Geography: Sierra Leone

We have a visiting missionary whom our church support: Hilary Lewis-Nicol. He seems to be from Africa, was music director and now the Africa Area Director of Youth for Christ. Supervised seven countries– Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Guinea. So I start with this:

Locals called it: Salone (pronounced: Salon). Means Serra Leoa (Portuguese for Lioness mountain)

one of 3 countries (Liberia, Haiti) on Earth founded by former slaves.

Nicknamed "Athens" of West Africa

Capital: Freetown in the Western area.

Largest Natural Harbour in Africa: Port of Freetown

Country has 12 districts, 149 chiefdoms.

7.7 million people. Major Ethnic groups: Mende (32%), Temne (32%). Small Bengali & Lebanese communities.

Mende's descendants in South Carolina called "Gullah community". Secret society Poro (men) & Sande (women) have secret passwords and rituals for rites of passage.

Temne: Cash crop revolutionaries (grow palm oil & Cassava). Nembgana of Koya (famous king), Bai Bureh (famous chief) in Colonial time. Secret society Ramena (men), Bondo (women).

Limba: Earliest indigenous people in the country, completely unrelated language. Kakoya Village (spiritual home).

Kono: Diamond people. Predominantly Christians. Related to Mandinka/Vai who descended from Mali Empire.

Kuranko: Mainly Muslims.

Creoles: Many got sent to UK, hence lots of English influence resulting in KRIO, and speak English fluently.

Currency: $1 USD to 19678.65 Sierra Leonean Leone

Drive on Right side of the road.

Language: English & KRIO (Creole of English: i.e. Kushe! Aw Di bodi = How are you?)

Founded by descendants of repatriated former slaves brought back by the British between 18th & 19th centuries. Through struggles with the native tribes.

Religion: 3/4 Sunni Muslims, the rest are Christians. Interfaith between the two is common. Civil war was more about politics, not religion.

Beware of corrupt police scams (i.e. Fake vaccine requirements at borders)

Geographical land layout from coast (West) to inner country (East): Coastal Mangrove Belt, Forested Hill Country, Upland Plateau, Loma Mountains.

Highest point: Bintumani

Largest lake: Lake Sonfon (Lake Tourism)

Highest region in Africa to receive rain (80-120" annually): Guineo-Congolian Climatic Zone, especially in Monsoon season between June & October.

Epic center of 2014 Ebola crisis, Ebola free in 2016

2/3 in agriculture. But country's rich in mineral deposits: Titanium ores, bauxite, diamonds.

Movie about diamonds in their civil war: Blood Diamond (2006)

#1 with highest industrial production growth rate in 2013 with 88%. But today only 20% has access to regular electricity.

3 largest national parks of the country: Outamba, Kangari Hills, Gola Forest Reserve. No lions found today, except in their coat of arms.

Interesting animals: Chimpanzees (national animal), Iris glossy starling, African Manatee, Pygmy Hippo, Giant African Swallowtail (large butterfly - 25cm wingspan)

Food: Jollof rice (won Afropolitan insights blind taste test 2019) & FUFU, Cassava Leaf Stew (national dish), Ginger beer, Tombe (Tamarind drink), Poyo (Palm wine)

Music: Two famous local genres: Palm Wine (i.e. Ebenezer Calendar, 1950s, rearranged Caribbean styles like Calypso, mixed with KRU people's traditional music, using Portuguese guitars) & Gumbe (Creole genre using Jamaican drum called Gumba which was used for communication but now for Weddings to Baptisms). Bubu is another genre (transformed from Animism to Muslim) popularized by Janka Nabay.

Celebrities: Idris Elba, Isaiah Washington

Foreign relations: Close friends with Liberia, Gambia, Lebanon, China, Bangladesh, UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea.

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What's that Violin Piece in my dream

I asked it in my dream of a famous violin piece and was given the answer: something like "Shingal". But after some search online, it's Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.

I should start pulling up famous popular violin pieces on youtube and learn them.

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Bible Study: 2 Kings

The death f Ahab. The transition from Elijah to Elisha

Posted in Theologization | 5 Comments

Tomatoes Plant Care

Pruning the suckers.

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Journal of the Week

7/12/2024 Tim Keller's sermons, not sure how complete, but pretty substantial amount, are available free officially at Gospel Life. And I've also got a collection from an old friend recently, with 33+GB I would need a whole drive to store them.

