1. The response of the Japanese (which is very surreal) towards the earthquake makes me realize that theodicy will only be a problem for the theists from Abrahamic traditions (and their atheistic offshoots).
2. A tax collector is associated with corruption and cheating. Does the story of Zaccheus intend to perpetuate such stereotypes? Or is it possible that the story actually subverts the stereotypes through the person of Zaccheus?
3. I went to Batam on Saturday to help in our church involvement with a primary school over there. On these kind of short-term mission trips (and ultra-short-term mission trips!), it’s always good to read Vinoth’s post: Who says “No” to “mission trips”? In another post, Vinoth also pointed out an article by Karla Ann Koll on short-term mission trips. Her article is worth reading as well: Taking Wolves Among Lambs: Some Thoughts on Training for Short-Term Mission Facilitation.
Critical reflection on the experience should not end when the group gets on the plane to return home. Ongoing reflection can help participants integrate their new experiences into their daily lives and the life of the congregation in ways that can lead to transforming action. Experiences in a new cultural setting often produce insights that do not mesh with a participant’s previous understanding of the world and of his or her faith. Once the group returns home and what made sense briefly in the liminal space created by the travel experience no longer seems true, the temptation is very great to revert to the previous interpretive framework, either by dismissing what was experienced or by compartmentalizing it as a memory of a spiritually moving experience unrelated to daily life. (p. 94, emphasis mine)
4. I like the way Barth puts it: orthodoxy is not something that we can “possess” already.