Simon's blog

Bamboo Tree and Christmas Tree

When I was at language school I was swapping stories with my language teacher. I was asking him about the collections of bottles of water you often see outside Japanese houses around the obon season; I had been assured by an experience missionary that they were offerings to the spirits of the ancestors who returned to earth at obon, so that they could have a drink on their journey. Well, not exactly, said my language teacher; they’re there to reflect the sunlight into cats’ eyes and stop cats peeing on people’s gardens. Read more about Bamboo Tree and Christmas Tree


Who does short term mission help?

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There are a couple of really good articles going around about short-term mission at the moment, and so the main purpose of this post is to make sure you’ve read:

Someone asked if this applies to Japan, and so as a bonus here are my half-baked thoughts on the subject: Read more about Who does short term mission help?


#YesAllBiblicalWomen

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Caitlin is three years old now, and has started taking an interest in the Bible stories. It started at Christmas, when she wanted us (over and over and over again) to tell her the Nativity story. Every day she acted out the story with us and with her dolls. And then she wanted to know what happened after Jesus was born, so we started acting out more of the stories of Jesus; and now she’s working her way through the Old Testament. She loves acting out the stories of Joseph, Moses, Daniel and so on. But… there’s a problem. Read more about #YesAllBiblicalWomen


Phonegap Icon Maker Hook

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I’ve been writing a lot of mobile applications recently, using PhoneGap to create portable HTML5-based apps. It’s had a few frustrations but I’m getting the hang of it now. One of the frustrations is that the icon and splash screen handling is essentially not there. You have to manually create a lot of versions your icons and splash screens with different sizes for each platform, and then put them in the right place in the build directory. Read more about Phonegap Icon Maker Hook



A theology of work

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Japanese churches are, in general, pretty dualistic. They only really deal with “spiritual” subjects; they may be excellent at giving you a theologically correct exposition of a Bible passage, and even at showing how that should affect your religious life, but they have very little concern for the “secular” life. For all that Japanese churches can teach you about how to relate to God, from the reaction I’ve received, providing teaching on how to relate to the world seems pretty revolutionary here. Read more about A theology of work


Jesus' words

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This morning I found myself wondering “what did Jesus actually talk about the most?” “What did Jesus talk about the most?” is a theological question which makes it hard to answer, but a related question—“What words did Jesus use the most?”—is a data journalism question, one that we can quantify and analyse. (It is worth reminding ourselves that answering the second question doesn’t necessarily answer the first, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless.) Read more about Jesus' words


By all means, self-publish...


Technology brings democratisation. When the first camcorders appeared on the consumer market, people would record their own “home videos”, something that was previously the preserve of professional videographers and film makers. The problem was that home videos were invariably poor: full of jerky movement, curious zooms, strange camera angles and bad framing. Fine, perhaps, for private consumption, but you wouldn’t really want your friends to inflict their home videos on you. Read more about By all means, self-publish...