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For the foodies, global nomads and life long learners

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Thanks to Tyler Stanton for the link to the following videos

For the foodies in my life

For my fellow global nomads

And finally, for all of us committed to life long learning!

Music from around the world

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Posted this two years ago but after listening to these two music videos today, they are so good that they deserve another post for anyone who may have missed them. Enjoy Bono (on war) and other less famous but equally talented musicians!  Playing for change are always adding new videos–check them out here

A couple of early and favorite songs from playing for change.  Great fun!!

Providing a God oasis in a world full of pain

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Untrammeled Oasis by Guy Tal

NOTE: Following is an update on a previous post.

Does holiness provide refuge or bring condemnation? Gary Thomas in The Beautiful Fight says, “A holy man or woman is a spiritual force, a “God oasis,” in a world that needs spiritually strong people.”

The world needs holy men and women because it needs people transformed by God.

Isaiah 32:2 says, “Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” Thomas writes the following:

A holy man or woman is a spiritual force, a “God oasis,” in a world that needs spiritually strong people. When the winds of turmoil hit, such people become shelters; their faith provides a covering for all. By their words and actions, by the ways they listen and use their eyes to love instead of lust, to honor instead of hate, to build up instead of tear down, holy women and men are like streams of water in the desert, affirming what God values most. When the heat of temptation threatens to tear this world apart, godly men and women become like the shadow of a great rock. These God oases carry Christ to the hurting, to the ignorant, to those in need. They will be sought out–and they will have something to say. 48

Too many goodbyes

July 23, 2010 2 comments

Although these words are written about missionary kids (MKs), they would be true for many of their parents as well!

“Many MKs carry with them the scars from too many good-byes. They harden their feelings, put on emotional armor and turn inward in an attempt to insulate themselves from further hurt. They draw back from intimacy and remain in “emotional exile”—alone, separate and protected.”  James Gould

Waiting for the world’s story to be told

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Should be fun.  10.10.10

More maps of the world as it really is

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Someone asked yesterday about a map of intelligence.  I am not exactly sure of what they were asking.  But I found a map of tertiary education on worldmapper which is interesting.  Two others I found interesting: airline departures and one on the elderly which I find to be very sad, especially when you look at Africa.

Tertiary Education: proportion of people worldwide enrolled in tertiary education, who live there. 2002 figures

Elderly: worldwide distribution of people over 65 years old.

Airline Departures

Quite a response to my post yesterday–thanks to wordpress for highlighting me on the front page and to all those who dropped by for a visit.  With over 2000 hits in one day, it was easily a record for my blog.  Expect things to drop down to the normal 100 or so from now on but it was fun while it lasted and the many comments were great.

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Seeing the beautiful world of statistics

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Gapminder World–you must check out this fascinating website that plots a variety of interactive graphs over time with often surprising results.  Stats on a wide variety of topics.

Here is what they say on their website:

Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view.

See countries change in ways that challenge old myths.

Where do you find the biggest Islamic populations?

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is a summary of Pew Research study on Islamic populations in the world.  One section,

Islamic worldMore than 60 per cent of Muslims are in Asia, with only 20 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa. But the latter have the highest percentages of Muslim-majority countries, some of them with Islamic populations of 95 per cent or more.

Link to original article from Pew Forum

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Telling someone they need to improve

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Final question from our group work: In your culture, how do you let someone know that they need to improve their work?youre fired

AMERICANS: Direct personal evaluation. Face to face. Frank/honest. Build up self esteem/praise first. Trend toward tolerance.  Celebrate diversity leads to not talking about improving.

BIKOLANOS Oral communication.

BRITS Boss calls you in to his/her office for private talk, frank exchange. Public sarcastic comments without naming the culprit or “letter to the times”. Man-to-man – go for a beer together and talk.

CANADIANS First time – Spoken gently, kindly.

CEBUANOS Pagmaymay – counsel. Kasaba – reprimanding. Silotan – punishing.

GERMANS Give few compliments. Show facts. Show bad results if continued. Call upon intellect. Use guilt – not a shame culture.

ILOKANOS We lead by example. The wife/woman takes a major role in communication with workers.

