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My personal reflections on this side of heaven


Sunday, September 19, 2004

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

well if some how you land up here ... I've long moved to

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

My new "Blog" address is thanks to Kiffer ..

Friday, May 02, 2003

"Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives"

I listened with great interest to an interview with Theodore Zeldin, one of the most important thinkers in the world, & author of "Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives" at

Here are some goodies I picked up ...

1. Telling lies causes us to live in a illusion - and conversations can help us spot it. It takes a lot of honesty and vulnerability to have meaningful conversations.

2. Making a Map of our conversations helps us see the diversity of our learning and growing - Zeldin gave the analogy of a travel map which got me thinking who I had been talking to. No wonder I enjoy my toastmaster club meetings, it's one place I get some diverse views.

3. Conversations can help us move beyond knowledge to wisdom - with so much information bombarded on us, I agree with Zeldin that wisdom is what we really need and how knowledge applies in our lives and make us better people. Conversations to me provides a level playing field for us to allows for healthy exchange and a great lab for change.

4. Conversation needs practice (like love making!!!!) - that got the listeners sitting up! I sometimes assume just because I have no problem talking I'm good at conversation. But this got me thinking, it involves listening, understanding, and interacting .. much more than knowing what to say.

5. Conversation is a work of art ... have fun (e.g. humor) & still do something with our own lives - Zeldin talked about humor sometimes can be a way of evading the real issues at hand. Hmm .. I enjoy humor .. maybe that's why my wife May Chin is good at meaningful conversations - she jokes less (almost never actually)!

6. "What is your idea of _______"? - That was a good way of getting to deeper conversations of what's in people's minds and their feelings to "whatever". I was thinking of a recent conversation with Langkawi and wondering why I enjoyed it so much. It was simply because there was a freedom to go beyond the usual, what's you job? what do you like? where did you come from? ...

Found a quote on the net ...
"Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. "~ Theodore Zeldin

From now on I don't want to give TALKS >. I want to enter CONVERSATIONS ...

hmm .. must look for the book ...
"If I Had It to Live Over Again"

Spent some time listening to a Tony Campolo message with the above title today at He's just so funny and focused at the same time. I guess after my last blog, I needed to get some shaking .. audibly :-) The message is based on a study done of 50 people over the age of 95 who were asked what they would do differently if they had life to live over again. They responded by focusing on the following:
a. They would risk more.
b. They would reflect more.
c. They would do more things that would live on after they were dead.
Tony shows how those responses can provide direction for how we should live life.

Risk more ... had lunch with Daniel today. I loved it ... it's been sometime since I had a good lunch with him. We could talk, risk some vulnerability, share about what's going on and where we going from here, etc. I'm glad I took a mini risk just to ask him out for lunch. Besides that, I sent out some emails yesterday, a mini risk with almost no results except one reply 30 minutes ago ... baby steps, not too spectacular ... who cares?! I haven't risked much lately at least in my view ... so these steps are at least some steps :-)

Reflect more ... well ... I read a lot. But, blogging does force me to reflect a little more. It's still very tempting to miss out on the time originally carved out for reflection. But somehow, I think it's God's Spirit who tugs me, and/or my own heart which will become unsettled if I'm on the move without stopping to reflect ...

Do more things that would live on after they were dead. Death was on our conversation today at lunch - a relative. Everytime I hear stuff like this, I pause and re-align what's important for me ... and what's really lasting ... I'm still new at this. I feel I've been caught up with a "short-term" approach which is still in re-habilitation. I want to treasure our "dinner" and "games" tonight at our home. And keep my heart open to share and listen during an A & W session with Ken and Kelvin. Lead me Lord ...

Thursday, May 01, 2003


I read this in a blog from my new friend Karen Ward

we lutherans (and other mainliners) need to wake up and smell the coffee. and we have good coffee which we can smell! in our online gen x lutheran forum, one seminarian from the lutheran church-missouri synod commented that an acquaintance of his from a postmodern aware church (levi's table) in st. louis (the city where the lutheran church missouri synod is headquartered) said to him, "oh yeah, we know about you lutherans, you are the guys with the great theology, but don't know what to do with it."

we need to stop being "the guys with the great theology, but don't know what to do with it" and start becoming "the guys with the great theology, who can make real and authentic among postmodern generations, and all people, the good news of god in christ in a culturally understandable way." if we don't stop sitting on our ROCK SOLID teachings and shrouding our rich heritage in modernist garb, we will continue on as "the guys with great theology," as our churches continue to age and close down at an ever increasing rate (especially in densely populated post-christian urban areas).

