Eskimos of Jerusalem and Other Extraordinary Israelis.
(Sam Orbaum.  306.08924  ORB)
In the Jerusalem Post there is a regular feature called "Not Page One".  Orbaum, whom I met at the Jerusalem Post Fair, is interested only in stories of people who do not make it to page one of JP.  In this collection, we catch glimpses of the ordinary man-in-the-street.  Who is the ordinary man?  "Someone who has been through the Holocaust, helped to build a nation, and then fought in three or four wars, is a merely ordinary person in this country", wrote Orbaum. 

You will read about Eric Knitsen, the dyslexic harbourmaster from Alaska raking a new life in a landlocked city.  The un-rabbi-like Rabbi Mordechai Machlis and his family of 18.  This family opens their home for erev-Shabbat (Friday evening) and Shabbat meals every week for up to 150 persons - the rich, poor, homeless, tourists, troubled, single and families.  People receive not only physical food but also spiritual morsels about Torah wisdom and morality.  You will read about Idl Ben-Avraham who died five months short of his hundredth birthday.  The opening line reads:  "They laughed during Idl's funeral.  Idl's sense of humour was legendary".  Then there is the article on the woman who became a spy without knowing it. There are more than a hundred persons described - all real people who live (or had lived) in Israel.  With the Middle East in the news everyday, don't you wonder what kind of people these Israelis are?  This is a book that gives us just such a glimpse.    (PSM)

Note: The library receives the international edition of Jerusalem Post each week.

Chapel was, by default, led by Mrs. Peck.  She shared from Nehemiah 3, a chapter that most readers would probably skip.  After all, who is interested in who stood next to whom and what they did.  Yet there are bits that we can glean to enrich our walk with the Lord.  One lesson is "How much of our rights are we willing to surrender?"

Think of the High Priest, Eliashib, and his priestly brothers.  They soiled their hands in constructing and erecting the Sheep Gate.  We read about goldsmiths, merchants and perfumers who spent those months repairing the walls of Jerusalem.  They worked with their hands, carrying rocks and huge stones - all manual work.  It makes one wonder what became of those hands that were skilled in fine works of gold.  One man had his daughters working alongside him.  What a great sacrifice!  It was truly a united project of "Let us arise and build". 

In the years that followed, as they sat under their vines and fig trees, I wonder if they compared the injuries they sustained.  Did they look at their rough misshapen hands and feel proud that these were the hands that rebuilt those walls?

What do we have to show for our labour for the Lord?  As we age, do we regret that we did not choose an easier life?  How much of our rights are we willing to surrender?  We concluded with the song, "The greatest thing is knowing/loving/serving you".

Dr Philip Satterthwaite will speak at chapel this Wednesday.

The last module of TENT 2001 will be held in September.  This is open to anyone who is interested.  Tentmakers and Ethical Issues will consider some of the ethical issues which Christian professionals may encounter in their jobs overseas.  The sessions will include case studies and discussions on issues like bribes, integrity, and connections.  The four sessions are on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 - 9.30 p.m. beginning on 4 September.  Inquiries may be directed to Mr. Walter Edman at or Mrs. S. M Peck at sm_

Dr. Ng Peh Cheng was recently appointed an educational specialist member in the Commission of Accreditation and Educational Development of Asia Theological Association (ATA).  We thank God for her contribution to the work of ATA. 

If you have had time to follow up on the "good books" recommended, we wonder if you've any comments for us? Do drop us a line.

Wonderful things can be found while you are browsing through the shelves. Ivory Palaces by Martha Snell Nicholson, c1946 (Call No. LC 810.45 NIC) is one of those I picked up recently. This book is a collection of poems by Nicholson on Bible verses and her walk with the Lord. Here is a short one to whet your appetite: 


Lord, haste the day 
When Thou shalt say, 
"Cease from your long entreating." 
A call, a light, 
A Presence bright, 
And I my Lord am meeting! 
Glory-filled skies ... 
Time falters ... dies ... 
(Hush, my heart, your beating!) 

Other poetry books are also found under this Dewey Decimal number, 810.45. ENJOY!!!


What would you say if I told you that you could know exactly who you are, what you are to do with your life and what you will become at the end of your days? Hallelujah! How much do I have to pay to get the answer?

Well, I'm not the one who can give you the answer but Os Guinness tries to in his book, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of your Life. In it he defines calling as "the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service." 

To be honest that definition didn't exactly sent a shiver down my spine right away. After all, I was familiar with the idea that Christians as a class are "called-out" ones (the ecclesia). Yes, and salvation is all about being chosen by grace and who doesn't know that God calls us all individually into being and relates to us personally. But somehow, Os Guinness has a way of bringing home the true implications of what it means to be "called". It is not just about being called to a certain task or vocation (although it is certainly about that), or to be so specially gifted you can't escape your calling (although that is the response of most creative people), or even about that supernatural direction to a sacred calling (although that is the most usual experience of those who enter full-time ministry). Yes, calling is all that, but much, much more. It is more because we have been called "to be". Who we are, what we become and what we do with all that has been given to us (gifts, circumstances, opportunities, even burdens) are all involved in being called.

When a group of working adults in my church came together to explore this seemingly simple concept of  "calling", the initial impression was that it had to do with our work - what we do with our everyday life.  However, as we proceeded we discovered that unravelling calling was like looking at a diamond; we were dazzled by the multiplicity of its faces.  Not all of them are positive because there is a dark side to calling too. But to understand what I mean you will have to read Os Guinness for yourself.

As for us, in that little group, we were just grateful that in His providence God allowed us to share with one another the fascinatingly different ways in which He can lead us to self-discovery. I am sure most of us came away with some degree of comfort in the conviction that no matter where we are on life's journey, the fact that we've been called means that we can never be lost in our search for fulfillment and purpose in life. We may not have gotten it perfectly together, but if we pay closer attention to our Caller, we will surely hear his voice and see where he is beckoning us.

Wishing all these  who celebrate their birthdays this week, God's richest blessings!

Mr James Chua Seng Ban  08/28  Mrs Tan-Heng Siang Hoon  08/29
Ms Rosalind Teo  08/30  Ms Lim Bee Lum  09/02

Top | Home | Library | Archives | Email |
Biblical Graduate School of Theology
4 Bishan Street 13
Singapore 579792
updated on 27 Aug 2001
© Oct 2000