KOREANS Korea is very hierarchical society, higher position people say directly, but lower position people hardly say.

TAGALOG Most of the time, “hindi kumikibo”. Indirect – telling somebody. Avoiding hurts. Pasaring, paramdam (behavioral – e.g. dati kasama sa table/pagkain), parinig (verbal).  Dinadaan sa “BIRO” (pero totoo…). Ambiguous.  It takes “LAKAS NG LOOB” because of “BALAT SIBUYAS”.

Resolving conflict in your culture?

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Another question from our training, How and when is conflict resolved in your culture? i tell her the truth

AMERICANS Violence. Separation. Arguments. Public humiliation. Sometimes it is resolved. Pursuing greater good (so, set aside differences). Lawsuits. Admission of guilt. Celebrate diversity (not really resolved).

BIKOLANOS A story!

BRITS People move away. Emigrate. Communication sshoved head into sandtops. Avoid the other party. Historically: Duelling.  Nowadays: show down – win or lose, followed by beer in the pub. In politics: resignation.

CANADIANS Seldom resolved well. Good if admission of wrong. Court cases. For Christians – forgive.

CEBUANOS Laban-laban – Division/Faction. Note: Blood is thicker than water.  Negotioation with a 3rd party as negotiator. Legal sanction.  Ang isog magpabilin (matira ang matibay).

GERMANS Not resolved unless relationship is highly valued. Direct confrontation/talking is needed. Inside family: maybe bigger group. With friends: mostly between two people.

ILOKANOS Tagapamagitan – mediator. Time heals. Pagpaparaya – letting go of rights. Pagpapasa-Diyos.

KOREANS Collecting people who support one’s side. Easily divided into two groups.Very difficult to be resolved because of miscommunication. Through third party who is respected by both parties.

TAGALOG Relationships are ruined! Humahanap ng kakampi! Justified our side! Most of the time it is not resolved. “Amor propio” occurs. “Hiya”- we do not approached the person. Just let go and let “TIME HEALS” which is related to being “MATIISIN”, MAHINAHON”, MAPAGTIMPI.”

What does conflict look like?

August 2, 2009 Leave a comment

More from our group exercise.  We answered the following question: In your culture, how do you know when there is bad conflict? conflict 2

AMERICANS: Violence. Broken relationships. Pink slip. Verbal personal attacks.

BIKOLANOS: Through conversation – heated arguments. Suggest there is a conflict – verbal attacks are normal!

BRITISH: Voices raised. Flying objects. Not wanting to work together. Tangible silence. “Being sent to Coventry.” “Being given the cold shoulder.”

CANADIANS: Feelings of tension. People cannot talk. ; Serious conflict: Angry words, verbal attack.

CEBUANOS: Tsismis (gossip)– stories spread against the person. Tabi-tabi .Pabungol-bungol – pretending not knowing anything.

GERMANS Angry while talking. Open arguments. Personal attacks through words. Sometimes (or in later stage) no talking and meeting at all.

ILOKANOS Cold/silent treatment – avoidance. Pahiwatig – indirect “attack.”

KOREANS: No recognition, no greeting, no meal together. Criticize each other. Talk someone badly.

TAGALOG: Expressed through “body language like walang kibo (silence), masungit (harsh). Mostly every conflict is personal.  Note: NOT TRUE is the saying “walang personalan, trabaho lang”.  Criticism – degrade the person’s personality.

The problem in the world today

June 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Downhere sings about The Problem, a new song I downloaded last night.   In the song, they are asking about the problem of misery and evil in the world today.  They are looking around for the causes–evil corporations, government conspiracies, even the devil and surprisingly, they discover the problem is: Me!

Here is ther first stanza

There’s got to be some reason for all this misery
A secret evil corporation somewhere overseas
They’re pulling strings, arranging things
It’s a conspiracy

and the third stanza

Everybody’s wondering how the world could get this way
If God is good, and how it could be filled with so much pain
It’s not the age-old mystery we made it out to be
Yeah, there’s a problem with the world
And the problem with the world
is me

Not very popular today to take responsibility for ourselves but as they song goes, if we all accepted that the problem begins with us, the world would be a different place.

