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    Kairos Spiritual Formation Ministries


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The Busy and Hurried Soul



I have often be queried why I titled my book Spiritual Formation on the Run. It was suggested that it should include ‘…run away from the busy life’ or ‘...run to silence and solitude’. It puzzled me for a long time until it dawned on me that to many people, spiritual formation or spiritual growth is incompatible with being on the run or movement. To many, spiritual formation will only occurs when we are still and silent, like on a retreat in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.

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Understanding the Dark Night of the Soul



St. John of the Cross is closely associated with the prayer concept of the dark night of the soul. Living in the 16th century, St. John was a reformer of the Carmelite order of which he was a member. He is regarded as one of the foremost Spanish Christian mystic. His well-known works include the Canticle of Love, the Dark Night of the Soul, Ascend of Mount Carmel and his poem Living Flame of Love. Actually all his works have only one theme and one book was often a commentary on the other. The theme is the contemplative movement of a soul to a unitive experience with God in prayer. The dark night of the soul must be understood in the context of prayer.

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Paul’s Vision at Corinth



This was the second vision that Paul received on his second missionary journey. The first was a vision of a man from Macedonia which result in a new direction and the gospel reaching the shores of Europe. This second vision at Corinth (Acts 18:9-10) was of a different nature.


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Power Encounters in Philippi

with a jailhouse rock



An notable event in Philippi is an exorcism. A servant/slave girl was possessed by a python spirit and was distorting the Gospel. Paul exorcised her and this upset her employers. Paul and Silas were brought before the city magistrates where they were flogged and thrown into prison. Instead of bemoaning their fate, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns around midnight. An earthquake occurred which broke open the prison doors and locks.


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The Macedonian Call

Direction and Discernment. Here, there on the way to Europe.



Paul and his traveling companions (Silas and Timothy) were ‘kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia’ (Acts 16: 7). The impression given here is that the Holy Spirit held them back ‘physically’. And when they tried another approach and tried to enter Bithynia, ‘the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to’ (Acts 16:8). After seeing the vision, Paul conclude that it was God’s plan for them to go to Europe (Acts 16:10). It seems that the Holy Trinity was involved in directing these missionaries in the right direction!

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Taking Spiritual Retreats

A military retreat is often considered as losing ground as the soldiers are involved in moving back or withdrawal. However, not everyone sees it as that. General Oliver Prince Smith during the Korean War declared, “Retreat, hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction”! A spiritual retreat is not losing ground. It is taking a step sideways to reflect upon and to consolidate the advances of our spiritual life.

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more about spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines


Oracle Voice from the Past

Delphi, the center of the world

Delphi is an interesting place to visit in Greece. It is famed for its Oracle and being the centre of the ancient Greek world.  There are numerous legends as to its origin. One is that of Apollo. Apollo when he was only an infant shot an arrow which killed Python “a dragon”. Python was the son of Gaia (mother earth or goddess). Apollo had to atone for this by suffering a period of menial labour. Python was guarding the navel of the world. The location was Delphi.

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Stones tell Stories

The Gallio Inscription in Delphi



One of the most significant archeological artifact I saw in The Delphi Museum in Greece is the Gallio inscription. Gallio was the proconsul of the province of Achaia when the apostle Paul was brought before him as documented by Luke in Acts 12:17. This inscription helps us to accurate date the events of the New Testament especially the chronology of the apostle Paul.


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Running the Race at Ancient Olympia

The New Testament is full of metaphors about athletics preparing themselves for their races. This is especially relevant to the Hellenistic listeners who are embedded in a culture of athletic endeavors from the four Greek. Recent excavations at Olympia which is the site of ancient Olympics brought to light the temples, training sites and the stadium itself while the annual games are being held. As with all Greek life, there is a strong religious and political connections of the games with the city-states. Whether they were the Greeks, Mycenaeans, Macedonians or later the Romans, what stood up is their shared heritage of Greek culture. Being Greek is not so much as living in a certain area as sharing a common legacy of shared values and beliefs. Ancient Greeks were made up of a number of warring city-states. The Games was an event where all city-states has to lay down their arms and declare a three month truce to take part. Offender will be attacked by the combine might of all the other city-states. Not only this allowed time for farming, it enhanced the Games as the religious and socio-political event in their annual calendar. The Game is associated with peace under the watchful eyes of Zeus.


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Writing as a Spiritual Discipline

I always wonder why I write. Writing is not an easy task. It is not just putting words on to paper or inputting data into a word processor. Writing needs content. These content needs to have meaning. This means that it has to be ordered and structured. All this is hard work. After writing is the part I hate- editing, proofreading and rewriting. Ernest Hemingway, a prolific writes comments, “There is nothing at all to writing. All you do is to sit down at a typewriter and bleed”! So why do I write?

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Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation is not New Age

Some Christians reject contemplative prayer and spiritual formation because they think these are New Age practices. The fact that these two distinctive and different Christian spiritual traditions are lumped together shows a lack of understanding of contemplative prayer, spiritual formation and the New Age.

