Saturday, December 26, 2009

BACK IN THE SADDLE! 

PREACHING PRAYING AND LISTENING!

No, its not about riding a horse but getting back into the ministry in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

I preach in Spanish once again and have begun to do some prayer ministry. Its a bit of a struggle to find the right words to convey thoughts in a language I've not used for 3 and a half years but I find a greater spontaniety as opportunities for ministry increase.    


This afternoon I prayed for a young man who was involved in a serious road accident; his friend died immediately. The truck hit a boulder and spun in mid air for a couple of times before it crashed heavily, stumbling and tumbling along on the road. It was like a scene from the movie,  Transformers.

The young man´s right leg is fractured in more than one area, the head and body are covered with abrasions, scratches, deep gashes, and a few ribs are broken. They punctured a small hole on the side of his chest to drain the blood and fluid which were beginniing to flood his body. His survival from the crash and quick recovery is credited to the Lord´s intervention and the prayers of many people.

On Christmas day, a young lady shared with me a hair raising account of how she managed to escape from a relative´s attempts at trying to get her involved in satanic rituals and witchcraft. And like cherry on top of a cake, a young man related his account of overcoming drunkenness and his growth as a christian leader in the church.

Praise the Lord! Its great to be back in the saddle...in the ministry that is!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


¡SIN PELOS EN LA LENGUA!


El obispo John Rodgers (ACNA) responde a las declaraciones del Arzobispo Rowan Williams con relación al proceso se llama la Alianza Anglicana – La supuesta solución a la ruptura en la Comunión Anglicana debido a la consagración del obispo homosexual por la iglesia episcopal en los estados unidos.

19 diciembre, 2009 Anunciado en Noticias


La cita siguiente es del Arzobispo de diciembre de Cantórbery en su charla en el año 2008 sobre su comprensión de la naturaleza de la Alianza Anglicana propuesta de la Comunión y su función.

"No será una constitución, y ciertamente no será un código penal para castigar a personas que no obedecen," él dijo. "Pero lo que representa es esto: en los últimos años en la familia anglicana, nosotros hemos descubierto que nuestras relaciones uno con el otro como las iglesias locales a menudo han sido esforzadas, que nosotros no hemos aprendido a fiarse del uno al otro como quizás debemos, que debemos realmente construir las relaciones, y nosotros debemos tener un sentido que somos responsables uno al otro y responsable de uno al otro. Es decir, lo que necesitamos es algo que ayudará nosotros sabe donde nosotros nos paramos junto, y nos ayudamos también intensificamos nuestra confraternidad y nuestra confianza".

Mientras concuerdo con el Arzobispo que anglicanos deben aprender a fiarse de y para ser responsable uno al otro, yo tengo la convicción de que esta perspectiva de la Alianza es demasiado débil para unir la Comunión Anglicana. La fe cristiana surge de la Palabra autoritaria de Dios en Jesucristo y en las Escrituras Santas que nos conservó por el Espíritu Santo. Las Escrituras declaran verdaderamente el Evangelio o no y el contenido de la Fe Apostólica y los Sacramentos del Evangelio celebra el mismo o no. Anglicanos han comprendido correctamente y cree en el Señor que es revelado en y por ese Evangelio y la Fe Apostólica o no y no hay un lugar neutral con respeto a la Fe o el Evangelio. Este asunto fundamental necesita ser declarado decisivamente sin ambigüedades.

Anglicanos no son y nunca han sido una mera asociación "natural" de la familia Cristiana donde el único punto de referencia es de fiarse del uno al otro sin tomar en consideración la Fe Cristiana. Más bien hemos sido desde el comienzo y somos una familia que confiesa unido en el Evangelio y la Fe Apostólica como el conjunto encontrado en las Escrituras en la misma manera como enseñaron los antiguos Padres de la iglesia, y de los Concilios Ecuménicos antiguos Este Evangelio Apostólico y Fe.

Comprendemos y celebramos como Anglicanos el evangelio apostólico y la Fe que son expuestos en los Credos católicos, los 39 Artículos de Religión, y de la 1662 Liturgia de la Iglesia Anglicana y el Ordinal. Si nosotros no podemos confesar que el Evangelio y la Fe juntos, nosotros no tenemos una unidad genuina para confesar ni profundizar.

Tenemos una constitución en el Evangelio y Fe Apostólica como nosotros los Anglicanos lo hemos recibido, y cualquier Alianza de la Comunión Anglicana debe celebrar y lo debe confesar autoritariamente, claramente y agradecidamente. Nada hará menos.

Que Tenga una Navidad maravillosa

+ John H. Rodgers Jr.

El Obispo en la Iglesia Anglicana de Norteamérica

(AMIA)
TRUTH TELLING

Bishop John Rodgers (ACNA) responds to Archbishop Williams’ understanding of the Communion Covenant
December 19th, 2009

The following quote is from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s December 18th video talk and describes His understanding of the nature of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and its function.

