh 2010

Participate ~ Writing Contest


We invite you to take part in the Edinburgh 2010 Youth Writing Contest. Write an essay about one of the nine study themes, submit it and get published online. The winner of our writing contest will receive a sponsored invitation to the Edinburgh conference in June 2010.


Who can participate?
We invite contributions from a wide range of youth (ages 18 - 30) from different theological, denominational, confessional, and geographical areas interested in Christian witness in the world today.


What should you write about?
Essays should engage one of the nine study themes, represent the perspective of youth, and be 3000 (maximum) words in length. They may be submitted in any of the languages of the conference: English, French or Spanish, or in other languages by arrangement with the organisers.

The nine study themes are:

1. Foundation for Mission
2. Christian Mission Among Other Faiths
3. Mission and Post-Modernities
4. Mission and Power
5. Forms of Missionary Engagement
6. Theological Education and Formation
7. Christian Communities in Contemporary Contexts
8. Mission and Unity – Ecclesiology and Mission
9. Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship


Why should you participate?
The papers will be judged by the organisers of the Edinburgh 2010 study process and other invited missiologists. The author of the top paper will receive a sponsored invitation to the Edinburgh 2010 World Mission Conference in June, 2010. Up to ten further papers will be commended by the judges and submitted for publication.


How will this contest be advertised?
This call for papers is being distributed through the networks of Edinburgh 2010, which is inclusive of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches in all regions of the world. Please pass it on through your networks. To download our flyer click here.


When are papers due?
To submit a paper by the deadline of 15 January 2010, or for more information, please e-mail our Youth and Mission Coordinator Kirk Sandvig: 2010youth (at) googlemail.com

2010youth@googlemail.com

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

free pdf book by don c benjamin


professor don c benjamin has a new book called stones and stories:

Stones and Stories: An Introduction to Archaeology and the Bible
by Don C. Benjamin

A state-of-the-art introduction to the archaeological exploration of Syria-Palestine from ancient times to current excavations, Stones and Stories introduces students to the history and methods of "biblical archaeology." By correlating cultural patterns in different archaeological eras with cultural patterns in the biblical narratives, Benjamin describes the assumptions and methods that have guided both scholars and amateurs — the faithful, the skeptical, and the curious.

Lavishly illustrated, Stones and Stories is simultaneously an accessible introduction to archaeological method and an overview of what archaeology has shown us regarding the worlds of the Bible.

Fortress Press (Nov 2008)
400 pages

one can download a free pdf file of the book here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Langham Partnership / Oxford Centre for Mission Studies 1910 Centenary PhD Scholarship

The Langham Partnership / Oxford Centre for Mission Studies 1910 Centenary PhD Scholarship

Langham Partnership is a registered Christian charity in the evangelical tradition, which grows out of the international ministry of Rev. Dr John Stott. It has over the past 30 years helped to sponsor almost 300 scholars from the Majority (Developing) World to complete PhD degrees, and it currently supports around 35 students in the UK and Europe who are on PhD programmes. Former Langham scholars work in a range of Christian ministries, including college and seminary Principals and Presidents, Academic Deans, Bishops, and leaders of Christian agencies. Funds for the scholarship scheme come from the giving of Christian individuals, churches and trusts. Further details about the work of the charity, and how donations can be made towards its work, can be found on the Scholarship pages of the Langham Partnership website www.langhampartnership.org

Langham Partnership is offering a special ‘1910 Centenary PhD Scholarship’ in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies which is intended to benefit a student from the Majority World. The Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910 anticipated the predominant role which church leaders from the Global South would play in the future, and this scheme is therefore an appropriate way of marking its centenary in 2010. The Scholarship represents our commitment to engage in dialogue with churches in the Developing World (Majority), and assist with the training of strategic church leaders from there.

Oxford Centre for Mission Studies / Langham Partnership ‘1910 Centenary Scholarship’

Starting in September 2010 this scholarship for a student from the Majority World is tenable for up to six years of part-time PhD study at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, depending on satisfactory progression. It will cover course fees at OCMS, and provide up to £4,000 towards expenses and maintenance. The applicant’s sending institution must commit to contribute at least a further £2,000 per year towards support. The student will be required to raise extra sums required to meet the support levels required by the UK Borders Agency for student visa application. Before commencement of the award students must have completed the OCMS research induction course, and obtained registration with the University of Wales. OCMS and Langham Partnership welcome applications from students wishing to study in ‘Mission-related’ research in various areas.

Applicants should apply to both OCMS and the Langham Partnership, and on each separate application indicate clearly that they intend to apply for the OCMS / Langham Partnership ‘1910 Centenary Scholarship’. A form for the Langham Partnership Scholarship scheme, and the full eligibility criterion, can be found on the scholarship pages of the Langham Partnership UK website www.langhampartnership.org.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have outstanding academic potential, are strategic

Christian leaders, and have strong backing from established Christian leadership within the Majority World.

Further enquiries can be addressed to scholarships.lpuki@langhampartnership.org.

Closing date for applications is 30 November 2009.