Yesterday, we arrived in LA (and, next week, headed to Vancouver) to visit family and attend my company’s annual retreat. My parents have been so excited playing with the little guy – which really brings much pride to myself (not that I have done anything… except being partly responsible for his very existence… minor things like that). As he is going to celebrate his first year birthday in a few weeks’ time, it’s a bit funny that there have been very few occasions when I have really felt like I have been a father to him. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. Part of this is because Betty spends most of her time with her – devoting TONS of herself to help him to flourish at such a young age (his calculus skills are still developing, but he’s getting there). I think there were two times when I really felt like I was a father to Benjamin. Read the rest of this entry »
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Last week, I attended a two-day conference at Birmingham University in honour of the philosopher John Hick. If you are not familiar with the man, he considers himself a liberal Christian and claims that “the different religions, with all their manifest differences and undeniable incompatibilities of belief, can be on an equal level as different complexes of belief and practice within which their adherents can find salvation.” In other words, Jesus is not the only way — people can reach salvation through other means. On the first day of the conference, scholars from around the world discussed the philosophy of this man, most in great admiration. To begin the second and last day, Hick himself began a session by asking the delegates to discuss the question of social concern. In the 1970s, when he first came to Birmingham, he was an activist who brought together people of all faiths to resolve the prevalent racial tensions of his day. It is perhaps in this context that the man’s personal theology moved from an “evangelical” conviction to where he is now.
Now, throughout that session, several delegates discussed this question and repeatedly there was the critique against “conservative Christians” or “evangelicals” who have not cared about society. On the one hand, as an evangelical myself, I was a bit offended by the attacks levied by those in attendance. On the other hand, I must confess that conservative Christianity has not been on the forefront of the social problems this world faces. Historically speaking, conservatives have shunned away from social reconstruction and emphasised an individualised, spiritual reconstruction. This world is fleeting and not of our concern — we must simply save souls. What I find additionally interesting is that, while I cannot agree with Hick’s thinking, I have to say that his theology has given him the philosophical impetus to engage the society and work towards remedying the groans of the cosmos (Romans 8:22). Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I spent several days in Frankfurt participating in my company’s European Symposium. With over 300 attendees, we discussed the latest internet technologies and the future of our software and company.
Earlier this week, I took a 3hr+ train from Birmingham to Durham to attend a conference at the University (put on by CODEC) that explored the “theological refraction” of the internet. One of the major questions discussed in the conference was should theology play a role in the internet, and vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »
For many of you who do not know, ever since I lived in Vancouver, I have grown to love the nature around me. In my last place, my landlord — a pastor and his family — had a compost bin in his back garden. We would fill the bin with all sorts of rubbish (vegetable clippings, tea leaves, egg shells — I even threw in some pork bones which I later found you are not supposed to do) and, after a few months, it would all turn into this very rich soil (bones included). Aside from the fringe benefits of having stuff to plant with, it was also a means to minimise the amount of waste thrown out for the garbage trucks. Afterall, things that could be composted are usually tightly wrapped in plastic bags and added to landfills – a place where worms, slugs and other friendly critters could not help in the decomposition process. Read the rest of this entry »
For the first time since getting married, Betty and I have a place of our own to call “home.”
When we first got married, Betty moved into my basement suite underneath the home of a pastor and his family. They were good people but, on a regular basis, we could hear the piano playing next to our bedroom and the ping-pong table being used next to our kitchen.
The next time we moved was when we relocated here to the UK in September of last year. We stayed with good friends in a shared home as “temporary housing.” Honestly, we have been really blessed by good friends and strangers who have opened their places to us to live. But, as a young married couple with a desire to bless others, we thought it would be important to find a more personal “home”. So, this all changed last week.
Here’s a shot of the front (with our Civic parked there) and our back garden (with the new compost bin we got — which, incidentally, is sold at a reduced cost since most municipalities actually subsidise them). Our hope is that we will be able to use this place for God’s glory and, perhaps, entertain angels unaware. If you would like to visit, drop us a line!
Its been 365 days since Betty and I wed. Since the exchange of vows, it has been quite a whirlwind. She changed jobs; I began a PhD. We moved countries and have lived in two homes (Lord-willing, going to a third one at the end of this month). Had the addition of two members to our family — a MacBook and MacBook Pro (what else were you thinking?). We have been homesick, rejoiced at the news of an expectant nephew, mourned the passing of a loved one, surrounded by encouraging friends, faced with major decisions of housing and traveling and weddings to attend or miss, and had much anxiety over exams to come (my first year PhD panel review in June and Betty’s professional certificate exam THIS TUESDAY — prayers appreciated!). Needless to say, in one sense it seems like we have been married for much more than one year. Yet at the same time, I feel as though we are still newlyweds. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the things I absolutely love about England is her countryside, the gentle rolling green hills and the striking occasional tree that stands alone on a slope. Dotted along with white sheep and lambs at this time, and the puffs of white cloud in the blue sky (a rarity sometimes, but I have seen it). Sometimes I wish I can paint because the countryside would be what I’d want to paint. And my photo attempts at capturing the beauty of the countryside just do no justice to the real thing.
So my friend Christina and I went off to the Peak District for two days this week, visiting historic homes like Chatsworth and staying in a quaint village hotel called The Maynard. As we finally made it to our first stop, Chatsworth, we were both quite in awe of the beauty that surrounded us. When we drove upon the estate, we spot this rather large herd of deer! I had never seen so many deer together. It was too bad my camera couldn’t capture them very well, but that truly was a scene of British countryside that I shall not forget easily.
September 1, 2008 is the two year anniversary of my arrival in Vancouver, BC from California as a new student at Regent College. It is also the day I leave Canada, with my bride, to another new country — England. Though considered by many Americans as the “America’s hat” or the “51st state,” I have grown to appreciate this country for its own goodness. As I leave, I leave with many things — the most important, being a love for a place that is not my own. Here are the top 10 things I have learned from my pilgrimage in the True North:
It’s early in the morning right now. I still have to get ready for work. But the sunshine is out and it is a glorious day. I was reminded last night of how great this world is that God has created for us, and it is true. We live in this most magnificent city, so close to God’s natural wonders in His mountains and sea and islands. I always missed these visual signs of God’s greatness when I was living in the UK. But then I suppose when something great is always there and in front of us, it can be easy to just not see sometimes. Whereas from afar, I have to take the effort to remember.
So it’s the last few weeks before we leave Vancouver now (well, a month and a half still, I suppose). I’ve never been good with transitions. Especially the times before the change, when I know the change is impending. My last physical move was about two years ago, and that was a short transition time. I secured my job in Vancouver, gave one month’s notice with my UK job and then left England. The time was so packed. It didn’t feel like I had enough time to say good-bye.
But this time, it feels different. I am now a “we”, so it’s not just myself who is going through this transition. We’ve also been saying that we’ll be moving to the UK for a long time now. Even though things were not always decided yet. Even now, with less than two months to go, things do not seem to be so decided. And me, with a small faith, often have trouble getting used to everything. It is, of course, through these times that I can recall all the moments in my past where I believe God had been so faithful to me, when I didn’t know what was to come. I do remember these times, but it’s still not so easy sometimes.
Though now on such a day, I can look around me and remember. And know that if God can create and take care of such a beautiful natural world as I see here, then how infinitely more will He care for us!