Sunday, August 17, 2008

Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles, Illustrated Guide to Surreal Botany and Romans 15:7 - 33

Lazy Sunday Breakfast
going for service on saturday = a lazy sunday in

a pretty sunday morning. a soft breeze under a blue-sky sun. breakfast is in bed because of renos. gryphon tea company's queen's tea. a delish cottage cheese muffin from a lovely person. the full heft of absolute dark knight.

So lazy a Sunday that later in the week, there had to be a massive lunch-time Romans 15 mug before DG that night. :-p For future reference (a few questions copyright of cldg leader):
Launch questions:
Q: What would you recommend to a new Christian for his growth?
Q: What would you recommend to a mature Christian for his growth?

Read Romans 15:7-33

Romans 15:5-6
Q: What does Paul urge the Romans to do? (15:5)

live in harmony with one another

Why does Paul urge them to do this? (15:6)
that they may with one voice glorify God

Romans 15:7-13
Q: What does Paul urge the Romans to do here? (15:7)

welcome one another

Q: Why? (15:7)
for the glory of God

Q: In so doing, who were they to imitate? (15:7)

Q: What did Christ become? (15:8)
a servant to the circumcised (could mean physical circumcision but more probably circumcision of the heart)

Q: In what way was Christ a servant?
incarnation and death in our place

Q: Why did he go through all this? (15:8)
to show God's truthfulness

Q: How is God's truthfulness shown (15:9)?
Christ's servanthood
  • confirms the promises made to the patriachs; and
  • compels the Gentiles to glorify God for his mercies
Q: Paul then quotes from Scripture to substantiate the points he has just made. How do the quotations substantiate the points?
promises, probably: adoption as God's children, covenants of land, blessing -> ultimately, salvation is, in God's plan, intricately tied in with the nations glorifying God
(sub-Q: Why would the Gentiles/nations glorify God for his mercies? What were "his mercies"?)

Q: How does God's truthfulness bring him glory?

Q: How should we react to confirmation of God's truthfulness?
believe, get joy and peace from that, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (sub-Q: What is this hope in?)

Q: What is the common goal in all that Paul exhorts us to do and in all that Jesus has chosen to do?
the glory of God

Romans 15:14-21
Q: What does Paul say is the problem with the Romans? (15:14)

haha, trick question. nothing's wrong with them. Paul is satisfied about them, that they were full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. Paul was not a flatterer.

Q: Then why has Paul written them this letter? (15:15)
as a reminder

Q: What does this tell us about how Christian growth takes place?
not by new and exciting revelations but by being reminded of the same gospel. same for new and mature Christians. gospel not just launchpad to other things.

Q: What does Paul see as his God-given life's work? (15:15-16)
"to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit"
(minister = servant)

Q: Why does Paul describe his ministry as "priestly service"? How is his ministry similar to that of a priest (OT)? How is it different?
similarity: he is seeking to present acceptable sacrifices to God
differences: not to mediate for people. presenting living Gentiles not dead animals. he will present them as acceptable sacrifices by preaching the gospel to them (see 15:18-20) so that in believing, they are sanctified by the Spirit and thus rendered acceptable to God. (cf Romans 12)

Q: What does Paul think of his work for God? (15:17)
he's proud of it

Q: What about his work does Paul take pride in? (15:18-19)
bringing the Gentiles to obedience to God

Q: To what factors does Paul attribute the success of his work? (15:17-19)
work of Christ Jesus, power of Holy Spirit

Q: How does Paul's goal in ministry challenge our own ministry?
Q: How does Paul's method in ministry challenge our own ministry?

BooksActually, Ann Siang Hill
Someone'd wanted to meet up with an old friend who'd illustrated A Illustrated Guide To Surreal Botany and was hustling for company for the book launch. "I'm gonna have enough surreal botany of my own that night," came one reply,"seeing that I'll be sharing a stage with a walking, talking Rafflesia".

(The next night, no one was particularly pleased with the purple walking, talking Rafflesia who appeared to be merely reprising her role as one of the overacting witches of the unforgettably foul Macbeth by World-In-Theatre (in this instance, foul not = fair (Macbeth 1.1.11-12)). It did not help that her accent was so odd that it was difficult to understand what she was saying.