"It's not going to be a constitution, and it's certainly not going to be a penal code for punishing people who don't comply," he said. "But what it does represent is this: in recent years in the Anglican family, we've discovered that our relations with each other as local churches have often been strained, that we haven't learned to trust one another as perhaps we should, that we really need to build relationships, and we need to have a sense that we are responsible to one another and responsible for each other. In other words, what we need is something that will help us know where we stand together, and help us also intensify our fellowship and our trust."

While I agree with the Archbishop that Anglicans do need to learn to trust and to be responsible to one another, I am convinced that this view is far too weak to serve a Communion as a unifying Covenant. Christian faith arises from God’s authoritative Word in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scriptures as sealed in us by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures either declare the Gospel and the contents of the Apostolic Faith and the Sacraments of the Gospel celebrate the same or they do not. Anglicans have either rightly understood and believe in the Lord who is revealed in and through that Gospel and Apostolic Faith or we have not and do not. This fundamental matter needs to be decisively addressed and declared unambiguously.

Anglicans are not and never have been a “natural” family learning to trust one another irrespective of our Faith. Rather we have been from the beginning and are a confessing family united in the Gospel and the Apostolic Faith as set forth in the Scriptures, and as taught by such teachings of the ancient Fathers, and the early Ecumenical Councils as are agreeable to the same Scriptures. This Apostolic Gospel and Faith, as Anglicans understand them and celebrate them, are set forth in the Catholic Creeds, the 39 Articles of Religion, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal. If we cannot confess that Gospel and Faith together, we have no unity to confess and intensify.

We do have a constitution in the Gospel and Apostolic Faith as we Anglicans have received it, and any Communion Covenant should celebrate and confess it authoritatively, clearly and thankfully. Nothing less will do.

Have a wonderful Christmas and Christmastide,

+John H. Rodgers Jr.

Bishop in the Anglican Church of North America

(AMIA)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


¡ADIOS CHRIST CHURCH!

Regresamos a Singapur en Junio 2007 para acompañar nuestro hijo, Elijah, mientras él hizo su servicio militar por 2 años. Durante este tiempo la diocesis de Singapur pidió que yo pastoreara una parroquia se llama CHRIST CHURCH. Lo hize con la gracia del Señor pero despues de 2 años llegó el momento para regresar a Bolivia. Entonces deje mis responsabilidades en la iglesia donde trabajaba y alistamos nuestras maletas para el viaje a Bolivia. Pero dejar una iglesia donde uno pastorea no es nada facil.

Los Pastores experimentan sentimientos mixtos a medida que ellos se van de la Parroquia donde ellos han servido. El alivio de haber dejado las responsabilidades del liderazgo esta entrelazado con la pena de dejar amistades forjadas en las trincheras del ministerio.

Mi experiencia en CHRIST CHURCH fue dura pero también gratificante. Las personas fueron desafiadas a evangelizar a los no alcanzados, un equipo pastoral fue nombrado; una nueva congregación dio sus inicios pasos; la obra de los jóvenes comenzó de nuevo. Había cosas que no podía hacer. Cristo utiliza otros para llegar a ésos quien nosotros nunca podríamos ministrar. Hay que decir también que la única forma de reunir todas las necesidades de la iglesia es tener un equipo bien capacitado para ministrar a los demás.

CHRIST CHURCH es una Parroquia tradicional con muchos niveles de liderazgo. Los Vicarios tendrán que buscar al Señor para la sabiduría Salomónica para unir los varios pedazos del liderazgo. Alineando el concilio de la Iglesia, el equipo pastoral, la gente de trayectoria y los grupos ministeriales de liderazgo requieren visión y trabajo dedicado.

Deseo que pueda haber hecho más para la parroquia pero el tiempo para adelantarme y irme a Bolivia no me dio el tiempo para quedarme más en CHRIST CHURCH. La Iglesia Boliviana, ante grandes desafíos, también hizo una solicitud para mí regresar a Bolivia.

Las amistades fueron hechas y la partida a CHRIST CHURCH fue nunca fácil pero sé que mi salida va a beneficiarles en el largo plazo. De nuevo aprendí que el Señor ama su iglesia, su novia, cómo ninguno otro. Somos sus siervos que él usa para su gloria.

Continúo orar para ellos y desear verles crecen y cumplen su llamando a Cristo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



GOODBYE CHRIST CHURCH!

- THE LORD IS WITH CHRIST CHURCH IN WAYS BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING-

We returned to Singapore in June 2007 to be with our son Elijah; he had finished high school in Bolivia and had to, by law, do a 2 year national service stint with the Singapore armed forces. During this period I was asked to pastor CHRIST CHURCH, a parish in the diocese of Singapore. By God's grace I finished my stint in Singapore at the parish and made plans to return to Bolivia.

