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Academic Shame and the Honor that Really Matters

At some time, most of us have found ourselves in a new situation where we wanted to feel competent and get things right but were afraid of getting it wrong and feeling embarrassed in front of others.   Maybe it was starting a new job or going to a new school.  Maybe it was a parent or romantic interest whom we wanted to impress.  I’ve certainly felt that way many times in life. Most recently, I have moved to a new country and started a doctoral program.  In my new station in life, I’d rather appear as neither an ugly American nor an ignorant fish-out-of-water at the university.  But the reality is that I probably come across as one or the other or both from time to time.

Given my recent move, I was particularly struck by the following story from Mark Baker in “Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials.”  I’ve been slowly working my way through this book over several months, and providentially I came across this testimony of Baker’s experience of being a first year Ph.D student at the same time I had just started my own Ph.D studies.  As Baker points out near the end of his story, a lot of people can’t identify with studying for a Ph.D but but all of us have experienced shame at some point and tried to hide the feeling that we just don’t measure up to those around us. 

Tags: Education
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Book Review ~ The Fundamentalist Movement among Protestant Missionaries in China, 1920-1937

Kevin Xiyi Yao, The Fundamentalist Movement among Protestant Missionaries in China, 1920-1937. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2003.

reviewed by Karl Dahlfred

 

Cover "The Fundamentalist Movement Among Protestant Missionaries in China, 1920-1937"Fundamentalism among missionaries in China has been lightly touched upon by scholars of Chinese history, Chinese Christianity, and fundamentalism more broadly but there has been little focused attention dedicated to fundamentalist missionaries in China.  In this published version of his doctoral research, Kevin Xiyi Yao has aimed to fill in this gap with an historical study of the events, people, and institutions associated with fundamentalist Protestant missionaries in China during the years 1920-1937.  As Yao points out in his introductory chapter, such a study is needed because previous scholarship on missionaries in China has almost exclusively focused on the social, cultural, and political impact of missionary activity while neglecting questions of the theological dynamics of missionary motivations and activities.  However, the story of change in China during the first half of the twentieth century is multi-faceted and the role of missionaries in those changes cannot be explained with socio-cultural approaches alone.

The primary goal of Yao’s book is largely historical and explanatory, intended to be a preliminary work upon which other scholars may build in order to investigate fundamentalism in China more precisely.  A secondary goal of the book is to show that fundamentalism in China during the period in question was neither a mere importation of foreign doctrinal disputes onto Chinese soil, nor simply a continuation of the conservative Protestant missionary consensus of the nineteenth century, namely a belief in an inerrant Bible and the necessity of believing in Christ for salvation.

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Return of the Green Screen

When our family was on vacation in San Francisco, we happened to pass by a giant green screen sitting on the edge of the sidewalk by Pier 41.  If you are not familiar with green screens, these giant green backgrounds are used by moviemakers to project real actors and actresses onto fake backgrounds, such as in spaceships and so forth.  The kids and dad had experimented with a green screen app on the phone when we were at home but we really didn't have a proper green screen available.  Thankfully we had some toy lightsabers (from Star Wars) in our backpack and the kids had a good time playing in front of the green screen while I filmed them with the app to insert special backgrounds.  Then I plugged the video clips into the iMovie app (which has a nifty movie trailer template) and voila!

Watch "Return of the Green Screen" on YouTube

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

vanilla beans

What You Need:

10-12 vanilla beans, grade B

1 bottle 80-proof vodka/ bourbon

How to Make It:

  1. Take out a cup of vodka from the bottle, so as to make it easier to shake the contents around.
  2. Separate the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the pods to expose as much of the beans as possible.
  3. Add the beans and scrapings into the vodka bottle.
  4. Label the date on it, cap, and shake it rigorously.
  5. Let it mature for 2 weeks to 2 months, until its smells like vanilla extract as you know it.
  6. Strain and enjoy.
  7. Put the beans and scrapings back into the bottle, add more vodka and repeat the process. It can go multiple rounds, though it may take longer to finish each batch.