004

Homogeneity

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11 NKJV).

Much of the violence and unrest in the world today may be traced at least in part to cultural variety. In the transition from colonialism to independence many borders were drawn on the basis of geography alone without regard for radical differences in the ethnicities involved. Former colonial powers ignored tribal enmities and incompatibilities, as well as serious religious tensions. This led to civil war on a vast scale on several different continents. Of course, not every such conflict is traceable to colonialism. The same forces produce conflict in many contexts. Continue reading “Homogeneity”

Fish Mike Brooks

By any other name

“And I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9 NKJV).

Bangladesh is a country of more than 100 navigable rivers plus many ponds, swamps and lakes. It contains the world’s largest delta. Not surprisingly Banglas are fish eating people. Fish is relatively available to them, even to the poorer population. They eat all types – from fresh, salt, or brackish water, wild caught or pond raised. They will drain roadside dishes for tiny crustaceans and minnows, or eat steaks from large species caught in the Bay of Bengal.

Many of their favorites are various species of (or relatives of) carp. There are German carp, China carp, silver carp, minar carp, rui, and many others. I recently ate a new (to me) species which I was told was “katol,” and was similar to rui. After eating and enjoying it my first thought was “by any other name, carp is still bony.” Continue reading “By any other name”

Grads

Reserved

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 NKJV).

When I purchase airline tickets, I prefer to confirm my seats for each leg of the flight as quickly as possible. I like aisle seats, near the front of the cabin, and those are usually the first ones to be taken. If I wait until I check in for the flight, it is very likely that I will not get what I prefer. Continue reading “Reserved”

Taste

Tastes differ

“Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? My soul refuses to touch them; they are as loathsome food to me” (Job 6:6-7 NKJB).

I have always been familiar with the truism that everyone’s tastes differ, but until I started traveling widely I had not appreciated just how universal that is, or how widely it applies. Yes, some like pie better than cake, some have a sweet tooth whereas others don’t, but aren’t some tastes universal? After all, Job has a point – the white of an egg just has no flavor, right?

I know one individual who will not touch the white of an egg – never has, even from childhood. But it was much later that I learned that there are others who will not eat the yolk, and not just for health reasons. They prefer the tasteless (to me, but not to them) white. Continue reading “Tastes differ”

Kites

Kites, fights, and the kingdom

“But Jesus called them to himself and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:42-44 NKJV).

The sport of kite-fighting may be, so far as I am aware, unique to South Asia and near-by regions. In other countries flying kites is a leisurely activity of spring where participants and spectators enjoy mild weather and the beauty of colorful kites playing in the breeze. No so in South Asia. There youths will gather and compete in attempts to cut the strings of competitors’ kites by flying their own into them. The last kite flying belongs to the winner. It can be a fierce and even ruthless contest. Continue reading “Kites, fights, and the kingdom”

Welcome Home

Welcome home

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV).

The U.S. Immigration Service has made a recent change which I like very much. On at least some flights into the U.S. from Asia (and maybe other continents as well) one now clears customs and immigration at the port of departure rather than upon arrival in the U.S.

When I cleared that process in Doha, Qatar on a recent flight, the U.S. immigration officer who stamped my papers looked up and smiled at me and said, “Welcome home.” I must say that was a surprisingly good feeling. Though I was still facing a 15 hour flight, for legal purposes I was already on home soil. It felt really good. Continue reading “Welcome home”

Wind in the trees

Give the winds a mighty voice

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 NKJV).

For the past couple of months I have been in Bangladesh. It was spring here when we arrived, and is now officially summer. As elsewhere, spring is a time of moderate weather and, generally, some wind or breeze. Those breezes typically lessen as summer arrives. Continue reading “Give the winds a mighty voice”

patches

Tear it out

“If the priest examines it, and indeed the plague has faded after washing it, then he shall tear it out of the garment, whether out of the warp or out of the woof, or out of the leather” (Leviticus 13:56 NKJV).

Most modern readers of the Bible avoid the book of Leviticus, arguing that it is only a list of obsolete rules that no longer pertain to us, and besides, who can understand all that strange language? Though I agree that much of the reading is tedious at best, I believe there is much of value to be gleaned from its regulations. Continue reading “Tear it out”

IMG_4080

Visual aids

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV).

There is nothing like teaching an audience which does not speak your language to make one appreciate the value of visual aids. Some things just don’t translate very well. Some English words or concepts don’t have an exact equivalent in other languages. When that happens, the speaker and the translator must resort to other means in order to communicate adequately. Continue reading “Visual aids”