Vicars wrestle with mixed feelings as they leave Parishes under their charge. Relief from the pressures of leading God's people is intertwined with the pain of leaving new found friends . In Latin America its impossible to serve in a church and not make friends. Some of this spilled over into my work at CHRIST CHURCH.

My experience in the parish was tough but also rewarding. People were challenged to evangelise the lost, a full time pastoral team was put in place; a small congregation dedicated to outreach was started; working with the young people was fulfilling. Not meeting all the needs of the parish was a humbling experience. Christ uses others to reach out to those whom we could never connect with. Maybe its also sobering to remind ourselves that Clergy cannot meet everyone's needs. Only a well trained pastoral team can come close to fully meet the challenges of modern day city-based parishes with diverse needs.

CHRIST CHURCH, a traditional Parish, has many levels of leadership. Anyone called to serve as Vicar will have to seek the Lord for Solomonic wisdom as he puts together the various pieces of the leadership puzzle. Uniting the work of the Church council, the pastoral team and the ministerial leadership without trampling on the sucesses of the past requires vision and hard work.

I wish I could have done more for the parish but it was time for me to move on. The Bolivian church, in the face of great challenges, also made an appeal to the Bishops of Singapore for me to return to Bolivia.

Friendships were made and leaving Christ Church was never easy.

I continue to pray for them to mature in Christ as they reach out to various the groupings within a growing and vibrant Tamil community in Singapore.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CURRY KILLS CANCER CELLS

LONDON - A MOLECULE found in a curry ingredient can kill oesophageal cancer cells in the laboratory, suggesting it might be developed as an anti-cancer treatment, scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Centre in Ireland treated oesophageal cancer cells with curcumin - a chemical found in the spice turmeric, which gives curries a distinctive yellow colour - and found it started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours. The cells also began to digest themselves, they said in a study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Previous scientific studies have suggested curcumin can suppress tumours and that people who eat lots of curry may be less prone to the disease, although curcumin loses its anti-cancer attributes quickly when ingested. But Sharon McKenna, lead author of the Irish study, said her study suggested a potential for scientists to develop curcumin as an anti-cancer drug to treat oesophageal cancer.

Cancers of the oesophagus kill more than 500,000 people across the world each year. The tumours are especially deadly, with five-year survival rates of just 12 to 31 per cent. Ms McKenna said the study showed curcumin caused the cancer cells to die 'using an unexpected system of cell messages'.

Normally, faulty cells die by committing programmed suicide, or apoptosis, which occurs when proteins called caspases are 'switched on' in cells, the researchers said.

But these cells showed no evidence of suicide, and the addition of a molecule that inhibits caspases and stops this 'switch being flicked' made no difference to the number of cells that died, suggesting curcumin attacked the cancer cells using an alternative cell signalling system. -- REUTERS

Thursday, October 22, 2009


LA IGLESIA ROMANA "ROBA" A LAS OVEJAS ANGLICANAS?

Detrás las sonrisas y reuniones ecuménicas, la Iglesia Romana no escondió su intención de llevar a los Anglicanos a su redil.

El Papa Benedicto XVI esta semana creó una estructura eclesiástica se llama el ordinatario para los Anglicanos descontentos que quieren unirse a la Iglesia Romana.

Segun el documento, los Anglicanos pueden mantenerse algunos de sus distintivos y ser católicos. Será interesante ver los detalles de esta nueva iniciativa.

Hay muchos anglicanos descontentos en estos días debido en gran parte a la falta de Rowan Williams, el arzobispo de Canterbury, y los neo liberales dentro de la estructura anglicana para disciplinar a los dirigentes de la Iglesia Episcopal de EEUU por haber consagrado un homosexual practicante como Obispo diocesano! Rowan Williams, de acuerdo a sus acciones, ha manifestado su simpatía con la gente que esta impulsando los intereses de los gays dentro de la iglesia Anglicana en EEUU y Gran Bretania . Hay gente comprometida a la autoridad Bíblica en la iglesia Anglicana que no va a poder reconocer tal trayectoria. Entonces no era una sorpresa cuando muchos obispos ortodoxos asistieron el Lambeth Conference del año pasado como una señal de su desconformidad a la posición ambigua del Arzobispo de Canterbury.

En medio de este desorden el Santo Padre vio la oportunidad de invitar y recibir anglicanos, especialmente a aquellos tradicionalistas en Gran Bretañia y EEUU que quieren salir de la Anglicana. Acaso esto no es robo de ovejas? Ninguno de los Primados Anglicanos, de las regiones que se verán afectados por este último mover de la Iglesia Romana, no ha dicho nada en contra de la acción Romana. Ni uno de los Primados de la Comunión Anglicana ha respondido a este desafío mediante la exposición de la confusión doctrinal en Roma a la luz de la verdad bíblica.

