|Issue No. 04||Feb 2013|
|Chinese New Year Announcement|
|Editor's Article (Dr Lai Pak Wah)|
|Question: “What is the most frequently mentioned number over Chinese New Year gatherings?” Answer: 6. 9 million. For those familiar with postmodern philosophy, the recent responses to Population White Paper is an excellent classroom illustration of Hans Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics (or theory of interpreting texts). For try as they may to assert the meanings they intended for the White Paper, the author(s) just could not prevent the masses from reading it otherwise, i.e., according to their contexts. A concrete expression of this ‘reader-response’ reading is, of course, the mass protest held just over the weekend at Hong Lim Park. But the legitimacy of the claims on both sides is not my agenda here. Rather, what I would like to do is to reflect on “What the 6.9 mil figure means?”
Ask someone in church this question and the common response may well be, “Well, it’s about immigration!” But this cannot be an answer in itself. Rather, it is a remark that begs further questions, such as “what does immigration mean to us, Singaporean Christians living in present day Singapore?” Now, the popular sentiments are numerous and already well expressed in the newspapers and online. Let me consider just two.
The first is this: Immigration means crowded roads and public transportation and Singaporeans finding ourselves surrounded increasingly by alien faces or cultures – a clear sign of immigration policy spinning out of control. Yet, this cannot be all it means for Christians, much less the disgruntled remark that the new immigrants are detrimental to Singaporeans and taking up jobs that deservingly belong to us. While others may have the right to say this, Christians, I think, must be more careful about our remarks. For first and foremost, we need to remember that our Christian identity, ultimately speaking, is that of an immigrant or pilgrim. Indeed, our first spiritual ancestors, so to speak, were that group of aliens who spent 400 years in Egypt before being delivered from slavery by our Lord. It is on this same basis that Moses would instruct the Israelites not to mistreat the strangers among them but to “love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” So, strangely but surely, it is through the loving and acceptance of the new migrants in our midst that we will encounter Jesus Christ – that immigrant and alien par excellence (for nothing can be stranger than the fact that the Creator actually became creature and walked in their midst!). This is not to deny that there are issues to this new influx of immigrants. And I am not going to be naïve to think that I can propose some resolutions here. Nonetheless, I do think that the Christian response to these developments cannot be just popular refrain, but more nuanced than this.
Let me move on to the second popular understanding of ‘immigration’, namely economic growth. The argument is essentially this: that without the fresh injection of migrants, our economy will slow down. In due course, we will not be able to sustain our ageing population or current standards of living. It is beyond me to speculate on a proper correlation between migrant and economic growth that is sustainable on the long run (there are at least 2 versions of this already in circulation, and perhaps, many more proposed over coffee in the Kopi Tiams). This aside, my present concern is this: that many of these migrants have come to work in Singapore on less than ideal terms (be it salaries or living conditions), terms I would be horrified with if they were ever offered to me. Concurrently, I also recognize that the many comforts I presently enjoy and afford are founded largely on these less than ideal employment structures. This being the case, to what extent then am I culpable for the poor living conditions that so many foreign workers are experiencing? As Christians, is there more we should think about, more we can do to love these neighbours like ourselves and to correct this problem? Other than the few Christian NGOs (e.g., Healthserve), Singaporean Christians, I think, have generally ignored our responsibility here. Yet when our Lord comes, will He hold us responsible for this neglect?
There are no easy answers to these questions. Nonetheless, a question once asked will elicit new possibilities. It is my prayer then that as we ponder over the 6.9 million figures, our focus will not be so much so on the problem that immigration brings, but our Christian responsibility in the face of all these migrant neighbours who are around us. To learn to love them in Christ.
The next chapel worship service is on 20 February 2013, led by Dr Philip Satterthwaite. Chapel begins at 12 pm. All are welcome.
On 27 February 2013, we will be having a worship service led by Mr Quek Tze-Ming. There will be time of prayer. We welcome your participation.
|BGST faculty and staff would like to express our condolescence to our alumna, Ms Hukali Aye, for the recent passing of her husband, Kent. Kent was Asst Prof (NT) in the Gospel & Plough School of Theology. We pray that our dear Lord will comfort Hukali during this period of her bereavement.|
BGST Library and Book Corner will be closed this Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 1 pm. and 12.30 pm. respectively.
This is to facilitate the EOGM on the same day at 2.30 pm.
We apologize for the inconvenience caused.
|Lift Servicing for March 2013|
Please be informed that the Lift No. 4 leading to the main entrance of BGST will be undergoing servicing on 5 Mar 2013. Kindly make use of cargo lift no. 6 at the back of the building. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.
