Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Theistic Moral Philosophy

Most of us as Christians will believe that morality has a very central place for a Christian life. But how exactly is morality related to Christianity and God? How is a Christian to understand the nature of good and bad, right and wrong? Is there a framework to make ethical evaluations and justifications? How are we to decide moral issues in the event of moral dilemmas? Is lying ever justified? To be able to grapple with such issues and have a time of ethical reasoning and to understand one such conceptual framework on moral philosophy come join us.

Venue: Orchard Road Presbyterian Church, Dunman Basement
Date: 2nd May 2005 (Tuesday)
Time: 7:45 pm-9:30 pm
Topic: Theistic Moral Philosophy
Presenter: Dominic Foo

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Theology Of Art

Some notes from Agora KL forum conducted by Footstool Players' Colin Kirton.

We are created to live creatively and artistically because we are created in the image of a creative, artistic God. Exercising our creativity is an act of worship as well as an act of communication.

Nigel Forde:
Art is revelatory, not functional – a mirror, not plastic surgery.

The artist can play the roles of a...

Court jester – speaking the truth as he sees it, however uncomfortable it may be; sometimes the audience screams back at him, sometimes it sits shame-faced and silent.

Doctor – pointing out diseases, making prognoses. Bringing us to face issues we would rather bury, deal with them and find healing.

Guide – taking you on strange and beautiful journeys to places you never have found on your own.

Clown – showing you reasons for laughter and delight. See hope in despair.

A Christian worldview in our efforts means it is important that we see arts through the lens of creation, fall, redemption and character and purposes of God whose hand moves throughout history.

Redemption is Christ’s conquering of sin at the cross, Christ’s continuing work in our lives and Christ’s culmination of redemption in eternity.

Our art should reflect beauty in the midst of ugliness, life in the midst of death, dignity in the midst of disgrace, purpose in the midst of meaninglessness, truth in the midst of lies and excellence in the midst of mediocrity. (“It is good!”)

Levels of Christian artistic expression (Steve Turner)
1) Arts that doesn’t suggest any obvious worldview i.e. a playful ditty
2) Arts that dignifies human life and introduce a sense of awe
3) Art that carries imprint of biblical teaching that isn’t uniquely Christian
4) Art inspired by Bible’s primary theological themes
5) Art that depicts the unique Christian gospel of death and resurrection

The bible gives us wonderful case study of itself, a work of art that has inspired artists in every generation.

Look at how Genesis first portrays God as Creator, the attention to detail in the tabernacle and temple building, music and songs of worship in the Psalms, the honesty of Wisdom writings like Job’s, how people may need to be confronted with the bankruptcy of life without God before he is willing to even consider the alternative (Ecclesiastes), the practical wisdom of Proverbs, the graphic love poem in Song of Songs, the prophets inspire artists to prick the pretentiousness of those in power and injustice, speaking on God’s behalf through bizarre acts that provoke and shock like Ezekial, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Hosea etc..

The artist must prophesy not in the sense that he foretells things to come but in the sense that he tells his audience at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts

Not to hit people with the truth like a bat and leave a bad taste in the mouth like a soap powder advertisement. But to puzzle, provoke and prompt the right questions as well.

Through the prophets, God seeks to recapture their imagination and hearts through painting pictures in the visions that were described, through picture words – his hopes for them, his worst nightmares of what was in store for them if they turned their backs on him. (Michael Card)

In New Testament, we see God speaks the final, living and luminous Word incarnate – Jesus Christ. A picture of drama where the word became flesh, Jesus communicates creatively through parables, stories and object lessons.

God’s art showing God’s heart.

Recommended Reading:

The Creative Life by Alice Bass
Scribbling in the Sand by Michael Card
Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts by Steven Turner
Art & Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts

Christianity and Western Art

Duccio, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Rubens, Picasso, Warhol, Mapplethorpe etc... The relationship between Art and Culture is linked intricately. How does an artist depict(s) his/her worldview? What assumptions lie behind the piece of art work? More critically perhaps, how should a Christian view the arts? Should we abandon them completely, or can the Gospel of Jesus Christ speak to an aesthetic world that is increasingly desperate in its search for meaning?

Presenter: Benjamin Ho
Date: April 19, 2006
Time: 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
Location: Orchard Road Presbyterian Church.

For more information, contact Joshua (90428098) or Benjamin (92729469)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Agora Meeting - Fit Bodies Healthy Minds

Our upcoming Agora meeting will see a presentation by Herman Chauw on Physical Culture and its relation to Christianity. With hundreds of health fads out there all proposing their own methodolgies of cultivating the "perfect" body, what then should be the Christian response. How should we "cultivate" our bodies? How natural/authentic are our training methods? Our speaker - who is a gym trainer - will help us shed some light on keeping our bodies (and our minds) fit for the work of God.

Date: 15th April 2006 (Saturday)
Time: 1:30 pm (meet at Braddell Mrt station)
For more details, pls contact Joshua (90428098), Herman (96406544) or Benjamin (92729469).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Reformed Evangelical Fellowship Meeting (Dr Lee Jian An)

Below are the details of the Reformed Evangelical Fellowship upcoming meeting. Agorians, do attend if you are able to. The meeting will be predominantly conducted in Mandarin.

Date: April 8
Time: 1400 hrs
Location: North Bridge Road Centre (#05-11)
Speaker: Dr Lee Jian An
Topic: Participation in the Reformed Movement

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ben Witherington on Prosperity Gospel

"...well what is wrong with a message that speaks about kindness, and generosity and success and prosperity? What could be wrong with this? What's wrong with a message that hardly ever mentions Jesus by name, or sin, or suffering, or self-sacrifice?...

...How very different indeed this message is from John Wesley's Famous Sermon "On the Use of Money" in which he stresses that if you make all you can honestly and save all you can, but do not give all you can to relieve poverty, feed the hungry, make well the sick you may be a living person but you are a dead Christian.

Notice as well that Jesus says quite clearly three things at the end of Mt. 6: 1) we should seek first God's kingdom and his righteousness, and the necessities of life will be added to us. Jesus does not say anything about wealth will be added to us. He says the necessities will be taken care of if we are God-focused and seeking his righteousness, not our profit.

Sometime ago when Donald Trump was riding high, he was interviewed on the subject of "how much is enough?" This was after he had assets totaling in the millions. His answer was very revealing--- "a little bit more." This is the truth about human nature, and what Paul says about that nature is that it needs to be crucified, not indulged, it needs to die not be pampered..."

Read the full article here