The past three years, I've indeed had quite a luxury of "rethinking". I think I've been doing loads of it. And I think there's a danger in me to just "sit" on Rock Solid good "Rethinking" as well. Deep down I want to do "more", not so much in an activist sense but do some "stuff" - go ahead and start "redoing church" with the best "rethinking" available. Before planting Bangsar Lutheran Church (BLC), I think I may have been too "active" and busy being caught up with the tools of church growth and ministry (while neglecting some serious rethinking). "Rethinking" though can be dangerous to the status quo, but IMHO it's the "redoing" that rocks the boat further. Maybe it's the fear of making mistakes that's stopping me from really "redoing" more ... "Rethinking" is still confined to the lab of mental experimentation. Or maybe it's like my sermon preparation, when it's not written out yet, or drafted, mind-mapped it's perfect in the mind, it's still safer. But, when I put my pen to the paper, that's when it's really happening. When the words begin to flow from my lips to my listeners ears (and hopefully heart & mind), that's when it's really happening. In short the "Redoing" must come closer to my "RETHINKING", if it''s Parallel then better .. mustn't wait too long before doing something ... I just don't want to just sit on "Rock Solid" RETHINKING ...

For now, I'm blogging again .... the mouse and keyboard are great tools to unload what's inside me.

Then, I hope to "Re-do" my personal website so it's more useful to those who wanna visit.

"Food" .. Ahh... eating too much lately and eating lunch too much alone. Having lunch with someone today that's a start.

Don't need to wait for "everyone" to be on board .. and ready to do stuff ... having lunch with two newly baptised tomorrow at A&W.

I wanna enjoy sometime with May Chin's group tonight ... hope to see a new face or two.

Sent some emails to some contacts .. still waiting for replies .. hope the conversations will start again.

Do what i do weekly and daily in and through BLC ... "Redoing" it one bite at a time .. I heard that's how we eat an Elephant!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Yesterday, I toasted to the scholars, today it's pastors ... after reading the Biography of John Wimber, "The Way it Was" by Carol Wimber, I could understand how this humble man impacted so many especially in the Vineyard. I've always liked Wimber's balance in approaching Signs & Wonders topic and the gentle spirit he brought to worship renewal. The book helped me see another part of the man, his family, his marriage, his local church leadership as well as other ups and downs that comes with gaining some prominence in the "Christian world." His final years where he battled with cancer and ill health just moved me to tears. Being a pastor really isn't just about what happenes before the public eye, what's hidden from the people is crucial as well. Who we are and how we respond to situations is a life message that's goes beyond our speaking and public ministy.

David Watson was another one that impacted me especially after I reads his two autobiographies "You are my God" and "Fear no Evil", interestingly he and Wimber apparently were good friends. I learnt about his openness to see Spirit-empowered renewal in his mainline Anglican church and vulnerability especially in his battle with cancer. My acquaintance with both the above are merely through books, their writings and what others say about them.

But Robert Brow is different, there were real contact between us. I can say that this gentle pastor-theologian was an important anchor, encourager and guide to me especially when I was so disillusioned with ministry and my theology. His book co-authored with Clark Pinnock "Unbounded Love" opened up possibilities in my heart and mind. But it was the email exchanges were life-giving dosages that I really needed in my darkest hours (as I felt it then). Thanks for being my pastor.

Todd Hunter just blew my mind when he stepped down from a denominational leadership position to "embark on a journey" in the formation of missional communities. His blog is one site I check almost daily to see what's stirrring in him. He's really courageous IMHO in terms of ministry but even more so to try to work though issues theologically. I enjoyed our telephone conversations tremendously they moved me forward.

