I haven’t written with much frequency over the last number of years, and I’m not sure whether that will change or not. However, as I’ve reflected about how I would like to refine my writing on this blog, I’d like to reflect more on the differences between Western and Eastern (primarily, Chinese-based) cultures.
I suppose this is partly due to my work dealing with cross-cultural ministry. It is partly due to my bi-cultural upbringing. It is partly due to my recent move to Taiwan with OMF International. It is partly due to my continuing thoughts about future academic studies. In short, it’s a work in progress, just like me.
I hope this direction will help focus my writing and give me greater inspiration and motivation as it is often a topic of reflection from matters of faith: Biblical interpretation, ministry, and teaching; to matters of life: marriage, parenting, society, and whatever else crosses my mind.
I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
— Matthew 12:6-8 (ESV)
The Sabbath day is not a religious day. It is a day where the mercy of God is demonstrated: to remember the forgiveness we are given; to show mercy to those around us; and, to intercede for the lost in need of His mercy around the world.
I have a tendency to hoard. I’m not as a bad as I used to be, because I’ve come to learn one very important lesson: it might come in handy one day, but if I’m not using it now why hold on. Part of this realisation is the worth of materials. Do I really need to keep this box? Do I really need to keep this bit off my car? Do I really need to take up more space?
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
> — 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)
Most people like things that are tangible. There are those who like the metaphysical perspective on things (like me), but I’m not most people. We like information provided by time and space. We like things we can see, hear, touch, smell, and (if you’re like me) taste. We like tangible.
The count is on. It’s two weeks until Christmas! The decorations are going up, the light shows are starting, and the community Christmas carols fill the weekends. Like most people, I grew up with “real” Christmas story depicted by the classical nativity scene where Jesus was born in a manger in a stable…that’s how Luke records it, right?
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
— Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)