Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dear All

I am sorry to have been away for so long. I was away for Chinese New Year, and it has been taking me a while to catch up since. All is well here, I am pleased to say, and I hope that it is with you too.

Hong Kong has had a prolonged cold spell. Not as cold as many of you have had, but down to 8 degrees celsius all the same, which is cold for Hong Kong - and most of us have no heating. Personally, I find it a welcome relief from the heat of the rest of the year, but most do not. Temperatures have been warmer today!

I started at Ming Hua College on Monday taking a small, but enjoyable, Christian Ethics class. I have inherited a progamme for the classes, which the Principal very kindly said I could alter, but which I thought it wise not to, at least not until I get used to the College and find out more about how things are done. So, for the next few weeks, we are going to be looking at various ethical issues including some of the usual controversial ones: abortion, homosexuality, war, etc.

In Ethics courses, in general, these are the issues that normally get tackled and they certianly need to be looked at. I am a bit worried, however, that Christian Ethics is seen as making decisions about issues many of which will only concern some of us irregularly. I think I am far more worried about the issues that confront all of us every day. Issues such as losing our temper, shopping too much, watching television, lack of self-control, and so on. It's not that the headline issues aren't important, obviously they are, but all too often we let ourselves off the hook of the immediate issues by focusing instead on the more dramatic ones. My hope in the future is to blend consideration of the doctrine of the just war with a discussion about when it is ok to get angry.

Anyway, to compensate for the time being, I am going to be leading a Lent course on Christian living starting tomorrow at Christ Church where none of the headline issues will be discussed and instead we will be thinking of the principles and motivations that underlie the Christian life.

One of my favourite verses in the New Testament is Ephesians 4:31

'Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.'

You may know the prayer:

'Lord, make all the nice people good,
and the good people nice.'

Ephesians 4:31 is the clue as to how we could all start to be both nice and good. And it's far harder than taking up an ethical stance on sex and war!

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