#269 volcanic ash disrupt air traffic

The ash spewed from a volcanic eruption, which began as early as April 8th, from the southwestern part of the Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull glacier has disrupted air traffic according to news received yesterday.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines

“The meteorological situation is such that the volcanic ash is progressing very slowly eastwards but there is not a lot of wind… so it is very slow and very dense,” he (Mr Flynn) told the Reuters news agency

The move silenced Heathrow airport, the world’s second busiest, and stranded tens of thousands of passengers around the world.

The Republic of Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland all later shut down their airspace entirely, while there was also major disruption in France, Germany, Poland and Spain. (quoted from BBC)

According to a resident who had planned to travel from Oslo to London told the BBC, he had to stay home and he could actually smell sulfur in the air.

#268 thrift

THRIFT

is inscribed on a polished block of marble in the center of Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Built during the Great Depression, this building is a monument to the wealth and power of John D. Rockefeller —

“Thrift is essential to well-ordered living.”

 

Sir John M. Templeton (1912-2008) wrote:

“The qualities that distinguish

thriftiness from mere cheapness

are noteworthy.

Thrift is part of wisdom.

Thrift and gratitude,

thrift and ethical standards, and

thrift and hard work

all go hand in hand.

The Bible, literature, poetry, and philosophy,

as well as examples from daily life and most faith traditions,

demonstrate that thrift is

more than just understanding the bottom line.

Indeed thrift is

part of a religious and cultural understanding of

how we use our time, our talents, and our resources.

As inherently virtuous as thrifty living is,

its capacity for leading to deep joy is severely limited

if its goals are merely self-serving.

On the other hand, when thrift is combined with the virtue of generosity,

when empathy opens the doors for channeling the thriftiness to generosity,

the potential for good is greatly magnified.”

#267 church needs

I do hear this during worship service: we need leaders or volunteers for such-and-such. Why are the clergymen crying out? Why are slips of paper given out to members to fill out areas they can serve?

 When the members filled that out, are they approached? Or, has the church minister become mini-god to decide who can serve?

 If this was the case, why the hypocrisy of handing out slips of paper for members to fill out areas they can serve?

 It appears church ministers recycle members who they had appointed as leaders. They seem not to know new ones to fill that need!???!

 Mind you, there are many groups in the church for the clergyman to tap on — men’s or women’s groups, retirees, adults, youth, bible study or small groups and many others…

 Accordingly, the church minister is called to serve and shepherd the flock of his congregation. If there were dire need among the members, is this not a reflection on his ministry — that he has failed to shepherd his believers to maturity!

 Has the church become an enterprise or corporation that she has to continually hire staff-workers for certain tasks in order that the church can run smoothly? With the economic downturn, will the church have the funds to hire?

 In the past, the church minister has to shoulder lots of task himself with help of his members by delegation. At the time, the church minister was given a stipend. Today, church ministers are well-paid. In fact many are paid at market-rate according to academic qualifications!

 From time-to-time I hear preacher chiding (to him, exhortation) from the pulpit – those attending worship Sunday after Sunday and not participating in church activities are considered pew-warmers.

 Remember, the preacher (and church staff) are called and hired to mature believers. Has he not insulted himself by making such remark? Has he failed in his ministry to inspire members to serve?

 Or, is the spiritual life of the minister and his team still on the milk-level even when they were trained in bible or theological schools!

 My question: has the church minister approached a member for the task he requires? Does he know his members by name? Or, as the excuse goes: “Oh there are too many for one of him to get to know the members?” If that was so, has he the right to scold from the pulpit?

 Often there was allegation or reminder that on judgment day, God will separate the goats from the sheep – hoping this guilt will stir members to involvement.

 Inevitably the preacher puts himself above the congregation that he belongs to the sheep category – that God will pat him on his back and say, “well done my boy, you were called to serve” – is this how that will pan out on that day? I shudder at the thought!

 Glad the God of the Bible is the God of love where He demonstrated His love while we were yet sinners Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected – God experienced that death to save us!

 Is the church minister able to preach, teach and inspire members to capture the magnitude of that love and power of God in Jesus and, in gratitude to return that to God?

#266 “seduced into idolatry”

I lift this portion quoting from blog, Without Wax by Pete — http://withoutwax.tv/2010/02/16/seduced-into-idolatry/:

John Ortberg recently wrote a fantastic article for Christianity Today where he ended with the following questions.  He labeled the series of questions the “Idol Quotient Test.” While this is geared toward people in ministry I think you can easily adapt each question to your current situation.

—Where does my sense of security come from—from God or from how my church is doing?

—After a worship service, do I find myself grateful that God is God and feeling joyful that I get to live in his care?   Or, if I’m honest, are my emotions dictated more by how many bodies were in the room?

—Do I spend more time thinking about God, or thinking about how to make my church/ministry do better?

—How do I feel when the prospect for more prizes in the church tournament—recognition, praise, reputation, applause—get taken away from me?

—Does my sense of identity flow more out of my relationship with God or out of my performance at church?

—How much do I sacrifice to know God better versus how much do I sacrifice for my church to work better?

What a good check and reminder on WHO the clergy and leaders of the church or Christians profess to believe!

#265 rebuilding haiti

For one living the other side of the globe, I glean understanding from the actual footage of catastrophe or apocalypse through the media — read, hear and see from videos and pictures.

In the US, since 911, the rebuilding on the former World Trade Center site is yet complete. I wonder about this situation in Haiti.