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Prayers for my Grandchildren

O Lord,
Thank you for the gift of these precious little children. Help me, O Lord, to be a loving grandfather to them, helping their parents to nurture and help them grow in ways that are honoring You. Help us together to walk in Your Grace and develop faith in Your Love.

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What I learned from Calvin and Hobbes

The Gospel according to Calvin and Hobbes



Calvin and Hobbes is a daily newspaper comic strips series drawn by Bill Watterson in 1985 about a 6 year old boy with a toy tiger named Hobbes. In this script we are introduced to Calvin’s world or reality where Hobbes is a real wise-cracking tiger. We are also immersed into the life of his long-suffering parents, his school and school friends.


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Stations of the Cross @HLCE



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Stories We Listen To

Your Story, My Story, His Story: Metanarratives and the Christian Life



Whether we are aware of it or not, stories we listen are influencing the how we think, how we see or perceived everyday things and how we develop our values. When we hear the word ‘story’, we usually think of fiction as stories in books or movies. Sociologists and philosophers had long understood that stories or narratives may are not just fiction but the determining factor in how we live our lives. The stories that we listen to have the ability to shape our reality. These reality-shaping stories are also known as worldview.


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Notes to My Medical Students: On Studying

Studying and studying hard are the defining characteristics of a medical student. During my varsity days, as my friends from the Arts and Science goes off to the pubs and parties for the evening, the standing joke are that the medical students are monks and nuns who have to stay back to fulfill their daily ritual of offerings to the god of medicine. Studying and studying hard are still the hallmarks of medical students though I note that the newer textbooks are written in simpler language, more colorful and very much thinner.

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Reconciling our Fragmented Selves

Stop Playing Games: Join God’s Reconciling Work for Lent



Soul care or care of our inner spiritual life is a lifelong process. It is worthwhile during this Lenten season to reexamine it. Procrastination is one of our favorite habits, made worse by social media such as Facebook. Procrastination is what we do to avoid doing what we should be doing. Playing games in soul care is a form of procrastination. Soul care is hard and painful work as we peel away layers of resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness. It also needs us to distinguish and identify who we really are (real self), who we think we should be (duty self), and who we think others think we should be (perceived self). We play games to distract us from the real work of reconciliation of our fragmented selves.


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Lessons from Laodicea



The Church in Laodicea prided themselves in their wealth, black wool, and healing eye salve. Jesus Christ exposed their delusion about their spiritual attitude, spiritual nakedness and spiritual blindness.


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Spiritual Formation in a Nutshell



Distillation of essentials of spiritual formation


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Savior Sibling

by Guia Karla Gonzales


But what if saving others at the cost of our own lives is our sole, if not primary, purpose in life? And that it is neither an option nor consideration, but an imposition?


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more Bioethics


Conversations with my Granddaughter



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Closer to Eternity



As another year draws to a close and we edge closer to Eternity, let us ask ourselves some important questions:


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more e-Reflections



Biomedical Ethics and the Contemporary Church course in EAST



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Lessons from Ephesus:  Busyness and Distractions


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Laodicea Archaeological Site

Laodicea was one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in which large money transactions and an extensive trade in black wool were carried on.

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Why Batman does not kill (not even the Joker)

Over the decades from their initial encounter in Gotham City, the Joker has transformed from the Clown Prince of Crime to a mass murderer. He killed the second Robin, Jason Todd, paralysed Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), and shot and killed Lt. Sarah Essen, Commissioner Gordon's second wife. As many times, the Batman captured the Joker, as many times the Joker escaped. Being insane, Batman knew the Joker will never be persecuted. Knowing as he did that the Joker will continue to escape and hurt and kill people, why did the Batman not kill the Joker?

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The Nature of Spiritual Formation



Writing to the Christians in Corinth about spiritual transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18), Paul notes that “we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” It is Paul’s intention to emphasize (1) that in spiritual transformation Christians (individuals and the Christian faith community) will be transformed into a likeness of Christ, (2) that this transformation is an ongoing process, (3) that it is Trinitarian, (4) that the Holy Spirit is involved in this transformation, and (5) that God’s glory is thereby restored.

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The Biblical and Theological Foundations of Spiritual Formation


Christian spiritual formation is a process grounded on the biblical and theological concepts of restoration, relationship, and shalom. These key foundational concepts are as follows:

1.  Restoring the imago Dei

2.  Relationship with the triune God

3.  Shalom and the kingdom of God

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Dear friends,

Welcome! Come on in, make yourself a cup of coffee and let your mouse do the clicking. Look around and may you find rest for your body , nourishment for your mind and refreshment for your soul.

Join me in a continuing dialogue on everyday Christian spirituality, spiritual formation and transformation, spiritual direction, theology, Christian education, biomedical ethics, Star Trek, postmodern parenting and science fiction. I enjoy reading and watching movies.  I write and preach in churches, speak in conferences and lead retreats. My other vocation is as a paediatrician and a medical educator.


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Alex Tang
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                                                                                                                                               updated 30-Sep-15 01:22:52 AM



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