La Comunión Anglicana después de no haber disciplinado el liderazgo de la provincia que consagró un homosexual practicante como obispo diocesano,  no tiene ahora la sustancia teológica para refutar los errores de Roma y cuestionar la iniciativa romana en el ordinatario.

En cierta medida uno tiene que admirar la Iglesia Romana, especialmente el Papa, por su discernimiento espiritual para abrir las puertas de su iglesia a un grupo de personas estaba buscando un refugio donde hay claridad bíblica y teológica en este tema de homosexualidad . Planificaron bien su mover con su gente y cuando llegó el momento propicio, lo hicieron sin renuencia. ¡

Que el Señor sea Juez sobre su iglesia!

SHEEP STEALING?

Behind the ecumenical smiles, handshakes and documents, Rome never hid its intention of wanting Anglicans back to the fold...their fold!

Pope Benedict in an earth shaking move this week provided a special ecclesiastical structure, the Ordinariate, for disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Church. Anglicans can now hold on to some of their distinctives and be Roman Catholics. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds as the Pope's plan is implemented.

There are many disconted Anglicans, these days, due in large part to the failure of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his enablers to discipline the leadership of the American Episcopal Church for having consecrated a practising homosexual! Crossing the Tiber emerged as an option. Rowan William's sympathies, judging by his actions, are clearly on the side of those who are sympathetic to the homosexual cause. Is it any wonder that many Anglican bishops, especially from Africa, did not attend last year's Lambeth Conference as a sign of their disappointment of the Communion's direction?

In the midst of this disarray, the Holy Father saw an opportunity to draw Anglicans, especially from the Anglo Catholic mould. And he seized it! Isnt this sheep stealing? None of the Anglican primates, from regions which will be impacted by this latest move from the Roman Church, seem to think so.

Not one...yes, not one Primate from the Anglican Communion has responded to this challenge by highlighting Roman doctrinal confusion in the light of Biblical truth. And the reason is simple: the worldwide Anglican Communion in NOT disciplining an errant province, TEC, does not possess the substance to reveal the incompatibility of Roman beliefs and Biblical teaching. But here's the irony: the contemporary crisis of the Anglican Church has caused Anglicans in liberal dioceses to seek refuge in orthodox Roman parishes. Some of the Anglican reformers are probably rolling in their graves.

You gotta give Rome an A for audacity. Pope Benedict, saw an opportunity to attract Anglicans to Roman Church. And he made use of this opportunity!

So is this sheep stealing?

Bible believing Anglicans of the more reformed variety with roots in the 39 articles will view this Roman intiative as interference and sheep stealing. Traditional Anglican sacramentalists in liberal Anglican Provinces however will welcome the Ordinariate as an indirect rebuke to their ecclesiastical leaders.

Sunday, October 11, 2009



BOLIVIA BEAT BRAZIL 2-1

Bolivia's victory over Brazil in the World Cup though wonderful is meaningless.

Brazil had already qualified for the World Cup in South Africa before this game; But still, its sweet to parade Brazil's scalp in public.

Congratulations to the Bolivian team. This was not a fluke; on their day Bolivian football is mesmerizing. Dont forget, they mauled the Argentinians 5-1.

Our problem has been constancy. Why they cant repeat their genius aganist lesser teams is a mystery. We'll have to wait for 2014!

Dunga, the Brazilian coach, in the tradition of coaches who lose in Laz Paz, blamed the high altitude. This is a lame excuse. World champions, like the armies of Alexander, must have the skill and fortitude to dominate opposing teams be it in bumpy pitches or in the high altitude.

If Dunga wants to win the World Cup in Africa, he has to build a team which can win anywhere in the world!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


AT LAST!

Brazil, is the first Latin American nation to host the Olympic Games. All of South America celebrate with Brazil's triumph in getting this golden opportunity to host a major world event.

Why did it take so long?

Most countries in Latin America are third world and may not have the infraestructure to host such a massive event. The Brazilians have their limits but they should do a good job. Besides must the Olympics have such fancy opening and closing ceremonies? No, absolutely not! Sadly many nations confuse national prestige with mind blowing and expensive opening and closing ceremonies i.e Beijing Olympics

Congratulations Brazil!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


SANTA CRUZ: EUROPEAN STYLE SENSUALITY

Latin Americans love beauty! Venezuelans and Colombians regularly sweep the board in the miss world and universe competitions.

Bolivia have their fair share of pretty girls, many of them in Santa Cruz. Beauty pageants and famous models are very popular in the lowlands of Bolivia.

South American girls, especially fair skinned blonds, are trained from young to be beauty queens. They keep a trim figure; wear right clothes; walk the catwalk sensually and flaunt branded products. Its hard not to see western and european physical features dominate judges's perception of beauty in pageants.

