May 11

Dear reader, this is a tale of one thing that I did on the weekend that really impacted me. Interesting, no? Keep reading…

Friday was Radi8 Youth day, and it was alright. I absolutely loved the “Baby if you love me give me a smile” game, where someone had to go around the circle and try to get people to smile – it was awesome, especially when Dave said it had to be guy/girl – now THAT really made the game more interesting. ^_^

The real part of Radi8 Youth was when we were asked to write down something on a piece of paper, according to what God was saying to us. That was okay – it was the writing that was difficult. Maybe it was just me, but I really struggled to write anything of substance down – partly because the speaker had said that when he had done this, he then got out this piece of paper ten years later and everything on the list had come true.

This isn’t the first I’ve heard of this – the first time was on Twitter, in fact – a fellow Christian had done exactly the same thing, and like the speaker, all of the things on her list had come true, too.

Now, this list that I talk about wasn’t just some wish list that we wanted to happen. Sure, the way that the speaker had set it up it was “sort of” like a wish list, (in that through God, all those things on the list would come true), but no – the list was mainly things that God said to us.

For some reason, I felt it difficult to write things down. It wasn’t peer pressure, or anything like that. It was just a feeling of: “What happens if I get out my list 10 years later and none of these things have come true? Does that make me a bad Christian?” Mostly, it was a fear of the unknown than anything else – what if none of my list items were fulfilled?

Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough faith.

Maybe it’s because I was scared of being a failure.

In the end, I ended up writing a list which was full of wishy-washy things, things like “be married (happily)”, “be happy with my career”, and so on. You’ll notice that I’ve left out specifics, and for good reason – I’m no fortune teller! I certainly can’t predict who I’ll be married to, or what I’ll be doing in 10 years time.

There was nothing of substance on my list – but I’m okay with that. :)

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Mar 29

So last week I posted something up which managed to generate a bit of controversy. I certainly didn’t intend to, but hey – if it’s one of those side-effects, then I’m okay with that.

Joe and I has some back and forth about children and Christianity, and what it all really meant. It grew into something more, when we started discussing Christianity in and of itself – Jesus’ teachings, how can people believe the Bible when it was written by humans after Jesus’ death, and so on. Joe certainly put up some interesting questions – questions that I, (ashamedly), haven’t had a go at answering – yet.

Oh – before I go on, read the entire thread here. If you’re just after Joe’s response (which I’ll be addressing in this post), then you can read that here.

Sorta what I’m getting at is that most of Jesus’ teachings are common sense are they not? and they aren’t original to Jesus’ either look up the Egyptian sun God “Horus”.

Jesus’ teachings are common sense? In a way. Sure, most of them are, but they go beyond that – far, far beyond that. There’s literally hundreds of interpretations of any text depending on the context, and rings true for the Bible (and, by extension, Jesus’ teachings) as well.

As for Jesus and Horus – you’re absolutely right – the Egyptian god Horus does indeed have an astounding amount of parallels with Jesus. Third link in Google revealed this page, which gives a succinct summary of these parallelisms between Jesus and Horus. (As a quick side note, the website itself is published by a multi-religion group of people who, by their own words, “lack agreement on almost all theological matters, such as belief in a supreme being, the nature of God, interpretation of the Bible and other holy texts, whether life after death exists, what form the afterlife may take, etc”.)

In regards to the parallelisms between Jesus and Horus, well, that’s just difference of opinion as well as a different religion completely. As with all of these comparisons  between religions (it happens in Matthew Reilly books as well, haha), you have to as the question: well, which one came first? Did the Egyptians rip off the Christians? Or was it the other way around?

The answer to that question isn’t as obvious as it may seem – it comes back to that old question of evolution vs creation, and depending on which version you believe your answer will undoubtedly vary.

Also in my outdated argument I want to mention validity. If Jesus took the time to right his auto-biography before his suicide mission that would of been convenient, but instead it was left (as were all the Bible Chapters) hundreds of years after they had happened (if they happened).

I just can’t seem to believe the validity and correctness of a book that has been written by men who were guided by god. Also, the men were guided by god too, who decided what shall be removed from the bible. Bible is edited even today, so the editors are, too, inspired directly by God.

The question of “how can I believe something that’s been written by humans” has often been asked by myself as well. While I haven’t yet come up with a satisfactory answer, there’s something that I’d like to introduce you to – faith.

Ah yes, old faith. Faith, the thing that makes us believe things that seem impossible, faith, the intangible explanation for 101 different things, and yet, faith – the one thing that ties all of Christianity together.

At youth today we were discussing belief and doubt – not dissimilar to what we’re talking about now. One of the questions that we discussed was “List three things that can help you to continue to believe in Jesus through times of doubt”. You can be sure that I put down faith. Another member of the same youth group responded by saying that “you don’t have to know everything, sometimes you’ve got to live with a little trust, and faith in God” which I though was a bloody excellent way of putting it.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying that you should live with blind faith – there’s a difference between being educated and following stupidly along with the crowd (or, knowing the difference between the hot plate is hot, and believing that it isn’t).

At the time of Jesus, everyone agreed that the old testament was the right way, written by people inspired by god, thus their writings were true to them. Why should their righteousness disappear during time?

Most Christians are saying that some parts of the old testament are wrong in modern culture, like the one which encourages you to bash your enemies children’s skull to a rock or stone women who are not virgin when married.

SOOO yes confusing indeed.

