Monday, July 25, 2005


Came across this amusing post whilst catching up on Bagga's blog today. (yes its been weeks since i've had the time to sit down and go through my blog roll...shocking!)
Baggas: "According to Oxford professor Richard Swinburne it is 97% certain that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on sheer logic and mathematics, not faith."
Now I do find that rather amusing, having studied maths at Ox, but I'm prepared to take a tongue in cheek look at it and not take it too seriously. I'm just glad that faith is based on who God is and not just what he has done for us.

If there's anything I've learning from my time in the "dreaming spires of Oxford", it has to be that Mathematics is an awesome tool that can be found in most if not all areas of life (e.g. science, nature) but without a Creator God, a God who created Mathematics, much of what it describes and defines would be meaningless. It takes the Creator God to turn it into something meaningful.

Btw. I love the cartoon on his post Very funny!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

London bombings...

Every one is talking about the London bombings right now. I've only had time to read/watch the bbc news and chat to a couple of friends. Its wierd for me being here in Hong Kong, 6000 miles from home, and to see and hear 2nd hand about what is going on.

Read the BBC post here to catch up...

I have quite a few friends who work in the city. I've only heard from a few of them so far, but it seems several had close misses.
  • One friend who works in Canary Wharf usually goes through Liverpool Street station - one that was bombed. But on that day decided to go into work early to finish something off.
  • A distant relative was travelling in London and stopped off in Charing Cross to have breakfast, if he hadn't done so, he would have been travelling on the affected tracks around the time of the bombs.
  • [updated] Looks as if the sister of a lady I know from church is quite badly injured...praying.
Watch this space for updates as I hear from more people...

Celebration of Discipline: Simplicity

*Warning* This post is going to be slightly abstract and quite possibly confusing, because I'm rather tired right now!

This study is certainly getting deeper each chapter. The quote below from Foster's 6th chapter conveys a radical point of view.
The Spiritual Discipline of simplicity provides the ... perspective. Simplicity sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep and can freely be shared with others.
If a gift is given to me, I'm supposed to keep it and enjoy it right? But with God, his gift is so great that actually I can't possibly keep it all to myself. Its such a big gift that simply by giving it away, I still get to keep it! There is enough to go round.

By simplicity, Foster means things such as:
  • Not getting carried away with being important
  • Getting rid of addictions
  • Being generous rather than keeping
  • Appreciate creation
  • Don't oppress others, rather affirm them
  • Seek the kingdom of God
Quite a heavy checklist if you look closely enough!
The central point for the Discipline of simplicity is to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of his kingdom first and then everything necessary will come into its proper order.
Ah ok, this is a much better principle to guide the checklist above. It makes it a bit easier to follow. If you keep this principle in mind, and focus on it, then I don't think you can go wrong with the Discipline of Simplicity somehow. Much easier said than done... good luck with it!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Celebration of Discipline: Study

He that to what he sees, adds observation, and to what he reads, reflection, is in the right road to knowledge, provided that in scrutinising the hearts of others, he neglects not his own. [Caleb Coulton]
For the 5th CoD chapter, Foster dives into the discipline of study. I love his opening quote [above] by Coulton. I think it pretty much sums up this chapter. As Foster says, "the mind is renewed by applying it to those things that will transform it"

Foster gives us four steps that he believes form the basis of study:
  1. Repeitition - "Regularly channeling the mind in a specific direction"
  2. Concentration - centering our attention on the subject in order to comprehend what we are studying
  3. Comprehension - it is the knowledge of the truth that sets us free
  4. Reflection - "defines the significance of what we are studying"
I often struggle to concentrate. There are times when I find music useful to concentrate - such as when I'm in the office and need to block out all other forms of distraction. But there are times when music gets in the way and I'm distracted e.g if reading or praying.

I think there is one more step I would add though - "regularity". It doesn't form the basis of study, but it does enables study to flourish. This is my biggest problem though. My life doesn't easily fit into a regular pattern, so its hard to make a regular slot for study. But I've certainly found it very rewarding when I have. There are some amazing gems in the 'old Bible if you dig down under the surface. (understatement of the century!)

I have to end this posting with my favourite quote of the chapter:
To read successfully we need the extrinsic aids of experience, other books, and live discussion
I think the CoD blog ring is a pretty good form of modern day 'live discussion'.