Archive | October 2010

Seminar: The Foreign Presence in China

Got a seminar tomorrow and have absolutely no idea what I’m reading. Thank goodness for Google Books which has the reading I need for this seminar here.

It’s definitely going to be easier by breaking everything down first. The Boxer Rebellion, simple stuff really. As always, there’s an awesome Wiki article, which gives a great general overview.

According Roger A. Thompson, Westerners were just being too pushy. They allowed too many provisions to be made by force.

treaty ports, extraterritorial rights, tariffs and indemnities were specified and, for the first time, the Chinese were compelled to allow foreigners to travel and reside in China’s interior.

Not only this but China was being filled with Christian missionaries. From what I can see there were some good and some very bad. I’ve already mentioned John and Betty Stam in a previous post. Both were murdered in 1934 by Communist soldiers. Although this was many years after, it proves that we can’t lump all the missionaries together. Just as anything in live there are the good and bad.

The first China Inland Missionaries created their first permanent station in Pingyang in 1879 where they got to work aiding the huge human suffering caused by the famines.

Thompson bring up an interesting point which I need to look into. He suggests that a cult had begun through the Protestant missionaries which he calls the ‘psychology of martyrdom’. This idea wasn’t isolated, but it persecution was told to be expected.

Times changed in 1876-9 when the Great Famine occurred.

I don’t know, Chinese history isn’t really doing it for me at the moment. Well, maybe it’s because it’s 2:23am and I am shattered. The Shining Red Lanterns anybody?


Robert of Rhuddlan

Interesting character, it might be good to do a piece of work on him. According to Wikipedia, he was a Norman adventurer, lord of NE Wales and for a time, lord of all N Wales. So a pretty exciting guy.

I’m reading “The Normans in Britain” by Walker, and Rhuddlan seems to keep popping up. He’s mentioned in the Domesday Book alongside Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth for paying William the Conqueror £40 pa. He was very influential in that Norman success depended upon him in the 1070s and 80s. His castles at Rhuddlan and Degannwy were the base of trouble for much of Gwynedd.

There’s load more about this guy. I’m not sure whether to spend time digging deeper? Maybe another time. But definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

Never again, f[r]iend!

This is the last week that I lose a squash game! Time to up the level and wipe the smile off Nick’s mug. First, got a week to do 10 press-ups. Second, grab a cinnamon latte and sit down with a good squash magazine (which I’m yet to find). Thirdly, get back onto contact lenses. Finally, destroy my opponent next Tuesday.

Right, first press-up….

The Reason We Live For

Been wondering lately why we live, especially as a Christian, what is the point of my being here? Can’t He just take me home now?

Looking over my notes from today’s sermons at Emmanuel and the answer to my question is plain.

In the morning we looked at Isaiah 61:1-3:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
From this Jon brought out 3 main points:
  1. Christ: The Anointed. We are assured that Christ could never had sinned, he was perfect. Shrouded in humanity (a potential for imperfection), through Spirit of the LORD’s power, he was absolutely sinless.
  2. Christ: The Proclaimer… People were compelled to listen to Christ, he obviously wasn’t just some crazy lunatic! Through his words, Jesus preached the church into existence: The foolishness of the cross turned the world upside-down. Again, he did this through the Spirit of the LORD.
  3. …To Us. This message is specifically aimed at the poor in Spirit, the broken-hearted, those humble. It is awful what life does to us, but we look to a Spirit-empowered Christ who dealt with the real problem: sin.
So firstly, the reason Christ lived was to save us through the Spirit of the LORD. This is a good starting point to see what my life is for.
Then this evening Jon brought 2 Samuel 6. Again, there were 3 points:
  1. God’s People are Called to Place Worship at the Centre of Their Lives.
  2. God’s People have to be Concerned for the Conformity of Worship.
  3. God’s People Must Avoid Being Contemptuous at Worship.
I’m not going to put my notes for these, but the point was that the purpose of my life is the same as Christ’s. Just as Christ came to honour his Father, to glorify Him, this also is my reason for living! The whole point of my life is to know, to believe, to tell, to live, to cry out that Jesus Christ is Lord. As the first of the Westminster Catechism states:
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
That is my purpose. All I need to do now is shut up, get up and keep living!
PS. Loving this song at the moment: Until the Whole World Hears (Casting Crowns)

tBARs. Coming Soon.

Life – I just don’t get you.

A friend has been lying on a bed that she will probably not leave while alive. She was told that she would die within three months, four months on she lies in virtually the same bed with family and friends nearby, watching as the world continues outside.

Death is such a cruel thing. You don’t question it until it is on your doorstep, never think about it other than a statistic until it in on the threshold, grappling for your throat.

Not morbidly, but I’ve been thinking about my own death. Will I see it coming? Will it be quick? Will I be resigned to a bed for weeks, months before the final close of the curtains?

Then, the really humbling thoughts come. How long will it be before I’m forgotten? I realised that just over a year later, I’ve totally forgotten Michael Jackson’s death. He’s just a man with a legacy that really won’t last longer than this century if he’s lucky. Then what about little old me? How long will it take before life continues for even my closest friends and memories will fade and death will have the last laugh?

I don’t understand it. We desperately try to forget the inevitable. I suppose it’s the best thing really. We only have one life and why not enjoy it eh? As a Christian, yes, I have a future hope which seems at the moment just to be a wisp of smoke, or a minute whisper of a far away wind.

Solomon got it in a nut shell, ‘All is vanity!’ (Ecc. 1:2). I’ll admit it, I still don’t get the last chapter of his book,

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (12:13-14)

After Sol looks all over the world for meaning, his final phrase is “Fear God and keep his commandments”. Solomon! What a cop-out! But, I’ve got to realise that God doesn’t promise an answer to the vanities of this life. But he offers a solution to the real problem that underlines them all.

There is a hope that I just don’t get yet:

My sin, O the bliss of this glorious hope,
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! O my soul!

Life, I just don’t get you. Lord, my God, O to fear You more.

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