7/10/2024 So NJ Transit has increased the July train fare from $13.25 to $15.20, between South Amboy and NY Penn. Station. And apparently they're getting rid of the Covid19 imposed Flex Pass (20 one-way at %20 off). So we need to be creative with our solution. Nadia's bought in app tickets from NY to Woodbridge and such for lower cost while I've also tried paper ticket from Rahway to NY ($10.60) as some conductors do not check the tickets until passing Rahway into NY. It has now worked twice for me. The new monthly fair is certainly not worth it at $437, which I believe used to be $380. At $437, that's $54.63 each way if I only commute twice a week.

This is cutting close to the South Amboy Ferry fares, which I have yet to try. $18 one way, $165 for 10 trips, $600 for 40 trips, $588 for monthly. Unfortunately, the ferry's schedule is scarce: 5:45am til 8:45am every hour Mon-Fri from South Amboy to Brookfield; 3:30pm-6:30pm every hour Mon-Fri from Brookfield. For Pier 79 (39th Street & 12th Ave) arrival and departure, take the last two rides from South Amboy or the first two (3:15pm 4:15pm) from Pier 79 respectively.

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Cleaning Shower room

Grout...that's the term for the groove fillings in between the tiles on the wall or flooring of the shower room.

Watching videos like the above, I bought from Home Depot: Simple Grout (Ready to Use), grout scraper/removal tool (triangular tip), and a float. The two bucket system (one clean, one for grout cleaning) sounds like a good idea.

Bulb seal is probably what the rubber seal around the door or doorframe of the shower. This one is a tough clean. Thus far, this article is the best I found online that has fixtures close enough to ours. It's perplexing figuring out how to remove/side off these seals.

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Samsung Galaxy Gear 360 - Uploading to Youtube

Raw files are automatically processed by Samsung's Gear 360 ActionDirector Windows app. These processed files have the word "_Stitch_" in the filenames. These stitched files seem to work in Meta Quest 2's TV app, after direct transfer from PC to Quest via USB-C to USB-C. However, a lot of these files do not work right away. It seems to take time to "process" by the Quest app.

The ActionDirector Windows app also has the menu feature called "produce" to produce 360 video, which apparently should be different than the automatically processed "_Stitch_" files. These produced files work right away after uploading onto Youtube while the _Stitch_ files do not work as 360 from direct Youtube upload.

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On Copyright - Is there such a thing as Intellectual Properties?

I have made known my stand on this in several entries here before. This shall hopefully be the last entry with capacity to be expanded, to avoid confusion of multiple postings on the same subject.

The crux of the problem is: Do we distinguish theft from lying? That is, should we not conflate the 8th and the 9th commandments: Thou shalt not steal & Thou shalt not bear false witness, respectively.

I once asked Pak Tong the last time he was here in the States, he did not give a clear answer but recognizing that there are people promoting against intellectual properties; however, he also stated that his ministry STEMI does not allow people to copy their materials without permission. I cannot say that he supports Intellectual property rights in the common way because of this, because I believe even if someone pirated their materials, I highly doubt they would sue that person. 1 Timothy 5:18 comes to mind, which is not the same as the principle operating behind today's copyright law.

I would attempt to start by arguing from the fact that in the 8th commandment, God's physical material blessing must be recognized, and thus must be distinguished from the other commandments such as the 9th and the 10th. Though I'm not saying all these commandments are mutually exclusive. Therefore, to fail in recognizing material blessing, or to conflate material blessing with another kind of blessing such as talent, is to risk the same error as the Gnostics: diminishing the value of material, which is of the world, which God created.

Therefore, though it is true that the 8th commandment does not specify that the object of theft is a physical material one or not, what I shall investigate here is whether the notion of theft must only link to a physical object or can it also be associated with the non-physical such as the product of the mind or talent. Because after all, when we use the word "product", one can easily associate that with the physical, even though it doesn't have to be so. In the same way, we use the word "steal", for "someone else's idea". So the question is, is this meant the same way by God?