If by “righteousness disappear over time” as your way of saying that I implied that the old testament was outdated when I said that Jesus’ two commandments superseded the 10 commandments, then you’d be a little off. To clarify: I’m not saying that Jesus’ teachings (or anything in the new testament, for that matter) supersede, or are more important, than anything in the old testament. However, they definitely supplement what’s already there.

Take this for example: the old testament says “an eye for an eye”, “sacrifice animals as a form of repentance” – two of which are obviously not in use today. The whole point of not preforming those actions now is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so we don’t have to sacrifice animals every time we want to repent for our sins.

We also don’t take out our neighbour’s eyes – you’ll take note that Jesus said “love your neighbour as you love yourself”. Obviously, this means that you can’t just go and do unto them what they did to you – instead, “calm words will soothe even the most ferocious beast, like water on hot coals” (or something along those lines, I can’t exactly remember the quote).

Ooh – see that there? A contradiction between the old testament, and the new testament. Which one do we follow? The latest version, the new testament. Why? Because we’re following Jesus’ example, as he was the ultimate example – perfect in every way, without sin. And I guess that’s what being a Christian is all about, hey?

Now, to leave you with final thoughts:

Confusing indeed. The Bible certainly brings up some intriguing schools of thought, and there is stuff in there that even pastors and clergymen can’t understand. Instead, they pray to God for clarity of thought and wisdom, because that will eventually lead to understanding.

What about stuff like predestination and free will? There’s no way I’m talking about that here (‘cos that’s a whole other bag of worms), but sometimes, the Bible can bring more questions than answers – but as a Christian, I’m not saying that we should have all the answers anyway. Where’s the fun in that?! :D

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 13

Christian Perspectives 2008: Reflections

Well, camp is over for another year. The thing about Christian Perspectives that always gets me is the fact that it isn’t a REAL camp as such; no sleeping under the stars, no telling tall tales in the flickering light of the campfire, no cooking your own food and then getting poisoned. What Mrs Laning says is true – it’s a study camp, for Year 11’s and 12’s at Calvin to absorb some Christian Perspectives.

Anyways, after the gruelling one and a half hour bus ride up – people wanted greasies, whatever they are – it was back into the usual activities, where snooker/pool made a popular comeback, as did air hockey and fusball. Basketball was also popular. Others still retreated to their rooms to set up their gear and what-not.

Sessions were the order of the day, and after each session, there was morning/afternoon tea, a little bit of mucking around (with the obligatory cricket, fusball, pool, and basketball) and then another session. Rinse and repeat.

The speaker, Eric Wickmann was actually entertaining, keeping our attention with magic tricks that stunned all. I now know that there are actually FOUR types of people in the world – Beavers, Otters, Lions, and Golden Retrievers. His talk was based on “ASK”: Attitude, Skills, Knowledge. Having the right attitude, and the right skills only got you two thirds of the way. You had to have the knowledge to be able to use your attitude and skills in the right way – or else it just didn’t work. Or something like that anyway – I wasn’t exactly taking notes.. But maybe I should have!

A trip to the beach was the conclusion of activities for day one – where beach cricket, swimming, and beach volleyball reigned! – and after another session, dinner, and The Italian Job, we went to sleep, and that was it.

Bright and early the next morning, the early bird students had showers. The rest slept in. A session, followed by morning tea, another session, and lunch. Then it was down for another trip to the beach, where people enjoyed a game of beach cricket, beach volleyball, or just swam and sunbaked. Can anyone say ‘perfect’ like I can? I don’t mean the beach, nor the games, swimming, or the sunbaking…

Then it was back to base where there was another session. Free time followed, including the obligatory fusball, pool, and basketball. People started getting dressed for Fluoro night, and after some guys were spotted in inside-out dresses, well, it got to the point where it was pretty much anything goes. The Men-In-Black made an appearance, deciding to wear black clothes – we were the outcasts, for sure.

Fluoro night was an outstanding success, where Captain Fluro (Nathan Bosker) made an appearance, as did Used-Car-Salesman Tom de Hoog, Least-Effort James Goodricke, Councilman Ashley Page, plus People’s Choice Awardees Alex Hunt, Grace Campbell-Atkins, and some others…

After the novelty of Fluoro night had worn off, we had some concert items – Liam played and sung two songs for us, cat /dev/urandom piped to /dev/audio, as well as just cat /dev/urandom. It was cool – nothing that we’ve ever tried before, but still fun nevertheless. Chris Jacques then did some serious head-banging to Rammstein’s Du Hast – much to the enjoyment of all in Year 12, who were remembering the Year 10 formal. . Ash’s council talkback – posted here on YouTube. That pretty much summed up the concert items, so Mr Roberts went to Plan B: Mr Robert’s Lame-O Quiz 3! Well, that was the end. Nothing could have beaten Mr Roberts’s Lame-O quiz. The Apha Chief Warden team – but only after some heated controversy – you CANNOT see the Great Wall of China from the moon!!

Anyway, a rather weird movie Serenity followed, and after that, it was time to go to sleep.

The third day, and it was off to the showers again for those early bird students. A session, morning tea, another session, and then, all too soon, it was time to pack up and leave. We emptied the dorms, we cleaned the gathering space, we packed up our gear and loaded it onto the bus. A quick lunch was followed by a bus leaving early, and that was it, Christian Perspectives 2008 was now over, and the Year 12’s were never to be seen at that camp again…

Anyway, enough of what I thought about camp. I want to know what YOU thought of camp! You know the drill; post all of your comments down below…

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , ,