After Pence and Princeton

I saw that the main question was: what constitutes right relationship between men and women?

The brouhaha over America’s Vice-President Mike Pence’s dinner rule three weeks ago has given opportunity for us to hear and consider two views of gender relations. One view is, through restricted and limited relations with the opposite sex, there will be less suggestion (temptation) and likelihood for infidelity and sexual harassment. The second view is, through restricted and limited relations with the opposite sex, there will be reduced and unequal opportunity for women to obtain mentoring and professional development.

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Joy, resurrection joy

Having the Watoto choir minister to your church on Easter morning is like having RESURRECTION proclaimed in the fullest measure. Bellowed into your ear, shouting into your eyes, exploding into your heart. Having Watoto choir sharing their lives with you is seeing Redemption in full force – you cannot look away. You cannot but realise that transformation has happened and is continuing to happen throughout the world as a result of the inclusive love of God and His invitation for the nations.

2,000 over years after the resurrection of Jesus, we see the magnified version of the continuing work of the God, after Jesus announced, “the Kingdom of God is here”, we see today it is here, and it is here to stay in increasing measure. I see the resurrection life evident in my fellow Christians from Uganda, and my heart is so filled with hope. There is hope.

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today we his friends died

At this point, Jesus was to them, (permanently,) dead. Pick up the pieces yourself. Game over.

The ghastly Friday where Jesus was stripped of all His earthly identity culminating in His death, must have been terrifying to watch. How did Jesus’ disciples feel?

As the weight of the experience of Jesus slowly sinks into my mind and throughout my busy day, I wonder. How did Jesus’ disciples take it? Did they even sleep?

They certainly shared in His suffering because of how their lives were intertwined. They had given up everything for Jesus and lived a carefree, happy life with Him. They could pluck grains to snack on on Sabbath and Jesus would tell off the Pharisees. They could get away with not doing the ablutions before meals, and Jesus would have their back. They drove away demons in His name. They survived a storm because Jesus calmed it. Things were really good with Him.

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Jesus, becoming obedient to death

Even though it is said that Jesus came to die, I often reflect it over and over in my mind that many things preceded His death. Many important things, preceded His death. His final hours were not an abrupt and neat death sentence, but a series of events when Jesus became increasingly emptied of Himself at every turn.

Jesus’ death was not only the giving up of His breath, it was the complete emptying of Himself.

At today’s Good Friday Tenebrae service, the reflections at Bangsar Lutheran Church led me to reflect on how Jesus’ earthly self was gradually stripped away as the evening went on.

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As Death hovers, where is our home?

God is not in the business of whisking His people away from an awful place (earth) into a faraway castle (heaven) to stay in. That’s a European fairy tale.

If heaven is our ultimate home, why do we need new, resurrected, physical bodies? If God is Creator and Lord of the heavens and the earth, why is our final home merely “Heaven”? Isn’t that, a downgrade, especially after all the hoo-ha about earth in Genesis 1? Wouldn’t it be a regression to see that after Jesus has brought about salvation on the cross, heaven is all we are looking forward to as our final home (after all the majesty and glory described to us about earth)? You mean to say, Jesus died just so we can get to heaven in the afterlife, and just stay there, only?

If life is a train ride that everyone is destined to hop off… then doesn’t that make death just a necessary albeit uncomfortable door to the final destination (presumably, heaven)? If our only concern is for our destination in the afterlife, then doesn’t that make death a lot more acceptable? If death is an acceptable and necessary doorway to heaven or hell, then… why did Jesus come to defeat death and destruction? Why was Jesus said to have triumphed over (sin and) death (1 Cor 15:55-57), if death is no biggie after all?

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I would rather have a learning spirit, than teachability in myself and others. An independent learner is a thinker who gleans through materials with a passion for inquiry, reason and to seek the truth. A teachable person is a passive recipient from whoever he calls his mentor, with no mind of her own. When I think of a learner, I think of those who, at the time of the Lollards treasured the Bible in its English translation – to learn for themselves, to discover God for themselves. (This was even wrested from them after the death of John Wycliffe.) When I think of the teachable, I think of those contented with the unreachable Latin version and being teachable, blind to the bullying done by those in authority. The Reformation was built by learners for others to be learners too. How do we learn? By replacing compliant teachability with a learning spirit.

The Reformation has left an indelible mark on the Christianity and the world today – both good and bad, in every sphere of life. As we commemorate its 500th anniversary this year, I hope to learn more on the Reformation and to reflect on the past and how they have influenced today, and perhaps, find some gems for living tomorrow.

Review: On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race… If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, a clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

Chapter 2 – Of the liberty of thought and discussion

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill is a classic that is useful to be relearned for our modern age, although it was a product of its own time. This five-chapter document presents an invigorating and dynamic discussion on the importance of liberty of opinion and action, particularly in the backdrop of the felt legacies of Calvin and Knox in the post-Reformation period. Written in early [Correction: middle] 19th century England, Mill produces a passionate and heartfelt review of English civilisation about [Correction: over] 300 years after the Reformation, points out dangers and possible ways forward. I’m peppering this article with quotes from the article for a taste of what he had to say.

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