Saturday, November 30, 2013

Famous Splits

Check out these videos from the inimitable 22Words

Exhibit 1: Jean-Claude Van Damme performs a famous split between two Volvo trucks in an advertisement for its dynamic steering

Exhibit 2: Turns out Ajay Devgan had done something very similar in his Bollywood debut Phool Aur Kaante many years ago....

I'm feeling sick just thinking about this!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ten Times It's Wise to Hold Your Tongue

This is something we all really need to practise MUCH more.

Hold Your Tongue!!

A nice article from Lina Abujamra at TrueWoman

1. When you have no idea what to say
Proverbs 17:28: "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent."

2. When you're wrongly accused
1 Peter 2:23: "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return."

Isaiah 53:7: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth."

3. When you're mad
Proverbs 25:28: "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control."

4. When you're confused about life
Lamentations 3:25–28: "The Lord is good for those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord . . . Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth to the dust—there may yet be hope."

5. When you wouldn't want someone else to find out you said it
Luke 12:3: "Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops."

6. When you don't really mean it
Proverbs 3:28: "Do not say to your neighbor 'Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it,' when you have it with you."

7. When you can't stop yearning for the good old days
Ecclesiastes 7:10: "Say not, why were the former days better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask this."

8. When you have a lot to do and you don't like it
Philippians 2:14: "Do all things without grumbling or complaining."

9. When the timing is wrong
Proverbs 25:11: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver."

10. When you don't have anything to say that gives grace

Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it."


I think a lot of this is true for online 'talk' as well. It is so easy to write stuff on Facebook and blogs when it would be far wiser to hold our tongue and just not say anything at all.

Possibly Related Posts from the Past

1. New Comment Policy

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why We Should Legalize Murder for Hire

This superbly written post by Betsy Childs makes perfect sense.

I'll be the first to admit it; hit men are shady. But they are shady because they are doing work that no one else wants to do, work that is, in fact, illegal. By labeling contract killing a "crime," we have obscured the fact that hit men provide a valuable service to society.

Bourne SightMany women find themselves trapped in unwanted marriages. Matrimony severely curtails a woman's freedom, and husbands can be unreasonably demanding. A woman in such a situation is vulnerable. She sees only one way out, and so she makes the difficult decision to kill her husband.

But the inconvenient truth is that a woman hiring a hit on her husband will likely have to pay tens of thousands of dollars, with no guarantee that the kill will actually take place. Legalizing the transaction would remove uncertainty. Hired guns could be vetted, trained, and held to professional standards of safety. No one wants a hit to go bad. Removing the threat of prosecution would drastically lower the cost of contract killings. Legalizing murder for hire would bring a sordid industry into the light.

Read the rest.....

Possibly related posts from the past:

1. Open reply to M: Why abortion cannot be a matter of personal choice

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Happiest part of my Day...........

Is returning home from work!

I am usually overwhelmed by the affectionate way in which my wife and children welcome me.

Quite similar to what these elephants display!

I hope as the kids grow up and become teens, they will not begin responding as this 'teen-age' elephant does!

(HT: 22Words)

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Ridiculous Grace of Adoption

For me, being adopted is a picture of God's total sovereign control over all of the specific details he lovingly orchestrates in our lives. Over time, I have come to recognize a theme in my life of what I call ridiculous grace.

I'm talking about the times God intervenes in our lives in such flagrant, extreme ways. He interrupts the logical order of things, and turns everything upside down in the best way possible. He took me from being an unplanned pregnancy, to being a much-wanted "chosen child."

And there's the gospel—things were going along one way, but God intervened, and changed everything, because he's God and he's good and sovereign.

When God adopts us into his family, it's a picture of what Christ has done to come and save us and bring us to the Father. And when Christ, our elder brother, presents us to his Father he says, "Isn't she pretty, doesn't she look just like me?" The Father loves and accepts us because of what Christ has done on our behalf.

(From: The Ridiculous Grace of Adoption)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What an appetite!

At breakfast this morning, 5 year old Tammy looked on with incredulous concern at the number of bread slices I was planning to eat.

"You are terribly hungry, isn't it?", she asked.

Namrata, my 4 year old daughter, stepped in to protect her dad from this slur on his character.

"My Dada's fat," she said, by way of explanation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"A Calvinist at the Pearly Gates"

A Calvinist arrives at St. Peter’s gates and sees that there are two queues going in. One is marked “predestined,” and the other is marked “free will.” Being the card-carrying Calvinist that he is, he strolls on over to the predestined queue. After several moments an angel asks him, “Why are you in this line?” He replies, “Because I chose it.” The angel looks surprised, “Well, if you ‘chose’ it, then you should be in the free will line.” So our Calvinist, now slightly miffed, obediently wanders over to the free will line. Again, after a few minutes, another angel asks him, “Why are you in this line?” He sullenly replies, “Someone made me come here.”