And even better, the solution that they point to is that we need a redeemer!

So great is my need for a redeemer
That I cannot trust myself

No, I cannot trust myself
I dare not trust myself
So I trust in someone else

Here is a link to all the lyrics

Forgiveness lies at the heart of our civilization

April 8, 2009 Leave a comment

My wife pointed me to a long, complicated (for me) and wide ranging article by Roger Scruton, ” Forgiveness and Irony” in City Mag. Scruton is warning about an abandonment in today’s western cultures of our Christian roots.  Forgiveness and irony are two “gifts that we have received from our Judeo-Christian tradition.”  I dont quite understand what he means by irony but a few of his comments on forgiveness are worth quoting.  Scruton writes

The first of these gifts is forgiveness. By living in a spirit of forgiveness, we not only uphold the core value of citizenship but also find the path to social membership that we need. Happiness does not come from the pursuit of pleasure, nor is it guaranteed by freedom. It comes from sacrifice: that is the great message that all the memorable works of our culture convey. The message has been lost in the noise of repudiation, but we can hear it once again if we devote our energies to retrieving it. And in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the primary act of sacrifice is forgiveness. The one who forgives sacrifices resentment and thereby renounces something that had been dear to his heart.

The West’s democratic inheritance stems, I would argue, from the habit of forgiveness. To forgive the other is to grant him, in your heart, the freedom to be. It is therefore to acknowledge the individual as sovereign over his life and free to do both right and wrong. A society that makes permanent room for forgiveness therefore tends automatically in a democratic direction, since it is a society in which the voice of the other is heard in all decisions that affect him. Irony—the recognition and acceptance of otherness—amplifies this democratic tendency and also helps thwart the mediocrity and conformity that are the downsides of a democratic culture.

Forgiveness and irony lie at the heart of our civilization. They are what we have to be most proud of, and our principal means to disarm our enemies.

Hot vocanic link

April 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is a hot link to a spanish video of the eruption of Llaima in Chile. Just for my wife.  Thanks to Eric at Eruptions.  Check out at his website for info on the eruption of Redoubt in Alaska and future ones around the world.

Global warming or not?

April 4, 2009 2 comments

A poem from a (tck) third culture kid

March 31, 2009 3 comments

Someone sent us this poem not too long ago and maybe it will help all of us to understand ourselves if we are tcks or if we are trying to understand others who are tcks.  Written by a high school senior.

America; Foreign Home

How could I tell them?
They would never understand…
That my heart and life are split in half,
Yet each bleeds into the other side, undefined.

They know not the side of me that belongs across the sea.
They only know what the eye can see; the American inside of me.
And yet this American is tainted, stained, infused
With the chaos, the wonders, the essence of her other home.

My people have not known what it is like to save a child from the streets.
My people have not known the abject poverty, the smell of disease.
They have not heard nor seen the vain, desperate cries to empty, ugly gods.
It is not enough to show them our pictures or see a video. It is not enough.
They simply don’t get it… Until that same voice pricks their hearts.

All the dinners, all the fellowships, all the talks
With all the average people in all the average churches
It wears one down to explain over and again that
America has now become the foreign land.
The awkward silence ensues, and they serve more food.

Because they don’t understand this foreign land, they don’t understand the foreign me.
I’m too foreign to be American, too American to be foreign.
I have become a puzzle-piece, with ever-changing, ever-morphing sides.
With some I do not fit; the kids in the States would never match my sides.
That is sometimes unbearable; sometimes freeing.
Sometimes both at once.
Maybe I have the worst and best of both worlds.
I will keep searching for my niche; for I know that my misshapen heart
Will always have a home no matter where I go…
Home is in following Him.

Alexandra
Bangalore, India
Sept. 2008

People of the screen and people of the book

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Lengthy article on the future of reading in The New Atlantis by Cristine Rosen

She speculates

  • will the book be around much longer?
  • what will become of the book and its related print culture?
  • Will “collaborative ‘information foraging’ replace solitary deep reading”?
  • Will “the connected screen will replace the disconnected book”?
  • Does regular reading truly benefit our society?
  • Are print literacy and screen literacy complementary capacities or just competitors?
  • Will a new reading class develop?
  • Should we be the master or the student when we read?
  • “What exactly is reading?”
  • Are screen readers more “users” or “consumers” and not “readers”
  • What can e-books do better than printed books?

