We were looking at different orientations towards curriculum development. In an article, Orientations to Curriculum Development for Church Education, Burt Branius listed 3 orientations: the preservative, productive and the participative approach. The preservative is focused of transmission of a highly valued content. The productive is oriented towards developing a curriculum that produces a certain kind of disciple or worker or community. The participative is centered on the learner and his needs and what he is most in need of at that life stage or situation. It is participative in the sense that the learner is more involved in the development of the curriculum. The conclusion of the discussion was that the ideal would be for most Christian faith communities to have some combination of all three. As a church we do have a faith to transmit(preservative); we do have growth outcomes we want to see in our members and in the community; and we do want to minister to the learners’ needs, both felt, hidden or developmental.
Meeting interesting people
Two persons that I was surprised to meet were Cheng Eng Hoon, pastor of Praise Evangelical Church, and Lau King Lang. In the course of conversation I found out that Pastor Cheng Eng Hwa was a brother of two committed lay leaders I knew from Church of True Light, Dr Samuel Cheng and Catherine Cheng. Small world. It was even more surprising when during lesson I heard a familiar name of a fellow blogger, Dr. Anthony Loke, affectionately called the “reb” as in rabbi, by his seminary students. He was mentioned by his wife King Lang during discussions in class! He blogs at Old Testament passion but I must add that Facebook has left quite a number of blogs like the walls of Jerusalem during the exile. Anthony also inherited my Arsenal jersey, when I almost gave up on Arsenal last year. 🙂
Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary in Penang. Air Asia and a shared cab brought me here at 1pm. The room is large and for two persons but I asked for a single room and there were none left, so they gave me this double room with a million dollar view from Batu Ferringhi. The AGST MTh(Ed) module I am attending is titled “Curriculum Design and Development in a Christian Faith Community”. In the three quarters- filled plane, I was speed-reading a borrowed book, “Mapping Out Curriculum In Your Church”, and once I settled in, I continued till I finished it at about 6pm. Having a phone camera is useful as I could take pics of some of the useful and more important charts and tables in the book.
Now it is close to 12midnight. I have had my dinner at the street hawker’s and it was cheap and delicious. I had met up with a new student, a mature Singapore pastor who had just joined the program(Welcome to the club of seniors in life long learning!). I had bathed and made sure all my pre-course work had been done. I feel tired and done for the day. Lord, may I awake completely refreshed and energized for the packed days ahead.
Its church camp season again. Malaysian hotels lay out the red carpets to Singapore churches and rake in the Singapore dollar. This time round our church camp was held in Bayview Hotel at Batu Ferringhi in Penang. When they proposed Penang it seemed an organizational jungle and obstacle course. That was a year ago, now it’s past tense and the organizing team did a great job of delivering one of our best camps ever.
Pastor Vincent Lun was the camp speaker and together with his wife Jenny they brought to us an appreciation of what it takes to be church that welcomes sinners the way Jesus did. They have left what could have been a comfortable pastorate at Riverlife Church and have pioneered a unique missional outpost that reaches the outcasts and rejects and despised of society. They share what it meant to do ministry among such precious but forgotten people. We were blessed by their open sharing of their lives and ministry.
We keep our church camp sessions light. Those were the days decades back when 6-8 sessions is the norm. Now together with revised goals we have a revised program with four preaching sessions, two light sessions of icebreakers and games, and one session of holy communion and group sharing. We introduced an interesting idea: we got 4 young preachers to preach sermonettes of 10 minutes each. One thing we small churches can choose to excel in is to handcraft and develop emerging leadership.
Of chendol and durians
There was time for us to go tour Penang and shop twice. The memorable one for me was when we were dropped off at Komtar Shopping Mall and from there four of us went in search of the Penang durian and chendol. We found the famous chendol stall and there was a constant crowd. The sun was beating us down and the humidity was worse than in Singapore. I was not that impressed with the taste. I prefer my chendol with thicker coconut milk- a stronger punchy gula malacca in it. Beware the other store just opposite which has more signs to claim they are “the real thing”. Where there is genuine, there is the counterfeit seeking space. This happens in the spiritual as well as in the natural.
Searching for the durian was quite a task as we had to ask locals for direction and it was after 45 minutes of walking that we determined Singaporeans finally found the stall opposite some UMNO building. The first durian he sold us was more sweet than bitter, something we could have found in Singapore. Then he tempted us with a red marked durian. It looked a pale yellow. But when we put it into our mouth it was smooth, creamy and not mushy nor dry but of perfect constitution. The taste was a perfect balance of sweetness, bitterness and a hint of wine. I have stumbled upon an unforgettable durian experience. I couldn’t figure out his Hokkien accent and though we asked him to repeat a few times the name of the durian variety we had just tasted, the closest it sounded to my ears was “Capri”. Durian has gone upmarket and Italian.