Thailand
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Tag: Thailand Ordering

The Buddha's Footprint

The Buddha's Footprint
After four months in the United States, we have finally arrived back in Thailand again. On our taxi ride from the Bangkok airport, I chatted with our Thai driver and caught up on the local weather and politics (apparently there is a new prime minister and I did not know it). Our driver asked what we were doing in Thailand and where we lived so I had an opportunity to ask him about the Temple of the Buddha’s Footprint, the focal point of the town that we call home here in Thailand. Something I have never understood about the shrine to the Buddha’s footprint at this temple is why the footprint is about four feet long. Surely people couldn’t believe that the Buddha’s foot was four feet long, could they? If his foot was that big, then certainly the rest of him must have been of gigantic proportions. The only other time I had asked Thai people about it, they had replied that you need to have faith. I am a man of faith and I believe many things that seem incredible but faith must also have some reason to it as well. If the man that is historically identified as the Buddha was of normal proportions, then certainly

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Bangkok Protests Turn Violent

Anti government protests are heating up in Bangkok, which is not good news for the nation. Our family is not anywhere in the vicinity but recent news is a cause for alarm and a reason to pray for the nation, not only the government but the people in general. It is an historical fact that God often uses times of unrest and instability to change people's hearts to trust in the only One who can bring true rest and stability. This world is twisted and evil but God is the one who can give people hope as they look forward to perfection and peace in the kingdom of heaven. I include below links to two articles - one from the Bangkok Post as it has more details and pictures of recent events and one from Reuters as it gives a better birds-eye view of what's happening for the reader outside of Thailand.Bangkok Post - PAD Mass Protest Special CoverageReuters - Thai Protesters Seek Revenge After Clashes

Coming Back to Phra Baht

It has been really good to finally arrive back in Phra Baht after four months in the States. We got in on Saturday evening and found our house in fine condition, with a very green yard due to all the rain during the past few months. Two of our banana trees had big big bunches on them, still quite green. Pastor Jarun and his wife had been taking care of the place while we had been gone. We are thankful for their help and are glad that they have been able to take advantage of our house while we have been away.Aside from the surroundings, we really enjoyed seeing folks at church on Sunday morning and beginning to catch up with what has been going on in their lives while we have been away. One fellow may move to another province soon, one woman has changed jobs because her employer wouldn't allow her to go to church on Sunday. Sun chatted with two elderly ladies who may be interested in helping us with evangelism. Sun and I are both feeling rather strong these days and eager to get out there and share the Gospel - both on an individual basis and in more direct evangelism - tracting and open air evangelism. On Sunday evening, we got to chat with our neighbors who had gathered across the street from our house in the community area for our neighborhood. A few months ago, the neighborhood committee put in some

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New Year, Old Problems

I’ve never been all that excited about New Year’s because the mere change of a date on the calendar doesn’t change anything that really matters. This morning, I went out to run an errand and when I stopped off to get a coffee, I saw a familiar motorcycle parked out in front of the coffee stand that hugged the curb. Coming around the car, I saw a guy from church that had stopped by to borrow our guitar the previous night. It was nine o’clock in the morning and there he was with a big bottle of beer, strumming the guitar and hanging out with his friend, the guy selling coffee. I don’t have anything against alcohol in general, given it is consumed in moderation and with appropriate consideration to who your company is. However, I KNOW that this guy has a drinking problem. My initial impression of him, about a year or so ago, was that he is friendly fellow with a good head on his shoulders, and perhaps some potential for leadership in the church. That initial impression has proved to be inaccurate as it has become obvious that he has a drinking problem that doesn’t concern him as it should. On numerous occasions (especially after I haven’t seen him for a while), he tells me that he hasn’t forgotten about God and that he is still

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Worship on the High Places

Worship on the High Places

Why is it that so many people like to worship on high places? This morning, a friend and I hiked up a steep mountain at the end of a peninsula in Prajuab province, Thailand. At the top, there was a glorious view of the surrounding area - ocean to the east, coast to the north and south, and distant mountains to the West in the direction of Burma. But on top of the mountain, there was also a small shrine to the Buddha’s footprint with accompanying Buddha images. Throughout Thailand, there are lots of shrines and yellow Buddhist prayer flags on the tops of hills and mountains. Every time I see them, I can’t help but think of the high places in the Old Testament that the Israelites worshipped on. When the Israelites worshipped on these high places, it was usually idolatrous worship in violation of the First Commandment (and probably the Second Commandment as well).

