Mar 15 2012

Human Rites

Andrew Hong summarizes some ancient Confucian rites and their meanings, and then writes:

We don’t have many rituals in our modern world – but if you take that one simple ritual, and multiply that into every sphere of life, and every relationship, then you are coming close to the kind of society that Confucius sought to create through the rites. The rites become the means for society to go from inhumane behaviour (in the form of warfare during the Warring States period) to humane and dignified behaviour.

The rites were also the way for society to go from disordered relationships (in the form of rebellion) to ordered and reverential relationships… You may recall that there were five key relationships in the Confucianism: ruler-subject, father-son, husband-wife, older-younger, and friend-friend. These relationships were largely hierarchical in nature, and the rites gave people a way to express and reinforce those relationships.

This is what missiologist Paul Hiebert has to say about the importance of rituals,

“Modern people commonly regard rituals as harmless interludes or discount them as meaningless performances. But rituals play a central role in most societies. They are multilayered transactions in which speech and behaviour are socially prescribed. [...] They give visible expression to the deep cultural norms that order the way people think, feel, and evaluate their worlds. [...] Because rituals dramatise in visual form the deep beliefs, feelings, and values of a society, they are of particular importance in studying worldviews.” Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews, 82-83.

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Apr 15 2011

Children of the Spirit


or Baptizing the World

After Pentecost, the firstfruits church met in the Temple. Over the next few decades, the Jewish leaders barred these worshippers from their premises. What they didn’t realise was that the glory was departing as it did in the time of Ezekiel, only this time it was inside people who were living Temples as Jesus was.

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Mar 14 2011

Mao, Servant of God


Richard Bledsoe has posted an interesting article in two parts on the Biblical Horizons blog.‎

“The great question for the emerging East, for Asia and other awakening third world areas, for an emerging nation like China is, ‘what fate awaits them?’ They are now emerging from an analogous paganism that the West emerged from centuries ago. Here an amazing quotation from David Aikman, the Time Magazine religious editor. He is a quoting from ‘a scholar from one of China’s premier academic institutions, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing, in 2002.’

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Nov 13 2009

This is a Bad Thing?



or The Root of Democracy is the Spirit of Christ

An excerpt from Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power by David Aikman, Chapter 13: “Artists, Writers and Academics.”

This post is dedicated to the memory of the false premise of Christopher Hitchens.

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Apr 15 2009

Our Lost History

(A post from my friend Matthew’s blog. I haven’t read this book.)


I recently read The Lost History of Christianity – The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa and Asia- and How It Died by Philip Jenkins (2008). It is a magisterial introduction to a rich but largely forgotten history. The lands Jenkins has in mind were well and truly the centre of the Christian world for well over a thousand years, even after the Muslim invasion of these lands from the seventh century.

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Apr 11 2009

The world listens to nurses, not crusaders


finntorjesenThe heir to a hero of Chinese mission says the Christian press’ obsession with persecution in China is “misdirecting the mission world” away from effective gospel ministry in that nation.

China bashing distorts mission by Jeremy Halcrow

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Apr 10 2009

Romance flick for guys


Just watched The Painted Veil. Must be Edward Norton week. A movie based on a 1925 novel by Somerset Maugham, with strong messages of the benefit of forgiveness after betrayal, and of how suffering strips away our delusions and brings maturity and freedom to love.

The main thing that struck me was how the superstitions of the locals obstructed those who risked their lives to help them. We lose sight of just how much the gospel has changed the world, and take the foundation of our culture, the Bible, for granted.

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Apr 8 2009

Cambrian Explosion Still Exploding


“A delicious irony Woodward points out is that though the Darwinists have always said that the fossil record problems would decrease as more fossils are uncovered, the situation on the Cambrian is worse now that it was just a few years ago for the evolutionists. Jun-Yuan Chen of the Nanking Institute of Geology began an excavation of Cambrian deposits in southern China, which as they have progressed over twenty years now, produced the ‘the greatest Cambrian fossil bonanza of all time’ (p. 107). The paucity of evolutionary ancestors for these new creatures is more glaring than ever.”

Intelligent debate
A review of Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design by Thomas Woodward. Reviewed by Lael Weinberger

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