From Michael Bird's book: Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction

(HT:Trevin Wax)

Possibly Related Posts from the past

1. Men who go so high in doctrine.....
2. Three random but possibly related quotes I have read together in the past week.....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How well should we live?

Do click over to read John Piper's interview, in which he discusses why he chose to live like an 'ordinary pastor' even though he was earning so much more in book royalties and speaking fees.
John Piper
"When I began my ministry as pastor at Bethlehem, it had never entered my mind that I would produce a lot of income by writing. I received modest honorariums of one or two hundred dollars for weddings and funerals. I accepted these with thanks. I did believe suspect that, if I was faithful, income would rise, and sooner or later I would make more than I needed. Therefore, I believed from the beginning that plans should be in place to put a governor on laying up treasures on earth. Otherwise, little by little I might assume that my wants were my needs, and the expenses would expand, as they always do, to fill the income. So Noël and I put in place a "graduated tithe" from the beginning. That is, we tried to give a greater percentage with each salary increase, not just a greater amount.

With the successful sales of Desiring God starting in 1987, I saw that there could be substantial income from writing and speaking. I resolved that I should not keep this money for myself but channel it to ministry. I never doubted that the Lord would provide us with a salary that would be sufficient for our family. So I saw no reason to keep the money that came in from the books and speaking. These royalties and honorariums were being earned while I was pastor of Bethlehem, and so it seemed the church should benefit from them, not me privately. 
At first, I thought I could do this simply by channeling the royalties to the church, but realized soon that this had tax implications. Since these royalties were technically in my control as the copyright holder, giving all of them to the church made me liable for income taxes. So we created a foundation. The Desiring God Foundation now owns all the copyrights of my books and intellectual property, and receives and distributes all the income. I have no access to the money at all. I do sit on the board of the foundation with my wife and five others. This board safeguards the aims of the foundation, and makes the decisions to which ministries the income should be given. It is a thrilling ministry. 
In addition, we made the decision that all honoraria would go to the ministries we represent, not ourselves. That was usually the church while I was pastor, and now is Desiring God. While I was a pastor at Bethlehem, I never received an income from Desiring God. So for the last 25 years or so, we have lived on one stream of income. That is still the case, as I am now paid by Desiring God. I have never been in any serious need. None of this has felt like a sacrifice. I know myself incredibly rich by the standards of the world. Beyond all doubt, it is more blessed to give than to receive and keep."

In some contrast, do read these two stories of Christian leaders who have landed in trouble recently over their plans to build new houses.

Steve Furtick
One of them, Steve Furtick, says he made the money from the sales of his books, and also gave a lot of money to his growing church. He could still afford to build a 1.6million dollar house, with a total square footage reported at 16,000 feet (8,400 of it heated), and spread out over 19acres.

Presumably, he had made the money honestly, was entitled to being able to build this house, but was still in trouble because 1. he was not being very open about how much salary he was drawing from the church, and 2. many people felt that he was not right in keeping so much money for himself.

Read about him here, and about his defence to his church and their support of him here.

 Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst: "The Bishop of Bling"

The second story is of a Catholic bishop (nicknamed 'The Bishop of Bling') who has been suspended after he spent 31 million Euros renovating his house in Germany.

Some writers contrasted him with Pope Francis (who took his name after Francis of Assisi)

"It is hard to imagine a greater contrast between the alleged luxurious living habits of the German bishop and the ascetic style of the Argentinian pontiff, who, from his first hours in office, has made clear his desire for "a poor church … for the poor". Shunning the large and opulent apostolic palace, the pontiff has chosen instead to live in the simple surrounds of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican guesthouse. He often travels in used cars and has urged priests to do the same, telling them: "If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world."

So, here's the question:

Why is it particularly wrong for a Pastor to earn well, save well, and live well ? Why do we expect that they should live lives of poverty, (or, at least, they should not live more extravagantly than we do!)

What about the, say, Christian doctor, or IT professional, or teacher, or banker or lawyer?

Is what is bad for the pastor good for the rest of us?

Possibly related posts from the past:

1. Sacrificial Giving
2. Some thoughts on Giving (and the Tithe)
3. God's way of making us a part of His Kingdom

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Comment Policy

Over the last few days, this site has been receiving a number of comments. Yesterday, I had to take the unusual step of deleting a number of them.

