Just read a blog post on why Donald Trump uses the word “tremendous” so much. It wasn’t the answer that attracted me to his post but his understanding, analysis and rationale of Trump that fascinated me. Love him or hate him, Trump is a fascinating character. Most people don’t understand him. They just say he’s “crazy” but that’s too easy. Personally I think he’s a genius. I fully agree with Matthew McFadden’s analysis of his personality. Finally someone who understands him. Good on you. Here is the link at Island of Misfit Posts here.
Hello. I want to offer an official introduction to my readers after the new look and name change to LibertyCulture.com and re-introduce who I am. Some of you might wonder if this is a brand new blog. It’s been around as the NewEpistles blog. Since I haven’t been blogging as avidly as I used to (especially the past 5-7 years due to work and life’s circumstances), I thought I’d re-introduce myself again to all my current and potentially new readers.
These days, I do not post often but will try to do so when I have some time. I usually draw inspiration from reading. When I do get to read theological and devotional books (and the bible of course), I ask questions and reflect upon biblical passages and ideas from my personal theological perspective (and we all have our different theologies).
Expressing these thoughts in writing are the result of my blog posts. I originally started blogging on bible translations, but these days, I usually blog about issues of faith and biblical passages, and try to see how they intersect with aspects of our daily lives and society.
When society and life’s issues are at odds with Christian and biblical values, it can challenge our spirituality and theology. Sometimes, we question and we doubt ourselves. Do I doubt sometimes? Yes I do. We can either become antagonistic toward culture and society and run closer to religion; or we can become antagonistic toward religion and shift toward secular/popular culture or even agnosticism/atheism.
We all wonder at times whether what we’re doing is right or the cool or uncool thing. Sometimes, we might feel, “To heck with rest of the world. I’ll do what I feel is right.” Sometimes, we try to fit in and do it the way everyone else is doing it, even with our Christian friends. Then we lose a sense of who we are. Maybe that’s happened to you before.
Our lives are not static but can be in flux, changing. But we are still getting to know who we are and figuring out what fits me. The Father, Christ, the Spirit, and the Church might be telling us one thing. Also, the world might be telling us other things. Sometimes, life is confusing and society around us is not helping.
Because of pressures around us, we don’t feel safe to give ourselves room to ask and ponder if what we practice makes sense to ourselves, to the Church and to the world around us. But if we allow ourselves to struggle and reflect on faith, theology/doctrine, and spiritual issues, one might grow in faith, find freedom and liberty in our spirituality, and interact with our culture in more positive and life-giving ways.
Happy New Year. A few predictions for 2019. Here goes mine including a few weird ones. I’m interesting in knowing what some of your predictions are.
1. MUSIC: several Christian contemporary songs will hit the mainstream pop charts.
2. RELIGION: the Baptist church and other Evangelicals denominations will get enlightened, ban together and elect their first Bishop… and then change their minds after waking up, realizing it was all just a nightmare.
3. TECHNOLOGY: Electric cars and hybrids will make bigger strides in popularity. SUVs will continue gaining in popularity too. Yes, a hybrid may just be in my future too.
4. TRAVEL: People will be going to outer space for vacations. I will think about going myself one day… but I’d rather wait and see if people return safely to earth before I give it a try.
5. POLITICS: Trump will not be impeached. He will come out ahead but a little gun-shy. He will get to say, “I told you the economy will improve on my watch!”
6. Democrats will elect a moderate to run against Trump. On the left, those like Warren and Pelosi are seen by Democrats as too progressive.
7. Trump’s wall will be built but slowly. The funds will not come from Congress but international trade…but wasn’t that what Trump intended in the first place anyway?
8. GLOBE: The Arctic ice cap will continue melting and the Northwest Arctic passageway will be a bone of contention as far as Canada’s sovereignty is concerned. Countries will begin challenging Canada’s sovereign waters in the Arctic.
9. It will snow in the weirdest place, e.g., Florida, Mexico.
What are some of your predictions?
I have been thinking about getting a new domain name for this blog. Years ago, I lost a previous domain name for NewEpistles but didn’t have time to blog anyway. Now, I’ve been thinking it still might be good to have a dedicated one that is free from WordPress’ secondary free domain. I’m debating whether to switch. I really don’t blog much but I’ve have had more time to blog more than usual while I’ve been vacationing here in Taiwan these several weeks (but returning today).
Facebook wouldn’t admit it but I think Zuckerberg and Facebook’s ideals are being bought out by profit from foreign money. I was asking myself why he made these comments. Recent news (BBC here) was released that Facebook has developed a censorship tool for China. The Chinese Communist regime (PRC) is known to censor anything its government doesn’t like.
This is terribly disturbing to us because it dangerously impinges on our freedoms and liberties of free-speech in the west. Most citizens in the PRC do not even know what real news and opinions are because they don’t know what they don’t see and hear.