As for Brian D. McLaren, I've just emailed him once, but devoured everything he's written since reading "Reinventing the church", his two other books "A New Kind of Christian" & "The Story We Find Ourselves In" just rocks me up and settles me down at the same time. again, humility, creativity, and genuine spirituality mark these men. I consider all the above kind of like my examples or mentors.

As for my peers, Timothy Loh is one amazing person whose friendship I treasure, and we can share freely. He is just a fantastic "juggler" who's able to juggle family, a full-time job, and pastoring an Independent church (makes me feel what I'm doing is such a luxury).

Augustin Muthusami helped me get my first A in my systematic theology paper. Like me, we both work in a denominational setting. I admire his Rhino-skin hide when it comes to surviving in a mainline church and his quiet sense of humor and genuine expression of humanity.

And I think one more for now Victor Wong , he never ceases to challenge me with his passion in serving as a pastor, his administrative skills and strategic focus is one I wish to emulate. But, what I appreciate most is his big heart for Kingdom ministry and advancement and not buidling his own empire. So to all you men of God, who have in one way of another blessed me and are still blessing me ... cheers!

Monday, April 28, 2003

Wow .. Thank God for expensive scholarship and cheap sales. I got the Zondervan Theological Dictionaries for both the Old testament and New testament for RM40 (about 10USD) only on 1 CD-Rom of course. I remember when there was a time when I thought all these studies were "useless" . But, today, I'm thankful for good scholarship that opens up more horizons in understanding God's truth revealed in the written Word. Tha danger of being overwhelmed with knowledge and becoming big headed is ever present. And yet the danger of being big hearted while dishonouring God-given wisdom is equally destructive. I'm just suddenly thankful for Christian scholars who combine both with head and heart emphasis with such grace. I think cool headed Christians with warm hearts are a great bunch to be with and learn from. In times as unsettled as today, I don't mind meeting a few more of them and introducing them to others.

A toast to Christian Scholars who've played some part in my formation - Hwa Yung (those Christian Theology classes were awesome), Herman Shastri (sparked my love for Church history), Ezra Kok (those chit-chat sessions and lunches are stirring), Herbert Tan (gently build a strong appreciation for Christian education in me), John Kleinig (the Psalms and the rest of wisdom literature was never the same after his classes), NT Wright (wow, this guy blows my mind on Paul and Jesus), Clark Pinnock (quite able to stretch us indeed - pressing issues), Stanley Grenz (keeps me plugged into a bigger picture with little or almost no "argumentative" spirit), Roger Olson (Church History was never so much of fun!), Richard Jensen (gave me an appreciation of Luther and my heritage), Eugene Peterson (especially in my third year as pastor of BLC), Richard Foster (since STM days - what a great guide in spirituality), Dallas Willard (leaves plenty for me to chew on), Carl Bratten & Robert Jenson (those Eerdmans thin books were great mainline perspectives), Craig Keener (getting me on track again on the Spirit), Max Turner (laying good foundations on the Holy Spirit & Spiritual Gifts), Greg Boyd (phew! this guys on fire with spiritual warfare!), Gordon Fee (made exegesis such a spiritually rewarding venture) Leonard Sweet (introduced me to this Postmodern shift plus lots of fancy info), Paul Scott Wilson (changed the way i preached forever!), Robert Webber (paints beautiful theological landscapes for me to explore - esp. Ancient Future Faith & Younger Evangelicals), Leslie Newbigin (not too sure whether he's in the catergory of a scholar technically .. but to me he brought head, heart and hand (i.e. practical) issues together in Missiological thinking anyway),

ahh ... there are so many I may have missed (I've tried hard to re-call), and there are many more to come ... hmm.. tomorrow, I might want to give a toast to pastors and mentors ... the more "hands" on folk!
Here's my fresh attempt to blog .. again. I just updated my "free tripod" website with fresh pictures, so I thought I should post some stuff on this blog. I'm still very new at this and don't really have anything profound for now ... I remember sending a profound quote to my good friend Augustin through SMS on Good Friday last week. He replied with a cute SMS, he said, "I don't have anything profound to say except jingle bells ... and all that". That was really funny, I think it's too easy to take myself too seriously these days and forget to appreciate the simple stuff. After looking at the photo I posted on the front of my homepage where I was playing in the snow in Leicester, England, I agree ... jingle bells it is then!