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The Playboy Bunny and Contextualization

The Playboy Bunny and Contextualization

I see it all over the place. It’s on T-shirts, handbags, motorcycles, car windows and wherever else is fashionable. The image of the Playboy Bunny seems to be everywhere in Thailand these days. However, I suspect that most Thais are not aware that it is the official symbol of a well known pornography magazine. A young woman at church was wearing a stylish t-shirt with the Playboy bunny on the front and I asked her if she knew where the rabbit picture comes from. She replied, “No” and I explained that it is the symbol used by a well known pornography magazine in America. “Oh” she responded uninterestedly, “I didn’t know that”. I thought that perhaps I had been unclear in my explanation so I went on, “When Westerners see this rabbit picture they are reminded of a magazine with naked women in it. A pornography magazine.” She still seemed unconcerned that she had the logo of a porn mag emblazoned on the front of her shirt. “Why do you like the rabbit picture?” I inquired further. At this point, I might have guessed her reply. “It’s cute. I like it.”

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When did Siam become Thailand?

When did Siam become Thailand?

Siam is the old name for Thailand and I have never known why and how that name change came about. A Bangkok academic is now petitioning the government to change the name back to Siam in order to make a step towards creating greater peace and unity in the nation. For those who are curious about the history of the name change from Siam to Thailand or wonder how on earth changing the country's name could do anything in the way of reconciling a divided nation, check out the Bangkok Post article "What's in a name?" The comments on this article are at least as interesting as the article itself as people weigh in on whether they think the change is a good idea.

 

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Evangelical Unity in Thailand

Evangelical Unity in Thailand

How do very different denominations work together to do church planting? This is the big question that remains to be answered as the 7th Thailand Congress on Evangelism in Bangkok came to an end this past week. The conference brought together three of the largest Protestant church groups in Thailand - the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), the Thailand Baptist Convention, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand (EFT). In the past, these large denominations didn’t get along very well so it is encouraging to see leaders and members of these different groups coming together in order to pursue the goal of proclaiming Christ throughout Thailand. A few years back, the involved denominations had formed the Thailand Evangelism Coordinating Committee (TEC) and came up with Vision 2010 which aims to see a church planted in every provincial district (อำเภอ), a Christian group in every sub-district (ตำบล), and a Christian presence in every neighborhood/village (หมู่บ้าน).Throughout the conference pastors, Bible college professors, and other church leaders from the various groups preached on the themes of Obedience, Faithfulness, Unity, and Cooperation. Listening to the preachers, worship leaders, and other speakers up on stage, I got the sense that the goal of the week was not so much as to spell out how to work together in unity, but rather to rally the troops and encourage the people in attendance that unity is important and the God will work as we work together in obedience and faithfulness to the Great Commission.

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Snake Hunting

Snake Hunting

I am beginning to think that I should just look at run-ins with snakes as part of life here. Sun had just finished some language study and left her notebook and MP3 player on the desk in our office/guest room while I finished bringing some laundry in from outside. Leaving the reading lamp on the desk turned on, Sun and Joshua went across the street to the community center where there are some exercise machines and neighbors to talk to. I went into the office to finally do some reading for language study and catch up on email. Walking up to the desk, I jumped back in fright at the sight of a snake sunning itself under our reading lamp. The snake then quickly slithered off with a start, likely just as surprised as I was.

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Bangkok Protests (Red Shirts vs. Government)

Thai political tensions are flaring up again. At the end of last year, yellow-shirted protesters flooded Bangkok trying to force the resignation of the then-current government which had the support of former prime minister Thaksin and the red-shirt protesters. The yellow-shirts succeeded and now that a yellow-shirt supported government is in power, the red-shirted pro-Thaksin protesters have taken to the streets trying to get the now current government to resign. Confused yet? I am. Here is

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