On being an engineer 

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This little story appeared in The Atlantic in an article entitled ‘Programmers: Stop calling yourself engineers’ by Ian Bogost.

In Canada, many civil engineers wear an iron ring symbolizing the ethical commitment their profession undertakes. The ring is proffered in a ceremony called the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, in which an oath penned by Rudyard Kipling is recited. It reads, in part, “My Time I will not refuse; my Thought I will not grudge; my Care I will not deny toward the honour, use, stability and perfection of any works to which I may be called to set my hand.” (The U.S. Order of the Engineer offers a similar but less poetic rendition of the oath and the ring.)

A persistent legend holds that the rings are forged from steel reclaimed from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed catastrophically upon construction in 1907, killing dozens of workers. Though false, the myth still holds up allegorically. Even if it doesn’t embody it, the Iron Ring’s steel represents the Quebec Bridge, and every other. Engineers bear a burden to the public, and their specific expertise as designers and builders of bridges or buildings—or software—emanates from that responsibility. Only after answering this calling does an engineer build anything, whether bridges or buildings or software.

The full article in The Atlantic


Ideas to challenge the youth

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For many years now I have been involved in a youth ministry, that seeks to proclaim the truth about Jesus and to make disciples of all. In many cases, the easiest step is to get a student to make a decision for Christ. The difficult part is to make a disciple of the student. It is a long, most times a life-long task, with most of  us having little inclination or patience and almost no skill in discipling. I myself do not have any typical youth leader gifts, but time and again God has confirmed my calling to be involved in youth ministry. So, this is my quest on ideas to build up the faith life of students. These ideas are only a supplement to the basics of Bible study, prayer, fasting, evangelism, fellowship etc that a christian needs to practice on a regular basis. These are just ideas that may help a  student to learn/grow more in interesting ways. This will be a post that will be continually updated when I get new ideas.

  1. Write essays to learn how to defend their faith – Many  students have faith based conversations with their friends. Many times, they are at a loss to defend their faith or don’t know what stands to take on a particular issue as a Christian. Of course, one can read many Christian publications or blogs to see how more mature christians take a stand and we can align ourselves to a take that we feel closest to. But, the re are evergreen topics that transcend any generational barriers – like homosexuality, abortion, etc. Questions on these topics might be faced by every christian student who attend a university or a school. How do we prepare them? I think one relevant way is to ask them to write essays. Like a school assignment, they would have to do research strictly from the Bible, (supporting quotes, viewpoints are allowed, but,) the main argument should be Bible based. They can do this individually or in groups. I think is a fun way, to make the students delve into the Bible and also build up a foundation of their belief. It is no longer a Youth pastor preaching to them, but they looking through the Bible to discover the truth. This will hopefully make them more willing to obey the Word of God. Do remember to ask the students to hand in their essays in order to see if they are walking along the right path. Here is a site I found that has many essay topics we can ask the students to undertake. Essay Topics by EliteWritings

What shall it be?

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​About a week ago, our Pastor preached on growing and producing the fruit of the Spirit. He took care to remind us that the nine attributes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control were not the various fruits of the Spirit, but nine attributes that made up the fruit of the Spirit (singular). Which also meant that none were optional; we need to grow in every attribute to produce a healthy and acceptable fruit.

What is remarkable is not that we are to exhibit these qualities in non conducive circumstances, but that we are never to weary but keep on exhibiting them till we finish the race marked out for us.

Let us examine a few. Love – to love my boss when she’s good to me and to love her in the same manner when she’s not. Patience or long suffering – to not be provoked by my neighbour, to forgive every time and have no remembrance of the wrong. And to exhibit all this with the same vigour and the same intensity, every day, day after day.

J Oswald Sanders calls this the fruit in character – in the inward life. He also talks about the fruit in service – outward ministry. He reminds us that fruit bearing, a mark of true discipleship, however is not automatic; it is optional. “If it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Does our life as disciples set apart time to growing (spiritually) in order to bear this fruit that lasts? What activities, what investment are we doing today to produce the kind of fruit that will enjoy this blessing-  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” That is a radical, life changing, world changing promise.

Which shall it be, little corn of wheat?
Do you choose to live as a golden seed,
Or die alone in an earthern bed
For the hungry world in need?

Will you save your life from the cold and the rain,
Or give it back to the furrowed field
That soon the reaper’ s hands may come
And gather the harvest yield?

Which shall it be, O soul of mine?
Will you love your life for a few short years,
Or give it all for the Master’s sake
And the cry of the world through tears?

Though you lose your life it will spring anew
From the tomb where it once was sealed,
And a wealth of golden sheaves shall stand
In the Master’s harvest field.

-Ruth Gibbs Swall

2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 390 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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It is easy to be ungrateful. It is easy  forget. To stop feeling thankful when a kindness becomes an everyday event.

Filmomania – February 2012

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Starting with the ‘B’ shelf

1) Before Sunrise, 1995, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

2) Before Sunset, 2004, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

3) Before Night Falls, 2000, Javier Bardem

4) Being Cyrus, 2005, Saif Ali Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia

5) Begotten, 1990

6) Being John Malkovich, 1999, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener

7) Battle of the Bulge, 1965, Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw

8) Benedict Arnold, 2003, Aidan Quinn, Kelsey Grammer

9) Between Strangers, 2002, Sophia Loren, Mira Sorvino, Deborah Kara Unger

10) The Best Years of our Lives, 1946, Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell

11) The Band’s Visit, 2007, Sasson Gabbai, Ronit Elkabitz, Saleh Bakri


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Here are the movies I now can proudly claim to have watched, blogged for posterity:

1) An affair to remember, 1957, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr

2) Analyse This, 1999, Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal

3) Anatomy of a Murder, 1959, James Stewart

4) It’s a wonderful Life, 1946, James Stewart

5) The Truman Show, 1998, Jim Carrey

6) I am Kalam, 2010

7) After Hours, 1985, Directed by Martin Scorsese

8) Absence of Malice, 1981, Paul Newman, Sally Field

9) All quiet on the Western front, 1930, Lew Ayres

10) Affliction, 1997, Nick Nolte, James Coburn

11) Anna and the King, 1999, Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat

12) America America, 1963, Directed by Elia Kazan

13) American Gangster, 2007, Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe

14) And the Band played on, 1993, Matthew Modine

15) American History X, 1998, Edward Norton

16) …And Justice for all, 1979, Al Pacino

17) Animal Crackers, 1930, The Marx Brothers

18) Almost Brothers, 2004

19) Amreeka, 2009, Directed by Cherien Dabis

20) The Aviator, 2004, Leonardo DiCaprio, Directed by Martin Scorsese