The shadow puppets (courtesy of Candice de Rozario and Ivan Tan) were entertaining but extremely underused. Wong Chee Wai did good work on the raked stage and the use of the enormous bed as the deck of a ship. And we liked James Tan's clever use of silhouettes.

Over bowls of XO fish beehoon and claypots of frog-leg porridge later, the consensus was that Ng Yi-Sheng's script was probably more suited to a short story than a play with all that saggy pontificating dialogue, and even then, it was said, it would have lacked the tautness and bite of a good commentary. Rafflesia and untoward events as chaos vs control and civilisation? Only somewhat evident towards the end, slightly mitigated by the hint of commentary via plot device of the closing scene mirroring the opening one except that it was the white-clad, white-washed, slogan-spewing soul of Raffles ("I'm not used to blowing smoke up my own ass" Ivan Tan) who was lying on his deathbed. So much for giving OCBC Singapore Theatre Festival another go. Love the concept of supporting local plays but Christopher Nolan's Last Temptation of Harvey Dent would have been (and was in fact) far better and much cheaper.)

Cookies and Tea, BooksActually
The book launch at BooksActually at Ann Siang Hill was fairly crowded. There were cookies and tea and questions about Two Cranes Press world domination, friendly greetings like,"Ooo, I smell a bitch!" and "Get your homophobia out of my face!", a very obnoxious 9-year old trailing Marmee crumbs, heated discussions on how destroying painting = destroying soul of artist and, despite written requests to cease and desist from such action,
Cake the Cat, BooksActually
tapping on the glass to tease Cake, the BooksActually "I'm not a skinny cat, I'm a kitten" cat.

So we sat around nursing cuppas and nibbling on biscuits and chatting with random strangers until it was time to pop by Drama Centre to pick the Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles people for supper. Tony Trickett, substituting for Ivan Heng on the second night we supposed (who was himself apparently substitute director in place of Christina Sergeant who'd gone off to be with her ailing mother), was hanging around front of house PR-ing and seeing the actors off and unfortunately, heard us poking fun at the improbable names of some W!ld Rice Angel sponsors. "XXX is a wonderful supporter, actually!"

Macau Cafe, Siglap
By the end of supper at C.NAI Macau Cafe at Siglap, there'd been reminiscing about past shows and Brian Seward, collective insistence of the iconic importance of the I Theatre chicken, typos spotted in the LTSR brochure ("if Raffles was born in 1819, he was 7 years old when he died after marrying several wives, fathering several children and catching syphilis!"), laughing at an earnest 19-year old who'd asked about the functionality of pillowy lips, detailed discussions on involuntarily ascending scrota and "cryptozoological accoutrements"...

By 2am, there'd been updates on the latest divorces and who'd been cheating on who, and someone boo-ed for still being a virgin (he said it was difficult to beat his cousin's record of losing his virginity to 2 girls at the same time but the rest of the table pointed out that technically, even if the story was to be believed, his dear cousin could only have lost his virginity to one of the girls first).

Why not support divorces that would do the currently marrieds good, freeing them so that they could go find the person out there who would bring them happiness and satisfaction? 36 girls already amassed at age 17? So what? And so what about the sleeping around that allegedly (but is probably too much of a generalisation) characterises the drama/music scene? What's wrong with you narrow-minded, legalistic, repressed, wet-blanket Christians? some one might have been thinking but was too polite to say when the conversation led to her theory that Satan was God's crony, and that they were playing at a goodcop-badcop thing. So either God's written word is a lie or it is not.

I suppose the short answer would be that Christians have the designer and manufacturer's operating manual for the world. And they trust him (first, perhaps, because of external historical authenticity, then later because of his inherent consistency and constancy through the ages, delivering on promises he made hundreds of years before) to be all truthful and all good and to work everything for the good, even evil. And they are far more concerned with living up to their full potential by bringing glory to this inventor God (the purpose for which all humans have been made) than bothering about the keeping up with the latest trend in stab-in-the-dark human-fulfilment human-satisfaction theory that will inevitably prove false with time. In any case, partaking of poorly-lit knife-ridden parties generally increases the risk of having one's eye poked out.

No. 5 Ann Siang Road
Singapore 069688
Tel: 6221 1170

C.NAI Macau Cafe
378 East Coast Road
Tel: 6440 3808

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