When this blog was resurrected in July, 2012, I made the decision to permit comments, including anonymous ones. (Read what I wrote at that time)

I think it has unfortunately become necessary to frame a new policy for comments on this blog. I am borrowing from the guidelines on a number of other Christian blogs I follow. So here goes:
New Comment Policy

Comment Policy on the Countertrend Blog

It has now become easy to comment on this blog. Anybody can comment. For the moment, I have continued to permit anonymous comments, and the use of pseudonyms. I have removed the 'Word verification' step that used to be required. It is easier, in a way, to make a comment on this blog than ever before.

Commenting being so easy, it is easy to get a comment published that you might regret having said later.

May I therefore suggest the following guidelines that I try to follow myself:

1. I recommend that you use your own name when commenting, especially because I feel that when we take ownership and responsibility for what we post, it helps to keep discussions civil and constructive.

2. I suggest comment-ers follow the Golden Rule for commenting on the Internet: Never publish something on the Internet that you would not ever say to the author of the blogpost face-to-face.

3. Feel free to disagree with me, and to question what I am writing. Those who know me well, know that I relish a great debate and discussion.

Do so, however, in a respectful manner as you would if we were to talk face-to-face. If you want to criticize, do so in a constructive manner, suggesting how things may be said better.

4. I will, however, continue to reserve my right (as administrator of this blog) to delete or moderate some posts. I will continue to delete comments that are snide, rude, uncivil and boorish. The same goes for off-the-topic rants and trolling. I will continue to delete spam and other offensive links.

I would like this blog to be a place where we might be able to discuss issues in a reasonable and cool-headed manner, without the heat and discourteous incivility that seems to mark so much of our public dialogue these days.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6)

Wise Words from Dr Seuss

This site has a collection of 37 extraordinarily-good quotes from the incomparable Dr Seuss.

Here are my Favourite Eight:

(HT: 22Words)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Change My Heart, Oh God!

O Lord, give me I pray:

  • a remembering heart for the things that have happened
  • an attentive heart to what I have heard
  • a forgiving heart for what has hurt
  • a grateful heart for what has blessed
  • an open heart to all that may come
  • a trusting heart to go forth with You
  • a loving heart for You and all Your creation
  • a longing heart for the reconciliation of all things
  • a willing heart to say “Yes” to what You will.

- Leighton Ford

(Quoted by Trevin Wax)

Possibly Related Posts from the Past

1. Moving in step with God

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Arun Gautham, one of our Anesthesia PG's, writes (very well) about his unexpected (and unusual) decision to work for a while in ASHA Kiran Hospital, in Lamtaput, and how, he feels, he has gained much as a result.

Possibly Related posts from the past

1. What is a Mission Hospital?

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Power of the Gospel

"The power of the gospel comes in two movements. It first says, 'I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe,' but then quickly follows with, 'I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope.'"

- Tim Keller

quoted by Josh Harris

Possibly Related Posts from the Past

1. So Flawed yet So Loved!
2. Everything you are in the world is of no value.....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wed-lease: A new definition

Via: Gene Veith

"Attorney Paul Rampell, writing in the Washington Post, says that we need to recognize that marriages, like other legal partnerships, often do not last a lifetime. So he proposes that marital contracts be developed along the line of leases. That is, a marriage would be negotiated for a particular period of time, with an option for renewal."

"Here’s how a marital lease could work: Two people commit themselves to marriage for a period of years — one year, five years, 10 years, whatever term suits them. The marital lease could be renewed at the end of the term however many times a couple likes. It could end up lasting a lifetime if the relationship is good and worth continuing. But if the relationship is bad, the couple could go their separate ways at the end of the term. The messiness of divorce is avoided and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit."

What an idea!

Probably related posts from the past:
1. A letter to a young (imaginary) Christian couple, Raja and Rani, who are planning to get married soon.

"Pathological Generosity?"

Here is the curious story of a man in Brazil, who had a stroke, and then started giving his money away, along with food and drink to street children. Scientists have concluded he is suffering from "Pathological Generosity"

The man himself explained his behaviour by reportedly saying that he had worked enough and that it was time to 'enjoy life which is too short.' He apparently told doctors he was aware of changes in his behavior and claimed he 'saw death from close up' and wanted to 'be in high spirits' from then onwards.

I read this story on Gene Veith's blog, where one insightful commenter concluded:
"Live like Christ commands and the world will assume you have brain damage."

I wish more of us would live "Countertrend"!

Possibly related posts from the past:
1. God's way of making us a part of His Kingdom
2. Inasmuch as you have not done it to the least of these my brothers.......
3. What is a Mission Hospital?
4. Sacrificial Giving
5. Tithing and Giving
6. Giving with a difference