Sharing of common sense and wisdom…

Archive for November, 2011

BEFORE WE ASK WHY


29th Nov 2011

Article contributed by:   Agape (North America)

From the editor:  We have our reader Agape who sent in a wonderful commentary article to be posted on Faithful Thoughts.  this article was written with reference to our earlier blog post “Don’t Ask God WHY?” dated 28th Nov 2011 by Pastor Joshua.

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BEFORE WE ASK WHY

The immensely popular blog “Faithful Thoughts” has posted Pastor Joshua’s recent blog post (see “Don’t ask God WHY?”, posted on 28/11/11) of an issue that’s interesting to Christians, I thought I should make some preliminary remarks concerning what, it seems to me, to be a curious but interesting subject.

1. Many people have often asked about something in the form of the question ‘Why?’ without properly understanding *why* they do so in the first place. This is an important observation. In asking “Why?” we may think that we are inquiring into the *causes* behind a certain event when more often than not we are actually searching for *reasons* to justify the occurrence of that event. Confusion arises when we fail to distinguish between ’cause’ and ‘reason’. Let me try to clarify this distinction. We say that X *causes* Y insofar as X is a *sufficient condition* for Y; for example, if it rains the ground becomes wet. This means that whenever it rains I can be certain that the ground *will* be wet; however, this does *not* mean that the ground will be wet *only if* it rains, since there are many different ways to make the ground wet, such as someone splashing water over it, or in the case of unexpected flooding. Hence, in ordinary language we say that the rain is *a cause* (though not the only one) of the ground being wet; it is a *cause* because the rain somehow *makes* the ground wet. In other words, there is a *change* in the physical condition of the ground.

On the other hand, to give a *reason* for something being the case is rather different. We imagine that a boy may pose to his parents the question: “Why can’t I go to the amusement park?”, to which he may receive the following reply: “Because Daddy is feeling unwell today.” Here the reason is *because* Daddy is sick. In this context X is a *reason* for Y insofar as X provides a *justification* for Y being such-and-such; the fact that Daddy is feeling unwell *justifies* the parents’ refusal to bring their kid to the amusement park.

2. It is at this point where we can discern an important factor that distinguishes ’cause’ from ‘reason’. To say that the rain is a ’cause’ of the ground being wet is to *imply* the event of raining; in other words, it is *true* that if it is raining, the ground will become wet. But as far as giving reasons are concerned, there need not be any consideration at all about truth. Although the boy might be told that he could not go to the amusement park because Daddy is feeling unwell, the question as to whether Daddy is truly unwell is *irrelevant* to the matter. For it might, after all, turn out to be just an *excuse* (the real reason could be due to something else that the boy may never know).

Thus to identify a cause is, presumably, to identify something as true, while to give a reason is to simply justify an event or an action as right or permissible without necessarily being true.

3. So what is the point of the above illustration? My point is that even in everyday situations we are often confused about what is it we are really asking for when we ask “Why?” The issue becomes much more complex when the religious believer is prompted by his suffering to ask “Why is God allowing all these to happen to me?” — But does he really know what he is asking about? Is he inquiring into the *cause* of his suffering, or is he trying to find *reasons* to justify his own explanations as to why he is suffering? It seems to me that in either case he is bound to end up in a meaningless chase. For how should he, as a finite and mortal human being, ever know the cause of his suffering from God’s perspective? Surely God’s ways are infinitely higher than our ways. And if he should seek reasons to justify why he is suffering (e.g. due to divine punishment, necessary trials, etc.) then he is in effect only deceiving himself, for he will never know whether or not those reasons are true. Furthermore, any reason that he gives is necessarily given from a *subjective* viewpoint; he could very well be blinded by his own prejudices and assumptions.

4. Does this mean that we as Christians can never ask “Why?” pertaining to our lives and the things happening around us? No, there is actually a sensible way to do so, provided that we are capable of seeing ourselves as limited beings in the presence of an awesome God. Instead of asking “Why am I suffering?” from a self-centered perspective, we should be asking “Why is there suffering in the world?” from a Christ-centered life, so that we may be moved beyond mere reflection to care for the less unfortunate, and to love our neighbours just as God has loved us. For Christ has said: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40)

5. Thus, when the Christian asks “Why?” he ought not ask for the cause or the reason behind what has happened, but can only ask it as if he is standing in the sheer *wonder* of divine sovereignty, fully surrendering himself to God in the hope that one day, all things shall be made new in His sight.