Near the end of her article, Rosen writes,

If reading has a history, it might also have an end. It is far too soon to tell when that end might come, and how the shift from print literacy to digital literacy will transform the “reading brain” and the culture that has so long supported it. Echoes will linger, as they do today from the distant past: audio books are merely a more individualistic and technologically sophisticated version of the old practice of reading aloud. But we are coming to see the book as a hindrance, a retrograde technology that doesn’t suit the times. Its inanimacy now renders it less compelling than the eye-catching screen. It doesn’t actively do anything for us. In our eagerness to upgrade or replace the book, we try to make reading easier, more convenient, more entertaining—forgetting that reading is also supposed to encourage us to challenge ourselves and to search for deeper meaning.

I guess as long as there are printers, I will still be able to print my e-books so I can read them!

the second plane

April 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Dead Zone of the Human Spirit
Martin Amis looks unflinchingly at Islamic terror 18 April 2008

Reading The Second Plane is a bracing experience. The anger and upset that I felt on September 11 and the days that followed simmered again. Especially powerful was Amis’s review of Paul Greengrass’s 2006 film, United 93, about the doomed 9/11 flight whose brave passengers crashed it (at over 600 miles per hour) into a Pennsylvania field before it could obliterate the White House or the Capitol. For all his wrenching realism, Greengrass spares us something, says Amis: United 93 has no children in it. Yet when was the last time you boarded a plane that had no children?

“It is hard to defend your imagination from such a reality (and the Internet will not willingly tell you about the children on the planes of 9/11),” Amis notes. He then brings us where Greengrass and the Web don’t:

“‘What’s happening? Well, you see, my child, the men with the bloodstained knives think that if they kill themselves, and all of us, we will stop trying to destroy Islam and they will go at once to a paradise of women and wine.’ No, I suppose you would just tell him or her that you loved them, and he or she would tell you that they loved you too. Love is an abstract noun, something nebulous. And yet love turns out to be the only part of us that is solid, as the world turns upside down and the screen goes black. We can’t tell if it will survive us. But we can be sure that it’s the last thing to go.”

Brian C. Anderson is the editor of City Journal

Moral Values on the college campus

March 3, 2008 Leave a comment

Heather McDonald has just written a follow-up article on campus rape in City Journal.  Once again she has some things to say that are worth hearing by college administrators and parents and students! When I told a British friend about her premise that Universities are actually contributing to the problem of sexual promiscuity, he said that would never happen on U.K. campuses.  Hmmmm.   Well, I don’t agree with everything McDonald said–a rape counselor told me that in her experience, very few women will tell their families they have been raped because of the shame and questions that will be asked.  Even though I am an abuse survivor myself, I do not begin to understand the pain, fear, hurt and anger on this subject.  I think I need to move on to another topic.

Woe, woe, woe . . .”The Dumbing down of America”

February 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Just read “The Dumbing Of America: Call Me a Snob, but Really, We’re a Nation of Dunces” by Susan Jacoby in the Sunday, February 17, 2008; Page B01 of the Washington Times. May need to register to read the full text article.

“Americans are in serious intellectual trouble — in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.”

“Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture (and by video, I mean every form of digital media, as well as older electronic ones); a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.”

“First and foremost among the vectors of the new anti-intellectualism is video. The decline of book, newspaper and magazine reading is by now an old story. The drop-off is most pronounced among the young, but it continues to accelerate and afflict Americans of all ages and education levels.”

“The shrinking public attention span fostered by video is closely tied to the second important anti-intellectual force in American culture: the erosion of general knowledge. “

“That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. . . it’s the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism — a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse.”

I wonder what someone surveying evangelicals would discover today? I remember reading David Wells’  scathing No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology a few years ago (1993)in which he talked about the problem of anti-intellectualism among evangelicals.

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