To rebuild Haiti from scratch is a monumental task. Who will take the initiative? Who can come up with a masterplan to help in the rebuilding? Which comes first? The infrastructures or housing? Or both these got to be built at the same time?

Accordingly, funds are available to help those survivors. How are these funds managed?

BBC’s journalist, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes gave a candid and factual record of the situation today on — Haiti’s ‘ghost’ tent villages:

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8488728.stm.

One thought struck me: Since tents are not available for all the survivors, why not supply the basic building material for the Haitians who live in the outskirts of the city to rebuild their own homes?

Offer alternatives…not just suggest building temporary tents to tie Haitians over the forthcoming monsoon period!

Ask the Haitians how they can help themselves?

Surely the Haitians want to help themselves. They know how to build for their own survival. Many had survived before the quake, surely given whatever raw material to help these folk to help themselves through — which might cost just as much as for those NGOs to building interim tents. Or, am I a little naive?

Let’s help the Haitians to help themselves to their feet. I’m sure many are still in state of shock but when there is something to fix their minds and hearts upon — when they are able to build their own temporary quarters, miracles might happen — there will be greater self-respect and hope.

#264 possible quake predicted 2 years ago

No one expected an earthquake to break out in Haiti even though she was warned 2 years ago by scientists a quake was possible. No one believed this could happen as there was no quake for the last 200 years in its natural history. No one was prepared for this tumultuous magnitude.

The 7.1 magnitude Richter scale earthquake literally wiped away the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince — its infrastructures and all government buildings; presidential palace, justice palace and the churches and cathedrals and the 5-star hotels…many, many others. These buildings were supposed to withstand the quake but… Naturally the loss of human lives outweighs all — the nationals (an estimate of 150,000 or more dead in a city of 3-4 million people without mentioning those homeless and missing), foreigners and peacekeepers.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the West, if not in the world. This is the result of greed and corruption of governing leaders who thought of themselves rather than the people. Is this one ugly face of democracy?!

The aerial view of the island is made up of Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the Dominican Republic, it’s green but on the Haiti side, it’s brown, little vegetation. Were the people in Haiti so poor that they exhausted that they could find in order to survive? Interestingly, the quake whose epicenter struck close to the Haitian capital did not affect the Dominican Republic.

However the Haitians are resilient. One witnesses those surviving are grateful they are alive.

Children as young as a few years old were rescued from the rubble after several days without nourishment or liquid; a few elderly in 70s and 80s; and the one in his 20s after 11 days! One cannot underestimate the will and  inner strength of man…

Looting was evident in all places of tragedy when aid was slow in coming after several days fled by.

Though the promised aid was forthcoming but food and water was slow…so very, very, very slow in reaching the people in need…naturally a hungry man is an angry man.

How do you survive and keep sane and good when your loved ones are missing or dead? Dead bodies strewed everywhere. The stench in the air. People are in state of shock. Rubbles strewed all around. Buildings collapsed. No home to return to. Literally nothing!

My impression of Haiti was Haitians practised voodoo which is one black magic or dark forces which even seeped into the churches – the Catholic cathedral and the Episcopalian cathedral! Can this quake wipe out this voodoo practice?!

Can Haiti start from ground zero? I know the people have the ability but… Will the necessary aid and billions of funds raised get to the people there?  (I hope NOT those American contractors assigned to build Haiti though!) Are there good and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves for nation-building?

On Russia Today Spotlight tv program, I heard an interview where this young Haitian student working on his postgraduate in Russia is very articulate in his understanding of his own country and insight into the devastation.

Those Haitians studying overseas will not be able to receive funds from home any more…

I pray for God to raise good, upright and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice for the new breed of Haitians.

#263 cosmetic appearances

I gather the new young generation is going for cosmetic surgery to look better — beautiful or handsome — in order to clinch a job OR get (clinch??) a spouse! If this is true, they’re bucking the trend of the Koreans or the Japanese or the China Chinese!

What a sad state! But then someone has to make money from the naivettes!

Since the recession, even though this has not impacted that much in this part of the world, there is the ‘frugalista’ (from Investopedia) group where these keep up their appearances by buying from 2nd-hand stores for clothes or going for the less expensive trendy cheaper range of clothes but going for expensive haircuts.

Often times I wonder about keeping up with appearances.

I certainly have experienced when I decided to do some real shopping, I’d dressed down. Guess what? I’m NOT served. The salesgirl would look me up and down, and decided to move away. I smiled to myself. I am the queen here as I have the money! If these salespersonnels have jobs of their choice, they would not be in this line.

This experience proves why some salespersonnel bring in more sales. However the sales manager might pitch to them that they need to know which customer would bring in a sale. Psychology or otherwise, it’s the personableness and persuasiveness of the salespersonnel who  brings in a sale.

However when I decide on window-shopping, I would dress better and, well, well, well, I received attention. I smiled to self as I enjoy watching the reaction of the salespersonnel when they could not persuade me.

You see salespersonnel do not know the real value in making money. A sale is a sale so long as the cash register tinkers. By selecting the better-looking and better-dressed customers, one might just lose a sale to a less-dressed customer who had entered!

Job-selection: looks might be important but at the end of the day, it is performance that works the miracle. So whether better-looking or less, it’s one who can deliver the quota or rake in more money for the company that counts. If the company did not make money and go bust, would the staff continue?!

As the proverb goes: Never judge a book by its cover.

Besides, cosmetic surgery makes one look plastic!

Beauty comes from the heart — a gentle and quiet spirit (New Testament Bible) — NOT outward appearance as fashion suggests!