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Allegiance

Growing up in America, every morning in school, all the kids would turn, place their right hand over their heart, and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Of course, as a child, the Pledge didn’t mean that much, and we usually garbled up the words as well. But even though I didn’t understand the words, or what I was saying, I was aware that America was my home country where I would grow, learn, and make friends.

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by definition

It’s interesting how we define ourselves. Usually it comes down to race, religion, occupation, gender, and status. And each of those categories come loaded with additional meanings. For example, by saying that you’re Chinese, people assume you eat with chopsticks, are good at math, and know kung fu. It’s not always the case, but stereotypes and preconceptions add definitions to your words.

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wrath

I think people’s idea of wrath has been slightly misconstrued. What I mean is, I think people associate wrath with anger. Now on one hand, that makes complete sense. After all, according to the dictionary, wrath is extreme anger (and by extreme anger I don’t think they mean extreme like drinking a Pepsi Max). No, I think the problem comes from how we understand anger.

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House of Prayer

In the 1990s (yes, back then…), there was this popular trend among Christian youth groups in the US: WWJD.  People would wear these bracelets as a statement of their faith and also as a reminder, when faced with moral challenges, to ask oneself: What Would Jesus Do?  Of course sometimes, we shouldn’t do what Jesus does – like die for the sins of humanity. But overall, the challenge was for Christians to truly live by imitating Christ.  When Bert was preaching this past Sunday, I thought back to these bracelets.

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Jesus

He was wearing a mustard dinner jacket. I think it was wool. It was the kind of jacket with faux-leather patches on the elbows. I don’t know what those leather patches are for. I suppose they are to keep one’s elbows from being worn out whilst one props their head up on a table. But then again, one found wearing mustard dinner jackets are not often found with their elbows on tables.

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Chinese Churches and World Mission

Is the BCEC a Chinese church? Well, naturally it must be. I mean, after all the full name of BCEC is Birmingham Chinese Evangelical Church. The very word Chinese is smack-dab in the middle of our name.

So then is a Chinese church exclusive only to Chinese people? And isn’t that racist? And shouldn’t Chinese people mix with the society that they’re in? Why have a Chinese church at all?

These are questions that linger around any English-speaking congregation in a Chinese church. If the majority of the people in the church speak English already, why don’t they just go to an English church? Why should they bother going to a Chinese church at all? Actually, God’s church should be an international church, full of different races and faces all worshipping together.
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City On A Hill

Alex Chow wrote a great read about a Christian’s role in society that I thought was an apt follow on from Barry’s message this Sunday.

Last week, I attended a two-day conference at Birmingham University in honour of the philosopher John Hick. If you are not familiar with the man, he considers himself a liberal Christian and claims that “the different religions, with all their manifest differences and undeniable incompatibilities of belief, can be on an equal level as different complexes of belief and practice within which their adherents can find salvation.”[1] In other words, Jesus is not the only way — people can reach salvation through other means. On the first day of the conference, scholars from around the world discussed the philosophy of this man, most in great admiration. To begin the second and last day, Hick himself began a session by asking the delegates to discuss the question of social concern. In the 1970s, when he first came to Birmingham, he was an activist who brought together people of all faiths to resolve the prevalent racial tensions of his day. It is perhaps in this context that the man’s personal theology moved from an “evangelical” conviction to where he is now.

Head over to his site to have a read.

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Inside & Out

We recently got our boiler and our home’s heating system replaced. It’s been a revelation because the house is suddenly so much warmer. In fact, it often feels nearly Californian. The added insulation has also contributed to the warmth. It’s amazing what clearing out the heating system and adding insulation can do for an existing system. One of our radiators used to be cold at the bottom, but now it’s totally radiating heat perfectly!

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