Archive for October, 2009

Polar bears gather in Prague

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This is a piece of information supplied by the Czech News Agency (ČTK) via Prague Daily Monitor – full article can be found here.

Polar bear protest pokes fun at Klaus

Dozens of “polar bears” staged a demonstration at Prague Castle. (ČTK)

Prague, Oct 26 (CTK) – Several dozens of “polar bears” Monday called on Czech President Vaclav Klaus “to keep on campaigning against the myth of global warming” in a petition handed out outside the presidential seat, apparently ridiculing his views on climate change and also the European Union.

The slogan “Our country will not be defrosted” recalled the phrase “Our country will not be subverted” that had been used as part of campaigns against the opponents of the communist regime in the 1950s, thus associating Klaus’s rhetorics with communist hardline style of fighting against enemies.

“Go and have a nice cup of coffee!”

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Health and Safety at Work is a very important issue and the countries of the European Union demand that every organisation conduct annual training for staff. We had our regulatory session recently and were reminded about all those important aspects of life where safety comes first.One key area is electricity. As our trainer reminded us, at home one of our low energy light bulbs will expire and we will go to the cupboard, get out a new one and change the bulb, making sure we place the used bulb in the appropriate waste container for proper disposal.

Not so at work. Perhaps the desk lamp by our computer ceases to work. We should not touch it. Instead we will ring maintenance and inform them so that a qualified electrician with all the right certificates can be dispatched to replace the light bulb. Then came the most emphasised instruction of our trainer: “So now you can’t work. Well, do not mind, go get yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy the break”.

Thus instructed we will emerge out of the global recession!

– Keith

The Winds of Change are Blowing

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Hans Guderian, Vice President of the European Baptist Federation, opened our Executive Committee meetings in Prague with a short devotional on “The Winds of  Change are Blowing”. He reminded us all of the speech made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the South African Parliament in 1960 when he spoke about the “winds of change are blowing through Africa”, heralding, of course, the demise of colonialism in Africa and the creation of  the independent nations of Africa. German Rock Band, the Scorpions, sang in 1990 about the “winds of change blowing down the Moskova River to Gorky Park where the children play” in the days when the winds of change- candles and prayers in Leipzig, velvet revolution in Prague – were leading to the demise of communism without, for the greater part, warfare and bloodshed.

Hans commented that within our European Baptist family we are experiencing winds of change at present through the challenges of the global economic chaos and with issues of migration and growing nationalism in some parts of Europe. How are we to deal with these changing winds?

Hans drew our attention to Ephesians 2,  reflecting on three concentric circles. The widest circle gives us a sense of in all things offering praise to God. The middle circle is addressing those of us close to Christ about our responsibilities to anticipate and have a prospective attitude to those beyond the confines of the believing community to whom we have a responsibility. Ephesians 2 argues that in the inner circle we are engaged in important construction work going on – God  is not finished with us yet !

– Keith

President Klaus and God

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Current Czech joke:

God decides to bring the world to an end in ten days. He thinks he would like to tell the most powerful men in the world, so he summons Obama, Putin and wonders who else to send for, in the end as he contemplates Europe, then why not send for Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

He tells them and each goes back to tell his own people what he has decided to do.

Obama says : “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a God, but the bad news is that the world will end in ten days.”

Putin says : “I have bad news and I have bad news. The bad news is there is a God and the other bad news is that he is bringing the world to an end in ten days.”

Klaus says : “I have good news and I have good news. The good news is that I am one of the three most important men in the world, ranked by God with Obama and Putin. The other good news is that there will be no Lisbon Treaty.”

 – Ivana

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EBF Consultation on the future of IBTS

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

In common with countless other Christian organisations, churches and missionary societies across the world, IBTS has had an exceptionally rocky twelve months financially – our reserves have lost a lot of value and our main donors have reduced their level of giving between 20% and 100%. Troublesome times!

So our owners, the EBF, are taking stock! They held a 24 hour consultation about our future on 1-2 October. 30 people from the EBF officers and Unions turned up, together with the President of the Baptist World Alliance. Guided by Dr David R Goodbourn, President of the Partnership for Theological Education (Manchester, UK) we entered into a process of looking at what matters about IBTS, what are the challenges for IBTS and what is the future to be for IBTS.

What matters – our research culture; Baptist/Anabaptist studies and identity; Applied Theology and Contextual Missiology, a place for Baptists from Europe and the Middle East to encounter one another.

What must we do and what are the priorities:

1. If we can, stay on the site by reducing costs and increasing income until the annual accounts balance without dipping in to the reserves.
2. If that’s impossible – move to smaller, more modern, eco-friendly premises in Prague area near to the airport.
3. If we can’t do either of those then seek to find another country and Baptist partner where we can maintain our academic standing, validation, national accreditation, Baptist identity and teaching in English or another major European language.

A good outcome – but much hard work ahead!

– Keith

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