Though we must distinguish the two commandments (8th & 9th), we cannot deny that these two generally apply together to the crime of theft (of physical things). A thief who stole a car, if asked, would lie about how he got the car, generally. "Generally" being an important keyword here, because someone who steals may not lie about it and thus it borders robbing, which I think is aptly covered by the 8th commandment since there's no separate commandment that says "Thou shalt not rob". However, in the case of intellectual "properties", if we want to really call it that, there's no distinguishing of robbing and stealing.

For the sake of argument, robbing is always stealing, but stealing is not always robbing. Stealing is a bigger circle encompassing completely the smaller circle called robbing, in the Venn diagram. Stealing is taking without permission, robbing is to do so bolding in broad daylight so to speak.

But in the case of intellectual properties, there is no such thing as robbing, because when I copy someone's idea in "broad daylight", that's just simply copying, which is not a sin in itself. Only when I tell people that someone else's idea that I copied from, is mine, then have I broken the 9th commandment. But the West came up with this idea that we can "buy" someone's ideas (thus, intellectual properties) and subtly call it ours. Which is absurd, even if one works hard to not break the 9th by carefully calling it "ownership" of the rights, rather than "authorship". Because by calling it ownership, one inadvertently conveys authorship. The only reason to distinguish these two terms is to have monetary power, otherwise it's not true ownership nor authorship.

I can and should say more here, but it will be continued next time. This is an ongoing investigation of the subject.

The proponent of Copyright Law has this chief reason: To encourage creativity or sharing of it, which is pathetic. As if I need to pay a child to behave or not seek vengeance. What then, shall we oppose the government because of this? No. Here give unto Caesar is apt.

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Vocabulary: 无视法律;秉公执法; 人之常情

如果不是合乎你心意,那是无视法律;要是合乎你心意,那就是秉公执法。

人之常情: Human nature

Learned from Youtuber @9:15

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Journal of the Week

7/7/2024 Stephen Tong Hebrews 2 Series.

Key to spiritual Christian life - understand that man is lower than God but higher than nature:

On Ecology, Environmental care:

The theological care in the environmental cultivation should not be from the non-Christians. Evangelicals do not know anything about environment, only that man needs to be saved.

Cultural Mandate should not be from Non-Christians, evangelicals only know about preaching the Gospel. The most important lesson from Jesus is THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and evangelicals never thought much about this, allowing the modernists a foothold to dominate and corrupt the cultural mandate of God. Reformers such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bulinger, Beza, Melanchthon, all concerned about the relationships between Church & Politics, Church & Art, Church & Culture, Church & Nature, Church & Philosophy, how the Church lift up the Word of God above all things in order to judge all wrongs in culture produced after the fall of man, such is the duty of Christians:

Man is created lower than angels, but higher than angels after salvation:

Angels are to serve the elects:

The Hebrew culture mishandled the position of angels probably because they believed that the law was given from God to Moses via angels, they viewed the angels second to God. And later, in old Christendom, archangels were viewed so high that they became as if the object of worship.

We are the children of God, angels are the servants of God. Big difference.

7/6/2024 Today, a Saturday, I have sometime to myself to look into one of the First Great Awakening folks: Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, whom I learned from last Sunday School from Bill, that he was with George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards in New Jersey, especially Somerset. Wikipedia shows that he also worked with Gilbert Tennent, the one who preached "On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry" = Nottingham Sermon. Frelinghuysen's pietism is apparently in fencing the table (preventing people from the Lord's supper until they get their acts together). I'm not saying that fencing the table is wrong, especially when compared to how the Tabernacle was set up with sections forbidden to commoners, but it was how these revivalists policed the table. Stephen Tong on Pietism, which Frelinghuysen was really into:

敬虔主义–节选自《唐崇荣漫谈归正运动》

到了十六世纪,改教运动完成以后,十七世纪,有没有危机来呀?有。第一个大危机就是腐败的生活、没有圣洁的灵性,侵犯改教运动的教会。信仰对不对?对。行为对不对?不大对。为什么?因为对信仰的重点,跟全面性,没有真正的了解同把握,所以误解信仰,产生偏差,特别是路德宗。路德宗最重要的一句话是什么呢?「因信称义」,这是马丁路德最大的发现。Justified through faith,我们是借着信,因为耶稣的宝血而称义。那么,一百年以后呢?「因信称义」啰,所以行为不要紧啰。既然我信了,我的行为乱七八糟不要紧,我「因信称义」嘛。一百年以后,在路德宗的地区,就产生一个反对这些败坏的生活,却持守所谓「纯正信仰」,这种偏颇,这种不平衡的教会的会友的运动,叫做Pietism (敬虔主义)。敬虔主义到底要教导什么呢?基督徒不单是因信称义,基督徒要过圣洁的生活;基督徒不单从前信主悔改了,基督徒要常常悔改;基督徒不单参加聚会跟人一同祷告做礼拜,基督徒自己要在家有读经祷告的私人灵修;基督徒不单自己领受赦罪之恩,基督徒要为上帝传福音。这几件都是很好的:圣洁生活、亲自灵交、努力传道。所以,这就对改教运动的教会带来了复兴的灵性,也就是圣洁生活的复兴,传福音火热的复兴。但是敬虔运动有几个大缺点:注重个人,忽略教会整体;注重感受的经历,忽略信仰的统一;注重小组的成立,忽略整个教会共同的益处。所以,就变成在教会中建立小教会,这叫做church within church。他们对教义也不大清楚、不大注重。它的重点就是个人要圣洁,最好不喝酒、不赌博、不抽烟、不这个、不那个,有圣洁敬虔的外貌,他们敬虔的实意有多少不大知道。但是,这个Pietism第一次在路德会中间刺激海外宣道的复兴的工作。

Here is an interesting article on Tim Keller's take on Reformed Pietism: Evangelism, mission and church growth. The pietist impulse emphasizes on the individual and the experiential. They are suspicious of an emphasis on social justice and cultural engagement. To further look into Tim Keller's take on this and his critics, I would have to look into the Reformed take on Cultural Mandate, which Pak Tong stressed a lot.

Last but not least, to look into the criticism of Jonathan Edwards, one can start from Scott Clark's article, cautioning readers about Jonathan Edwards.

7/4/2024 Did John Calvin taught that Jesus was the Archangel Michael?

Came across this on Facebook, someone tried to discredit Calvin using his commentary on Daniel and thus my response.

That's why I said ForBiden school of thought. That's bad reading:
Calvin on Dan 12:1

"...By Michael many agree in understanding Christ as the head of the Church. But if it seems better to understand Michael as the archangel, this sense will prove suitable, for under Christ as the head, angels are the guardians of the Church..."

Therefore, Calvin is considering and accepting both views:
1. Michael = archangel and not Christ.
2. Michael = Christ and not archangel.

The low IQ's response to this would be:
"Ah, therefore Calvin's saying Christ = Archangel! because,
What can be, unburdened by what has been"

So if you still don't get it, it's ok. Peace.

btw, anyone reading Calvin should already have the basic knowledge that Michael is derived from the Hebrew word: Like God and thus not necessarily must be God nor necessarily cannot be God.

A quick online search on this view, shows wide spread of this argument. But someone has already taken a good crack at it. By explaining Daniel 12:1, Hebrews 1:6 & Jude 9.

I note this here just in case someone brings this up, the response should be as easy as "Michael can be taken as the archangel or just someone like God but not necessarily not God".

7/3/2024 This video of Jet Li on a Buddhism interview reminded me of my earlier response to someone at church that Christians aren't the only one who have good testimonies (i.e. in humilities, kindness, etc.) but Buddhists for example, are quite good at dealing with pride as well. Therefore, the source of wickedness is not really pride, it's self.

The German Rap song: Barbara's Rhubarb Bar, is becoming viral recently. I first came across it on Instagram @Jasminandjames:

The origin of this is from German Rapper Bodo Wartke and Marti Fischer:

This German girl Feli is kind enough to explain the context of it:

Other worthy mentions:

The lyrics and translation:

