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Old News that's Good News

My phone has icons for the different apps I use - social media, email, and a program I use to read the Bible. Some of them call out to me with numbers highlighting in red how many unread messages I could look at. But the Bible app just sits there unobtrusively - it never changes.

John 1: Memorizing Scripture and Poetic Devices

For a believer in Christ, memorizing Scripture is a powerful and helpful aid to our faith. Poetic devices such as rhythm, rhyme, alliteration and structure are aids to memorization. Is it possible to produce Scripture translations that use these devices, while remaining accurate translations? These would have other benefits as well (children's illustrated Bibles, audio tapes that flow well, etc), but since memorization is clearly most helpful when as close to the original as possible, there would be challenges. Yet these challenges are similar to any translation effort; the switch of mode of expression is similar to a language switch.

Diagnosing and defeating racism through the good news of Jesus

Here are some thoughts on racism that I hope may help Christians to see the enormous difference that the grace of God revealed in the gospel of Jesus should make to racial tensions and division, and to our own hearts, whether we need to repent from racist attitudes and practices, or receive healing from being hurt by them. Other people are far more capable and qualified to write about this, and because these areas are so personally painful to many, it can seem easier to remain quiet, but as I've considered the pain that I hear from brothers and sisters I respect in different places, I felt that silence can exacerbate the pain, and we need to be rather proactive about engaging this issue.

On birthdays and grateful joy

When James was celebrating his eighth birthday, he made the following comment:

Elephant moralities

In a recent SABC article SA to earn millions from biggest ivory sale, the following peculiar sentence is found in the last paragraph:
Parts of the 45% [of the ivory from the period 1988 to 1994] are of elephant moralities.
Perhaps moralities should read mortalities

Lex and Wycliffe

Lex Loizides has been doing a great series of blogs on church history, but little did I know that he's actually a first-hand source! For example, he's just done a post on Wycliffe, who was a fantastic preacher as can be seen in this great painting:

John Wycliffe. In the villages and towns the people listened eagerly to Wycliffe and his preachers reading passages from the Bible - in English. One in particular, in the lower right hand corner, seems in earnest prayer... perhaps due to the proximity of the axe to his face.

North Korea and oppression

I watched a talk on linkglobal and their work in North Korea and it is profoundly disturbing what seems to be happening in that nation - and has been for many years - yet most international criticism seems reserved to things that will affect other nations. It's as though a government can crushingly oppress millions of people that happen to be in its own territory for years, and others are only worried if it may affect them. (See Liberty in North Korea for more info).

Language and Politics

A few language related news items from South Africa over the last few months:

Blue Rose details

Several months after I posted Once in a Blue Rose, an article appears with a photo:
Roses are Blue (also on Slashdot: True Blue)
The question is, Is the photo real? The one here is apparently not... (see the slashdot comments which reference a preexisting version)

Grief and celebration

The last two months have been full of emotions of all shades...
Maurits and Kirsten's wedding on December the 18th. Fantastic celebration. Came out to discover that one of our friends from antenatal class's gorgeous baby Justin had died the night before, apparently of SIDS. Danielle used to meet up with his mum Kathy and some other mums. Heartbreaking grief.
Then Christmas celebrations with lots of family and friends (was great having MJ and then Brett and Jo to stay) and Jonny and Debbie's wedding.
Danielle's parents came to stay as well for about 10 days in early January, great for us all to enjoy James developing together...
Then on Saturday 16th of January received a tragic phone call from my brother Andrew telling us that Simon Pettit had died suddenly of a heart attack in New Zealand. Simon led Jubilee Community Church for 14 years and was a great-hearted man. He ran to the end, always pointing upwards. Danielle and I were so privileged to have been on a trip with him to India in 2002. Almost every discussion I had with him made me see the issue in a totally different light. So full of life, it seems impossible.
The afternoon after his funeral, a young man in our church who has been suffering from a brain tumour died. His parents have been absolutely courageous.
Then on the 28th of January, one of my dad's oldest friends, Brian Hahn was attacked on the university campus and critically wounded. He eventually suffered a stroke and became unconscious the following wednesday, and died on Saturday the 5th of February. This has been really tough for my dad - they founded a Christian newspaper on campus while they were still students. He spoke at the memorial service today.
And in the midst of all this, I'm thoroughly enjoying being married to Danielle and a father to James. "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief" (Proverbs 14:3) has come to mind repeatedly. The New Testament seems to have a much deeper understanding of suffering than we tend to as well, been pondering these things. And praying for family members whose loss is profoundly deeper than mine.

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