Beauty is decidedly euro-centric: Nordic, Latin and Anglo Saxon. Beauty queens with very distinct non european local features almost never win anything. Ever seen a chinese girl with mongoloid features walk the aisle with the miss universe crown? How about dark stubby nosed girls from South India? Some girls from India have been doing relatively well in the past decade or so. Are they the exceptions to the rule? Not so. Take a close look at them. They're tall, fair, possess sharp noses, are from the north, speak very good english - a european language. None of the Indian girls who've done well in pageants have ever violated the canons of european style aesthetics.

Its not surprising therefore if Santa Cruz's babes tend to accentuate their European heritage because pageants have marked out a criteria of beauty that's euro-centric. This is not meant as a put down of local indigenous features but a sober observation of what's happening

Sadly, beauty is also commercialized and vulgarised in Santa Cruz. At a trade fair several years ago, the semi clad buttocks of a female model were compared to a cow's behind! Something crass was said about the model's anatomy. Beauty queens are props; their bodies are hangers for the latest swim suit bikini and revealing dress. Why young ladies allow themselves to be used like meat in a butcher's shop, remains a mystery.

SANTA CRUZ EXPOCRUZ 2009

September is a special month for the city of Santa Cruz. We celebrate the anniversary of the city's founding with parades and speeches.

The highlight is a huge trade fair called EXPOCRUZ where one gets to see the latest and best technology, livestock, concerts, beautiful girls, new products; farming utensils n machines, overseas imports and lots of businessmen from all over Latin America cutting deals.

Here's a photo of the trade fair.

Friday, September 25, 2009


SANTA CRUZ 199 YEARS
PARADE

Here is another photo of the civic leaders of Santa Cruz. You guessed right, green is the color of the city. The grey headed guy is waving the flag of Santa Cruz.


SANTA CRUZ 199 YEARS CELEBRATION

Here is a photo of the Santa Cruz's political elite celebrating the city's anniversary.

The mayor of Santa Cruz, Percy Fernandez is waving to the crowd. On his right is the governor, Ruben Costas.

Thursday, September 24, 2009



SANTA CRUZ, 199 YEARS!

Yesterday Santa Cruz celebrated its 199th anniversary. Note the fireworks on the photo on your right!

My wife, son and I lived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for 14 years. Elijah, my son, was only 3 years old when we first arrived. Michelle and I, being young missionaries, were struggling with learning the language and adapting to Bolivian culture. Cruceños, know how to celebrate and have a great time. Brass bands fill the air with the sound of drums, trumpets and trombones during all sorts of celebrations. I kinda miss the people dancing and milling in the streets, amplified music blasting away from sound systems in cars, laughter, animated conversations, traffic jams. I certainly dont miss the urine on the streets, broken beer bottles, and the permissiveness these celebrations unleash.

Anyone reading the news would also know that Santa Cruz is the centre of opposition against the central government and the president Evo Morales. I have written many posts on this subject. Just click on Current Affairs. In recent months the nation has been preocuppied with the upcoming general elections in December. The president is expected to win and his party will probably be returned to the legislative assembly with a majority.

Santa Cruz, a gateway city, is a spiritual hub. You just get the feeling that this city has a special place in the Lord's overall plan for the nations. The churches here are vibrant and there have been concerted efforts to reach out to the lost and get involved in overseas missions. Private universities with a young student population are also springing up.

To say that we miss Santa Cruz is an understatement! The good news however is that we shall be returning soon to this city. More news about this in my next post!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



"Families instead of being an
oasis of healing are breeding
grounds for dysfunction".




Tuesday, September 15, 2009


SEX SATURATED SOCIETY!

Singapore, a conservative society? Not according to daily surveys of the most read stories in the Straits Times.

The Straits Times runs the 10 most read stories, and stories on sex figure strongly!

Below are the top 10 stories from yesterday's ST digital copy:

1 Mum had sex with son

2 Govt acts to cool market

3 Sex in the suburbs

4 Principal in sex scandal held

5 Too sexy for kids?

6 Driver dies after heart attack

7 Woman on kissing quest

8 Pepper spray attack: 2 jailed

9 Caught having sex in stolen car

10 Gang snatches boy's mobile

WRITER'S SEMINAR


Armour Publishing invited John Maust to do a 3 day seminar on writing a few weeks ago. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and had a great time meeting others with similar interests. My good friend, Kenny Chee, blogpastor, also attended the seminar. John did a great job. I got a lot from the seminar. The point about not just stating something but painting a picture around the statement struck home.

A wide range of subjects were covered: from improving one's writing skills to the how to's of publishing a book.

Here's a great photo of all the participants

Sunday, September 13, 2009


CHEE & THIO: TWO SIDES OF
THE SAME COIN?

Singapore is poorer without Chee Soon Juan and Thio Li Ann.

