Daily Archives: January 3, 2008

Referenced by The Contemporary Calvinist

I am not all that surprised that a rather intelligent (but…) Calvinist blog has referenced my post How I became a pluralist thus:

If you ignore the clear teaching of scripture and Christ’s own claim that he is the only way to salvation (John 14:6), and if you are looking for a way to fight back against a Calvinist upbringing, then you may one day find yourself embracing pluralism. After all, following your "gut feeling" makes much more sense than following the written, proven, infallible word of the eternal God who created the entire universe.

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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in awful warnings, Christianity, pluralism, religion, replays


Recycle 8: Idle thoughts on New Testament chronology (10 July 2007 on WordPress)

There are heaps of disputes in this field, but Wikipedia does provide a reasonable consensus — that is, with lots of + or – twenty years in there…

Now my idle thought was to imagine Jesus was born the same year I was: no, I am not having an attack of Messianic delusion! OK, if he had been, the crucifixion would have happened, very aptly some Aussies may think, around 1975!

So when did the earliest Christian writings — that is, some of the epistles attributed to Paul — appear? Answer: in the early 1990s. Paul didn’t know Jesus personally, of course, Damascus road vision apart. Still, it is not hard to conceive, given my analogy, that just as plenty of people could remember Gough in, say, 1995 — he of course stayed on earth after his "crucifixion", which makes this easier — there would have been plenty around Palestine, Galilee and Syria in Paul’s time who had connections. (Perhaps we could substitute Paul Keating for Paul in our analogy? I suspect there are similarities…)

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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in Christianity


WordPress outage?

While all my blogs are still out there, I can’t reach WordPress consistently at the moment. Can’t get to the Forums either to find out what is happening. It will be interesting to see if this (written on Live Writer) gets posted.*

Meanwhile, at the Cricket: rain and storm clouds are looming over Sydney right now. Could be India’s best hope…?

* Live Writer says it is posted. Now to check…

Yes, it’s there…

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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in blogging, Cricket, site news


53 tourists rescued in Chile as volcano erupts

“Conguillio National Park, 700km south of the capital Santiago, is home to scenic Llaima volcano, which towers to 3215 metres. It started erupting yesterday, when another 150 tourists were whisked out safely.” — Sydney Morning Herald.


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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in current affairs, M


Brian Leung, “Lost Men”

“You sit here,” Mrs. Cheung says as they reach the kitchen. She taps a chrome chair with yellow vinyl upholstery that matches the Formica tabletop. The chicken is flopped into the sink. “I clean outside in a minute.” She sits opposite Westen, hands folded in front of her, embroidered orange maple leaves on her sweater vest, each surrounded by small beveled rhinestones that could be rain or sunlight breaking through a fall canopy. “Your auntie ask me talk to you. Why you not a happy boy?”

“I’m happy,” Westen says, but he knows there is no conviction in it.

Mrs. Cheung places her hands flat on the table and stands. “Wait,” she says, exiting the kitchen. When she returns she is holding a pad of paper and a large red book with gold Chinese lettering. She asks Westen a series of questions: his birth date, the time he was born, how to spell his first name. With each query she consults the book and writes on the pad of paper. Her work is certain and officious, as if she is interviewing a job applicant, her lips thinned in tight concentration. Westen watches her blunt fingers press the pencil, embedding dense Chinese characters into the paper. Mrs. Cheung makes a single nod with each notation. In a quiet moment when she is double-checking her work Westen watches a drop of water collect at the lip of the kitchen faucet until it relents to gravity. “Maybe I should go find Uncle Cane,” he says when the drop falls.

Mrs. Cheung looks up from her pad. “They drinking. Don’t worry. I take you home.”

Westen knows he will not see his uncle for the rest of the day.

“You will visit China,” Mrs. Cheung says, pointing to her math. “But I think you will be an unhappy boy and an unhappy man until then.”

Westen cannot comprehend the forecast, but he makes an attempt. “China will make me happy?”

“No,” she says emphatically. “Nothing make anyone happy. But I going to help.” She reaches into her pocket and retrieves four items: a thin red ribbon, matches, a candle, and a palm-sized box covered in worn blue velvet. She ties the ribbon around the box, leaving a bow the size and shape of a small butterfly. “My mother give me before I come to U.S. I give you now.”

There is something about this gesture that comforts Westen as he watches Mrs. Cheung light the candle and drip dense wax onto the knot of the bow. “My mother do this too. She tell me I’m unhappy girl after my father die.” The pair sit quietly looking at this new red-winged creation sitting atop the blue box. “Now you open in China only at right moment,” Mrs. Cheung continues. “Maybe you be happy. Before that, no good. You tell someone, no good. This only your box.”

“When will this happen?”

“Wait for your father like I wait for Mr. Cheung,” she says. “He come back. You put away until then. Be a good boy and remember to listen to your auntie. She love you.”

Westen feels a flush of heat and hope at the prospect of his father’s return, but he wonders just how long he is going to have to wait. Picking up Mrs. Cheung’s box, he carefully feels its weight. “Is it magic?” he asks.

“No,” Mrs. Cheung says firmly. “It hope.”

That is an extract from the first chapter of Lost Men by Brian Leung (NY, Shaye Areheart Books 2007).

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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in America, Best read of 2008, book reviews, Chinese and China, Fiction, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, HIV/AIDS, humanity, reading, USA