What about us here in the west? If Facebook is complying to the demands of the PRC in order to stay in China, then we also need to be aware of the possible dangers of Facebook. It can easily apply the same tool here too.
The use of this term “fake news” is a minomer and is used in a slight-of-hand to censor people’s personal opinions. Users of Facebook do not intend to put its so-called “fake news” on Facebook. They are intended to be real opinions from real people, and therefore, should not be labelled as “fake news.” This is why “fake news” is really just a misnomer.
I am disappointed in Facebook and would dump FB in a heartbeat; in fact, I use very little of it today. Perhaps this is an opportunity for Google to gain more users because it did decide to leave the authoritarian confines of the PRC to relocate to Hong Kong. Anyway, I just want more FB users to be aware of this and think for themselves.
Hey people, here’s a good thought on human righteousness which prompted me to think more on whether it should always be devolved to “filthy rags” as Paul put it. It’s well-balanced. Have a read on Gospel Relevance (David Qaoud) “Why Your Deeds Are Not Like Filthy Rags.”
Another thought-provoking blog I’ve also come across is by J.S. Park. I like his approach on how he handles the issue of people with same-sex attraction in the church.
Some of my old readers may not know that I’ve lost the old domain name of NewEpistles.com so they think the blog is down. After not having posted for a period of time, I neglected to renew the domain so I apologize for this. I don’t know if I can get back the domain name of NewEpistles.com. Google told me they emailed me but it was to an old email address that I haven’t checked for years. Someone else has now picked it up and it’s a generic website until they can find a buyer. They said I had to pay another $80 and still go through more hassle to get it back. It might not be worth it. It will be here now at NewEpistles.WordPress.com for the forseeable future, or at least until I can find another domain name that I like.
So my advice if you’re a blogger: keep on top of your domain renewals and renew for 5 years at a time if possible, rather than annually.
Hi readers, I neglected to update the domain name for NewEpistles.com. Therefore, it has defaulted to the domain name NewEpistles.wordpress.com. Please update your link to this one. It might return to the old domain at a later date. Thank you.
Marc Cortez, who blogs at Scientia et Sapientia, is giving away a commentary on Romans by Douglas Moo. If you’re like me and you can’t afford to purchase too many commentaries, go there and enter the contest. Yes I do hope to win.
There will be a new thing happening in my life soon. I’m enrolled in a D.Min. program (part-time) at Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada. I had been thinking about doing further studies in theology/ministry for a while now and decided to apply; and I was just accepted this summer. Yippee!
I already have a list of required readings to get done before my first course begins in October. There are three courses each year for three years: two weeks in the summer, and one week in the fall; plus a dissertation in the final 4th year. Apart from ministry/work, family, and the addition of P.T. studies, I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be able to do. But at this point, I’m really looking forward to beginning my D.Min. program.
I’m switching back to my old look. I just switched 3 months ago so this is a record for me. I don’t like switching too often but I’ve been dissatisfied with the look of WordPress themes. Besides, my wife said she likes the old look better. I guess that might be a good enough reason too.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to check my blog for comments for the next five days as I’ll be in Minneapolis for a mission developer conference. I’ll be looking for a wireless signal for my laptop but if there’s nothing, I’ll still be happy. I’m looking forward to this event because I’ll be picking up new ideas in an area of ministry I’ve been interested in for a while.
Scott and Marv over at To Be Continued have just finished the last of the 8-part series “Response to Patton’s ‘Why I’m Not Charismatic’” (a 22-page PDF file). They’ve done a good job in critiquing Patton’s paper and causing us, in every position, to consider our own arguments more carefully. [ Added: …and here’s their response all on a 43-page PDF file ]
TC Robinson, who blogs at NewLeaven.com, is a blogging friend whom I am very proud of. TC has been my favorite biblio-theo blogger for a while now–and deservedly so. Finally, he has been publicly recognized for the quality of his blogging by someone as respected as the theoblogger Michael Patton, founder and president of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries and primary contributor at the popular Parchment and Pen has affirmed this by adding TC’s blog, NewLeaven.com, to its tool bar at http://ReclaimingtheMind.OurToolbar.com. I’ve also added this toolbar and it works well. Check it out.
After returning from my vacation, I’ve been taking it easy and have been enjoying watching the highest level of soccer in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I’ve also been reading some books about the missional church and have been challenged to think more in terms of being more missional as a Christian and as a minister. The books I have been reading have been more oriented toward the missional church. As a result, I have been thinking of gearing the New Epistles blog to eventually move into topics about the missional church. The blog started as a biblioblog, then moved into a theoblog. I will now add a missional element to my blogging because I wish to move my own practice of pastoral ministry to be oriented toward being a missional church.