They speak their minds fearlessly, draw heavy fire from their opponents and strike discordant notes in a society more interested in making money and wasting its passion on consumerism, colored nails, racing cars and casinos. We do not resemble computers – an idiot machine designed to store information, play games and kill our time. Life is not a game and we are not machines.

Li Ann forces us to think about families, religion and gender. Soon Juan drives a wedge between political centrism and activism. Do we want opposition political parties to only stir discussion in Parliament or do we want attention grabbing activism? Thanks to these two, issues we'd normally ignore are taken note off.

Reject them if you must but please don’t despise the choices they bring to the body politic and the civil space they've opened. Choices and a bigger space in the civil society help us craft solutions, stimulate changes, preserve traditions. Li Ann and Soon Juan make us pause and question the “whys” of our lives. No, they are not pragmatic. Nor are they here to help us prosper materially. Pragmatism and wealth are not the best weapons to fight a war of attrition against a larger enemy.

So where do they get their motivation to bang on their drums in the face of name calling, hostility and heckling? Perhaps their Christian faith provides a clue. The Bible not only provides the ballast to cast doubt on present worldly arrangements but also provides pictures of a different and just kingdom.

You dont have to agree with their views or like them. But they are one of us and deserve a hearing.

Singapore... Thio Li Ann and Chee Soon Juan are your sons and daughters.

IN DEEP SPACE!
Breathtaking!

The galaxy above lies 6 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.
(Credit to Andrew Sullivan for fishing out this photo rom Nasa)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


THIO LI ANN: CHAMPION OF FREE SPEECH!


Neither petite nor passive, Thio Li Ann brings it on!

I finally got to hear and meet this remarkable lady at a seminar on media this morning at Kum Yan Methodist Church. She was one of the two keynote speakers. Li Ann's book, The Mind Gap, was available at the talk. She didnt sound lawyerly or professorial but was relaxed and entertaining. Her jibes and fast talk lit up the place.

The reaction she evokes from her opponents is understandable. Her humor, quips, barbs and arguments tend to sting, especially when you're at the end of them. And she does not give the impression of taking prisoners in a debate. This chica has absolutely no qualms about making her views known. But one observation needs to be made. She didnt sound like the moralizing right wing christian fundamentalist her opponents and make her out to be. Mainstream media love her because she gives them a lot to write about.

Her defense of free speech, even for her opponents, was an eye opener for me. She does not believe in a theocracy, saying at one point Im a Protestant! How can a Protestant believe in theocracy? When was the last time anyone identified themselves as a Protestant!

Is she enslaved to the American right? I cant remember the exact words but I thought she said, Dont go to some stupid american website and think you can apply their stuff in Singapore.

Li Ann, a liberal? Yeah, why not!

Her spirited advocacy for by-elections in GRC wards and comments about the unfairness of restrictions on political party films are reflective of a politician committed to diversity in the public square. She is not a single issue politician, although the local media tend to only portray her as an anti gay politician. Labeling politicians and creating a straw man or woman are potent weapons in political squabbles. Singaporeans can be classier. Lets not put this lady or any politican for that matter in a box and make unnecessary assumptionns about them.

Bring it on, Miss Thio!

Monday, September 07, 2009


PASTORING IS A 24 HOUR, 7 DAY A WEEK JOB?

No, Pastors dont work 24/7 but it sure feels that way at times!

Why the ambivalence?

I think its because church workers avail themselves to anyone at any given time so that pastoral needs are met. This is one job you cant leave at the office!

Since taking up the position of Vicar at Christ Church, there is absolutely no end to activities, making decisions, replying to calls/emails, responding to crises, attending meetings, leading services and ministering at praying/counselling sessions.

Its a tough job, pastoring a Parish. I have learned and relearned 3 things about Pastoring so far in Christ Church.

Pastors Like The People They Serve.

To like people is not an emotive feeling but the delight which comes from entering into another person's pilgrimage. Objectivity is important in our relationships. Accepting people as they are is not dealing with a blank piece of paper. Accepting somebody means we listen to people and enjoying their stories be it in an informal or formal occasion.

How about the unlikeable ones? Well, they sanctify our souls, keep us humble and deliver us from complexities. We become more human and more likeable.

Secondly, Keep Your Eye On The Great Commission.

We are here to go, disciple, preach, evangelize and baptize the nations. Sounds kinda impossible to do. Maybe thats why its easier to get lost in needs, issues, problems, reactions from personalities, challenges and lose sight of our main purpose, which is of course the task of obeying Christ's commandment to "Go".

Thirdly, Hear God's Voice/Receiving Enabling Through Daily Devotions.

Pastors are stewards. We've been sent to by Christ to follow Christ as He builds His Church. Hearing His voice on a daily basis through our daily devotions is the bedrock of a Pastor's life. Ignore this and everything falls apart!