Barbaras Rhabarberbar
Es war einmal in einem kleinen Städtchen, da
lebte ein Mädchen namens Barbara
Und diese Barbara war im ganzen Land
für ihren abartig guten Rhabarberkuchen bekannt
Ja, man konnte sagen, dass Barbaras
Rhabarberkuchen ohne Wenn und Aber, gar
eine geradezu magische Erfahrung war
Abara Kadabara
Tja, dieser Kuchen war geradezu bombastisch
und die Nachfrage danach erstarkte drastisch
Barbara eröffnete noch im selben Jahr eine Bar
und nannte sie „Barbaras Rhabarberbar“
In der Stadt gab es auch ein paar Barbaren
die hatten von Barbaras Rhabarberbar erfahren
und da sie fortan jeden Tag bei Barbara waren
nannte man sie bald die Rhabarberbarbarbaren
In den Folgejahren ließen die Barbaren nach und nach
ihr barbarisches Gebahren fahren
Sie waren, behauptete Barbara,
fast noch sympathischer als Barbapapa
Aber die Barbaren waren stark behaart
und hatten alle einen struppigen Barbarenbart (gar nicht apart),
daraufhin schickte Barbara
ihre Barbarenfreunde zum Barbarenbartbarbier
Der frisierte den Barbaren sogar den ganzen Kopp
in seinem Barbarenbartbarbier-Barbershop
Er war zwar ein fürchterlicher Laberkopp
Aber der Bart war danach total tipptopp
Darauf luden die Barbaren ihren Bartbarbier fein
nach getaner Arbeit noch in die Rhabarberbar ein
Da tranken sie dann gemeinsam an der Bar noch 'n Bier
Die Rhabarberbarbarbaren und der Bartbarbier
Und aßen dazu bar jeder Barbarei
ein Stück Rhabarberkuchen
Ich glaub, es waren zwei
Ja, da wurden sogar ganz harte Männer nahbar
und das alles dank Barbaras Rhabarber
Drei Barbaren und der Bartbarbier
saßen eines Abends in der Bar bei 'nem Bier,
da kam die Polizei: „Ja, wo wart denn ihr?“
Drei Barbaren und der Bartbarbier

Barbara's rhubarb bar
Once upon a time in a small city, there
lived a girl called Barbara
And this Barbara was known in the entire country
for her abnormally good rhubarb cake
Yes, you could say that Barbara's
rhubarb cake, was without any ifs, ands and buts
a downright magical experience
Abracadabra
Well, this cake was downright amazing
and after, its demand increased drastically
in the same year Barbara opened a bar
and called it “Barbaras Rhabarbar Bar1”
In the city there were also a couple barbarians
they found out about Barbara's rhubarb bar
and because after that they were with Barbara daily
they were soon called the rhubarb bar barbarians
In the following years the barbarians let go of their
barbaric behavior little by little
They were, claimed Barbara,
almost friendlier than Barbapapa
But the barbarians were very hairy
and they had all a scrubby barbarian beard (not special at all)
consequently Barbara sent
her barbarian friends to the barbarian beard barber
He even styled the barbarians' entire heads
in his barbarian beard barber barbershop
He was indeed a terrible chatterbox
But after that the beard was totally tiptop
After that the barbarians nicely invited their beard barber
after finished work in the rhubarb bar
Then at the bar they drank a beer together
The rhubarb bar barbarians and the beard barber
And ate in addition without any barbarity
a piece of rhubarb cake
I think it was two
Yes, then even very tough men got approachable
and that all thanks to Barbara's rhubarb
Three barbarians and the beard barber
sat at the bar in the evening with a beer
then the police came: “Well, where were you?”
Three barbarians and the beard barber

Consider one possibility: The more people in church, the more shame. ~ Stephen Tong

7/2/2024 Ben Shapiro interviewed Bishop W. C. Martin, Baptist pastor who in known for his support for adoptions. He's also the one who inspired the Angel Studios movie: The Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot. It's interesting that he grounded his adoption ministry in adoptions throughout the Bible: Moses, Esther, and he would go even as afar as Jesus, which I may not completely agree with since Jesus' technically not orphan, having a single mother.

7/1/2024 I recall one of Frank Turek's famous quotes:

If Christianity is true, people don't die; they change location. They go from this life to the next life. And it's up to God when that happens, not us.

I almost liked it. Turek was dealing with those who worried about death. This is his way of comforting Christians. So I'm not going to make a big deal from his presuppositional error in "If Christianity is true" here, but I would say, that Christians don't change location, they are resurrected. This is uniquely Abrahamic faith (Romans 4:17). The Egyptians don't have resurrection, they have the "next life".

6/28/2024 Learned about how to bulk delete users on web portal of Office 365 admin. Very useful, almost same way as Salesforce bulk deletion: Download the template/full list, then use that list to modify and upload again so the system knows which ones to delete.

Posted in Computer Science, Theologization | Leave a comment