I wish you all peace in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Agape,
The Aspiring Theologian

Interesting Ads – “Don’t Rush”


Discovered by:  Roadside Observer

WHY RUSH?

My friend sent me this interesting advertisement page first thing this morning… when he was reading it at his favaroute coffee shop.

This is a Chinese message advertised by a bank.  The key message is:

DON’T RUSH IN DOING BUSINESSES… IT’S BETTER TO BE PROPER & LONG LASTING.

The ad also congratulates three award winners of their contribution and achievement in connecting China and Singapore, in business and journalism field.

But, (they) RUSH!  So, the winners award listing for two of them are completely wrong.

So, WHY RUSH?

"Don't Rush. But don't follow my example."

 

Don’t Ask God WHY?


28th Nov 2011  MON

Contributed by:  Joshua  (Pastoral, HK)

Recently my church mates were arguing on this long-time issue – if all christians will be salvaged and resurrected eventually, is there a meaning for some christians who live life to a high standard of christianity; as compared to many (so-called) christians who just live life “as usual”?

People who ask this question are based on the following human rationale:

–  that if all christians will ultimately be salvaged in God’s blessing and grace, it seems “unfair” for those who live life more christian-like.
–  why many christians remain selfish yet could received same glory? (at the end).
–  why some christians attend their Sunday service perpetually late and “nothing happen to them”?
–  why some pastoral staff fail to lead their flock properly and still remain in position? Doesn’t God punish them?
–  why some christians never bother about caring others and remain superficial; yet fairness not prevail?
–  why some christians holding elder/deacon duty yet never bother to lead by good example, for instance, refuse to attend church’s prayer session? (they say, do it at home is the same).  Yet they will receive salvation?

The list of questions will go on…

First and foremost, let me share with all what Salvation and God’s “fairness” is based upon, in biblical essence, please read them.

•  God’s Wisdom beyond our apprehension.   Romans 11:33
•  Salvation that comes from trusting Christ.  Romans 10:8
•  The attitude in waiting for Christ’s return.   Psalm 37:7
•  Role of pastoral.  1 Peter 5:2  and, 1 Peter 5:3   Leadership by example.
•  Bad Shepherds and the outcome.   Ezekiel 34:10 

When we read the above content, we should constantly seek God’s wisdom and coupled with patience.  Most importantly we have to learn to submit under His authority; and then we would understand “fairness” remains to be judged in God’s overall scheme (of plans).

What we christians live life on earth is just a journey in waiting.  So, it is meaningless to ask (actually, demand) God for  explanation of all the above earthy encounters.  Because these stuff have nothing to do with salvation.

So, when my church friend told me this story about a choir director who served his church for nearly 30 years and, when come old age the director is down with sever dementia.  The family kept asking (the God) why?  I replied my friend, “They still missing  the point”.   And the point is in 2 Corinthians 8:15  –  “… those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”

AMEN.

Coin Watch – 1951 Commemorative Florin


25th Nov 2011

Very Rare Coin Watch Dial Using The 1951 commemorative Florin

Readers might have seen many types of coin watches on the market and might own one of them. But, this is a rare one you may not seen it before, less about owning one.

The watch dial is of genuine federation commemorative florin coin minted in 1951

 

The history of this commemorative minted coin?  Read below.

1951 Commemorative Florin

50 Years of FederationComposition: 50% Silver, 40% Copper, 5% Zinc, 5% Nickel
Total Weight: 11.31 Grams. Size: 28.5mm.

Legend: Georgivs VI D: G: BR: OMN: REX FIDEI DEF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Australian Federation, 1901 – 1951, a special florin commemorative was issued for circulation. Coins were minted in Melbourne for one year only (1951) and was issued with a composition of 50% silver and is officially known as the 50th Year Jubilee of Federation .

The obverse, designed by T.H. Paget, features the bust of George the VI facing left. At the bottom of George’s neck are the designer’s initials “HP”. On the outer periphery are the words “GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.” (latin for “George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith”).

The reverse, designed by Leslie Bowles, features a scepter (or mace) and sword crossing below a crown. The stars throughout the design are from the Southern Cross constellation that is also represented on the Australian flag. Flanking both sides of the design is the dual date 1901 – 1951 while on the outer periphery is the country name “AUSTRALIA” and denomination “FLORIN”.