Most pastors, including myself are not super saints (dont think I've met one!). People fail us and we fail them. Liking people is not an emotional feeling but a lot of work. Its easier to get distracted instead of focusing on the Great Commission and finding time to be with the Lord in the midst of our busy schedule is not easy but a great challenge.

Monday, June 29, 2009


"LORD, SAVE ME"
THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION MONASTERY

Friday, June 26, 2009


MICHAEL JACKSON 1958 -2009

Michael Jackson didnt just appear on the scene, he exploded in the universe like a glowing super nova!

The early innocence, his brothers and those brilliant pop classics Rocking Robin, I'll Be There, Gotta Be There spoke for an entire generation. Never Can Say Goodbye has yet to lose its lustre after 30 years!

The photo on the right is from his early years with the Jackson 5. He was at his peak then. His voice was sweet, powerful, very emotive and smacked the daylights out of the competition. An incredible talent!

His angst and broken voice opened the door to a fantasy world. He gave us Thriller - the gloves, dark glasses, red jackets, white gloves, tassels on the shoulder pad,

And the moonwalk!

It was suddenly cool to be black kid in the whole universe! Didnt matter if you were an Indian teenager from Sembawang or a kid from the ghetto. Michael was our hero. His props became ours - the red jackets, the sunglasses, white socks etc.

He was an Obama to a hip generation of dark skinned people who'd normally not be given a second look. Thank you Michael Jackson.

His religious beliefs were cloudy - was he a Jehovah Witness or a Muslim? we'll never know. May the Lord have mercy on him.

Monday, June 22, 2009





You Who Wronged

by Czeslaw Milosz

You who wronged a simple man
Bursting into laughter at the crime,
And kept a pack of fools around you
To mix good and evil, to blur the line,
Though everyone bowed down before you,
Saying virtue and wisdom lit your way,
Striking gold medals in your honor,
Glad to have survived another day,
Do not feel safe.

The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the deed, the date.
And you’d have done better with a winter dawn,
A rope, and a branch bowed beneath your weight.

Saturday, June 20, 2009



PRAY FOR IRAN!

The people of Iran need our support and intercession. Pray for an end to injustice, tyranny and a return to human decency and true law and order.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


KRIS WAS BETTER THAN ADAM…YEAH!!

Kris is the American Idol.

He was the better singer, especially when the song matched his voice. There were times however in the competition when he sounded pretty light weight. It was great however to see him crowned as the American Idol. His shy and retiring manner helped him connect with folks and maybepeople identified with his humble, down to earth folksy style.

Why the judges gushed in adulation over nearly all of Adam Lambert’s performances remain a mystery. Even Simon got carried away…describing one of his performances as immaculate! He was good but not immaculate.

Some of Adam’s performances were out of this world. His rendition of Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears was awesome. But flattery from the judges stroked his ego and clouded his judgment. Every song had to be a stellar, crowd pleasing performance; angst and desire to impress replaced the need to simply sing a song effectively. And the screaming just got in the way at times.

Was it a surprise therefore when he was at the bottom three in some of the previous episodes?

All of this should not detract us from recognizing Adam’s talent. The guy has an incredible voice range and charisma. He needs a good producer and a clever manager who can get him to focus on the basics and cut all the American Idol hype. Reduce the screaming, remove some of the poseur attitude and get back to the art of singing a song.

Congratulations Kris Allen! You deserved to win.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009



DARTH VADER: HERO OF STAR WARS!

C'mon... without Darth Vader the Star Wars mythology, as the Americans would say, aint worth a plug nickel!

George Lucas's 3 prequels The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith fell way short of expectations because Anakim Skywalker became Darth Vader only in the final hour of the 3rd movie!

We had to endure watching Anakim Skywalker as a kid and a teenager for 2 1/2 movies. What was the point? Anakim's a bore compared to Vader. Lucas should have turned Anakim to the dark side in the Phantom Menace and then showed Vader gradually slipping into his own personal hell in the next two movies. Now, that would have made the prequels a rip roaring success.

The Empire Strikes Back was the best Star Wars movie; the action was fast moving; it laid the groundwork for developing Vader into a tragic hero a la Shakespeare. Revenge of the Jedi, picked up the storyline and showcased Vader's final redemption from the dark side.

Forget Anakim. Bring on Vader!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


SINGAPORE MASS MEDIA…FEROCIOUS SHARKS?


MEDIA AND AWARE
Very rarely have the Singapore mainstream media gone after a story with such unbridled passion...like ferocious sharks thrashing about in a feeding frenzy!Yup, I'm referring to the controversy surrounding AWARE.

Unless you were on a holiday in Mars, you'd probably have read or heard about the AWARE saga. For the uninitiated AWARE is a civil organization dedicated to women's issues.

