Sumpteretc's Blog

What's on my mind at the moment

Month: January, 2007

Online theology

Want to take a full theology course for free and hear it in words you can understand? Dr. Wayne Grudem has put the lessons for his Christian Essentials course online. It might be worth a listen.

New Prolife Strategy

Prolife advocates have begun to adopt a new strategy whereby they focus more on the supposed effects of an abortion on the mother rather than on the moral implications of killing the fetus. Frances Beckwith explains why this is shaky ground for prolifers and fails to really address the problem of abortion.

Happiness

Do you want to be a happier person? You might need to change the way you’re thinking. Betsy Hart explains.

Nothing to say.

I don’t really have anything important to say. I just haven’t blogged on here for a while. I have been posting more recently at http://www.xanga.com/sumpteretc. Of course, I didn’t really have anything important to say there, either.

We are going to Baguio tomorrow. We need to file an annual report with immigration. I think (hope) that just means paying a few bucks and walking out.

stolen bike

Just before prayer meeting tonight, Glenbert asked if he could talk to me. He said, “You know how I borrowed your bike a little bit ago? Well, I took it to the market, and somebody stole it.” Glen is quite a joker, so I wasn’t exactly sure if he was being serious, but this time, he was. Apparently, he parked it near the stand of one of our church members, but when he came back, it was gone. Nobody had seen anything. He reported the theft to the police, but I imagine that means almost nothing. Glen has offered to replace it but 1) I’m not sure he can afford to, and 2) we’re only going to be here a few more months anyhow.

Tiff and I were talking the other day about emotional attachments, and I mentioned that I didn’t think I was too heavily invested in anything. Maybe the bicycle is a small test of that. Honestly, I don’t really care that much that my bike is gone. Probably students borrowing it have put more kilometers on it than I have. If I accept any payment from Glen, it won’t be because I need it, but because he needs a lesson in responsibility.

This is not a lesson needed only by Glen. It seems like the students often fail to show care for a borrowed item. We bought a computer for the library, and in just a few weeks, the hard drive was corrupted and had to be reformatted. The students didn’t care for it as they would if it were their own.

And the problem goes to the macro-level, too. This is one of the things that’s wrong with paternalistic missions. If the sending nation is forever subsidizing pastors, building schools and hospitals, the receiving nation never learns to take responsibility. The building didn’t cost us anything; why should we take care of it? And that probably goes on the governmental level as well. It’s looked on as meddling (or imperialism) if the US government gets too hands-on in another country. But if the US only sends money and doesn’t make sure that money is being used to set up systems of responsibility, it’s almost sure to be foolishly spent.

Closed bakeries

I don’t know what’s going on with the bakeries here. For the third day in a row, I’ve had to walk past two bakeries with their windows shuttered before I could find a place open to sell me pan de sal. I’m going at about 5:30, but they’re usually open well before that. In fact, they’re often sold out by 6:00. Oh well, I pray while I walk, so I guess I’ve benefited by having a little longer walk than usual.

This morning, I was reading the passage in Luke where Jesus is comparing the leafing of the fig tree to the signs of His coming. I don’t have a very well-defined eschatology, but I usually think of the coming of Christ as a scary thing. The Old Testament prophecies usually talk about the Day of the Lord as a day of doom and gloom. But there’s almost always a glimmer of hope as the prophet recognizes that God has a plan to redeem and refine a remnant. I noticed today in the Luke passage a similar gleam of hope. Jesus said, “When you see all these things happening, lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.” Sure, the earth will be shaken, and the moon will turn blood-red, and lots of awful things will be happening; but the point is that redemption is on its way. Then he uses the leaves appearing on the fig tree to demonstrate the nearness of the kingdom. Nobody sees leaves appearing on a tree and says, “Oh no, I guess it’s all over for this tree.” Of course not. They get excited because new growth is coming. So, when things look a little gloomy in this old dying world of us, we just need to learn to see them as leaves on the fig tree and remember that God’s kingdom is going forward and it is near.

We had our first apologetics class of the new year today. We’re starting to dig into discussing the trustworthiness of the New Testament. This has been my first time to study the dating and authorship of the New Testament books as well as the history of canonization in any kind of depth. It hasn’t been too earth-shattering, but it has been interesting to note that there is some pretty good evidence for very early dates of the Gospels and even earlier for Paul’s writings.

I couldn’t be more embarrassed

Your Inner European is French!
Smart and sophisticated.You have the best of everything – at least, *you* think so.

New Year’s Day

Today was the birthday celebration of Filemon Agapito, our adoptive father while here in the Philippines. He turned 73 today, and he has plans to celebrate 27 more times. So far, so good. A little over a year ago, we spent a week living with the Agapito family out in their rural barangay. Tatang (father) is a mango farmer, who has served as barangay captain (sort of a village mayor) as well as serving on the General Board of Administration for the Wesleyan Church of the Philippines.

The celebration was pretty typical. We began with a mini-church service, then had well wishes for the birthday celebrant from members of his family. He gave his testimony and then we dove into a hearty spread of native dishes.