Helping Those Who Suffer


My third teaching video, Helping Those Who Suffer, focus on how, on a personal level, to be alongside people who suffer. I am not dealing here with large-scale questions of how to rid the world of evil and suffering, even though that is an important question to ponder.

But my focus here is narrow, at the level of friends helping friends face adversity or tragedy. Hence, the examples in the video are of that nature.

Below the video is a PDF handout for group discussion.

Helping Those Who Suffer by Shiao Chong

To download an accompanying pdf discussion handouts suitable for a short workshop or a small group, click here: Helping Those Who Suffer

 

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Story-Making as Shalom-Making


(On October 24, 2015, I delivered this keynote address at the Christian Courier Story-maker’s Symposium, celebrating that Christian newspaper’s 70th anniversary. Give and take some spur of the moment revisions and minus introductory remarks and the power point slides, this is the presentation I gave.)

I am going to show a music video as part of my talk today. But before I do that, I am going to read three passages from the Bible. There are well known Bible passages. And then, I will give some background info so that you can appreciate the video better, then show the video. And after that, I will try and tie them all together in my talk, somehow.

Read Genesis 11:1-9; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Proverbs 14:12.

I am going to show you a music video by Sinead O’Connor. Sinead O’Connor, if you don’t know, is an Irish singer, raised Roman Catholic.

Sinead O'Connor By Pymouss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sinead O’Connor
By Pymouss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

There are a couple of things you need to know about her in order to fully appreciate the music video I am about to show you. First is that Sinead became an international music star in 1990 when her hit song Nothing Compares to You hit No. 1 in several countries including the UK and the USA. Nothing Compares to You, which I think is still the song that most people remember Sinead for, is basically a song about a woman lamenting the departure of her lover, as nothing is the same without him in her life because, well, nothing compares to him. Its accompanying music video also became iconic, where the video comprised almost entirely of a close up of Sinead’s face as she sings the song. Remember this iconic close up shot (for the video).

A note about Sinead’s shaven head – she originally shaved it as a protest against traditional views of women, it became her trademark but also became part of her identity. She once said, “I don’t feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I’m an old lady, I’m going to have it.” [Barkham, Patrick (20 February 2007). “The Bald Truth”.The Guardian (London).]

One other thing that Sinead O’Connor is (in)famous for is her appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, where during her performance, she presented a photo of Pope John Paul II to the camera and ripped the photo to pieces and said, “Fight the real enemy.” Sinead, throughout her career, has, shall we say, a testy relationship with the church? She has often criticized organised religion although she has said before in interviews that she still considers herself a Christian. She is an outspoken feminist and had spoken against child abuse in the church.

That’s what you need to know to more fully appreciate the music video (embedded below). Continue reading

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Four Models of Racial Reconciliation


Black&White Handshake - Still_from_the_film_Colour_Blind_(2009) via Wikipedia

Black&White Handshake – Still_from_the_film_Colour_Blind_(2009) via Wikipedia

From my experience, I have found that many disagreements around racial issues revolve around differences between the participants’ definition of what counts as racism and what does not. Hence, I have found George Yancey’s book, Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility (IVP 2006), helpful in this regard. Yancey, a Christian sociologist at the University of North Texas, describes in the first part of his book two different definitions of racism and four basic models of racial reconciliation that flows out of them. In this blog, I want to briefly outline them for you. Continue reading

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Sharing Your Faith


This is my second teaching video. In this video, I reflect on four major themes drawn from the apostle Paul’s practice in Athens.

Hope you will be blessed. PDF download link is below the video.

Sharing Your Faith by Shiao Chong

To download an accompanying pdf discussion handouts suitable for a short workshop or a small group, click here: Sharing Your Faith.

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Christian Leadership


Leadership Lane via Wikimedia Commons

Leadership Lane via Wikimedia Commons

This is my first teaching video! I have made six five teaching videos which will be uploaded with accompanying pdf discussion handouts. I will try and roll them out over the next few weeks.

In this video, I reflect on four major principles of Christian Leadership set in an acrostic: L-E-A-D for easy remembering!

Hope you will find this beneficial. PDF download link is below the video.  Continue reading

Posted in Calling, Campus Ministry, Leadership | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Tactics of Deception


Scarecrows from Wikipedia

Recently, I read a book called, Debunk It! How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation by John Grant (Zest Books 2014). I don’t agree with everything the author espouses but I do agree with the need for us to rise above the world of misinformation that is pervasive these days on the internet. And Christians, sadly enough, are as guilty – sometimes even more guilty – of misrepresenting and misinforming news and facts. Often, the more controversial the issue, or the bigger the stakes, the more likely or tempting it is for Christians to resort to exaggerating or stretching the truth a little, maybe leaving some facts out so as to give false impressions without actually flat out lying. To that end, Grant’s book – Debunk It! – lays out some strategies to arm ourselves to detect such misinformation when we see them.

In this post, I want to lay out some tactics of deceptive arguments – false argumentation – that are (whether intentionally or not) often used to make claims sound actually true or logical. Sad to say, I have read many some Christian books, especially in folk apologetics – i.e. apologetics, the art of rationally defending the faith, done by less than professional specialists – who have employed these disreputable tools for the sake of winning an argument for the faith! I think Christians should do better. Now, some militant atheists resort to the same tools to discredit Christianity but Christians should not stoop to that same level of argumentation. Christians who believe that truth-telling is an important spiritual virtue should do better than rely on dubious misinformations and rhetorical methods that do not advance truth but only score points to win an argument. Speaking the truth in love is not speaking to win at all costs. So, here is a list of some of those tactics of deception drawn from Grant’s book.  Continue reading

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Hate Won’t Win


Charleston_Shooting_Memorial_Service By Nomader (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Charleston_Shooting_Memorial_Service
By Nomader (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, on June 17, 2015, a white man joined a bible study/prayer meeting inside the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and later, shot and killed nine people, including the pastor. It was described as a hate crime.

I almost did not know what to say. As I read, watched and heard the news, I have only sadness. Yet, with the powerful witness of the grieving families, and the resultant show of solidarity in South Carolina, I also have hope.

I feel I need to write something about this, but I don’t think I have anything new to add to what many have already said and wrote on the matter. So, I choose in this post to share with you some of my favorites that I read/watched on the Charleston shooting, that you may be edified.

Continue reading

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