A few ladies, led by Josie Lau, took over the leadership of AWARE at the group’s annual AGM. This new team attempted to steer the organization back to its original purpose of only dealing with women’s issues. AWARE’s growing links with the gay lobby in Singapore were viewed as a distraction to the group's original purpose. A training manual, sponsored by AWARE, on sexuality which was used to prepare trainers for sex education in schools was found to encourage homosexual behavior.

THE MEDIA POLARIZES
The ousted old of guard of the organization hit back hard. They managed to convene an EGM and recaptured the reins of power at the meeting. The endless stream of stories and columns in the press further polarized the supporters of old guard from the new team. Much was made of the new team's church affiliation and christian background.

The Singapore mass media are a tame lot. They’re into nation building (euphemism for communicating government views) and normally avoid stories which portray Singapore as conflict ridden. Foreign investors dont like political instability. The appearance of a well run country is a central motif in newspaper reporting. If there was an academy award for self censorship, Singapore mainstream media would blow the competition away.

And so the sight of the media inciting rivalry between the two opposing groups was a bit of a shocker. Singapore media have learned a thing or two from their Western or Latin American colleagues.

ARE WE IN BOLIVIA?
Was I in Singapore? For a moment I thought I was in Bolivia. The Bolivian media, not unlike the media in freewheeling liberal democracies, are experts in playing up opposing viewpoints for the sake of sensationalism. And sensationalism sells newspapers; strong sales bring in advertising revenue.

Some of the reporting was balanced…but by and large the media-driven stereotype of the new team as narrow minded Christian Talibans sunk them.

Josie's team should have been given a chance, a year at least, to work at their plans and prove themselves to the AWARE members. A challenge to dismount her team could have been initiated at the following AGM. Unfortunately an EGM was convened by the older leadership to reverse the decisions of the AGM.

Hopefully the mainstream media would have learned a thing or two from this episode and refrain from one sided reporting.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


THE BOLIVIAN FOOD WE MISS!

Majadito de Pato is one of my favorite Bolivian dishes. The rice is mashed and mixed with what appears to be a curry paste; the result is porridge with slices of duck or chicken meat. An egg is fried and neatly placed on top of the rice. A slice of fried banana is neatly tucked away on the side of the plate.

Great stuff!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


BACK TO WHERE I BELONG!

Time waits for no man (or person)!

Its hard to believe we're in the month of May 2009. Come June I would have served as Vicar of Christ Church for a year. The work at Christ Church is demanding but also fulfilling. Worshipping in Tamil is a great experience.

Elijah will be finishing his National Service commitments in 5 months. Michelle continues to enjoy her ministry in the creative arts.

We all miss Bolivia!

Friday, January 02, 2009



FRANK TEO


A TRIBUTE – ONE MISSIONARY TO ANOTHER

Brudder, we miss you.

Frank Teo, a friend of mine, and a missionary to Pakistan passed away recently. I had a chance to meet up with his 2 sons, wife Mabel, Kenny, the brother & Frank's mum during the wake and funeral.

Frank and I spoke the same language when it came to missions. One matter close to our hearts was the deep concern for the overall well being of the country where the Lord had called us to serve. I never understood his deep seated anguish at having to leave Pakistan and return to Singapore several years ago until circumstances conspired to do the same to me.

Not surprisingly, he was not on vacation but in the “trenches” where he breathed his last.

Frank was busy organizing a relief effort, bringing tents and blankets etc, to refugees in South Asia, when his heart gave way to the strain. He suffered a similar episode a few months ago. A mighty effort was launched to bring him back to Singapore. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and the portals of heaven opened to receive a faithful son of the gospel.

We miss you.

Frank and I had a few things in common. We went to the same school, served in the same church. Soccer gave us lots to think about. Our mother tongues always eluded us but were blessed with graces necessary to speak the language of the people we worked with. A sense of homecoming filled our hearts in the land of our missionary endeavors. Both our wives were “Ms” – Mabel and Michelle.

We miss you.

There was one difference. He was a lay missioner; I’m ordained. He was made for better things. There was absolutely no way that he could have matched his achievements if he was ordained. His destiny was greater than that of a mere clergyman. I shared these thoughts in one of our conversations over the matter of ordination nearly 20 years ago at the Cathedral.

We miss you.

Not once did he speak ill of anyone. A ready smile greeted friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Another thing about ol’ Frank: what you see was the real thing. He was the same person - be it in the pulpit, at the food court, a committee meeting or a private conversation.

Our last conversation was centered on a crazy idea of throwing a huge party for hundreds of foreign workers in Christ Church. It was a mind boggling idea. But that was Frank…crazy right to the end.

Brother, the BEST IS YET TO BE…you’ve gone home and how sweet it must be…the best on the other side. Enjoy the party. And don’t forget to reserve a seat for us!

Till then...we miss you.