Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spider-Man 3

D & I went and saw Spider-Man 3 tonight. Not having seen the previous 2 episodes, I really didn't have much expectation. Contrarary to what I thought, watching the movie was quite an emotional experience. I think Spider-Man 3 is very thought-provoking. In addition to being an action-packed movie, it explores human being's vulnerability to sin, importance of resisting to sin, and responsibility to help others from sin's web. Apart from the themes of adventures, secrets, vengeance and love, I found the elements of friendship and forgiveness very touching as well. For me personally, one of the most essential messages from the film is that we can't escape the dark web of sin.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Expressing Feelings

I have been discussing with people in my community about expressing our feelings. We realise that it's easier for some than the others. For me personally, I think it's extremely important for us to share so that we understand more about others, and let others understand us more.

Norman Wright divides the communication of people into five levels:

(a) The lowest level is simple greetings. For example: “how are you?”, “good morning!”, “goodbye”, “have you eaten yet?”

(b) The second level is exchanging information. For example, “who and who has just had a baby girl.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting.”

(c) The third level is to express some opinions. For example: “who and who has just had a baby girl. In this day and age, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a boy or a girl, the most important is that the child is healthy.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. Recently there are many incidents like this, happening amongst Asian young people. I think it could be because they can’t adapt to the new society, and can’t find their new identity, so have learned from other friends out of frustrations.”

(d) The fourth level is to express personal feelings. For example, “who and who has just had a baby girl. I am so excited for them, they have been waiting for this child for a long time now.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. I was so frightened, when I saw them fighting like that, I was very sad and shocked.”

(e) Lastly, the highest level is to share personal feelings without reservation. For example, ‘who and who has just had a baby girl. I am so excited for them, they have been waiting for this child for a long time now. Seeing their smiles, I am so happy for them, and I can sense their satisfaction and happiness.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. I was so frightened. They are so young, yet fighting each other, on one hand I was very sad and shocked, on the other hand I felt sorry for them. If they have good guidance, and warm family to help them focus their energy on studies, good entertainment and social life, then this kind of thing will not happen.”

We also realise from the Bible that God is a God of feeling. God expresses His wrath to the evil every day (Psalms 7:11); God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5); He is a God full of love, He loves the world and sent His only Son to them (John 3:16); He loves His citizens (Isaiah 62:5).

We are made in God's image, and we are to be Christ-like, so I believe expressing our feelings is important. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Earth & The Environmental Issue

Like most people, I'd never thought much about environmental issues in the past. The only concept I had was the vague idea that we need to be better stewards of God's creation.

The Bible is quite direct about our responsibility to care for and protect the earth. In Genesis 2:15, God commands Adam to take care of it. According to many biblical scolars, we must not only be concerned with production, but also with the protection of God's creation. Dominion is never given for the purpose of exploitation. Other passages mention not only the goodness of creation connected to God (Genesis 1), but also His identification with creation and its renewal (Col. 1:15–17, Isaiah 65:17 and Rev. 21:1). In fact, Scripture references the earth 863 times, compared with 494 references to heaven and 537 to love.

We also have the responsibility to the poor and disadvantaged, those who would most likely be impacted by implications of climate change.

Most Christians are among the world's wealthiest citizens, and they are under pastoral leadership. So it's pastors who have the opportunity to make a significant impact. And it's the pastor who takes the lead in mobilizing his or her congregation to care for matters outside the church—issues that non-Christians also care about. Let's face it, they're not expecting the Church to be concerned about the environment, much less take visible action.

The followings are some of the things that I've been learning recently about how to tackle climate change:

1. Replace all light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
3. Minimise energy usage.
4. Buy energy-efficient products, think energy savings.
5. Don't leave the water running even when showering, shaving, washing your face or brushing your teeth.
7. Track your utilities.
8. Commit to tackling climate change.
9. Look for creative ways to link conservation with love of God and neighbor. For a Christian, these acts are about moral obedience and love, not cultural conformity.

So how do you think that your congregation, church and faith community is involved in these environemntal issues?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Broken Down Silence

If you are in Melbourne, I'd like to invite you to see a dance show called "Broken Down Silence", which is an initiative of Christian Artsists Factory (CAF) on Saturday May 19th at 7.30pm. The piece was performed as a work in progress at Black Stump Festival '06 but this one off performance will be the first showing in Melbourne.

The evening's program will run for 1.5-2 hours with a variety of other performances including playback theatre, circus, music and dance performance.

Date:Sat 19 May, 2007
Venue:Truth & Liberation Concern, 265 Canterbury Road, Bayswater, Victoria
Time: Doors open 7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Cost: Adults $15; Conc/ under 18 $10
Guest performances by: A Good Red playback theatre company, Sarah & Mel, Circus Acrobatics and more

2006 - 2007: Broken - Down - Silence
Why do you keep staring?
Just back off will ya?
What's your problem?
What are you lookin' at?
Youth homelessness
Indigenous culture
Ethic multiculturalism
Asylum Seekers

One question:
Do you see me differently?

Watercarriers' newest work is a 25 minute high energy contemporary dance piece. It incorporates stunning photography in multimedia and an eclectic and memorable soundtrack. Its original, collaborative choreography involves a greater physicality than previous works.

Broken Down Silence is an evocative work that depicts snapshots of Australian subcultures. With content specifically looking at youth homelessness, indigenous culture, ethic multiculturalism and asylum seekers, the Watercarriers seek to challenge themselves and their audiences on our views of each other. Broken Down Silence stirs emotion and gives an audience space to reflect and respond as deeply as they wish.

Are any of us all that different? Or is it just what we see?

More information about CAF, A Good Red and Water Carriers is available at www.christianartists.com.au

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Responsibility & Blaming

Every one of us needs to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. No matter what the circumstances, we are in charge of how we feel and how we react. People, places, or things do not run our emotional lives, we do! Instead of admitting our mistakes, and taking full responsibility for our actions, many people react and blame others (including family members, loved ones, pastors, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, team members at work or business etc.).

When we start to blame, we start to shift responsibility from ourselves to another person or situation. As Christians we are capable of being responsible. The Christian philosopher, Michael Keeling, wrote, "We are responsible for our actions in the dynamic sense that we can overcome both the external pressures of society and environment and the internal pressures of genetics and psychology and begin to act, by the power of God in us, as people who have nothing to fear and nothing to lose." We, by the power of God within us, can take ownership of our feelings and reactions.

Ownership or responsibility is vital because, like M. Scott Peck wrote in his book The Road Less Traveled, "many, so many, seek to avoid the pain of their problems by saying to themselves: 'This problem was caused me by other people, or by social circumstances beyond my control, and therefore it is up to other people or society to solve this problem for me.'" We can not solve our problems by ignoring them or blaming external things. If we do not take full responsibility for ourselves, we are choosing to make our lives less than God intended. So when we take responsibility and ownership for ourselves we become entirely responsible for our lives, not only for our actions but for our failures to act.

So do you take responsiblity or blame others?