Please be informed that the following courses will be postponed to the next semester due to low enrolment:
ADDICTIONS: ON SUBSTANCE & PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLING
CHILDREN’S SPIRITUALITY AND MINISTRY FORMATION
SPIRITUALITY FOR CHRISTIAN FORMATION
This is an introductory course to provide a broad understanding to Christian Spirituality. The undergirding conviction and thrust of this course is that to be a Christian is to grow to more Christlike. The course aims to be both academic and practical. Besides lectures, students will be in small groups for both class discussions and spiritual formation practicum throughout the course. They will be writing weekly journals, and meeting with the lecturer for personal spiritual conversations. There will be in-depth discussions dealing with how can we grow deeper in our spiritual life in a busy world e.g. finding the rhythm between work and rest, cultivating the spiritual disciplines to keep one's spiritual life vibrant.
To view course description, please visit the webpage at http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/CS101-ECF503-13.pdf
|Upcoming Intensive Courses in April 2013|
EXPLORING 1 CORINTHIANS: CULTURAL CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES AND GOD’S SOLUTION THEN AND NOW
First Corinthians is the longest pastoral letter Paul wrote to any church. To understand this letter, there is the need to firstly understand what caused the problems in the church in Corinth after Paul left to continue his ministry elsewhere. These were the inroads to surrounding culture and also social changes in Corinth. This course will examine these causes in detail, and the consequences of embracing the cultural way of doing things and not thinking out clearly and responding in a Christian way when new changes come about. The course will then explore issue by issue Paul’s answers on how to resolve the problems. To summarize,we will explore:
(a) Cultural Causes,
We will also address the implications of this for the 21st century church as an important model for pastoral care of fellow Christians.
To view course description, please visit our website at http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/nt253-13.pdf
CRISIS IN THE CHURCH: 2 CORINTHIANS’ SOLUTION THEN AND NOW
"For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10, ESV). No statement better reveals Paul's view of the nature of Christian ministry. No person except Paul was so self-disclosing about his own struggles and difficulties, and how this helped the church to move forward and not divide. This course examines in detail 2 Corinthians, the letter that Paul wrote because the surrounding culture could provide no solution on how to resolve a breakdown in relationships between ministers and members.This certainly has implications for Asian churches where the stresses and strains in church life often lead to breakups. Paul’s letter shows the way forward for ministers and members with God’s solution for His church.
To view course description, please visit our website at http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/nt254-13.pdf
|Upcoming Intensive Courses in June 2013|
GLOBALIZATION & POSTMODERNITY: A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
This course provides an introduction and overview to globalization and capitalism, and outlines the key theological issues and concerns that they pose to the believer and the Church in Asia today. It seeks to help students better understand, grasp and come to terms with these issues, and not only see their impact on the believer and the Church in Asia, but also be able to formulate a Christian response at a personal and corporate level to them.
NEGOTIATION & CONFLICT RESOLUTION
More details about the course will be given in due time.
|Change of Course Dates|
TRANSFORMING THE PURPOSE OF TEACHING AND THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP
What is God’s will and calling in my teaching profession? How can I discern his hands at work in the midst of pressure and problems in schools? God has designed a special purpose for work and that includes the teaching profession. The Bible tells us of the original purpose of work and education. Jesus is the Great Teacher and the perfect model of effective teaching methods. This course will cover the theology of work and education and how to share the gospel in restrictive educational environments. This course has a dual objective:
To view course description, please visit the webpage at http://bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/CE-ME231-13.pdf.
WORSHIP DESIGN AND WORSHIP LEADING
This course is design for aspiring worship leaders as well as worship leaders who wants a deeper grasp of what it takes to be an effective worship leader. “Man’s chief aim is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). The key question for worship leaders, therefore, is “Did worship really occur? Did the assembly have an encounter with the Triune God week after week? What exactly is worship all about, much less leading others to an encounter with God? As worship leaders, do we pander to the narcissistic culture within and without the church by adopting worldly methods in worship leadership? What exactly is the role of the worship leader in corporate worship?
To view course description, please visit the webpage at http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/at235-13.pdf.
|If you would like to have an overview of the courses we will be offering in Semester 2 of Academic Year 2012-2013, please visit our webpage at http://bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/2012-2013-sem2.pdf
For course inquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Clarus Centre, S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: email@example.com
To access previous issues of BTW click here | To access BGST website click here.
To subscribe click here | To unsubscribe click here.