Historical value & great collection

 

The Meaning of Life Without Happiness Index


24th Nov 2011  Thur

Commentary on TV Documentary Story by a Japanese TV Station

Life In The Himalayas Mountain Range

There’s a Chinese tribe living for centuries in the mountain range of the Himalayas.  A team of Japanese TV station crew went in to investigate and produced a stunning documentary showing life of these people. Just a few key elements for readers to take note, how tough these people living near the mountain range village in the Himalayas…

  • Primitive living standards, worse than the farmers in mainland China area.
  • Need to travel >50 km out of the mountain range through treacherous trail/path to a small town to replenish supplies.  It takes 3 days one way.
  • Many people (& horses) fell over the cliff and dead. Yet the men of the village take it as normal in life.
  • When their wife wants a washing machine, the husband has to carry it back through the mountain trial! After he purchases from the small town. If the husband falls over the cliff, gone his life together with the washing machine.
  • Weather up at the mountain trail changes fast and unpredictable. The men & horses have to climb up to a mountain peak of 5,000m and down following the trail.

iPhone and iPac? Black Friday? You must be joking!

The tribe people express no regret about life’s unfairness what so ever, when interviewed by the TV crew.  At end of each trip to and flow from the small town for acquisition of supplies, these people express their happiness with their family. And they set forth for yet another trip in two weeks time. That’s their life cycle.

To these people, there is NO Need for Happiness index, my friend.  So why argue for something meaningless in real life scenarios?

The pictures tell a thousand words…

Life in the Himalayas

Leaders Fail To Lead


23rd Nov 2011  Wed

By:    Joshua   (Pastoral, HK)

Common Leadership Qualities Between The Shepherds & Leaders

Here I refer to the shepherds of God’s flock and what we used to know about leaders in human societies.

Both the leaders of men are focusing on very different nature of their mission, one is towards the kingdom of God and the other, earthy gains. But, both leaders shares common leadership traits, namely, passion, goal-oriented, confidence, knowledge & skills, self-discipline (set example) and staying in front of their flock/followers.

Leaders are like the prime-movers.  When the prime-mover stops, train will stop.

In modern society, some church leaders have forgotten the most basic quality (or so to speak, demand) of a leader is to stay in front and lead. Yes, leader must lead. If leaders fail to lead, the authority (both legitimate & moral) associated with a leader is lost.  But, some church leaders don’t seem to understand that.

These so-called “CEO-like” church leaders only wish to delegate tasks to their ministries and then layoff, simply wait for the “harvest time”.  This is not appropriate example of good shepherds who seek out their lost sheep in the middle of the night. What would be the ending of such CEO-pastoral staff?  In the Bible, Ezekiel 34:10 god made it very clear about the ending of CEO-shepherds!

I have a friend in a city church who told me that his church has been running the Disciples training for all church members for years. (Such training is common in traditional churches).  However, in this particular case, such weekly training ends up just a group chit-chat (talk rots) & tea session without much focus on proper teaching of biblical essence.  Pastoral staff leading the session just go-throu-the motion without thorough preparation. This is no different from “monkey see-monkey do”  kind of mental retreats.

Leaders must lead their people and shepherds must lead their flock.

If the prime-mover not leading in front, the outcome is wait... and wait.

Disorder & Thick Fog


21st Nov 2011   Mon

Commentary by:   Alongso Presley

It Is perfectly In Order When One Has A Clear-mind

I read the blogpost “Disorder & Discontented” on this Faithful Thoughts and find it quite amusing really.  This character of Yan Kong really funny (upon reading more about this idiotic personality).  I wonder, if this is a real-life character then I have to take my hat off.  This guy (Yan) is a ****ing Joker + Disordered Man mix for sure.  (Or the SOD like Songjiang mentioned in his wonderful blogpost). Maybe, just maybe he may become a philosopher one day?  (I am just joking…)

Anyway, I can’t write long stories so instead I just extracted some information on Mental Disorder as well as “highway” disorder for the blog readers… enjoy.

How not to become Disorder when housing prices, inflationary pressure, lack money to retire are in "a straight line"?

There are many types of "Thick Fog" in one's life time... including nations. Euro Zone seems to enter thick fog. i.e. Can't see clearly ahead...

