Sledding in Edinburgh - March 2018

Edinburgh rarely gets more than a dusting of snow so it was a rare and wonderful blessing for our kids to experience the 2018 Scotland Snowpocalypse which dumped at least a few substantial inches of snow in the city.  I grabbed some sleds at a local store and the kids took to the backyard and nearby Holyrood Park to enjoy some sledding fun. 

Please see below for a short video compilation of the kids' sledding adventures.  Many thanks go to our friend Hendro who played cameraman while Joshua steered in the final segment of the video.  There are also a few indivual photos I have pasted after the video.

 

If you cannot see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube 

How Theological Education in Thailand is Different from the West

If you spend enough time in Thailand, one of the phrases that you’ll hear often is “Same, Same but Different,” meaning that two things are almost exactly the same… but not really.  The difference may (or may not) be substantial, but that depends on your point of view.  A vendor is trying to sell you a wrist watch and you ask if it is a genuine Rolex.  Well, it is same same from the vendor’s perspective. But the buyer’s might view it differently.

When it comes to theological education in Thailand, there is a lot that is same same as theological education in the Western world…but there are significant differences too.  My point is not to say one in genuine and the other is fake, but rather that on the surface the two have many similarities.  But when you dig a bit deeper there are important difference as well.  These differences have an impact on how teachers teach and how student learn.  Therefore, whether you are teaching Bible school students in Bangkok or running a modular leadership training program in Chiang Rai, it is important to have a heads-up on factors to consider if your previous experience of theological education has been primarily in the West.   In this post, I want to briefly consider, in broad brushstrokes, what is the same between Western and Thai theological education, and three things that are different.

seminary class in chapel

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When it is NOT Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

For anyone who has grown up in a culturally-Christian country, it can be a bizarre experience to be in a majority non-Christian country on December 25th.  It is Christmas, but it isn’t.  During one of my first years in Thailand, a Buddhist majority nation, I remember sitting through a school pep rally on Christmas Day at the government college where I was teaching English. It wasn’t about Christmas.  It was just rah-rah-go-team-our-school-is-great.  It was just a normal day for everyone.  Students went to classes.  Teachers taught.  Everybody went to work.  No mention of Christ, or even Santa Claus, although at the end of the pep rally parade there was an odd non-sequitur effigy of Uncle Sam hanging from gallows with IMF written on his chest.  I didn’t quite understand what that had to do with the rest of the parade.  

Meanwhile, in the United States, it would have been looking a lot like Christmas, or least the Western celebration of it.  Carols. Tinsel.  Presents.  Big sales in the stores.  Everyone asking what everyone else was doing for the holiday.  Schools and businesses closed, and people traveling to see family.  Snow, or at least images of snow.  Regardless of whether people are committed Christians or just enjoying a secular holiday of family, food, and gifts, those are the kinds of things that many Westerners think of when they are getting in the “Christmas spirit” or say that it is beginning to look like Christmas.

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