Disorder & Discontented


19th Nov 2011  SAT

Commentary by:  Songjiang (of Shanzai Breeze)

 

 

Mental Illness & Obsessive Attitude – Disorder & Discontented

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My friend told me about his friend’s son who is behaving like an idiot yet, sounds like a philosopher. Such case is rare because an idiot remains an idiotic personality and hence, could not express well in philosophical subjects.

My pastor friend explained to me the ironic consequences of his friend’s case, involving his son by the name of Yan Kong.  (Readers may search for several of blog posts on this blog in relation to this guy). Apparently Yan Kong had studied philosophy as a major in his undergraduate degree course. He went for his post-graduate studies in philosophy overseas but to the surprise of his father and friends, Yan failed his program. Since then, Yan has been behaving like a full-fledged philosopher in all aspects of his life. He even refuses to work a single day in his life yet, boasts about saving the world with his philosophical ideas. He truly views himself as Superman reincarnated – albeit in the form of a philosophical guru who had thought through everything in life.


After hearing from my pastor friend about this unique story, I immediately link this symptom with another piece of information I just received from a friend who sent me. Read below, the Lion City State reports that about close to 10% of its population are having some form of mental illness and most of the patients refuse to be treated by doctor. The percentage (of mental illness) has come to the same as Japan and China. And, potentially 12% of its population may be inflicted with some forms of mental illness in their life time.

Extract of Lion City news

The Lion City news report also mentioned that of those who are having mental illness, 2/3 of them belong to Major Depressive  Disorder, 1/3 of them Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and next is Alcohol Abuse cases.
I would link Yan Kong’s case to be similar to the Major Depressive Disorder coupled with, what i coin it as Superman Obsessive Disorder (SOD)! In brief, such personality not only driven by deep depression in his soul (always feeling empty) but at different time intervals he/she would self-bloated into statue of a hero kind of half-man, half-God mindset! Put it simply, such double disorder mix creates a personality in a deep well, looking up the rounded opening and proclaims, “Let me save the world”.  Next moment, the same person will cry out loud, “Why all of you abandon me?”.  Such case is the rare reflection of disorder-discontented mix.

This story reminds all of us to spare some deep thoughts over many things happening around us in life.  Just don’t get carried away and take things for granted and hence, preventing from any form of disorder… Just be a truthful man lives life to the fullest.

Amen.  (from my pastor friend).

 

Wrong Mentality, Really


18th Nov 2011  FRI

News commentary by:  Roadside Observer

Some Younger Generation Guys Have Brain But Insensitive About Morality & Harmony

This news extract was published in the local newspaper of Lion City state.

Apparently one of the youth wing members of the ruling political party made very nasty comment about a group of school kids in a school bus…  He labeled these school kids (Muslim) as terrorist trainees!!!  Imaging the impact of his open view been posted online?!  Making such a racist view publicly is not a case of slip of his tongue.

Good thing that the whole world “jumped” at this ill-mental personality and corrected his wrong perception.

The question is not how wrong this person’s mentality but, how could this young guy think along that way in a harmonious society coupled with excellent education system?  Is good to know more background story about this guy’s development of personality through in depth investigation…

A bus of terrorist trainees? What kind of person would think that way?!

Songjiang Says: Controversial Is Good?


18th Nov 2011  FRI

Controversial Advertisement & Charged Brain

By:  Songjiang the Shanzai version

The brand United Colours of Benetton is well-known for coming up with highly controversial advertisement attracting society view with controversal message, and at the same time set people thinking.

Here’s are some of the ads produced by United Colours of Benetton, including the latest one showing President Hu & Obama.

How do controversial messages and images influence human brain-wave and thinking?  Do people take in more information when confronted by controversial messages/images?  In modern era most advertising agencies are going for extreme and sometimes, controversial approach to their media production ideas.  The results? Some of these ads do win prizes/awards in the advertising industry.

The reality is that an advertisement’s effectiveness and impact to targeted (or untargeted) market is not necessary judged by award winning.  The influence by using controversial message/image tends to last a longer time through gradual acceptance of these messages/images. Initially the image may cause some unease in human mind but over time, our rejection to such controversial images may “relax” and let it through, into our logics.

One thing for sure, cetain industries need controversial messages/images/events. These are the Movie industry, F1 Race, celebrity gossip, entertainment and, don’t be shocked, scientific discoveries.

By the way, Mao did this long ago in China (before United Colours of Benetton) to regain his control over the masses.  Remember the Cultural Revolution? It’s about controversy in all aspects!

 

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